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BCK #43 - 2018 Updates


BUFFALO CREEK #43
ALCO HH660

Updates 2018
by Scott H.

March - April 2018

This spring in WNY has been miserable to work outdoors. Since the first of January, we have had only four decent Mondays to work outside in Hamburg. However, on March 26th, Rick Burns and I did get a lot accomplished inside the BSOR shop. We were able to use the railroads 12 ton crimper to assemble electrical cables.

On a great day in April, we re-installed the two cleaned fuel injectors on prime mover with new oil rings. The high and low pressure fuel lines went right back into their fittings without a problem. Over the winter, Rick and I designed a compression tester tool which Rick assembled with fittings he had at home.

We want to get a reference point to see if all six cylinders hold pressure for about the same length of time. The process is pretty simple. Using a gasoline motor compressor, we put 100psi of air into the cylinder through the tester into a cylinder port. After pre-lubing the engine, we barred the crankshaft to move the piston to top dead center on the power stroke so that all four valves were closed. When the gauge reaches 100psi, the valve is closed and we time how long it takes to leak down to 50psi.

No one knows how many hard working hours are on the prime mover since its last overhaul, so we are just looking to see if we have a problem with any of the cylinders. With over 5 hours of total running time on the engine since July 2016, we do not anticipate any serious issues.

While Rick and I worked on top of the locomotive, Bob Martin applied his carpentry skills to repair our old saw horses. Jim Long spent the afternoon scraping crud off the traction motors underneath the engine.


May 2018

The Buffalo Southern Railroad (BSOR) has contracted with  "Delta Railroad Construction, Inc."  to replace 2000 ties along its 32 miles of track. One of our crew members, Robert Martin, was on hand to photograph one days work on May 2nd. The ROW under the small service road behind BC#43 had sunk and needed 10 new ties to bring it back to grade level. A "Cat M318" made short work of removing the old dirt and stone fill.

As the excavator uncovered the old ties, it became readily apparent how deteriorated they had become. All of Deltas' equipment is first class and their like new  "Nordco" Tie Remover/Inserter  was very impressive. The operator was able to quickly remove the rotted ties and install new ones which the crew later spotted along the crossing with their Cat M318.

The "Nordco" Tie Remover/Inserter removed a few of the ties in one piece but most of them splintered into pieces which the crew removed by hand. Once the roadbed was clear, the inserter grabbed a new tie and the skillful operator worked it under the rails. When all the new ties were in place, the Delta gang lifted the rail and reinserted the tie plates.

After all the tie plates were inserted, the crew went to work using a pneumatic spiker. The guage of the railhead was check numerous times to ensure that they had 4'-8 1/2" between the rails. When all the ties were secure, a load of ballast was dumped and spread to complete the job. We are not sure how the service road will be completed.

On May 7th, with freezing weather behind us, we again filled the cooling system. We ran 175 feet of hose from the "ArtCraft Toy Trains" depot to the locomotive and in less than an hour had filled the system, or so we thought. In less than an hour, there was no water in the expansion tank. No water was leaking so where did it go? After numerous system checks, we found the water pump was parked just at the right spot to block the outlet port and only allowing a trickle of water into the block.
After rotating the engine crankshaft a quarter turn, the water began to flow. As hoped, again we had no leaks. Our thanks go to Rick Fisher from ArtCraft Trains for allowing us to "borrow" the 285 gallons of water needed.

The rest of May was spent cleaning winter grime from the locomotive and securing cables under the frame with custom made wooden insulation clamps. The 5/8" hanger bolts on the frame had to be straightened and the threads "chased" with a thread cutter. Jim Long did a great job scraping crud from the frame and then priming and painting all the new hardware and clamps we needed. He and Bob also added four newly fabricated wire rope hangers.

June 2018

In May we had to shift our focus from #43 to our other work site just down the tracks. The Society was informed that we needed to move our 1896 NYC Wood Caboose and the 1910 Michigan Central Baggage/RPO off of the siding property just down the track from BC #43 and PRR #4483. On June 5th, I went down there and took notes of what needed to be done before the cars could be moved. On June 12th, Rick B. and Bob M. went down with a chain saw and loppers to start getting the trees and brush away from the cars so people can gain access to them. A second attack was performed on the 19th with still a lot more clearing to go.

