Arizona and Pacific RR Current Projects



Arizona & Pacific RR Current Projects

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This page of the website follows projects taking place at the Arizona and Pacific Railroad and gives visitors a chance to see the progress that has been made throughout the years...



11/14/16

          We spent most of our A & P work time in October on track maintenance which is a necessary part of safe railroad operation, but not very sexy or photogenic. We replaced a few ties, rolled a few over, tightened lag screws or drilled for new placement of lag screws, reset the gauge in a few troublesome areas, moved and tamped ballast, checked splice bars and generally did the behind the scenes grunt work that make run days go well. If you spend enough time on maintenance and upkeep on work days, you can make it look easy and effortless on run days. Most folks have no idea how much time went into their eight minute train ride and that’s the way I like it…




A&P RR

Work train in use for track maintenance at the A&P RR




          A few years ago we restored our Miniature Train Co. track gauge and we have it on display in our engine house. Our Chance Manufacturing Company track gauge is the one that we use in track maintenance. I think it was manufactured in about 1970 which means it will soon be fifty years old. I have seen more of the MTC model than I have of the one made by Chance. As you can tell, it is exactly the same as the MTC product just painted black and with the Chance name plate. We also had our track inspection car in service along with MW trailer No. 21 as we worked on the track during the month. We still have some track work to complete in November and then should be good for a little while.




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Minature Train Company track gauge







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Chance Manufacturing track gauge




          For the second year in a row I made it down to Marana, AZ, about 115 miles from here, to the Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival and for the second year in a row I had a great time. The festival is the creation of Jon Post who has grown the festival from a small get together to one that attracts 6000 visitors a day by featuring family and kid friendly activities. The event features two corn mazes, huge jumping pillows, a petting zoo, zip line, air cannons firing apples at various targets, the pumpkin patch and many other activities.




MPP&FR RR

Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival







MPP&FR RR

Jon Post




          It also features the Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival Railroad. They run two trains on 15 inch gauge, 12 pound track on a modified loop roughly 3/4th of a mile long that winds through corn fields and around the perimeter of the festival grounds. They have a tunnel and large loading platform. On my visit, every train was full and there was a waiting line. As I shared last year, some of the equipment is lettered for the New York Central and was previously seen at the ATT & NW of the John Woods Family. The engine that was painted in orange last year and named the Pumpkin Express had received a new paint job for this years’ event.




MPP&FR RR

Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival loading platform







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MPP & FF RR train leaving the loading platform




          The really exciting news from my perspective is the growth of the railroad operation. The beautiful Gulf Mobile and Ohio trainset of Don Guill’s Shandon & Okeana Railroad was recently acquired and was in use at the festival this year. In addition, five new aluminum gons have been built and five new coaches that were fabricated to match the GM&O equipment arrived a couple of days before my visit. The gons were receiving their finishing touches and the coaches were stored in the parking lot and headed to the paint shop the Monday after my visit. The coaches are quite roomy and comfortable and provided me plenty of room at 6’1”.




MPP&FR RR

Newly acquired Gulf, Mobile and Ohio train set







MPP&FR RR

5 new coaches will soon be in service




          With the recent additions of engines and rolling stock, the MPP & FF Railroad has five complete trains to operate on the railroad. You might be thinking that you don’t need five trains for a ¾ mile layout and you would be right. In 2018, the entire festival will be moving to another location on the 4000 acre farm about a mile away that will allow for even greater expansion of the event. The roadbed at the new location has already been graded and is just over 1.5 miles long. Much of it will eventually be double tracked. It is exciting to see the entire festival grow like it has over the past 6 years and especially exciting for me to see the growth of the festival railroad operation.




MPP&FR RR

Taking a ride through a cornfield




          This will be the inaugural year of a new event at the railroad dubbed Christmas on the Farm. It will feature night time train rides through many lighted Christmas displays and other holiday activities. The dates for this event are December 9 to December 23 AND ALL TICKETS MUST BE PURCHASED IN ADVANCE.




MPP&FR RR

MPP & FF Railroad




          One of my college roommates that I hadn’t seen in twenty years, Greg Bolen, was in town for a few days from Virginia and along with his sister Gina and mother Hazel visited the A & P. I wish I could share some of our college shenanigans here, but not so much…

          Another of my college and dorm friends of forty plus years, Rod Werner, was in Yuma, AZ visiting family down there recently and they visited the Yuma Live Steamers operation. The railroad is 7.5 inch gauge and runs on about 4000 feet of track. They had a pretty good crowd for rides on this Saturday and a good time was reportedly had by all.




Yuuma Live Steamers

Yuma Live Steamers







Yuuma Live Steamers

All aboard with the Yuma Live Steamers







Yuuma Live Steamers

Ready to ride!




          Ed Loesch is one of our railroad buddies that in the past few months relocated from Camp Verde to Clarkdale, AZ. When he lived in Camp Verde, he started building a static display that would capture the look and feel of Arizona’s mining and railroad past. Now that he has settled in to his new home, he has added a distinctive railroad theme to the yard and house.




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Ed Loesch's railroad themed property







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Ed's engine on display







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AT&SF Wig Wag




          For the first year in many, I had a scheduling conflict and was unable to attend Railfair at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. I was over there a couple of weeks before Railfair and a paint crew was placing the finishing touches on a new paint job for the full size baggage car. That crew did a great job in bringing the colors and lettering back to brilliant life.

          Happy and safe railroading everybody.




10/22/16

          Things are finally starting to cool down a little bit out here at least in the evenings. We still haven’t run any A & P equipment in the daytime yet other than to just start them or work on the carburetors as it is still around 100 degrees or a little above that number. Our friend Jerry Graves was over in September and we got all the carburetors cleaned, engines started and tuned up. We changed the plugs on the Tucson, but the plugs on the rest of the old girls were in pretty good shape.




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Jerry Graves working on the Phoenix







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Jerry runs the Tucson after changing out the spark plugs




          We have started our change of season rail maintenance. We can see a hundred degree temperature swing here between summer highs and winter lows and it causes the rails to grow and shrink with the changes in temperature and that can affect the gauge of our rails. A few years ago we welded flat straps on the ties in our curves which made those areas largely maintenance free – at least with respect to gauge. This coming spring we may do the same thing with our ten switches. When we acquired several of our switches, they were piled in a scrap heap. After we got them home and tried to match components, we realized they had threaded rod at several intervals through the switches. The threaded rods were mangled from just being tossed in a pile by a forklift and other rail and parts piled on top of them. Anyway, we removed all of the bent and mangled threaded rod. Over the years, I have come to realize how important those were to keep the switch gauge consistent throughout the switches as the weather changes.

          We have spent a great deal of time already this Fall on our switches and switch stands. We have lubricated and calibrated the moving components, tighten nuts, made sure all tie plates were secure, brushed ballast away from the switch points and wings and confirmed the correct gauge throughout. We will have to double check the gauge of all of it again in January when we will have several nights in the teens.

          Even though we have no plans to add a Wisconsin engine to our B unit at this time, we are plumbing it so that an engine could be added at a later time and it will be accurate and would be functional. We had the two hand valves for brake and throttle that mount through the instrument panel, but no mounting brackets or even photos of what the brackets look like as they are always hidden up under the cowl and behind the dash panel. After one design failure, we hit upon a design that works great and we have utilized the brackets we fabricated and mounted the valves. After we get all the plumbing completed we will remove the valves and clean and repaint them.




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Throttle and brake valves mounted in the G-16 B unit dash




          I got started on the plumbing for the two hand valves and the vacuum tank and made a list of all of the fittings that we didn’t have. I have tracked down most of the fittings at this point and except for part or two, we have all of it on site and ready to go.

          In last month’s update, I posted that we needed two additional step assemblies, a door step and back plate and additional spring clips for a door on B unit. We appreciate one of our G16 friends, Shaun Hardtke, contacting us and advising that he had the parts we needed. As it turns out, we had some truck parts and other things that he needed and we were able to help each other.




A&P RR

Newly acquired step assemblies




          When Jerry Graves was out, we put a game plan together for replacing the Wisconsin engine in the Coconino. Many years ago, between the time that Malcolm Mackey had it rebuilt and installed it in the chassis several months later, field mice got inside and nested in the air cooling system. The upshot is it always ran hot, very hot and we never figured out the cause. We added three separate fans over the years and it still ran hot. Anyway, years of running hot has caused some engine damage. It can be repaired, but needs removed to do so. I have another Wisconsin that has already been rebuilt albeit about ten or twelve years ago. We are going to service the rebuilt engine and inspect the cooling ducts. Then we’ll pull the current engine and start removing the bolt on parts to transfer to the second engine. Once complete, we will bench start and tune her and later this Winter see if we can her installed in the Coconino. Jerry had a pretty solid idea about the one that needs repaired. Once out, we’ll get it repaired and repainted and instead of having it in the way in one of the buildings or under a tarp outside, we could mount it in our B unit and basically store it in there. The added weight would do the B unit good and instead of an empty engine bay, you would see the engine through the portholes and cooling screens. Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a winning idea!




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Coconino engine




          When I pulled the tarp off of the Coconino and started looking inside the engine bay for accessibility and how the oil pump and reservoir might affect us pulling the engine, I noticed what at first looked like white paint chips or caulking chips all over the frame. I couldn’t imagine where they came from or how they got in there. Closer examination reviewed they were pieces of quail eggs from the month before. A couple of the shells were about half complete and the speckles gave the type of egg away.




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Quail eggs in the Coconino







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The A&P RR's Coconino engine




          This summer was especially bad here for high winds. Even though our 60s vintage Sundrella umbrellas are heavily weighted at the bottom and get sand bags when high winds are predicted, high wind gusts can still knock them over. We had two blown over this summer that sustained some damage. Fortunately, we have two donor umbrellas for replacement parts and we got the parts swapped out and they are good as new.

          When time and temperature permit this Winter, I need to paint the park style lamp posts and paint my four gates including the wood slats.

          Dave is a hobbyist photographer and brought over his tripod and camera for a few night shots of the A & P. I really like some of the photos.




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Night time at the A&P RR







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Moon over the water tank spout







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The Tucson's headlight gets a workout







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The A&P engine house at night




          Happy and safe railroading everybody.




A&P RR

The Arizona and Pacific Railroad











09/06/16

          We got all of the paint off the grab handles with a paint removal product named Klean-Strip Stripper and steel wool. Stripper is very strong acid product; make sure you keep it off of you as it will get your attention. We got all of the grab handles in place on both sides of the B unit.




A&P RR

Grab handles were cleaned and installed on the G-16 B Unit




          We mounted the 6 steps that we have; we are still seeking 2 more sets of steps. We mounted four of the six on the side that is most frequently seen and photographed and two on the other side. Getting under the B unit to mount the steps, we found that several of the mounting bolts were still in place, but sheared off where the original steps had been ripped from the frame. It has been pretty clear for quite some time that this B unit hadn’t received any TLC in many years.

          Long time visitors to the site will remember that one of the four bolster safety hooks was broken off and the skirts had been ripped off of each side of the B unit before we acquired her. We ground away the broken safety hook and welded a new one in place back in December of 2013. Only one of the bolster rollers remained. We had the three missing bolster rollers turned and ordered the pins and bronze bushings from McMaster-Carr. They were replaced at the same time. The skirts were fabricated and added in March of 2015.




A&P RR

Broken safety hook







A&P RR

A new safety hook was welded in place




          The stirrup ladders were also torn free as evidenced by the sheared bolts and the damage to the mounting area. We got the bolts out and repaired and squared the mounting areas. The ladders look good in place.




A&P RR

Stirrup ladders have been added to the G-16 B Unit




          Originally, the grab handles were all attached using stainless steel fillister head machine screws (called cheese head machine screws in some parts of the country). We have used whatever machine screws that we had here or that were available at the local hardware in this first install. I was more interested in making sure that everything fit, cleaning and retapping the threads on the mounting holes and matching the sets of handles. I have the fillister head machine screws ordered and they are supposed to be here on the 9th. I’m not sure if we will swap them out right away or handle that project (pun intended) on a rainy day in the future.




A&P RR

Screws for the grab handles and stirrup ladders




          When we assembled our A unit a few years ago, we used reproduction grab handles that were perfect. Now that we have all of the grab handles in place on our B unit, we had four original medium size handles left over. We went ahead and swapped them out and put them on the A unit. It now has a mix of original and repro grab handles. I just love the history that goes with these trains and having the original grab handles in place means a lot to me even though they aren’t perfect.

          We still have a long way to go, but the B unit already looks a great deal different than when we acquired her in November of 2008. Next month we’ll get started on repairing and replacing some additional copper tubing plumbing that isn’t brake system related and fabricating brackets for mounting the throttle and brake valves. We’ll fabricate the single step missing from one of the front doors on the B unit and see what else we get into.




A&P RR

G-16 B Unit body as we received it




          One of our California railroad friends, Mike Davis of Manteca, was in town for a brief visit. We had planned a night time run on the 24th as he was in town for a professional conference. Winds and heavy rain kept us from running any of the trains, but we swapped railroad stories for a couple of hours in the A & P engine house listening to the rain fall. Hopefully, we’ll get him back out here on a day with better weather.

          The Arizona and Pacific’s version of the Wild Kingdom was active in August. One Friday night this month, as I was returning home and turned onto my street at about 10:30 p.m. I saw a coyote in my headlights walking down the middle of my street with a domestic cat in its mouth. I scrambled to grab the cell phone camera, but was too slow and in an instant he was gone. It isn’t unusual to see a coyote in my neighborhood from time to time, but usually if they are carrying anything in their mouth it is a rabbit. Of course, there was the time a few years ago that one jumped my next door neighbors six foot block wall and grabbed her small dog and then jumped back over the fence with it… The coyote only dropped the dog after my neighbor chased it down the street screaming at it. The dog did not survive.

          The early evening with its cooler temperatures is when most of the activity takes place. I have five or six rabbits that can come and go under the gates, but they generally make the back yard of the A & P home. As the sun starts to go down, every evening they eat grass and nibble on the flowers, plants and fruit that falls on the ground. They even drink water out of the pool just like the dogs do. I enjoy seeing them run around. They are used to the dogs chasing and never catching them. I have installed two rabbit friendly steel pipes underground for the rabbits that the dogs can’t navigate and they have plenty of other favorite locations. A few minutes after being chased, the dogs are tired and the rabbits are back to munching on plants.




