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Monday, July 29. 2013
Steam Department Update 07-27-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 15:39
This was a big day at the steam shop. All activity was focused on 1630 and the first testing of the boiler completely full of water and under some pressure.
It is a fairly lengthy process to set the boiler up for pressure testing. The boiler and water need to be fairly warm (about 100 F) for testing. So aside, from pumping 2500 gallons of water from the milk car to the boiler, there is about 5 hours of circulating the water thru the gas fired pool heater to bring the whole system up to an even temperature.
Starting in the morning it was late afternoon before the whole system was at temperature. During that time we spotted and corrected minor leaks around the inspection and dome covers.
Removing the dome cover to fix the seal gave this interesting shot into the open dome. The boiler is now about as full of water as it can be.
With everything sealed we started to apply pressure to check for leaks. In general, we were fairly pleased with the way that the work we have done stood up to pressure. There were maybe 20 small to tiny leaks disclosed around tube ends. In retrospect one mistake was that we did not fix leaks around two super heater flues in the front tube sheet. These were very small sources of drips under gravity but became the limiting factor when we reached 150 psi.
The firebox patch was tight aside from a small spot in the caulked joint with the mud ring which showed a slight leak at 150 psi. This should be easily fixed by a little more caulking. A couple of rivets close to the patch showed signs of weeping. This is not surprising given the expansion and contraction associated with the welding and can be fixed by a little work with the caulking hammer.
The nuisance and minor setback was an area that we had not worked on. We found tiny pinhole cracks in the sockets of two flexible stays in the back head. These may have been there when she last ran as they are so small that we would probably not have seen any leakage from under the lagging and jacket. Certainly they would not have caused any loss of pressure in the hydro-testing.
However, knowing that they are cracked, even a pinhole, they must be replaced. This involves grinding off the inner end of the stay and, after heating the end of the stay, trying to unscrew the stay from the socket. If this fails you have the much more time consuming job of drilling out the stay at the inner end. However, it worked well. By Saturday evening both stay bolts were out, without the need to drill either. In this view you can see the empty sockets after the stays were removed.
On Sunday I started cutting one of the sockets off from the back head and, in the afternoon, Mike and Tom completed the job. So both of the sockets shown above are now gone and we are ready to fit the new sockets. Tom will then need to drill and thread two new stay bolts so they can be refitted. This will mean no pressure testing next weekend but hopefully all will be back and the leaks fixed by 8/10.
On this basis, I met with the FRA inspector on site Sunday and we scheduled the formal hydro test for 8/18, subject to a successful second stage test for leaks the previous weekend.
Just about all effort was concentrated on 1630. However, a big event was that both Bill Chyna and Glenn Parkhurst visited. Glenn for the first time since his motor cycle accident in May. Glad to say they were both in good form and Glenn is hoping to be able to join us again when he has his prostheses fitted in the next few months.
I am heading for the UK on business this week and will not be around the shop next weekend. So I am hoping to see a lot of progress when I get back in two weeks time !.
Sunday, July 21. 2013
Steam Department Update 07-20-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 21:55
It has been a really busy week for me at the museum hence a rather late blog update!!.
I spent Wednesday at the steam shop with Phil and Ed. The main focus was on sealing all significant leaks at the tube ends that showed when the boiler was filled with water. By end of Wednesday we were to the point that , when filled well above the crown sheet, we had only minor dribbles and drips.
Saturday was a normal and fairly successful work day at the shop and Sunday I spent working with the Jim West and the Operations Department on switching for the Diesel Days event. So the blog is a little late this week !.
So what happened Saturday at the steam shop?. Overall a great deal was achieved although there was one set back which meant that we were not able to get as far as our most ambitious targets.
