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4 Ton Whitcomb Electric Storage Battery Locomotive

When Chris first found out that the mine motor was going to be scrapped he know he had to save it. After Negotiations with John Doran and Chrisí dad, the lokie was on its way to its new home. This is the first of three mine cars that are going to be restored by the Underground Miners team. John has two coal cars for us also, one all steel one and one wooden and steel one. They will be in their new home soon. We will have updates on the restoration as well as more pics as we go on.

Update- As of the fall of 2004 we sucessfully ran the mine motor we recovered from the culm bank after it was sitting there for over 50 years. I want to thank John Fauzio and the guys from the #9 mine tour in Lansford for all your help and for donating a controller. You guys are great! John, without your help it would still be sitting there on the 6x6s. I would also like to thank John and Marge at Baumann's Scrap Metal for your contrabutions. Without your help we wouldn't even have the thing! And of course Matt Pompey of Scranton Dodge. If it weren't for your help i wouldn't be able to afford assemble the motor. If anyone is in need of a good truck go see Matt and he'll hook you up! Of course lets not forget my UGM buddies that helped in the work, thanks guys, but theres still lots of work to do!

Update- Summer 05, We have now finally got a coat of paint on our mine motor. Of course done up nicely with Pompey Coal lettering. This winter it will be living in a garage bay at Tunkhannock Auto Mart where it will be getting its finnishing touches like its wooden bumpers, wiring tied up, another coat of paint, top to the battery box, wooden seat, operating head lamps, sanders freed up, and some other small projects. Maybe even have it at the Lackawanna Coal Mine tour for a few weeks.

Update- Summer 06, Well, we have been working on our locomotive for about a year now after getting it inside last fall. I can't thank Matt enough for donating the space to work on our project. So over the winter and spring i hooked up with RPM rigging out of columbus ohio to rebuild a speed controller that is supposed to be in this lokie. If you notice that huge one that is in its early running shots, that is off of a hoist. Now we have the real deal. Also got all the wooden bumpers on, new paint, lids for the battery boxes and one of the most ambitious projects, new axle seals. I deceided to change the oil in the gearboxes and upon doing so, all of it ran out of the axles. So i removed the seals and formed new ones out of graphite impregnated packings. the driveshaft seal still leaks but not anywhere as bad as the axles did. Right now we have the resistor bank off as well as the headlamp swiches. we are cleaning up and repairing the resistor bank so we can run on all 4 speeds instead of 3 and installing new switches for the headlamps. we had it running jacked up in the shop and everything works smoothly. Im not sure if it will see rail this season or not, more likely it will be unvailed next spring so we can continue to keep in in the shop during the winter and give it love! Oh yes and we also found out that this is a 4 Ton Locomotive manufactured by Geo. B. Whitcomb Co. beween mid 1920s and early 1930s. We got that information off of the data plate on the motor itself and from some old photographs. Using the numbers on the data plate we should be able to come up with an exact date of manufacture, where it operated and more on this locomotive. The Locomotive builders plate is missing.

Update- Fall '06 With some good contacts and alot of research we found out alot more information on our mine motor. The 4 ton whitcomb ESB mine motor was ordered on 12/8/1925, by Richmondale Coal Co. outside Carbondale and delivered on 3/5/1926. Just under 3 months. In 1932 the whitcomb was sold to Lackawanna Anthracite Mining Co. also in Richmondale. This mine motor was rebuilt from an older whitcomb frame at the factory. This was one of two Whitcomb mine motors Richmondale Coal then later Lackawanna had. Both were identical but both didnt meet the same fate as countless of other mine motors of the time. The two of them eventually ended up in Baumanns Scrap Yard in Carbondale as did much of the mining equiptment of that era. This one we saved the other met the torch. Unfortunatly we are not sure which one we have, its either S/N 1916 or 1917. The traction motor delivers 16 horse power to the wheels through 2 worm gear drive boxes connected with a drive shaft and u-joints. It is quite an advanced design for the time period. Its so-thought resting place was going to be the Waddell Breaker site where, after the breaker closed, haunted mine tours were given. A make shift mine opening was constructed and our Whitcomb was positioned outside this opening. This twist of fate seems to be what saved this motor as we found it the day before it was slated to be scrapped. Unfortunatly when we saw its sister motor in carbondale it was already cut in half! At this time though we didnt know the orgin of both motors or their relation to each other. An interesting point to this motor is that it operated for a coal company that was at the most northern point in the anthracite field.

Update- Dec. '06 We recently took on the task of rebuilding the motor. At this time I took some pictures of the motor down to Northend Electric in Scranton. They said that the motor looked brand new! Looking at the commutator you can see that it has been turned down or is new as there is no wear at all in it! Either the motor was rebuilt or replaced just prior to the motor being put out of service. This is just one of the many things that just happened to come out just right for us and shows that this motor really wanted to run again! Adam and i then decided to remove the brush block assemblies, cleane up the commutator, rebuild the brush blocks and install new brushes. We also painted the inside and outside of the motor itself. The motor now runs beautifully and has twice the power. Its amazing how simple these things are built. We also rewired the resistor bank for 4 speeds. Our controller has 4 speeds but one of the tabs was broken off the resistor bank so we silver soldered a new one on. Now we have full control over the motor. I also rebuilt the knife switch to throw between charge and run. Next we installed a 150 amp circuit breaker...... just incase! check out the videos section to see it run, or look further at the pictures.

Update- Summer '07 We transported our Whitcomb ESB motor back to the newly laid rail for some test runs. It performed flawlessly and has pulled many trips back and forth on our rail line. Its busiest day was at our Labor Day party where we ran it non stop day and into the night during our spragging games. There are a few possibilities as where to we are going finally locate this motor, but for now we will enjoy running it at our facility demonstrating it to the public. Rest assured though, its days of running underground are not over. It will return subsurface for a celebration, and if all goes well it will pull at least one more loaded car of anthracite out of a mine here in the anthracite region!

Update- Fall '07 The Whitcomb has been moved back to the shop to complete all tasks left to finish the locomotive. In the spring it will return to the Rail Facility fully restored.

Update- Spring '08 We moved our mine motor back to the rails finally after finishing all tasks required to bring this beauty back to like new condition. We rebuilt the resistor bank, added and wired up 8 more batteries for a total of 16 now, installed a new charging plug and system, added a bell, and relubricated the entire locomotive. We also needed a way to charge the locomotive so we built a charger. Everything works beautifully and we couldn't be happier with this great piece of history!

Photos of the Restoration!

Videos Throughout the Restoration Process!

© 2005 Underground Miners