A&P RR

A rabbit stops and takes a drink from the swimming pool




          This month I have had two sets of Gambel’s quail have their young in the backyard. I don’t know if any of you have ever tried to photograph a covey of quail – not easy as they are skitterish when you get within about 50 feet, are so fast moving and race in every direction non-stop. They are hatched in a nest on the ground and survival depends on being quick quickly. They emerge from their eggs covered in down, fully formed, about an inch tall and ready to run. They can't fly for their first three weeks or so. They get remarkably bigger almost every day. Anyway, I did manage to get a couple of photos showing mom and dad and some of the six remaining birds in one covey. I just couldn’t get them all in one shot as the chicks are headed in every possible direction. They are adolescent chicks at this point, but still “herded” by mom and dad. It took me a few days to figure out it was two sets of birds in the back yard and not one covey zipping back and forth from one side of the yard to the other… The second covey has five remaining chicks as of today. The coveys start with about twelve chicks; the attrition rate is pretty high during the first three weeks.




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Mother and Father quail with a rabbit photobombing in the background







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One of two coveys of quail currently calling the A&P RR home







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Juvenile quail at the A&P RR




          It is not unusual to have several rabbits and several quail out in the backyard at dusk this time of year eating what’s available out there. It is my little bit of country in the middle of the big city.




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Two of the rabbits that live at the A&P RR




          The last photo is of a scorpion on the ceiling in my bedroom above the bed. In the 24+ years I have lived here, this is the seventh one that has made it into the house. I am conscientious about tracking them down outside and keeping them under control, but new ones float in on the irrigation water every two weeks and it is impossible to completely eliminate them. I have been stung a couple of times over the years while working on projects out in the yard. The stings are very painful and it isn’t something that you want to have happen very often. I will admit that it creeped me out a bit waking up and having one above me on the ceiling. No caffeine was needed to be wide awake immediately. The scorpion did not survive.




A&P RR

An unwelcome visitor on the ceiling




          Happy and safe railroading everybody.




08/17/16

          It is still pretty hot out here, but we are plugging away at smaller tasks on our B unit one at a time and looking forward to the next two months of heat passing quickly. We drilled four holes symmetrically in the six porthole window frames, drilled corresponding holes in the sheet metal and got all of them mounted. They look so much better than the random mounting holes that were in the sheet metal previously. As you will recall, they were originally mounted with rivets. We are using 4-40 stainless steel bolts with button heads which have a bit of a rivet feel to them. They tighten with a small allen wrench and are a clean look.




A&P RR

Round port hole window frames leveled and installed







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Button head 4-40 bolt has a rivet look




          The rectangular sand box openings were 4’ x 3” on our No. 582 and those match those of the G12 rectangular frames. The sand box openings in our B unit were 3 ½ inches by 3 inches. Of course, the trim frames were long gone before we acquired the B unit. Those of you that are regulars checking in on this project know there are several reasons why I suspect this B unit was one of the very early production models – this is another one. We used a jig saw and metal files to enlarge the openings to match those of our A unit. We got the frames and the sand hole filler covers mounted and they look pretty good.




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Preparing to enlarge the sand box cover holes







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Enlarging the rectangular sand box openings







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Mounted sand box filler cover




          I thought I had all of the step assemblies we would need for the B unit – it turns out I was wrong. The A units have six sets of steps (three on each side) and the B units have eight sets of steps (four on each side). I only have six. If anyone out there knows where I can buy or trade for two additional step assemblies, please give me a heads up. It turns out the springs that I have for mounting the sand box filler covers are very rusty and in pretty bad shape. If anyone knows where I can acquire 8 of the little springs that are in nice shape please let me know. They are the same as used on the G12 units. It looks like we have the balance of the bolt on trim parts for the B unit other than a back plate and top step for the bottom of one of the B unit doors that we will try and fabricate.




A&P RR

We need two additional bottom door steps




          We were missing two door handles, but I had acquired two of them years ago and we got them mounted. Originally they were also mounted with rivets; we again went with the 4-40 button head bolts. We also got two of the short grab handles mounted. They were originally tapped at the bottom where there was enough sheet meal and reinforcement to allow tapping the hole. We cleaned the threads of the original mounting holes and the hardware went right in and tightened up. The upper mounting of the short grab handles was accomplished with lock washers and nuts. It looks like the upper locations of the longer grab handles are tapped at the top and at the bottom.




A&P RR

Door handle was bolted on







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Original riveted door handle




          Over the years, I bought whatever grab handles I could find from whoever would sell them to me. They came from several different trains and the mounting plates bore the color of whatever color their original engines were repainted. We had handles with red, green (2 shades), blue, black and yellow paint on parts of the handles and the mounting plates. I had also acquired a few reproduction handles over the years. We will need to get all of that paint off before we mount the grab handles next month. We are going to use original handles wherever we can and the repro handles in the rest of the locations.




A&P RR

Grab handles in need of some paint removal




          With the manufacture of the G16 spanning 24 years, four factories and two owners, tooling and jigs apparently changed at some point as some of the grab handles were a full ½ inch longer or shorter than the others. We mixed and matched the best we could so that sets of handles were the same length and matched the pre-existing holes. A couple of the mounting holes had to be moved a tiny bit to match the grab handles that we have, but you can’t tell which ones they were.

          We spent some time filling and sanding extra holes and dents on the B unit, but much work remains on this part of the project.

          Three of our four B unit doors have the top stair step mounted to the body and the back plate in place. It’s hard to imagine the fourth one being removed, but these things were stripped of virtually everything before we got them. We’ll have to figure out how to fabricate one. The three we had were covered in several layers of paint and we bead blasted them. We recently added a coat of aluminum paint and next week after the paint is good and hard we will soften the gloss finish with some fine steel wool.




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Preparing to re-paint a top door step







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Painted step







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Missing door step







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We'll need to fabricate one of these for the missing door step




          We straightened some of the air intake grille work in the sheet metal. I am not completely happy with it just yet. I have some brand new matching grille work, but it will be a major pain if we need to cut out the original and replace it. We’ll see in the next few weeks which way we go with that project.

          There are still about a zillion items on the punch list. Well maybe not a zillion, but almost a hundred items and some are very time-consuming projects. Mounting some of the trim pieces really dresses the B unit up and is motivational to get me after some of the other projects that are far less noticeable and will take considerably longer. It is great to see the AB together and both rolling again after both had been stripped and left for scrap so many years ago.

          I bought a new battery for No. 582. The last one was three years old and that is just as long as they last out here in the heat.

          I started the Red River, Phoenix, Sandusky and Tucson and moved them around during the month to keep the fluids and brake leathers active. It is a monthly activity in the summer to get them all started and moved back and forth a few feet. I also had the track inspection car out and we had the No. 582 running a couple of times during the month.




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Red River and the inspection car were started and run this month







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Phoenix was started and ran a short distance




          Happy and safe railroading everybody.




07/04/16




A&P RR

G16 A & B Units




          June was a very hot month out here and things slowed down a bit on the railroad and everywhere else. The all time heat record in metro Phoenix is 122 degrees, set on June 26, 1990. For years, I had a T shirt that said "I survived the heat" and it had the date. The Phoenix airport (Sky Harbor) had to close that day as because of the heat planes couldn't get enough lift to safely take off. Phoenix’s last recorded high of at least 120 degrees was back in July 1995. The official high on Sunday June 19 was 118 in Phoenix and 120 here in Peoria. Backyard thermometers are always a few degrees hotter than the official numbers. It was hot and as little got done as possible...

          Ten year ago, Dave and I would use the hottest summer months to lay rail and perform rail maintenance. Somehow we both got ten years older, I am 30 pounds heavier and we get considerably less done during the hot summer months than we once did. That being said, we did make some additional progress on our B unit during the month. We started on the wiring harness for the B unit. When Dave wired our A unit he ran six wires from the rear of the instrument panel to the right rear 6 pin connector. The instrument panel end was coiled and bundled together awaiting the anticipated work on the B unit. We pulled our six wires on the B unit from the right side 6 pin coupler and now have them coiled and bundled at the B unit instrument panel. We color matched each set of six wires so we should save some time on the work later.




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G16 A unit wiring







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G16 B unit wires




          There is still a great deal of wiring that will be completed including the multiple gauge lights in the instrument panel, the 2 cockpit lights, the two hood panel lights and a pass through to light the rear drum head on an observation coach.

          We moved No. 582 onto one of our trestles where were able touch up some of the paint of the trucks that we just couldn't access from underneath when they sitting on the mainline rail. There wasn't much to touch up, but it was be much easier access up on the trestle. We also got two more coats of primer on the exterior of the B unit. There are a half dozen areas that need unnecessary holes or dents repaired and we hope to get to those areas in July. Once we get those areas roughed in and some primer on them, we can start mounting some of the bolt on handles, steps, port holes etc. When we acquired our B unit, we didn't get anything but the body which was stripped of all parts including the trim.




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G16 A & B units




          I have already started digging through the shelves and boxes and located some of the bolt on parts. Some are in much better shape and may fit better than some of the others. Over the years, I have collected all of the handles, steps, door handles etc. that I could find and in my mind I think I have all of the little trim parts needed for the B unit - if I can locate them in our boxes and on the shelves. They really add to the appearance of the A and B units.

          If I would have had room over the years to group parts and keep types of parts and assemblies together, this process would be much easier now. When I first started out with this equipment, everything was grouped and tagged and kept together in plastic containers on my main parts shelves. Over the years as room disappeared, items ended up in boxes scattered around three storage buildings, an attic, garage and spare bedroom... It is frustrating when I can't find a part that I know I have, but I also stumble across some cool parts that I had long ago forgot that I had acquired. Dave reminds me from time to time that having acquired so many parts over the years that you can't keep track of them is a good problem to have... I agree with him most of the time. We have both spent a great deal of time rooting through boxes over the years looking for specific parts.

          We spent a few hours removing the rivets that held the three porthole window frames on each side and the builders plate in place. The window frames and builders plate were long gone when we got her, but it appears that they were torn from the body instead of being removed properly. The rivets protruded from the inside through the outside of the sheet metal. You might think that the 28 rivets pretty much fell out when tapped with a hammer - you would be very wrong... We finally got them all out. After we finally got them all removed, it became obvious that there was no consistency in the rivet patterns of the window frames. It looks as if they freelanced where the four rivets were placed. On our A unit, they are all symmetrical and evenly spaced. This may be another indicator that our B unit is one of the earlier B units produced.

          Dave worked on the gas tanks some this month and they are not too far away, but they just aren't ready to mount yet.

          There remain more than a hundred items on the punch list and some are very time-consuming projects, but it is great to see the AB together and the B rolling again after at least thirty years and likely much longer than that.

          I charged the battery in the No. 582 and started the Red River, Phoenix, Sandusky and Tucson and moved them around during the month to keep the fluids and brake leathers active. I also had the track inspection car out and we had the No. 582 running a couple of times in June to keep the batteries charged, carburetors and fuel pumps active and the brakes operated to keep everything happy.

          Happy and safe railroading everybody.




A&P RR

G16 B unit coupled to the A unit







06/08/16

          We made some additional progress on our B unit during May. We got three friends over to assist Dave and I and we carried the B unit about 30 feet from the saw horses where we have been working on her for a few months over to the mainline where its trucks were waiting. We got the chassis in place on the trucks and got the safety hook half moons aligned and bolted in place.

          We got the B unit coupled to the rear of the A unit. The B unit draw coupler took a little persuading, but with some WD-40 silicone lubricant and manipulating by the five of us, she finally lined up and moved into place.




A&P RR

G16 A & B unit coupled




          The vacuum hoses on each truck were united with their quick disconnect connections on the car chassis and were snapped into place.

          The vacuum hose connection that follows the couplers on the cars and connects their brake systems was slightly too long as someone (me) miscalculated the necessary length. We shortened the rear hose on the A unit about two inches and they aligned perfectly. We installed the two vacuum hoses that run between the bulkheads of the two cars and also installed the two electrical bundles that run between the same two bulkheads.

          The seat assembly is not the one original to this B unit, but it is the one that we have. The mounting holes in the seat assembly weren't even close to the ones in the frame. We utilized the holes in the seat and drilled and tapped all new holes in the frame. The seat is now securely bolted in place.

          We removed the mounting brackets and plate that we fabricated and installed for the incorrect vacuum hand valves. It was dirtier and more time consuming than that sounds, but could have been much worse.

          I attached back plates in areas where several "bonus" holes were located so that next month we can get some Bondo into several of the unnecessary holes.

          We started the No. 582 to test the brake systems of the two cars coupled together. The brakes activated simultaneously on all wheels which is what we hoped for and there were no leaks. Since we had her running anyway, Dave took several laps around the A & P and I rode in the B unit for a number of those laps. It is a nice ride back in the B unit. I think young folks will get a big kick out of it. Even some of us older folks will enjoy the ride back there.




A&P RR

Running the G16 A and B Units







A&P RR

Passing the watertank







A&P RR

Running through the front cut







A&P RR

G16 A and B Units on the turntable




          Not that I don't trust my math, but we did make sure that the AB unit fit on the turntable and in our original engine house. The closet fit is in the engine house where we only have about 18 inches to spare. There is plenty of room on the turntable; the transfer table is a different story. The AB fits fine on the transfer table for photographs or for the use of stall No. 1, but won't clear the doors to access stall Nos. 2 or 3. We have her stored in our original engine house.




A&P RR

G16 A and B Units on the transfer table




          We didn't receive a vacuum tank or any mounting brackets with the B unit. We headed to our parts shelves and located a correct vacuum tank, but no brackets. We took the measurements of the brackets mounting the vacuum tank in our A unit and fabricated a new set of brackets out of some flat strap iron and sheet metal strap that I had on hand. The brackets are almost identical to the original ones. We got the tank mounted in the B unit. Even though the tank won't be live in the B unit, we want it to be cosmetically complete and accurate. It is mounted just like the tank in the A unit and looks pretty good.




A&P RR

Vacuum tank mounting brackets







A&P RR

Vacuum tank







A&P RR

Vacuum tank mounted in the B Unit




          We continue to work on the gas tanks, but they aren't ready to mount yet. We still need another good coat of primer on her, get the gas tanks finished and mounted, start running electrical and start digging through the shelves hunting for the bolt on handles, steps, port holes etc. We need to move No. 582 onto one of our trestles so we can touch up some of the paint of the trucks that we just couldn't access from underneath when they sitting on the mainline rail. There isn't much to touch up, but it will be much easier access up on the trestle. There remain almost two hundred items on the punch list, but it is great to see her rolling again after at least thirty years and possibly much longer than that.

