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Thursday, April 28. 2016
It has been a couple of weeks of good progress but everything taking that little bit longer than we might have hoped.
We waited a full week before UP could deliver the flatcar to the site for loading. Once that arrived, there was a surge of activity.
Securing plates were welded to the flatcar and then, within 24 hours, the turntable deck and all remaining parts were removed from the pit and loaded last Thursday. The pictures show what was involved. The move was done by Hulcher using two of their side lifters, which was a very efficient way of doing this job as compared to crane lifting
The large central bearing was secured to the table and lifted with the main beam to avoid a separate crane lift.
The trucks, center bearing and all remaining wiring, rails etc. were loaded on a flatbed truck and were safely unloaded and stored at Union by Monday of this week.
At Burnham, with the table now on the flatcar, work progressed in securing this to ensure its safety during the move. This involved the attachment of substantial steel cables, attached to mounting points welded to the flatcar. The arrangement and implementation of the attachment must all be reviewed and approved by the specialist group in UP responsible for these large loads.
After a couple of iterations involving the addition of some additional reinforcing plates to strengthen the mounting points on the flatcar, we received confirmation today that table is now satisfactorily secured.
We now await the switching of the idler cars to be connected at each end of the flatcar to protect the overhanging ends. Once these are coupled, the couplings between these are the flatcar must be disabled (the load consists of all 3 cars so the couplings must be disabled to prevent any possibility of accidental separation enroute).
So, after 75 years, the table is just about ready to leave Burnham and make its way to it new home at Union.
Sunday, April 10. 2016
After a week of planning, great progress was made on the turntable in the last ten days. This is critical as site clearing will start this month and we must have the table out before this happens.
JD and Phil travelled to Denver in a truck loaded with tools and equipment and have been working with Dennis and track contractors based locally.
The stages of the removal are:
1. Remove and ship the rails, deck, railings, circle rail and everything else that can be taken from the top of the main bridge beam;
2. Lift the main bridge beam from the pit and lay it on the railroad flat car that will carry it to Union;
3. Take the trucks and center bearing, along with the remaining ring rails that lie under the beam and load these for transport to Union.
A surge of activity early last week saw everything on top of the bridge beam removed, stacked and then loaded onto 3 flatbed trailers. By Thursday, all 3 were unloaded at Union. Many thanks to Dave and Carl for their efforts in unloading. Each trailer was unloaded in 45 minutes, which was an indication both of their efforts and the good work of the team in Denver ensuring that everything was carefully strapped and loaded.
Unfortunately, the weather meant that we have a future job. Heavy rain Wednesday night meant that we could not use the long term laydown areas for rail, ties, etc. and had to locate everything for outside storage on gravel surfaces. So there will be lot of relocating once the weather improves. However, the electrical boxes and other sensitive items are now all in covered storage.
After this rush of activity, the guys in Denver have been preparing the oak timbers that will be used to mount the bridge onto the flatcar but have now run out of work and are returning home.
Everything is prepared with heavy lift equipment lined up to lift the bridge from the pit and onto the flatcar. However, we must now wait for the flatcar to arrive on site, along with the idler cars that will travel under the overhanging ends of the beam. All this is ordered and in-transit via Union Pacific to the Burnham yard but it is currently expected to be late this week before they arrive. Once they do, there will be another rush of activity but, until then, there is nothing more that can be done.
Congratulations to Dennis and the team on a very successful job so far. Now we all wait in anticipation of the lifting and loading operation.
Thursday, April 7. 2016
More from the Silver Pony Crew Posted by Roger Kramer in California Zephyr Silver Pony at 20:19
Here's more developments on the Silver Pony restoration. Last Sunday, April 3rd, Jeron Glander and Cody Ziarko met up in barn 11 to continue working on the Silver Pony. All pictures in this post are provided by Jeron.
Another view shows the emptiness of the barn 11 after removing equipment. These is part of the BIG SWITCH
A lot of work is happening at a "Steady Trot," as Jeron explains it. Come on out and join the "Pony Team." Here, again is your chance to help bring this unique piece of railroad equipment back to operation.
This view was taken April 6th after Jeron and Cody had removed all the seats and bases. What a difference
Thursday, March 24. 2016
I can now write about a huge development in the last few days.
A turntable has been a key element of the museum plan for many years. This will be the center of the long term plan to house and present our steam collection in a roundhouse setting. More than that it will present a fascinating visitor attraction, photographic opportunities and the ability to turn all types of equipment to present in different orientations to those with which we are familiar.
We have had on site for a number of years the C&NW table from Harvard. However, this is not of a length that would accommodate larger pieces of the collection. So various opportunities have been explored over the years to obtain a larger table, ideally thru donation. A couple of weeks ago we became aware that Union Pacific had included the table of the Burnham (Denver) repair facility, that we had hoped to obtain by donation, in an auction of all assets of this, now closed, facility.
This table was a target in many ways.
