Bottom’s Up-Sierra No. 3 Tender Cistern

Platforn in shop laid out with steel for cistern bottom.

Platform laid out with steel for cistern bottom.

The tender is essentially the “trailer” of the locomomotive used to haul the fuel and water required for operation.  It is connected to the locomotive by a large draw bar, a thick, heavy piece of steel.  The water is held in a horseshoe shaped cistern, with the fuel stored in the center of the horseshoe. 

The bottom of the original tender cistern is constructed of six pieces of rivetted steel.  Without documentation, we can only assume that it has been repaired many times over the years, since this is a part of the cistern that is subject to a lot of corrosion.   We are constructing the new bottom out of two pieces of steel, which will be welded together, since it won’t be visible on the completed tender, and this type of seam will be more durable. 

The two pieces are laid out on a specially built work table in the shop.  Norm Comer, our project welder, has prepared the seam for welding by cutting a v-shaped groove where the edges meet, and will begin the welded center seam this week.