          I started the Red River, Phoenix, Sandusky and Tucson and moved them around during the month to keep the fluids and brake leathers active. I also had the track inspection car out and about in May. It was 105 degrees the weekend of the 14th and will be at least 10 degrees hotter than that next month, so running the equipment for guests is done until October. Hot or not, the equipment batteries still need charged, carburetors kept active and brakes operated frequently to keep everything happy. (As I sit and write this on June 4th, it is officially 115 degrees; unofficial backyard thermometers read 2 - 4 degrees warmer.)

          We received some additional history on the train currently operating at Freestone Park in Gilbert, AZ this month from a visitor to our website, Joey Klein. Joey learned from Ron Parrish outside Cincinnati that she ran at Fantasy Farms in Ohio during the 80's. Joey also forwarded a photo. Thank you so much. As you can probably tell, we love the background and history of these machines.




A&P RR

Freestone Park's #99 running at Fantasy Farm back in the 1980's




          My Dalmatians Lodi and Lizzie enjoy being out in the shop or in the engine house keeping me company in the evenings or on the weekends when I'm working on the trains. There are times though when they are just a little bit too much fun - wanting to kiss my ear while I'm working on the ground or walking off with a screwdriver that I am using... Lizzie is my fourth Dalmatian and until her, they all avoided the A & P trestles without exception. There is 4+ inches of space in between the individual ties and it is no fun if you miss a tie and step through - I know this first hand. Lizzie not only doesn't avoid the trestles, she seems to enjoy walking on them. She regularly walks across the trestles and each foot lands on a tie - every time. Last week, after receiving irrigation we were out back and I happened to have my phone with me and was able to get a photo of her walking across our longest trestle like it was no big deal. She walks across them as fast or faster than I do. Craziest thing I have ever seen.




A&P RR

Lodi and Lizzie in the Engine House







A&P RR

Lizzie walking on trestle number 5







A&P RR

Lizzie trestle walking




          Happy and safe railroading everybody.




A&P RR

AMT at use at the A&P RR







A&P RR

Lodi and Lizzie







05/16/16

          We made some additional progress on our B unit during April. We tested the brake line plumbing on the B unit which is a combination of the original plumbing and new copper line and fittings where we had to cut out and remove badly damaged original plumbing.

          Several years ago, I purchased a commercial Robinair vacuum pump that mostly sits around here and collects dust. However, it is invaluable when we are working with these trains looking for vacuum leaks. It allows me to complete specific system diagnostics without having to have the engine running. It eliminates noise, fumes and heat. If any of you guys do much of this stuff – it would be a great addition to your shop.




A&P RR

Vacuum Pump




          Initially during testing, we were bleeding off vacuum pretty quickly. One at a time, we located and repaired pin hole leaks. Eventually, we located and repaired three pin hole leaks in the B unit brake plumbing. After those repairs were made the system held vacuum great.

          The trucks that will go under our B unit have been part of a multi-phase, multi-year rebuild project. We had quite a number of trucks here in storage that were in bad shape. Either the wheels or the axles were badly worn - sometimes both. The seals and bearings were shot. Brake rigging was bent or missing, no life was left on the brake shoes and the vacuum canisters wouldn't function or hold vacuum. In many cases, the vacuum plumbing lines were badly damaged - often beyond repair. Plank bearings were missing and leaf springs were damaged - you get the idea. It was a huge challenge and undertaking to completely repair/rebuild a dozen MTC trucks from the axles up.




A&P RR

Original MTC Truck







A&P RR

Many trucks waiting to be rebuilt




          In 2008, we started with phase one which was new seals and bearings for each journal box and new wheels and axles if needed. In 2009, we started on phase 2 which was rebuilding 48 sets of brake rigging, replacing all the brake shoes, rebuilding 48 vacuum canisters with new leather cups, felts and springs, building new 1/4 inch vacuum lines for each of the twelve trucks and preparing new vacuum hoses and fittings. In late 2009, we started repainting the truck frames and reassembling the trucks and completed reassembling all the trucks in 2010. The trucks were all stored inside until 2014, when we needed that space for No. 582.




A&P RR

Brake assemblies being rebuilt







A&P RR

Completed brake rigging and vacuum canisters




          Since 2014, they have been store outside under tarps which just isn't the same thing as being stored inside. We get so many dust storms here, it is hard to keep things inside the house clean in the summer. Items stored outside, forget it. We pulled the two trucks off the rack that we had prepared for under the B unit and found they were very dusty, the wheel treads and a couple of spots on the brake linkage had some surface rust and two of the eight vacuum canisters were not functioning. We washed and wiped everything off, sanded and repainted where needed and got some life back into the leather cups that were the issue with the vacuum canisters. As helpful as the Robinair vacuum pump is for testing the vacuum system for an entire car or a whole truck at a time, the small hand vacuum pump is perfect when working on one vacuum canister at a time.




A&P RR

Completed trucks in storage







A&P RR

Hand vacuum pump




          The trucks are now ready to go. Much of what we do here is accomplished by manual labor. Hopefully, I can get a few folks over here next month and we can get the B unit carried over to the main line and get her on her trucks and maybe get her coupled to the rear of No. 582.




A&P RR

Restored truck







A&P RR

Completed trucks ready for service under the G-16 B Unit




          There are still several dozen "bonus" holes and a couple of large dents in the sheet metal from prior owners that we need to fill, screen mesh to repair and rust areas that need attention. Then we will get another good coat of primer on her. The cowl and two hood panels also need some additional body work and two good coats of primer.

          We need to polish or sand and paint the aluminum gas tanks and get them mounted after we have her on the trucks. The electrical and all the lighting will also go in after that.

          I still need to remove the brackets that we fabricated and installed for the incorrect vacuum hand valves. There are literally hundreds of items on the "needs completed" list, but we will keep plugging away at it.

          Our S16s (engine and tender) are 19 feet 6 inches long. Our G16 AB lashup is 20 feet long. The bigger difference is in front axle (front truck) to rear axle (rear truck) dimension which is almost two feet longer with the AB set than the S16 and I don't mind telling you that I was a little nervous. After several measurements, I am confident that our AB unit will fit in our original engine house, will fit on the transfer table and will turn on the turntable as a unit just as the S16s do.

          Next month should be an exciting month as other than for a photo opportunity several months ago, the B unit hasn't been on trucks or had couplers on her in who knows how many years. Seeing her on the rail again, even in her current state of incompletion will be very rewarding for me. I'm not sure if we will get her coupled to No. 582 next month or if that will be the month after - we'll just have to see how it goes.

          Our friend Ed Loesche has recently moved from Camp Verde, AZ to Clarkdale, AZ a town rich in mining and railroad history. He has built an 18 inch gauge engine for display in his yard that is patterned after a Rogers 0-4-0 that operated locally many years ago. He has a section of rail and beefy ties that complete the look. Very nice!




Ed Loesche

Ed Loesche's 18 inch gauge engine







Ed Loesche

Ed Loesche's engine display




          Happy and safe railroading everybody.




04/13/16

          We are generally able to operate and work on the equipment out here until Memorial day which pretty much signals the end of our season until October 1. March last year set all kinds of records for heat in the metro Phoenix area, but this year we were very fortunate with moderate weather and we were able to get a few things accomplished.

          We made some additional progress during the month on our B unit. We got a decent coat of primer on her to protect the bare metal, but she will still need another coat down the road. We repaired or replaced several sections of the brake vacuum plumbing that had been crushed or torn free over the years. We will still need to test the system with our commercial vacuum pump and make sure we don't have any pin hole leaks, but from casual observation, all the soldier joints look pretty good. The active vacuum production/storage and throttle systems will all be in the A unit.

          We got the draw bars mounted both front and rear with new shock absorber halves and felts. Driving the drawbar swivel pins into place and getting the cotter key holes to align can be an adventure, but both of these went remarkably well.




G-16 B Unit

The draw bars, shock absorber halves and felts have been mounted to the G-16 B Unit




          Several months ago, we replaced the two broken safety hooks under the B unit. This month we the replaced the brass bushings in the safety hook rollers and mounted the rollers with new mounting pins.




G-16 B Unit

The safety hook rollers have been installed




          We replaced all six quick connect vacuum fittings. Two are under the chassis and for the quick connect and disconnect of the trucks. Two more are on the outside of the front bulkhead and connect the throttle and vacuum production and storage systems of the A and the B units. We also fabricated the hoses that will run between the rear bulkhead on the A unit and front bulkhead on the B unit. The hoses may be a little long and if so I will shorten them once we get the cars together. The last two quick disconnect fittings run with the drawbars and have a short intermediate connection to connect the brake system between the cars.




G-16 B Unit

Front bulkhead quick disconnect fittings







G-16 B Unit

Short vacuum hose







G-16 B Unit

Long vacuum hoses




          Several months ago, Dave fabricated the two electrical cables that will connect the two sets of 6 pin connectors that are mounted adjacent to the vacuum connections on the A and B unit bulkheads. We got the two 6 pin connectors mounted on the B unit front bulkhead and the one mounted on the rear bulkhead that provides electrical to the coaches and rear drumhead.




G-16 B Unit

Electrical cables







G-16 B Unit

6 pin connector and draw bar in place on the G-16 B Unit




          The original engine screen in the B unit was cut out for some reason. We located another and got it mounted. We also got the hood latch mounted. Dave identified where he wanted to establish the chassis ground and we prepared that area and got a clean bolt of the right diameter in place.




G-16 B Unit

We replaced the missing engine screen




          There are still hundreds of items on the "to do" list some far more time-consuming than others. After we confirm that the vacuum system is either leak-free or we make it that way, we can get her on her trucks. There are still several dozen "bonus" holes in the sheet metal from prior owners that we will fill, screen mesh to repair and rust areas that need attention. Then we will get another good coat of primer on her. The cowl and two hood panels also need some additional body work and two good coats of primer.

          We need to polish the aluminum gas tanks and get them mounted after we have her on the trucks. The electrical and all the lighting will also go in after that.

          I still need to remove the brackets that we fabricated and installed for the incorrect vacuum hand valves. That will be a dirty job and I will do that before we get her on her trucks.

          The list goes on and on, but the items I just mentioned are probably the next items that we will handle as well as anything else that comes up. Over the next few months we will get her back together and I hope we will have her completed and on the rails behind No. 582 sometime this fall.

          Our good friend Dan Richins stopped in from Salt Lake, Utah for an A & P visit. Dan was a long-time engineer on the DRGW and Union Pacific railroads and has visited the A & P every year since I got started building out back. Dan was also the person responsible for scoring us all but two of our 1960s vintage Sunderella awnings scattered around the various patio areas in the back yard. Once it starts to get warmer in the Midwest and hot out here the number of visitors drops off dramatically. Dan is pretty hard core and a little thing like heat isn't much of a deterrent to him. It is always fun to have Dan stop by.




Vistor

Dan Richins stopped by the A&P RR




          Long time visitors to this site will remember that when I initially built the A & P through the front yard that I had four large pads of grass - two on each side of the tracks that were separated by the sidewalk. In the fall of 2011, I removed the grass and replaced it with a xeriscape (cactus and low water usage ground cover) front yard. I do live in the middle of the desert and thought going to xeriscape in the front yard was water responsible. The first two or three years the front yard looked pretty bland I have to admit. With the maturing of the cactus and plants the last couple of years, the Spring flowers have really been spectacular. It is amazing how much color and variety the desert has to offer.




Cactus

A stunning torch cactus in bloom at the A&P RR this month







Cactus

Multi-colored cactus blooms







Cactus

Just a few of many cactus that are in bloom at the A&P RR this month







Cactus

There's barely enough room on this cactus for all these flowers







Cactus

Who says nature doesn't have a sense of humor?







Cactus

Cactus in bloom at the A&P RR







Cactus

One of several varieties of torch cactus in bloom at the A&P RR







Cactus

Beaver tail cactus in bloom




          Saturday, May 14 is National Train Day. Please remember to support your local railroad museum, large scale railroad or railroad club. Visitors and donations help keep everything running and are the life blood of many of these organizations.



          Happy and safe railroading everybody.





Cactus

Strawberry hedgehog cactus in bloom at the A&P RR







03/25/16

          February was a busy month on the A & P both with projects and with visitors. I have well chronicled the challenges we have out here with our gasoline with its many emission control additives. It wreaks havoc on the fuel pumps and the carburetors of these older engines not designed to run on modern fuel. I have tried various Stabil products without success. I will be exploring some additives my street rod buddies have recommended during the coming months.

          We cleaned the fuel jets and the choke assembly and replaced the electric fuel pump on the Red River this month. She started right up and ran great after all the attention.




Red River

Dave running the Red River




          I think we finally solved the great Coconino mystery. Malcolm had the Wisconsin engine in the Coconino completely rebuilt as part of the restoration process. It then sat in one of his storage buildings for several months until the frame and the plumbing was complete and ready for the installation of the engine. From the first day we fired her up, she ran really hot. Malcolm installed a large exhaust fan that blew cooler air onto the engine. When we rebuilt and replaced the two bad hydraulic motors here a couple of years ago, we added two additional fans to help cool the hydraulic oil.

          The Coconino always ran hot, really hot. We both always assumed the problem had to do with the hydraulic pump and the amount of additional heat that it generated. We ran her for many years dealing with the overheating issues. Our friend Jerry Graves was over last month and decided he wanted to pull the side covers off of the Wisconsin and see if something was blocking the cooling fins.




Coconino

Jerry Graves running the Coconino




          Sure enough, there were mouse nests, carcasses and debris just filling the entire space under the side covers; there was no air movement at all. The mice had to have gotten into his storage building and under the side covers in the time between when the engine was rebuilt and when it was later placed in the Coconino. We never thought to check under the side panels until now.




Coconino

A mouse nest and debris clogged the Coconino's cooling fins




          After operating her so hot for all these years, we have some engine issues that will require us to pull the engine and determine what all has been damaged. We have a rebuilt engine already sitting in our parts room and sometime this summer or fall, we will swap out the rebuilt for the one currently in the Coconino and when time and energy permits will tinker with the overheating engine. You can bet I will look under the engine side covers once we complete the engine swap...




