Sierra #3 Tender in 2004, prior to restoration
Interior of the old tender, water cistern. White spot is hole caused by corrosion, which also caused extensive thinning throughout the tank.
Restored tender, almost complete! Still needs some hardware, hoses, final trim paint and other details which will be completed as time allows.
The initial plans for the restoration of the tender called for some repairs. However, assessments completed as part of the project made it clear that more extensive rebuilding would be required. Records from other Rogers locomotives built during the same time as the Sierra #3 indicate that the frames were being built of White Oak, which is native to the east coast. The Sierra #3 tender at the time of restoration was determined to be Douglas Fir, a California native. This clue reveals that the tender has been reconstructed at least once during its lifetime. We opted to replace the damaged timber in kind, using locally grown and processed Douglas Fir, and the original hardware. This work was completed by Covers and Sons, out of Tuolumne.
The restored water cistern is comprised of newly manufactured floor and walls, and utilizes the original top and coal boards. Rivets were used for construction in all visible areas, while the hidden portions (such as on the bottom) are welded. The cistern was coated with a special sealant to deter corrosion. The oil cistern was cleaned, primed, painted and reinstalled. Hardware, valves, hoses, etc were reused wherever possible. All replaced parts were documented and the originals were retained as part of the Railtown collection. The old cistern can be seen on display near the old boiler, behind the roundhouse.
Last week the top of the tender was finally put in place for rivetting. We are preserving the original tender lid and coal boards, and marrying them to the new cistern bottom and sides. It took a bit longer than anticipated, to get them matched up. Then bolts were applied to the approximately 500 rivets holes, to hold it into position. During the rivetting process, one worker climbs into the cistern (with a spotter and negative air-flow machine). Then the bolts are removed in a coordinated pattern (to disperse the stress equally as the rivets are applied), and the worker in the tank watches in-the-blind as the red rivets to poke through, and applies the rivet snap with the pnuematic hammer. Kind of like an industrial version of “Whack-a-Mole” This work is being done in the roundhouse, you can’t miss it when its happening, it is loud! Come by and hear it for yourself. Hearing protection is strongly suggested. . .
DJ and Rob wiggle the coal board into place for rivetting.
Coal board is held on with bolts until rivets can be applied.
The crew waits for the next batch of rivets to heat.
The top is preserved from the original tender. Here the old rivets can be seen alongside the new.
This week, several coats of a high-tech epoxy-like paint (Ceramicoat) were applied to the interior of the water cistern, to prolong the life of the tank. The exterior was also treated with a primer. On Monday, the lid will be set in place, and then rivetting is planned for all day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Visitors on the behind the scenes tour may be able to observe some of the final 400 rivets as they are applied, depending on the schedule. It will be loud in the neighborhood!
The new tender sporting a new coat of primer.
Interior of tender, with first coat of the "ceramicoat" lining applied.
Damage to old tender, caused by years of corrosion.