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Monday, November 18. 2013
Steam Department Update 11-16-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 22:04
This weekend we started in earnest on the over winter work program, primarily on 1630.
The biggest overall job will be painting the locomotive. Brian and Jane worked on understanding exactly how best to apply the paint that will be used. It is a two part type that we have not previously used and some significant planning and preparation is required. Two of the air tanks were removed and these will be the first items to be painted to provide experience and testing of the best methods of preparation and application.
Dennis was hard at work on the plate work and mesh screens for the smokebox. These are now approaching completion.
We also worked thru the items that we needed to do while we can still pressurize the boiler.
· One key item that worked out well was the tracing of a small steam leak that appeared around the handrail stanchion juts behind the sand dome. Steam appearing from behind the lagging is always troubling as it can indicate all sorts of things, some more troubling than others. We had suspected (and hoped) that it might be as simple as a loose connection on the lubricator steam line. Much to our relief it was found that this was exactly what it was. After removing a good deal of sheet metal and lagging to locate the union, soap solution revealed a very obvious leakage where the union had not been fully tightened when a new pipe was fitted.
· Matt, Jerry and others worked on the cab lighting. 3 lights in the cab were not working during the test running. A mixture of defective bulbs and a loose connection were found and by end of day, all lights on the locomotive were fully operational when the generator was run on air. They did also find and correct the issue of "dim" gauge lighting on the engineer's side!. The lights sit in little dishes that direct the light toward the gauges. The dishes have a white enameled surface to direct the light. The years have reduced this thru rust and smoke to a nice matt black!!. Cleaning and repainting have fixed that issue.
Jason, Cameron and Phil spent much of the day winterizing the water supply in the boxcar. This is a tricky job involving a lot of blowing compressed air thru the system to ensure that it is water free and then taking apart the water softening system. The weather did not help with wind and rain making the job more unpleasant than usual. Good job guys!.
So it was a successful day working toward having 1630 in top condition for 2014 operations.
Tuesday, November 12. 2013
Steam Department Update 11-09-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 10:34
It is a rather brief update this week. I made it back to the shop on Sunday after spending Saturday travelling back from New Zealand.
A lot of activity was apparent from Saturday and continued on Sunday. After a week, 1630 no longer looks like an operational locomotive. The main activity on Saturday was to thoroughly drain her and then winterize (primarily running on air to blow any residual water out of the system).
A number of parts have been removed to facilitate work over winter. This is not unexpected. The intent had always been to carry out test running to identify anything that needs to be dealt with as maintenance activity during the winter. The main objective of my trip to Union on Sunday was to work with Brian Davies before he leaves to produce a full list of work identified during the test running. While there is nothing particularly threatening it is a long list that will keep us busy over winter.
The work also needs careful planning as, for example, it is important to deal with everything that may require us to pressurize the boiler to allow testing before we move on to things that require removing items that allow air to escape from the boiler !.
The boiler lagging already looks substantially less complete. The securing bands must all be removed to allow painting of the sheet metal and this was started on Sunday.
Visitors to the shop will notice that the end covers have been removed from the valve chambers. It is not planned that work will be done on the valves this winter but it was apparent during running that the valves are leaking significantly. While this is not essential for 2014 running, we will measure everything up for ring replacement perhaps in the following winter.
On Sunday, Brian was removing the air tanks for painting while I worked on removing sheet metal and insulation to locate a small leakage of steam from the lubricator heater line along the boiler.
In other areas, Tom, Jim and Cameron were working on the brake shoe holders for #428. The first of these was test fitted and looked good. So work started on the remaining 7.
Mike was working on the plumbing for the planer. This is an interesting 3 dimensional jigsaw puzzle with a number of copper pipes, all with the same size connections, coming out of the hydraulic system into the machine. Now is a very good time to reflect upon how nice it would have been if someone had taken some good photographs of the set-up 20 odd years ago when it was taken apart !.
So if, like me, you missed seeing 1630 as a hot steaming machine last weekend, it will be some months before you will be able to see her even looking complete again. However, the feel in the shop is very different. After two years fighting toward the objective of a working steam engine we now have one and must tackle the various winter maintenance tasks to make reliable operation the normal routine in 2014.
One further important piece of information –
SAVE THE DATE - The 2014 Steam Department Benefit at the Sanfilippo Estate will be on Sunday 29th June 2014.