On 1630 I guess I had better try to answer one question I was asked a lot at the event on Sunday - when will you be hydro-testing the boiler?. The answer has to depend upon what exactly you mean by hydro-testing. As the pre-requisite for moving on the steam testing we must demonstrate that the boiler can be pressured using heated water to 125% of operating pressure (so 225 p.s.i. in our case) and sustain that pressure with minimal leakage for a period. Our current expectation is to reach that point in about 3 weeks. However our path to that involves using water, at first simply filling the boiler, then applying increasing pressure to identify and test the correction of any leakage. This is the process that we are currently following. On Saturday our objective was to finally seal any leakage at the tube ends on simply filling the boiler and then seal the boiler to allow some pressure to be applied.
· Following on from the work that Phil and I did on Wednesday, a team including Phil, Collin, Eric and Sean took it in turns to identify and seal the last little leaks that showed by carefully rolling the identified tube ends slightly more. This was hard and tedious work but, by early afternoon, the tube ends appeared to be dry with the boiler full of water.
· Dennis annealed the copper sealing rings for the two covers.
· In parallel with this one team worked on cleaning the threads of the studs that attach the dome cover and another on fitting the cover of the inspection hatch. These are the last two components required to seal the boiler and allow pressure to be applied.
· All seemed to be going well until one of the studs securing the inspection hatch sheared off during tightening.
Luckily everything seems to be shaping up well on replacing the stud. Dennis was in the shop and did a great job of welding a nut onto the broken stud and, to our great relief, this stood up to several of us pulling on a large wrench and the stud unscrewed from the seating. In this view you can see the broken stud with the nut welded onto it.
This was very good news as the alternative, had it failed to extract, would have been to grind it flush and drill it out, potentially a day's work. The studs screwing into a boiler are quite unusual. The thread into the seating is tapered and must be specially machined. However, by end of day, Tom, Cameron and Bob had substantially machined the new stud and, when I dropped by on Sunday, work was progressing. We should have it replaced ready to fit the cover next weekend.
· With the stud out, work focused on fitting the dome cover. This was the first time that we had used the new boom for the forklift, which was made with this type of lift in mind. It was highly successful. The cover was lifted by the forklift in the shop and placed fairly easily.
It was then tightened down without issue. This was a great deal easier than the previous method that required the locomotive to be pulled outside to use the boom truck to place the cover.
· Jason tested the remaining gauges, which all proved to be accurate, so these are now ready for refitting.
· Jane finished stripping the air tanks. These are now ready for painting.
· With Jim West's assistance we refilled the milk car so should now have a water supply sufficient to support testing under pressure. We have now run about 9000 gallons of water thru the boiler which should have removed most of the debris from sand blasting. From now on we should be able to re-circulate the water.
In other areas:
· Stu and Bob ran the wiring for the planer. The one remaining requirement is to locate a breaker to fit our old style supply panel.
· Dennis was rebuilding the damaged grease keeps for the axle boxes on #428.
So a lot was achieved this week. Hopefully next weekend we should be able to fit the inspection hatch and start testing under pressure.
Friday, July 19. 2013
3rd Annual Benefit at Sanfilippo Estate Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 20:00
Sunday 14th July was the third annual Steam Department Benefit at the fabulous Sanfilippo Estate.
I believe that a wonderful time was had by all who attended. Certainly I took some friends who had not attended before and they all judged it one of the highlights of their year so far. The collection of antique music machines is beyond description and you could spend hours watching these alone.
The fairground organs and carousel are superb pieces.
The grand Wurlitzer organ is both spectacular to see and, when played by an organist of the caliber of Dave (Jeff's brother), provides an enthralling performance. Some of my more musical friends watched in complete fascination. Dave seems to become one with the instrument with both arms and legs in constant movement around the keyboards, stops and pedals.
A new addition this year was the showing of a Buster Keaton silent movie. It was fascinating to see the organ used for its original purpose, providing the sound for the showing.
Many thanks to the museum volunteers who assisted in running the event. With the exception of JD who was elsewhere at the time, they are shown here with Jeff and Dave on the locomotive in the carousel house.
Thanks again to Jeff for organizing the event, to his brother Dave for another outstanding performance and to the Sanfilippo Foundation for the access to their wonderful collection.
