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Sunday, January 10. 2016
The new year has brought a resumption of construction work on barns 13 and 14 . As I drove past the new construction sites for the first time in 2016, I noticed a contractor van parked between barns 13 and 14. Yes, the electrical contractor hired to install the electric service in both barns was busy working in barn 13. I chatted with him briefly and took a few pictures of his progress.
Thursday, January 7. 2016
Update on a locomotive you seldom ... Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 21:15
Brian also provided an update on a locomotive that is rarely heard of.
In fact, we hope that this is a lead in to the sort of thing we hope to do more of in future. As space becomes available in the new barns in the South Yards, we hope to move smaller equipment stored partially stripped for restoration out of barn 9 so that larger pieces can be moved into this barn for conservation and cosmetic restoration.
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 2-8-2 #4963
Everyone needs a day off once in a while. My trips up to IRM to work on the shay could, I suppose, be considered "vacation time". But even while on a work vacation I still need a break from working on the shay. But instead of doing what any normal person would do and take a day off away from the shop, I relax and unwind by working on little projects on other locomotives.
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 4963 has become one such "little" project I have worked on for a few hours on each of my trips to IRM in 2015. The locomotive currently sits at the far south end of track 94 in barn 9. While the three other locomotives on display at the far south end of the barn--Milwaukee Road 265, the Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 electric, and DT&I 16--look quite nice cosmetically as viewed from the end of the building, the 4963 looked incomplete and out of place.
Looking at the locomotive every time I was in that part of barn 9, I decided there are a few things I could do to improve the appearance of the front end of the locomotive.
The smokebox was already years ago painted a light grey, and much of the piping, handrails, and such were in primer. The first step then was to paint the smokebox. The smokebox received a couple of coats of what is called Slip Plate paint. This is basically graphite in suspension in other chemicals that, when dries, looks very close in appearance to the graphite and valve oil mixture we use on 1630's smokebox, but unlike that paint it does not require heat to dry it. This Slip Plate paint is used in general industry as a lubricant, and is used by some steam locomotive operators as a smokebox paint. Following a couple of coats of this paint, all of the above mentioned parts on the front of the locomotive that were in primer received a couple of coats of black paint. This in itself created a remarkable transformation in the appearance of the locomotive!
Now the locomotive needed a headlight. While we do not have 4963's original headlight, fortunately for the locomotive there was one readily available. The past several years Phil has been putting a headlight on Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific 938 during the summer season. This headlight, while very nice looking on the 938, is not the proper headlight for the locomotive. We do have the headlight that 938 was retired with, and Phil has been working on restoring it to put back on the locomotive. The headlight that has been on 938 recently is, in fact, a headlight from another Burlington 2-8-2 from a class older than 4963. This headlight was brought out to barn nine and lifted onto the locomotive with the help of several Steam Department volunteers. So while not her own original headlight, 4963 now has a true Burlington headlight! The headlight was wired into the electrical power in the building, and now comes on when the lights in that part of the building are turned on.
The headlight looks great on 4963. However, there were no number glass plates in the headlight. Before my most-recent trip to IRM in October, I made two new number plates for the headlight. These were made by hand cutting individual numbers from heavy paper to use as stencils, then painting painting around these in black on plate glass, then covering the same side of the glass in white paint. This technique allows light from a bulb inside the headlight to shine through the numbers at night. There were several different techniques used to make number plates like these, such as using a metal or cardboard stencil between two pieces of glass, but my research shows this particular process was one of the techniques used on the Burlington. An additional piece of glass was placed in the brackets with each of these painted pieces to protect them, and special thanks needs to go to Tim Peters of the Electric Car Department for not only giving me the glass to use for this, but also for offering to cut it. Thank you, Tim!
At this point I thought it sure would look great if 4963 had a number plate on the front of the smokebox again. Luckily for us, Tom Schneider, curator of the Steam Department, was able to have a replica number plate cast years ago for the locomotive. The plate needed to have mounting holes drilled and tapped for bolts to secure it to the smokebox, then several coats of primer and black paint were applied, followed up by several coats of yellow lettering paint. Once dry, JD and I brought it out to the 4963 and bolted it on.
