Oregon Zoo Steamer

Built locally in 1959, the steamer "Oregon" has long been a favorite of visitors, young and old alike, to the Oregon Zoo's Washington Park and Zoo Railway located in the West Hills of Portland, Oregon. When the PRPA heard last winter that funding apparently would not be allocated for the repairs necessary to return the locomotive to operational status, 10 of our members met with Zoo officials on Feb 8 to express our concern and offer our assistance in returning the "Oregon" to operational status.

After our offer of assistance and a donation of $5000 for the steamer repair by a Zoo employee, and perhaps other considerations unknown to us, the Zoo did the right thing and put the "Oregon" back on track. Athough the Zoo did not take us up on our initial offer, the PRPA has since that time provided needed improvements to the steamer's condition by fabricating new rings and a new piston with the only cost to the Zoo being the cost of materials.

Return to Steam Celebration on April 17, 2004

A formal ceremony was held to celebrate the restoration to operating status after 534 days of downtime. David Bragdon, Metro Council President, (Metro is the Tri-County entity having oversight of the Zoo) is speaking to those in attendance. Standing by the engine's firebox is the engineer, Ken Lauderback. PRPA members in background. Photo by Dale Birkholz.

The PRPA were honored guests and given the first ride around the loop. Photo by Dale Birkholz.

Ken Lauderback (not in the photo) presented plaques to Tony Vecchio, Oregon Zoo Director, Ben Harris, WP&Z Railway Stationmaster and donor of funds specific to the steamer, and David Bragdon, Metro Council President. Photo by Dale Birkholz.

Tom Weisner, PRPA machinist, David Bragdon, Metro Council President, Ken Lauderback, Zoo train engineer, Jim Vanderbeck, PRPA President. Photo by Terry Thompson.

Inside the cab of the "Oregon". Photo by Terry Thompson.

May 15, 2004. PRPA machines new rings and a new piston for the "Oregon".

Old piston and old rings. Compare for size with SP&S 700 piston and rings elsewhere in photo gallery. Photo by Terry Thompson.

Tom Weisner, PRPA Machinist, checking groove width of new piston with an adjustable parallel. The stock used for both the piston and the rings was a high grade of ductile iron. Photo by Terry Thompson.

Grooves are finished. Photo by Terry Thompson.

Tom has now turned the piece around in the chuck and is using a dial indicator to true it up in preparation for facing off the remaining material. Photo by Terry Thompson.

Finished piston. Photo by Terry Thompson.

The available stock for making rings was this piece, so a lot of material has to be removed. Tom starts by drilling a large hole. Photo by Terry Thompson.

Once the hole has been drilled, then remaining interior material is removed by boring out in this manner. The remaining work and installation of the piston and rings was performed without the presence of a camera, so you'll have to imagine the rest. Photo by Terry Thompson.

Read more about the Washington Park and Zoo Railway on the Zoo's website

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