As VMT leadership previously announced, 611 was near ready to depart Spencer, NC on Monday morning when the fireman discovered that the stoker screw was not moving. The engine’s mechanical crew immediately began troubleshooting the issue and discovered a possible break in the stoker screw, a few feet into the tender.
VMT leadership in consultation with Chief Mechanical Officer, Scott Lindsay, determined that the most responsible decision would be to delay the move so that the stoker issue could be properly identified and repaired.
In order to further diagnose the issue, the engine and tender needed to be separated and the 35 tons of coal currently in the tender removed. Mideast Railroad Service was called to assist with removing the coal. After removing the coal, the stoker screw break was confirmed. The cause of the break was likely a weak spot in the original casting, as an internal void was observed extending towards the edge of the stoker screw.
Mechanical personnel have removed the screw from the tender and engine, and have already begun the necessary welding and machining required to make repairs.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the stoker screw will be reinstalled and tested within the next few days, engine/tender coupled and coal loaded as 611 is once again prepared for departure.
We would like to acknowledge our mechanical crew and partners for their assistance and cooperation: Strasburg Rail Road, Norfolk Southern, North Carolina Transportation Museum, Mideast Railroad Service, and Rowan Precision Machining.