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Sunday, April 21. 2013
Steam Department Update 04-20-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 11:23
Turnout at the shop yesterday was much restricted. Quite a few people were tied up all day a with the rules test and a number more, including me, were out a few hours for the annual safety meeting. Some others, including Tom and Glenn, had to deal with flooded basements at home after the crazy storm during the week.
However a reduced crew made good progress in a number of areas and overcame a few set-backs.
· We continued with rolling the super heater flues into the rear tube sheet and all 8 on the engineer's side are now done. This shows the method used to hold the flue in place at the front while the other end is expanded into the rear tube sheet. Once that is done the flue is held firmly in place.
An alternative motor was located that can be positioned in ways that work around the siphon and allowed us to reach the top pair of flues. This is "really good fun" as you have to work tight up against the top of the firebox. But it works!.
Progress was limited by a few set-backs.
Working in a confined space, yours truly managed to drop the expander, when removing it from the tube we had just expanded. Unfortunately the little rollers jumped out when it landed on the grates. So we spent quite a while digging thru the track bed under the loco to find them. However we did find them and, after re-assembly, everything is worked fine on the next two flues.
Despite all the checking a couple of weeks back, one flue proved to be marginally short of the required length. Luckily the adjacent one was slightly over length so we could cure the problem by removing and switching the two adjacent flues. At the same time we double checked all the remaining flues to ensure we have no such problems on the fireman's side. With this done, both flues were rolled to complete the engineer's side.
We also found an issue with the steel spacer fitted around in the top right flue. The spacer is a perfect, lathe cut, ring of about 5 1/2 inch diameter but the tube sheet is not perfectly flat in this area. So the ring could not fit flush to the tube sheet all around the flue. The beading will not work properly if there is a significant recess or projection anywhere around the ring. The solution involved Collin crawling into the boiler so that he could driver the spacer out to be flush with the tubesheet at its lowest point. This was quite an effort as the space with the tubes in place is a tiny fraction of what it was when the tubes were removed.
However, once this was done, the ring could be carefully ground flush with the sheet all around the hole. This all had to be done before we can safely expand the flue. ASfter all this effort, it should now be ready to expand next week. This shows the spacer with the flue inside. The spacer is now flush to the tube sheet while the face of the flue shows how the spacer has been ground to align with the face of the sheet.
· The remaining small tubes were annealed and brought up to the locomotive for Jerry to finally clean ready for installation. So everything is ready to get the last tubes in.
On the Shay
· A small but determined team started by annealing the 7 tubes for 1630 and then annealed the 43 tubes for the Shay that were swaged last;
· Having taken a break, after 2 hours working on the furnace, we decided that we were real suckers for punishment, moved the tubes around, and swaged the remaining 45 Shay tubes. So all the tubes for the Shay are now swaged and, once the last batch are annealed, will be ready to go back to storage until required for fitting. A big bonus is that we should now be finished with the swager and can free up the access to the heavy work area.
· Dennis was able to start on the smokebox welding. First step was to make good holes and weak areas on the section that is not being replaced.
One of the areas being reinforced is around some of the holes for bolts that secure the front of the smokebox. These have been reinforced to ensure that we have adequate strength in around the bolts.
On the machines:
· Bob Rugg continued with wiring the planer; and
· Bob Milhaupt, who we have not seen in a long time, located and fitted the guards around the backhead drive of the wheel lathe.
So, good progress this week despite the limited number of people available.
Thursday, April 18. 2013
The watchword for the day was - EYES ON THE SKY! There were several waves of thunderstorms which resulted in four or five power outages in the shops. Luckily none of the outages occurred when we were in the middle of a major operation on the machines - such as the Berlin Sander. Lots of rain - SEVEN inches reported by some some towns in the last 24 hours and maybe 2-3 more today (Thursday). Lots of puddles on the grounds and if one of them went up another 2 inches there would have been water coming in the shop. At least one of our regular volunteers woke up at 3 AM to find 18 inches of water INSIDE his basement. Lots of closures, flooding, and more rain in the area.
