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Restoration Update: A Year of Boiler Progress

Ryan Millerick, Don Millerick’s son, sent updated photos of No. 9’s boiler work this week.  The most dramatic shows the smokebox, the forward end of the boiler where the smokestack will be mounted, with new paint and new bolts. When compared to a photo from February 2023, the contrast is stunning.

It was just about one year ago, September 30, 2022, when Ghilotti Construction moved No. 9 to the Millericks yard so we could begin restoration on the forward half of the locomotive. The progress has been both impressive and thrilling. We expect that the boiler will be ready to be hoisted back into No. 9’s restored frame before the end of the year.

September 21, 2023

After replacing moth-eaten steel, then sandblasting and priming and painting, the Millericks threaded new nuts and bolts into the front of the smokebox. 

February 16, 2023

For comparison, six-months before, in February, work began on repairing corrosion damage to the smokebox of the boiler. The bolts that held the front of the engine and smokebox door were so rusted they had no threads so they were removed and the new holes threaded. A century of corrosion warped the 3/8-inch steel plate that surrounds the smokebox, creating bulges between the plate and the cast iron ring. Rusting had wasted the bottom half of the smokebox creating holes and requiring a new 306-pound steel plate.

December 19, 2022

Nine months earlier, restoration work begins on No. 9's boiler. It started by laying the 13,000-pound boiler on its side to improve access to the most corroded areas.

September 30, 2022

And one year ago, Engine No. 9 relocated along Highway 37 with a view of Mt. Tamalpais (at left), the first place it worked. It’s the closest the engine has been to being home since 1924. 


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