California Trolley & Railroad Corporation (CTRC)
Preserving the historical heritage of railroading and trolleys in the Santa Clara Valley of California.

Posting Pullup - 2015

Looking Back - 2015

At times, it has seemed to me that we have not accomplished much during this past year. I'm very wrong. With the small but dedicated crew, a lot has been done.


  • Pad welded three large waste areas on fireman's side of firebox wrapper sheet. These areas now exceed minimum Form 4 calculations.
  • Ground out, welded approximately 60 small cracks in piston ring groove walls.
  • Machined piston ring grooves.
  • Piston and valve rods chromed, ground and polished.
  • New valve bushing machined and installed.
  • Remove, clean and paint 2479's main and side rods. Reinstall rods.


  • Clean and paint 1215's running gear.

GE Loco

  • Build three 30 foot panels of track to receive GE loco from Leigh-Hanson
  • Position GE loco at fairgrounds site. Secure all doors.

OSH Boxcar

  • Finished repairs to OSH boxcar roof.
  • Replace damaged lower sill on two of three corners of OSH boxcar.

Herder's Shed

  • Strip away many layers of paint from shed's exterior. Begin priming sections.

Most of the preceding tasks have take weeks in planning and many more weeks to accomplish.

Thanks to all that have participated. Even a few hours a month has contributed to a year of success.

Will 2016 be the year that 2479 makes steam?

Happy New Year to all.

John E.

32nd Annual Volunteer Recognition BBQ

31st Annual Volunteer Recognition BBQ
Thursday, August 20, 2015
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
San Jose History Park
1650 Senter Road, San Jose, CA

BBQ provided by Retired Santa Clara County Firefighters

Music by the Singing Conductors

This is a FREE event in appreciation of CTRC’s dedicated volunteers and guests (Please RSVP so we know how much food to have available!)

Please RSVP by 8/14/14 to Lynda Ramirez Jones via email at: or 408-691-2794

2479 Update - March 28, 2015

John Ezovski

Jan 24

Machining of second piston is underway. If no issues are encountered, work could be complete next Saturday. It#39;s nice to have access to a huge vertical lathe. It may be taking up a large amount of floor space in the trolly barn, but it has been a valuable asset that has allowed us to complete a number or repairs.

Repairs to 75% of the boxcar roof is now complete. The unfortunately nice weather is allowing this project to move rapidly ahead.

Warm weather plus December rains have stimulated grass and weed growth at the locomotive restoration and 1215 display site. Both areas have been mowed over the past week.

Arrangements have been made with Andy Anderson at Oakland Machine Works to pickup the new valve cage Monday morning.

Jan 31

Small crew but we divided up into three groups and made some things happen.

Work on the second piston continues. Once all the grooves have been trued each piston will be set back onto the King to make each slot a standard width. This will help in forming in rings.

The boxcar roof is also coming along. Repairs to the roof should be complete by the end of February, sooner if this dry weather continues.

SP1215#39;s rods received some attention. Rust was beginning to form on the rods. Rust was brushed away and a coat of paint applied.

Feb 7

Rain kept most everyone away from the locomotive site, but most of the work was being performed at the trolley barn.

Today's news is not all good. A close inspection of the engineer#39;s side piston revealed a number of cracks in the material that forms the sides of the piston grooves. In some cases these cracks radiate through to the opposite side.

We are pretty certain that these pistons are cast steel, thus welding is a possible solution. Cracks will be ground out and then filled with weld. The piston will then have to return to the King for machining. Repairs to the piston will most likely begin after next Saturday's session.

Machining of the ring groove shoulders in the fireman#39;s piston is complete but not to a standard dimension. That dimension can not be determined until after the engineer#39;s side piston is repaired.

Progress is being made on the box car#39;s roof. Another 40 inch section was completed this past week. Only 120 inches of roof line remains to be repaired. That work could be completed this coming week.

Feb 14

Both pistons have been moved back to the fairgrounds site. One piston requires numerous weld repairs to the piston ring groove walls.

With rain and warm weather, weed growth is in high gear. Weed elevation was reset.

Repairs to the box car roof are complete. The roof still needs painting but the crew will shift over to the MoPac caboose. Its roof is in need of a good cleaning and paint.

Feb 21

In addition to maintaining site appearance, two major tasks were started.

The process of grinding out the cracks in the ring groove walls of engineer#39;s side piston was started. This is going to take some time as there are a lot of them. Its interesting that these cracks are all located in approximately the same half of the circumference of the piston.

The locomotive's main and side rods are beginning to show early signs of corrosion. Its been decided to pull all of the rods, clean and apply a coat of paint. Paint will provide a better seal. This paint will have to be removed prior to operation which means the rods will have to be removed again.

Pad welding on another this area of the firebox outer sheet was completed. This section is ready for grinding and measurements.

Feb 28

Today the crew rolled locomotive and tender to keep journals and bearings lubricated.

The right main rod was removed for cleaning and a coat of paint.

More grinding on cracks in the walls of the piston ring grooves. Presently we are working on the wall with the deepest cracks.

