The Ontario Express

Official Site of the Ontario & Western Railway Historical Society, Inc.

News On The 105 By Norman J. Barrett

O&WRHS “Project 105” Chairman Norm Barrett can be contacted at:
Donations to Project 105 can be made through our Membership Page

Project 105 Update – March 2, 2024

 Norm Barrett greeted a hearty group of volunteers for the first work session of 2024.  It was a cold and rainy day in Scranton but 105 enjoys a warm and dry berth in the esteemed company of Canadian National FPA-4 No. 6783 which is under restoration as well.  The intact FP4-A is being transformed into an Erie-Lackawanna FA and will be used as a cab-car on future excursions in the Scranton area.


Covers were pulled from the CAT D-17000 engine on the “A” end of the 105 in order to prepare for diagnostic testing to determine whether one or more cylinder heads are in need of replacement.

105 is also being cleaned up and prepared for viewing on April 14th by those participating in the society’s Brooks Mine tour.


Out in the society’s storage container a pair of CAT D-17000 cylinder heads rescued from M&U / M&NJ No.1 were separated from their power assemblies.  These heads will be cleaned and readied for use on 105 if diagnostic testing shows that they are needed.


Future work sessions are scheduled for March 9th, 23rd & 30th.  April sessions are set for the 6th, 20th & 27th.  Please contact Norm if you are planning to attend one of more of the work sessions.  A great deal of work needs to be done on the engine and our goal is to have at least one of the prime movers running in 2024!


Norm Barrett can be reached at:

SCRANTON, PA – PROJECT 105 – September, 2023

Recently, with a lull in hot and rainy weather, our painting contractor was able to prep, prime, and paint our storage container. This was required as part of our agreement with Steamtown. After completing that project he moved on to prepping, priming, and painting the inside of both engine hoods. 
Thanks to Dan Myers for reaching out to Paul Lubliner who had good O&W paint color samples. Paul sent the samples from California and I had actual paint samples made. Then the samples were returned to Paul. This allowed me to have the interior of the hoods painted in proper O&W gray. 


SCRANTON, PA – PROJECT 105 – July 6, 2023

The 104 at Sidney showing the Trust Plate.

Only days since being delivered, G.E. 44 Tonner 104 is seen in service at Sydney during January, 1942. It’s nicely displaying its original G.E. developed maroon, silver and black scheme. The maroon used was of a lighter and less vibrant shade than previously used by Otto Kuhler on the “Mountaineer”. Paul Lubliner Caption. Sidney Historical Society Kodachrome.  

An open letter from Dan Myers to Bob Mohowski and Paul Lubliner. 

“Hi Bob & Paul, 
Thanks once again for your contributions to O&W 105!  
Norm and I were able to get together at Steamtown to try out the original 1941 Orange County Trust plate and authentic colors!
We actually found holes in 105’s frame that precisely lined up with the “extra” holes in the plate!
Here as well is a shot of Paul’s paint samples held up against the cab of the 105. Norm is going to get the samples matched and back to you.  
Thanks for helping move Project 105 along!!!”

SCRANTON, PA – PROJECT 105 – June 19, 2023

Much time and opportunity were lost due to Covid 19 restrictions, but we are slowly coming back with the restoration of 105.

Our fabricator/welder has been working on various items as time allows. By allowing him to work on the 105 when he has available time from his bigger contract work, we receive a better labor cost. He has completed rebuilding the battery box frame and it has been primed, ready for finished painting. He is also working on replacing the interior cab wall panels as they were severely rusted at the floor level, He also made adjustments to one of the auxiliary oil tanks. Further adjustments will be made on installation. He has also made a few replacement pipefittings in his shop.

Before the new cab interior panels are installed, we treated the inside of the outside walls and installed hard foam insulation.

I have a painter lined up to paint the interior of the engine room hoods as well as our storage container. He expects to be able to do this soon.

I hope that we can regroup our project volunteers and mechanics to go back to work on the CAT diesel engines over the second half of the year.

SCRANTON, PA – PROJECT 105 – September 8, 2022

The fabricator/welder began working on the interior cab panels that are rusted badly. The Steamtown engineer with me as conductor moved the 105 from a storage track to a shop track in anticipation for a work detail. (See photos) The morning of September 10th a group met at the Steamtown shop. Volunteers included Robert and Allan Held, Frank Merkel, Benny Bellucci, Paul Davis, and myself. Steamtown shop staff, Mike T. and Alex moved the 105 into the shop and assisted when needed throughout the day.

Our goal for the day was to install one auxiliary oil tank and rebuilt radiator along with some prep work on the cab interior. There was a lot of prep work lining up the oil tank to mark the flanges for drilling the holes for fastening. We found it necessary to fasten the radiator to the tank to accomplish this task. In doing so we found a water line that will need to be repaired before tank and radiator is secured. There are also some other small items that need to be done as well.

In the cab, the fabricator removed several bad panels, the cab was cleaned up and wall areas we lightly wire brushed before applying rust converter.

By now, we were short on time, so we decided to cover both engines with new tarp material which was donated by a local business. (See photos) I will be securing some miscellaneous parts and supplies and anticipate that we can schedule another work detail in October.

Special Thanks to those volunteers that were available to help today.

Project 105 News Update – July 2021

Special Update by Guest Contributor Dan Myers

Middletown and Unionville’s (M&NJ) seventy-five year old GE 44-tonner No.1 had its appointment with the grim reaper on Monday July 26 and had been completely scrapped by the end of the day on Tuesday July 27th.

With the exception of a quick trip to Burlington, VT in January of 1964 to open the Vermont Railroad, the engine has spent all of its 75 years in the Middletown engine house. M&U / M&NJ #1 should qualify as an honorary O&W locomotive, as it traveled to the O&W shops twice a month for expert TLC from the time it was delivered in 1946 until the O&W closed in 1957.

