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Sunday, March 24. 2013
Steam Department Update 03-23-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 10:18
Not too much visible progress in the steam shop this weekend but actually a good deal that is not very apparent.
· The first two super heater flues are now loaded. This involved identifying and learning how best to use a whole array of new equipment.
o Jason successfully expanded ferrules into all 16 holes in the rear tube sheet last Sunday. These were chosen from two alternate thicknesses to provide a close fit on the flue as it is inserted from the front of the boiler.
o For the large flues the loading process is, of necessity, more complex. Ferrules will be fitted in the front sheet only where the hole is enlarged beyond 5 1/2 inches in diameter. From measurements made yesterday this will be 10 of the 16 flues.
o Fitting the front ferrule is very much part of the loading process. Given the size and weight of a 5 1/2 inch tube 17 feet in length, there is no possibility of expanding the ferrule into the sheet in a way that would allow the flue to passed thru the ferrule without displacing it. So the flue must be passed thru the front sheet, into the back sheet and pushed several inches beyond its final position into the boiler, clear of the front tube sheet. The ferrule can then be fitted and the flue drawn back into the front sheet. So fitting the front ferrules is an integral part of loading the flues.
o Initial progress was slow as the ferrules must be expanded to the absolute limit of our largest rollers, which meant that they were not very secure. During the day we made a spacing ring that overcomes the problem so, based upon experience with the two now in place, we believe the rest should be much quicker.
· Jane continued priming the inside of the cladding sheets so that these will all be ready to install over the lagging. She has now completed the batch we have in the shop so we will need to store these again and get another batch for cleaning and painting. The cladding will not look good at this stage as the outer face will not be prepared and painted until it is in place. However, priming the inside where it is subject to heat and damp from the lagging, is essential to preserve the sheet on the locomotive.
· Eric and his Dad worked from pictures of the backhead, that we took before stripping, to locate all the valves and controls, lay them out in the machine shop and start work on servicing, cleaning and painting them.
· Dennis weld filled the hole for the one patch screw that must be replaced. Mike and Tom then produced a guide and started to drill out the hole for threading.
· Dennis weld repaired the two super heater elements that failed under pressure test last Fall. (Actually Dennis did this a couple of weeks ago and Nigel did not notice !!). Anyway, these are now ready for hydro testing once we get above freezing outside.
· The first of the two guides for machining the shoes and wedges was competed and Tom is starting to finish the ends of the cast iron shows on the shaper. The second, which will enable the machining of the angle on the wedges is approaching completion.
· Dennis was brazing the grease cellars for the truck axle boxes.
In other areas:
· We moved the turret covers for #265 up on to the top of the locomotive. Time is moving on and the museum opens to visitors soon. We would be deeply unpopular with Buildings and Grounds if large lumps of metal are in the walkways of barn #9 as opening day approaches !
· We had hoped to get some tubes for the Shay out of the boxcar but investigation proved that this can only be done with fork lift access to the car as other heavy material must be moved to get at the tubes. (For efficiency we want to swage the Shay tubes when we do a few extra required for 1630. It takes several hours to set up and test the swager so we want to do a full batch rather than 5 tubes when we do so). However, we will now need assistance to shunt the KCS tender and re-spot the boxcars before we can do this.
· Glenn and Richard worked on the safety covers for the new compressor.
· Glenn assisted the track department in trying to start their crane. Unfortunately this proved "non trivial" as it seems the fuel lines are blocked. So it did not start today.
· Jeff was finalizing the air supply in the new shop. - Yes this is Jeff. The extent of the hair cut led many to question if we had a new volunteer this weekend !.
Most of the new outlets are now in place. These are all being structured with a drain on each down pipe to avoid water carry over.
· Bob carried on from last week, positioning the planer. It is now not only in position but pretty much level.
So a good day's progress and hopefully we are now set up to move forward quickly next weekend.
Friday, March 22. 2013
We will start out this time with a series of images showing the work today for a new door for our 1851 C&GU (C&NW) depot. I think it was still C&GU in 1851. John Faulhaber fits an internal stile to the door bottom. Careful work, fussy work, completed work.
Meanwhile Paul Cronin works to fit a similar member to the top rail of the door.
Then the overall frame was dry assembled and Paul and John proceeded to cut large chamfer 'scallops' for the members abutting the inside panels. This was a common design element on doors of the period and can be found on some of the very old doors in the depot today.
Paul and John proudly show off the results of their work near the end of the day. This eight foot tall door is getting very HEAVY! The four openings will receive raised panel inserts since it is to be solid exterior door.