News is not all good. The starter on the Clark lift is in need of a new Bendix unit. The gear in the unit has been destroyed.

Mar 14

The right main and side rods have been removed, cleaned and a coat of protective paint applied. This Saturday the rods will be set back into place on the locomotive.

Prior to installation, rod bores and driver pins will need to be cleaned and new coat of grease applied. Once rods are installed, locomotive will have to be repositioned to allow removal of the rods on the left side. If time allows removal of these rods can begin.

All of today's work was very heavy!

The right side and main rods were installed on the locomotive. These three rods received a thorough cleaning and two coats of white paint. Paint is to serve as a corrosion preventative. Installation of rods was real smooth with work completed by 10:30.

Left rod set requires the same attention. In order to remove these rods, the locomotive had to be rolled to different position. This allows for removal of the main rod from the cross head and removal of the pin that connects the rear side rod to the front side rod.

Things didn't go as well as we would have liked, but all rods were eventually removed. Rods are now in a location that will allow cleaning.

Mar 21

Equipment failure kind of put a cap on the day.

During the week the left rod set was cleaned and painted. Today those rods were mounted on their drivers. As we were attempting to position the locomotive to mount the main rod, a hydraulic hose failed on the forklift. There was a nice display of fluid spray from the hose. (The hose will be replaced early next week.) ; Fortunately my jeep with a winch was able to finish positioning the locomotive to connect the crosshead to the main rod.

It has been decided that the new valve bushing will be pressed into place. There was a lot of concern regarding soaking the bushing in liquid nitrogen. At near -300 degrees F, the bushing could be very brittle thus easily damaged. We are also worried about safely handing a 70 pound part at -300 degrees F. Frost bite would not be much fun. Pressing (actually pulling) the bushing in place will be more work but in the end it will be easier.

Mar 28

Good size crew and a bunch of stuff completed. Thanks to all that participated.

As usual with this time of year, grass has to be cut at least every other week. Today was the day. Site looks nice.

This past week, the damaged forklift starter was rebuilt. Today the unit was installed. Also a damaged hydraulic hose was replaced.

Most of today's work involved preparing to install the new left front valve bushing. The front and rear valve covers were removed. To remove the rear cover, the steam distribution valve crosshead and radius rod had to be disconnected from the cover. Fortunately the assembly could be suspended clear of the work area with ropes. If this could not be done, a lot of disassembly would have been required.

A plate is now being drilled to mount on the back end of the cylinder. This plate will be used to hold four pieces of all thread. The all thread will pass through another plate that will be set in front of the valve bushing. Nuts on the front end will be used to push the bushing into place. This is the reverse process that was used to extract the damaged bushing and it was removed without further damage.

The process of setting the bushing should take place next Saturday. Hopefully by noon time the task will be complete.

Status - January 19, 2015

John Ezovski

2014 ended with off with work continuing on both the piston and boxcar.

Another 40 inches of box car roof has been repaired. By trial and error, a process has been developed which is yielding good results. It will be late spring before the entire roof is repaired. The filler, Evercoat, is rather nice to work with. I have located another online source offering the material at a slightly lower cost. It looks like at least two more gallons of material will be required.

Machining of the piston is a completely different story. There have been issues with every step. The tool holder has finally been finished. The issue now is mounting the piston on the King. Maybe next week the mounting issue will be resolved.


2015 started off with a productive work session.

The first cut was taken in one shoulder of a piston ring. There are a total of six shoulders in each piston requiring work. Each step is a learning process.

Some pad welding was completed on the roof sheet of the firebox. This area is getting close to meeting minimum thickness requirements.

80 more inches of box car roof has been repaired. Repair of another 40 inch segment has begun. A second gallon of filler material has been ordered and should be available mid week. A long way to go before roof repairs are complete.

Thanks to John Zielinski for maintaining our various gasoline powered machines. Without his help, this equipment would be neglected.

Organization of the peg board in the main container appears to be complete. Lots of work has been done here.

OSH Boxcar Doors

The park side door is beginning to move more freely. Until recently it would take two people or one person with a crow bar to get the door open or closed.

Unless there are two or three people with some heavy tools, do not attempt to open the street side door. The door is now securely closed with its wedge hammered into place. From what I could see, neither of the door's wheels is making contact with the associated track. This door is going to need some work if it is to be used in the future.


Machining of the piston ring slots is on going. As with most machining tasks, nearly all of the effort is in the setup. A number of frustrating hours has been spent getting two of the three ring slots in one piston cleaned up. In order to clean up the third slot, the piston had to be inverted which requires a complete new setup. With some luck, the third slot could be finished next week. This image is of the surface of the piston being machined flat prior to inverting the piston.

Repairs to the boxcar's roof are moving along. Yesterday, repairs to the last two roof sections on the park side of the car were completed. All that remains is to apply a protective coat of paint. This coming week, the work platform will be moved to the Senter Road side of the car so that repairs can begin on that side. There is two to three more months of roof work remaining.

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