Monday, November 4. 2013
REVISED Steam Update 11-2-2013 a ... Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 21:08
Based upon input from Brian Davies, it sounds like a pretty successful week in the steam shop with the major objectives on 1630 for the year now achieved. This is both good and bad from my perspective. I might have hoped for a few problems to fix and test next weekend when I will be back!!.
It had been the target to do a little running before the winter to ensure that we were able to identify potential issues to be addressed over winter. That was achieved over the weekend.
After the steam test on Wednesday, Brian and others spent the next couple of days adding items such as the petticoat, that were the minimum needed for significant running.
There was some disappointment on Saturday when the planned running had to be abandoned when a leak was detected in a steam union in the cab. The rest of the day was spent replacing the unions and, to ensure no further issues, the whole pipe involved. This may have been “over kill” as close inspection of the pipe suggested that it was sound and the leak affected only the threads at the end. However, with a steam engine you cannot be too careful and the objective is to locate and fully correct any issues before next season.
With the leak fixed, the locomotive was successfully steamed again on Sunday. Much of the most important testing was around the rear driving axle. It was the work on the axle boxes here that caused her to be stopped in 2005 and she has not run since this was done. The results were good. There had been some concerns about the reduced flexibility when running around the “Y” but, while she is noticeably tighter than in the past, this was not a serious problem.
A number of runs were made up and down the main line. This allowed accessories and controls that have not been in routine use for nearly ten years to be exercised normally. The results were good and it also enabled a lot of the team, who have put in so much work, to experience a ride on the result of their efforts.
The new rear axle bearings run warmer than the existing ones but not excessively so. It looks as if these are good and should settle in as more grease works into them with additional running. There are probably a few minor items for the over winter work list but it does not seem that anything major was detected. So, I rather suspect that this will be the last run for 2013 as it is coming time when it would be safer to have the locomotive and water system winterized.
The testing was done with some work not completed. Various missing lagging and bare metal is apparent in the photograph but it is a great relief to see her operational on the main line and looking good in the Fall sunshine. Only the essentials for test running were completed in the last few days so, for example, the brick arch and smokebox sheet work and spark arrestor mesh are not yet in place. This is no problem for a few test runs but required before the season. Then of course there is the big job for the winter – the application of a whole lot of paint!!. It looks like a busy winter but the clear expectation that she will be fully ready for the 2014 season.
So I am looking forward to getting back to Union and seeing what she looks like after a spectacular month of effort – great work guys!.
Thursday, October 31. 2013
Sitting in a hotel room overlooking a very windswept Wellington harbour this is about the most poignant blog entry I have ever had to make. After a few days of silence the e-mail has been red hot in the last few hours and the messages contain extreme highs and lows.
The key news items are that 1630 was steamed today and passed its FRA inspection but on the same day we heard of the passing of Bill Chyna, a wonderful guy and a stalwart of the department for as long as most of us can remember. I have received input from many people but I do not think I can do better than the following note from Collin:
“Today we, as a group, experienced a loss and a triumph of emotional extremes.
This morning Bill Chyna passed away. Bill had celebrated his seventy fourth birthday Saturday and was said to have enjoyed the event, spending time with family and friends. He was eating cake, so what is not to be happy about?. Bill spent fifteen years with us, and I cannot remember a major decision he was not a part of; a project he did not contribute to. Bill was the first guy I took direction from-the beginning of many orders!-on the first day I came out to the shop. Bill's understanding of electronics and wiring proved to be an invaluable skill as we set up equipment, repaired broken tools and generally moved projects forward. Bill had an understanding of how things work that comes only with decades of experience. I recently visited Bill at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Center where he was undergoing physical therapy. He was in great spirits and probed with questions of what we were doing on 1630, how we were doing it and what our timeline was. I returned the favor by peppering Bill with questions of home repair projects on which he had considerable knowledge. Bill's passing will create a large hole in our team that will be challenging to fill.
1630 was steamed up today and passed by our FRA inspector. While much work remains to be done Brian, Jason & Tom gagged and tested the safety valves, performed the orifice test and ran the locomotive back and forth to the satisfaction of the officials present. The hard work contributed by all of you over the past few years got us to this point, plain and simple. Over this winter we need to keep up the pace to complete the job but we are well positioned to enter the 2014 season full steam ahead.