Now 4963 really looks like something to be proud of! I still need to add another coat or two of Slip Plate paint on the smokebox on the front and on the side the public sees, as well as several coats on the side of the locomotive facing the side wall of the barn. Over time I would like to add proper classification lamp holders and flag holders to the front of the smokebox. We have metal on hand that was cut long ago to make new class lamp holders. Eventually I hope to get these welded together and machined and painted. We have the correct lamps on hand. New flag holders would have to be cast. We have ones on another locomotive that are correct and can be used as patterns to have the new ones cast.
One nice feature on this locomotive's smokebox is a set of hinges that allow workers to open up the whole smokebox face and swing it to the side without having to remove it from the locomotive. Half of each of the two hinge assemblies are still bolted to the side of the smokebox. While looking around in the smokebox we found one of the two parts that bolts on to the front of the locomotive. We appear to be missing the other piece. If any readers out there know where we could acquire the other hinge piece, please let us know.
How much farther will we go on the cosmetic work on this locomotive? I don't know. Right now it is just being worked on as I have a few spare hours a few times a year, and that is how it will be for the foreseeable future. However, money also talks, and if you would like to see a little more cosmetic work done on the locomotive over time, a few more dollars in her restricted fund couldn't hurt!
Oh, and to answer the question which I know will be asked: Right now there is no plan to return the locomotive to operation. However, the locomotive has many good things going for it towards any future rebuild. The tender tank is in very good shape, as is the cab. The running gear is far from new and is missing a few parts, but is generally not in horrible shape upon initial inspection. The firebox also doesn't show any obvious problems upon initial inspection. However, there are many parts from in the cab missing, as well as the bell, whistle, auxiliary steam dome lid, and a list of other items. That being said, there is nothing I have seen to preclude its restoration sometime years down the road. And with her appearance improving, it is easier and easier to imagine what 4963 must have looked like in revenue service on the Burlington.Brian Davies
Thursday, January 7. 2016
Shay #5 from Brian Davies January 2016 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 20:34
Shay update, January 2016:
Happy New Year! My last report here regarding the Shay was back in September. I had fully intended to do a report following my three week trip up to IRM in October, but life has a way of intervening. It also doesn't help matters that I tend to like machining, painting, and mechanical work better than putting my thoughts on paper. But, here we go.
As Nigel has been reporting, great progress has been made since my last report towards returning the Shay to service. I will try to put some names down here to thank and acknowledge those who have helped on the Shay for all of their hard work. I will undoubtedly miss names, and to those people, I can't thank you enough for all of your continued help on this project. When you great blog readers visit IRM, please remember that everything you see running and restored is thanks to the hard work of our volunteers and the generosity of our donors. Thank you all!
On to the Shay. During my three week vacation work was progressing on the Shay on a daily basis. Many volunteers came in on weekdays when normally no one is in the shop, and this help really pushed our project forward. As Nigel has already given descriptions of much of what has been accomplished on the Shay during my three week "vacation" and leading up to today, I will attempt to add what I can to what he has already covered.
As of now all of the work to properly seal and form the ends of every boiler tube is complete. At IRM, we use the time honored, traditional methods of installing boiler flues used almost universally in the steam era. I can go into this process in further detail in a future blog if people would like, but suffice it to say for now that the methods we use take a lot of time, but result in a tube job that should give us a very well-sealed boiler for all 15 years of service until the next federally mandated boiler inspection.
One stay bolt was found to be broken the first time we filled the boiler with water, and a couple of days later it was replaced.
Trevor, with help from Ben, has finished preparing the inside of the water tender for painting with a protective coating. In the upcoming weeks Cody will be leading the project of painting the inside of the tender tank.
As Nigel has reported in previous shop reports, the boiler on the Shay has passed its federally mandated hydrostatic pressure test. This major milestone will now allow us to proceed with the jobs of adding parts back on the boiler.
The boiler on steam locomotives gets an insulation material applied to it. This is called lagging. Surrounding the lagging is a sheet metal skin called the jacket. We use a type of block insulation that, while quite messy and itchy to apply, works quite well and can withstand the pressure of engine crews standing on the jacket repeatedly while doing maintenance on the locomotive. Jerry has started the process of securing wires circumferentially and evenly spaced along the boiler which will be used to secure the lagging to the boiler.