Dave Rogan, Paul Cronin, and Victor Humphreys are wrestling the heavy station door we recently made through the infeed end of the Berlin Sander. This is a heavy complex machine but one which does a good job of finishing projects, achieving smooth and flat frames on doors and windows, results not easily possible by hand sanding. The operation of this machine in recent months was almost always accompanied by some drama.
John Faulhaber joined the above crew at the outfeed end of the sander as we made pass after pass, checking after each one. With the door done, we moved on to run the two new windows for Boston & Maine 1094 through the machine.
We continue to have a pretty good sized weekday crew working on the Cleveland Transit System 4223 PCC car. Paul Cronin and Dave Rogan are set up to try a fearsome looking circle cutter in a half inch drill motor to cut a hole in one of the new panels.
We were somewhat surprised the first hole went without incident and two more holes were completed in this panel. Then some hand sanding and cleanup - finally primer applied to this by the end of the day. There are many of these narrow panels needed, with holes to accept the bulls eye light fixtures.
The project team had determined that most of the original panels, saved for many years, could not be restored. So the first order of business is shown here as Lorne Tweed, Dave Rogan, and Simon Harrison remove blanking panels installed by Toronto. Then on to trace exactly the length and width, and the openings in a new piece of stock. Cut that out and then on to the next one. Three completed this day.
Yes, you are seeing Nigel Bennett of the Steam Department in our shop prime painting the many panels and parts for the 4223 almost as fast as we could make them. Thanks Nigel, you are always welcome to volunteer to help out here.
Jeff Brady was caught in the act at the table saw as he made new wood repair parts for the roof work on Michigan Electric 28. Norm Krentel was also on site and we saw a steady stream of panel goods leaving the storage shelves and making their way onto the roof.
Rich Witt was checking our first piece of steam bent window beading after the new round top windows for Boston & Maine 1094 came from the Berlin Sander.
Ted Anderson stopped by the shop to check on the windows. Here, he and Rich are checking dimension for planned leaded glass to be made for these. You will see copies of original Pullman drawings for these windows, those found in our Pullman Library and printed by Ted. The wood shop work is about done on these as we completed trimming off the stile extensions and cutting the bevel on the bottom rail.
With all the start-stops caused by the spotty power, Paul Cronin managed to dis-assemble the failed grid box for Chicago Aurora and Elgin 36. He sorted through the parts and cleaned up several grids on the wire wheel, those not too far gone or broken.
Tuesday, April 16. 2013
On April 7th the Ely ceiling in the lounge was painted.
Then on April 14th Buzz hung the refinished light fixtures. The globes will be cleaned and installed very soon.
All images were captured by Jon Habegger. Thanks to Buzz Morrisette, Shelly Vanderschaegen and all others who helped on this ceiling repair project.Thanks to Jon Habegger for the excellent images.
Monday, April 15. 2013
This last Saturday found the Track dept hard at work on our main line replacing some old ties with new. THIS is hard work. Hats off to the track dept for the planning and installation of this program. Earlier in the year a number of trucks delivered 750 new ties to Irm for the main line upgrade. Do any of you know the cost of one tie? It is $33.00 delivered. You can do the math. Its very expensive. When you donate to the Track Fund some of your donations go to the purchase and maintence of the equipment and supplies. This tie replacement program happens every year and it keeps our railroad in tip top shape. Safety is the word.
Sunday, April 14. 2013
Steam Department Update 04-13-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 10:32
Luckily there are days when things go better than planned and yesterday was one of those. There was a good turn out and several teams were able to work in parallel to get a lot done.
· Eric and Collin worked on the ferrules in the front tube sheet and successfully ground all those fitted last week back flush with the sheet.
· The last remaining flue, which we knew to be significantly over length, was loaded, carefully marked for the required length, and then removed to the large band saw, where it was cut to length. After cutting it was reloaded into the boiler. So, with this one in place, all the super heater flues are back in the boiler.
