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Sunday, September 8. 2013
Steam Department Update 09-07-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 19:42
It is good to be on the home straight with 1630 but it is increasingly clear that there is still a lot of work to do!. Also some of it is pretty slow and tedious.
It has been a huge benefit to have Brian Davies on site for the last three weeks and a great deal has been achieved in that time. Things will move a lot more slowly when he returns to Florida on Monday.
When I arrived on Saturday it was spectacular to see most of the steam collection in the open air, having been switched out of barn 9 for the filming of the Transformers 4.
On 1630 the has been a lot of progress. The two major areas of activity have been finalizing the fitting of tubes (as a prerequisite to installing the super heater elements) and fitting lagging to allow installation of controls and air tanks that must be in place to allow testing.
· During the week Brian Davies had put in a lot of hours and had completed the beading of all tubes in the rear tube sheet;
· On Saturday teams of us took it in turns to prosser the tube ends in the rear tube sheet. This process involves expanding the tube slightly on the water side of the tube sheet, using a multi-segment expander driven by an air hammer. The effect of slightly expanding the tube on the water side is to firmly lock the tube into the sheet between the bead and the slight expansion caused by prossering. Anyway, it is a two man job and, by several teams taking it in turns, all 200 tubes were completed by late afternoon. The boiler was then refilled and we started to heat the water. The objective on Sunday will be to test the tube ends under operating pressure and tighten any that show leaks as a result of the beading and prossering. As soon as we are satisfied that the tube ends are dry, the tubing exercise is complete. The motor can then be removed from the smoke box and installation of the super heater elements can begin. So I wait with some trepidation to see if this can be achieved on Sunday !.
· Stu and Bob worked with Tom to set up a mounting that will allow the throttle to be rigidly located for machining and lapping. The surfaces of the throttle valve need to be leveled and ground to a tight fit that will provide a good seal before the throttle is refitted. By end of day the throttle was mounted and ready for work to be done.
· Dennis started on the plate work and mesh that fits around the blast pipe. He has now assessed all the pieces and identified what new material will need to be fitted to complete this structure once the blast pipe is in place and the super heater elements tested.
· The lagging is proving rather more troublesome. Two areas are critical for the steam test, the firebox in the cab (to allow fitting of numerous pipes, valves and gauges that are required both for steam testing and pressure testing of the super heater elements) and the first couple of sections of the barrel at the front (to allow refitting of the large air tanks required to complete the air system).
· Work started on fitting the barrel lagging at the front. This is not as simple as it looks (and it does not even look that simple !). The insulation is rigid blocks that cannot be conformed to the curvature of the barrel. So it must be cut into strips about 12 inches wide and the edges cut at an angle so that adjacent blocks fit tightly together along their length. However the blocks must also be tapered along their length. The boiler is formed of 3/4 inch plate in overlapping sections. So, in order to get a smooth taper over which the sheet metal can be fitted, the 2 1/2 inch insulation must be tapered along its length. (Basically the last section at the rear of one boiler ring is the full 2 1/2 inches thick while the front section on the next ring to the rear is 1 3/4 inches thick so that the insulation runs smoothly over the 3/4 inch transition in the boiler plates). Then, having cut sections of insulation to the correct taper along its length and sides, each must be cut around any pipes, hand rails or other projections to fit a specific location. The block is then wired to the wire rings that were placed around the barrel some weeks ago until a complete circle is achieved around the boiler. This will then be strapped into place and the sheet metal fitted over it.
· The sheet metal provided a bit of a setback. Jane had done a lot of work to ensure that all the metal had been cleaned and primed ready for use and had actually been short of painting work in the last couple of weeks once this was done. When we tried to locate the first major sheets required for the front ring they could not be found .............. until we found a whole lot of 1630 sheet metal that had been stored behind a few sheets belonging to #26 !!. It had been overlooked for cleaning and painting so Jerry spent much of the evening wire brushing a lot of sheets and I started painting the ones we need most urgently ..... oh bleep !.
