Waterloo Restoration Story


| January/February 1999



30 HP Waterloo

Box 1404 Beaverlodge, Alberta, Canada TOH 0C0

The restoration of this rare 30 HP Waterloo steam traction engine began in 1974 when the engine was purchased by Ted McLean from Mrs. Eva Smith. At this time the engine was located at Triangle, Alberta, a distance of about 150-160 miles from Ted's. Luckily a trucker friend, Mr. Merle Morrison, volunteered to move the engine for just his fuel used, so help from others was already becoming evident. Shortly after arriving home, restoration began. Fortunately, because of the engine's rarity, there were no major parts missing except for the clutch. In order to overcome this a clutch from a Rumely was adapted and worked quite well. To get the engine to where it could be used required the following: reflue, build a new smokestack, rebuild governor, install the intermediate gear, new piping and injectors, build a platform and wood tenders, add a water tender, and of course a complete cleaning and painting.

1914 30 HP Waterloo steamer, owned by Gordon McLean, Box 1404, Beaverlodge, Alberta, Canada, and pictured here at the South Peace Centennial Museum's Pioneer Day 1997.

The retubing was the first task accomplished, and then the boiler inspector did the hydro test to check all rivets, joints, etc. All of this was perfect and she was certified for 150 P.S.I. Once this good news was received, work proceeded rapidly as everyone was anxious to see it operate. The clutch was a major problem, as only half of the Rumely clutch was available. Measurements were taken from this half and the second half was built. As soon as the new smokestack, platform, piping and intermediate gear were installed, it just had to be steamed up to see how she worked. Things went very well. Only a bit more to do to the governor to get it to operate more smoothly. Next came the painting and the addition of the water tender. This completed the engine and it was used at the South Peace Centennial Museum to operate the sawmill, a task she handled very easily.

1914 30 HP Waterloo built in Waterloo, Ontario. This is a very rare engine, being one of only about eight to ten built. Standing, left to right, Gordon McLean and son David McLean. On display and working at South Peace Centennial Museum.

Now, as all steam men know, there is always something else to improve and tinker with on your engine. This is part of the fun, and this one was certainly no exception. Up to this point we did not have any information on this engine whatsoever until a 1914 Waterloo catalogue was acquired. A threshing scene taken at Winnipeg showed a 30 HP Waterloo. It is not a good picture, but it does show it had a canopy. Also at this time Jack Beamish from Manitoba came on the scene with some information and an additional picture. We now had something to base further restoration on. More people came forward with correct parts including the smoke box door (a locomotive door was being used), and would you believe, the original clutch. This clutch had been removed while in a sawmill site and had been separated from the engine for years. The clutch was donated back to the engine and rebuilt, which involved re-boring the center and installing a sleeve. It is a beauty, having four shoes, and its operation is as smooth as any modern clutch of today. Of course the canopy was installed as was a lid for the smokestack. This lid can be opened and closed from the ground eliminating the job of climbing up and down the boiler. A new dome valve has been installed, throttle valve completely rebuilt, and Waterloo decals were obtained from a museum in Ontario. Last March '93 a surprise package arrived by courier one day, a big box with return address of Leamington, Ontario. When opened, a perfect coal oil headlight was packaged and ready to be mounted on the engine. What a treat! As of this writing, the engine is in excellent shape, near original and the only one of this model in existence which is in operating condition. We realize from information recently received that the tenders are not quite the exact size, and we are still searching for a correct smokestack.