FMW Solutions LLC (FMW) was engaged by Diversified Rail Services to undertake specialized machining work on the six driving wheelsets of C&O steam locomotive No. 1309, a 2-6-6-2 locomotive built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. The 1949-built Baldwin was recently acquired by the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, and it is being returned to service as Western Maryland No. 1309 (WM 1309).
FMW was tasked with three main pieces of work: 1) re-profiling the axle journals: 2) re-profiling the wheel hubs; and 3) quartering the crankpins.
To accomplish the re-profiling of the axle journal surfaces and the hub liners, FMW first had to work with the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum to return the journal lathe to like-new condition. Working off of an original set of drawings, FMW oversaw the repair to key hardware to return the machine to proper tolerance.
Once the journal lathe was repaired, FMW VP-Mechanical Shane Meador re-profiled all of the axle journal surfaces and hub surfaces to true condition. As part of the hub surface repairs, FMW also identified a crack in one wheel center casting. This was repaired using industry-standard repair practices, including grinding out the crack and re-building with weldment and proper peening to de-stress the repair.
FMW then turned to quartering the crankpins. Employing a specialized crankpin quartering machine, FMW’s Meador machined the crankpins to in-quarter and stroke tolerances. Since steam locomotive crankpins are set one quarter turn (90 degrees) apart from one side of a locomotive to the other, it is critical to ensure that these pins are precisely 90 degrees apart - wear and tear can result in the engine working its way out of quarter and stroke. Employing the quartering machine, FMW returned each wheelset from WM 1309 to tolerance.
Once all of the machining was completed, FMW protected all machined surfaces with rust inhibitor and wood protective covering prior to arranging and handling the shipping of all six wheelsets to the WMSR shop complex in Ridgely, West Virginia.