50 year commemoration: Southern Railway No. 4501

TVRMLOGOtransparentTennessee Valley Railroad Museum‘s quarterly “Smoke & Cinders” newsletter, Volume 53, No. 2,  included a special writeup on the commemoration of Southern Railway No. 4501’s movement to Chattanooga in 1954 — fifty years ago!

It begins:

On Saturday, June 7, 2014, an important milestone was commemorated: An event that took place fifty years ago and ultimately (if unintentionally) influenced the Southern Railway to return steam locomotives to their lines.

The full writeup begins on Page 3.  (Click the small images below to view the full-size newsletter pages.)

Until next month,


Southern Railway No. 4501 Rebuild Update #5

southern-railway-logoIt’s time for another update on the Southern Railway No. 4501 Rebuild from the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum‘s “Smoke & Cinders” newsletter.  (Click the small images below to view the full-size newsletter pages.)

The introduction reads:

STEAM UP! — In early March, and for the first time in sixteen years, Locomotive #4501 had a fire in its firebox.  Several years of work went into getting the boiler to this level of completion and it passed its steam test for the FRA.  After checking out the boiler, the locomotive was rolled back into the shop to continue its reassembly.  Smoke from the stack was an impressive sight, but there would still be plenty of work to be done before the engine could undergo actual operational testing.  Each week it seems that more “task items” are erased from the white board by TVRM’s very talented craftsmen.  (All photos by Steve Freer unless otherwise noted.)


Southern Railway No. 4501 Rebuild Update #4

Yet another update on the Southern Railway No. 4501 Rebuild from the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum‘s “Smoke & Cinders” newsletter:

southern-railway-logoSTEAM RESOLUTION – Work continued on #4501 throughout the Fourth Quarter of 2013.  As the calendar clicked over to the New Year, many tasks had been marked off the Project 4501 to-do list.  All flues, tubes, and superheater elements and the final driving wheel had been installed, firebox arch tubes inserted, and a hydrostatic test of the boiler concluded. With the hydro complete, attention was turned toward a long list of details including installation of appliances, application of air, steam, and lubrication lines, and much more.  When finished in a few months, #4501 will be what Southern Railway envisioned the locomotive to be had they completed similar updtes done to many of their other Ms Class Mikados.  In anticipation of adding a feedwater heater, Southern incorporated a plate into the new steam chest installed in 1945, which would allow attachment of steam lines for the heater.  This long-ago planned performance upgrade was never completed…until now.  Blank areas on the cylinder saddles had to be machined for attachment of pipes by TVRM’s restoration crew, but without Southern’s plan for the future this would not have been possible.  When she rolls out of Soule Shops in East Chattanooga, the locomotive will be more efficient and powerful.  Only a few short years ago, many thought this locomotive would never run again.  Now we’ll be privileged to witness an all-new, never-before-seen #4501 roar to life!  (All photos by Steve Freer unless otherwise noted.)


4501 Restoration #4 Pg 1

4501 Restoration #4 Pg 1

4501 Restoration #4 Pg 2

4501 Restoration #4 Pg 2

4501 Restoration #4 Pg 3

4501 Restoration #4 Pg 3

Kentucky & Tennessee #12(Ex-Southern Rwy #4501) @ Stearns KY - 1962 (Credit: Tom Gildersleeve)

Kentucky & Tennessee #12(Ex-Southern Rwy #4501) @ Stearns KY – 1962 (Credit: Tom Gildersleeve)

Southern Railway No. 4501 Rebuild Update #3

It’s time for another update on the Southern Railway No. 4501 Rebuild from the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum‘s “Smoke & Cinders” newsletter:

