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BCK #43 - 2020 Updates


Updates 2020
by Scott H.

June 2020

When I last reported about work in Hamburg we were just getting 30 degree weather and Rick Burns and Bob Martin were draining the cooling system. As I write this, we are expecting a 90 degree plus day. With the Covid 19 crisis restrictions just easing up, Rick Burns started to prep Buffalo Creek #43 for its first start up of the year.

On June 1st, Rick reinstalled the large generator belt cover on the front of the prime mover. He also pre-lubed the engine was able to “bar it over” with very little effort. It seems the engine really likes the fresh 82 gallons of new oil we added last year. He also knocked down the weeds that had flourished during the last month with his weed-wacker.

On June 8th, he refilled the cooling system with 285 gallons fresh water. A big thank you goes out to Rick Fisher of ArtCraft Toy Trains for letting us “borrow” the water! Rick also barred the engine over to eliminate any air pockets. He was pleased to report there were no leaks. Rick and Bob are hoping to get the engine operating in the very near future.

June 15th broke out bright and sunny. Rick B., Bob M. and Jim L. were all on hand to get the locomotive ready for it first run of the season. The prime mover was pre-lubed and barred over. Oil strainers were rotated and condensation drained from the air tanks. Rick pushed in the starter button and after 10 or more "ka-chunks" the engine came to life! Jim commented that it started like it was run yesterday.

Once the compressor built up enough control air, Rick notched out the throttle and away they went! It didn't take long to reach the end of our 60 foot stretch of track but that didn't matter. The engine being fully operational brings enough satisfation to make everyone happy.

The Hamburg crew plans to apply a whole lot of fresh paint this summer with new letters and numbers. Hopefully the great weather continues.

July 2020

With July going down as the hotest in WNY history, it was difficult for the crew in Hamburg to get much exterior work accomplished. Their attention was getting a few bugs worked out of the locomotive. Jim Long didn’t care for the look of the generator belt cover that Rick Burns installed last month so he took it home and did a fantastic job cleaning, prepping and painting the large steel cover. The cover was reinstalled on July13th and it looks great!
On that same day while running the locomotive, Bob Martin noticed water coming from under one of the drain holes underneath the radiator compartment. They shut the engine down and checked for the source of the water flow. Sure enough, the compartment had a half an inch of water laying in it and the water gauge in the cab was near the bottom.

On the 20th, armed with 200 feet of harden hose, the cooling system was refilled and the dark compartment was checked with flashlights for fresh water. A small but steady stream of water was coming from one of the lower six radiator segments on the inside. On the outside, there were small telltale signs of a leak but no water. A quarter turn of a big wrench solved the problem.

The cooling system was refilled and now the water gauge in the cab now reads half full when cold. A red telltale inside the gauge tube gives them a nice visual of the water level in the expansion tank. They ran the engine for two hours with no leaks. The batteries also charged to their peak value of 114.8 volts, a good day.

Pat Connors from the BSOR has always been the “go-to” guy when help is needed. His advice of what to look for with the cooling leak saved a lot of detective work. He also recommended a diesel fuel treatment that the BSOR uses in all their locomotives. Rick Burns bought an 80 ounce jug of it which will treat up to 250 gallons of fuel. 20 ounces were added to the 80 gallons in the tank. The prime mover now starts in less than 15 seconds!

August 2020

On August 31st, the Hamburg crew had just finished touching up the rear of the cab with fresh paint and decided it was time to add some lettering. When they were done, nice and clean vinyl letters gave viewers a glimse of the late 40's when number 43 sported both the railroad and road number on the rear of the locomotive.

October 2020
by Rick Burns

Well, another very successful and productive season has come and gone with Buffalo Creek #43. On October 12th, Bob Martin, Jim Long and I decided it was time. After running the locomotive for almost two hours, we shut her down and drained the cooling system to protect from freezing. Winter weather is on its way.

I have to again report that the prime mover is running better than ever. Our fresh oil in the crankcase and the addition of "Diesel Kleen" to the fuel tank has cut starting time down to less than 12 seconds. We did have a small issue with a fusible link on the "control circuit."

During one of our work session while the locomotive was stationary, the generator circuit dropped out. When we opened the reusable 150 amp fuse canister, we saw that a nut had loosed up and caused a hot spot that melted the links. Fortunately we had spare links that were easily replaced after cleaning up the nuts. In less than an hour we were back in business.

One entire day was spent checking the fuel tank and oil crankcase for water. Small amounts of both fuel and oil were drained and no water was found in either. We also removed all six compression plugs on the cylinder heads to check for water and excess diesel fuel when the engine was turned over. The old girl passed with flying colors!

We still have that anoying water leak from one of the radiator cooling segments. With the water drained from the system, we plan to remove it and install new gaskets.

With some good weather, we finished painting the entire firemans side of the cab. When we get the engineers side done, new #43 letters and pinstripe will be applied to both sides. After chasing all the threads with a tap, Jim Long installed 22 new shorter length three quarter inch bolts on both sides of the battery covers.

We also installed a new "bell motor" actuator, donated by Scott H. to our bell. The original actuator was just plan worn out after 80 years of use! When the bell was turned on, we got a rapid sticato of rings which just didn’t sound right. The new actuator now moves the clapper in a nice even "ding-ding-ding."

Hopefully, we will get a few more nice work days to finish up what we were doing. If not, #43 has all its foul weather covers installed and is ready for a "long winter’s nap"

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 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

         or Click the PayPal Button to make a Secure Electronic Donation. THANK YOU!

This page was last updated: September 5th, 2020

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