The process of applying the blocks of insulation will begin shortly. This job consists of wiring individual blocks of lagging onto the boiler, one at a time, securing them to the previously mentioned circumferential wires to hold them in place. Once the insulation is applied, the task of refitting the jacket can begin. To prepare for this, several volunteers, including Jane, Ben and others, have been working to remove old primer and rust from the back sides of every piece of jacketing, and then priming and painting the back side to help prevent rust and keep the jacket in good condition. We have thus far held off on doing any cleaning up of the outside surface of the jacket, other than removing old grease and oil, until we decide whether to paint the locomotive over this winter or not. Painting takes a good amount of volunteer time that may otherwise be needed for other mechanical projects to get the locomotive into operating condition. If the mechanical side of the project continues at a good pace, some paint work may start in the next few months.
Once the lagging and jacketing is installed, work can then turn to reinstalling all of the piping necessary to make the locomotive operable. This includes water delivery pipes, steam pipes to the various appliances, and air piping for the bell, sanders, and brake system, as well as related brake control stands in the cab.
During the Shay's whole operating life, from the time it was built to the time it was retired from regular service, it burned oil as its fuel source. When the Shay was converted to burn coal by the Chicago and North Western Railway in preparation for its arrival at IRM in the late 1960's, an industrial grate system was installed. These grates performed generally well over the years. However, as they were not designed for locomotive use, they were at times cantankerous and hard to rock in order to clean clinker and ashes from them each morning. Also eventually, due to age and use over time, the grates would warp or break, necessitating periodic replacement. Around the time the locomotive was removed from service at IRM the decision was made to make the proper grates for this locomotive. To this end, Steam Curator Tom Schneider, following original Lima Locomotive Works drawings, made new wood patterns to have all new, proper, grates and side bearers cast. Phil and I spent time in the Shay's firebox in October measuring and laying out where the new studs will be welded in the firebox to support the new grate system. In the next few weeks the hope is that our welder Dennis, aided by Phil, will weld in these studs. Once this is done installation of the grate system and its associated linkage can be carried out.
Another large area of the locomotive, the smokebox, has seen a great amount of work done on it in the past couple of months. All of the holes needed to rivet on the new bottom portion of the smokebox have been drilled, and the bottom piece was bolted on, awaiting riveting and welding to the old portion. Several of the rivets that need to be installed are in an area inconveniently close to the frame of the locomotive. Because of these close confines, normal riveting practices are quite difficult. To make it possible to rivet in these areas, Tom and Dennis designed a special fixture that will allow us to use the frame of the locomotive to our advantage to aid us in driving the rivets!
Hopefully Nigel can describe this in better detail in a future blog update. Once the riveting is done, Dennis will weld the new bottom to the old part of the smokebox. Soon after this is done, installation of the superheater units and other front end pieces can begin. To prepare for this, our machinist, Eric, has been busy machining a few newly cast pieces that were made to replace old steam fittings for use in the smokebox that were very heavily deteriorated from years of corrosion and use.
There are always many, many small projects among the larger ones involved with locomotive restoration. One of these currently is replacement of several wood brackets used to secure lubrication piping above the motor unit. Over the years these pieces have rotted out to the point where they do little to hold the lubrication piping in place.
Phil and John have been working on replicating these pieces, and they should be reinstalled in the next few weeks.
Being away from the museum as much as I am can not only make it a challenge to manage a project in a way that moves a project along at a good pace and keeps everyone happy, but it is also frustrating when I wish I could physically do more to help while I am not there. Because of this I took on a project for the Shay that could be done from home. It was quite common for logging locomotives to have steam driven water pumps on them to use for firefighting for washing the locomotive, and I am sure for various other uses. Our Shay has had one of these duplex steam pumps on it most of its life. Unfortunately, when the locomotive was retired and before it came to IRM the pump appears to have been removed from the locomotive. In the early to mid 1970s, volunteers replaced it with a different pump. While not the same brand of pump the locomotive carried in service, the pump is an appropriate stand in. In fact, while doing research on this pump, I found that the pump is older than the locomotive! This pump has not been operable in the time I have been a volunteer at IRM (starting in 1995) and even Tom Schneider, who has been with IRM since the mid 1970s, doesn't remember the last time this pump was operable. For many years I have wanted to rebuild this pump and return it to operation. I started working on it in April of this year, and I am happy to report that its rebuild was completed on December 23rd; my Christmas present to IRM, the Shay, and the steam shop.