· However the real nightmare is the cab. The sheets covering the top and sides of the firebox in the cab overlap and hold down the curved sections that cover the transition between wrapper and backhead. These, in turn, secure the sheets covering the backhead. The arch of sheet metal running up the sides and across the top of the firebox in the cab must first be located so that the curved sections can be located under its edge. The critical element of the arch is that two pieces of sheet metal must be worked up into the maze of pipes and valves around the turret and linked with 3/8th threaded rods either side of the turret. In addition, insulation must be set under this area in the form of small cut blocks or mud. Once the link is made the sheets form a complete arch that is tensioned by other threaded rods secured into the footplate. All jolly good fun as the area into which the metal and insulation must be placed can only be reached at arms' length from the narrow space at the sides of the firebox or by lying on the cab roof and reaching down several feet into a nest of pipes.
o Most of the work in this area on Saturday was planning to determine in which order pieces can best be fitted. This is critical to the project as the controls essential to testing for leakage in the super heaters cannot be fitted until this is done.
o The sheet metal either side of the firebox is in place to provide protection to the insulation already installed.
o David finished cleaning the fire hole door and I chased the threads on the mounting studs so this can be fitted as soon as the tube ends in the fire box have been proved tight. This is important as much of the backhead lagging is based upon the fire hole door casting.
In other areas within the shop:
· Phil and Cameron worked with Tom on machining the bolster for the Shay;
· Dennis started the long process of building up the axle boxes for 428;
· Stu and Bob achieved a major milestone on the planer. The power is now connected and both motors were tested. The head can now be raised and lowered correctly and the motor driving the hydraulic pump now operates. The next big challenge is how to remove decades of muck from the drain area under the bed. Since the lubricant supply to the table is collected and returned to the pump thru this area, there is a considerable incentive to get it as clean as possible before we try circulating oil thru the system.
So, a lot of work done but still a good deal more needed to get to the steam test.
Sunday, September 8. 2013
This astounding sight greeted me as I entered the Museum yesterday. A long line up of steam locomotives on the car line trackage - pieces which rarely see the light of day, even one of them. The event was last Thursday and Friday when IRM was host for location shooting for the new hardcore action movie, TRANSFORMERS 4. At least that is how the studio describes it. It is scheduled to be released in June 2014.
As you can see, service on the car line had to be annulled for the day, and probably today also. I saw the wood L cars running on the main line. But Friday, the studio was out en mass complete with car chase scenes and two helicopters in the air. Apparently there are fans of this sort of thing and they came to IRM to try to get a peek at the action and celebrities. By late afternoon Olson Road was lined with 30 or 40 parked cars, and the occupants along our fence peering inside. Movie security kept them at bay. But it has been reported from reliable sources that MARK WAHLBERG was seen inside our diner snacking and visiting with staff.
That is not all you will find outdoors for photo opportunities. Virtually all the pieces that live inside Barn 9 are out and spotted in some location around the property. But hurry, they will not be there for long, since operating tracks need to be cleared for next weekend.
Friday, September 6. 2013
Last Sunday we at the Museum had a visit from President Abraham Lincoln.
Friday, September 6. 2013
CGW X38 Update - September 2-4, 2013 Posted by Robert Kutella in Chicago Great Western X 38 Russell Snow Plow at 02:53
Victor Humphreys has completed painting the first coat of finish paint on all the new wood lining we have applied, one careful piece at a time. It really looks great. We are planning a plow event for Saturday afternoon of Museum Showcase Weekend. So come on out on the 14th and see what has been done. A really remarkable lot of progress in the last year, thanks to the team members, not so much me. Maybe we can shake a few quarters from your pocket change to help assure we can continue to buy the needed materials. Or, send a check to fund RX38.
Last week we showed you the train line air pipe going back on the plow after being worked on. That was the good news. The bad news is that it leaked air badly. The culprit seems to be a BARCO ball joint which was designed to allow that pipe to be raised and folded back on the front roof when the unit was plowing. So Victor Humprheys and Paul Cronin tackled the project. First, to wrestle a scaffold into position and then to take the line back down.
The idea was to use the scaffold to make it safer to pull on some really large pipe wrenches. But getting down for Paul Cronin meant Dave Diaz needed to act as anchor and counterweight on the other end. Mission accomplished.
The old saying goes "In for a dime, in for a dollar". Paul Cronin is torching off a broken L bracket used to anchor the train line on the front end. With the pipe off again we might as well bite the bullet and make a new bracket.
Where have I seen that caption before? Well, I guess it does not matter. With the old bracket and blobs of weld torched off, Paul grinds the remaining nubbins smooth and will then fabricate a new bracket.
