Heber Valley RR...

John Barnhill Jul 7, 2007

  1. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

    Pt 1
    Full steam ahead: Heber Railroad raising funds for restoration

    [FONT=Verdana,Helvetica,Arial]By Carma Wadley[/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana,Helvetica,Arial]Deseret Morning News[/FONT]
    HEBER — A short distance out of Vivian Park, the train hits the steepest grade it will face on the trip. The locomotive will need steam — lots of steam, but engineer Bill Schultz and engineer Mike McCoy are ready.
    [​IMG] Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
    Engine No. 1068, also known as Engine No. 618, pulls the Heber Valley Railroad train up Provo Canyon from Vivian Park to Heber City.
    [FONT=verdana,helvetica,arial,sans-serif]More photos[/FONT]

    Schultz opens the throttle to send more water to the boiler. Keeping an eye on the pressure gauge, McCoy begins shoveling coal. He grabs a shovelful, steps on a lever to open the heavy doors to the furnace and tosses the coal inside. He sets up a fast rhythm. Shovel, step, toss. Shovel, step, toss. Shovel, step, toss.
    As the doors open, the flames in the belly of the engine evoke all kinds of images: fiery furnace, jaws of Hell, roaring dragon. Heat pops out in five-second blasts as they open and close.
    The train responds so smoothly, the majority of the passengers probably don't even realize it is going uphill. Schultz and McCoy know and can feel the exact moment it hits more level terrain. From here on in to Heber, the fire will still need constant tending, but the pace will be less frenetic.
    But this little stretch embodies one of the things McCoy loves best about the steam locomotive. "It's a living, breathing thing."
    McCoy loves it so much he comes down from Nampa, Idaho, once a month or so, just for the joy of the hot, sweaty, dirty job.
    Schultz feels the same way. He drives TRAX trains for a living and comes up one or two days a week to volunteer as an engineer.
    Words describing what it's like to run the train come easy: incredible, amazing, riot, blast. "I just love it," says Schultz. "Railroading gets in your blood — and there's no transfusion in the world that will get rid of it."
    He's been doing this for 27 years. His dad worked here. His son now serves as a conductor on the train.
    McCoy's only been at it for six years. "I always had an interest but never an opportunity," he says. "When an opportunity came, I jumped at it." He loves being a fireman, but the goal, of course, is to become an engineer. Everyone starts out as a fireman, he explains. You have to pay those dues for at least three to five years. You have to learn what it takes to make a steam engine run: how much water, how much fire, how much pressure, how much steam, how to keep them all in balance.
    [​IMG] Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
    Mike McCoy, fireman on the Heber Valley Railroad adds coal to Engine No. 618's furnace.
    [FONT=verdana,helvetica,arial,sans-serif]More photos[/FONT]

    The engineer, on the other hand, controls the speed; must know every dip, grade, bend and stretch in the track; learns the language of the whistle. "It's a job that uses all your senses," says Schultz. The sights, the sounds, the feel are all important.
    There are seven or eight different kinds of grease and oil required to keep the moving parts moving. "That's what doesn't come out of clothes," says McCoy. There's a lot of coal dust, too; and periodically, McCoy will pick up a broom to sweep some away. "A clean cab is a happy cab," jokes Schultz.
    The engineer and the fireman must learn to work together, and when they do, a lot of camaraderie develops. But there are always three personalities in the cab. "If you let the engine be boss, it will kick butt," says Schultz. "We have to show it we are the boss, and then it will do what we want." America once moved by steam. Invented by Thomas Newcomen in 1705 to remove water from mines, and perfected by James Watt in the latter part of the 18th century, steam engines and the railroads they could pull came into their own by the mid-1800s.
    Trains moved freight and passengers across the country. Once-laughed-at predictions of people eating breakfast in Baltimore, lunch in Philadelphia and dinner in New York all on the same day had come true.
    By the early 1900s, bigger, better, more efficient engines were coming down the line. "Steam engines were the NASA of the turn-of-the-century," says Craig H. Lacey, executive director of the Heber Valley Historic Railroad Authority. "The best minds in the country were occupied with improving steam engines."

