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Amherst Railway Society - News and Events

UP 4014 firebox grates installed in MILW 261


UP 4014 is being converted to burn oil rather than coal. So, some parts of the Big Boy needed to burn coal are no longer needed, including the firebox grates. Coal-burning 4-8-4 MILW 261 needed new grates, so arrangements were made to have 4014’s grates shipped to Minneapolis for installation in 261.

Firebox grates are an important part of efficient steam locomotive operations. Not only does the coal sit on the grates, the moving engine draws air through the grates and makes the fire more intense. As firebox grates wear out, they actually allow too much air into the firebox which burns the coal faster, and less efficiently.

MILW 261 is already wearing some UP gear having acquired the stoker apparatus from UP Challenger 3985 when that engine was converted to oil.

UP 4014 and MILW 261 were both built by the American Locomotive Company - 4014 in 1941, and 261 in 1944.



MBTA to invest $7.9M in Mattapan Trolley Line PCC cars

The MBTA’s Mattapan-Ashmont line is home to one of the last fleets of Presidents’ Conference Committee (PCC) streetcars still running in the United States. And the MBTA is planning to invest $7.9M to keep them running.

Built in the 1940s, the MBTA owns 10 PCC streetcars, although only seven are used regularly. While several other US cities have and use PCC cars, the Boston fleet is unique in that they have never been retired from service.

The majority of the investment will go toward rebuilding the PCC’s trucks.

The Ashmont-Mattapan line serves as an extension of the Red Line subway and runs along part of a former New Haven line that was converted in the 1930s. The 10 PCCs that work the line currently wear orange and cream colors much like the original scheme they were delivered in. 


The Restoration of Maine Central #470 - Update

The plan to separate locomotive and tender for the move to Ellsworth, Maine ran into a hitch this summer when the locomotive section was found to be 10 tons heavier than originally estimated.

On to plan B - remove the boiler and cab section from the frame and wheel assembly, and move the locomotive section on two trucks rather than one.

Removing the boiler from the frame has proved to be no small task. Each of the 48 bolts holding the boiler in place needs to be drilled out, then heated and hammered out. The result, however, was worth the effort - 48 undamaged bolt holes, still perfectly lined up.

Corrosion on the tender pin and a buffer wedge further complicated the separation of locomotive and tender. At day’s end, the ingenuity of the restoration crew prevailed and the tender was rolled back five feet from the locomotive, ready to be trucked to Ellsworth.

When the work is complete, #470 will be the largest operating steam locomotive in New England and the only operating standard gauge steam engine in Maine.

contents UP 4014 Firebox Grates to MILW 261 MBTA investing $7.9M in Mattapan PCC cars The Restoration of MC 470 - Update

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