Jimmy McHugh during the early 1960’s began assisting heritage railroads, rail transportation museums, and trolley preservation groups, with on-site services of re-railing wrecks, transporting antique railroad equipment and trolley cars by truck, along with providing rigging and crane services. Then in 1973, Jimmy McHugh also began rebuilding historic steam locomotives, diesel locomotives, and other equipment, for heritage railroads, short lines, and in-plant industrial railroads.
Today, McHugh Locomotive & Equipment continues to provide museum quality restorations to vintage diesel locomotives and historic equipment. The world class work that is performed by our experienced and skilled multi-craft people at our modern facility is hard to replicate in our industry. We are a supplier that you can count on to deliver positive results for your heritage railway organization.
McHugh Locomotive & Equipment is an innovative leader who provides solutions to the ever changing challenges of operating historic diesel locomotives and vintage equipment at heritage railroads or rail transportation museums in today’s demanding operating environment. We can assist your organization with an evaluation and cost analysis for your next equipment restoration project. We will provide you with a detailed approach of how the restoration should be preformed and can also work with you on a production schedule that is tailored to fit your budgetary requirements. We can address any technical questions concerning a restoration and also provide you with proven methods to solving some unique challenges that we have overcome. There are some cases when we believe a proposed project may not be worth the cost involved for a full restoration, and we will truthfully inform you of your equipment inspections.
McHugh Locomotive & Equipment can perform your entire restoration project from the time your old worn-out piece of equipment begins the journey to our facility, until it arrives back at your location fully restored. Our team members have a vast experience of providing the proper rigging to safely hoist locomotives, railcars, machinery, and equipment, by a crane. We can also assist you with the transportation logistics of shipping your vintage diesel locomotives and historic equipment, by either rail or truck, along with providing the proper securing of it during shipment. You can be assured with McHugh Locomotive & Equipment handling the entire project for your organization, that this will ensure a harmonious outcome for your next restoration or repair job.
The Wilmington & Western RR had an unreliable EMD 600hp SW-1 locomotive that required a major frame up restoration. McHugh Locomotive & Equipment returns the historic 1940 built Baltimore & Ohio #8408 back to its glory days of railroading.
The Wilmington & Western Railroads original scope of work was to replace the old obsolete “U” style engine block because it was problematic with leaking water into the crankcase and lube oil system. The Wilmington & Wilmington Railroad also desired to have the following other components rebuilt: air compressor, main generator, radiators, and to replace the old electrical system with a modern upgrade. The Wilmington & Western desired to have a “B” style engine block rebuilt and placed into the 8408. However, McHugh Locomotive & Equipment recommended and supplied a re-manufactured 6 cylinder 567-C, because the “B” style engine block over time can have the same defective issues occur as on the old “U” or “A” type engine blocks.
After the 8408 arrived at the McHugh facility the Wilmington & Western Railroad decided to have a complete overhaul preformed to the locomotive. The result it that the 8408 would now receive a “total frame up restoration” to provide the corrective measures required to repair all of the remaining defects and the 8408 would now be fully restored back to safe operating condition. This work now included major structural and mechanical repairs, along with rebuilding both of the old worn out truck assemblies. The 6-1/2″ x 12″ roller bearing axle wheel sets where reconditioned and the four traction motors were repaired as necessary.
When B&O 8408’s cab interior walls where removed, it unveiled that the cabs steel structural frame was compromised and not safe for operation. The Wilmington & Western Railroad then informed us that it did not have enough funds available to make a complete major repair of the cabs steel structure.
McHugh Locomotive & Equipment stepped in an offered to donated that portion of the cab restoration work. However, a condition set by JC McHugh was that the 8408 locomotive would not be repainted into its former paint scheme and lettered Wilmington & Western. JC McHugh’s requirement for this donation was that the historic SW-1 locomotive would be painted back into its heritage railroad paint scheme and lettered Baltimore & Ohio.
