STAGE 2, PHASE III:
On August 22nd, Bill Palmer and his family, Dan Echeto, George Maier, Warren Lambrich, Phil Merkley, and Jim Hall joined my son William and I in Modesto for the final stage of Phase III. The plan was to have the city provide a hydro-crane and operator, on Friday the 23rd, to aid us in putting the big parts back on the locomotive. Utilizing the citys work force on the last day of the week made it possible for us accomplish the work that needed to be done first before replacing the rest of the parts over the weekend. Our plan was to just replace the large water, steam and air pipes, along with certain rods and brackets, leaving most of the small parts to be stored away for safe keeping. We felt certain that we could accomplish this without much fuss and in good time.
Friday morning we were up and at it early getting every thing ready for the arrival of the hydro-crane. Many of the items we planned to replace on the locomotive were in the storage shed and needed painting and sorting from the items that were not going to be replaced. The city had provided us with enough paint and brushes to prepare these items, though some scraping and chipping had to be done on some of the parts first.
The hydro-crane arrived around noon and work progressed very well. The air tanks were placed on first followed by the sand dome, then the turret cover was to be next. But as luck would have it, the hydro-crane got stuck in the sand. After laboring and sweating over meager efforts to get the truck out of the sand a front-end loader had to be called in to tow the crane from its moorings. Afterwards, we raised the turret to its resting place and carefully guided the truck though the sand trap that protects the 2921 so skillfully.
We had managed to get the two water hatches on the tender open and get inside to do a visual survey of the water tank. Our plan called for preparing the inside of the water tank as a storage vault for many of the smaller parts and then sealing it back up for safe keeping. The city brought us some plywood for shelving material and we set about separating parts.
One very important and significant event occurred on Friday afternoon. We were visited by Frank Cottle Jr., an engineer with the M&ET RR who, along with his father, Frank Sr., was involved with the earlier attempt to fix up 2921. Frank took me over to his house and began digging out a number of the parts that were missing off of 2921. They had salvaged what few valuable parts that remained (during their effort) taking them into custody for safe keeping, feeling certain that if they didnt, much of these parts would soon disappear.
While many of the missing parts are still missing, this store of treasures reduce significantly the number of parts that remain missing. Frank returned these parts to our keeping to be included with parts to be stored inside the tender. Certainly they will now be part of the locomotive and in safe keeping.
Saturday morning came early. We sought to get a jump on the heat that was sure to build up by mid day. First of all, we had to inventory and mark all of the parts that were returned by Frank and the Williams brothers to insure a proper record. We wanted to make sure that all of the parts would be up off of the tank bottom, in case of any leaks, so we built a shelf on which to hold parts up high. Frank Cottle Jr. returned on Saturday afternoon and helped us in laboriously raising and lowering the many parts into the tender tank. Afterwards, the lids were closed and welded shut to await the unknown fate that is to be 2921s.
The parts that were slated to be put back on the locomotive were being prepared and being replaced where they were removed from. Every large steam, water and air pipe along with the larger rods and brackets we removed went back on the engine. We replaced and buttoned down the air reservoir tank brackets, air cooler and crossover piping and touched up the paint wherever needed. By days end, work had progressed very well and all that remain was to replace just two large steam pipes and do some last minute touch up details. but time had run out and that work would have to wait until Sunday morning.
Sunday saw us finishing up what little was left and by noon we were on the road home.
Project 2921 is for the most part completed. The average work day consumed 10 or more hours each day with each volunteer doing their part. No one shirked their duty and all have said they would be available again if the chance arises. Each and everyone of the volunteers did themselves proud and thus the societies as well!
The work days are broken down as such: Phase I took 1 travel day and 4 days of work for 7 volunteers for a total of 224 volunteer man-hours to complete. Phase II took 2 of us 4 work days and 1 travel day for a total of 70 man-hours. Phase III, Stage I took 6 of us 1 day of travel and 3 days of work for a total of 167 man-hours and Stage II took 7 of us one day of travel and just over two days of work for a total of 186.5 man-hours. The grand total came to 75 volunteer work days, 22 of which were travel days, leaving 53 actual work days for a total of 647.5 volunteer man-hours expended! If you count the number of hours spent by the asbestos contractor, 312 man-hours, by a crew of 12 men, you have a grand total of 959.5 man-hours on Project 2921.
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