152 Frame Lift at Kentucky Railway Museum

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“I Love It When A Plan Comes Together!”

Stealing the tagline from a 1980’s TV show, we had a plan and our own “A-Team” on the ground Monday, June 13th for the task of removing the driving wheels and trailing truck from the frame of L&N 152.

KRM member Don Parrish arranged with Buzick Construction of Bardstown, Kentucky for the gracious donation of the use of their 150 ton road crane and the services of operator Greg Figg and his assistant, Jordan Wright.

Several months went into the planning and prep for Monday’s lift. KRM Shop Manager Jeri Burks devised a method of securing an unused tender truck to the rear of the frame to replace the trailing truck and allow it to be able to move in and out of the shop as needed. He also fabricated drawbars for both the shop truck and 152’s existing pilot truck that allowed them to be handled by our 10 ton Plymouth.

Saturday and Sunday before the lift, we moved the frame and drivers into place, removed the binders that support the bottom of each driver pedestal opening, and installed steel rods through existing holes in the bottom of all the driving boxes to keep them from rotating out and falling to the ground.

On Monday morning, once the crane was completely set up, volunteer Nick Shopa assisted in the rigging of the straps and did a great job as our crane director for the rest of the lift. Several small test lifts were performed and adjustments made to the rigging to get the center of gravity exactly right, since the frame is extremely front heavy. Utilizing the built-in load cells on the crane, Greg advised that the actual weight of the frame without the drivers, boxes, and trailing truck was 58.6 tons, or 117,200 lbs., well within the capability of their machine. We had attempted a lift several months back using our 40-ton ex-US Army rail crane, but quickly discovered it wasn’t up to the task of lifting the frame by itself.

The following KRM volunteers worked in various important roles throughout the long weekend, lifting parts, turning wrenches, staging pallets and tools, tagging components, operating equipment, rolling driving wheels into the shop, or videotaping and photographing the event:

Mike Kley, Mike Wingfeld, James Hamilton, Charlie Buccola, Elmer Kappell, Luke Stottman, Maison Young, Chris Brandt, Ernie Reed, Dwayne Miller, Tim Nelson, Alex Kannapel, Ray Temple, David Leo, Mark Johnson, Ernie Reed, Channing Young, Lewis Hicks, and Rob Minton.

What’s next? We will pressure wash and clean the wheels and driving boxes to prep them for evaluation to determine exactly what work needs to be performed to return them to service. We will be utilizing Jason Sobczynski (CMO at Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation) and his company, Next Generation Rail Solutions, to provide this evaluation. Once this is complete, we will be starting the bidding process to contract out the work for all the major components of the locomotive (the boiler, running gear, and wheels), per the process required by our 2019 TAP grant award.

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