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In previous installments of the Fred Gurley story, we looked at the engine's early history on a Louisiana sugar plantation (link: Part One), and followed her through her rebuilding by Disney in the late 1950s (link: Part Two). We also began to detail her more recent years (link: Part Three), including an exclusive look at her rebuilding in 2007 and 2008. We now continue with the Gurley Story.


On April 10, 2007, Phase Two was awarded to Paul Boschan, President of Boschan Boiler & Restorations, Inc. in Carson, CA. Tom Gazsi notes that Boschan "really won the prize of the job--the rebuild.  Paul is a capable man and has a strong reputation in the boiler and restoration field." Longtime readers and Disney fans may recall that Paul Boschan's company rebuilt the Ward Kimball in 2005.

This time, unlike with the Ward Kimball project, Boschan knew to a "T" what needed to be done, and he also knew about Disneyland's sometimes-peculiar way of doing things. As a professional boilermaker, he performed a boiler survey, and determined that a new boiler would be required. Boschan, a licensed professional boilermaker, built a brand-new boiler to meet stringent state and federal boiler codes.

One of Boschan's crew works on the Fred Gurley's newly constructed
boiler in September 2007. Photo courtesy Matt Walker.

Several other components would need to be completely rebuilt as well. The Park's mill re-created the engine's cab down to the last detail. Boschan's shop built a new swing bolster truck would be installed to eliminate the frame stress that had caused the cracking noted earlier (a swing bolster truck had previously been constructed for the Gurley, but was instead used on the Ward Kimball).

The new "swing bolster" rear truck (wheel set) that will
support the Gurley's tender. Photo courtesy Matt Walker.

A close-up of one of the tender wheels. The journal (bearing) cover bears the impression "Lovsted, Seattle" (inset lower right). This is the company Disney Imagineer Bob Gurr contracted with to supply locomotive hardware when the trains were built. While Lovsted is out of business, Disney still has enough surplus parts on hand for projects like this. Photo courtesy Matt Walker.

New drivers were cast at Vancouver Iron & Steel in Portland, Oregon, from wooden patterns created by Gary Martin of Martin Model and Pattern, also in Portland. These wooden patterns were pushed into a bed of moist sand, and then removed, leaving impressions of the spoked driver in the sand. Then, molten steel was poured in and allowed to cool. The results are a perfect driver center needing just some machining to clean it up.

The patterns used to create these wheel centers were the same ones used to make the Ward Kimball's wheels--but because the Gurley is built to the same design specifications as the Kimball, this was acceptable.

A newly cast wheel center for the Fred Gurley. It still needs minor machining. Molten lead will be poured into the three small holes on the left to add weight to the counterweight portion (which offsets the weight of the engine's side rods). Photo courtesy Matt Walker.

New tires were also made (yes, steam locomotives have tires, albeit made of steel!) These steel tires are made just slightly smaller than the driver center. To put them on, the tires are heated with a gas flame, so that they expand. Then, they're slid onto the driver center. When the tires cool, they shrink solidly to the driver.

Daniel Vazquez prepares to lower one of the Fred Gurley driver centers into the tire, which has expanded through the use of a fire ring. Once the tire cools, it will shrink solidly onto the driver center.

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2008 Steve DeGaetano

A Different look at Disney...
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