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Restoration Update: Boiler Work

The heart of a steam locomotive is its boiler. Inside the bulky steel housing, an 1800º inferno burns furiously working to quickly turn cold water into the steam needed to power the locomotive.


Without water, the boiler weighs 6 1/2 tons, making it a bit tricky to move. We needed to invert the boiler so the Millerick brothers could replace the corroded paper-thin metal bottom of the smokebox with 306-pounds of new sheet steel. Matching the old and new steel is exacting work.

Heavy rain slowed the work this spring. The boiler now has its final coats of marine epoxy paint and is close to being put back on No. 9’s frame.


We thank again to our donors who make this work possible!

December 19, 2022

Restoration work begins on No. 9's boiler. It starts by laying the 13,000-pound boiler on its side to improve access to the most corroded areas.


February 16, 2024

Aligning the new 306-pound steel bottom of No. 9's smokebox requires patience and subtle adjustment to line up old and new parts. Then there are long seams to weld, inside and out, and precise holes that must align with 12 holes on the cast iron saddle that supports this new plate.


March 21, 2023

Photographed during the heavy rains of March, this view looks through No. 9's smokebox, from the new bottom plate to the old hole for the smokestack. Twelve precisely matched holes will anchor the whole boiler to a cast iron saddle mount on No. 9's frame. Rain drops streak through the foreground.



No. 9’s Boiler

May 18, 2023

Boiler repairs are done. Cleaned and blasted by Delta Sandblasting, the boiler is covered in corrosion resistant red-orange primer. This was the hottest part of the steam locomotive when it ran, heating water and making the steam needed to power No. 9 and its passengers up Mt. Tamalpais.


May 25, 2023

Two coats of black marine epoxy paint cover the boiler, inside and out to help resist corrosion. When No. 9 was working the constant heat generated in the boiler helped bake out the moisture that promoted rust. Without the heat paint will be important protective help.


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