Sunday, July 14. 2013
Steam Department Update 07-13-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 11:13
A busy day with some big ups and downs in the steam shop. There is not much to see externally and only one photograph this week but this shows a big milestone. We put water into the boiler for the first time.
The focus was on 1630 and above all on starting to test the newly fitted tubes for leaks.
· In the morning the focus was on closing every hole below the crown sheet level:
the last remaining wash out plugs were installed, lubricated with graphite paste and tightened down;
the pressure gauges were finally fitted and plumbed in to the boiler;
all remaining flexible stay caps were cleaned, lubricated with graphite paste and tightened down.
· Just after lunchtime this was done. We linked up the hoses from the milk car and started pumping. To be clear, there is no intention to pressurize at this point. We need to fill and empty the boiler several times before we can apply pressure. Pressure testing is carried out with water heated to about 100 degrees by circulating thru the pool heater. It is rather important that we wash out debris such as residual sand blast material before trying to re-circulate the water thru the pump !. These filling and draining cycles also allow initial testing of the sealing the tubes and other parts of the boiler. While no external pressure is applied, the boiler is at least 6 feet to the crown sheet so there is a good deal of pressure simply from the depth of water.
The first filling was rather disappointing for those of us who had not seen this done before. I had expected some leakage from the tubes, where they seal into the sheets, when water was first added but had probably not expected leakage from 30 or more of the small tubes, some of it quite extensive. On closer review, it indicated some variation in how much we had expanded the tubes at different times. Interesting, we were not conscious on any great difference as we did the expansion but the water was very revealing. The smokebox was excellent. There are no more than 4 tubes there that show any leakage and then no more than a dribble. Great job by Brian, who did most of this area. In the firebox, the engineer's side was relatively good while the lower fireman's side had a substantial number of tubes with a lot of leakage. Clearly we did not get these as tight as other areas.
So we noted the leaks, dumped the water, which came out looking really dirty, and got working. Brian and others set up the air motor driven expander and worked thru the list of 30 or so small tubes that had been noted with leaks. At the same time, others worked on a few issues noted such as a weeping plug, a couple of stay caps that had been missed and a check valve that was not fully closed.
A second filling in early evening was very satisfying. Although there was still a lot of leakage from super heater flues - no surprise as we had not worked these, the improvement in the small tubes was remarkable. We still had around 8 with minor dribbles but these were generally ones we had not previously noted, probably because the leakage was missed at the first pass due to the far greater leakage from other tubes. All those that had been worked on after the first test were dry. In addition the minor leaks other than at tube ends were all now dry.
The shot above may look a bit confusing but is a big milestone for us. Water now covers all the tubes. Compare this to shots 6 months ago, when this area was wide open and you could look down on the open holes in the firebox tube sheet. It also shows the patches of debris lifting off the crown sheet as the water starts to cover it. This is the last area from which we must wash the debris before we can circulate the water thru the pump and heater to carry out pressure testing.
The water was dumped again. This time it did not look significantly different from the input water. We will need to make sure that have thoroughly washed any debris off the top of the firebox crown but it looks as if we are now close to the point that the boiler is clean enough to allow us to circulate the water.
Mike and I worked into the evening hand rolling the first of the super heater flues that were flagged as leaking. Hopefully we can get the same "night and day" result on these that we achieved with the small tubes.
· While we worked on the water filling and tube ends, Mike, Tom and Jerry had been working on the blanking plate for the dry pipe. The throttle is now blanked off and ready for pressure testing.
· Richard, Rick and others worked on the studs and nuts for the inspection hatch and dome cover. These are now clean and the threads prepared ready to fit these covers. Hopefully in the next week we can have the tube ends sealed tight under water pressure and the hatches in place so that we can move to the next step of applying some pressure.
· Jane did a great job stripping the air tanks. These are now nearly ready to prime and repaint. This is a very unpleasant job involving long stints of needle chipping and wire brushing which creates nasty black dust. Anyway, nearly done.
