Whitcomb Restoration Progress

This 1927 locomotive, donated to LHRy by Public Service Electric & Gas is shown in the photo below hard at work moving a transformer at the Athenia (Clifton) Substation.  It was trucked from Branchburg, NJ to Boonton in 2016 and restoration work began: remains of the deteriorated windows, wood floor and roof, were removed as were three steel cab side panels.  The Caterpillar diesel engine was found to rotate freely and fuel tank was removed and repainted.  A deteriorated key steel structural member under the rear of cab was replaced.  Replacement windows were acquired and new treated wood structural members were acquired and roof “bows” were cut.  Primary volunteers have been Alan Bird, David Lemmo and McKelvey.  We are happy to report that LHRy delegate to URHS and retired PSE&G employee, Dave Lindstrom has joined our effort.  Work, suspended for winter, has resumed:  New logos and names have been acquired.  New grease fittings have been installed on side-rods and all grease points have been recharged.  Many dozens of old rivets have been removed in preparation for replacing the new steel side sheets (on hand); deteriorated steel air piping has been replaced, shop air charged storage tanks on locomotive tested and got working the air brake system, clogged drain valves on both air reservoirs, both sanders and whistle.  A vintage photo of our Whitcomb shows it fitted with a typical skinny, 12″ tall trolley whistle – like the one currently on the GE 45 ton loco “CAPT. BILL” / “WILLIAM” at Boonton.  We tried and rejected an original peanut whistle from a steam crane at the PS Marion generating station as being far too shrill.  We will use a small four-note air whistle from a Hudson & Manhattan RR black car, donated to Capt. Bill by the late Phil Craig.  It is our intention to install McKelvey’s 2/3 size locomotive bell which was mounted on the counter in the Phillipsburg Union Station.  However, it was removed by Friends volunteers when the counter was discarded and they can not now find it.