Project 2921 update: The Odyssey Continues!?
By: Hank Graham
In Volume #15 of the "Crew Car", I talked about the work we did for the city of Modesto, California, on the Ex Santa Fe 4-8-4 steam engine #2921. I finished that article with a note that the future of the locomotive was now in the hands of the city to determine. But as luck would have it, our involvement was not over yet as this odyssey continued.
"PROJECT 2921" UPDATE:
When I started this project in February of 1995, I asked the Lord to bless this project and open up doors. My reasoning was that if the Lord was not behind me on this effort, He would see to it that doors would slam shut. It has been my feeling throughout this last two years that it was to His liking and that He has opened doors wherever necessary.
In December, 1996, the City of Modesto sent out their Request For Proposals (RFPs), for the final disposition of ex-Santa Fe steam engine #2921, to any and all possible interested parties, of which W.A.R.M. is just one. We had until January 29th, 1997, to respond to the RFP. However on January 3rd, this process came to an abrupt halt.
On that Friday evening, I sat watching the CNN news coverage of the flooding waters in Northern California and became very anxious! I saw images of rising waters lapping at the bottom of a railroad bridge across the Tuolome river and new instantly that 2921 was in trouble! Santa Fe 2921 sits in the flood plane of Dry Creek at the confluence of the Tuolome river and was certain to be in water. How much, I didnt know! Had the Lord slammed the door shut or were we just being tested? Time would certainly tell.
I called Mr. Frank Cottle Jr., who lives in Modesto, and asked him if he would take a look see and give me a report. His report back to me was a most definite YES! She was sitting in water up to the center of her valve covers, about a foot below the air tanks. This meant that she was sitting in about 5 feet of water on the morning of the 4th. By the following Tuesday, the water had receded to below the rails and was dripping water from all of her orifices.
On the morning of the 6th. of January, I called the city of Modesto and informed them that the evaluation that we submitted, and they sent out with the RFPs, was now null and void. They agreed and immediately canceled the RFP, to be re-issued at a later date, pending a re-evaluation and remediation of the locomotive.
The city Parks & Recreation Official we dealt with in 1996 asked me what should be done to remediate the effects of the flooding and wanted us to submit our recommendations and estimates for remediating and re-evaluating the engine. We did our research, submitted our proposal and received the go-ahead. The primary focus however was on the running gear and to remediate and evaluate their condition - and then file a new report with the city of Modesto, to be sent out with the new RFP when it was ready for reissue. The city said they would provide the supplies if we would organize another team to do the work. Saying yes, we then set about to schedule the work and, on short notice, lined up a volunteer crew .
Time was of the essence! We werent sure if the presence of water would take its toll on the bearing surfaces and to what extent those surfaces were sitting in water. It was clear that we should do something fast, if we were to ever have any assurance that 2921 was ever to roll on its own wheels again. To do nothing could be to issue her death warrant.
Page 7 Page 9