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The story begins on an Evergreen International Airlines Boeing 747-100F, registered N475EV. The aircraft had recently been converted to a freighter for the use of charter operator Evergreen. On December 12th, 1991, the plane was flying from New York JFK Airport to Tokyo, stopping in Anchorage, when the crew noticed a failure warning on the inertial navigation system (INS).
The flight was carrying six crew and cruising at 31,000ft over the Canadian province of Ontario. Upon noticing the INS warning, the crew rechecked their instruments and noticed a shocking change. The 747 had banked 90 degrees to the right, and was descending at an alarming angle that was as steep as 30-35 degrees.
This uncontrolled descent caused the aircraft to accelerate rapidly and fall over 10,000 feet before the pilots could regain control. The 747 stabilized at 22,500ft before the crew landed safely in Duluth, Minnesota. According to the Aviation Safety Network, this touchdown was completed safely, with no injuries.
Our Steam Department volunteers had a very busy end of 2022 working on the restoration of Southern Pacific steam locomotive #1744 while also working on other projects around the shop including the annual inspections of Skookum #7 and Clover Valley Lumber Co. #4. Here are a series of photographs that highlight some of the work undertaken on the 1744 during the fourth quarter of 2022. Please look for new updates coming soon in 2023!
Our Steam Department volunteers had a very busy end of 2022 working on the restoration of Southern Pacific steam locomotive #1744 while also working on other projects around the shop including some infrastructure work, maintenance items on Skookum #7 and Clover Valley Lumber Co. #4, and continuing to move parts of SP #2479 from Santa Clara to Niles Canyon. Here are a series of photographs that highlight some of the work undertaken on the 1744 and around the shop during the fourth quarter of 2022. Please look for new updates coming soon in 2023!
The Pacific Locomotive Association, the owner and operator of our Niles Canyon Railway, was initially founded as a group to be able to organize and run trips behind the then disappearing steam locomotive. While the group quickly shifted into railway preservation in the late 1960s, it never lost its trip operating roots.
Our Build East track construction crew continues their monthly work to extend our Niles Canyon Railway track eastward toward the City of Pleasanton. Our track already extends several miles east of our Sunol depot and our crews are continuing to both relay new track along with hardening and surfacing currently installed track.
The crew typically volunteers the first Saturday of every month with some volunteers doing prep work (adding ballast, setting stakes, positioning materials, etc.) the Friday before. On November 5, 2022, the crew had a great day leveling, hardening and surfacing into the last long curve before the current end of track at Happy Valley Road Bridge. Here are a series of photographs from some of the work that took place that day.
Originally built in 1923, steam locomotive #2479 pulled passenger trains for the Southern Pacific Railroad finishing its career in commute service between San Francisco and San Jose. In 1958, locomotive 2479 was donated for display at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. For the past 30 years, the locomotive has been undergoing an extensive restoration effort by volunteers of the California Trolley and Railroad Corporation (CTRC).
The volunteers at CTRC spent the last 9 months preparing these items for transport, including separating the boiler from the undercarriage, something that rarely happens to a steam locomotive. The professional at Steam Services of America were brought in to plan the locomotive and tender disassembly, and then to oversee the work of getting the pieces safely loaded onto the trucks, transported to Niles Canyon, and reassembled. In order for this to all happen in the four-day window the experts at Renn Transportation and Peninsula Crane & Rigging were brought in to plan the lifting of these massive pieces and transporting them over the highway to Niles Canyon.
The Pacific Locomotive Association would like to express its heartfelt thanks to all the folks who worked so tirelessly and efficiently on this project. The crews from Renn Transportation and Peninsula Crane & Rigging, the crew from Steam Services of America, and the volunteers from both the CTRC and the PLA/NCRy who made this all happen.
The test was successful with only some minor items to address in the shop which have since been completed. This is a steam engine after all! With #4 back on the road, the Steam Department along with the Operations Department have decided to use the #4 on two of our upcoming ride dates in July. The engine is planned to power the Sunday, July 10th and the Sunday, July 17th rides out of Sunol. Diesel power will hold down the Saturday dates for July and for the rest of the summer.
With the wheels out of the frame and the tires removed (read our blog post on the removal), the wheel centers needed to be turned to true up the circumference so the new tires fit properly, the thrust bearings on the back of the wheels replaced and the axle bearings trued up. In addition, cracks found in the wheels needed to be repaired before the wheels were turned.
The PLA does not have the machine tools to do this work thus a Request For Quote(RFQ) was sent out to four reputable steam locomotive restoration contractors to seek their help in performing the work. After discussing the project with each firm and reviewing their quotes, PLA decided to contract with Stockton Locomotive Works (SLW) to do the driving wheel work.
The Pacific Locomotive Association, Inc. the operators of the Niles Canyon Railway in conjunction with the American Cancer Society are hosting the 11th Annual Niles Canyon Railway Team Event Fundraiser on Sunday, April 24th, 2022. The train and crew are being donated by the Niles Canyon Railway once again for this event where all proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the American Cancer Society. Come ride our rails in support of the Relay for Life for this one day special set of diesel powered excursions. 1e1e36bf2d