The B&O 8408 restoration was preformed over a multi-year period to enable the Wilmington & Western Railroad the extended time that was required for the 501-C3 non-profit corporation to raise approximately 85% of the funds necessary for payment of the entire project.
McHugh Locomotive & Equipment agreed to assist the Wilmington & Western Railroad with approximately 15% of the total overall cost of the project by donating numerous components and a portion of the labor on the 8408 restoration.
The historic SW-1 was officially dedicated back to service on May 26, 2016 and today 8408 provides motive power for most of the W&W Railroad tourist trains over the former B&O Landenberg branch in Delaware.
History Colorado’s / Georgetown Loop Railroad operated by: Historic Rail Adventures LLC contracts McHugh Locomotive & Equipment to rebuild a very unique diesel electric locomotive.
The historic Colorado 1884 built 3 foot narrow gauge rail line operates between Georgetown and Silver Plume, a distance of 2 miles. The railroad loops around the sides of the mountains and crosses over Clear Creek four times during the 3.1 mile journey. The train traverses grades over four percent while climbing 640 feet in altitude to reach Silver Plume. The Georgetown Loop RR contacted the McHugh Company because they desired to acquire a rebuilt diesel electric locomotive that would be an efficient and reliable piece of equipment to supplement motive power for their expanding tourist trains operations.
The McHugh Company was contracted to rebuild a 1951 built GE center-cab diesel electric locomotive for the Georgetown Loop RR. The units two Cummins 855 turbo-charged diesel engines where remanufactured to provide the essential horse power required to operate at the high altitude of 9,116 feet. The traction systems two main generators and four traction motors where also rebuild. The complete electrical system was upgraded with all new wiring and modern electrical components. The mechanical parts and components where either rebuilt or replaced with new materials. The 3 foot narrow gauge truck assemblies had the old friction bearing axles converted to roller bearing and new wheels supplied. The special triple gear reduction drive gear boxes where also upgraded and rebuilt.
The McHugh Company was also contracted by the Georgetown Loop RR to provide transportation of the number 1934 locomotive from our facility in Fairless Hills, PA to Colorado and to assist with the assembly of the unit at its new home. This very unique 3 foot narrow gauge diesel electric locomotive that was supplied by McHugh Locomotive & Equipment has proven to be a very efficient and reliable source of motive power for the Loop Route. The Georgetown Loop RR now has the opportunity to operate private charter and various specialty themed trains when it is not practical to operate the two antique steam locomotives over the historic Colorado rail line.
The McHugh Company continues to assist the Georgetown Loop Railroad with many various diesel locomotive projects, including to support the Loop Route with traction motors and main generators.
If you would like to visit History Colorado’s scenic tourist rail line more information can be viewed at: GeorgetownLoopRR.com
Huckleberry Railroad and Cross Roads Village, owned and operated by Genesee County, Michigan awarded the McHugh Company a contract to supply one rebuilt 3 foot narrow gauge diesel locomotive.
The Huckleberry Railroad’s diesel locomotive #7 is in need of a complete rebuild, and the railroad investigated rebuilding #7 with their own shop staff. However, they decided a more practical and cost effective solution was to have a replacement diesel locomotive delivered to their location in “ready to go” rebuilt condition. This would allow the Huckleberry Railroad to continue operating the #7 diesel locomotive to provide motive power for passenger trains, if their steam locomotive was “out of service”.
A requirement of the Huckleberry Railroad to any potential suppliers was that a replacement unit must be identical to their #7 diesel locomotive for; length, width, and height demission’s, weight limit per each of the four axles, tractive effort, have two diesel engines that provide equivalent horse power or better ratings, and be 36 inch track gauge. The diesel locomotive offered would also have to be upgraded with new or reconditioned; parts, components, electrical equipment, and new wheels.