No sooner than the door frame was assembled for final fitting did Paul and Jim Foraker lay out and start jointing and ripping the stock for the panels. It can be quite a puzzle solving exercise. The raw lumber is purchased in random lengths and widths as is common for hardwood lumber. We always try to have sufficient stock for the job, but the challenge is to get all the best pieces for those boards and make the most efficient use of the lumber.
Kirk Warner was visiting from Florida and gave a big boost to the doors we have made earlier for Chicago Great Western X 38, as he sanded and primed both sides, touching up the woodwork along the way. He got custom glass cut and he and Victor Humphreys finished glazing more of the windows for the cupola cab.
Meanwhile, Jim Leonard, Rich Witt, and Dave Rogan were at work for the very fancy round top windows we are making for Boston & Maine 1094. Here they are at work on the router table profiling one of the bottom rails. Once the stock is cut to the proper size the next work includes a roundover beading in the profile and creating a rabbet to accept the glass.
The same profile must be created for the rest of the sash frame, including the round top and sides. Rich and Dave made use of many jigs and templates to accomplish the work. Here you may see some of the result, and by days end all that was done to satisfaction on both windows.
Henry Vincent was seen stripping decades of old paint from a door drop sash for Chicago Aurora & Elgin 36. There is never a shortage of work and more parts to restore. We often work on many elements at a time for productive volunteer efforts or when one small step is accomplished and there is more time left in the day.
Welcome to volunteer Jonathan Soucek who is a grandson of Henry Vincent. Here he is stripping paint from a steel panel, removed for restoration from CA&E 36.
Jim Foraker was working on reassembly of the AC motor to drive a new table saw for our wood shop. This effort has been going along piecemeal for several weeks as time allows. The popular book "Motors for Dummies" does not seem to cover three phase motors that are over a century old.
Jonathoan also pitched in by applying some finish paint to the handwheels to be used on the new table saw.
Monday, March 18. 2013
There has not been much news about the new barn planned over Yard 14, and I have been waiting to post some firm news or commitment. I am sure our financial team is busy with fund balances, dotting every i and crossing every t. For my part I have gone back over 6 months of weekly cash reports and manually created my own ledger sheets. I am convinced that what I see shows we are at or very close to the fundraising goal for the new barn. That is based on the estimated cost of the project, so understand it may have to be tweaked somewhat. I would be surprised if that was NOT the case.
To start out there has been remarkable support for the project and I would like to publicly thank all members, donors, and friends who have contributed to the project. That goes for any donation, whether to those items in my department, for another favorite department or single car, or in a general way to the overall project. THANK YOU.
So these are my words, not official word passed down from the mountain. I have paid particular attention to those cars in my department - remember I am carrying the burden of Collection Curator for the Freight Car Collection. (At least sometimes it can seem like a burden) We REALLY, REALLY need some more donations and support for two of the cars we hope to subscribe to Barn 14.
MILWAUKEE ROAD 97054
This car is in the unusual position of having restricted donations on hand to cover its move inside the next Barn. But there remain some expenses associated with its acquisition that remain to be cleared. In the overall context of things these are relatively small and my fervent hope is that these may be cleared off the books to assure it will go inside under roof.
The background stems to when we first voted to acquire the car. The railroads moving it to our site had indicated to us that transportation would be donated. Somewhere along the way that did not come to pass. We also had pledges to cover all acquisition costs, and regrettably those were not honored and fell into a crack.
The car is the only covered hopper in our collection and demonstrates the development of milestone technology in the transportation spectrum. This has very shallow hopper bottoms thereby increasing the volume of the carbody. But most commodities cannot be unloaded by gravity with that design. Enter the application of the AIRSLIDE. This consists of a porous membrane inside the car, lining the hopper troughs. Upon delivery of the car, compressed air is applied to the membranes and it escapes into the cargo, 'fluidizing' it and making it flow like water. Can we all get behind this one and push it over the goal?
CHICAGO GREAT WESTERN X 38
This project is one of the great success stories at IRM. We thought we had lost this Russell snow plow five years ago and yet managed to rescue it last year from the scrapper's torch, literally at the last minute! Many of our volunteers have devoted hundreds and hundreds of hours to the restoration tasks - a real team effort.. Last September we were able to open it up for tours and give visitors a chance to operate the plow wings during Member's Showcase Weekend. Over half of the carbody has been cleaned to bare metal and repainted and partially lettered. Many wood parts in the carbody needed replacing, including carbody framing, floor repairs, interior wood lining, window and door framing, and sills. Over the past winter volunteers continued the work in our shops constructing eleven new windows from scratch along with two new carbody doors. The window and door work was done on a wish and prayer at very little cost, yet represents over $10,000 worth of woodwork if it had to be purchased from a custom cabinet shop.
