Facebook Page
BCK #43 - 2015 Updates


Updates 2015
by Scott H.

January - June 2015

         You all know how brutal a winter we had so the work in Hamburg, New York, got off to a very slow start. Last year we were able to finish the work on the interior of the cab of Buffalo Creek #43 using a propane heater. By fall we moved onto working on the prime mover which is outside.

         One decent day in January we were able to mount a vintage "Pyrene" Heavy Vehicle fire extinguisher on the electrical cabinet wall. Although it is empty, it adds to the authentic equipment found in the cab of many early diesels.

         By April the weather had broke and were able to get back to cleaning and resetting the 36 main generator carbon brushes. There are four sets of four and one set of three on each side of the generator. Each brush had to be removed, the holder filed clean and the brush replaced with the correct tension.

         The two four sets at the bottom were a real pain to work on upside down. After the main generator was finished the smaller Exciter/Aux Generator was a piece of cake! In early May we filled the cooling system for the first time since we repaired one of the 24 radiator segments last year. It took almost an hour to put 285 gallons of water into the system and we were all relieved to find we had no leaks!

         On our next outing we borrowed an electric oil pump from the Buffalo Southern Railroad to "pre-lube" the engine. The crankshaft had not been turned since 2009 so it needed to be done again.

         Bob Martin put the sucker tube into the bottom of the crankcase and then the oil was forced by the electric pump into the engine through the timing chain cover. Rick Burns and I removed each of the compression plugs at the top of the cylinders. When nice clean oil began to drip freely from the bottom of the crankshaft we were ready to "Bar it over."

         The flywheel cover was removed to access to the holes in the flywheel into which a large round bar is inserted and you lean into it. It took two of us to get the first 1/10 of a turn going but after that everything moved freely!

         With the prime mover lubricated, we turned our attention to the fuel system. The M&S 538 prime mover is equiped with a coarse primary and a fine secondary filtering system. Jim L. pulled the two pre-filter screens and cleaned the interior of the housings and Rick B. cleaned the secondary filter container.

         Jim was able to buy a new filter right off the shelf at NAPA. The fuel tank was a concern due to the condition of the top of the tank which is also the sub-floor of the locomotive. Last year we scaled, primed and greased the top of the tank to prevent any further decay. We drained almost a quart of water from the fuel sump before clean diesel fuel came out.

         Bob M. took the 72volt DC fuel pump motor to Dell Electric to have it tested. In the meantime, we used a cordless drill to turn the fuel pump and prime the line up to the secondary filter

July 2015

         On July 1st, we reinstalled the rebuilt fuel pump motor. A big Thank You! goes out to the great guys at Dell Electric, 202 Lake St Hamburg, NY 14075, who donated their services. Using three 12 volt batteries in series, we anticipated a higher fuel pressure but still only read 11 psi at the guage. We quickly found that the pressure relief valve above the pump was stuck open which only allowed 1/4 of the fuel to be delivered to the engine and the rest back into the tank.

         Rebuilding the pressure relief valve was pretty easy. Once the valve was disassembled, all of the parts were cleaned, the cylinder honed smooth, the piston polished and the seat cleaned up with valve grinding compound. After assembly using air pressure, we set the spring tension on the valve to hold the piston closed until 35 psi.

         July 9th, we reinstalled the pressure relief valve and put 36 volts into the fuel pump motor. The fuel oil pressure guage held at a steady 57psi. This reading will drop when the prime mover is started. Jim L. installed a missing fuel injector pump cover plate which we fabricated.

         While Rick, Jim and myself worked on the fuel system, Bob M. continued to clean, prime and paint the interior of the 14 engine compartment doors. For the 4th of July, Joe K. pulled out an old photo of Buffalo Creek ALCO S2 #46 (built 2/1947) at the Ganson Street engine house in Bi-Centennial paint. The locomotive is now on the Livonia, Avon and Lakeville Railroad as LA&L#14!

         We had another great day for outdoor work so Bob M. and Jim L. moved forward with more paint work. Jim and Bob sanded, primed and painted two more engine compartment doors with industrial grey enamel and finished the paint on the engineer's seat back rest.

         Rick B. and I moved onto the electrical system with the nice weather. Over the years, the battery cables were kept insulated by layers and layers of friction tape, crude but effective. We removed several of the old layers and then slid a new piece of high dielectric heat shrink tubing over the entire cable length into the metal conduit. A flameless heat gun sealed the tubing tight.

         We had another beautiful day on July 23rd to work on the electrical system. Anxious to check out our battery cables, we moved our 36 volt battery pack out to the fireman's side walkway. The battery compartment cover was removed and the batteries connected with jumper cables. Using a VOM, we were pleased to see we had 36.8 volts at the battery knife switch. After cleaning the contacts of the fuses and switch, we delicately closed the switch and then opened it when the sparks flew!
After removing all three main fuses (compressor, radiator fan and auxiliary generator) we found the problem in the aux generator circuit. With that fuse removed and the battery switch closed, we had 36 volts to the control stand which gave us power to the fuel pump, lights and radiator fan!
         We found out that the Forward/Reverse control handle on the control stand was in the full forward position. This was causing the big EF & GF relays to try and close when the battery switch was closed and the field coils on the starter/aux generator were being energized. This was way too much current for our 36 volt battery pack to supply and is what caused the electrical arc.

         We had another productive day for our last work session in July. While Rick B. worked on testing relay coils and control stand fuses, I moved onto the electrical leads from the generator to the traction motors under the locomotive. Just like the original battery cables, oil and heat had taken its toll on the old friction tape. After all the decay was removed, new heat shrink tubing made for a nice safe cable.