· Stu checked out and regenerated the softener in the water supply box car. This confirms that we have a full supply of clean water to keep on with the testing . Now all we need to do is get the diesels off the end of the steam shop spur so that we can move the water car to and from the supply water supply!!.
While almost the whole team was busy on 1630, Bob and Stu have been working steadily on the wiring for the planer. Much of the conduit is now in place and we are moving toward the point when we will be able to start testing the operation.
So it was a pretty successful day and we look forward to further testing next week.
Sunday, July 7. 2013
Steam Department Update 07-06-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 19:23
A brief update courtesy of Phil as I was not at the steam shop this weekend.
On 1630 a major milestone is achieved. The firebox corner that was the cause of her withdrawl from service is now completely restored.
· The stays were fully fitted, cut to length and then formed with the air hammer. They can now be seen fully fitted into the patch and ready for service;
· Jason instructed Collin, Phil and others in the use of the gauge testing equipment. The boiler pressure gauges were successfully tested and can now be finally fitted in the cab;
· Phil and Jerry carried out a tricky "fishing exercise" and managed to extract two ferrules that had dropped into the bottom of the boiler barrel during tube fitting. Not absolutely essential but a great deal better that they are not loose in the bottom of the boiler;
· Work is progressing on refitting the remaining flexible stay caps were loose following removal for inspection and cleaning of the stays;
· Brian, Paul and David made good progress on stripping the air tanks.
Meanwhile Bob is starting to install the ducting to provide a permanent power supply to the planer.
.............. and lastly a reminder. IF YOU DO NOT ALREADY HAVE YOUR TICKETS FOR THE STEAM DEPARTMENT BENEFIT next Sunday (14th) at the San Filippo Estate- THERE ARE STILL A FEW AVAILABLE. They can be booked from the link the IRM website. Hope to see you there.
Friday, July 5. 2013
Steam Department Update 07-03-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 09:37
An interim update this week as I was at the shop on Wednesday with my son who is visiting from the UK.
With additional work sessions Sunday and Wednesday a lot was achieved.
On 1630 the primary focus is on the remaining tasks to get the boiler water tight for initial testing.
· Phil has now finished caulking the rivets inside the firebox so the rivets are now complete subject to hydro testing;
· The major remaining task is fitting the two new flexible stays into the patch. These are steel rods with domed heads that must be threaded into the inner firebox and tightened so that the domed head makes a seal with the socket in the outer firebox.
Here you can see the holes in the inner firebox into which the stays will be screwed. The end of the thread cutter is projecting from the right hand hole.
Viewed from the outside we can see the two sockets. The one on the right is empty and, thru the socket, you can see the hole in the inner firebox into which the thread will be cut. The guide and cutter are in place in the left hand socket ready to start cutting.
Here Tom is setting up one of the stays to cut the thread on the stay itself.
Here the thread is being cut. This also gives a good view of the overall shape of the stay with the thread being cut at one end and the ball, nearest to the camera, which will seat into the socket. The slot in the ball is essential to allow the stay to be screwed into the threads in the inner firebox.
Here Michael is manually cutting the thread into the inner firebox sheet.
Good progress was made and by evening the stays were being screwed into place. This is not a "one-time" operation as the threads must be carefully adjusted so that they are tight but not excessively so in the threads of the inner firebox when firmly in contact with the socket. Once this is achieved the inner end is to be peaned over and caulked to complete the sealing
Another major task completed Wednesday was the hammer and hydro-testing of the three air tanks. All were successfully tested to 180 psi and have now been partially stripped of paint. Paint stripping will continue so that they can be repainted before fitting. A lot of preparatory work was required for the hydro-testing, which has commissioned and tested the equipment needed for the boiler testing in the next few weeks. The water for testing both tanks and boiler must be warm. The heating is achieved by circulating thru a pool heater. Preparing the pump and heater system for use after winterization requires several hours work. This was successfully achieved and the system is now tested and ready for use in the boiler testing.
