Large Scale Central

Any interest in hearing about a steam loco rebuild?


I used to work with a fellow named Jon Brewster at HP. He’s a swell guy, great colleague, etc.

More relevant to this group is that one of his hobbies is restoring steam locomotives. His particular expertise is understanding the boiler and guiding the fixes. They do a lot of measurements, then he runs a complicated numerical analysis that helps point out where the metal needs to be fixed up.

Jon is willing to give a presentation to anybody who’s interested in restoring old steam locomotives. Presumably over a zoom video chat.

Please reply if you would like to attend. Jon says:

I can give a pitch about any time except Wednesdays or Friday afternoons. Sign me up. Any size group. All good.

He’s the program manager on a restore of a 4-6-2 in Oregon. Here’s a news article about it. They are raising $1M to fund the restoration.


From Jon:

These images are of repairs being done to the OR&N 197. This engine was retired in the 50’s and is being brought back to operation.

Some photos:





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Wow! Interesting pictures, boilers and the pressure they contain and how they are built are interesting and I am amazed at the work they did back then with the equipment, tools and manpower, mostly man power!

Very interesting. Way too much for me. I’ll just enjoy watching.


Gotta throw this in there Jim. If I am incorrect then tell me so…not really sure about the ear protection but I do not like the second picture as if that blade lets go the mask ain’t stopping it !

Good stuff!

You are no doubt right, Rooster. I will pass it along.


I am right now assuming that there is no interest in hearing from my friend Jon.

Btw: I am sure his talk is not a math lecture. He’s quite knowledgeable about steam loco restoration in general. I believe he has worked on dozens of restoration projects.

His presentation has a number of videos in it. No doubt many pictures too.

If you change your mind and are interested in a zoom chat with Jon, reply here and I’ll set it up. Otherwise I’ll get a private one.


I honestly am interested however it’s a rabbit hole that I am not currently prepared to go down right now . “Only speaking for myself though”. The pics are tits on a boar hog and would love more but not interested in a zoom chat right now.
Hope that’s the right response and if not well it’s still all good!

Sure. It’s all good. I’m not pushing at all, just being sure. If no interest, no problem.

Hi Jim,

I am very interested in talking with your friend, Jon. I follow several steam restorations going on around the country right now and would love to be a part of one at some point. I would like to hear how the process works and specifically his thoughts on the debate of preserving historic integrity vs. operation.

I am currently quite busy with work and am often away for long periods of time. However, this fall I would like to make some time to have a virtual sit-down with your friend.


Jon is pretty flexible. Let me know and we’ll set it up.