· It is one of the largest at 130ft. and capable of turning any equipment at IRM;
· It is an historic item, being a centerpiece of the Denver & Rio Grande works at Burnham;
· Dating from 1941, it was installed to support Challengers coming to the Burnham facility;
· In 2012 it was subject to a total refurbishment, believed to have cost at least $500,000, so is in virtually as new condition
· Despite its length it is of very shallow depth. This is a critical consideration at Union due to the high water table.
In view of this the board approved funding to try to acquire it by purchase at the auction.
I am pleased to say that we were successful and actually obtained the table at what was basically a scrap price of $10,000. This is our new acquisition giving some idea of its excellent condition.
Clearly this is just a beginning. We must now move it from Denver to Union, which is no small exercise and will cost several times the purchase price. Once at Union we will have to construct the pit in which it can be installed. This is a MAJOR construction project and will depend upon fundraising on a large scale.
However, as substantially the largest turntable in preservation, the expectation is that this will provide IRM with a major attraction in years to come.So watch this space. The next step is to get it to IRM.
Wednesday, March 23. 2016
On Saturday March 19th, our plan for the day was to remove the radiator hatch from IT 1605 and replace a bad core. Our day started a little after 9:00am with Jeron G getting the CE 15 running as I started clearing a work area on the North aisle of the shop by the door and clearing some material stored by the pallet with the new core. We were joined by Mark S, Lee E, Don P, and later in the day Matt O joined in. We moved the string of locos out of the shop working with the track department who was also using the Forklift and prepping machines for their days work.
Sometimes, like this, it is nice having a big Cat forklift that can lift a lot and has forks that can go some 20 feet high. Although it can be too large for some uses, this wasn't one of them. We had the hatch off in a few minutes and Mark and Jeron began taking some steel plates the edges of the radiator cores. We had the right bank of cores out within a half hour after that. After we moved them to the work area in the shop, it took a little under two hours to unbolt the cores, chase the threads and clean all the bolts, make a slight modification to the headers on the new core, and bolt it all together with new gaskets. We took a break for lunch before placing the cores back into the loco.
After lunch, we moved the new bank back to the west end of the shop outside and lifted them back into the locomotive. Just a few slight adjustments were needed to line up everything. The air deflectors were screwed back into place, modifying a couple of them where the new core was sitting. The hatch was placed back on and bolted down. Lee and Don even had time to start inspecting the main and aux gens, and fuel pump motor. We cleaned up tools and supplies, put the locos away, and were done by 6:00pm.
Our next job over the next week or two will be to bolt all the water pipes back on, finish the inspection, and fill here with water and test everything out.
Tuesday, March 22. 2016
Steam Department Update February / ... Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 11:54
Another month of steady progress in the steam shop. There is rather less detail this month as I was away for three weekends visiting family in the UK.
Obviously the central focus is on getting #1630 complete in time for the start of operations in May. The regular work for the annual inspection continues in parallel with the major project of the valve overhaul.
The boiler and other work for the annual inspection is now largely done. A couple of weeks back, Phil cleaned and checked the arch tubes. After that the last of the wash out plugs were re-installed. Yesterday the testing of the pressure gauges was carried out so these can now be re-installed. The boiler will then have everything in place for the hydro-test.
We will now schedule this test with the FRA inspector. Once this is done we can conduct the internal inspection and, subject to any issues detected in testing, plan on steaming.
Obviously one essential part of the annual inspection is correcting those items that are considered out of or close to allowable tolerance. In this context, the spring loaded buffer on the front of the tender is was overhauled and the upper cross head bearing on the fireman’s side is being re-metaled.
The buffer has been cleaned, spacers made to take up the slack in the springs and painted. Yesterday it was re-installed onto the tender.
The tender is now complete and all that remains is to re-couple it to the locomotive by refitting the main drawbar. This has been removed, thoroughly cleaned and inspected for any cracks as required for the annual. Recoupling will be done as we prepare for steaming as this is best done by pulling the tender out of the shop and lifting the drawbar into place outside, where we have space to use the fork-lift.
A big job completed recently was casting the new Babbitt bearing for the crosshead. What does this mean?. Babbitt (alloys of tin or lead with copper and antimony) has been used for nearly 200 years to create a bearing surface against steel or iron. A favorable combination of relative softness, compression resistance and porosity, which facilitates the distribution of lubrication, mean that it is widely used for bearing surfaces to this day.
However, while modern usage is usually as a thin layer in a backing shell of a harder material, the more traditional usage made use of another property, low melting point. The metal melts around 400-500 degrees and casts well at 800-900 degrees. It will adhere well to iron or steel that is treated with a flux but not to a dirty surface. The principle is then simple. One iron or steel surface, normally a casting, does not need to be machined and is over-size versus the shaft or rod that moves against it. Molten Babbitt is then poured into the over-sized space in which it solidifies to form the bearing surface.
In the most basic form, the bearing is cast in situ. A smoky flame is used to soot the surface against which the bearing will slide, any gaps thru which the molten metal could escape are blocked and the molten metal is poured in. The contraction of the Babbitt as it cools provides a small clearance and the bearing should be ready to go with no machining necessary.
