The Continuing Restoration of the North Alabama Railroad Museum's 1926 Alco/GE/Ingersoll-Rand Boxcab Locomotive

This is the latest photo we have of the east end of our Boxcab. Most of the work up to this point has been done on the other (north) side. This is one of about five 60 ton boxcab locomotives of this type still in existence, and one of even fewer with end doors.

NARM Boxcab Restoration

It may not look it, but our ALCo/GE/IR boxcab locomotive (serial #10134) has received quite a bit of work since the day our museum received it from Union Carbide in Sheffield, Alabama back on July 28, 1977 in its faded light blue color. Good progress has been made over the last several years on our Boxcab locomotive, in part thanks to a generous $3,000 Railway Heritage Grant provided by the National Railway Historical Society. Basically all of the outer metal bodywork that had been drastically altered by the previous owners has been replaced. This included replacing nearly one third of the metal on the exterior walls. The new sheet metal was attached using bolts with the heads rounded (to give the look of rivits), even though it meant rounding close to 1000 bolt heads. This was done for cost and practicality reasons. Seven windows have been replaced as well since the grant was issued.

This is what we had to work with...

At some point while Union Carbide owned this locomotive, the cab had been widened about a foot and very large, rounded windows had been installed. One would suppose this was all done for the sake of greater visibility. However, it meant that the basic configuration had been greatly compromised. This picture shows the widened cab where the engineer was to sit. This was obviously not original. Note the section behind the red window where the square metal patch is. This once housed a radiator that had been added on. The six large empty bolt holes are what holds the two very heavy air tanks in place.

Here is that same section as work progresses quite well. The large object on the floor of the locomotive is the humongous air compressor. It too had been moved from its original position and had to be moved back.

The picture is dark because it was a dreary day weather-wise. But spirits were high the day the "wall" came tumbling down !

Here is the same side as above with recently primered new metal in place. Note the shiny machine green paint now glistening inside.

Here is an example (looking at the ceiling) of what the whole interior of the boxcab looked like before the work crew attacked with high-speed wire brush grinders. Needless to say, the crew emerged from the locomotive several shades darker after wearing the dirt and grime they had removed.

Looking at the shiny air tanks and pristine wall, it would appear that all the hard work had been worth it. This window has been completely rebuilt and returned to working order (it slides up and down).

This is the south side of the locomotive before any work had begun. This was originally the engineer's side (on this end). Even this window had been altered. Note replacement sheet metal on ground with cut out for new window.

And here is the same area as above with fresh sheet metal installed. The end of the outside restoration is finally in sight ! But some rust spots remain. The control stand and an interior partion on this end also remains to be restored. The sand box fills were not there when we received the loco and will have to be re-cast. The steps are not original and will have to be removed and the pilot steps added back on. We applied again for a Heritage Grant from the NRHS but regret to report that our application was turned down.

This is how the Boxcab looked the 9th day of August when it was received by Union Carbide in 1927. This photograph was snagged from the 1976 Train Shed Cyclopedia (#43) by an astute museum member. According to hand written notes in the original G.E. Instruction Manual, the unit was received at 10:00 A.M. that day (the 9th) and was weighed in on the 10th at 134,080 lbs. (67 tons). It was in operating condition on the 11th and put into shift work on the 15 of August. In June, 1960 it was re-powered by Union Carbide with a 385 H.P. Caterpillar V-8 engine. This boxcab was then transferred to Sheffield, Alabama in July 1960 where it was re-lettered to No. 3. The unit was put on "standby" status in 1969.

However, Union Carbide was actually the second "owner" of this unit. An article in the December 1970 issue of "Trains" magazine titled "Ingersoll-Rand, Catalyst for Dieselization" shows this unit as being loaned out as a demonstrator to Inland Steel of Chicago, Illinois from November 1926 to April 1927. The unit was rejected for whatever reason by Inland Steel and was sent back to the factory and "rebuilt" (may have received some upgrades such as bigger traction motors ?) and sold to Union Carbide on the August 1927 date mentioned above. So this locomotive was actually built in the year 1926.

North Alabama Railroad Museum

Revised: October 18, 2005