The McHugh Company offered a rebuilt diesel locomotive at the lowest bid that met those requirements and we were awarded a contract from the Genesee County Parks Department of Michigan. The #1957 center cab 45/50 ton GE locomotive had previously been located at the Roaring Camp & Big Trees RR in California and lastly at the Georgetown Loop RR in Colorado. The #1957 arrived at our facility during September 2019 and we then began preforming a frame up restoration to the locomotive.
During mid March 2020, we closed our facility for the safety of our employees due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We reopen under a restricted phase to preform only necessary emergency repairs for essential railroad customers. The governor of Pennsylvania in June 2020 allowed non-essential business to return back to work. This now allowed us to return back to work on various heritage railroad and museum projects. Unfortunately, many of our suppliers delivery dates on materials that were required for the Huckleberry RR locomotive rebuild and other projects, are being extended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
As with all major restorations at the McHugh Company, we remove every component from a locomotive. This units operators cab was also removed, and the frame was then turned over to exposed the underneath of it. This allowed us to clean and inspect the under-frame, and make any necessary repairs with ease. During this process the fuel tank was removed, cleaned internally and externally, inspected and repaired as necessary, then installed back onto the frame with all new pipe for the fuel lines.
The #1957 locomotive operators cab was installed back onto the locomotive frame and then had various steel and welding repairs made to it. There will be insulation installed between the outer steel wall and the inner wall, to reduce engine noise inside the operators cab. The unit also received various upgrades to the deck walkway and engine compartment doors. All new hand rails and steps have been installed to make the locomotive safer for personnel to access and walk around it.
The units two diesel engines are presently being rebuilt at a certified engine manufacture rebuilding facility. The traction systems two main generators and two traction motors have been rebuild. The complete electrical system will be upgraded with all new wiring and modern electrical components. The mechanical parts and components where either be rebuilt or replaced with new materials. The 3 foot narrow gauge truck assemblies will also be rebuilt with new roller bearing and new wheels supplied. A special gear ratio will be provided in the drive gear boxes to maintain the railroads track speed requirements.
Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society decided that a “partnership of restoration” with the McHugh Company was the best way to have the organizations 1947 built diesel locomotive restored back to operating condition.
The Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society plans to some day in the future to once again operate full size trains over its 3 mile of restored rail line. The 501-C3 non-profit organization acquired an old derelict GE 45 ton diesel electric locomotive that had not operated in more than 25 years. However the group realized to get the locomotive back into operating condition and to meet FRA standards, it would be required to contract the extensive part of the work out to a qualified locomotive rebuilding company. When selecting a contractor the all volunteer group wanted to work with a company that has extensive knowledge of vintage diesel locomotives and that also has a good reputation of working well with heritage railroads and rail transportation museums. An agreement was made that had the locomotive restoration to be preformed in two phases. This would allow the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society to provide certain repairs by utilizing their volunteer staff on phase one of the restoration so it could meet their organizations budgetary requirements.
The first phase of this project was started at Muddy Creek Forks PA by the volunteer staff of the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society during March 2016. The organizations work scope included: rebuilding the two diesel engines and radiators, replacing the steps and handrails, replacing the damaged sheet metal on the cab and doors, repairing the two engine hoods and doors, building a new steel battery storage box, and repairing the fuel tank. The McHugh Company agreed to donate on-site inspections and provide technical services to assist the volunteer staff with their part of the restoration work. However, the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society volunteer’s did not complete the majority of the phase 1 repair work scope by its deadline of late November 2106. The organization came to the conclusion that it lacked the necessary facility, repair equipment, and volunteer resources, to properly preform and complete their part of the phase 1 on the GE 45 ton locomotive restoration.
Our service crew as requested by the MA & PA RR arrived on-site at High Rock PA with all of the required manpower and equipment to safely preform the task that we were hire to do. The McHugh Company loaded out the locomotive and various component parts onto tractor trailers, then we transported these items to our facility. The locomotive frame and the two truck assemblies were completely disassembled at our facility. During inspection of these parts and components various defects were found and they will also have to be repaired.
The Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society volunteer’s during 2017 and 2018 planned to work on the some of their remaining not completed phase #1 repair items off-site at a members home shop. This work was to include rebuilding the two old Cummins HB type diesel engines assemblies with radiators, rebuilding the two air compressors, repairing the two engine hoods with exhaust systems, repairing various other miscellaneous parts and components.
Unfortunately, by mid August 2018 the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society volunteer’s had not started any of the necessary repairs to the two Cummins HB diesel engines at their off-site shop facility. The McHugh Company was asked if it would consider donating additional services to assist with the restoration of the 45 ton GE locomotive. We agreed to the society’s new request and two service technician’s with the necessary equipment traveled to the MA & PA RR off-site location. To futhure assist the society with their dilemma, some of the McHugh Company employee’s have agreed to donate their time of labor to help project lead Larry Freeman at our facility with making minor repairs to both Cummins HB diesel engines. However, we recommended that both of the two old Cummins HB diesel engines should not be placed into the rebuilt 45 ton GE locomotive and that they should be replaced with other rebuilt diesel engines.
The McHugh Company in early 2018 amended our contract with the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Society to assist with the overall cost of the project on certain defective items that would be necessary to be repaired in addition to the original work scope. This change-order to the contract also included too allow a qualified volunteer member of the organization limited access to our shop facility. This will provide a very unique opportunity to the MA & PA that will enabled the organization to complete their part of the locomotive restoration by having access to our equipment and specialized tools, along with assistance of the McHugh staff when necessary.
Unforentally on September 4, 2018 the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Society suffered a devastating flood in Muddy Creek Forks. This disaster now required the MA & PA to find funds in excess of $275,000.00 to be paid to a track contractor to make the repairs to the railroad. Also the MA & PA designated volunteer that was scheduled be at the McHugh facility to preform their work scope of the project during 2018 and 2019 was required to assist the group with other task. This MA & PA volunteer was scheduled to return back to our facility in late March of 2020 to restart their work scope of the project. However that was postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis.
During mid June 2020 the state of Pennsylvania was in the “yellow phase” of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was decided by both the McHugh Company and the MA & PA to ship both power plant assemblies with the two used diesel engines and the reconditioned main generators to the MA & PA railroad High Rock shop building. This was to keep with social distancing rules that are in place, and to facilitate the remaining work that is still required to be performed by MA & PA volunteers at our facility on the diesel engines. Once the work of the MA & PA volunteers have been completed on the two diesel engines and the two air compressors installed, they will be shipped back to the McHugh facility for placement into the locomotive by our staff.
The second phase of our work scope began during 2018 by the staff at the McHugh Company. The two traction motors and gear boxes were rebuilt and placed into storage. We also disassembled the two truck assemblies and found that they where in near scrap condition. The axle support boxes were worn out, and required to be remanufactured. This extra work jointly split between the MA & PA volunteer and the McHugh staff. However several major components of the truck assembly were scrap and needed to be replaced. The two truck main bolster frames were bent beyond repair, the 4 side-rods were bent beyond repair, and the 8 equalizer beams were worn down by 1-3/4″” at the journal box seat areas. The estimate to supply the required replacement components was approximately at $40,000.00. So the project was put on hold until replacements parts and components could be found.
The McHugh Company during August 2019 located a GE 45 ton locomotive that had all of the necessary replacement parts and components that were required for the MA & PA locomotive and we purchased it. JC McHugh decided to assist the MA & PA with a partial trade of part of the work scope and to also provide a partial donation of these required parts and components to the group, so they did not have to secure any additional funds for these required components to finish the two truck assembly repairs..
The rebuilding of the two truck assemblies was scheduled to begin during late March 2020. However, this work and any other non-essential work at our facility was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. During mid June 2020 the state of Pennsylvania was in the “yellow phase” and businesses could return to work on a limited basis on non-essential work. During the second week of June 2020 we installed the two reconditioned main generators onto the power plant assemblies. The units were then transported to the MA & PA so the volunteers could perform their part of the remaining phase 1 work scope of the project.
