More progress to report as our steam shop guys and Steam Services of America official contractors; work hard at the final stages of restoration. The flue tubes of the boiler are being installed. We have exclusive video from the shop of the installs courtesy of our shop guys. Enjoy!
It’s official, #1702 will return to service this summer! Read the official press release from GSMR below, or view it on GSMR’s website here: http://bit.ly/1pvO1LD Tickets are on sale now!
#1702 Steam Engine Makes a Triumphant
Return to the Smokies!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bryson City, NC – After long awaited anticipation Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (GSMR) is excited to announce that the historic #1702 Steam Engine will return for the 2016 excursion season! Thanks to the innovative private/public partnership between Swain County Commissioners, Tourism Development Authority Board, and GSMR, #1702 is revived and ready to roll on the rails! Booking is now available!
Steam excursions will depart from the historic Bryson City Depot beginning July 22nd with a variety of options. Throughout the season 39 excursions will follow the Nantahala Gorge route and 22 excursions will follow the Tuckasegee River route. All general excursions will offer the full variety of seating options including our most popular First Class seating. Before departure, passengers may arrive early to enjoy a meet and greet with one of GSMR’s star conductors along with the engine crew. As it prepares for its journey, #1702 will be on display allowing for photos opportunities and an up close and personal view of the impressive equipment.
On board, passengers will enjoy interacting with staff and hearing about various historical points and interesting facts about #1702. All steam excursion passengers will receive a commemorative #1702 souvenir ticket and lapel pin to celebrate the locomotive’s return to the rails! These items are one of a kind and not sold in our retail store. Upon return to Bryson City, a live demonstration of the turn-table will also be on exhibit. A few lucky guests will be selected each day to be an active participant in the manual turning of the locomotive!
In addition to the regular excursion schedule, #1702 will also be leading six special event trains. The popular, family friendly Fontana Trestle Train featuring BBQ & Brews service and THE POLAR EXPRESS train ride will be operating with the steam engine on select dates! #1702 will also pull two new event trains in 2016: the Railroad Reserve, a wine and rail pairing dinner train; and the Photo Special, an 8-hour roundtrip excursion to the Nantahala Gorge departing from Dillsboro NC, stopping for two run by photo opportunities and a short steam shop tour.
This historic season has been years in the making as official restoration began in May of 2014. Under the guidance of Project Manager Steve Jackson and the official boiler contractor, Robert Franzen of Steam Services of America, GSMR in house shop workers have worked tirelessly to meet the summer deadline. GSMR owner, Al Harper, is personally thrilled to see this massive project reach completion. Harper says, “2016 is going to be a banner year for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Steam is coming alive! Engine #1702 will once again be a super star on our tracks offering numerous excursions for all our guests to ride. The personnel of GSMR have done a tremendous job in making one of my personal dreams come true.”
Booking is now available for the variety of steam powered options. Pricing and details can be found at http://www.gsmr.com or by calling 1-800-872-4681.
Exciting news from the steam shop! After months and months of work the FINAL STAYBOLT was completed! The last of the 1,175 staybolt was finished this past Tuesday and the guys were certainly excited to check that task off the list!
Here are some videos courtesy of Brian and Marshall.
There has been great progress with the tender. The inside has been cleaned and prepped for paint. The air and steam gauges have been sent off to be calibrated, and it will be prepped for a new wheel set. Pressure testing was completed and it passed with no leaks!
Say hello to Tony and Eli! These guys have been working on the compressor. It has been stripped and the cylinders have been honed. They are checking the gauges in the compressor to make sure they are still round. The valves have been measure determined the clearances.
The tubes and flues were delivered from Germany. Next expected to be delivered are the ferrules, which are the copper rings that are placed around the tubes and flues to seal.
Also arrived are the new injectors. The power reverse has been removed for cleaning and it was tested last week – it’s good to go!
The shop received a flue roller from our sister railroad D&SNGRR. This will be used to install the flues, which should begin next month!
Buddy has begun working on the cab carpentry. New beadboard will be replaced throughout the interior. The exterior has received some deserved attention. A lot of the rough patches and holes are being filled in, welded or bonded over to create a new fresh and smooth surface.
Our last exciting arrivals are the builder plates! These are casts of the original plates, and will be one of the final pieces placed on the engine before it’s set to return to the rails!
Happy New Year! We are back after a bit of break in blogging. Trust us, the work has still continued! With the anticipation of our 2016 Summer Steam Engine return, the shop has been working harder than ever getting 1702 ready!
Over the last 2-months the focus has been the staybolt work. Almost all the rigid staybolts have been completed and the guys are waiting on the delivery of the flexible staybolts so they can finish up.
You can really see the difference!
Needle scaling the tender is all but completed. As of yesterday a few of the shop guys were cleaning out the last bit of old epoxy. The fuel tank has been pumped to remove the old oil. In the coming weeks two of the wheels on the tender will be replaced and there are a few spots on in the inside that will need to be patched!
A few months ago the boiler was tested and a few low spots were revealed. Those have been repaired. The boiler tubes are also making there way to the shop within the coming days.