As the weather moderates we hope to install all that work and continue the carbody restoration, repairs and repainting. Should all that effort be for naught? The opportunity is clear! With more funding this also can go inside and be protected under roof. The work will be saved from rapid weathering and deterioration, we can confirm the historic value and recognize the volunteer efforts. The car promises to be a showpiece and be unique in displaying the character of its design, and its use by an iconic midwestern railroad fighting winter storms. We are about halfway to the goal for this one piece of equipment and the end is in sight.
Any or all of you reading this probably check our website BLOGS on a regular basis so know what is coming next. If you wish to donate using our on line feature, you may elect to send a contribution to Chicago Great Western X 38 (listed as an option under FREIGHT CAR DEPARTMENT), or to INDOOR STORAGE (again please choose the FREIGHT CAR DEPARTMENT option).
If by mail please send the check to
Illinois Railway Museum
Union, IL 60180
On your check please use the memo line to specify your intended donation use. Fund R97054 for the covered hopper, fund RX38, for the snow plow, or fund RISWFC to help with the balance needed for indoor storage of freight cars. I will pledge that any new unspecified donation to the department, such as to fund RFRTCR will go first toward housing our historic equipment.
This is your chance to make a REAL TANGIBLE contribution to preserving history and safeguarding the equipment and the work that goes into them, for decades to come. Having just re-read this before posting, I will sign off now as I go to find MY checkbook. Let's not miss the train on this one!
Monday, March 18. 2013
Progress on the Ely Ceiling Work - ... Posted by Pauline Trabert in Passenger Car Department at 08:48
Jon Habegger captured images of Buzz Morrisette and Shelly Vanderschaegen continuing their project in the Nevada Northern Ely on March 10, 2013.
Buzz had to caulk the perimeter of the ceiling where the piece was to be installed. The center part was also caulked.
Shelly and Warren helped to position the panel. They had to hold the panel while Buzz put the main brace up.
While the brace was there, the first thing Buzz did was tack the panel. While the glue was wet the brace also supported the panel.
Buzz he took the wires down and put a couple of screws to hold that up there.
They were unwrapping the fixture which had been refinished by Wayne and Mike Baksic.
Buzz wanted to be sure the screws on the ceiling would be concealed beneath the fixture. If it weren't for volunteers like Buzz and Shelly, the ceiling on the Ely would still be waiting for repair.
Sunday, March 17. 2013
After a hard day at the shop it is always good to be able to say that we achieved what we set out to do. Having a major target in sight certainly encourages you to keep going!
All the small tubes below the super heaters are now completely installed to the point at which we will first test them. (As mentioned previously, they should be water tight after expanding and flaring. So we aim to do an initial hydro test to identify any that need to be tightened before we roll over (bead) the ends of those that need to be so treated).
· A number of us took turns to expand the firebox tube ends with the air hammer. The technique developed last week worked well. Brian rolled any tubes that showed signs of moving during expansion a little more to ensure they were tight. He has become our expert with the tube roller, having expanded almost all the ends into the front tube sheet.
The expansion is a tough job. It takes a lot of effort to control the large air hammer and ensure that a smooth flare is produced. All this must be done while squeezed in above the arch tubes where the heat builds up nicely. However, we found that you could do 6 to 8 before running out of steam. As you weaken, you are able to apply less force to the hammer and the flaring becomes less effective. So the time to stop is pretty clear!!. Anyway, by constantly switching operator, we achieved the objective and flared more than 130 tubes in the day.
Here you see Phil and Brian at the end of the job. In this case Phil operates the hammer while Brian watches the tube end closely for any sign of movement. This is critical as the guy on the hammer cannot easily see if the tube starts to move;
Meanwhile Mike and Ralph worked on the holes thru which the patch will be riveted to the mud ring. The preparation is everything. The hot rivet is hammered into its hole in maybe 25 seconds. However the shape it will take is determined by forming the hole and the design specifies that the rivets are not all the same. Some have conical heads with a small countersink into the sheet, while others are countersunk almost flush.
Here Mike is cutting the countersink into which the rivet will be formed.