Friday, September 6. 2013
GN X 1390 Update - September 4, 2013 Posted by Robert Kutella in Freight Car Department at 02:32
We are moving ahead with the prep work to have this fine tank car repainted. One of the decisions was to remove the dome running boards to allow a better job to be done. They are of a location that would make it difficult to repaint without getting runs, and a color separation for the orange dome is but an inch away. Almost impossible to mask that off well if they are in the way. John Faulhaber and Gerry Dettloff are at work with the torch.
There are a lot of details to be attended to before traces of the old car and paint are to disappear. Dave Rogan is helping by tracing the built date lettering as we work along to document anything and everything that could be of use.
Here is another of those details. We previously described much of the lettering on the car as it exists, and here is a LUBE STENCIL on the right end of the center sill. We think this means Texaco Grease 2301 applied by the Great Northern Railway in 1960 at a location shown abbreviated by letter "P". Are you GN fans watching this post? It would be interesting to identify that station name abbreviation.
More detective work and some careful scraping revealed this lettering on the top chord of the truck sideframes. Great Northern was surely a class outfit to go to this level of detail. It says "G.N. 1390".
Earlier we showed you the truck bolster lettering on the "A" end, here is the similar but different lettering on the "B" end truck.
I do not think I will create a separate entry for shop work so will tack on a few news items here. Jim Foraker (shown) and Henry Vincent worked on finishing touches to the 'slider' table saw restoration and wired up the motor. It runs, but a few details remain.
The old grind refers to the work, not that sterling individual (Al Reinschmidt) who cleaned the back side of a steel pilot destined for Chicago Aurora & Elgin 36.
Monday, September 2. 2013
Steam Department Update 08-31-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 10:38
It was a crazy week in the steam department. Passing the hydro test last weekend opened up a mass of new work on 1630, while the 60th anniversary event provided a great opportunity to operate as well as many demands for moving equipment in preparation. Luckily Brian Davies has been visiting from Florida so we have had steam department capability on site every day.
On 1630 many tasks are now under way and the critical ones have been progressing quite rapidly:
· After the hydro test, the dome cover was removed,. the water was drained and the boiler ventilated. This enabled the second important FRA inspection. When a boiler has been subject to excess pressure (such as the 125% operating required for the hydro) it must be internally inspected to assure that it has suffered no ill effects, such as loosened braces. By Friday it was dry and the inspection was undertaken when the inspector was on site to check Leviathan. Everything was as it should be. So we are now cleared to move forward to steam test. One key thing to note is that you will see reference to pressure or hydro testing in the next couple of weeks as we finish beading the tube ends. From here on it will always be at no more than the 180 psi operating pressure and just to ensure that we have not created any seepage at the tube ends. We have proved the basic integrity of the boiler and it must not be over pressured, else we would need to do a further internal inspection.
· During the week, Jerry had re-installed the support bars and grates on the engineer's side so she now has a complete and operating grate system again. Yours truly comes in on Friday and wonders why we now have air pipes snaking up the cab steps and thru the cab instead of neatly thru the ash pan as they were before. (Because the grates normally separate the ash pan from the firebox dummy !)
· The dome lid was replaced on Saturday to enable testing of tubes as they are beaded. Unfortunately some work is required on the throttle body so that could not be refitted and the lid will need to come off at a later point to refit this.
· Jane was hard at work painting parts ready for installation. All the bands that will hold the cladding sheets in place are now done. Now if only we can get her the paint for the air tanks we can get those fitted again !.
· Beading the tube ends has proceeded well. As shown later, beading requires the 1/4 inch projection of the tube to be rolled over tightly against the sheet. In the front not all the tubes are beaded. The super heater flues and the small tubes beside and immediately below them are beaded to provide additional longitudinal bracing to the tube sheets. In the rear, everything is beaded to protect the seam between tube and tube sheet from the direct flame burn.
Progress was maybe not quite as fast as we had hoped but the weather conspired against us !. Brian Davies has done most of the work but has now trained Brian Krause in the technique, which makes describing who did what complicated !!.
During the week Brian D beaded all the required tubes in the front tube sheet. On a couple of evening he apologized for not moving as fast as he had hoped. When I worked in the shop Friday I fully understood. At 90+ degrees and high humidity, doing anything physical was tough. How he did as much as he did I can barely imagine.
In the picture above you can see the distinction between the tubes higher up, that have a smooth rounded profile overlapping the seam between tube and tube sheet, and those lower down, where the tube is simply expanded into place. This is the effect of beading.
