I am very appreciative of the documentation of the different locomotives restorations! I find myself automatically checking the blog every monday morning before I have to leave for school. I understand that the people in the steam dept. are unsure about which of the locomotives will be operational first, but what locomotives are planned for an eventual mechanical restoration to operating service?
I've heard mentions of plans to re-activate Tuskegee #101 into operational status as well as ComEd #5. Out of pure curiosity, which locomotives in the IRM collection are in a "Serviceable" state, and could qualify for mechanical restoration and operation?
I am always pleased to hear that the blog entries are of interest.
The apparently simple question of which steam locomotives could be made operational is really far from simple. Our immediate priority is 1630 followed by Shay #5.
As regards other locomotives one simple answer is that almost any steam locomotive can be restored .... given sufficient money and time. In practical terms we have very limited funds and rely on volunteers most of whom can only spend a few days each month at the museum. Within those constraints the focus has to be upon locomotives whose boilers are structurally sound enough to pass the 15 year inspection or can be made so with limited effort (such as the corner patch on 1630).
The other consideration is size. Some of the larger locomotives may actually be very sound but are far too large to operate economically within the museum so there is no intention of restoring these ....... unless someone were prepared to sponsor on a scale that would support a permanent staff and excursion running.
#101 and #5 have, I believe, run at IRM so clearly are restorable. Both however demonstrate another issue that impacts all plans to run a steam locomotive today. Regulations are now a great deal more demanding than they were when these were last run so both would require a substantial program of work. The drive at present is get steam operational by focusing on the locomotives that we believe we can get running most quickly with the resources we have then consider what others could reasonably be tackled.