Very slowly, in tenths of an inch, the tender of Mt. Tamalpais & Muir Woods Engine No. 9 slid aft and sunlight shown on pieces that had not seen it in a century. Bangs and pops echoed through the steel frame as rusted metal parts that had been fused together broke loose. As the tender slid backwards, what had been a two foot wide cab doorway became a gap of about four feet. Separating the tender from the engine is the first step of the biggest project yet in the restoration of Engine No. 9.
Now that the tender is free from the frame of the locomotive, we will lift it onto a trailer for a ride to the Millerick Brothers Metal Works in Sebastopol, where old paint will be sand blasted away and new metal will replace corroded metal. When painted and finished, it will be hard to tell where old metal ends and new metal begins. Our restoration plan has divided the locomotive into sections (the tender; the cab; the frame; etc.), allowing us to restore successive portions of the engine until the whole looks like it did shortly after it arrived on Mt. Tam.
No. 9 is the only surviving piece of the Mt. Tamalpais and Muir Woods Railway, a tourist railroad that carried over a million tourists from Mill Valley, up the mountain and down into Muir Woods. It is a rare example of a mountain-climbing steam locomotive. No. 9’s steel tender carried the water the locomotive used to make steam.
Many thanks to Jeff Craemer, a man who loves Marin’s history. This project is only possible due to his generous donation, which will fully cover the costs of the tender restoration. Longtime members of The Friends of No. 9, Advisor Monte Deignan and Board Member David Waterman, prepared and engineered moving the 3300-pound steel tender from the back of No. 9. Board Member Rick Beach also joined in. We are looking forward to working with the Millerick Brothers as we move forward on this exciting project.