This Summer is moving along way too fast for me. Everyone is busy with postponed activities from the “2020 Covid Year”, so it is difficult scheduling some of our initial baby-steps in moving the A-313 Project forward… but, yet, some of those steps are beginning to take place.
Over this last month, following our successful Open-House “MAY’n” Event, a couple of key steps have taken place. First and foremost, after moving all of the equipment and parts away from one of the walls in our building, the folks from RIDG-U-RAK in North East, PA showed up with a wonderful donation of new racking for our Climax A-313 Project and future endeavors…. a HUGE THANKYOU to “Mr. P” and the RIDG-U-RAK family for their contribution to our project, and their belief in our mission…Thank You!!!.
Another local business has donated a triple-mast Forklift which is now in the mechanic’s shop having some rebuild work and repairs done to it before it moves to its new home at the Corry RAILS Restoration Shop.
Yet another local family has donated a trailer to us which is now getting new decking installed on it. The trailer will come in handy for moving some of the parts around, especially the Boiler, when the time comes.
Last week, one of our Team members, Bill Simonton, made the trek to Corry from his home in Virginia to begin working on CAD drawings of the Main Frame components and to help research and reverse engineer the “How’s and Why’s” of the original build of Climax A-313 back in 1902. Very little exists today as to original engineering for these little engines, so it is important and up to us to figure it out… What was the thought process? What steps were Standard… and which were Optional, or Modifications to Standard? Why did they do it this way and not that way? Things that are pretty rudimentary and look so simple, often times are not. It is yet another learning process.
Once the Frame drawings are done we will have the foundation to build on… and, over time everything else will then begin to fall into place. I met Bill several years ago when we were both members of and volunteering with the Mountain State Railroad and Logging Historical Association (MSR&LHA) on their 14 year rebuild project of the Climax No.9 (Shop Number 1551), a 70ton Class C locomotive, at Cass Scenic Railroad in Cass, West “By God” Virginia. Not only did Bill assist with all of the manual labor going into the project, but he took it upon himself to work on, create and produce, a beautiful set of Plan, Elevation and 3-D CAD drawings of the C-1551. We are happy to have Bill on the Team. In the near future we will have Prints of those drawings of the Climax C-1551 for sale, and at some point we will also have similar Prints of our A-313 to sell as well.
This week we had a visitor from Alaska join us for a day or two… Gene Augustine was in town… one of our Alaska Rescue Team members, and long-time volunteer at our Sister Restoration Group, the “557 Restoration Company” in Wasilla, AK. Gene helped us for several days when we were in Alaska last Fall with the repacking of the A-313. A native of Pennsylvania, Gene is originally from Natrona Heights, PA, just north of Pittsburgh. A Biologist by trade, he ended up in Alaska. Gene was back in the area for a surprise 50th Anniversary party for his sister and took the opportunity to come to Corry for a couple of days to catch up on RR stuff with Tom V. and myself, checking out the progress on A-313 and our Shop and visiting the Climax B-1681 in the Corry Museum, as well as visiting with a local college classmate of his, Dr. Karl Streilein. That’s it for right now…. toot-toot… backing out of the station. Carl W.