Coconino

The reason the Coconino was running hot




          Richard "Dick" Knoebel of Knoebel's Amusement Resort spent an afternoon here with some of his friends. His park in Elysburg, PA first opened in 1926 is always rated among the top family friendly parks in the country. Dick has two operating S-16's and one non-operating S-16 at his park. He has lived so much of the history of the older rides that it was a fun afternoon talking trains, roller coasters, whip and dark rides, bumper cars and skeeball lanes. What an amazing wealth of knowledge.




vistors

Dick Knoebel visited the A&P RR




          February is a big month for visitors on the A & P. We had several other guests this month as well. Aria and her family were back and she helped me operate both the Tucson with gon 202 and the Sandusky with gon 218.




vistors

Aria helping to run the A&P's Tucson engine




          Ed Loesche from Clarkdale and his parents from Prescott visited. Ed's father was the gentlemen that took the 8 mm film of the Coconino operating at Rye Amusement Park almost 60 year ago.




vistors

Ed Loesche runs the Tucson







vistors

Ed Loesche's parents visit the A&P RR




          Marge Linderman, daughter Aubrey and grandson Austin visited and we operated the Tucson and the track inspection car.




vistors

The Lindermans enjoying a ride at the A&P RR




          Candy Worley and her daughter and two grandchildren from PA visited and everyone had fun with the Tucson providing the motive power.

          My next door neighbor was having a birthday party for his granddaughter; I made sure she received her wish of a train ride.




vistors

Happy Birthday!




          Pete and Char Robinson of the Watermann and Western Railroad in Watermann, IL and Jerry Steibring of the P and JS railroad nearby visited this month. We got the hand pump car out of storage and all took a turn or two around the A & P layout. It was great having her in action again and we all burnt off enough calories to not feel too guilty about having some great Mexican food.




vistors

Char and Pete Robinson work the A&P hand pump car







vistors

Jerry Steibring, Pete Robinson and John Sayre




          We got started on repairing and replacing sections of the brake vacuum plumbing on the B unit. We also got most of it in primer. Over the next few months we will get it back together and I hope we will have her on the rails behind No. 582 sometime this fall.

          It is not unusual for me to have one of the single doors open on the engine house if I am working on something and frequently heading to the parts shelves or the garage to grab parts or specialty tools. I had a bird fly in and just didn't want to leave. The more I tried to coax it out, the more frantic it became. I finally opened all the doors and left for about 20 minutes - it flew out on its own - finally.




Enginehouse Bird

A bird decided to hang out in the enginehouse







Enginehouse Bird

A visiting bird enjoys the view from the A&P enginehouse




          Happy and safe railroading everybody.




02/08/16

          A few long time loose ends got tied up this month. I finally finished painting and mounted three of the signs on portable posts that I started months ago and just never got around to getting them finished. A series of cold and rainy days provided the impetus to finally get them finished.




Signs

Portable signs (RR Crossing, Whistle and Slow)




          Dave has been conducting internet research on single pin bulbs brighter than the old style J97 bulbs for use in our coach lights. He located a LED light bulb version that consists of a series of LED lights that is much brighter than the original bulb, but uses the same socket. They look a little different, but you don't see them anyway. We will be ordering more of these for this application.




Bulbs

LED bulb (left) and old incandescent bulb




          Over the years, we have owned five S16 coach cars. Two from the Phoenix Hiway House, one from the Tucson Hiway House and two from Cedar Point. We still have the Verde Vista from the Tucson Hiway House. The other four cars were traded or sold over the years for various parts we needed to complete our S16 engines and tenders. I retained the coach lights off the coaches. Over the years, I acquired the correct faceted lenses in white, red and green for the four plus sets of Allan Herschell coach lights. The month, we located seventeen of the twenty that we have and added all of the correct lenses in the right locations and bagged them into sets of 4. At this point, I wish I had kept another one of the S16 coaches, but was more interested at the time in acquiring all the other parts we were missing.




S-16 Marker Lamps

S-16 Marker Lamps




          Hopefully, somewhere down the road, we will track down another S16 that needs a great deal of TLC and a couple of coaches.

          Ed Lecuyer and wife Michelle from Hampstead, New Hampshire visited. Ed is a very active member with the WW and F Railway Museum. The Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railway is a 2 ft narrow gauge railway located in Maine that operated from 1895 until 1933. Ed and other active members of the museum are working to preserve and restore equipment and the right of way. Ed had visited the A & P a few times previously.




Ed Lecuyer

Ed Lecuyer runs the Tucson







Michelle Lecuyer

Michelle Lecuyer visits the A&P RR




          The B unit was bead blasted the last weekend of the month. It is nice to have all of the rust and multiple layers of paint off so that we can see what we actually have in terms of sheet metal. We will roll the car upside down and get a good thick coat of primer underneath. We replaced a couple of broken safety hooks a couple of years ago before we started this project in earnest so all four of them are in great shape. We need to get the car couplers assembled and in place, the bolster rollers and pins installed, repair and replace several sections of the brake lines and replace the original quick release couplers with the new ones as our first scheduled projects. After those projects are complete, we will roll it back over and everything else can be done once it is back right side up. There is a tremendous amount of work that needs completed mechanically on this car, but it should be fun.




B-Unit

B-Unit prior to bead blasting







B-Unit

Bead blasting the B-Unit







B-Unit

B-Unit after bead blasting







B-Unit

B-Unit on her side for plumbing and mechanical repair




          As you may remember, when we acquired our B unit, she was an orphan, stripped of all parts usable on other projects and without a builder's tag. She had been owned by several different folks and stored for many years. There are a handful of clues that seem to indicate she was one of the earlier B units produced and the original paint scheme was the green and yellow of the Chicago and Northwestern. Maybe one day, those things will help us figure out her original production number.




B-Unit

Spot where the builder's tag once adorned the B-Unit




          One of our friends, Neil Boreczky who is very active mechanically with the House of David Railroad in Eden, Mich. has been a big help sending us a B unit instrument panel photo and information about the early style Bendix vacuum valves. Each A & B that Dave and I had seen (other than the No. 501) was No. 580 or above had the "new style" Bendix valves that mounted to brackets on the left side of the body. Neil pointed out that the early units had the older style valves that mounted to the instrument panel. It is unclear exactly what year the transition from the older to newer style valve occurred. No. 580 has the new style and Neil reports that No. 560 has the older style. Any of you readers that own, operate or have access to MTC units in between Nos. 560 and No. 580, please snap us a photo of the hand valves and forward to us with the engine number. It will be very much appreciated. Just a reminder our e-mail address is: sayrejohn@hotmail.com.




Bendix Valves

New style (body mount) Bendix valves




          You may recall that a few months ago, we fabricated brackets and mounted them to the left side of the body to mount 2 of the "newer style" Bendix valves and weren't sure what went in the two largest holes in the instrument panel. Thanks to Neil, we have cleared all of that up. We will be cutting out the brackets that we installed for the new style valves in the next couple of weeks. We just need to find a couple of the older style valves and will have an awesome looking original instrument panel.

          Here is the amazing part of this story. I have been buying old G16 and S16 parts for years; a box here and a box there whenever folks had extra parts for sale and I had the money. After I got Neil's photos, I thought those old style valves looked familiar. This morning, I started going through some old boxes of stuff that I had accumulated over the years and I found two of the old style Bendix valves. One appears in good shape and one will need some tlc, but we have two of them! They look very different from the newer style and I had no idea they actually were G16 parts - just thought they were throw ins with other stuff I wanted and bought years ago... Sometimes you just get lucky!




Bendix Valves

Old style (dash mount) Bendix valves




          The Phoenix and the Sandusky both had their batteries charged and are ready to go next month; kind of like me after finding the older style Bendix valves!




          Happy and safe railroading everybody.




          Dave's job had him traveling to the Philippines again in January. He visited the Festival Mall in Alabang and took a couple photos of the electric train that runs inside the mall.




Festival Mall

Festival Mall Train in Alabang, Philippines







Festival Mall

The electric train in the Festival Mall in Alabang, Philippines







01/11/16

          The first weekend in December was great Fall weather here with the highs in the low 70s. We managed to get a little railroading in between raking several large bags of leaves. The Coconino, Red River and Tucson all saw some action on the mainline.

          As long as I can remember, the headlight on the track inspection car has always been a problem. It only had one mounting point and with the vibration of the one cylinder engine it was always vibrating loose and was frequently pointing down instead of forward. You could only tighten it so tight. We created a second mounting point at the rear of the lamp bowl. We have lost some of the flexibility in aiming the lamp, but it won't be pointing down at the ground any more.




Inspection Car Light

The headlight on the inspection car was prone to vibrating loose and pointing down







Inspection Car Light

We added a second mounting point to the inspection car's headlight




          I attended the Holiday Lights event at Scottsdale McCormick-Stillman Railroad park. This year the event was December 11 to January 2 and ran daily from 6:30 - 9:00 pm. The days and hours are subject to change each year. I attended on Saturday the 19th. It was a huge turnout and, as usual, Tom Opperman and his team did a great job preparing the equipment and displays for the event. The park was filled with dozens and dozens of light displays and hundreds of thousands of lights. The Scottsdale Live Steamers were running for the public, the model railroad building was open and Santa Claus was on site for last minute visits and wishes. It really is a great event and if you haven't ever attended you should seriously consider going next year. Insider tip - arrive early to get a reasonably close parking spot. You're welcome!




McCormick-Stillman Holiday Lights

Visitors lining up to board the train at the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park holiday lights event







McCormick-Stillman Holiday Lights

Steam engine #11 waits at the station







McCormick-Stillman Holiday Lights

Festive holiday lights at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park




          Long time visitors to the park will remember that for many years the train traveled the back loop of the park in the opposite direction than it does now; during Holiday Lights, the trains travel the loop in the original direction which is a little nostalgic for some of us that have been frequent visitors to the park for 30+ years. Engine No. 11 was providing the steam power on the evening that I attended. There is just something different about running steam after dark in December when you can see the fire in the firebox, when you can smell the hot metal and lubricants in the cold night air and when the sound of the engine seems to carry for miles... I love that stuff.




McCormick-Stillman Holiday Lights

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park's holiday lights







McCormick-Stillman Holiday Lights

McCormick-Stillman Holiday Lights







McCormick-Stillman Holiday Lights

Lights along the right of way




          I found a set of horns for the cab roof of our G12.




G-12 Horns

Horns for the G-12




          We had a run day on December 27 with the Tucson and gon no. 202 in service. It was chilly, but not as cold and windy as the day before. The warm air from the Wisconsin engine still felt good. We had friends in town from Moor Park, California and once we made a few laps, several neighbors and their children and grandchildren appeared and everyone got rides. Some of the California visitors began working toward their engineer certification and some operated the track inspection car. Everyone seemed to have a good time.




Visitors

Friends from Moor Park, operated the track inspection car







Visitors

Running the Tucson







Visitors

Operating the Tucson engine at the A&P RR




          Dave found us another Hiway House Hotel menu and a summer of 1959 photo of the hotel and its train tracks. The original G16 (No. 870) that operated there from December of 1956 through October of 1959 is seen in the background of the photo. No. 870 was replaced in October of 1959 by the S16 that later became our Phoenix engine.

          The windows on the Red River were previously modified so that they could slide open and closed to more closely resemble those of the real "Bumble Bee" locomotive. The practical issue was a great deal of vibration rattle and a great chance of getting your fingers or hand pinched when the cab was tilted back for engine serving. A few months ago we pinned the front window frame on each side and conceded to one sliding window on each side of the cab. This approach cut the vibration rattle in half and didn't save any fingers when servicing the engine so this month we pinned the back window on each side. Having the sliding windows seemed like a great idea at one time, it just turned out to be impractical here.




Red River

We pinned the sliding windows on the Red River







Red River

Red River




          I am working on the 2015 Arizona and Pacific Annual Report and hope to have it completed in the next few days. It will be posted either prior to January 20 or at the end of the month as business commitments fall in between.




Trinity Alps

Russ Robinson sent us a photo from his Trinity Alps Mountain Railroad




          We hope everyone has a great 2016. Happy and safe railroading everybody.




12/10/15

          We located a new low output electric fuel pump for the Coconino. We removed the fuel regulator and changed out the filter and the pump. The early results seem to be positive, but I haven't run her much. I need to get a few more hours on her next month and make sure that we have resolved the intermittent fuel problem.




Coconino

The Coconino




          We had a warm Fall weekend on November 21 and 22 which allowed for visitors and rides on Saturday and a good workday on Sunday the 22nd. The Phoenix and Tucson both saw plenty of action on Saturday with gon 219 behind the Phoenix and gon 202 following the Tucson. All the equipment performed well. Three year old Aria had a ball and may have a future in railroading...




Run Day

Three year old Aria at a November A&P RR run day







Run Day

Taking a ride at the A&P RR







Run Day

Aria at the controls of the Coconino




          The majority of our work time this month was spent on our S16 coach, the Verde Vista. The coach has been buried in the back of our railyard with parts stacked on top of her for more than 3 years.




Verde Vista

Verde Vista passenger coach




          She originally ran at the Hiway House Hotel in Tucson. She was acquired by the F & MV on Sept 9, 1974. She sat in storage for twenty plus years on the Flagstaff and Middle Verde before she was moved into the shops there. She was shortened by four feet (2 seats) and the end platforms and bulkheads were rebuilt. One of the seating compartments was lengthened for taller or less flexible passengers. Removable padded seats were added. She entered service on the Flagstaff and Middle Verde Railroad on April 5, 2008. She ran at many open houses on the F & MV in first class service between April of 2008 and August of 2012 when she joined the rolling stock of the A & P RR.




Verde Vista

The Verde Vista at the her first home, the Hiway House Hotel in Tucson Arizona







Verde Vista

The customized Verde Vista at the F&MV RR







Verde Vista

The Verde Vista awaits passengers at Eden station on the F&MV RR







Verde Vista

Verde Vista passenger coach at an F&MV RR run day







Verde Vista

F&MV RR passengers enjoying the first class service of the Verde Vista passenger coach




          When the Verde Vista ran on the F & MV, we had constant challenges keeping the four classic Allan Herschell coach lights working. One day they would work fine and a few days later they would work intermittently or not at all. We never had the time to really deal with the wiring in the proper way. Dave and I got the Verde Vista up on the A & P transfer table this month so we could look underneath and gain access; what we found wasn't pretty. Some of the original 1959 wiring was still in place, there were numerous splices and there was newer wiring of various sizes in random locations.

          Originally hard wired at the coupler, Malcolm had installed a phonojack so he could easily couple and uncouple the Verde Vista and its electrical when she was placed in or taken out of service. It was a great idea, but just wasn't the ideal type of connector.