On Saturday and Sunday Brian K worked on the firebox tubes during breaks from the 60th anniversary operation. On Sunday I observed the process and took the photographs below.
At the start, the end of the tube is expanded into the sheet and, if necessary, reduced to a projection of 1/4 inch. The specially shaped tool in the air hammer has a small extension outside the tube and a longer one inside.
Having started to hammer the edge of the tube is rolled outward.
Working steadily around the whole circumference of the tube, Brian forms the rounded profile all around the tube end.
A little tidying up to ensure it is smooth all around, the rolled edge is tight against the tube sheet and another one is done.
· The other major piece of work now under way is lagging the firebox in the cab. This apparently simple task is going to be a censored nightmare !. First blocks of insulation have to be secured all over the surface of the firebox. This varies from fairly large intact blocks on the lower sides, thru pieces that have to be laboriously cut to fit around stay caps higher on the sides to irregularly cut pieces, that will need to be squeezed into narrow spaces between fittings and pipes, high up on the top. The material is an unpleasant mix of fiber and silicates that is very brittle when cut. So getting it located and intact is a most unpleasant challenge. Once areas are in place we then have the fun of squeezing pieces of sheet metal between the pipes and into a position where they can be secured. This will have to be done as soon as possible since the exposed blocks of carefully located insulation are very fragile and will tend to break up on contact until they are covered.
Bob Milhaupt, who was a regular volunteer until he moved to Michigan, visited for the weekend and worked steadily at this job. By Sunday the insulation was in place well up both sides of the firebox. Dennis repaired one of the cladding sheets that had to be cut to remove it so we have the metal ready to install as soon as we can cover the top of the firebox.
· Another activity related to the lagging was identifying the route of some pipes that have been disconnected or replaced so that we are sure they are in the correct place before lagging is put over them.
· On Saturday the firebox door casting was lifted out of the tender so that work could begin on preparing this for fitting. Rick managed to safely remove a couple of badly burned bolts that secure the distribution plate and all the loose fire clay. David made good progress in removing accumulated rust in preparation for repainting. Once the beading is complete in the firebox this casting can be re-installed. (You can still get into the firebox with the door casting in place but it will be a LOT more difficult).
· Another major stream of work started with Jeff bringing in from the boxcar the various pieces of sheet metal and mesh that form the table plate and spark arrestor around the blast pipe in the smokebox. As you may imagine this is a harsh environment so the whole construction needs to be assessed to determine which pieces can be reused and which replaced. So Dennis needs to start on this to ensure that we have it ready once the blast pipe is installed.
In other areas within the shop:
· Phil and Cameron worked with Tom on machining the bolster for the Shay;
· Tom continued machining shoes for the axle boxes on 428.
There was a lot of work outside in support of the 60th anniversary:
· 3007 and the Centennial were moved out of barn 9 for display. This is a very time consuming exercise as a lot of equipment that does not move often had to be moved to enable this. A number of people were involved in lubricating the equipment so that it could be safely moved and then assisting in the switching. When you move pieces that are normally static great care is required as stiffness may make them much more prone to derailment.
· It was great to see steam in operation with both 126 and Leviathan on site. While Leviathan was fully crewed, the department provided crews for 126 thru the weekend. This was a great opportunity to get some operating experience ahead of 1630 coming into service. I thoroughly enjoyed a short spell firing 126. However, when spreading a few part shovels of coal around her firebox, you became rather aware that the box on 1630, that you had just crawled out of, will present some rather different challenges !.
· We observed the FRA inspection of Leviathan on Friday which was useful as it confirmed what the inspectors will want to see in the steam testing of 1630.
· On Friday, 126 provided a chastening example of the exposures in operating a steam engine. The piston rod worked loose and detached from the crosshead when switching. This allowed the piston to be fired forward, smashing the front cylinder head casting. Luckily Barney had a spare on another locomotive in process of restoration so, with lot of driving over night to fetch it from Indiana, she was repaired and back in service on Saturday. But it certainly highlights how easily major damage can occur to a steam engine. Repairing something similar on 1630 would be huge.
So a lot of progress. Much more must happen to enable the steam test but the objective is now in sight.
Sunday, September 1. 2013
I am going to keep with the usual subject header although in this case none of the photos were taken in the shop area. The weather was just too nice and with the 60th anniversary in full swing, it was more a day for watching rather than working. Special events, special equipment, special displays, special operations. But some of us soldiered on with our projects.
