A visit to the restoration site of AT&SF 2926 in Albuquerque, New Mexico on February 2, 2019 revealed that the locomotive is almost ready to be fired up again. On this bright Saturday, there were several groups working on different projects including electrical work on the locomotive and the brakes on the tractor that pulls the locomotive out of shelter on work days. There were several people using levels to determine the grade of the track from one end of the restoration yard to the other. Even though it looks level, there is actually an 8 to 10 inch change in elevation from one end to the other and more importantly, hills and valleys along the track.
One volunteer that I talked to said, “We should steam in a few weeks and there’s a crew going around and labeling valves and working on procedures for that. If we pull everything off on that check list and the tests go like they’re supposed to then we’ll load the pistons and the valves and start slapping on the jacket and insulation on the boiler. With pistons and valves in it, then theoretically it can move under its own power.“
Special thanks to Doyle Caton and Dr. Michael Hartshorne for taking time to fill me in on that status of 2926 and share some great stories with me!