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358 Update – 6/16/2019

By June 15, 2019June 17th, 2019Members Only

Submitted by WD Miller

Friday-June 14th:  W.D. made a road trip to the Mad River and Nickel Plate Railroad Museum in Bellevue, Ohio to begin preparations for a parts donation off of the ex-NKP 349.  Much application of WD-40 was given to many nuts, bolts and clamps that hold various high-voltage cable on board the locomotive.  The next weekend will see a crew return to MR&NKP Museum to begin the process of removing said cable.  (There will be an official press release later on this activity.-WDM)
Saturday-June 15th:  A milestone was met on the 358, after what seemed like a near eternity we now have two very well constructed, and complete battery boxes on both sides of the locomotive.  On top of that we were able to set the batteries in place, 4 on each side, without incident.
A bit of history review if I may, we started on the battery boxes and as we dug through layers of dirt, grime, and rust jacking, we were left without much to work with, especially on the engineer’s side.  This required about 95% of both boxes to be scratch built, and fitted back to look like the original.  Plus, metal that would have supported the box back towards the interior of the locomotive was also severely rotted in some places.  Some of that needed to be replaced to have a place to weld to before any new box was to be constructed.  There was one last huge push on Saturday to get the engineer side done and ready to accept batteries, and that effort was successful.  By about 7:45pm on Saturday with the help of Steve on the crane, Brandon, Brody, Carson, Zach T. and myself we had loaded literally a ton of batteries  300LBs each, and 8 batteries….2,400 pounds of batteries.  Whew!
I need to say a special “Thank You” to Steve for taking time away from the trailing truck to be our crane operator.  Both sides of the installation of batteries went very smoothly;  this was a result of a good job briefing with all, and everyone knowing what the other needed as the process moved along.  Thanks Steve for your help, I owe you some pie….a whole pie in fact.
Our Saturday wrapped up with clearing the walkways, and general clean up around the locomotive as we were at the end of our stay in the shop for this period.  Brandon and Carson did the honors switching, and spotting the Plymouth inside on the North Track for Mr. Nitza to perform some task this coming week.   While the 358 was out being moved, Brody and I swept the floor where the 358 once occupied and left that area a clean as one can sweep a shop floor.
Our next steps over the next couple of weeks will include:  trip to Bellevue for parts donated from 349; install the battery cables, and lace up the newly seated batteries, acquiring some plumbing parts/pieces for the cooling system and installed; fill the cooling system with water and check for major leaks; and putting the wraps on the fuel system.  Bunches of little tasks, but they’ll keep us hopping until the Open House which will be here before we know it.
Lastly, on this milestone weekend, I want to pass along my sincerest gratitude to the core group of Project 358 team members who have been there, put in the long hours, and the literal blood, sweat and tears to bring us to this point.  It may not seem like a big deal, but trust me, to set batteries on this old “horse” is a BIG DEAL!  The next big milestones will be quick to come up in our view.  Thank you to each and everyone of you for your time and contributions to Project 358.

Contact WD Miller to get in on the email chain for Project 358 at

Work on the Wabash Caboose continues. Contact DJ to get in on the email chain for that project at

Work on the box car continues. Contact Tom Nitza to get in on the email chain for that project at

534 work continues every weekend. Contact Jerrad Bennet for information on that project at

Carson installing a new battery in 358

New batteries wait to be installed