On Saturday June 23rd, another work party broke through jungle. A huge thank you has to go out to Don and Barb Owens for recruiting Caryl Youngers and Paul Mayer for their extra effort in getting the rest of the clearing done. Caryl had a "brush wacker" with a steel blade while Don and Paul used chain saws on the saplings. Barb followed up with lopping shears clearing vines and entangled branches. I went down again on the 25th just to polish up some of the piles of cuttings that would get in the way. We now have a 3 foot wide access path down the entire length of our cars.

The Society is now awaiting quotes from several vendors as to the cost of trucking the cars from Hamburg to the Heritage DiscoveRY Center at 100 Lee Street in Buffalo.

July 2018

July 2nd was spent taking care of minor details on the clamps under the locomotive. We also made a short trip down the tracks to our storage site to get some materials. The BSOR was informed in June that the "James E Strates" Fair Train would be arriving early and that they needed to make room to store the over 45 flat cars from the train.

We were very anxious for our first start up of the year so on July 9th we decided to try the fully charged 12 used batteries we had on board. Once we had the engine pre-lubed and barred over, we pulled the six compression plugs on the cylinders. The prime mover seemed to roll over easily as we held the start button. The compression plugs replaced and the fuel pump was turned on. "Thunk..thunk.......thunk..............thunk, was all we got. Sadly, not enough reserve power in the batteries for the engine to catch, we had to try!

So a call was put out to our awesome friends at the Buffalo Southern Railroad to see when they could fit us into their schedule. Pat C. said that Saturday, July 28th looked good so we said we'll take it!

July 16th turned into scorcher with high humidity at 90' so very little work was accomplished.

Saturday, July 28 turned out to be beautiful day under partly cloudy skies at 73'. The four of us arrived early to prelube the prime mover and remove the weather covers from the radiators, fan and electrical cabinet. Since our last jump start up was on October 21st, 2017, we were ready at the governor control rod to add extra diesel fuel if needed. Pat Connors arrived at 9:00am sharp and connected his jumper cables to the battery switch on  BSOR #100 a 1945 ALCO-S2.  We connected the other ends to the negitive side of our battery switch and to 64 volts on the positive side of our battery bank. After letting #100 charge our batteries for five minutes Rick Burns hit the starter switch. After six quick "thunks" the engine came to life!

Since the cylinders had not fired for almost 9 months, a lot of fuel and oil had collected in the cylinders so for the first five minutes we had quite an ALCO smoker! When the engine had warmed up to 150 degrees, it ran smooth and quiet with no smoke at all. With the Battery Ampmeter reading 20 amps we turned on the air compressor until it shut off at 95 psi and tested the brakes.

Last October, we only had two traction motors fully connected, this year all four were ready to get energized. We were all cautiously optimistic that we were ready to move.......

Pat jumped into the engineers seat and gave the throttle a pull...... the prime mover sped up and the traction motor relay pulled in, but nothing else happened. We pulled the cover from the big relay and touched up the contacts and tried again moving the Forward/Reverse Controller as well. This time the  "+/-" generator relays  pulled in but again no movement. Their contacts were cleaned up and we gave it another shot. As Pat pulled the throttle, a shudder was felt by all, we had moved!
Reverse first for a few feet and then Pat tried forward, nothing. Reverse again for another few feet but again no forward movement. One more time in reverse and again forward and we were moving! With each forward/reverse move, the oxidation on the controller, the relays and the commutators on the traction motors was removed and the throttle response immediate.

For over two hours we burned up almost 15 gallons of diesel fuel as we happily ran back and forth on the 80 feet of siding between PRR I1sa #4483 and the BSOR Jordan Spreader. I'd be remiss if I did not thank again the Buffalo Southern Railroad management for all their help in bringing us to this point in the restoration of #43. Pat Connors from the BSOR has always been willing to lend his time and advice to help us be successful. Thank You Pat!

The WNYRHS greatly appreiciates all the generous donations to this project to date. However, we could still use your help! All Donations to the WNYRHS are Tax-Deductable! If you would like to mail in a donation, send it to

WNYRHS Inc., PO Box 416, Buffalo, New York 14231-0416

         or Click the PayPal Button to make a Secure Electronic Donation. THANK YOU!




This page was last updated: July 28th, 2018

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