Minersville, 25 March 2020 -- For the second time in four years, Railway Restoration Project 113 in Minersville gratefully announces receipt of a grant from the John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust. The $12,000 donation will support the ongoing restoration and operation of steam locomotive number 113, built in 1923 and now the only full-size anthracite-burning locomotive operating in North America.
“It takes work all year long to maintain our locomotive,” says Bob Kimmel, Project 113's president, “and we do almost everything with volunteers. In addition to all of our generous local sponsors and individual contributors, we are very thankful that the Emery Trust recognizes the work that all of our volunteers do to keep the Steam Era alive in the Coal Region.”
Project 113 will use the Emery Trust’s contribution to buy materials for renewal of the locomotive’s superheater units. Number 113 underwent a thorough rebuilding from 1999 to 2013; seven years later, the superheater units, original to the engine, have come to the end of their useful lives, and we will replace them using new commercially-supplied parts and our own volunteer labor. These thirty-four assemblies of 1-1/2”-diameter steel pipes and bends conduct “saturated” steam through the boiler’s flues to get hotter and drier – absorbing more of the fire’s energy – before passing to the cylinders under the front of the boiler where that steam does the work of making the six driving wheels turn.
The previous grant, of $5,000, made in the summer of 2016, supported work to rehabilitate the locomotive's brake rigging and other parts of the running gear.
With the cooperation of partner railroad Reading & Northern, number 113 powers passenger excursions from Minersville a few times each year, offering affordable, family-friendly opportunities to experience train travel. Santa trains will operate in December, on dates we’ll announce in the summer, with tickets available from Project 113 at the station, 113 East Sunbury Street in Minersville. Number 113 also traditionally attends the Schuylkill Sojourn kick-off in the spring in Schuylkill Haven and Borough Day there in September, with guests welcome into the engine cab to blow the whistle.
John Emery, a native of Chicago and a lover of the classic passenger train era in America, created the John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust to support projects that preserve and re-create the passenger trains of the 1920’s though the 1950’s. The Trust operates as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) foundation under the Internal Revenue Code, with grant decisions made by a three-person advisory committee based on criteria established by Mr. Emery, focusing on organizations that offer the general public an opportunity to ride historically-significant equipment over historic rail lines. For more information, visit EmeryRailHeritageTrust.com.