If there is interest I can write a blog about the restoration of this pump at a future time. But for now, I am excited that the pump is again operable, works well, and will be serviceable on the Shay hopefully for years to come.
Overall, work on the Shay is moving along at a fine pace. Much has been accomplished since my last report in September, and the list of things to do is growing ever shorter. We are still working towards the goal of seeing the locomotive operate in 2016.
As Nigel and I have both mentioned, we are actively seeking donations towards the rebuilding of the Shay. Nigel has informed me that since his last plea for funds several donations have come in for the Shay. THANK YOU!! We really, truly appreciate every donation we receive. I think perhaps us members don't always express well how much we really appreciate all of you who donate money to preserve and rebuild our equipment, but we couldn't do the work we do without your help. So again, thank you very, very much.
I would also like to say a huge THANK YOU to every member of the Steam Department who has helped on the Shay's restoration to date. Each of you will be to thank for the locomotive's return to service. This said, we always welcome new volunteers. If any of you reading this have thought over time, "Someday I would really like to go out there and try volunteering in the Steam Shop," well, why wait? The work is dirty and results can happen slowly, but there is a lifetime of learning available to those who are interested, and generally a good amount of fun as well. You don't need to know a thing about steam locomotives, but just have a willingness to listen, learn, and work. Come out and talk to us in the shop. There is always someone there every Saturday.
Whether you are a donor, a volunteer, or a visitor to IRM, thank you for your support, and here's hoping that 2016 sees us have two of our own steam locomotives in operation for the first time since 1999!Brian Davies
Monday, January 4. 2016
Saturday in the shop was quite busy. We had Gregg W, Mike B, Don P, Rob S, Dan C, Jeron G, Laddie V, Jim W, Cody Z, and myself. Gregg was working in the M-35, as he put it, "putting things back together that he started taking apart 30 years ago." Mike and I started out bolting the platforms that were painted the day before back into the 504 and painted the top of them along with the bolts. Don changed out some broken toggle switches for the nose and cab dome lights in 1848.
Jeron, Mike, Don and myself went outside and chipped and dug out a handful of switches and the doors on track 22 so we could move 1848 and 504 outside to test. After they were moved outside using 8537, our trusty 45 tonner, we started 1848 and 504 to let them warm up. Later on Dan tested the rectifier modules that were replaced on 1848 under self load, all worked well there, although there was an issue with specific throttle positions missing some engine speed changes, likely something with the A valve on the governor. We'll look into that soon. On 504 we just wanted to test out the cab heaters, which worked great.
Back in the shop, Laddie, Rob and Dan moved the controller from CNW 1518 from the bench up into the cab. Rob continued working on sandblasting cab parts of the 411. Jim and Don watered the batteries of 33 and put it on the charger since it has been a while since that was done. Later on, all of us started cleaning up various materials around the shop, moving a lot of material for the 33 further down the aisle to allow room to work next to 33. A lot of parts that have recently arrived were moved to where they go. A lot of electrical parts that we won't likely use for a while were moved from the parts room to a crate. A lot of general shop cleanup happened until late in the evening.
We even plugged in a backlit number board for Milwaukee Road 197 that someone dropped off a while back. Anyone know if it is still around?
Saturday, January 2. 2016
The first day of the new year it was just myself and Evelina spending a few hours in the shop this afternoon. Evelina stopped by to paint a bunch of targets for the some switch stands in the heated shop, but also helped out on 504 in between letting coats of paint dry. The main goal was to put the cab heater on the fireman side back together with new gaskets and hose couplings to replace the dry rotted ones pulled off a few days ago. After cutting everything to size and putting new hose clamps on the bottom hoses, the cab heat system was charged with water. Just a couple of little areas weeped a bit, and tightening the flanges thoroughly appears to have solved that. The next step is to start it up whenever the next time happens to be and try it all out.
Since the heater work went rather quickly, we started working on the platform that goes between the front of the main generator and the back wall of the front electrical cabinet. This is something that has been on the list to complete since 504's restoration a several years ago. Evelina wire wheeled the two halves, primed them all and painted the bottom side. Meanwhile, I spend some time drilling and tapping 15 of the 22 broken bolts that hold the platform halves to the framework in the engine compartment. We needlechipped and wire wheeled, then primed those areas in the engine compartment. Tomorrow I'll finish installing and painting the platforms, which will finally complete this small project.