So, as is the way with this work, we now move on from techniques with which we have become familiar to new ones. The next step on the tubing is to fit the 16 large super heater flues (and the remaining 9 small tubes that lie between them). While the general principles are the same, the tools are distinctly different. You certainly cannot use an expander on a tube this size. Both ends and the ferrules at the firebox end will need to be rolled into place and these rollers are on a whole different scale from those we have been using.
· Dennis continued with building up the truck axles boxes. The focus this week was on building up the ledges on which the grease cellar rests to provide lubrication to the journal from below;
· While Dave and Phil continued building the machining guide to mount the axle box wedges in the shaper.
Elsehwere in the shop:
· A big visible step was made on the wheel lathe. The large gear, that was cracked and has been repaired, was finally fitted into place along with the clutch mechanism. The mechanism was broken, either when the lathe was acquired or in transit, and has been rebuilt with some missing and broken parts reconstructed from drawings. The gear is driven by an electric motor (behind the gear itself) and free wheels on the shaft unless the clutch is engaged (from a lever at the operator's station. The control linkage was also reinstalled and can be seen running across the end of the lathe to the clutch mechanism. Much to the relief of all involved, this now operates correctly when the control lever is moved!.
· Stu, Bob and Eric positioned the planer. This may not look much but is a big step in activating this machine. This a very substantial weight that has, to this point, been resting on rollers. It has now to be finally positioned and leveled after which the rebuilt hydraulics can be reconnected. During the afternoon and evening the machine was positioned. Then the leveling screws were all cleaned up and located on steel plates. The machine was the raised off the rollers and slowly lowered so that it sits only on the leveling screws. Next it will need to be accurately leveled (it currently demonstrates that the floor is not accurately level!) and locked into place.
Here you can see the early stages as Stu screws down one of the leveling screws to lift the main body of the planer and release the rollers that are still seen projecting from under the machine
So next week we can start the next phase of the tubing.
Sunday, March 17. 2013
There was a lot of good work done by a lot of good people and here is a sampling of what was going on. Of course I did not record images for all the work, but you get the idea. Still, a lot of photos to post, if you do not mind.
Victor Humphreys was prime painting the moldings and the panel inserts for the new doors for Chicago Great Western X 38. As the saying goes - there is always something to be done. In this case, every week, we take a step closer to completing these doors. Good friend and volunteer Kirk Warner was visiting from Florida - he and Victor are working on getting some new glass cut for the project.
Or - the other side of the panels. They also got primed, in this case with a different color primer, since the interior will get a lighter coat of finish paint.
There continues to be real progress on Cleveland Transit System 4223. This PCC car is getting interior window post caps, here shown with Eric Lorenz fighting the good fight.
Loren Tweed is also working hard on the 4223 project, the current task of installing the post caps. They have all but a handful of 'stinkers' installed. The 'stinkers' being a few that need more persuasion to fit properly.
We made major progress on the two 'special' round top windows for the Boston & Maine 1094 passenger car. A lot of different volunteers contributed to the progress - here Bill Peterson is working on tenons for the round top rail.
The tenons have been cut and fit for the first window and Rich Witt is working to trim and fit the joint for an exact match.
All the parts are fit and clamped into alignment and a hardboard template fixed in place. Then a pattern cutting router bit follows that to finish cut the exact curves and shape. Tim Peters, Buzz Morisette, and Bob Kutella discuss ways to work with the grain of the pieces rather than fight them.
Rich, Tim and Buzz are making the chips fly on the first sash with the pattern.
Rich has just helped the tricky routing on sash number two. The point here is to inspect the job carefully and do any touch up work while the template is still in place and the tooling is set up.
The next tricky wood working job du jour (it seemed every job was tricky today) shows Tim cutting a special springboard jig to aid in creating new molding for Chicago Rapid Transit 1024.
Time for the first try at the molding profile, using custom ground knives on our spindle shaper. In this respect every job is special and a variety of guides and jigs need to be designed and put in place to make quality work - and do that safely. It is always a learning experience - ask Tim if you do not believe me.
You do not succeed try again. There are a number of factors in play as Victor Humphreys and Tim run another blank piece of white oak through the machine. Height, width, position of the knives, feed rate, how the work is supported, etc.
Let's try again. If you look at the series of photos above you will see things added and changed to the set up as one by one a potential problem is noted and we fix that area. Now, if only we had somebody that ran a shaper for a living for 40 years, he would probably converge on the best way quickly and be laughing at us.
Time to end this post and show you the door. That is, the new door we are making for our depot. The last two pieces were tenoned and are in the process if final fitting.