          When the A & P acquired the coach, I knew the electrical was an issue. It hadn't been a priority on the F & MV and frankly it wasn't on the A & P when we first acquired her either. After getting a good look at the wiring, Dave and I decided to start from scratch. Dave rewired the entire coach from end to end. We eliminated the phonojack and installed a 6 pin trailer connector on the front sill. We built a pig tail electrical connector for connecting this car to its motive power. We can pull the Verde Vista with any of our five S16s and the electrical connections are all consistent.




Verde Vista

Verde Vista's new 6 pin trailer connector & vacuum brake quick connect




          Three of the coach lights on the Verde Vista were upside down so that needed rectified. We also swapped out a red for a green lens in another coach light so now all the lenses are the correct colors and positioned correctly. They are very bright at night, but it would be nice to have something brighter that you can see during the day. I'm not sure what is available, but Dave is researching the internet.




Coach Light

One of the four Verde Vista coach lights




          We also changed out the hard plumbed vacuum hose on the Verde Vista for a new quick release coupler. The Phoenix and Sandusky use one type of quick release coupler and the Tucson and Red River use another. Instead or changing out several perfectly fine quick connectors, we built two new connecting hoses with one end that matches up with the Verde Vista and the other end of one hose matches the Phoenix and Sandusky and the other hose matches the Tucson and Red River. It doesn't matter which piece of motive power is pulling the Verde Vista the brakes are fully functional. The Coconino has dynamic brakes.

          Any of you familiar with the S16 coaches know the original design had a scaled rear platform with three small scaled steps on either side and a handrail made of much too lightweight material. After a few years of use, the steps were frequently bent and the handrails were mangled or missing. The rear platform and handrail were rebuilt on each end of the Verde Vista with heavyweight material by the F & MV shops.




S-16 rear platform

S16 coach rear platform







Verde Vista

Verde Vista's improved rear platform




          The F & MV shops also added 1/4 thick plate bulkheads on each end of the car. We removed those bulkheads. Each one of the bulkheads weighed 53 pounds. We plan to add a cosmetic panel and an electrified drumhead to the rear end of the car and a lightweight cosmetic sheet metal panel to the front end. Dave ran the extra wires for the drumhead so once we get to that, the wiring is already in place. It will be illuminated when the coach lights are on.




S16 Drum Head

Custom drumhead on an S-16 coach at the Panella Pacific Railroad




          Another cosmetic change we made was adding additional coach windows to the B side of the Verde Vista. Originally the car had 12 windows on the B side and 6 on the A side. The F & MV shops reduced that number to four on both sides of the car. They look fine on the A side. We had some extra coach windows on our parts shelf and added four additional coach windows to the B side to be a little more consistent with the original look. The B side now has two sets of four windows with room for the logo in the middle in between the sets of four. The Verde Vista name will appear on the center skirt and the coach number will be on the small skirt to the right.




Verde Vista

There were 4 window frames on the Verde Vista at the F&MV RR







Verde Vista

4 additional window frames have been installed on the Verde Vista




          You might be wondering why the Verde Vista was shortened in the first place as it was a great deal of work. She was originally shortened to be more consistent looking with the length of the engine and tender and to have less track overhang on tight curves. On tight curves with long cars, the middle of the car is well to the inside of the track which isn't an appealing look. The shorter the car, the less it is an issue. The F & MV had and the A & P has tight curves.




Verde Vista

The Verde Vista behind the Coconino at the A&P RR




          There is still a great deal of cosmetic work to complete on the Verde Vista, but the brakes and electrical now work reliably and the upholstered seats are comfortable. It's a good start.

          Happy and safe railroading everybody.




11/16/15

          The annual run season on the A & P officially starts the weekend after McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park's Railfair celebration. Railfair is always the weekend of the second Saturday in October. This year it was October 11 and 12 and once again it attracted a huge crowd. Steam engines No. 10 and No. 11 provided the motive power for the two trains that were operating. The trains were full until late in the day when some empty seats were observed. The engine house was open for tours and several specialty cars that are normally not accessible to the public were also on display.




Railfair 2015

Railfair 2015 at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park







Railfair 2015

The Baggage & Express Combination Coach was on Display for Railfair 2015







Railfair 2015

Engine #10 Running at Railfair 2015 at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park







Railfair 2015

Steam engine #10 and #11 ran all day




          The Scottsdale Live Steamers were providing rides to the public and there were also several pieces of private equipment operating over the SLS tracks. It has become a tradition to ride both the 15 inch and 7 1/2 inch each year at Railfair going back to 1992 or so.




Railfair 2015 SLS

The Scottsdale Live Steamers had several pieces of equipment out







Railfair 2015 SLS

Scottsdale Live Steamers




          After just sitting most of the Summer, it takes a while to get all of the Arizona and Pacific equipment running again. I charged all of the batteries, but the Tucson and Coconino batteries just wouldn't hold a charge so I purchased two new batteries. The Tucson has always been an easy starting engine. We installed the new battery and cleaned the carburetor jets and she turned right over. We let her run for awhile and then took her for several laps and she ran great.




Tucson

Dave runs the Tucson




          The Coconino has always been a bit more cold blooded and difficult to get started after sitting for even a few weeks. We installed the new battery and to my surprise she turned right over and started. She was a little rough at first, but smoothed out after a few minutes. I took her on a few laps, but there is a fuel issue. I am leaning toward the fuel pump, but a clogged filter or fuel regulator are also candidates. We wanted to get an many pieces of motive power running as possible so the Coconino will have to wait until we can spend a little more time and finish diagnosing her issue.




Coconino

John runs the Coconino




          The Phoenix still had a mechanical fuel pump installed in 2000 and it was acting up intermittently. We had one low output electric fuel pump and filter on the parts shelf and we installed them on the Phoenix. She started right up and ran great. We ran several laps and with the exception of a problem with the transmission shifter that we resolved she ran great.

          The Red River battery was fine, but the choke and carburetor jets needed attention. After cleaning and some adjusting, she was also running smoothly.




Coconino

The Red River gets a few adjustments to begin the season




          Our G16, No. 582, was the easiest one to get started. She turned right over and ran pretty well. We sped up the idle just a tiny bit and she just wanted to run.




G-16

Jerry Graves runs G-16 #582




          Ken Kinsley of Redstone, Colorado was in town and stopped by the A & P this month. He is considering building a railroad of his own and it was a fun visit discussing various aspects of owning and running park size equipment. He took a few laps at the throttle of the Tucson.




Ken Kinsley

Ken Kinsley visited the A&P and took the Tucson for a run




          The last Saturday of October was Halloween and early in the day I traveled 115 miles south to the small town of Marana. I had heard of a park scale train operating at a pumpkin patch and farm festival on a large local farm that only operates in October of each year. I had heard rumors about a train in Marana three or four years ago, but didn't know anyone who had actually been there. Last year, one of Dave's step sons was there with a church group and took a photo of the train and track so I knew it was legit and park scale. Alex and Dave provided the address and I went down to take a look and get a ride myself.




Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival RR

Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival RR




          The railroad is called the Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival Railroad. They run two trains on what appears to be 15 inch gauge, 12 pound track. They run through a wooden tunnel and loop many of the fall themed activities. My ride took about nine minutes and I am estimating the length is about 3/4th of a mile.




Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival RR

Wooden tunnel on the MPP & FF RR




          One of the trains is comprised of aluminum gons and an aluminum caboose built in Don Guill's shops. The seats have been padded and upholstered and it made for a very comfortable ride. The caboose was decorated for Halloween. The coaches of the second train were lettered for the New York Central and reminded me of several coaches John Wood's had in storage eight years ago.




Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival RR

There are two trains running at the Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival RR







Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival RR

NYC Coaches in Storage at the ATT&NW Railroad in 2007




          Both engines were diesel powered, but it was very difficult to get an up close look. The one had a Custom Locomotive look to it, but that is unconfirmed.




Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival RR

NYC Coaches decorated for Halloween




          I couldn't find anyone who knew details about the train operation or equipment. I have written the owner of the farm and hope to get clarification on several questions and I will update our "Guide to Arizona's Miniature Railroads" and add the MPP and FF RR. Maybe next year, I'll fire pumpkins from the air cannon and try the zip line; they looked like fun too!




Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival RR

Halloween Morning at the Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Fesitval Railroad




          Happy and safe railroading everybody.

10/17/15

          It is hard to believe that it has already been twenty years (Sept. 23, 1995) since that Saturday morning when Dave, Malcolm and I attended an auction and acquired the S16 that we would later name the "Phoenix". The train was included in a State of Arizona surplus equipment auction and Malcolm drove down from Flagstaff and Dave in from Gilbert to make sure that we ended up with the high bid. After some spirited bidding, we owned her and had a week to remove her from State land.




Auction Notice

Auction notice




          The train had sat in exactly the same place for so many years that the wheels were rusted to the rail. Rust, dirt and grit were everywhere; nothing would move. WD-40 was applied liberally to virtually everything as each part that we removed fought us to the last very last thread. Dave and I spent a full day lubricating and removing parts. After hours of work, we finally freed her up and she would roll - not easily, but with considerable effort she would move. Some friends that worked for a local towing company arrived with the heavy equipment for the move later that evening. That night she was sitting in my garage. I owned an Allan Herschell 1865, but she was in awful shape. The list of damaged, missing and worn out parts was longer than the list of parts in good shape. I had no track, no spare parts and no clue... It didn't matter, I was thrilled to own her.




Phoenix

Phoenix the day we moved her







Phoenix

The cars were separated after significant work







Phoenix

Loading Phoenix on to the truck







Phoenix

Towing equipment was used to move the engine and cars







Phoenix

Phoenix prepares for the journey home







Phoenix

Phoenix at her new home the next morning




          Dave and I had met Malcolm Mackey at his Flagstaff and Middle Verde Railroad a couple of years earlier and I was hooked on the equipment after having the opportunity to operate his train and assist at several "open house" events at his railroad. Each time I visited the Verde after I acquired the Phoenix, I spent hours measuring, photographing and drawing the parts I was missing and asking questions about how assemblies operated and came apart. There were hundreds of parts on the DMWO (damaged, missing or worn out) list. Many of the drive train parts were interchangeable with Miniature Train Company G16 parts and I began calling and writing letters to other train owners. I asked about sources for parts, any extra parts that they might have and be willing to sell and common repairs. Most people were very helpful and I only got shafted a couple of times with parts that I purchased that were worse than the ones I was trying to replace...




Malcolm Mackey's F&MV RR

Malcolm Mackey's F&MV RR was a source of inspiration




          Some of the 1865 specific parts were still available from Chance Manufacturing back in those days and they found me a headlight, headlight platform, mounting horns and a set of blue prints among other things. They took very good care of me when I had no idea what I was doing. I learned a great deal as time went along. I started meticulously disassembling, cleaning, labeling and bagging every part.

          I set about finding, rebuilding, fabricating or having fabricated every single part that I was missing. It was a huge undertaking and at times felt overwhelming. Every time I thought maybe I had made a huge mistake, I headed back up to the F & MV and got recharged and excited about my project. It took a great deal of persistence over more than five years to get her all of the way rebuilt and back together. I acquired a twenty foot cargo container to store the Phoenix and we had just enough track for the train to fully exit the container. For several months, we could only move her back and forth a few feet as I tracked down used rail and designed the layout of the future A & P.




Phoenix

A fully restored Phoenix awaits the laying of rail




          We acquired used rail in small quantities in many locations and acquired hundreds of tons of dirt and fill to elevate the railroad grade from a company that dug holes for new swimming pools. There were long stretches when we spent more time moving dirt and rock than we did on the railroad equipment. Finally, by late 2002, Dave and I had two switches and maybe three hundred feet of track on the ground. On December 15, 2002, the Phoenix made her first run on the A & P. The travel was backwards out of the engine house and down the mainline as we didn't have a loop or a turntable at that time. It still felt great to actually give her a little throttle and let her run a little bit - even if the first few hundred feet were backwards. Dave took a photo of that event that I have had up on the wall in my office for many years showing the rebuilt Phoenix rolling for the first time across a stretch of straight mainline in the backyard - backwards. At the end of the rail, I stopped and retraced the route going forward. That was the route for many months - back and forth or a point to point railroad as I liked to call it...




Gravel Pile

One of many, many gravel piles we moved







First Rail

First rail at the A&P RR







First Run of the Phoenix

Framed photo of the first run of the Phoenix 12/15/02




          Since then, we have acquired and rebuilt five additional engines (4 more S16s and a G16), built a couple of cars from scratch, rebuilt several more, added several hundred feet of tracks and sidetracks, a turntable, water tank, engine house and more to what became the A & P railroad. We have had the opportunity to share the railroad with hundreds of people over the years in person and thousands more through the website and our monthly updates. As I look back, it is hard to imagine not going down this path...

          We had a hot September out here and not much actual railroading took place this month as it has still been well over 100 degrees. We did have the track inspection car out and running around the sidetracks in the back yard a time or two. I am so happy with the padded seat as it makes operation so much more comfortable. We also had the Sandusky out and running for the better part of an afternoon. It had been quite a while since she had been out of the engine house. She ran great and seemed to really appreciate the opportunity to get out and run a little bit. We lubricated and adjusted a switch and switch stand, adjusted a few ties and tightened a few tie plates. Next month, I hope to get the balance of the girls out and running for the first time since May for some of them.




Dave on Sandusky

Dave runs the Sandusky




          Happy and safe railroading everybody.




09/08/15

          It has been a long hot summer here. The heat coupled with this summer's irrigation schedule has resulted in very little railroad activity this summer. April through the end of October, I get irrigation water from the canal system pumped to my property every 14 days. The property was once part of a ranch and the water rights are grandfathered in which is great for the grass and trees. On irrigation days, I get 8 - 12 inches of water in the back yard. As long time viewers to the A & P website know, that is why the turntable, transfer table and the tracks are elevated by fill or by trestle - to elevate everything above the water line.

          I don't get to select the days and times that the water arrives. The day of delivery rotates every year. This year my water has been arriving on Saturday - sometimes as early as mid morning and some weeks as late as 10 P.M. The upshot of all this is that our primary work and run day on the A & P is always Sunday and with the back yard filled with water every other Sunday, that day has been off the calendar this summer and the Sunday in between has just been hot. Working on minor projects out back on irrigation days is difficult as the heat combined with the humidity from all the nearby properties also being filled with water has sweat dripping from your forehead like water from a faucet. It definitely isn't a dry heat out here on irrigation days! The last week of October, irrigation goes to once every 28 days and January to March the system is dry for maintenance and the winter.

