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Restore 84 - Update #4

Big news for the 4th addition to the Restore 84 blog! We'll get right to it...

#84 Lives:

This clips shows the very first time #84 has been started since 2002! A very exciting milestone for us and one that wouldn't have been reached if not for a few far-flung, mechanically-savvy individuals who assisted us along the way, and the motivation we get from everyone following the Restore 84 project! The overwhelming support from everyone following us, whether it be kind words via emails, messages via our website, or purchasing a Restore 84 T-Shirt, is the fuel we need to keep chugging along!


Today #84 was fired up for the first time in at least 20 years, and spent several hours running back and forth on roughly 300-feet of track, testing everything from headlights to air brakes. We spent time locating any leaks in the oil, air, water, and fuel systems and have already begun planning to address some minor issues in that department, luckily nothing too difficult to correct!

#84 idles away in the afternoon sun between test runs.


Findings & Future:

Incredibly, #84 runs just like it did on the day it was parked twenty years ago. The electrical system is almost fully intact, all internal systems (oil, fuel, water) work better than expected, and air brakes all function as intended. The few safety appliances this antique has (emergency fuel cutoff, horn, bell) all work, although the external air line for the bell was removed after testing and will be replaced. #84 ran for over five hours for its first day of testing and was subjected to various loads/strain on both the engine block itself and other systems (air brakes/recharging, braking effort, various electrical contactors, etc). Overall, #84 performed beyond our expectations, and there's very little in need of serious repair!


So what's next?

Our excitement shouldn't overshadow the work that is still required. A few welds are needed to stop those small leaks in the oil system, some sections of the air system will need new gaskets or small pipes replaced, and several light bulbs need to be replaced and wiring re-done. An overall deep-clean of the locomotive's engine compartment and electrical cabinet is still required, and while we're at it, the outside will get a good once-over and some paint will be touched up. The largest mechanical headache to tackle will be the shudder control linkage, which remains disconnected, and once the location of the separation is located, will be reassembled to ensure proper cooling of the engine in the warmer months.

Batteries continue to be difficult to source, with many manufactures still months behind on orders, and eight used batteries that are more capable than those currently in #84 proves to be just as difficult to find. We continue to search for new or like-new batteries...

The friction-bearing trucks are most obviously the biggest hurtle in our future, especially with the looming BNSF takeover of Montana Rail Link, which will make relocating the locomotive to a more fitting location for the heavy lifting required for the truck swap much more difficult. The original plan remains on the table for now; to find a nearby customer willing to utilize #84 temporarily, which will not only provide a safer location to bring heavy-duty cranes onsite for the truck work, but also generate some revenue to help ship #84 to a still-to-be-determined museum or tourist operation. A reminder here, that all money raised by our Restore 84 t-shirts goes to the purchasing and replacing of those friction-bearing trucks. A special thanks to those who have contributed to that fund already!

We are incredibly happy to bring you this major milestone, and we're happy to have such a large support group from all corners of the country! Please stay tuned for more updates and future plans while we continue to Restore 84!


#84 running outside of the shed it called home for the last 40 years.

A short cellphone video of #84 idling.

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