    [​IMG] Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
    Bill Schultz, engineer on the Heber Valley Railroad, drives TRAX trains for a living and comes up to Heber one or two days a week to volunteer as an engineer.
    [FONT=verdana,helvetica,arial,sans-serif]More photos[/FONT]

    Times change. Technology improves. Steam is replaced by electricity and diesel. Trains lose favor to airplanes. But for some people, steam locomotives have never lost their appeal. "Steam engines are the sizzle on the steak for anyone who loves trains," says Lacey. Just to see one puffing along the rails is an experience, he says; to ride one is even better.
    "They are such a part of the American past. That's our whole purpose here to preserve history and present it to people in a viable way."
    There are maybe 125 steam engines still running in the United States — mostly for tourists and history buffs. "There's a network; we all try to help each other out," says Lacey. "But the number shrinks every year. There's an amazing financial commitment."
    For one thing, it costs around $35,000 just for average maintenance each year. Every 300,000 miles or so, an engine must be given a complete overhaul. "You can only do so much with bubble gum and bailing wire. When safety becomes a factor, you can't take any chances," says Lacey.
    That's the position Heber Valley Railroad finds itself in right now. It is the proud owner of two steam engines, built in the early 1900s by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. No. 75 is currently undergoing a complete restoration. It's scheduled to be back up and going by March, when No. 618 will be shut down.
    HVRR is currently in the process of raising funds to complete that restoration. There is some grant money, conditional upon raising matching funds (there is about $250,000 to go) and railroad buffs will have a chance to help out at a Celebration for Restoration on Saturday in honor of Engine No. 618's 100th birthday. All proceeds from the day's activities will go toward restoration of the steam engine.

    (cont. below)
  2. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

    pt 2

    [​IMG] Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
    Craig Lacey, executive director of the Heber Valley Railroad shows off the shell of Engine No. 75, which is under restoration.
    [FONT=verdana,helvetica,arial,sans-serif]More photos[/FONT]

    Restoration is no easy task. For one thing, the Baldwin Locomotive Works went out of business some 50 years ago, so finding spare parts is a challenge. "The Chinese kept building and operating steam engines until about 15 years ago. We've been able to get some Chinese copies of parts we need," says Lacey. "But if we can't find parts, then we have to make our own."
    Locomotive No. 75 sits at the back of the HVRR machine shop; stripped of cab, wheels, everything but its 100-year-old iron hulk. Staybolts that hold the firebox sheets together are being checked and replaced bolt by bolt. Eventually, a new brake system will be added, as will new piston rings.
    To be repaired, the wheels — which in many ways are like old wagon wheels — will have their "tires" pulled off; they have to be heated to 700 degrees Fahrenheit so the metal will expand and pop out.
    Various parts are scattered around the shop. Putting it all back together will be like working on a model railroad — only on a gigantic scale.
    But No. 75 is a great old girl, says Lacey. "It was used from 1907 until 1965, mostly hauling sugar beets." It was bought by Everett Roher in 1965 to use in the movies, and appeared in more than 35 films, including "The Professionals," "The Devil's Brigade" and "A River Runs Through It." Roher died in 1998, and HVRR bought it from his daughter.
    No. 618 has an equally proud history both with the Oregon Short Line (where it was known as No. 1068) and with the Union Pacific (where it was No. 618, the number that will be kept). And it will be getting the same treatment, come March, although "it needs more extensive work," says Lacey.
    Basically, says Mike Manwiller, chief mechanical officer for HVRR, "we will take apart every nut and bolt and put it all back together." The project is expected to take 2 1/2 years.

    [​IMG] Deseret Morning News graphic

    Manwiller, who is overseeing the restorations, is a fourth-generation railroad man. "I've been hanging around restorations, doing grunt work, since I was 12." He loves trains both for what they are and what they represent.
    "The steam locomotive is what allowed this country to be built as we know it. The way it shortened travel. The way it transported goods. It's what allowed all we know to happen."
    And even though that technology has been put on the shelf, he says, it's worth going to all this effort to keep it alive. Steam engines give us "a pretty important look back. They are a living link to history."
    More than that, he says, "I don't know of any other type of machine made by man that captures life like the steam engine does. What it is, the size, the power, the sound — from kids on up to adults, nothing captures awe like the steam engine."