          We didn't have an A & P update last month as there just wasn't anything of substance to add. That isn't to say that I have spent all summer in a recliner. There was the usual charging of batteries, right of way maintenance, checking of fluids, attention to grease fittings etc. The general grounds maintenance is far more demanding in the summer. In addition to all the fertilizing, watering, trimming, mowing, weeding, spraying and pool maintenance, I stayed plenty busy with unanticipated projects. We rebuilt my garage door opener as it decided to quit working. I replaced valves and rebuilt a sprinkler manifold here and one at my mother's house. I replaced a sink in the master bathroom and all the associated plumbing. I replaced a hose bib and the list goes on and on and on - just not interesting for you to read about.

          I finally did finish a couple of very small A & P projects. Several years ago, my office was near a facility that dipped items instead of media blasting them. They did great work and over a period of two or three years, they dipped probably more than a hundred items for me with great success. As long as your entire item that is being dipped is all the same metal it is the way to go. It gets a little more complicated when your project is comprised of different metals and disassembly isn't possible or practical. The tender on the S16 is primarily steel, however, the rear curved upper corners are an aluminum casting. Also the chassis for the locomotive has a serial number tag that is aluminum. I had a couple of tenders dipped previously and they dipped them in such a way that the aluminum corners stayed above the acid and they were cleaned with a solution specifically mixed for aluminum. The same with the chassis and its serial number tag. It was suspended in the acid twice - from each end and with the tag always above the acid. It was cleaned with a much milder solution.

          This time, the day started routinely, I dropped the parts off for dipping and reminded the owner about the aluminum components. Later, while he was at a local restaurant having lunch, an employee submersed both the tender and the engine chassis all the way into the pool of acid. Both the tender corners and the chassis tag disappeared. As you can imagine, I was not very happy. Even if patterns were made and with new castings, the tender would have to be disassembled to install the corners.

          The owner of the facility was not any happier than I was. He paid to have fiberglass corners crafted in place for the tender that match the originals perfectly except there isn't a seam and rivets where they meet the tender body. He also paid to have a duplicate serial number tag made that was identical to the original. The tag is small and over the years it has been lost and found here in my parts bins and buildings a half dozen times as I have placed it different places for safe keeping. Several weeks ago when I was looking for the hood emblems for the G-16, I stumbled across it again and instead of putting installation off and maybe misplacing it again, I decided it was time to get it mounted on the Sandusky where it belonged. We finally got it mounted and it looks good.




S-16 Serial Number

Serial number plate on the S-16 Sandusky Engine







S-16 Tender Corner

Standard S-16 tender corner with seam and rivets







S-16 Tender Corner

Customized S-16 tender corner




          When the weather gets reasonable here in mid to late October, we hope to get busy with our G16 B unit project. To that end, I located and dug out the two couplers and made a metal hose loop to match the original one that probably was removed and used on one of our prior projects. With some paint, it will look just like the original one.




Couplers

We fabricated a metal hose loop for the G-16 B unit coupler




          A long-time visitor to the website and Allan Hershell S24 fan, Ryan Griffin, submitted a very nice photo he took of the S24 running at Van Saun Park in Paramus, NJ. You can see that photo below and we have also added it to the "friends of the A&P" photo gallery found here




S-24 at Van Saun Park

Ryan Griffin sent us this photo of the S-24 at Van Saun Park in Paramus, New Jersey.




          We also received a couple of nice photos from Greg DeLaat of the S16 running at the Memphis Kiddie Park in Brooklyn, Ohio. You can also find his photos in the photo gallery. We are always looking for S16 and S24 photos to add to the gallery - thank you both very much.




S-16 at Memphis Kiddie Park

Greg DeLaat sent us this photo of the S-16 at Memphis Kiddie Park in Brooklyn, Ohio.







S-16 at Memphis Kiddie Park

Greg DeLaat also sent us this photo of the Memphis Kiddie Park S-16.




          As I mentioned in July, my Dalmatian Sedona who took great pride in patrolling the grounds of the A & P for 16+ years passed recently. My five year old Dalmatian Lodi, enjoys being a teammate more than patrolling solo. To that end, we adopted a 10 month old female Dalmatian rescue last month named Lizzie. There is no shortage of energy or enthusiasm, she is very much a work in progress, however.... Any of you with puppies and shoes, socks, rugs, pillows, stuffed toys, trash bins etc. know just what I mean.




Lodi and Lizzie

Lizzie (right) is the newest addition to the A&P railroad crew. Lodi is on the left




          Things start to crank up next month out here in the desert. Railfair at McCormick Railroad Park is October 10 and 11, the Maricopa Live Steamers resume activities as do the Joshua Tree and Southern folks. We might even blow the dust off of some equipment on the A & P if the weather cooperates.

          Happy and safe railroading everybody.




07/06/15

          As we expect out here in June, it has been a hot month. We haven't had any of the 118-122 degree days that June in the desert is famous for, but it has been 111-115 almost every day this month. Those temperatures mean less activity out here on the A & P. We still make some progress on the smaller projects, but the work days are shorter. We look forward to October.

          As I mentioned last month, the cowl off of No. 582 went to the media blaster as it is just a little bit too big for my bead blasting cabinet. I got it back this month and did some body work in a few places to get it roughed in. I am far from a great sheet metal guy, but I can get things roughed it half way decent for the guys that earn their living doing that type of work. I did some dremel work around our new screens and they look as good or better than the factory original screens on the B unit. I primed and painted the cowl and next week Dave and I will get it mounted. I think it will look pretty good on her. We will need to update the builder's photo of her once the weather isn't quite as hot out here.

          We located and refurbished our original "Modeled after the F7" hood emblems this month. They have lots of dings and scrapes which is expected as they sit right on top of the hood so they aren't as perfect as a reproduction set would be. However, it is just so cool to have the original ones and they look pretty good for being 62 years old. We do have a set of reproduction hood emblems that will go on the B unit when that time comes.




Modelled upon the F7 Hood Emblem

Original "Modelled upon the F7" hood emblems prior to polishing and paint







Modelled upon the F7 Hood Emblem

Restored original "Modelled upon the F7" hood emblems







Modelled upon the F7 Hood Emblem

Hood emblems installed on the G-16







Modelled upon the F7 Hood Emblem

G-16 hood emblems




          As I stated last month, prior to taking our primary Arizona and Pacific logo sign to the powder coater, I cut off the bottom of the three mounting tabs as it was never used. I ground and sanded smooth where the tab had been located. With the sign removed, we took the opportunity to sand, prime and repaint the frame. I couldn't find any original paperwork from when I had the powder coating work done originally and the vendor had changed computer systems a few years ago so we had to try and determine the original colors from the faded ones. The cream color we nailed spot on, the reddish burgundy color we had one notch too far toward burgundy and away from red to match our original colors perfectly, but it is pretty close and close enough that I am happy and the sharp and crisp colors are great to see. We got it remounted and I put a good coat of protective wax on it this month.




Arizona and Pacific Railroad Sign

Faded A&P RR sign







Arizona and Pacific Railroad Sign

West side of the A&P RR sign in need of fresh paint







Arizona and Pacific Railroad Sign

New powder coating on the A&P RR sign







Arizona and Pacific Railroad Sign

We painted the A&P RR sign frame while the sign was at the powder coater




          I located four new coupler shock absorber halves, two drawbar swivel pins and two body bolster felts for the B unit. I was actually looking for a different part for a friend and stumbled across these parts that we will need in the B unit reassembly later this fall so I set them aside in the shop where it is much cooler than in our parts storage building and I won't have to hunt for them out there later. The actual couplers have been bead blasted and I need to fabricate another hose bracket and those assemblies will be complete and ready for installation as soon as the B unit body is ready.




Parts for the G-16 B-Unit couplers

Coupler parts for the G-16 B-Unit




          Several months ago we made two heavy duty sign stands for three portable signs - a railroad warning sign and whistle and slow signs (one post). I had the stands bead blasted and powder coated in semi-gloss black this month. I made some progress, but still haven't quite finished painting the signs. July and August are forecast as very hot months; hand lettering signs inside in the cool air sounds pretty good. I will get the signs painted and mounted in July or August. Two of the sign stands are displayed in the engine house and the third stand is temporarily stored in the shop.

          We got quite a bit of additional wiring completed on the John Deere ATM this month. The tail lights are done and work great. The fuseable link will be added next followed by the flasher unit. Those additions will make the front and rear turn signals operational. The brake lights are not finished, but progress was made. We need to find a suitable pressure switch and get that installed and then we won't have much more to have that project completed.

          For many years, our friend Jerry Graves owned and operated a Wisconsin sales and service franchise here in Phoenix. Now in retirement, he assists on the A & P, services engines for a handful of selected clients and when time permits rebuilds and modifies Wisconsin VH engines for use in MTC G16s. We have his rebuilt VH engines in our G16 No. 582 and in the Red River. We also have one of his VH rebuilds on our parts shelf. He also rebuilt the VF engine in the Coconino and the VF engine in the Tucson.

          As many of you know, the standard VH has the same foot print as the VF, but is too tall (without modification) for in the G16 as the manifolds make it too tall for the hood to close. Jerry has modified another VH so that it will fit into a G16. This one is a complete rebuild with new pistons and rings, electronic ignition and all of the bolt on parts. I don't need a second spare at this point in time, so this one will be available. If you have a G16 and the Wisconsin engine is just worn out, contact Jerry Graves at 602-576-1172. The VH is several horsepower more powerful and you will appreciate the extra capability.




Wisconsin Engine rebuild

Rebuilding a Wisconsin VH engine







Wisconsin Engine rebuild

This Wisconsin VH engine was rebuilt and modified to fit in a G-16




          My Dalmatian Sedona passed this month. She was a great dog and had patrolled the grounds of the A & P for more than 16 years and kept the rabbits and birds from getting overly comfortable during her tenure. The patrol duties are now in the capable paws of Lodi my 5 year old Dalmatian. I may make an addition to the security team this Fall so that we are back to two patrolling for wascully wabbit activity.




Sedona and Lodi

Sedona and Lodi patrolling the A&P RR in May 2010







          Happy and safe railroading everybody.







Bri and Amy at the A&P RR

Bri and Amy prepare the Phoenix for a busy day at the A&P RR







06/12/15

          On National Train Day, I visited the Arizona Railway Museum in Chandler. I have been a charter member there since the early 1980s when the collection was a few books and magazines, five or six cars and an engine stored at a diary in south Chandler. As a charter member, I was able to assist financially at a critical time, but I have never been involved in any of the restoration or organization activities as the job, the A & P and other responsibilities have always taken the available free time. I have taken great satisfaction in watching what Bart Barton and his team have accomplished over the years in the acquisition and restoration of railroad equipment with ties to Arizona and the Southwest. I ran into Bart during this recent visit and he stated there are forty-three cars and engines currently on the property and he had leads and offers on several more pieces. Long term, the museum is hopeful it can acquire an adjacent piece of property and raise funds for an engine house.




Arizona Railway Museum

Arizona Railway Museum







Arizona Railway Museum

Southern Pacific Engine #2562 at the Arizona Railway Museum




          I was particularly pleased to see roof and body work in process on the Desert Valley a car previously owned by one of my long gone friends Russ Joslin. I was in that car many times when Russ stored it in the west valley. It has a good home and will be getting fresh paint later this year.




Arizona Railway Museum

The Southern Railway Business Car Desert Valley can trace it's roots back to 1879 and the South Carolina Railroad in Charleston







Arizona Railway Museum

1947 Santa Fe Observation Car Vista Canyon




          The museum is far from static as displays and cars are constantly being updated and moved. You won't find a more dedicated or harder working group of railroad enthusiasts. If you haven't been to the museum recently, it is well worth a visit and please remember the donation box on the way out - I did.




Arizona Railway Museum

Tucson, Cornelia and Gila Bend Railroad Caboose







Arizona Railway Museum

Tucson, Cornelia and Gila Bend Railroad Box Car







Arizona Railway Museum

Southwest Forest Industry Log Car #511







Arizona Railway Museum

Baggage carts and signs at the Arizona Railway Museum







Arizona Railway Museum

Arizona Railway Museum




          We originally hung our custom Arizona and Pacific Railroad logo sign in April of 2008. I can't begin to tell you how many hours originally went into laying out and welding the individual letters in place on our two sided sign and then grinding and sanding the welds prior to having the sign two color powder coated. Over the years we polished and waxed the sign, but the brilliant colors had faded and it was time to strip it and re-powder coat the sign.




Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Arizona and Pacific Railroad sign east facing side







Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Arizona and Pacific Railroad sign west facing side




          We did make one change to the sign as originally we had three mounting tabs - two at the top and one at the bottom to keep the sign from swinging in the wind. The reality was the sign is so heavy it never blew in the wind and we never used the bottom tab so I cut it off and polished where it had been. The sign is made from 1/2 inch thick plate and weighs a ton. We took the opportunity to sand, prime and repaint the frame while the sign was at the vendor. The two color powder coating takes longer than a one color project as you might imagine; the sign should be ready for pick up next week.




Arizona and Pacific Railroad

The unnecessary bottom tab was removed




          Staying with the sign theme, I was anxious to finally get the F & MV signs mounted last month after almost three years, but after looking at my work for a couple of weeks the signs came down. I just wasn't happy with the way the main mounting board followed the shape of the ceiling. It was trimmed and rerouted and now the reveal more closely matches the angle of the ceiling and the curvature of the flex conduit up in the corner. I know, I may have been the only one that it bothered. Anyway, all of the signs are back up and I am happy with the now finished product.




Flagstaff and Middle Verde Railroad

Original Flagstaff and Middle Verde Railroad sign display







Flagstaff and Middle Verde Railroad

Flagstaff and Middle Verde Railroad sign display after contour modification




          It has been a while, but several months ago we made three heavy duty sign stands for three portable signs - a railroad warning and two whistle signs. I have procrastinated in finishing painting the signs, but I had the stands bead blasted and powder coated in semi-gloss black this month. I'll finish painting the signs this summer when it is 119 outside.