Thursday, March 14. 2013
Yesterday we hosted five visitors from the Itasca Park District and showed them our restored Milwaukee Road caboose. It became sort of a workshop/clinic/seminar as we related many of the obstacles encountered and the choices we made along the restoration path. Victor Humphreys and Buzz Morisette were the real stars of the effort which included a 'field trip' to Barn 11. THANKS!! So I really had little time for shop work and photos. Nevertheless the able shop crew turned out a lot of work.
First out of the gate, Dave Rogan executed fourteen mortises in the door parts for a new door in our depot. Here, Dave Diaz and Jim Leonard are shown with the bottom rail, cleaning out chips and doing the layout work for the tenons.
Near the end of the day, Paul Cronin, Jim and Dave had done a lot of the fussy work to trim and fit each of six of the joints and we were able to dry assemble those members into what now what was starting to look like a new door.
The set up and the tooling on our mortising machine was changed over and Rich Witt and Dave Rogan are plunging the mortises for two new windows for the Boston & Maine 1094 passenger car.
Rich and Dave show off the results in the odd shaped stiles for the above windows. These are to be round topped and the thinking behind these pieces is a bit different from the more typical railroad sash we have made.
Buzz was back in the shop in the afternoon and was producing more roof ribs for the private car ELY.
Henry Vincent makes more progress every week on the repairs to a train door for Chicago Aurora & Elgin 36. Still one more wood piece to make this week, and then a lot of additional parts to be cleaned, painted, and installed. An interesting feature is that this door has provision for the hang on headlight when on the front of a train. So there is wiring in a channel through the wood door framing to the metal bracket, for two wires.
Norm Krentel and Jeff Brady went a field trip to a local supplier and picked up a load of new plywood panels destined for a new roof on Michigan Electric 28. They were busy prime painting those for much of the day remaining. In the shop some of our crew produced about 70 thin slats of poplar, to be used on the front bonnet of the car roof, much as Jeff and Norm have completed for the rear car roof.
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Nigel Bennett about Steam Department Update 12-07-2013
Mon, 12-09-2013 19:25
Charlie, This does not sound like something for the steam shop but I have passed your information to our librarians. Nigel
Nigel Bennett about Steam Department Update 12-07-2013
Mon, 12-09-2013 19:24
Jason, Thank you for this we will certainly look at this company. Nigel
charlie about Steam Department Update 12-07-2013
Mon, 12-09-2013 10:02
i have hundreds of original engineering correspondence letters from ingersol rand to various other locomotive mfg and development of deisel, steam, [...]
Roger Kramer about Happy Thanksgiving !
Sun, 12-08-2013 18:47
Hello Michael I am sorry to tell you but the Silver Beaver is a long way from arriving at Irm. It could be years!
jason sobczynski about Steam Department Update 12-07-2013
Sun, 12-08-2013 18:35
Nigel, You may find interest in contacting Louisville Firebrick. They are the same company which once produced "American Security Archbrick". They [...]
Michael M. about Happy Thanksgiving !
Sun, 12-08-2013 16:29
The Olympus was scrapped by mistake where it was located. IRM is getting a replacement car, the Silver Beaver which is coming soon.
Roger Kramer about Happy Thanksgiving !
Sun, 12-08-2013 13:48
Hello Logan: Unfortunately, the CB&Q Olympus was scraped last year. Substituted in its place, is the Silver Beaver also a Budd baggage car. Due to [...]
Mark Secco about OHIO Locomotive Crane - June 29, 2013
Wed, 12-04-2013 12:37
Thanks John for the info. Any and all help is much appreciated. J.Sakash Co. has just donated a brand new drawbar sling to us, very useful. We also [...]
Robert Kutella about Wood Shop Update - November 30, 2013 TEST ENTRY
Wed, 12-04-2013 05:57
This reply not in its right thread, but I was having trouble posting a comment there. Again, not my Department but I believe the Olympus was scrapped [...]
Logan about Happy Thanksgiving !
Tue, 12-03-2013 08:39
Hello I have a question about one of the passenger cars that IRM was going to acquire. What happened to buying the CB&Q Olympus? Just curious as you [...]
Logan about Wood Shop Update - November 30, 2013 TEST ENTRY
Tue, 12-03-2013 08:34
Ah well that's a disappointment. Thanks for getting back to me.
Robert Kutella about Wood Shop Update - November 30, 2013 TEST ENTRY
Tue, 12-03-2013 05:19
Not my department but I know plans have been made for acquisition. When some of them became available in the first round of those retired, [...]
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