    [​IMG]If you go What: Celebration for Restoration
    When: Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
    Where: Heber Valley Railroad, 450 S. 600 West, Heber
    How much: minimum donation $20; more will be accepted
    Web: www.hebervalleyrailroad.org
    Also: period costume invited
  3. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

    Heber Valley Railroad

    In addition to the regularly scheduled rides, Saturday's Celebration for Restoration will feature a special evening train, where people are invited to come in period costume from the late 1800s and early 1900s. There will be food, fun, raffles of donated prizes and other entertainment.
    Heber Valley Railroad offers a variety of scenic excursions and entertainment options. Throughout the summer, two excursions a day go from Heber to Vivian Park in Provo Canyon. On most days, a shorter excursion to Soldier Hollow is scheduled.
    On selected dates, the railroad also offers an evening Lakeshore Social, a Comedy Murder Mystery train, a combination train/haywagon/picnic ride, a BBQ Special, Heber Valley Hoedown, Moonlight/Campfire Sing-Along, Raft 'n' Rail Adventures and more.
    Seasonal options include a Pioneer Day Fiddlers 'n' Fireworks train, Haunted Canyon excursions in October, the Polar Express in November and December, and winter excursions combining tubing and sleigh rides.
    For most rides, tickets are $30 for adults; $20 for children and $23 for seniors. Special-excursion trains may cost more or less, depending on the ride.
    The depot is closed on most Mondays throughout the summer.
    For more information and schedules, visit www.hebervalleyrailroad.org or call 435-654-5601.
    · · · · ·
    [​IMG]How steam locomotives work
    A coal-powered fire heats water in a boiler to the point that it creates steam.
    • As the steam expands, pressure builds up.
    • By way of a regulator or throttle, valves force the steam into cylinders that contain pistons. The expanding pressure of the steam causes the piston to move and thus turn a connecting crankshaft and flywheel.
    • When the piston reaches the right side of the cylinder, a slide valve directs the steam behind the piston, which then moves the piston to the left. The piston rod pulls the flywheel around to complete one turn.
    • Steam in the left side of the piston escapes through an exhaust. The escaping steam is still under pressure, and makes a "choo" sound as it leaves the cylinder. As the train starts rolling and the pistons gain speed, the effect is the familiar "choo choo" sound of a steam engine.
    • Water is mechanically injected or pumped into the boiler, and must be kept at the correct level at all times.
    • Steam pressure is kept at about 150-180 pounds per square inch (psi) at all times. If it goes higher, safety valves will release steam to reduce pressure.
    SOURCES: www.HowStuffWorks.com, www.Bressingham.co.uk, World Book Encyclopedia, Heber Valley Railroad
    · · · · ·
    • Steam locomotive 618 was build in July 1907 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. It was made for the Oregon Short Line Railroad, which was a subsidiary of the Union Pacific Railroad.
    • Originally numbered Oregon Short Line No. 1068, the locomotive operated in main-line freight service in Utah, Idaho and Montana.
    • Renumbered to Union Pacific No. 618, in the 1920s, the locomotive was assigned to local and branch-line service, operating in northern Utah until 1957.
    • The locomotive's final assignment was hauling molten pig iron between Columbia Steel in Ironton and United States Steel at Geneva.
    • In 1958, the locomotive was donated to the state of Utah and was displayed at the State Fairgrounds in Salt Lake City until 1970.
    • The locomotive was used to start up the "Heber Creeper" and chugged into Heber Valley under her own power in December 1970. The locomotive was used intermittently until October 1990.
    • After the "Creeper" ceased operation, the Heber Valley Historic Railroad Authority was created as a nonprofit organization to maintain the railroad. In accordance with new Federal safety standards, the locomotive's boiler was overhauled in 1994-95.
    • Since 1995, the locomotive has been in operation (known as No. 1068), using up most of its allotted 1,472 days of service.
    • In March of next year, the locomotive will be shut down for a complete overhaul to replace and/or refurbish moving parts, boiler and other components — a task that will cost approximately $776,050. HRVV has received a grant to cover part of the cost of restoration, conditional upon its ability to match those funds dollar-for-dollar. The now-100-year-old locomotive will be restored back to its original 1907 look and return to No. 618. SOURCE: Heber Valley Railroad

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