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Steam & Excursion > The Odd Wreck Of Pickering Lumber Heisler #1 !


Date: 06/02/12 05:00
The Odd Wreck Of Pickering Lumber Heisler #1 !
Author: LoggerHogger

As we start the re-build process on former Sunset Timber Heisler #1 at the Oregon Coast Scenic RR at Garibaldi, OR we have been looking into the history of this 85-ton 3-truck Heisler. One of the oddest parts of this engines past involves a wreck that took place on the last day the engine operated for Pickering Lumber Corp. at Standard, CA.

The story we have pieced together so far tells us that by early 1956 the first of the EMD diesels had arrived at Standard for service on the logging railroad. This brought the immediate retirement of Pickering's fleet of 3-truck Heislers. However, we learn that Pickering CMO Al Botfieled decided to re-build one of the Heislers and keep her as a backup engine in the event of a breakdown of a one of the diesels.

Apparently PLC Heisler #1 was chosen for this re-build which was accomplished during the winter shut-down of 1955-1956. The service records I have for this engine show that she was last used in logging service in May through November 1955. Here last boiler test was November 8, 1955. Her rebuild occured soon thereafter.

What happened after this rebuild was completed is still not clear to us. We are told that in the spring of 1956, with the re-build compete, Heisler #1 was taken out on a break-in test run. We do not know if she was puling a train on this run or simply running light engine. Somewhere on the line jointly operated with the Sierra RR between Standard and Ralph, a serious problem arose in the line shaft coupling between the 2nd and 3rd truck. Apparently the connection there jammed in such a way that the force of the engine working up-grade actually caused the 3rd truck and tender tank to flip off the track and apparently landed on a nearby embankment.

We have not yet located photos of the wreck itself, but I have been able to come up with photos of the engine after the pieces were picked up and returned to the yards at Standard. As we see from these photos, the engine itself apparently stayed on the track as their is no sign of damage to it. Apparently CMO Botfield was so thuroughly discusted with what had occured, he had the wrecked tender and her 3rd truck loaded (backwards) on a log car and the engine and log car with wreck parts simply parked back at the garden tracks near the engine shops at Standard where they stayed for the next year.

The first photo above was taken by Stan Snook and he wrote on the back of the photo that the wrecked #1 would be cannibalized for parts. Fortunately, that did not occur. By March 1958, Pickering had put the 3rd truck and tender back on the engine and parked her back at the garden track, never to run again. The 3rd photo is by Harold F. Stewart taken in September 1958 and the tender still shows the scars of being flipped off the rails.

Hopefully some day we can learn more of this incident and actually find photos of the wreck itself. What this tells us is that this locomotive may actually be a rare example of one that was ACTUALLY re-built just before she was re-tired. We hope that is true as we prepare to move the engine portion up to the shop at Garibaldi later this year and continue our work to return her to service.




Martin



Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 06/02/12 08:20 by LoggerHogger.








Date: 06/02/12 07:20
Re: The Odd Wreck Of Pickering Lumber Heisler #1 !
Author: SierraRail

The culprit in this incident, was a missing retainer, not put back following the rebuild. Nothing "jammed" in the line shaft. The railroad crews involved in this incident kept things very quiet about details, and I seriously doubt that photos were taken at all. Even Pickering management had a hard time learning the facts, because no one would talk. As far as I know, everyone involved with this, is now deceased. Bill Scott, Pickering engineer, wanted to use #1 as the mill switcher, which is why it was completely rebuilt.



Date: 06/02/12 08:12
Re: The Odd Wreck Of Pickering Lumber Heisler #1 !
Author: LoggerHogger

Here is another view of PLC Heisler #1 taken by Harold F. Stewart af the wreck mentioned above. You can claarly see the damage to the tender caused when the lineshaft connection to the tender failed and the tender was flipped onto it's side and off the tracks.

This view was taken on March 3, 1958. For some reason her bell has been removed. Look at the September view in the first posting and you can see the bell was re-installed by September of 1958. In the September 1958 view above you can see that PLC Heisler #10 has lost her stack by that time. That is another story for another time.

Martin



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/02/12 08:22 by LoggerHogger.




Date: 06/02/12 14:10
Re: The Odd Wreck Of Pickering Lumber Heisler #1 !
Author: Evan_Werkema

Are there any other known instances of a Heisler flinging its tender into the woods like that?



Date: 06/02/12 15:23
Re: The Odd Wreck Of Pickering Lumber Heisler #1 !
Author: LoggerHogger

If there are, I have not heard of them.

Martin



Date: 06/02/12 18:17
Re: The Odd Wreck Of Pickering Lumber Heisler #1 !
Author: OKTrainboys

Martin, your stories are exceptional!! And worthy of much praise!!



Date: 06/02/12 19:38
Re: The Odd Wreck Of Pickering Lumber Heisler #1 !
Author: rcall31060

Martin, am I correct in thinking that Heisler only used slide valves, as opposed to piston valves, on their locomotives? I can't ever recall seeing a photo of a Heisler with a piston valve arrangement. TIA.

Bob Callahan
Monticello, IN



Date: 06/02/12 19:45
Re: The Odd Wreck Of Pickering Lumber Heisler #1 !
Author: LoggerHogger

Bob,

Actually, there were many piston valve Heislers. Not as many as with slide valves, but they did use piston valves too.

Here is an example. She is St. Regis Paper #92 at Mineral, WA.

Martin



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/02/12 19:47 by LoggerHogger.




Date: 06/03/12 12:55
Re: The Odd Wreck Of Pickering Lumber Heisler #1 !
Author: rcall31060

Martin,

that's the first one that I've ever seen. Thank you!

Bob Callahan
Monticello, IN



Date: 06/03/12 20:18
Re: The Odd Wreck Of Pickering Lumber Heisler #1 !
Author: jbbane

Here is another surviving though stuffed and mounted piston valve equipped Heisler. This is Potlatch #92 in Lewiston, Id. I seem to recall with questionable certainty that this engine was not built with piston valves, but received the conversion along with superheat at the Northern Pacific shops in Spokane possibly in it's early life as a Diamond Match Co. engine. Not sure where one might confirm this.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/03/12 20:19 by jbbane.




Date: 06/04/12 05:33
Re: The Odd Wreck Of Pickering Lumber Heisler #1 !
Author: LoggerHogger

Bret,

You are correct that #92 was built with slide valves and later converted to piston valves. This was done for her first owner - Ohio Match Co. (not Diamond Match Co.).

Martin



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