The scrapping happened on short notice, but through the hard work of society member and M&NJ General Manager George Pellissier and the generosity of the management of the East Penn Railroad, LLC and Houston-based salvage firm Smirail, a great many critical pieces from #1 were saved and are being moved to Steamtown for O&W 105.

Among the items rescued were a pair of power assemblies removed in 2015. Each assembly consists of two cylinders, four heads, four pistons and four connecting rods. A complete fuel injection pump, electrical components and a pair of seats, missing from 105 when it arrived in Steamtown, were also saved.

Some of the parts have already been delivered to Steamtown. In coming weeks the balance of the parts will be moved to the container that Norm Barrett acquired and set up at Steamtown for 105 spares.

Center cab locomotives like #1 consisted of two completely separate and independent systems including a prime mover, generator, air brake compressor, etc. No. 1, No. 105 and all of their center-cab brothers were capable of functioning (at reduced horsepower) even if one complete system failed.

Photo 1. One side of M&NJ Ry’s #1 was re-lettered to its “as delivered” (1946) appearance at the M&NJ Ry. Historical Society’s last Slate Hill picnic in 2006. The locomotive was out of service at the time due to a “hard coupling” that broke one engine and generator loose from their mounts in the early 80’s. Several years later, vandals broke into the engine house at Middletown under the ownership of Chartwell International and stripped all of the copper from the two main generators of #1, effectively ruining any possibility for an operational restoration.

Photo 2. A partial salvage operation by East Penn in 2015, intended to rescue cylinder heads, destroyed much of one end of the locomotive and essentially doomed any chance for even a cosmetic restoration.

Photo 3. The four cylinders and heads shown in this July 26th photo were removed by Houston salvage firm Smirail and donated to the society. Most GE-44 tonners featured Caterpillar D-17,000 engines, originally designed for stationary use in the Texas oil fields. These V-8 engines featured 5 3/4″ bores and stroke of 8”. They were rated at 190 horsepower at 1,000 RPM.

Photo 4. No. 1 is loaded on a flatbed truck for its final trip to the port of Albany for export as steel scrap. Careful study of this photo will show that the four cylinders and heads seen in the previous photo have been removed and set aside for the 105.

Photos 1-3 by D. Myers, Photo 4 by Chris Clemons-Smirail.

Special Note from Project 105 Chairman Norm Barrett:

I have to say, it was a hectic day with many calls between Dan and myself and of course the calls he made to George and the scrapper. Thanks to Dan’s persistence we now have parts we need as well as some spares. Dan rented a trailer and brought the parts to Steamtown where they were unloaded and put into the container. We now have to get the rest of the parts brought down at first chance.

Hats off to Dan!

Project 105 News Update – March 2021

Although the Project 105 volunteers have not been able to work on the locomotive we continue to seek donations and grants towards funding the completion of the restoration. It is anticipated that the Steamtown National Historic Site may be able to allow volunteers to return to the Park operations and various restoration projects sometime in the second half of 2021.

Late last year, one of the attendees of our ZOOM meetings, a fellow O&WRHS member Chris S., donated the funds to purchase a 20 foot shipping container to be used to store parts for our locomotive. Due to the winter weather of snow storms and road closures there was difficulty in moving the container from New Jersey (at no cost). Fortunately we had success in March. A local trucking company, Keiser Transport & Hauling, picked up and delivered the container at half the cost he normally charges. The employees at Steamtown prepared a site location close by where we work on the 105 and then unloaded and set the container. (See Photos) As part of our agreement with Steamtown we will paint the container to blend in with the buildings. We are waiting for an estimate on that work.

Donations are greatly appreciated. Checks should be made out to O&WRHS and noted for Project 105. They can be mailed to the Society P.O. Box 713 Middletown, NY 10940-0713.

Editor’s Note: Special Thanks to Norm Barrett for providing this new column and update and for all the hard work he and all the volunteers and benefactors are doing to make this restoration possible.

Project 105 News Update – February 2021

Scranton, PA – January 11, 2022 was a good day for Project 105. After delays caused in part by the Covid 19 pandemic the second re-cored and restored radiator was finished and ready for pick-up. I proceeded to the radiator shop where the radiator was loaded into my truck. I then drove to the Steamtown National Historic Site. Upon arrival I was assisted with the unloading and storage by a NPS employee using a forklift. The radiator was placed into our storage container for safe and secure storage until such time we are ready to install it on the locomotive.

It is anticipated that once Spring arrives along with warmer temperatures, we will be able to resume working on the locomotive. As most of the work can be done outside of the shop there should be no issues.

Project 105 appreciates the generous grant from the National Railway Historical Society, Inc. along with a grant from the Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area in Partnership with the National Park Service as well as private donations.

Fund raising is ongoing. The second radiator is being recored and additional parts from the M&NJ will be arriving as soon as this week.
The one CAT engine has a cracked head assembly. It has been welded a couple of times and is no longer of use. The M&NJ #1 has donated a number of useable heads so now we have spares. The heads are a two cylinder unit that attaches to the engine block.
We still need funds for sheet metal repairs, to replace the cab floor, complete the cab windows weather seals, redo the cab seats and probably a lot of other little things. Last but not least apply a quality paint job.
As soon as this pandemic gets under control Steamtown may open their shop to volunteers. At that time I hope we can reorganize our volunteer team and arrange a couple of work sessions.
It will take time and money to complete.
To those of you that have given already, The Society gives a SPECIAL THANKS!
If you haven’t made a donation yet and would like to, please click on the banner or link below.
Thanks in advance!
Norm Barrett
O&WRHS Project 105 Chairman
Donations to the project can be made through the our Membership Page.
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