The Federal Railroad Administration inspector visited Minersville at the end of May and gave our favorite locomotive a passing grade on her annual physical -- in this case, a five-year inspection, covering everything from brakes to safety valves. The locomotive now has a license to operate for another year, and we look forward to putting a fire on her grates and bringing her out on the road a few times!
On this year's list of things to do, we have started work on fabricating new jacketing for the boiler; made of sheet metal (usually 14-gauge, 0.075" thick), the jacket protects the lagging, or insulation, that keeps heat in the boiler, making the engine more efficient (and less work for the fireman!). In common with most locomotives, 113's jacket will extend from the back of the smokebox (between the smokestack and sand dome), wrapping all of the way around the boiler barrel, over top of the firebox, and covering the backhead (the back of the boiler, in the cab). In the photos on the 113 history page, you can see the original jacketing in place. Unlike many locomotives, 113's jacket will cover the sides of the firebox; some railroads, notably the Santa Fe (and the Reading, on their 4-8-4s), jacketed the smokeboxes too. Once completed on 113, this will make the engine look a lot smoother on the outside!