I think we can all say that it is a curiosity of steam that drew us out to the museum in the first place. But over time it is the people who make the whole thing worthwhile and keep us coming back. Please keep Bill's family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Well said Collin.
Tuesday, October 29. 2013
Steam Department Update 10-26-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 00:49
A great deal of work was done in the steam shop during the week and over the weekend. Unfortunately, on Saturday, we hit a snag that may hold us up significantly.
The information this week is provided by Phil and Brian as I am far away on vacation. Thanks guys.
On 1630, Brian Davies is now working full time and, with JD, Jerry, Cameron, Jeff, Jason and others all spending time working with him during the week the locomotive has seen a lot of changes:
· The air system was all back together with the exception of the compressor by Friday. After a few fits, the brakes work!
· Mike was working to finish that on Saturday ready for testing. Later in the day the house air was hooked up and the air pump was tested. At first the high pressure steam side moved once and then it froze up. The stuffing boxes were loosened and oil was put on the pistons. A second attempt was made. It worked beautifully. So, it was good to see that something be confirmed as done and working on the locomotive.
· All of the sheet metal in the cab is on. Some screws still need to be added. With the exception of attaching and plumbing the stoker jet manifold, the cab is basically complete!! Even the electric is hooked back up pending testing.
· Cylinder cocks have been cleaned and inspected, and a new pipe nipple installed after one broke. They should be good to go.
· Jim and Brian are added the last little bits of insulation around about the last foot of flexible stays on either side of the wrapper sheet.
· Sheet metal, minus the bands, was completed across the barrel.
· On Saturday much of the banding was fitted.
· The final normal hydro was performed yesterday to hammer stay bolts. This proved good so no issues with these.
· The blow down muffler was installed.
· Preparations have been made for the steam test including:
o Setting up a large steam valve on the pipe coming off of the auxiliary dome lid to allow a gauge to be fitted for testing the safety valves; and
o Making two gags that will allow individual valves to be held closed to allow the others to be tested.
· Unfortunately the key objective on Saturday, which was to apply hydro pressure to the front end to test the sealing of the super heater elements into the header, ran in to significant problems. This relies upon pressurizing the whole front end (cylinders, valve chambers, exhaust passages etc. with water to about 50 psi). This involves minimizing water leakage thru a whole lot of areas, such as the piston glands, that are not wholly tight under steam and are a lot more problematic using water.
· A large team spent the morning preparing for the test and the first filling was carried out in the afternoon. This indicated a lot of leakage around the piston and valve glands as well as the junction where the exhaust steam from the air compressor and stoker enter the cylinder casting.
· Water was them lowered so fixes could be made to seal the water better. While some progress was made on the glands it was found that the exhaust steam connection, which is in a really awkward place under the boiler, could not be sealed in a way that allowed a pressure of anything like 50 psi to be achieved. This is a complex threaded assembly on which the threads proved to be damaged.
· To progress the test it will now be necessary to machine a replacement part. At the same time further work will be done on the packing glands of the piston and valve rods. After this we can again try to pressurize the front end and test the sealing of the super heater elements.
· Tom has finished most of the machining on the wedges. All that is left to do is to drill several hole in them so that they can be adjusted when they are put on the locomotive. Brian and Cameron made a mount that will align for the drilling of these holes.
· The mounting brackets for 428's air compressor received a coat of paint.
In other areas:
· Stu, Bob, and Jane worked on painting the planer. It looks quite remarkable now that it has green paint on it. Bob also worked on assembly of some more small pipes.
So a lot was accomplished during this week. If we can successfully test pressure test the front end, we are just about ready to steam test.
Sitting here in Australia!!, I will wait with bated breath for updates on progress with the front end testing.
Tuesday, October 22. 2013
This week we have an extremely second hand report put together in a hotel room in Australia based upon the input from Phil, Eric, Collin and the guys.
· In the cab:
A team consisting of Collin, Ed, Jason and the two Brians discovered that a piece of the sheet metal covering the lagging around the radius of the firebox had a small alignment problem. The piece had a hole for the steam chest pressure gauge pipe to pass through. This pipe was rotten and was replaced during the winter. The pipe was replaced in a slightly higher location that originally located and thus did not fit through the sheet metallic as planned. The sheet metal was modified and the cab sheet metal is now almost complete.
The throttle was adjusted. Jason and Brian Davies worked on this project, which is ongoing. This is proving to be tricky as minor variations in the setting of the throttle lever cause it to foul other equipment.