The bearing that we must replace is that in the top of the crosshead which bears on the slide bar. In theory this could be cast in place. However it was felt to be considerably safer and more accurate to cast the Babbitt in the crosshead shoe with some excess and then machine it to final size on the planer.
To do this the shoe, with a tray positioned in the center to make the “U” shaped channel, forms the mold.
The whole assembly is heated in the furnace so that the Babbitt remains liquid when it is poured into the mold. The shoe is tinned to help the Babbitt to adhere while the tray is soot coated to help it release after cooling.
Once the babbit had completely cooled, the tray was removed, the crosshead shoe was mounted onto the planer and Tom has started machining the babbit to its final dimensions.
Meanwhile the valve overhaul has progressed well.
Both valve chambers are now bored to size and the boring rig has been removed.
The valve rods were sent out to a specialist for surfacing to remove areas of wear that form over time as they run in the gland packing. These are now back and ready to start the reassembly of the valves.
The four cast iron blanks to make the new bull rings have now been machined to final internal and outside diameters. Needless to say, each of the spiders proved to be of slightly different diameters, so each of the blanks is now unique to one particular spider and therefore one of the four positions in the locomotive. They have also been tested in the bores and proved to be the required fit on the external diameter.
These are now off-site being machined to produce the finished bull rings.
Many happy hours have been spent in cleaning the spiders and valve bodies. It is essential to remove the hard carbon built up on these but, each has a small lip that secures the spring ring. So it is a long and careful process to carefully remove the carbon without causing wear to the lip.
In preparation for re-assembly the studs that hold the cylinder ends have been inspected and around 50%, that were excessively corroded, have been replaced. This provided interesting confirmation of the history of #1630. On the engineer’s side 15 of the total 20 required replacement but on the fireman’s side only 4 needed replacement. This is explained but the fact that, in the late 1930’s, she was involved in a head on collision with a Mikado, suffered heavy front end damage, and the FS cylinder casting was replaced. So the casting and studs on the ES are mostly 20 years older than those on the FS.
A minor set-back has been the conclusion that the bores need to be honed before the valves can be refitted. As with many things in the steam shop, this needs unusual equipment. Honing a 12inch cylinder requires a pretty slow turning motor. While we have such a motor, it has not been used in many years and proved to need overhaul before it could be used. That is nearly complete so the honing can hopefully be done soon.
Once this is done and the bull rings are completed, we should be able to start re-assembly of the valves.
Meanwhile work has progressed slowly but steadily on the Shay.
Work has continued steadily on the cab for #428. The riveting team have been making good a few final missing rivets. Dennis has been filling holes and shaping the roof to remove a few non-standard curves that it had developed and John has been painting and fitting the window guides.
In the shop.
So a lot of progress but still quite a lot to do for the start of the season. Watch this space.
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CL Hogger about Its Here, Its big, Its long, Its needs lots of $
Sun, 06-26-2016 22:40
Do you really think a museum has ANY reason to install 2 tables?
CL Hogger about Turntable successfully unloaded
Sun, 06-26-2016 22:35
Maybe someday.... The sooner you donate to the Roundhouse Fund, the sooner it'll happen. Haha.
CL Hogger about From the Shays point of view
Sun, 06-26-2016 22:27
Raphael, I hate to bust your bubble, but the Shay has always had the wedge plow while it's been at IRM. While I dont know if it was a "factory option" [...]
Dick Cridlebaugh(member) about More from the Silver Pony Crew
Sun, 06-26-2016 21:50
It is good that Pony has a home. I am 80 and a great fan of CB&Q.I hope to be able to come there from East Peoria soon. Bob McCutchen(steam [...]
Ted Miles, IRM Member about From the Shays point of view
Sun, 06-26-2016 09:38
Roger, You all have a fine looking project there. But I while know it was the museum's first operating steam locomotive; i wonder about the [...]
Dave Cook about Steam Department update - Spring 2016
Sat, 06-25-2016 07:22
How is work progressing on UP # 428?
Kirk Warner about Steam Department update - Spring 2016
Thu, 06-23-2016 11:27
The steam department deserves high praise for the high quality of work which they have been producing. The videos that are out on YouTube of the 1630 [...]
Matt Maloy about Diesel Shop update 3/19/2016
Wed, 06-22-2016 18:25
I love hearing from the diesel department. Personally, I think the Illinois Railway Museum has one of the best (if not the biggest and most diverse) [...]
Nick about Steam Department update - Spring 2016
Tue, 06-21-2016 22:53
How is No.1630 doing?
Thomas Kaufman about From the Shays point of view
Tue, 06-21-2016 15:53
Bob Crosby was the engineer of the Shay when I first rode behind it. He was a close friend of my late Uncle Bill Girling of the CB&Q. I am sure Bob is [...]
Thomas Kaufman about From the Shays point of view
Tue, 06-21-2016 15:49
Roger, Really nice to see the Shay in the current condition. when I first started coming to the museum as a young lad in the late 60's this was the [...]
Raphael about From the Shays point of view
Mon, 06-20-2016 22:57
i don't recall the shay ever having a wedge plow.
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