Railway Preservation News

Progress you can see, touch, and hear! (MEC 470)
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Author:  Richard Glueck [ Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Progress you can see, touch, and hear! (MEC 470)

"A shiny locomotive bell does not a restoration make", as my Gramma used to say*. This is evidence of some serious progress made to inspire and move New England Steam's project forward for "The Mascot of Maine", Maine Central #470. We hope to have the bell available for you to ring at the Springfield (Mass.) Train Show, on January 25th.

* Leg pulling mode. Gramma was a Diesel girl.

Maine Central 470's bell being removed by New England Steam crew for refinishing and refurbishing.

The bell as it has appeared for almost six decades.

Cleaned of paint and given a bath, the bell is ready for refinishing.

Master Machinist Leverett Fernald begins the refinishing process.

Halfway through the process. The dings and divots are courtesy of park visitors trying to "ring the bell" with pieces of ballast. Ideally, we'd love to get them all out, but they are now part of 470's story.

At the end of today's work session, the bell looks like this. More work coming. The yoke is likewise, being refinished.

Please visit http://www.newenglandsteam.org to see regular updates, contribute, or ask questions.

Author:  Brent S. Bette [ Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress you can see, touch, and hear! (MEC 470)

For someone who attended Bates College and has spent many summer days swimming and boating on beautiful Long Pond (Belgrade Lakes), this warms my heart beyond belief. I have long wished I had the same deep Maine roots the 470 does, not to mention she is one of the most perfectly proportioned locomotives I've ever seen. Taking from the Maine tourist slogan, might I suggest one for her majesty: "470...the way a locomotive should be." Keep up the excellent work!

Author:  Howard P. [ Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress you can see, touch, and hear! (MEC 470)

Things are getting interesting in New England these days, eh?

Howard P.

Author:  whodom [ Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress you can see, touch, and hear! (MEC 470)

Cool project.

This reminds me of a guy I worked with on the N&W, interestingly enough named Ed Sullivan. He said he'd originally hired on as a machinist for the B&O back in the 1940's, and one of the first jobs they gave him was cleaning up bells from steam locomotives to be donated to local towns. He'd chuck the bell in a lathe and take a light cut on the entire exterior of the bell (which must have been pretty tricky with the taper and curves), then polish with emory cloth.

Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress you can see, touch, and hear! (MEC 470)

Yeah, just be careful.

With a bell, there should be a healthy amount of metal to work with. However, I distinctly remember seeing the result of one guy who tried similar methodology to "clean up" a somewhat mangled PRR passenger chime whistle. The result looked essentially like Swiss cheese when his botchery was done, and my friend who acquired the rubble for a cheap price basically had to fabricate a new "bell" (the cylindrical part of a steam whistle) for it out of sheet brass to salvage it.

Author:  Richard Glueck [ Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress you can see, touch, and hear! (MEC 470)

As an aside, the gentleman in the photo is our CMO, and very knowledgeable in these kinds of things. He is trying to keep the amount of polishing to 1/32" or less. The mass of the bell will still ring beautifully. The original paint on the yoke is being removed in a trap specially designed to remove lead base paint. I new clapper has to be turned, as the original went missing years ago.

BTW, if I didn't mention it in the earlier posting, the whole mechanism must weigh 250 lbs.

Yesterday, we received this photo from the collection of Joe Kelley. It's a family photograph taken at Bangor Union Station, June 13th, 1954. Here, 470 is seen ready to return on her last fan trip of the 20th century.


I have to wonder how many thousands of "Brownie" camera pictures remain in albums, shoeboxes, and trunks, from this trip?

Author:  Dave Lewandoski [ Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress you can see, touch, and hear! (MEC 470)

great to see the old girl getting som attention. good luck to your group.

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