The fire hole doors were reassembled and a lot of the key piping was figured out. Several more pieces of the cab jacketing were put on.
· Cameron and David worked on reassembling the blast pipe in the smoke box. The contact surfaces were cleaned and the blast pipe and blanking plate were installed and tightened down. So this is now sealed and ready for the pressure test.
· The fireman’s side main air tank was installed. It took a lot of fussing around trying to get the air tank installed but after a lot of back and forth we were able to get the air tank in and the “U” bolts on it.
· Work continued the jacketing. As the old jacketing is being assembled several small places between the jacketing have exposed insulation. So, several new pieces of jacketing have been made. These new pieces will go in as filler over the small gaps. Eric with help from Philip worked on making the new pieces of sheet metal.
· Jerry and Jim worked on putting the insulation on the fire box. A long and slow process as many little pieces must be made in order to be fit between the flexible stay bolts.
· Mike worked on the air compressor. Just the top valve is left to go on it. Mike says it is in good shape as the picture shows.
It now just needs to be cleaned up and then it can be reassembled and the air compressor can be tested.
In other areas:
· Phil finished drilling the hole in the bolster of the Shay to the proper size. It is now ready for the bushing to be pressed in.
· Bob continued to assemble small pieces of piping to the planer. It is slowly getting closer to operational condition.
So, overall there was a lot of progress toward the critical testing. Hopefully there will be a lot more to report next week.
Sunday, October 13. 2013
Steam Department Update 10-12-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 13:46
I had one day back at Union this Saturday before I leave for my trip to Australia and New Zealand. I am glad to say that a lot was achieved on 1630.
Everything was focused around fitting the throttle back into the dome. It is essential that this be in place and adjusted so that a pressure test can be carried out on the front end. This will ensure that the super heater elements are correctly fitted and have no leaks in the joints between the elements and the header.
· a lot of lagging has been applied but little sheet metal was in place over it. Since you cannot stand on the lagging (as it will disintegrate quickly if you do) placing a lot of sheet metal was essential.
Most of us were heavily involved during the morning, under Eric's guidance, to place the sheet metal on the top of the boiler.
By lunch time, as you can see below, she looked a lot more like a locomotive as she was moved outside with steel sheeting covering most of the boiler.
Unfortunately this is not as complete as it appears!. The steel sheet consists of rings made up of 4 sheets and linked by threaded rods at top and bottom. Just below the walk way the top and bottom sections are joined . Both sheets have folded ends that can be interlocked so that each side effectively becomes a single piece. Another challenge is that, where pipes and brackets must pass thru the sheet, it is usually necessary that the hole in the main sheet is over size and one or more smaller "infill" pieces must be located behind the main sheet to fit tightly around the projecting object. So it is one large and unwieldy jigsaw!.
At present only the upper sheets are in place with a few lower ones temporarily fitted. A lot of work remains to properly fit and adjust all the sheet metal. However, with the top sheets in place, we were ready to fit the throttle.
· In parallel with the barrel lagging, Collin and Phil fitted the throttle lever and quadrant onto the back head. Ed also threaded the remaining pipes that will enable the back head sheet metal to be completed.
· Shortly after lunch 1630 moved out into the light of day for the first time in a while.
This, in itself, was a significant piece of work. A number of the team were working much of the morning to clear wires, tools, steps and anything else that would be a danger when she moved. Finally debris had to be cleared from the cross heads and lubricant applied for the move.
Thanks to Jamie for the availability of the Army switcher and to JD for operating it. The move was achieved smoothly with one alarm. The eye screwed into the dome cover, to allow it to be lifted, becomes the highest pint of the loco and is just foul of the shop door. This resulted in a sudden stop and quick removal of the offending piece.
Anyway the shop looked very empty and the opportunity was taken to clean the area and recover a few small objects that had fallen over the last few months and not been found under the loco.
· Once outside the we set about fitting the throttle. Collin had borrowed and operated the B&G boom truck for the lifting.
First the auxiliary hatch and dome covers were removed.
1630 is relatively unusual in having an auxiliary hatch and in it being difficult if not impossible to adjust the throttle linkage thru the dome alone. Tom tells us that this is arose from the original Russian specification which had a steam dryer in an extra tall dome, making access to the throttle control rod (which is under the throttle above the tubes in the boiler barrel) "tricky" unless you are n extremely thin 6 foot person with extra long arms prepared to work suspend upside down in the dome.