southern-railway-logoBig Wheels, Bigger Work – Even though casual onlookers might not notice without closer examination, restoration has been moving ahead steadily on Southern #4501. Employees, volunteers, and contractors have been toiling away on everything from front to back and top to bottom on the locomotive. During the week of August 26, a milestone was reached as three of the four driving wheel axles were reinstalled into the frame. (The fourth set’s insertion would be delayed until further firebox work could be completed.) Much of the progress up to this point seemed to be less noticeable on a daily basis, but when the driving wheels went back under the boiler, that made a major visual impact. Each axle was installed individually over the drop pit after the frame was positioned properly and the yellow rail bridge moved (seen in photo). The overhead crane was used to lift each wheelset onto the hydraulic jack inside the pit. Then the jack was rolled under the frame and the axle raised into position. Although this sounds easy, it is a tedious process with every close clearance tolerances, which makes it tricky to say the least. The shop crew was glad to finally get some driving wheels back under #4501. More images of wheel installation are on page 2, and additional work is shown on pages 3 and 4. When she rolls out of Soule Shops in 2014, TVRM will have quite a workhorse to be enjoyed by thousands (millions?) of fans in Chattanooga and throughout NS lineside communities.  (All photos by Steve Freer unless otherwise noted.)

4501 Restoration Update #3 Pg 1


4501 Restoration Update #3 Pg 2

4501 Restoration Update #3 Pg 3

4501 Restoration Update #3 Pg 4

K&T #12 Ex-Southern Railway #4501 - (Credit: Hawkinsrails)

K&T #12 Ex-Southern Railway #4501 – (Credit: Hawkinsrails)

Southern Railway No. 4501 Rebuild Update #2

Enjoy this update on the Southern Railway No. 4501 Rebuild from the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum‘s “Smoke & Cinders” newsletter.  It reads:

southern-railway-logoBIT BY BIT, PIECE BY PIECE — Toward the end of a winter workday, Locomotives 4501 and 630 sit quietly inside TVRM’s Soule Shops in East Chattanooga.  In this view from January 24, progress can be seen in the restoration of #4501, while #630 receives off season maintenance in preparation for return to service prior to Spring.  Number 630’s annual inspection required separation of the coal tender from the locomotive in order to inspect the drawbar, removal of a section of boiler jacketing to repair several stay bolts, and elective modification of the main crank pins to improve lubrication over the rod brass and exterior pin surfaces.  Work was completed in time for the locomotive to enter service in late February in advance of the scheduled 21st Century Steam trip from Chattanooga to Attalla on March 2 (and subsequent outings to/from Bristol, Roanoke, Norfolk, and beyond.)  For #4501, its major rebuild was continuing with rebuilding of the lead truck, trailing truck frame replacement and changeover to roller bearings, final firebox repairs with the interior and exterior throat sheet patches, and continuation of the feed water heater and pump installation along with all associated plumbing.  With plenty of work yet to go, the progress thus far is amazing and the level of craftsmanship is astounding.  Thanks to everyone who helps keep TVRM moving forward.

(All photos by Steve Freer unless otherwise noted.)

4501-Rebuild-Update-14501-Rebuild- Update-2

Southern Railway No. 4501 Rebuild Update

southern-railway-logoBy now, everyone knows of the success of Norfolk Southern and TVRM‘s smashing success regarding the new steam program. The rebirth of #630 and her trips last year and this past spring were nothing short of spectacular. Fortunately for SR fans, the best may be yet to come. Legendary #4501 is in the shop being rebuilt at the current time, and this report from G. Mark Ray at TVRM, courtesy of www.rypn.com, gives us the latest from the shops:

“The firebox work is complete. She’s now had 100% of the staybolts and mud ring rivets replaced, around 97% of the firebox sheets renewed (two small areas under the rear tube that were renewed in 1984 were left intact), the backhead replaced, a flush patch installed in the right side exterior side sheet, the exterior throat sheet renewed, and a flush patch put in the dome course to replace a forge weld…

“All the boiler studs and boiler fittings are applied. The tubes and flues will not be installed until she’s back on her wheels…. Finally, the new smokebox front is being fabricated using the same centerpiece pattern as 630…

“Machinery work is in full swing. All the spring rigging is sitting on the shop floor. We found the front equalizer was frozen solid at the pivot pin which made it difficult to remove. The engine truck is ready for assembly once pins and bushes are returned from the heat treater. The driving boxes are coming along quite well. Hub liners are applied, babbiting installed, and final machining is underway. The shoes and wedges are being cast and should arrive just in time for machining…”

Update courtesy of the Southern Railway Historical Association.