Southern Pacific 1218

Metal Work Of All Kinds

At some point, the 1218 was the victim of a collision with a hopper car.  I don't know about damage to the hopper but the 1218 probably came out second best.  The hand rails on the fireman's side were mangled and the battery box was torn open.  The hand rails are made of 1 by 3 flat steel and heavy wall pipe.  We were able to straighten the flat steel but the pipe was beyond repair so new pipe was purchased.  The bent sections were cut out of the battery box, straightened and then welded back in.  The final touch was a new battery box door.

Burrell, Ca.
Jannuary 3, 2001
Evan Werkema Photo

Burrell, Ca.
February 2, 1998
R.H. Lehmuth Photo
H.P.Wise Collection

One of the spring pads was missing from the rear of the left front truck.  It was likely knocked out during a derailment and appeared to have been missing for a long time.  We fabricated a new one and installed it with the aid of a 50 ton jack.

The deck material on the 1218 is a 1/4" thick anti-slip material called "diamond plate".  The plate lays on top of the frame which is a solid block of steel, 3 inches thick.  Water accumulates between the plate and the deck and results in rust which destroys the plate.  There were a few places on the front deck where the plate was actually rusted complete through.  We elected to replace it all.  We had to cut what seemed like a thousand feet of weld and then needle gun the frame surface to get rid of the rust.

Many of the hand rails and grab irons were bent and one had to be built new because of the collision with the hopper car some years ago.  We used a variety of methods to straighten the rails, including a chain hoist, a hydraulic pipe bender suspended from the fork lift and the good old oxyacetylene torch.   Our blacksmith Joe Mann modified a hand rail salvaged from a scrap Alco RSD1.  It was rather amazing to see the way he rearranged the bends and made it fit.

The steps on the front end of the 1218 were in terrible shape.  The locomotive had been derailed any number of times and the front sheet metal suffered from that abuse.  It was necessary to completely remove the stairs on both sides, straighten the steel sheets in a hydraulic press and put it all back together with new bolts and fresh welds.  The front beam on the left side needed to be straightened with the help of a 50 ton hydraulic jack held in position by our hydraulic crane.  The left front piece of 1/2" plate was so mangled that it was replaced.

The lower 4" of sheet metal on the hood were in dire need of replacement due to rust between it and the hood frame. 

Federal law requires that there be an end plate which extends across both rails and that it be no closer than 3" and no further than 6" from the top of the rail.  We bought 2 pieces of 3/8" plate and attached them in the appropriate places.  The new end sheets will be pretty much covered by the foot boards when they are installed.

Foot boards were outlawed on diesel locomotives used in switching service after September 30, 1978.   Our experience is that if use of foot boards is prohibited, they may be present for historic purposes.  So, we elected to built a set for the 1218.  The brackets are 1" thick steel, 4" wide, each with a 90 degree bend.  Want to try to find someone to bend 1" steel plate?  One would think that the greater San Francisco Bay Area would have a company with this capacity but, no such luck.  So, the cheap, do it yourself approach was used.  And in hind sight, it was pretty easy.  Each piece was secured to our blacksmith table and heated with a rosebud tip.  When the proper degree of red was reached, a wrench with cheater was applied to the free end of the steel and a strong pull downward resulted in a nice clean bend.  It is amazing what can be done with heat and leverage!

More To Come!