I will not be at Union this Saturday so will look forward to an update myself on Sunday !Nigel
Monday, July 1. 2013
Steam Department Update 06-29-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 09:00
A bit of a delay in posting the blog this week as we are busy with my son Michael over from the UK this week. However he is keen to work in the shop while he is here. It has been another week of intense activity focused on 1630 and getting to the point where we can carry out the first test of the tubes with water in the boiler.
We keep pushing forward on 1630.
· The replacement valves had arrived and Richard, Michael and others fitted them to the milk car. By lunchtime it had been filled with water and it was then moved back to the shop by the operating crew at end of day. So we have the water supply in place;
· Phil had worked during the week on caulking the rivets. This is a tough job with the air hammer carefully sealing the edges of the rivets into the sheet of the boiler. He had worked on this during the week and finished the outside on Saturday.
By evening he was working on the rivet ends inside the firebox. Access to the area around the patch remains the limiting factor in getting the boiler water tight. Two stays have to be fitted to complete the repair. The holes are drilled and the stays ready. We must now cut the threads into the inner firebox sheet, screw then into place and then caulk the projecting end. However, this is not possible at the same time as the rivet caulking;
· Eric worked all day on the smokebox ends of the super heater flues. Having trimmed these to exact length, the ends need to be slightly flared to improve the seal ahead of the water test and in preparation for beading. By end of day, after a lot of hard work, these were all done;
· During the week, Tom had measured the throttle seat in the boiler and ordered the steel to make a blanking plate to seal this during hydro testing. The blanking plate should make a better seal than the throttle valve itself during hydro testing and should make inspection a great deal easier. After the hydro test the braces must be inspected. It will be easier to get thru the dome and onto the top of the tubes without the large body of the throttle to crawl around. Hopefully the plate will be available for the Wednesday working session;
· The gauge plates in the cab were given a final coat of black paint so that gauges can be permanently fitted as soon as they have been tested, which we hope to do next Saturday;
· One very awkward job was lapping the seat of the main turret shut off valve. This critical valve is located at the very top of the turret at the highest point of the firebox in the cab. It can only be accessed thru a hatch in the cab roof and by threading wrenches in between other fittings on top of the firebox in the cab. This shows the location with the valve body removed.
Its purpose is to enable the turret, from which all auxiliary devices are supplied with steam, to be isolated from the boiler in an emergency. While it is seldom closed when the locomotive is complete, it will be important as the intent is that the first tests will be done without letting water into the turret. It is also important that the valve should shut correctly when required.
Michael and Brian had great fun with this. However, with a good deal of hard work the objective was achieved. The valve body was removed from its seat in the turret and rigidly attached to a shaft that would guide it accurately onto the seat and allow it to be turned repeatedly against the seat. The guys worked for several hours working the valve head against the seat with increasingly fine grades of abrasive lapping compound until an even seal was achieved all around. Here Michael displays the end result !.
Then everything was reassembled. At the end of the day everything looks as it did before. Only those involved know that a lot of work was put in and we now have confidence that this key valve is in good shape.
Aside from work to seal the boiler for first testing, one very visible achievement was the removal of the fireman's side air tanks. These are now with the engineer's side tank on the floor of the shop and have been marked up for hammer testing. If no issues are apparent from hammer testing, they will be hydro tested then cleaned and painted ready for service.
On other areas:
· Bob made good progress on setting up the power supply for the planer;
· The mounting brackets for the air pump were test fitted to 428. This was a revealing exercise. When she was stripped many years ago the additional brackets were found mounted between the casting that secures the pump to the boiler and the pump itself. With some measurement it is now clear that this was an essential modification at some stage in the life of 428. Absent these extensions, which set the pump out and lower than if it were directly mounted to the bracket, the top of the pump would foul the feed from the injector to the boiler.
So continuing progress. The plan is now for quite a few people to work on Wednesday.
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