Thursday, October 25, 2007

West Middlesex Iron Furnaces

West Middlesex, Pennsylvania is a small town a few miles east of Youngstown, OH. Located on the Shenango River, the town once was home to a couple of pig iron blast furnace operations. I was not aware of that fact until I was in the office of T. Bruce Campbell, Inc. a few months ago and saw photos of the now demolished furnaces.

The painting pictured above is located in the waiting room at Shenango Steel Buildings, Inc. located next door to Campbell's plant. It shows two of the West Middlesex furnaces and a steam locomotive rolling by with a cut of cars. One of the best iron and steel artworks I have seen.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Youngstown & Northern Railroad Office Still Exists

This art deco style office building, sitting at the corner of Bessemer and Waverly Avenues facing the former US Steel Ohio Works, once served as the main office for the Youngstown & Northern Railroad. The structure was built in 1935 and has been vacant since the mid 1980s when the Y&N was abandoned. It is currently owned by an individual from Canfield, OH, who purchased it in 1995 and apparently has not done anything with the building. It did appear to be secured from entry, however the interior had been ransacked and nothing of any value remains inside.

Monday, October 8, 2007

PRR N1s and the Brier Hill Plate Mill

I recently saw this photo on an ebay listing for a brass locomotive and noticed the building in the background. The caption says the picture was taken in 1919, which would have been one year after the Brier Hill plate mill in Girard, OH was completed. In this photo, the locomotive is probably sitting upon the old PY&A main line, which was relocated to its current right of way behind the building when the plate mill was constructed.

The stacks are for the heating furnaces for the 84" and 132" plate mills. The windows are of the continuous sash type and are all wood and glass. It must have taken carpenters months just to make them! Although this building still exists this view is partially obscured by the electric weld tube mill which was added to this building in the 1930s. Of course the Tod Engine Foundation has hundreds of engineering drawings of the plate mill and electric welded tube buildings.

From 1997 until 2006 the Tod Engine was stored in the plate mill building before being moved to the Tod Engine Heritage Park.

Lining Up the Main Bearings

Lining up the main bearings of the Tod Engine in preparation for setting the crankshaft and flywheel has begun. We are using the piano wire method, and have learned about a shortcut that the original engine erectors made to simplify the process.

On each end of the main bearings two punch marks have been made. Each one at the centerline elevation of the crankshaft and located 22" ahead and behind the centerline. By stringing piano wire between those two punch marks in the four locations then running another line perpendicular through the centers of the bearings a relatively accurate means of centering the bearings can be accomplished. I can hold the piano wire in place with magnets and two wire holders that have been specially made for this purpose.

The LP bearing is in its final position, and the LP bearing will be moved until it lines up. It has about 2" vertical and 3" horizontal travel to go before it lines up. Once the bearings are in line we will start work on getting the lower flywheel half in position.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Tod Enginehouse Fundraiser Reaches 40%!

Our goal to raise $25,000 for the construction of the new Tod Enginehouse has reached the 40% mark with a contribution of $10,000 from the Tod Foundation. This contribution will allow us to place the order for the structural steelwork, and will also be beneficial in our quest to raise the remaining $15,000 from other local foundations.

Temporary Winter Shelter Completed

The temporary shelter for the Tod Engine's cylinders has been completed. This shelter will keep rain, snow and ice away from the vulnerable engine cylinders and valve chests until the new enginehouse building is built in 2008.

Once the new building is completed the shelter will be dismantled and lumber reused for other projects.