With the thread on updating the DRR underway, and since not much of significance has hapened on the line for a while, I thought I'd post just a quick update on a few items of note:
As many of you know, the Ward Kimball has been MIA for a number of months now. The main problem the engine was having was that it's throttle lever was set too low. What was occuring was that when the throttle was opened to let steam into the cylinders, water from the boiler was going in as well--not a good thing. There were also ergonomic issues with the way the throttle lever in the cab was laid out.
These issues have been rectified, and I understand the engine has been operated several times in the early morning and late night hours. Apparently, things are functioning much better now. Polishing the engine has begun to get her presentable to Disneyland guests once more.
This is all well and good, because the Fred Gurley has been on her last legs for some time now. She is scheduled to go down December 11 for a MAJOR overhaul, set up in phases. Phase one will be a complete, top-to-bottom disassembly of the engine. The contract to perform this phase was awarded to a company called Mission Tool, up in the Bay area (the engine isn't traveling there; this first phase will happen in the Disney roundhouse). While undergoing disassembly, workers will note all worn and bad parts that will either need to be repaired or replaced. This phase is set to go through January.
The Gurley will receive several new components right off the bat during this rebuild: She will get a new cab, new tender tank and new trailing truck (the set of four wheels at the back of the engine). This truck, incidentally, is the same kind used on several of the DRR passenger cars; it was never meant for use on a locomotive, and this has caused stress and cracking in the engine's frame. A new, proper truck was built a couple years ago--but it was tagged to be installed under the Ward Kimball, where it is today.
Once the line goes down in February for track maintenance, the Kimball will have new valves and piping installed in her cab.
So there you have it: All the DRR news that's fit to print. All aboard!