· After this Eric and Collin fitted the remaining ferrules and ground these back flush with the tube sheet, making everything ready for the final stage of fitting the flues, expanding the ends into place. Given the "fun" we had with small tubes moving during the expansion process, we approached this exercise with some trepidation!.
· The set up is in place to expand the tubes into the front sheet. This will be done using a long, universal jointed, shaft driven from a large gearbox now mounted outside the smokebox. In this case the shaft may be a bit heavy to position and care will be required to ensure that it does not pull the expander out of line. However the drive can be mounted once and is already in place. However, it is the firebox end that we must do first.
· In the firebox there is no room to fix a drive as we have at the front. The (large and heavy) motor must be positioned to attach directly to the expander for each flue. The game is to set up a support structure of pipe and timber cribbing that will support the motor behind each flue, with the added challenge that the siphon severely restricts the positioning of the motor. So there was a great deal of grunting and cussing as Phil and I positioned the motor for each flue. Having done this for the first flue, we set about the actual expansion with great care.
Setting the flue exactly to length is easy, involving no more than tapping the flue to drive it into the sheet until the depth gauge shows a minimum projection of 1/4 inch. Jeff and Jerry, at the front, then locked it into place and watched carefully as we started the motor and expander. Everyone watched for any sign of the feared movement of the flue. But there was none. Having found no great tendency for the flue to shift during rolling, three more were processed quite quickly, with the main effort being in moving the motor between tubes.
The way in which this roller operates may explain the lack of movement. As can be seen in a finished tube, this roller carries out three processes in one operation. The tube end is expanded into the hole in the sheet, but the rollers are not simple cylinders, having a recess in the area of the tube sheet. This causes the tube to be expanded more on either side of the sheet. The result is a flare at the open end that will be hammered to form the bead, once we have tested the expansion of the tubes into the sheets for leakage. It also carries out the "prossering" step where the tube is expanded more inside the boiler to secure the tube both sides of the sheet. You can see the groove created by this process. It seems this roller, by starting to deform the tube outwards either side of the sheet first , is effectively locking it into place early in the expansion process.
So 4 of 16 done at the rear. Just hoping the rest go as well as the first four!. The results can be seen by comparing the four lower tubes (expanded) with the ones above where the ferrule can still be seen around the tube,
· Meanwhile Brian did a great job on the cladding sheets. The better! weather ( hard to believe a year ago how hot it was) allowed the work to move outside, albeit with a good deal of warm clothing. This is one of the many dirty and repetitive parts of the work but he made good progress and much of the cladding is now ready for priming.
· Ed made good progress identifying and cleaning the pipe work for the backhead fittings in the cab. The objective here is to have as much as possible lined up for fitting as soon as we can complete the initial hydro test and prove the boiler is water tight again.
· As part of the swaging described below, the remaining small tubes were swaged so that we have them ready to fit into the holes between the super heater flues once those have been rolled at both ends.
· The one set back was that the bucker is still not back from repair. The latest information is that it should arrive next week. Let's just hope that is correct !.
· A very successful swaging exercise in which the remaining 7 tubes for 1630 and 43 for the Shay were swaged in one continuous operation. I have come to believe that the swager is moody!. Some days the jaws do not move smoothly, valves stick and it takes a lot of time and effort to get good results. Others, like yesterday, it starts smoothly, the first (test) tube was no problem and 50 more tubes were swaged as fast as they could be heated, with consistent quality all the way thru.
· There was a good deal of visible progress on the planer this week. First the rebuilt pump was carefully lowered back into its position on the bed of the machine.
Then it was secured into position relative to the motor and the valve block.
By end of day much of the interconnecting pipe work had been fitted. Progress will not be so visible for a while now as the next job is to drill into the floor and fit the anchors. Given the way that this machine operates (the large table with substantial blocks of metal mounted on it, for a combined weight of 500 pounds plus, being propelled back and forth by the hydraulics), it is considered a good idea to have it securely bolted down !.
So, excellent progress this week. If only we can get the riveting under way I will be a lot happier !.
