New Locomotive - part 5 - Assembly
Many more weeks of work have been done, and now it is time to see things as they begin to take their final shapes.
Let’s start from the back, where some of the really heavy work has been done — fitting the completed engine assembly down into the frame. This shows the back of the tender area from right side. You can see the black air reservoir next to the radiaor.
The components of the fluid drive system have had custom shafting created to tie in to the clutch and final drive assemblies. You can just see the final drive shaft at the bottom of the picture. The pulleys and cog belt will complete that assembly.
Here’s the left side of the engine, which sits behind the engineer in the tender portion. You can see the large air compressor (light blue) and air piping. Just like full sized steam engines, this locomotive relies on compressed air systems for its braking.
Looking further forward, the steam dome and sand dome are completed, and the iconic diamond smokestack is also finished. The boiler jacket (the large shiny steel areas) and trim are all done, and ready to disassemble for a trip to the paint shop.
The builders plates are shown in place, curved to fit snugly to the smokebox. Notice the ornate brass flag standards and supports for the large headlight. The Mason locomotive designs were notable for their fancywork. Later locomotives were much more utilitarian in their design.
After months and months of work, the engine frame is lowered onto the driving wheel assembly and the tender truck, to check for precise fit and finish. The locomotive is then rolled back and forth without power a number of times, checking for proper suspension movement and other clearances.
Next, they remove all the accessories, trim, air tanks, air line plumbing, and drive train components, then they’ll move the frame/boiler assembly to another building for sand blasting.
It’s very exciting to see our dream getting so close to being a live locomotive!