So Jason, Vince and Eric worked the top of the dome and Phil, who was not taking a week off as the pictures might suggest, spent much of the afternoon on the cramped space on top of the tubes. Here he was doing the critical work of guiding parts in from below and then adjusting the control rod.
The critical adjustment is to ensure that the valve sits tightly on its seat when the throttle lever is forward as far as it normally goes on the back head and that there is a lift of about 1 1/8th inch off the seat when pulled fully toward the engineer. This is adjusted by turning a threaded section of the control rod in the boiler to increase or decrease its overall length. To do this, Phil spent a lot of time stuck in the confined space of the boiler while the rest of us worked the throttle lever and observed the movement of the thimble in its seat in the valve body.
Here you can see the throttle in position in the dome. The thimble is now seated in the throttle body and the shaft at the center is connected to the control rod below and adjusted. At the top of this view you can see nuts on two bolts inserted from below. These are securing the throttle body by means of the projection that can be seen on the right hand side of the casting in the previous picture.
The open pipe on the left is the entry to the auxiliary dry pipe that takes steam back to the turret on top of the firebox in the cab from which are fed the injectors, air compressor and all other accessories.
By the time that we fitted the dome lid, Phil could be released from his prison and allowed into the daylight.
· While the locomotive was outside we had the opportunity to remove a lot of the dust and loose insulating material that had accumulated all over it. Jerry did a great job with the air line and by the time we pushed her back in she looks a great deal cleaner.
So, by late afternoon, we were able to push her back into the shop and, as my last contribution for a while, I spent an hour fitting the 30 odd large nuts and washers that hold down the dome lid.
Now I must follow work with great interest from a considerable distance over the next few weeks and provide updates as best I can based upon input from the guys. Hopefully I will be able to see a working locomotive when I get back to Union in November !.
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Roger Kramer about 2612 forward developments.... Feb 19 and 22
Sun, 03-02-2014 14:36
Thanks for your kind comments, Kirk! Yes, it's my hope that we can spray and hand brush, were possible, the interior when completed. Gary and I [...]
greg about Steam Department Update 02-22-2014
Sun, 03-02-2014 10:03
Thanks. Appreciate the effort. greg
Nigel Bennett about Steam Department Update 02-22-2014
Sun, 03-02-2014 08:37
Greg, I talked to Tom Schneider, the curator of the Steam Department yesterday. Rather as I suspected, he does have a good deal of information [...]
Kirk Warner about 2612 forward developments.... Feb 19 and 22
Sat, 03-01-2014 10:33
Congratulations on your great progress. Is your intent to spray the interior after repairs and priming are completed and the weather warms up? What [...]
greg jewers about Steam Department Update 02-22-2014
Thu, 02-27-2014 13:59
Hello, I was wondering if you had a history of the Louisiana and Arkansas #99 from the time it was the LR&NCo until it was acquired by the [...]
Logan about February 16th - Another Fun and Snowy Day at IRM
Tue, 02-25-2014 09:05
Jamie can you give me any information on Milwaulkee Road 33C as i havent seen any information on it in a couple of years.
Jamie Kolanowski about February 16th - Another Fun and Snowy Day at IRM
Mon, 02-24-2014 16:38
Yes, as Mark mentioned it made it into Barn 11 last year to dry out some after finally being unloaded from the flat car.
Mark Reimetrs about February 16th - Another Fun and Snowy Day at IRM
Mon, 02-24-2014 08:16
That car has been moved inside to keep the weather out as windows are repaired. I think it's in a barn that's not open to the public.
Mark Becker about February 16th - Another Fun and Snowy Day at IRM
Sun, 02-23-2014 21:25
Is there any information regarding the status of the ex California Zephyr dome coach. When I was at the museum late last summer I did not see it.
Bill Moran about OHIO Locomotive Crane - June 29, 2013
Wed, 02-19-2014 18:51
Mark, having fun yet?!
Christian Ellis about Steam Department Update 02-08-2014
Mon, 02-17-2014 12:34
Thanks for the information. I realize that it will take time to get to the more substantial projects, but I'd prefer that so that I don't damage [...]
Nigel Bennett about Steam Department Update 02-08-2014
Mon, 02-17-2014 12:08
Christian, There is not much beside what is on the website. You need to be a member (one key reason being that insurance only applies to [...]
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