An exciting new addition in the steam shop – the 1702 cab! It was moved inside a few weeks ago so its repairs could begin. It will need to be cleaned, patched and repainted – plus a few more minor repairs to make it ready to occupy again!
The throttle valve has also made an appearance. Its being prepped for some minor repairs and lapping.
We hope you all had a great holiday! Thanks for following along on this journey with us. We are getting closer and closer to the summer debut – we hope you’ll join us!
A great big thank you to all who joined us for the Steam Shop Tour during RailFest weekend! It was such a great success, with many out of state guests joining us along with locals, whose excitement was only fueled by the chance to see the progress.
#1702 was on full display along with, the steam shop, #777 diesel engine, and if you notice, a small replica engine that we repainted and displayed just in time! This little green guy will be placed in Bryson City beside our historic depot and will be a great photo op!
Here are a few fantastic captures of the engine. Photographer Charles Hardin was kind enough to share these great images. Enjoy!
The shop guys were happy to host everyone for the afternoon, and really enthused by all the questions everyone had. After a nice holiday weekend they were back at it! The biggest project has been fitting the interior sheets in the boiler. All but one sheet has been placed inside and the contractors have been working to get them set. A door sheet had to be removed so it could be realigned.
New bolts for the steam pipe on both sides have been installed!
Joe has been working on the lathe making some much needed tools. All the belly brace bolts are completed, and he just finished up on a new welding fixture for the flexible staybolt sleeves.
After months of hard work we are happy to say that the turntable has been set. Although this doesn’t complete the entire project this is a major advancement! Enjoy some photos from today’s setting.
Project Manager, Tom Falicon was able to push the very first full rotation of the table!
In addition to our exciting Steam Shop Tour taking place during the RailFest celebration, the turntable will be open for viewing and photos. Tom Falicon will be present to answer questions! Visit the turntable site behind the GSMR parking lot on Saturday Sept. 5, 9-10AM & 3:30 – 4PM!
The steam shop has been busy with the latest rounds of sheet work.
They are fitting, reforming, trimming and reaming the side sheets. A few of the sheets have been placed inside the boiler so that they can be properly marked and grounded for the best fit. A new contractor, Gary, has been working alongside the team for the past few weeks.
Joe has been busy on the engine lathe making new belly brace bolts.
Brian and Marshal were also able to craft some formers for the boiler plate.
There are still tickets available for the Steam Shop Tour and the guys are looking forward to showing everyone around! If you haven’t made your reservation you should. This will be the first ever specialty Steam Shop Tour hosted during RailFest, we’d like for all of our steam patrons to join us if you can!
Steam Shop Tour got your attention? Keep reading for a special announcement!
Steady progress continues at the shop this month! The new door sheet has been returned from its heat treatment. It is ready to be sandblasted and installed. The flu sheet has also been heat treated and is now waiting be polished and sandblasted. Work continues with the stay bolt holes on the top wrapper sheet as well.
The ultra sound thickness test was conducted on the boiler shell and everything was in tolerance! Another step forward!
The guys took on a tedious 2 day project with one of the water glass valves that needed to be re threaded. Thanks to Marshal for the before and after photos showing the valve in the process of being tig welded below:
We are really excited for the upcoming RailFest 2015 celebration. Although the #1702 won’t be ready for its debut we will be prepping for an exclusive STEAM SHOP TOUR! So if you have enjoyed following the blog, now is your chance to see all the progress in person! Find all the details HERE. Better book fast! There will be a limited number of seats available and it is limited to ages 12 and up only. We look forward to seeing you in September!
Here is the latest from the Project Manager Tom Falicon on the Bryson City turntable :
The turntable concrete is COMPLETE!
As usual, the work was tough but both the Swain County and the GSMR crews were up to the task. Next step is to back-fill the outer ring wall as well as install the inspection pit and the storm water runoff system. After the surrounding earth has been cut down to actual grade, Concrete aprons will be poured around the inspection pit as well as the outer circumference of the turntable.
We’re planning on a 150 ton and a 90 ton crane being brought in towards the middle of August to do the job. The turntable was primed and painted, and it’s now ready for it’s trip across the parking lot and into the pit.
The two cranes required for the task are scheduled for Monday August 31st to make the parking lot move and Tuesday September 1st for the setting of the table into the pit. In the mean time, back-filling and compacting of the outer pit wall will continue and a bulldozer will be brought in to lower the earth to the proper grade and also make things more presentable for our Railfest 2015 Celebration!
It’s been pretty steamy down at the steam shop with all the elevated temperatures and welding. We hope you’re staying cool!
Marshal and Brian have continued the steady work on the staybolt holes and Tim is back in the Tender needle scaling. Marshal has installed a temporary walking board, as they should begin to work on the top wrapper sheet this week.
The new piece of the throat sheet has finally been installed and it was quite the beast to get in! The fit was perfect.
Joe has been on the engine lathe fabricating the bushings for the washout plugs.
We’ve got a short update for this week! Most of the work has been centered on drilling the new staybolt holes. As of Tuesday they had drilled well over 1000 holes.
The new piece of the throat sheet was returned with the 8-degree bend needed and the holes for the flexible staybolts have been drilled.
Marshall has been working on readying the section where the new throat sheet piece will be placed.