Only 2 axles can be removed at one time using the wheel drop. Based upon the condition of the 4 boxes that we currently have out it would be very surprising if major work were not required on the other 4.
There will always be talk about future options. However, as I hope is clear from the blog, our absolute focus is on getting 1630 operational as soon as possible.
I do not believe there is value in progressng anything not currently in the shop until 1630 is running.
Are there any favorites among the choices? I can tell the main focus is 1630. I recall seeign a U.S. Navy 0-4-0 stripped and was "the shop formans favorite" so what can you tell me about that little engine?
Hopefully when we get beyond 1630 we can make some decisions based upon how useful the locomotive would be and how much / what type of work it needs.
Many people have favorites which may not make for good decisions. The other thing which has changed greatly since the 1990's is the standards that must be followed. For example the need to carry out a costly boiler strip and examination every 15 years no matter how little it has been used is a big barrier to overhauling little used locomotives.
The 0-4-0 is a pretty little machine and probably not too difficult to overhaul but has little obvious use aside from demonstration so probably not a great candidate.
I know this is blue sky/wishful thinking, but has anyone approached BNSF about restoring a road engine for Midwest steam excursions, similar to the deal Norfolk Southern made this year? Perhaps a predecessor road's locomotive like the CB&Q 3007? It's not as big or heavy as the ATSF 2903 so would not encounter as many restrictions routewise, but still capable of pulling more cars & passengers than the Zephyr (and hats off to the Diesel Dept. for that spectacular success!)
On a blue sky basis I would love to see one of the big locomotives restored for excursion service and 3007 appeals to me as attractive and different from other large locomotives in service BUT ..
Establishing the structure for such a venture would require enormous volunteer effort that would need to largely separate from the museum. It is far from clear that the museum would derive much from it.
Practical issues would include where to get passenger cars, where to base (it is not at all sure that getting a large locomotive out of Union for excursions is cheap or simple), where to restore (the current steam shop is not well structured for a loco that big) and .........
Any viable proposal to a sponsor would need a lot of feasability planning by a capable team to demonstrate a sound business plan thru restoration to operation.