August 2015

         Rick B. finished cleaning and lubrication the fuel injector reset bar and it now snaps into place. We also added an extra layer of electrical protection to the generator to traction motor leads with flexible vinyl tubing. The lead lugs were cleaned and matched and are now bolted together with stainless steel socket head cap screws. A length of rubber tube was used to cover the connections before the leads were clamped to the bottom of the locomotive.

         The biggest event for Hamburg, New York in August is the arrival of the James E. Strates "Fair Train." Hundreds of people turned out to see Buffalo Southern ALCO #5010 RS11, pull the 37 ride loaded flat cars past the old Erie Railroad freight house for unloading down the tracks. We were not able to get much done due to all the visitors but it was fun explaining what we were doing to the young and old. The following week, heavy thunderstorms rained us out.

         On the 27th we finished many of the details necessary to ensure everything would be ready for our "prestart" inspection by the Buffalo Southern. Bob M. worked on wiring details while Rick B. and I pulled the six valve covers to inspect and prelube the rocker arms. All six valve chests looked clean and had no issues. We also sealed the crankcase covers and barring cover with silicone that were removed when we turned the engine over.

September 2015
By Scott MP Hawbaker

         As electrical bugs were being worked out on the locomotive, the rest of our team attended to other details that needed attention. On such task was the flaking paint on the interior and exterior of the five sheet metal generator safety covers. Bob M. took on the job of wire brushing, sanding and priming the inside and exterior of all five covers. When dry, they will be top coated with the industrial gray enamel which we have been using.

         To keep rain, snow and leaves from getting into the two roof vents for the radiator fan and electrical cabinet, we were covering them with 6 mil plastic. However, the plastic covers would have to be replaced every year due to sun decay. I obtained a large sheet of 20 guage aluminum which worked out great! Both covers can be removed in less than a minute when needed.

         Over a year ago when the cab was being painted, we removed almost 20 feet of bent up 1/4" copper tubing that supplies the rear wiper motor with air pressure. The original tubing was poorly attached, not straight and covered with chipping paint. Rick B. bought a new 20 foot roll of tubing whuch was carefully bent to the correct profile and attached with new copper straps and screws. The shiny tubing will take on a nice patina after a month or two to match the brass wiper motor.

October 2015
By Scott MP Hawbaker

         While painting of the generator covers got finished, Rick B. worked in the cab and I turned my attention to a project started two years ago. The Buffalo Southern Railroad has been such an asset and friend to our endeavors' that we needed a way to help pay them back for all their help. 60 feet behind #43 is one of their Jordan Spreaders which needed paint. We agreed that when time allowed we would paint as much of the plow as we could. We tried a 3800psi power washer and 26 grit 7" grinders and niether would remove the many layers of peeling, checked and cracked paint.

         Needle scaling was the only way we found that would leave a surface that could be cleaned up with a grinder and made the steel ready for primer. Although the process works well, it is very slow. After two work sessions, we had almost all of the plow scaled and ready for primer. Bob M. applied primer on all the bare metal on the first warm day we had this month.

         October 8th was a perfect day for painting with 64' sunny skies and low humidity. We finished the needle scaling on one small section, hit it with the 36 grit grinder and then primed the bare surface. On the other side of the blade we wiped it down with mineral spirits, and then sprayed on two medium coats of "Sunburst Yellow" enamel. It sure brightened up the siding!

         The 15th was another great day to paint with clear skies and low humidity. We finished painting the right side of the Jordan Spreader plow blade and it came out great! We also finished up the five generator cover plates that Bob M. restored. He also picked up and donated, three nice "Danger 600 Volts" signs he found at the ArtCraft Train Show last weekend.

November 2015

         November weather in Western New York has been 7' above normal so far. On November 5th we did some touch up on the plow blade and painted the coupler. Two weeks later we installed two tempered hardboard covers over the radiators. Weather permitting they will be painted black soon.

         With the record snowfall we had last year, small amouts of water kept getting into the journal boxes. As a temporary fix, Bob M. and new team member Jeffery Luke, secured eight contractor bags over the journal box covers.

December 2015

         With Western New York enjoying a record breaking no snowfall season, we were able to finish the black topcoat on the radiator covers. Combined with the radiator fan and electrical cabinet covers, #43 will stay dry inside with what ever the weather brings!

         It was 54' on the 10th of December so we continued work on the journal box covers. Bob M. and Jeff L. applied Polyurethane Foam around the box under the cover. They also straightened one cover which had a nasty bow in it. I was able to finish the 1/4" copper air line to the rear wiper motor.

The WNYRHS greatly appreiciates all the generous donations to this project to date. However, we could still use your help! All Donations to the WNYRHS, Inc. are Tax-Deductable! If you would like to mail in a donation, send it to

WNYRHS Inc., PO Box 416, Buffalo, New York 14231-0416
         Click the PayPal Button to make a Secure Electronic Donation. THANK YOU!

News Updates 2016

This page was last updated: February 16th, 2018

Web Site Hosting by    TRAIN WEB

The WNYRHS, Inc. P.O. Box 416, Buffalo, NY. 14231-0416 is an independent organization and has no affiliation with any other local or national group.
The Society is a fully qualified organization under 501 (C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code and all donations to the Society are tax deductible.
©Copyright 1999 , WNYRHS Inc. all rights reserved

  Web Design & Hosted by  - Scott H.