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Allen American 4-4-0 Locomotive Repair

By Phillip Cohen - SCLS Torrance

Repair of the club's American locomotive

The club's American #613 locomotive has been almost 100% restored and on its way to becoming a regular at our Saturday run days. The lettering has been applied and looks really sharp. If you can't read the Yosemite Valley name, with its' 3 inch letters, you had better schedule a visit to your eye doctor. Thank you to Ruthless Graphics for donating and applying the lettering for the locomotive.

Tom Downing has done some preliminary repairs to the club's caboose that will be pulled behind the #613 along with a pair of riding cars. The roof was found and will take the place of the seat when the caboose is not being used as a riding car.

Many years ago someone had added a large lead horseshoe shaped weight inside the cab straddling the boiler to put extra weight on the drivers of the locomotive allowing it to pull more of a load. While this worked well in providing the extra traction, it had the undesired effect of bottoming out the suspension on the drivers so they were pretty much rigid against the locomotive frame. This rigidness created a problem causing the frame to flex instead of the suspension taking up the movement as it went over the bumps in the track. We removed the lead weight a few months prior to running the locomotive at the OCME Spring Meet in Costa Mesa.  Unfortunately the damage had already been done. Ultimately the torque and twisting caused by the heavy weight caused the failure of the main frame stiffener that keeps the frame from shifting. The failure occurred as we were finished running for the evening at OCME. We found the broken pieces of stiffener along the track and diagnosed the problem.

Tom Downing made a template of cardboard and found a piece of heavy steel plate to manufacture a new stiffener. The original stiffener was made of aluminum which proved to be too weak for the job. Below are photos of the plate being machined, and cut with a plasma cutter in Tom's shop. The new plate will be put back in the locomotive along with the axle pump eccentric and new shaft that was bent when the plate failed.

Machining plate edges

Machining the edges

machinig plate lip

More machining

plasma cutting plate

Preparing to cut the big hole

plasma cutting eccentric hole

Plasma cutting

plasma cutting main hole

Tom likes to make sparks!

milling large cutout

Clean up of the large opening after plasma cutting

final machining of eccentric hole

Final cleanup and dimensioning of the eccentric gap

 Look for the #613 on the rails at upcoming run days. She is a sweet little locomotive and is a lot of fun to run. Thank you to Tom Downing for the many hours of hard work in getting this locomotive back on the rails after many years of hiding out in the storage container.

Tom has also manufactured a stock car to carry the propane for this locomotive. The article will be posted here soon.


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