          Years ago, we salvaged a light weight stand from a scrap dealer, cut a wood top for it and built a tray for parts and hardware and have used it in our engine house as a table and a hardware bin for small hardware specific to our railroad restoration projects. We added two more trays this month, a full size one for more hardware and a half size one for the various light bulbs that we utilize in maintenance along the A & P. It allows me to get all of that stuff in one place and not scattered among different buildings and storage areas. I also painted the top surface this month.




engine house storage table

Engine house storage table







engine house storage table

Two new shelf trays & fresh paint were added to the enginehouse storage table




          In preparation for bead blasting, we disassembled the B unit. We pretty much removed everything down to the sheet metal. We did leave the hood hinges attached as they can't be damaged. The two hood panels, cowl and both couplers off of the B unit went to the sandblaster last week and will be ready for pick up in the next few days. We'll get them all primed and ready to install once the main body is media blasted. I hope to get that done later in June and we can prime her and start working on the vacuum lines over the summer.




Arizona and Pacific Railroad

G-16 B unit being prepared for bead blasting




          The cowl off of No. 582 also went to the media blaster last week. It is just a little bit too big for my bead blasting cabinet so it went along with the five other parts. I am looking forward to getting it back and permanently mounted.




Arizona and Pacific Railroad

G-16 B unit parts being sent off for sand blasting




          We had the Tucson, Phoenix, No. 582, Red River and the track inspection car out and running during the month. It is so important to start everything every other week and move them all around a little bit even when it is 118 degrees to keep the fluids moving around, seals and leathers moist and batteries charged. It just makes life so much easier in October when the railroad is much more active and we want everything running well and as few issues after the summer as possible.

          We got quite a bit of additional wiring completed on the John Deere ATM relating to the added turn signals and brake lights this month. We also added small front turn signals. We got the four turn signals and brake lights wired to a common location near the battery and mounted and wired the turn signal switch. We'll still be adding a fuseable link, flasher unit for the turn signals and a pressure switch for the brake lights, but progress was made.




Bri and Amy

Bri and Amy prepare for some track work at the Arizona and Pacific Railroad




          Happy and safe railroading everybody.




Ducks

Two ducks visit the Arizona and Pacific Railroad during irrigation







05/18/15

          We posted a 3 minute video of G-16 #582 pulling a coach at the A&P RR to YouTube. You can see the video here: G-16 #582 pulling a coach on the A&P RR in April of 2015




05/15/15

          When the Flagstaff and Middle Verde Railroad was abandoned in August of 2012, I was able to salvage several of the signs from the railroad. I was able to save a couple of the original 1991 spur and siding signs from the bone yard and a few more of the 2007 signs from along the right-of-way. It has taken almost three years, but we finally have them mounted and displayed above stall No. 1 in the A & P engine house. I also salvaged one of the original short boards from the track inspection car seat. I trimmed it so that it would fit and added it to fill out the display. The ten signs are now protected from the elements and carry more than twenty years of fond memories for me of the F & MV RR and all of the things that were special about that railroad.




F&MV RR

Flagstaff and Middle Verde Railroad







Stall 1

Empty space above the stall 1 door in the engine house







F&MV Signs

Flagstaff and Middle Verde Railroad Sign Display




          We had G16 No. 582 pull one of our G16 coaches around the A & P loop for the first time this month. We placed coach No. 582 behind the engine and made numerous laps around the track. That rebuilt Wisconsin engine and rebuilt gear boxes and transmission pulled the coach as if there was nothing behind her at all. The MTC Blomberg trucks sure do make for a smooth and comfortable ride. We took some video of both of us running the engine and later this summer we will edit and post a new video.




582 and car

G-16 #582 pulls a coach for the first time since restoration







582 and car

Pulling a G-16 coach with #582




          We also had the Coconino and gon No. 202 out on the mainline for several laps. We stopped out in the front yard and took a photo to update one on our main page from almost three years ago of the Coconino and gon 202 when the Coconino did not yet have its false drive wheels, its shortened stack, its new drive motors or its new drive gears. The location isn't exactly the same, but it is pretty close. Over the course of the summer, we will be updating several of the photos on our main pages as some have become somewhat outdated.




Coconino

Coconino and gon 202




          We had the Red River (No. 37) out for a little exercise and I had her spot the Mackey Oil tank car just behind trestle no. 3 for a few photo opportunities. I think she looks pretty good with that car and sitting there. You may see a few more shots from that location of other equipment in the near future. We currently have the Tucson paired up with gon 202 and the Coconino paired up with gon 712. I think they all look good together. I'll work on getting a few more photos next month.




Red River

The Red River pulling the Mackey oil tank car







Red River

The Red River on trestle #3




          We cleaned, lubricated and adjusted each of our switches and switch stands. The process only takes 10 -15 minutes on most switches to get everything adjusted and moving smoothly, but we do have ten switches and the better part of an afternoon was devoted to the project. There are times when the handle pin on the switch stand needs replaced and that adds a whole new element to the process, but we have become fairly proficient at that process over the years too.

          I have received inquiries about whether I will be selling A & P tee shirts and apparently some of the long time followers of the A & P would like to have one. That is very flattering and frankly I hadn't even thought about it. The folks that spend their time working our here were gifted at least one. I don't want to get into a situation of selling them and having to change sales tax and have all of that reporting and paperwork that goes with that. Let me think about it a little bit and think it through. Any of you that might be interested in a shirt or have ideas on how to do this, please let me know your thoughts.




A&P Shirt

A&P RR shirt front







A&P Shirt

A&P RR shirt back




          For many years, our friend Jerry Graves owned and operated a Wisconsin sales and service franchise here in Phoenix. Now in retirement, he assists on the A & P, services engines for a handful of selected clients and when time permits rebuilds and modifies Wisconsin VH engines for use in MTC G16s. We have one of his VH engines in our G16 and in the Red River. We also have one of his VH rebuilds on our parts shelf. He also rebuilt the VF in the Coconino and the VF in the Tucson.

          As many of you know, the standard VH will not replace the VF in the G16 even though the footprint is the same as the manifolds make it too tall for the hood to close. Jerry has modified another VH so that it will fit into a G16. This one is a complete rebuild with new pistons and rings, electronic ignition and all of the bolt on parts. I don't need a second spare at this point in time, so this one will be available. If you have a G16 and the Wisconsin engine is just worn out, contact Jerry Graves at 602-576-1172.

          We had two sets of two local visitors each this month. The Tucson was placed in service for a few laps one evening after work for Craig and George. Unfortunately, they had already left before I realized that I hadn't taken any photos. That has only happened a few times in thirteen years - sorry guys, now you have an excuse to come back and visit again.

          Amy and Bri both work in another department at my employer. They are two of the smartest, sweetest and hardest working young gals you ever will meet. They stopped by the Arizona and Pacific to see the railroad and were willing to be models for a few photos. We will add some of the photos of their visit to the monthly updates over the summer.




Amy & Bri

Bri and Amy visit the A&P RR




          Happy and safe railroading everybody.




04/09/15

          We were able to get quite a few things accomplished this month despite the much higher than normal temperatures. We are generally able to operate and work on the equipment out here until Memorial day which pretty much signals the end of our season until October 1. March set all kinds of records for heat in the metro Phoenix area, but we persevered. It was 97 last Sunday; we don't usually see temperatures that hot until early May. Hopefully the heat will moderate somewhat and we can hang in there for a few more weeks. The air cooled engines don't like the hotter temperatures.

          We finished fabricating the valve (throttle and brake) mounting brackets for our B unit. We welded them in place and mounted our valves. Obviously, they will come off again when the B unit is sand blasted, but at this point it is a matter of getting everything to fit correctly. They look pretty good in place.




G-16 B-Unit

Throttle and Brake Valves mounted on the G-16 B-Unit




          We located two of the correct Cole Hersee sockets and bulbs for the cockpit of the B unit. You will recall that last month we obtained two of the stainless steel light shields with a seat unit from our friends Pete and Char Robinson, but the light sockets themselves were rusted beyond resurrection. With these new sockets and bulbs, the cockpit will be a period match just as it come out of the MTC factory.




Light Socket

Cole Hersee lamp socket for G-16 B-Unit cockpit




          We have been experimenting with logos on the sides of our two A & P gons. We have one style on the 218 and another on the 219. I will look at them both for a few weeks and see which of the two I like best and the least favorite will be replaced on one of the gons. We also added our logo to the track inspection car. I think it looks great and finishes the major projects that we started on her last year.




Logo

A&P Logo on Gon 218







G-12 Restoration

A&P logo added to the front of the track inspection car's battery tray




          We started doing some body work on the G12 this month - what a massive project this will be. We have taken on some huge projects before both mechanically and sheet metal wise, but this may be the biggest sheet metal project we have ever under taken. Conservatively, at least half of the sheet metal needs replaced. It may turn out to be a lot more than that. It is a mess. One of the prior owners covered the rust eaten panels with duct tape and then covered it with Bondo and paint. In the worst areas, he used duct tape and roofing tar...




G-12 Rust

Rusted out G-12 sheet metal body







G-12 Rust

Closer view of rusted G-12 body




          We cut out the front cross member and replaced it. The battery box needs replaced. We cut out the seat back and seat lower and will fabricate and replace both. Much of the floor will be replaced. The gas tank platform is eaten up with rust and will be replaced. The upper side interior panels on both sides are eaten away with rust and will be cut out and replaced. The front bulkhead was all chewed up by the front drive line, but at least it was rust free. It was patched and will be reused.




G-12 Restoration

The G-12 seat back and lower were removed







G-12 Restoration

The G-12 bulkhead was damaged by the front drive line







G-12 Restoration

The G-12 bulkhead after repairs




          The front truck arch pin assy was badly bent and had a bad crack in the mounting bracket. We straightened the pin and re-welded the bracket.

          The throttle control handle assembly will need replaced. We have acquired the parts we will need, but drilling out the rivets and cutting the rusted panels out and replacing them will be time-consuming.

          This little unit never did see any TLC and will literally be brought back from the brink when we are finished. If anyone else had acquired this machine, it would no doubt have been cut up for scrap. If I was smarter and didn't get attached to these machines and their rich history, this one would have been a goner.




G-12 Restoration

Restoring the G-12




          We still need the short drive line, AK, AKN or BKN motor, some of the brake linkage and new brake shoes, but the list is much shorter and we will keep looking. The headlight and socket, green jeweled front running lights and the hood lock knob are the balance of the missing bolt on parts we need.

          We had The Red River, Coconino, Sandusky and Tucson out this month. We ran gon 218 behind the Tucson for the first time and they both operated flawlessly. The track inspection car also saw some action this month and the new padded seat makes the ride far more comfortable.

          Dave has been working on rebuilding another MTC crossing signal bell unit with parts from two separate partial units. Rust, corroded contacts and wiring, bad capacitors and damaged coils have made this a very intricate and time consuming project. There are eight different sets of contact points that make the bell ring and in time with the flashing lights and it is pretty mind blowing the first time you open one of these up and see all of the components. It will be another month or two before this one is finished. If we have the right usable parts, we will rebuild a G-16 locomotive bell later in the year.




Crossing Signal Bell

Crossing signal bell inner workings







Crossing Signal Bell

Crossing signal bell




          Despite the heat, we had a few visitors to the A & P this month. Marc Tiu and his wife Joy stopped by and Mark had the opportunity to operate the Tucson for the first time. His mother enjoyed several rides in the gon. Youngsters of all ages enjoy trains... Marc has assisted here on the A & P several times over the years with polishing targets and helping with finishing projects.




Tiu Family

The Tiu family takes a ride on the A&P RR







Marc Tiu

Marc Tiu runs the Tucson




          Rod Herman of Fifty Lakes, Minnesota visited the A & P for the first time. Rod is considering adding a railroad to a large piece of property he owns and is still exploring gauges, wheel profiles, various power sources and manufacturers. It was great having another railroad nut over and sharing thoughts about equipment and operational challenges. Rod engineered the Tucson during his visit which was his first exposure to 16 inch gauge equipment.




Rod Herman

Rod Herman visits the A&P RR




          Saturday, May 9 is National Train Day. Please remember to support your local railroad museum, large scale railroad or railroad club. Donations help keep everything running and are the life blood of many of these organizations.

          Happy and safe railroading everybody.




03/04/15

          It was another very busy month on the A & P. We have to make the most of the Winter months as after Memorial Day and until October 1, it is brutally hot out here. The Tucson, Red River, Coconino and track inspection car saw action during the month.




Tucson

Ed Lecuyer runs the Tucson




          We finished the last of several projects on our track inspection car. When Malcolm built it back in 1993, he made the seat wide enough for one person. There was room to make the seat several inches wider to match the width of the car, but at the time it seemed unnecessary. Over the years, it became pretty clear to both of us that it would have been more functional at open houses and other events if the seat was wider. We talked about widening it several times, but it always seemed like laying additional rail, rebuilding a carburetor or transmission or some other more pressing project was the priority. We just never got to that project.




Track Inspection Car

Malcolm Mackey on his track inspection car at the F&MV RR




          Three months ago, I bought the wood and we slowly made progress widening the seat by 9 inches to match the overall width of the car. After the wood was replaced, we painted the entire car including the wheels and couplers. We replaced the exhaust pipe and the muffler and rerouted the exhaust down and to the rear instead of the original just straight out to the side. We got a good coat of high temp header paint on the new exhaust components; it looks good and is slightly quieter. My neighbor finished his work on padded cushions for the seat and seat back. Thank you, George. It will make the ride a bit more comfortable as with the 1 cylinder engine mounted directly to the frame, the ride was a little rough. I also like the way the seat looks. I also replaced the battery a couple of months ago. This completes the contemplated projects on this piece of equipment.




Track Inspection Car

The track inspection car seat was widened by 9 inches







Track Inspection Car

New exhaust pipe and muffler installed on the track inspection car







Track Inspection Car

High temp paint applied to the new exhaust components







Track Inspection Car

Completed track inspection car




          We made some progress on the G16 B unit this month. Work on the aluminum gas tanks continues. I had aluminum patches welded to fill a gaping hole in the back of each tank and we have straightened most of the bends and dings. We still have a little more work to go before I will be completely happy with the tanks, but we have made a good start. We installed our side skirts and they came out just great. We installed the gas tanks briefly for fit and for a photo opportunity. The side skirts and the tanks really make the look of the A and B units from the sides. We started on the valve (throttle and brake) mounting brackets and built prototypes. We will finish them and our work on the instrument panel next month.