Thursday, December 31. 2015
On Wednesday, more work continued on UP 1848 and CB&Q 504. Dan C was out to the shop during the day to begin repairing and changing some rectifier modules that had failed on 1848 a few weeks ago when moving the coal trains in for storage. We had a number of parts in stock that we acquired from some other B40-8's that were being scrapped. Those modules were in great shape and were used to replace the two failed ones. He also made some repairs to the 504, disassembling, cleaning and reassembling the isolation switch which was getting very sticky in the cold weather. And repaired a couple broken wires on some contactor interlocks that was caused by a raccoon that had worked its way into the electrical cabinet.
Jeron and I started working on the cab heat pipes of 504, removing some marman couplings, cleaning the pipes, clamps and rubber. To do this, we spend a while fixing the sandblasting cabinet, new media, screen protector, cleaning filters, etc. After getting the pipes and couplings together in the side sill, we opened the cab heat return valve at the expansion tank to charge the cab heat pipes. Everything underneath was in pretty good shape at this point. However, the firemans side heater had a number of issues.
We spent a good amount of time removing three bad rubber hose couplings and one marman coupling. There isn't much clearance under the heater to get everything out easily without separating every connection. All those fittings were cleaned and everything is ready to go back together once new rubber and gaskets arrive. The brushes in the motor were stuck as well, so those were removed, one of which by having to take the entire motor apart. Cleaned those up and reassembled, now it's working great.
A few other odds and ends, Jeron starting testing a bunch of radios we had in stock that were not working, but had no labels as to what was wrong with them. We'll see if we can make some good ones out of a few bad ones. We also tried out a new portable battery charger ARMS, Inc. It has a built in battery energizer as well. It is a very nice unit, and much easier to move around than the huge LaMarche units we have that really aren't mobile at all. Jeron located new sockets and a light shade to repair the ground lights the next time around.
Hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year!
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Raphael about Its Here, Its big, Its long, Its needs lots of $
Tue, 05-24-2016 13:10
the smaller one too?
Roger Kramer about Its Here, Its big, Its long, Its needs lots of $
Mon, 05-23-2016 19:52
Hi Raphael We will install the turntable. That is what we will do with it. Thanks Roger
Roger Kramer about Its Here, Its big, Its long, Its needs lots of $
Mon, 05-23-2016 19:51
Yes it will! Needs lots of money, energy and commitment ! Thanks Roger
Roger Kramer about EL coach 556 Will be in servce this year
Mon, 05-23-2016 19:49
Hello Kirk We are starting on the 2524 asap. The 2612 is all but finished. Still to be completed are projects that can not be accomplished by my [...]
Keegan about Its Here, Its big, Its long, Its needs lots of $
Mon, 05-23-2016 14:04
Did you say roundhouse to? That will really be impressive.
Kirk Warner about EL coach 556 Will be in servce this year
Mon, 05-23-2016 13:55
Are you going to finish the 2612 before you start on the 2524r are they both going to be worked on at the same time?
Kurt Schlieter about Its Here, Its big, Its long, Its needs lots of $
Mon, 05-23-2016 13:04
If you would like to see the turntable frame being moved, go to the IRM main page, click on "webcam information", on the next page click on "webcam [...]
Cabbage Stack about Steam Department – Further update
Mon, 05-23-2016 12:49
Nigel What's the timeframe for the Shay to make it's first run? Thanks.
Christopher Craig about A BIG announcement
Sat, 05-21-2016 10:38
Hi, I worked at the Burnham Loco facility, now a former railroader.. The turntable originally used electric motors, after being rebuilt in '12, [...]
Raphael about Its Here, Its big, Its long, Its needs lots of $
Fri, 05-20-2016 17:56
what will the museum do with it?
David S about Its Here, Its big, Its long, Its needs lots of $
Fri, 05-20-2016 13:12
A friend asked me to point out that it's DRGW, not DGRW.
Roger Kramer about Its Here, Its big, Its long, Its needs lots of $
Thu, 05-19-2016 19:45
Hello Mr. Kronenwetter Yes, there is special committee formed to complete the plans for the turntable and round house. Its headed by Tom [...]
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