This is a very dramatic photo of Eric Lorenz and the front end of Cleveland Transit System 4223, one of our PCC cars. Eric has been working the last several weeks to make new wiring harnesses and string all that cable in the carbody, in preparation for installing ceiling panels and trim. Here, the thing to note is the front end marker lights illuminated for the first time. On to show you some of our work on our snowplow, Chicago Great Western X 38.
Jim Leonard and Bill Peterson are up in the roof of the plow. They assured me they were hard at work but it looks to me they merely have a good bleacher seat for watching the trains going by.
I guess they really were working. Jim has a large pipe wrench, well in hand. For several weeks we have been attempting to remove the damaged train line air pipe, that which runs down from the roof to the front end coupler. It has resisted many of our efforts. But they succeeded, straightened the air pipe, cleaned the old paint from it, and primed it.
And the drop line from the roof is in, and now Bill and Jim are adding the angle cock and air hose assembly.
Here is some new interior siding which was tricky to shape and patch in around one of the plow wing air cylinders. It was gone by the time we received the plow and Dave Rogan did a very good job of fabricating and installing the boards primed in white in this pic.
Dave joined me in the cupola. I was scraping paint, while Dave worked to re mount some of the electrical gear that was installed when the current sealed beam headlights were installed.
I said earlier it was a day for train watching. Here is the 126 in the depot, and pulling a mixed caboose train to the delight of visitors, young and old.
The caboose train provided three mile round trips - also operating were the LEVIATHAN steam train, the Nebraska Zephyr, and South Shore 803. Here the 126 is returning from one of its popular trips as South Shore 803 idles on the west end of Station Track 2. Brother Chris Buck was the dispatcher, and I bet it was real interesting. At least five different mainline trains, some operating short turns and all needing to be governed efficiently and safely.
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Fri, 10-24-2014 11:37
Google tracks blog comments as one measure of social interaction. Because the IRM website is spidered frequently and has high pagerank, links to the [...]
Jim F about October Activities in the Passenger Car Department
Fri, 10-24-2014 00:38
Just curious...when I google myself I see comments I made here. What Causes that? Also, will the Barn 9 webcam be up and running next season? Lastly, [...]
John Heid about Tender on RI 938.... painted
Mon, 10-20-2014 11:07
I'd like to start volunteering in the Steam Department, but I don't know who I would get into contact with. Does anyone have the contact info for who [...]
Michael McCraren about September 27-28-29 Passenger Car Department Update
Sun, 10-19-2014 16:20
Yes, we still have the "Birmingham" and we have held private parties in it this year. It is open to the public sometimes during the summer. If you [...]
Lynn Lawrence about September 27-28-29 Passenger Car Department Update
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My sister used to own the ACL Birmingham Lightweight Diner when it was located in Lansing, IL. Do you still have this car at your location? And if so, [...]
SteveC about Tender on RI 938.... painted
Mon, 10-13-2014 08:11
I forgot to add in my last comment that I want to complement you folks on tackling these cosmetic restorations of these locomotives, but still taking [...]
SteveC about Tender on RI 938.... painted
Mon, 10-13-2014 08:06
I would love to see the 938 restored, but I have to agree with Logan's post. The #101, #7, & 26 are also in partial restoration mode. The [...]
dean about Tender on RI 938.... painted
Sun, 10-12-2014 18:44
wouldn't 3007 or 16 be better candidates for future restoration? I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.
Joshua Craig Beytien about Tender on RI 938.... painted
Sat, 10-11-2014 18:51
I thought 938 is only in display until I realized that the locomotive was in the restoration shop. Wat r u guys up 2 with the 938? Is this restoration [...]
Raffy about Tender on RI 938.... painted
Sat, 10-11-2014 17:27
don't forget that the museum is also itching to restore GN&A mogul 26. heck they might also want to do T&D 16 or even do a proper restoration on [...]
Wally Unglaub about Model Railway Display Building
Fri, 10-10-2014 13:27
Thanks Roger, will do! As a retiree on a fixed income, I couldn't be the biggest help money-wise but as a long time model railroader, I feel I can be [...]
Max Crosby about Tender on RI 938.... painted
Thu, 10-09-2014 21:49
So you guys are just repainting her? No patching of rust and no lettering or numbering?
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