G-16 B Unit

Side skirts for the G-16 B unit







G-16 B Unit

Side skirt and gas tank mounted on the G-16 B unit




          We cleaned sticky fuel deposits from the carburetors on the Tucson and the Coconino again this month. Jerry Graves has what sounds like a great idea to deal with our poor quality gas out here. We have tried various fuel additives without a great deal of success. We'll give his idea a try in the next couple of months and if it works, will share it with you. We also replaced the battery on the Red River. Batteries generally last 2.5 to 3.5 years out here whether they are in your car or one of our trains. We replaced an axle and wheel set on gon no.202. We will determine if the problem is the axle, wheels or both and make the repairs this summer when we are looking for projects we can complete in the shade. We also finished the additional brick patio display area that I started a month or so ago. It is ready to display additional railroad items. I replaced two and added two additional fire extinguishers to the engine house bringing to six the number we have in there. I also have two in the original engine house with the G16 and two more in the garage with the AMT. With so many pieces of older equipment, I just feel more comfortable having the extinguishers just in case I might need them.




Brick Platform

New brick patio display area




          We found some additional information on our MTC G-12 No. 377 this month. She was shipped new from Renssalaer, IN in Aug. of 1950 to the Bel-Air Drive-In in Detroit Michigan. It was the first drive-in in Detroit. The G-12 proved so popular, that on May 7, 1951, it was joined by a G-16 Suburban No. 558. The drive-In held 1800 cars and was a single screen operation when it opened on August 25, 1950. It closed in 1986. We added No. 377 to our Train Order Board as an arrival. Click here to see the trainboard on our front page

          We purchased a G-12 power truck and three coach trucks this month. We also located many of the other components that we were missing like the gas tank, horn relay and horn, throttle handle and trim handles. Thank you Mark, Ben and Jeff for all of your help.

          We still need the short drive line, AK, AKN or BKN motor, some of the brake linkage and new brake shoes, but the list is much shorter and we will keep looking. Dave bought the Stewart Warner ammeter and the period switches and push buttons for the dash and I have a set of faux horns for the hood.

          We are getting closer to having the 1987 John Deere AMT completed. My neighbor finished upholstering the seat for me and I got it installed this month. It looks and rides great - definitely a one of a kind item for John Deere. I also installed the brake lights and turn signals. The wiring still needs completed, but it is getting closer.




AMT

The new rear seat, brake lights and turn signals have been mounted to the AMT




          Pete and Char Robinson of the Watermann and Western Railroad in Watermann, IL and Jerry Steibring of the P and JS railroad nearby visited this month. Pete and Jerry had been to the A & P last year, but it was the first visit for Char. Pete and Char brought us T shirts with the A & P logo on them and also brought us some amazing graphics that we will be applying in the months ahead. How cool is that!!! They also brought us a G16 cockpit seat that we salvaged the stainless cab light shields from and they will be used in our G-16 B unit. The seat will go in the parts building for a future project.




G-16 seat light shield

G-16 seat & stainless steel light shield







A&P T Shirt

Arizona & Pacific Railroad T shirt







A&P T Shirt

The back of the T shirt




          Last year when Jerry and Pete visited, I showed them a pattern I had purchased a few years earlier for a marker lamp virtually identical to those on Sandley equipment. They asked to use the pattern to cast a few of the lamps for their equipment and I agreed. They had the wood pattern cut in half and board mounted, core box constructed and several cast. Jerry worked his magic on the lathe and also made the lenses for the lamps. They brought me a finished pair as thanks for loaning the pattern. They will be on the back of a caboose that Dave and I build one day. They look great. The quality of Jerry's work on this project says a little something about the quality of his work on his G12s, Crown, Cagney and International steamers as well as his gasoline engines.




Marker Lamp Pattern

Marker lamp pattern and finished lamp







Visitors to the A&P RR

Jerry Steibring, Ed Lecuyer, Pete Robinson and Char Robinson visit the A&P RR




          Ed Lecuyer from the WW & F RR in Maine was in town and visited the same afternoon as Pete, Char and Jerry. It was great fun having them all here at the same time. It was also Ed's second visit to the A & P. We found three pennants dating from 1961 for Cedar Point that have our No. 2 the Sandusky pictured on them. I just thought they were cool and needed to be part of our S-16 collection. I still have to figure out how to display them.




Pennant

1961 Cedar Point Pennant featuring the Sandusky S-16




          This update went a little long this month, but as you can tell there was a great deal going on.

          Happy and safe railroading everybody.




02/22/15

          As with the past couple of months, our emphasis this month was primarily on the G-16 B unit and the 1987 John Deere AMT.

          We got the B unit hood struts mounted; we used the same struts as on the A unit. We fabricated a spacer bracket for mounting our hood release and got it mounted as well as the release cable and hood release handle in the cockpit. We changed the design and fabricated a new hood catch as our first version was not all that I had hoped. The new and improved version is reliable and opens and closes smoothly; the hood alignment is great. We built the prototype for our hand valve mounting brackets. In the next couple of weeks, we will fabricate the ones that will get mounted in the cockpit.




B Unit Hood

Hood struts have been installed on the G-16 B unit







B Unit Hood

Front view of the B unit hood struts







B Unit Hood Latch

B unit hood latch mechanism




          We completed the layout for the side skirt panels and purchased the material. There are two 90 degree bends and we will need to have them bent for us. They, along with the gas tanks, are really an integral part of the look and I want the skirts to fit perfectly.

          Dave built the pair of sheathed wire bundles that run the electrical from the A to the B unit. We also started work on, but did not finish, the quick release vacuum lines that connect the A and B unit.




Wire Bundles

Wire bundles for connecting the G-16 A and B units




          We have never been completely happy with the vacuum output from our original G-16 vacuum pump in the G-16 No. 582 A unit. We decided to pull it out and see if we could rebuild it. That is when the adventure began. We realized there isn't room to remove it out through the top opening. We thought maybe if we removed the front nose skirt that we could get it out through that opening - nope. We had to remove the front skirt, the front driveline, disconnect the safety hooks, jack up the body and roll the front truck out from under the G-16 body so that we had enough room to remove the vacuum pump from underneath. Any of you that have a G-16 know just how much work and how long the process I just described takes to complete.

          Once we had it out, our friend Jerry Graves took it to his shop and rebuilt the pump with new bearings and a new diaphram. As it turned out, the original diaphram had a hole in it and the bearings were shot. Then we repeated the process in reverse order to get the vacuum pump back inside the G-16 body and remounted. Wow, what a difference it has made!!! It produces vacuum now at almost twice the rate that it did previously.

          We made a little bit of progress on our track inspection car exhaust project. The exhaust needs replaced and re-routed to the rear and down. We acquired another small muffler and some flexible exhaust pipe and we hope to get that project completed in February.

          One of our friends from Salmon, Idaho, Bob Earhardt, stopped by during the month. We had spoken over the phone and via email for a few years; it was great to have Bob stop by for an afternoon.




Visitors

Bob Earhardt visits the A&P RR




          A neighbor was having a birthday party for her 11 year old daughter and her friends. She asked if the girls could come over later in the day and have a couple of train rides to which I agreed. They had a great time. Who says only boys like trains. Interestingly, boys at that age are asking me how fast it will go. Girls are asking questions about fuel, pressure and where was the water held on real steam locomotives. They were all talking about sharing the details of their experience with their teachers and classmates on Monday. We may have won over a few more large-scale railroad fans.




Birthday

Happy 11th Birthday!







Birthday

Birthday party train ride




          We started work on adding another small brick observation area to display more of our full size railroad collection in the months ahead. We re-rerouted the sprinkler pipe, moved several lantana bushes and started the initial brick work. We'll finish it in February.




Brick Work

Construction underway on a new small brick observation area




          We got the AMT bumper that we fabricated last month prepped, primed, painted and installed. We will install the brake lights and turn signals next month. We also got the side rails that we fabricated last month for the rear box prepped, primed, painted and installed. After some trial and error, I determined the right height to cut off the braces for the rear bench seat that I am working on. I also bought and cut the plywood for the lower seat as well as the back support portion. My neighbor is a high end auto upolsterer who had a number of custom street rods with his work recently appearing in the local Scottsdale car auctions. He is also a good sport and has agreed to tackle another one of my upholstery projects. The seat bottom and back will be black like the driver seat and the metal frame will be John Deere Green.




AMT Seat

The new AMT rear bench seat braces are complete







AMT

Prior to cleaning and painting







AMT

After cleaning and painting




          The Tucson and gon number no. 202 saw the majority of the action on the rails during the month. The Tucson really ran well. The gon will have an intermittantly troublesome wheel and axle set replaced next month with one of the ones that we rebuilt over the last year and a half. It is unclear to me at this point if problem is the wheels, axle or a combination of the three. We will simply swap the assembly out for now and rebuild it during the summer when it is too hot to be outside working on projects.




Jerry Graves

Jerry Graves and his Grandson take a ride on the A&P RR




          A friend of mine has been very helpful in helping me track down a number of the parts that we were missing on our G-12 No. 377. He is looking for a MTC or AH crossing signal for his railroad. If any of you have one that is for sale or if you come across one, please let me know and I will pass the information along. Thank you.

          Happy and safe railroading everybody.




01/29/15

          We issued our 2014 annual report. It can be seen here






01/20/15

          We came across some video we shot of the initial shakedown run of G-16 #582 that we edited and posted on the video page. More recent video we shot is still being edited and will be posted later.

Click here to see the A&P RR video page






01/15/15

          With the holidays and with some seasonably cold and wet days in December, shop time was at a premium and outside time even more rare. The time we had was primarily focused on three projects: our G16 B unit, track inspection car and our 1987 John Deere AMT 600. We fabricated and installed the upper and lower brackets for mounting the hood struts on our B unit. We also fabricated the hood catch. We are finishing fabricating a spacer bracket for mounting our hood release. We built the prototype for our hand valve mounting brackets. In the next couple of weeks, we will fabricate the ones that will get mounted in the cockpit.




G-16 B Unit

The G-16 B unit will have a custom hood mechanism like we built for G-16 #582




          We drilled the holes for mounting our 6 pin electrical connectors in the front of the B unit. Just like we did on the A unit, we enlarged the holes that held the original electrical connectors. It is a clean look and they will match up just as they did originally.

          We also drilled the holes for mounting a 6 pin electrical connector at the rear of the B unit. Instead of running wires tied to the rear coupler of the B unit, we will utilize the 6 pin connector and a pig tail wire bundle when connecting with the electrical in our coaches. We have utilized this approach with each of our S16s with great success.

          We also spent some time welding numerous unnecessary holes closed; there are still several more holes that need the same treatment.

          We continued our work on widening the seat on the track inspection car from 21 inches to 30 inches. I salvaged the seat back plank that Malcolm Mackey had lettered for the F & MV back in May of 1993. I trimmed it down so the letters are centered on the remaining wood plank and it will be part of an F & MV sign display that I hope to have in place in the engine house in late 2015.




Track Inspection Car

Track inspection car with original narrow seat







F&MV Signs

Signs from the Flagstaff and Middle Verde Railroad




          We drilled the new larger wood planks and drilled the angle iron frame to accommodate them. We mounted the wood planks and they look pretty good. We will fill the original holes in the angle iron with bondo and after sanding and painting, they will not be visible. We also repainted the wheels, repainted the front and rear couplers and the drawbar. We got a second coat of yellow on some of the car and will finish painting the yellow sections in the next week or two if the weather cooperates. At some point soon, the exhaust will be replaced and we are exploring those options.




Track Inspection Car

New boards to widen the track inspection car seat. An original board is on the far right







Track Inspection Car

A wider seat was installed on the track inspection car and fresh paint applied







Track Inspection Car

Track inspection car exhaust showing its age




          We spent quite a bit of time this month doing fabrication work on the John Deere AMT. We fabricated a rear bumper and mounting brackets. This year and model AMT (1987 AMT 600) didn't originally come with a rear bumper so it took quite a while to figure out what we wanted the bumper to look like and how high we wanted it to sit in relation to the tires. Then we determined the best place and way to mount it to the frame and what those mounting brackets would look like. I also had tracked down some brake lights and turn signals off a slightly newer John Deere AMT 626 that I wanted to incorporate into the bumper design. After we had all the dimensions and our design roughed out in our heads and on paper, fabrication started. I still have some grinding and filing to complete, but it is really taking shape. I fabricated a little trailer hitch that looks just like the JD original and it is mounted on the bumper. The rear bumper will be painted John Deere yellow once we get it finished. The top of the bumper is also just the right height to serve as a step when the tailgate is removed and a person is stepping into the box to sit on the seat.




AMT

We fabricated a rear bumper for the AMT







AMT

Selecting the proper height for the AMT rear bumper




          We also fabricated side rails that we designed to match the look of the rear bumper. They are mounted on the rear box. I have some grinding and filing that remains to be accomplished on the side rails too. They will be painted John Deere Green once they are completed.




AMT

We also fabricated siderails for the AMT




          For years, two planks that spanned the rear box served as our bench seat when transporting people on the F & MV. It was a pretty rough ride if we were going very far. I figured we could take the bench seat idea a step farther. We fabricated a steel seat bottom and braces for a back to the seat. I still have to determine the right height to cut off the braces for the back, buy and cut the plywood and talk my next door neighbor into tackling another one of my upholstery projects. The seat fame will be John Deere Green while the bottom and back will be black like the driver seat and pad.




AMT

New rear seat frame




          I also have started work on fabricating mounting brackets for a pair of hood struts to mount under the box to assist in tilting the bed back to access the battery, engine, clutch etc. All the weight I have added to the box has made it a two person job to tilt the box and I would like it to be a one person job. After all the fabrication work and painting is completed, we will still have the electrical work to complete. It might be a little crazy making all these modifications to the AMT, but it is a fun project and I know she will be one of a kind when she is completed.

          We were gifted a cool long spout oil can for our engine house collection; thank you Marion.




Oil Can

Newly acquired oil can for the engine house collection




          We had No. 582 out on two different weekends during the month and Dave and I both took a great deal of video footage. A new video of No. 582 is in the works and we hope to post it in the next few weeks.




G-16 #582

We shot some new video of G-16 #582 which is being edited and will be posted soon







G-16 #582

Dave runs G-16 #582 during a video shoot




          I am working on the 2014 Arizona and Pacific Railroad annual report and I hope to have it posted by the end of January.

          Happy and safe railroading everybody.




Cactus Bloom

A Devil's Tongue cactus at the A&P RR blooms in December







A&P Visitor

A rabbit inspects the A&P RR turntable












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