FEBT Restoration – Shops Machines

Multiple projects are underway to restore the historic machines inside the shops complex. Most have not operated since 1956. That was the last time that the Coal boilers and the stationary steam engine that powered the tools in the shops were operated.

Cincinnati Machine Tool Drill Press

This Cincinnati Machine Tool drill press resides in the Machine Shop. The press stands about eight feet tall. It has eight speeds and a Cincinnati Machine Tools power feed. This machine was reactivated by FEBT volunteers in 2007. Fortunately it was in very nice shape with little wear and no damage or abuse except for a few small drill craters in the table surface and a few chips out of the T-slots from normal use. It is using the original rejuvenated leather spindle belt re-laced with new leather lace. The rig is designed to step down the motors speed and convert the V belt drive to the leather flat belt drive that the machine used traditionally.

After reactivation, the press was used to drill a number of steel pices for use on the Combine 14 restoration.

William Sellers Co, Locomotive Wheel Lathe

This 1906 William Sellers Co. locomotive wheel lathe resides in the Machine Shop. It was last used more than twenty years ago to turn some wheel sets for the nearby Rockhill Trolley Museum. At that time it was believed to be broken. The lathe is one of the largest tools in the EBT shops, being about fifteen feet long and face plates five feet tall. It is equipped with three speed drive, dual tool posts and an auto tool advance mechanism.

The “broken” part turned out to be broken tooth corners on one face plate. Upon further investigation the gears on the lathe were found to still be fully serviceable and it was re-operated in 2008. It was first demonstrated at the Fall Spectacular 2008 and several times thereafter.

Stationary Steam Engine

This engine, powered by the boilers behind it, provided power to all the line shafts and line shaft driven machinery in the entire shops complex. According to the plate, it was installed in 1882, but no builders name or build date has eve been located on the engine. It had not operated since 1956, shortly after the railroad ceased common carrier operations. In the 1980s, cribbing had to be erected on the engine to support the roof due to a rotted beam. This cribbing largely obscured the engine.

After the Boiler House project completed the repairs of the roof beam, the cribbing was removed and volunteers starting to work to lubricate and free up the engine. Over a period of several restoration sessions, the engine was freed up until it could be turned fairly easily. The governor assembly, which was removed for safekeeping when the cribbing was erected, was returned and reinstalled. A manual lubricator was installed as the hydrostatic lubricator would not function when the engine was powered by air.

The work culminated on July 19, 2009, when the engine was first operated on air. It ran slowly at first, but each time it was operated it ran more freely and more quickly.


Sellers Locomotive Wheel Lathe


Niles Slip Roll