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 Post subject: Calendar funds locomotive restoration
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:47 am 
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Location: From Schuylkill County, PA living in Phoenix, AZ
Calendar funds locomotive restoration

By Leslie Richardson
Pottsville Republican & Herald
December 15, 2009

MINERSVILLE - The 2010 Anthracite Steam calendar is right on track.

The calendar, the proceeds from which fund the Railway Restoration Project 113, is now available.

The restoration involves repairing Schuylkill County's official steam locomotive, CNJ Locomotive 113, which is housed in the train depot in Minersville.

Each month of the calendar shows a historic railroad scene, mostly from Schuylkill County. It is sponsored by a local business to defray publishing costs, so the calendar is mostly profit.

The calendar is dedicated to the project volunteers and businesses who, over the years, have contributed to rebuilding the engine.

"We make about $5,000 to $6,000 on the calendar each year," Robert E. Kimmel Jr., project president, said.

According to Kimmel, the project has cost about $500,000. Most of the money has come from grants, private funding and fundraisers like the calendar. The restoration began as a full-time endeavor in 1999. Funding sources include the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Schuylkill River Greenway Association, Alcoa Foundation, First Federal Charitable Foundation and the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

Kimmel said the Schuylkill County Railroad Transport Authority was also a big contributor to the project.

"That is not counting the over 60,000 man hours, most of it unpaid volunteer work," he said.

The expense comes from customized parts that must be built for the train.

"Regular steam engines went out in the 1950s," Kimmel said. "They don't make the parts anymore, so everything has to be customized."

For example, Kimmel said one bolt costs $45 and 1,000 bolts needed to be replaced. Each bolt goes in a sleeve that costs $25 each.

About $100,000 was spent refurbishing the firebox, the area where the fuel is burned - in this case, anthracite coal - producing heat to boil the water in the boiler.

"We are thinking it will be operational by spring," Kimmel said. "When it is operational, it will be the only one burning anthracite coal; most burn bituminous coal."

Kimmel said the engine was actually built for the Central Railroad of New Jersey and was bought by the Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Co., now Reading Anthracite Co., about 1953. It was stored in Locust Summit, outside of Ashland, from 1953 until the 1980s when Kimmel's father, Robert E. Kimmel Sr., bought it and moved it to Minersville.

"I remember my father and grandfather telling me it was out there (in Locust Summit) when I was a little boy and then years later we actually went back to see it," Kimmel said. "The next thing you know, my dad got a hold of it in 1986 and told me 'by the way, you are part owner of the engine.' "

Kimmel said he wasn't as into the idea then as he is now, but he began helping with the restoration project. He said seeing the project almost complete is exciting and the result of much hard work and dedication by many people.

The engine has been hydraulically tested, meaning it was filled with water and then additional water was pumped in to pressurize and check for leaks, and it passed the test.

The cab is being refurbished at Oak Welding, Schuylkill Haven.

Kimmel said he is unsure what the locomotive will be used for when it is fully operational, but he is hoping to use it as a teaching tool regarding the steam-engine era.

Buy a calendar

What: Anthracite Steam Calendar sale

Benefits: CNJ Locomotive Restoration

Cost: $5

Available at: Minersville Borough Hall; Schuylkill County Visitor's Bureau, Pottsville; Stine's Pharmacy Inc., Schuylkill Haven; Fryer's 5&10, Orwigsburg; Lazy Dog Cafe, Minersville

Information:

Call (570)-544-8300;

e-mail rrproject113@hotmail.com

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