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BCK #43 - 2022 Updates


BUFFALO CREEK #43
ALCO HH660

Updates 2022
by WNYRHS

March 2022

          Buffalo Creek ALCO HH660 #43 entered service on March 18, 1940 and worked the waterfront industries of the City of Buffalo for over 26 years. This 82 year old operating locomotive is a testimony to the skill of hundreds of men and women that built it in the Schenectady, New York shops at the American Locomotive Company. The WNYRHS is proud to own and care for this piece of American history and plans to do so for many years to come.

This takes volunteer effort to keep this locomotive running. If you have some spare time and a desire to help maintain this and other historic pieces the Society owns, send Scott an eMail at to get started. No special skills are needed but you could get your hands dirty and have some fun at the same time.

April 2022

Society member and "Section Foreman," Rick Burns, was in Hamburg on April 25th to knock the cobwebs off of #43. As was always done, we would plug our underground extension cord into the Hamburg Depot to get 120 volt power down to the locomotive. However, down at the engine, there was no power. Years of moving the flexible coupling back and forth had taken its toll on the wire inside. Rick removed the flexible coupling and 50 feet of bad wire and added a new end to the cable. Using an above ground 12 gauge extension cord he was back in business.

With power available at the locomotive, Rick was able to connect our "Douglas Battery" float charger that he brought, to the battery switch inside the electrical cabinet. The 14 batteries read 112.4 volts on the meter. Since they were recharged over the winter, this was no surprise. Rick set the charger to "equalize" the battery bank for two hours. At the end of the day, the total voltage was up to 115.2 volts.

While the batteries were being charged, Rick connected our "Pre-lube" pump to the "Prime Mover." After sitting all winter, bearings and moving parts loose their lubrication. Within 15 minutes, oil could be seen dripping from the back of the oil galley near the flywheel. This process only has to be done when the locomotive has not run for over a month.

After the pre-lube pump had run for almost a half an hour, Rick got out the 5 foot "barring bar" and stuck it into one of 16 holes in the flywheel. With fresh oil in all the bearings, his body weight is able to spin the crankshaft to move all the parts into another position. This also prevents flat spot from forming on the crankshaft and connecting rod bearings. Within 180 degrees of rotation the cylinders begin to build up compression and it takes two guys to continue the process.

At our next work session, the weather covers on the radiators will need to be removed and 205 gallons of water, "borrowed" from  ArtCraft Toy Trains  (Hamburg Depot), will be added to the cooling system. Fresh diesel fuel with "Diesel Kleen" additive will be added to the fuel tank and the locomotive will be ready to start. It would be great if you could become a Society Member and join in the fun!

May 2022

On May 9th, Rick Burns was back in Hamburg with 150 feet of garden hose. As is, the ongoing joke is that we "borrow" 205 gallon of water from ArtCraft Toy Trains. Rick Fisher, store owner, has always been a generous supporter of our efforts and we sincerely thank him for his help.

As the cooling system filled, Rick "barred" the engine over to release trapped air in the water passageways. In less than an hour, the water gauge in the cab showed 3/4's full in the expansion tank, and the water was turned off. With the engine being barred over and five gallons of fresh diesel fuel, the engine was ready to start.

He unlocked the control stand, closed the battery switch, and started the fuel pump. When 35psi showed on the fuel pump gauge, he hit the started button. "Ca-chunk, ca-chunk, ca-chunk, ca-chunk, the engine coughed a few times, revved up and died. After a few tries with the same result, he knew he needed someone to "stick a screwdriver in the carburetor," Ha! This phrase goes way back to the days when you stuck a screwdriver into your 2 or 4 barrel carburetor car to keep the choke open.

Of course there is no "carb" on a diesel engine but it does have a "speed governor" on the prime mover that needs to be controlled with a long screwdriver when there is limited fuel in the injector system. Rick called his brother in law, Tony, who lives 10 minutes away to help out. Now Tony, with screwdriver in hand, could lift the governor control arm when Rick hit the started button. In one try, the engine came to life with classic gray smoke coming out of the exhaust.

With the locomotive running again, we need to continue the repainting project started last year. Sander pipes, hangers and nozzles need to be fabricated. There is plenty of work for anyone, no matter what your skills are. We have all the tools and supplies, all we need is a little of your time. Please contact us at the eMail address below if you want to become part of the team and become a WNYRHS member.

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 a donation, send to

WNYRHS Inc., 100 Lee Street, Buffalo, New York, 14210
         or Click the PayPal Button to make a Secure Electronic Donation. THANK YOU!




This page was last updated: May 20th, 2022

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