The two replacement truck truck assembly work has been rescheduled to resume during September 2020. Once the truck assemblies are completed, the MA & PA locomotive frame will be placed back onto the two reconditioned truck assemblies. Then the locomotive will then be placed into our shop facility so the remainder of the phase 2 restoration can be completed. The locomotive is scheduled to return back to Muddy Creek Folks at the MA & PA RR during the spring of 2021.
The Roebling Steel Company purchased the 45 ton side-rod locomotive new from GE in 1947, and it continued to move steel products around the New Jersey site until the plant closed in 1983. The Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society acquired the locomotive in 1999, and moved it to Muddy Creek Forks PA. When the restored locomotive returns back to the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society it will be the first motive power of a full size train to depart the historic Muddy Creek Forks PA village and travel over the line since 1984.
Georgia State Railroad Museum contracted McHugh Locomotive & Equipment to supply a replacement power plant for their 1944 built GE 44 ton diesel locomotive.
The Georgia State Railroad Museum had previously spend a large amount of funds with various other locomotive repair firms trying to keep the old obsolete Caterpillar D-17000 diesel engines operating in their GE 44 ton diesel locomotive. That approach proved to be an extreme challenge with parts no longer being manufactured and when qualified used parts where available the prices for those rare items were exorbitant. The GSRM began a search of the locomotive industry and found that most rebuilders were not interested in their one-off vintage diesel locomotive project. The McHugh Company was contracted to preform specific repairs to the 44 ton GE locomotive and it arrived at our facility in November 2016.
Unfortunately the Georgia State Railroad Museum did not complete all of its required work scope or repair other defects prior to shipping the locomotive to our facility per the terms of our original contract. It was necessary for the McHugh Company to repair those items and some other defects that where found during the project. The McHugh Company provided this service at discounted pricing to help assist the Georgia State Railroad Museum with the additional cost of those items. To accommodate the budget constraints set by the Georgia State Railroad Museum, the McHugh Company also agreed to spread the entire project cost out over a period of time.
The original contracted work scope for the GSRM 44 ton GE locomotive was for the McHugh Company to provide a power plant with reconditioned Cummins 855 diesel engine and reconditioned GE 558 main generator, to reconditioned two GE 733 traction motors, upgrade of the electrical equipment, and a complete rewire. After the locomotive was at our facility, the GSRM during 2017 decided to have the McHugh Company preform the following additional services and repairs as an extra to the original contract price.
This new additional extra service work requested by the Georgia State Railroad Museum now included the McHugh Company to install the following items: a replacement air compressor, updated air brake equipment, air brake gauges, new fuel tank with piping, new batteries, and to change out the rubber seal gaskets on the FRA window glazing. The GRSM informed us as part of this extra service due to its 2017 budget restrictions, that the GSRM would be providing these items directly to the McHugh Company, and we accepted those terms.
The McHugh Company also assisted the Georgia State Railroad Museum on the total over all cost of the GE 44 ton locomotive restoration by providing a $6,000.00 donation of parts and services towards the project. The #7069 arrived back at the at museum complex in Savannah, Georgia on May 23, 2018. The locomotive was painted by the Georgia Railroad Museum staff over the next 5 months and the 7069 returned back to service on 10/30/18.
Assisting Private collectors with restorations of vintage diesel locomotives or historic railway transportation equipment, and various other types of equipment.
Our talented staff at McHugh Locomotive & Equipment has assisted private collectors with complete world class restorations or making repairs to their historic rail transportation equipment and various other types of vintage equipment. This has included: vintage construction equipment, antique trucks & tractor trailers, and historic standard or narrow gauge locomotives & railroad cars. The McHugh restored 1929 Ford model AA truck is owned by a private collector who has it on display at a museum in Silver Plume, CO.