After more than four months of meticulous work, the restoration of No. 9’s 3300-pound metal tender has been completed. The tender is the rear portion of the locomotive, where fuel and water were stored, the basic ingredients needed to run a steam engine. This section held 1250-gallons of water. A 650-gallon steel fuel tank will be created in the coming months and will sit on top of the restored tender.
As mentioned in previous updates, the tender was not in good shape. Over the last century the metal had been severely corroded, opening holes in the metal skin. The Millerick Brothers, our partners for this project, replaced all of the corroded metal, retaining the original material whenever possible. Then the tender was sandblasted.
Following the sandblasting, some important steps were taken to protect the tender from corrosion in the future. The interior was sprayed with a robust (red) epoxy coating that will keep it from rusting again from the inside out. The exterior was covered in tough zinc primer and two coats of black PSX finish paint, the same finish used on the hulls of coastguard cutters. It’s a paint that is graffiti resistant and blends well when retouched.
December 1, 2021
Jeff Millerick reinstalls epoxy-coated cross braces inside No. 9's tender. The century-old steel crossmembers had minimal corrosion and could be reused, but they have now been treated with corrosion prevention they never had before.
The transformation of the tender is remarkable. Here is what one corner of the tender’s top plate looked like before restoration:
After rehabilitation of the metal, but before final sandblasting and painting, it looked like this:
And here is the final, painted result:
The sandbox also needed special attention. The moving parts had rusted together. This key piece of equipment carried sand that was applied to the rails to help provide traction for No. 9 on the steep slopes of Mt. Tamalpais. It had become severely corroded.
September 3, 2021
Inside the sander prior to restoration. (Note light showing through crack at left.). The rusted valves at the bottom stirred the sand before it flowed down the hoses to the wheels and onto the track to improve traction on steep mountain rails.
We are overjoyed by the craftsmanship of both the Millericks and Delta Sandblasting. The Millericks did the work by hand, welding and grinding seams until they were as smooth as glass, and rebuilding parts that are no longer made. And the Delta Sandblasting crew “blasted” away rust and then applied tough new paint finishes. It has been wonderful to watch the care they have all poured into their work.
December 15, 2021
Tender restored and reassembled. Rear sander has been painted black and reattached and all the rusty parts are clean, painted and working again.
Now that the restoration of the tender has been completed, our next project will be the cab. We are excited to let you know that the Millericks and Delta Sandblasting have once again agreed to work on this next phase of No. 9’s restoration, rebuilding the cab, which will begin in February. We will have updates as that work moves along.
Thanks again to the Millericks, to Phil Joy, who handled moving the tender, to Robert Sanders and the people at Delta Sandblasting, and to Jeff and Celeste Craemer ,who have generously donated the cost of restoring the tender. And of course, thanks to all of our supporters who have made it possible for us to reach this milestone. This is a community project and we can’t do it without you.