Steam crane ready to work

Published: Jul. 19, 2019 at 10:36 AM CDT
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A steam crane that has not been in operation for more than a decade, is now up and running again.

This steam crane is being featured at the 2019 Camp Creek Threshers annual show near Waverly. "This crane was built buy Browning and Company out of Ohio, and it was built in 1920," Camp Creek volunteer John Wilson said. "I believe it went to the CB & Q railroad to start with. They sold it off to the Hughes Brothers in Seward, who eventually donated it to the Camp Creek Threshers organization."

It's been running until 2008 when the boiler gave up and blew a tube. "We've been rebuilding now for the last 11 years, the boiler has been rebuilt, we've put in all 180 new tubes in it, and it's all up to state code," Wilson said. "It's been a major undertaking getting this back up and running. I've had some excellent help, and we've got it under steam."

The crane was mostly used in the Havelock rail yards in the old days to move equipment. The crane uses oil to light the fire that heats the steam. There are two engines in the crane. "The big two-cylinder engine does almost all of the work on the boom, and actually moves the car down the road bed," Wilson said.

Volunteers working on the crane say they don't know a lot about the background of it. They are asking for family members of those who may have worked in the Havelock rail yards to call if they have photos or information about this particular crane.

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