Sunday, April 14. 2013
The early morning job was to assemble and glue up the new station door we are making. I am sure you are enjoying the images of the many steps and the drama we encountered. Wait - I was up to my elbows in that so did not have a chance to take pics. The door is all together and John Faulhaber and Victor Humphreys are setting it into place in our glue press - manufactured by GREENLEE in nearby Rockford in 1926.
Once down on the press (Victor had previously set the clamping dogs and opened it up wide enough) we proceeded to square it up and added a few more bar clamps to help hold this large assembly together. Do not ask them how heavy it is - they will gladly and quickly inform you of the answer!
Randy Hicks stopped by the shop to check on some of the work we are doing for him. Of course he could not resist picking up a paintbrush and applying the first finish coat of red to the end door of Chicago Aurora & Elgin 36.
Quick as a flash I found Randy and Paul Cronin working on a resistance box from CA&E 36. Several grids are broken, one of the span rods is bent, and everything is coated with heavy rust.
Jeff Brady had designed and set up some equipment to help him bend some of the wood for the new roof on Michigan Electric 28. Here, he set it up for one of our projects and went on the train and explain how it is supposed to work. Paul Cronin, John Faulhaber, and Rich Witt are ready to give it a try.
Rich Witt and Paul Cronin are loading one of the thin mahogany pieces of quarter round, made expressly for the new windows for Boston & Maine 1094. After the required time under steam at low pressure, it was all hands to extract it (HOT! HOT!) and place it on our custom designed bending and clamping jig.
Meanwhile Eric Lorenz continued to make good progress routing new wiring in Cleveland Transit System 4223. The harnesses in the ceiling have reached the front end of the PCC. Out in the shop we did a bit more work on the next set of metal interior ad panels, and have now started making new tempered hardboard panels for the reminder of the ceiling.
This is the west end of Chicago Rapid Transit 1024. A new piece of ash was made by Tim Peters and is in place on the roof. You can see how repairs are being made, and the extent of deterioration in some places. Tim gave me a ride up in the air using his electric lift so I could look down on his work.
Jeff Brady is fabricating a metal splice plate as he and the rest of the crew (Norm Krentel and Bill Peterson) continue the roof work on Michigan Electric 28.
Paul Cronin started making this new walnut stile for one of the passenger cars compartment doors that Roger Kramer is restoring. We did the start of this last Wednesday and today did a lot mortising, routing, chiseling and fitting.
Paul and Victor seem quite pleased that the book matched original walnut door panel fits right into place. Roger Kramer was on hand for the work and also brought in an armload of mahogany window parts. He and Rich Witt measured them all up and have a plan to make three more new windows for our heavyweight fleet.
Thursday, April 11. 2013
A sure sign of spring - although you would not know it by the weather this week. Dave Rogan and I went out to Chicago Great Western X 38 and removed the winter blank from the window in the rear wall. There ensued many fussy trim cuts, each one punctuated by the windy walk from the wood shop, and back to Track 41. Finally, the window slipped into place, just like it had been made to order. Wait, it WAS made to order.
The window is back in the shop getting any fitting cuts primed and painted but as soon as the weather cooperates, you will see it finished and in place.
With the window set in place, Dave is making a new interior window sill, and will next cut quarter round retainer molding for three sides. That got primed in the morning by Victor Humphreys, along with more station door priming, and one adjustment to the fit of the door lower mid stile.
Henry Vincent continues on the train door restoration for Chicago Aurora & Elgin 36. The code string for this image is "BUM" - I wonder what that says about our crew?
Pete Galayda and John Nelligan are like bulldogs, not letting go of a long and arduous journey to restore electrical control grids for Charles City Western 300, a steeple cab locomotive. Here, Pete is disassembling box number 7, the last one in the series.
Roger Kramer was in the shop, working beside our crew to restore a walnut paneled door for one of the heavyweight passenger cars. It is a beauty with a four way book matched solid walnut panel in the center of the door. In this view, Paul Cronin, Henry Vincent and John Faulhaber are jointing a new piece of walnut.
John also spent some time making a steam bending jig, along with Rich Witt trying to locate the odds and ends to do that task.
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