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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.
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, August 25. 2013
Steam Department Update 08-24-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 21:49
It was a week of very hard work leading to a huge milestone.
As described last week, we had reached the frustrating point of chasing leaks around the tube ends and a small check list of other minor issues requiring correction in order to get the boiler fit for the formal hydro test.
Brian Davies is staying at Union for three weeks to help with the work and he put in long hours with some of us who were able to spend a day at Union during the week. Several important tasks were achieved. With Jason, he was able to largely complete the cleaning and checking of the air brake valves.
However the key focus was the boiler. As the number of leaking tubes decreased, they became more frustrating and more inclined to cause an adjacent tube to leak when you rolled them. The final session on Saturday had many of us involved during the day and lasted until 11 at night but by the end, we were down to one super heater flue that has a small leak around it that we expect will seal itself when the boiler is fully heated, although it drips very slowly under hydro pressure.
So, Brian, Jim and I were back in the shop at 8:30 on Sunday, unfortunately not to assist with the last day of Thomas but to meet with the FRA inspector for the formal hydro test. I am glad to say that the old lady passed !. Aside from the tube end and a few drips from tri-cocks and blow down valves she held pressure very well with no sign of leakage.
So Saturday was rather a frustrating day. Very little on 1630, aside from the tubes, could be worked on until the hydro was completed.
Cameron and Phil worked with Tom on the bolster for the Shay.
Richard and Ed continued to work on preparing the cladding for lagging in the cab.
Bob finally received a suitable breaker to link the planer into the supply panel. So he was able to continue work on running power to the planer.
However on Sunday, after the test, a great deal of work opened up.
The tubes can now be beaded so, in preparation for that, I spent quite a while in the smokebox grinding tube ends to the exact 1/4 inch required to form good bead. Later Brian took over and, by the time that I left, we were close to the point where he can bead all flues and tubes in the smokebox that are to be beaded. Ideally we want to get this done in the next couple of days so that the beaded tubes can be tested for leaks by Wednesday.
On Wednesday we hope to take off the dome cover, drain the boiler and start drying it out so that the inspector can carry out the internal inspection on Friday. This is a Federal requirement. When a boiler has been over pressured, as it is for the formal hydro test, it must be inspected to ensure that nothing internal, such as the brace attachments, has been damaged or loosened. After this, any pressure testing is strictly limited to boiler pressure (180 psi). If any pressure beyond this is applied a further internal inspection is required.
Beading of the smokebox end is essential before a lot of work starting with refitting the super heater elements and then moving on to the rest of the smokebox equipment can be undertaken.
In the cab, work will now start on lagging the firebox and fitting the cladding so that all the controls can be finally refitted. With the hydro complete, we can now start covering the boiler again. Up until today, none of this could be started as a clear view of all the surfaces of the boiler was required for the inspection.
In the firebox, Jerry applied the protective paint to the patch and rivets below where the grates will fit. Once this is dry, the grates that have been removed while we worked on the patch, will be refitted.
One key thing about the milestone today is that, while she may currently look less complete than she did in 2011, we have actually passed the key inspection step for which we were preparing in Spring 2011 when we hit the problem with the firebox.
So overall a very successful week. While not too much visible has changed, but we have removed the barrier to a whole lot of tasks that will make 1630 look much more like an operating locomotive again in the next month.
Tuesday, August 20. 2013
A lot of work, a good deal of progress and some frustration. That is probably a good summary of the week in the steam shop. While a few of the team were able to assist with Thomas, most of us were hard at work in the shop.
Everything is focused on getting the hydro test for 1630 completed.
Tom, Mike and a small team worked long hours on Wednesday to get the two stays installed. They were in place ready for the Saturday team. Brian Davis and Jason, inside the firebox, worked with Brian and Sean, on the bucker in the cab, to hammer over the ends inside the firebox to compete the installation. This was a rotten job as the stays are high up above the arch tubes on the back sheet of the firebox. This makes it a very awkward place to operate the air hammer. However, they did it and the stays proved leak free in all the subsequent testing.
Life was no easier for the team in the firebox because we need to have the water in the boiler heated to 100 - 105 F and this takes a while for the pool heater to achieve. So, while they worked in the box, we had increasingly warm water circulating around it (not up to the level of the two stays but well up the sides of the box). So, by working inside a hot water radiator we were able to ensure that none of us who worked on the firebox tube ends during the day were in any danger of suffering from the cold on an 80 degree day !!.
By lunchtime we were able to apply pressure to the boiler. The more significant leaks from three weeks ago were corrected so there was now no problem with getting to the full pressure required for the hydro (1.25 times operating pressure so 225 psi). Various leaks were found and corrected. This is an iterative process, test, identify, tighten and retest. At one stage on Saturday we did think that we might be able to do the formal hydro on Sunday. However tiny leaks around tube ends proved frustratingly difficult to close. This is one of the joys of working with a steam locomotive boiler. Since the tube sheet consists of many holes close together, the force of expanding one tube can easily cause a minor movement to the next tube so you can spend a good deal of time chasing tiny leaks from one tube to the next before you get everything tight. I went back on Sunday morning to work with Brian, who is staying at Union for 3 weeks or so, and we still further reduced the number of leaking tube ends. However, it will be a continuing process during the week and probably into next weekend to get all the tube ends completely tight.
The pictures look extremely dull but are all the better for that. The tiny leaks can be seen around tube ends in the smokebox.
The overall rate of leakage is very gratifying. This small area is now the most significant group of tube ends to be tightened. You have to look closely in the center to see the small seepage that we must stop.
The real achievement is not apparent at the smokebox end. The sheet and tubes are actually under 225 psi pressure when you look at the gauge in the cab!!.
The new stays are leak free at 225 psi.
The pressure drops from 225 at barely 1 psi per minute, an indication that the leaks are tiny in volume. However, where they are in areas like the tube ends, they must be completely corrected. So a week of frustrating work, tightening groups of tube ends and then checking the results with another pressure test lies ahead. If we get too frustrated, it is good to think back to the fact that, not long ago, the boiler was wide open. Now we can routinely plan to leave it totally full with minimal leakage for days on end.
The one unexpected item discovered was the union nut at the bottom of the fireman's gauge glass. Tiny droplets of water appearing thru what should be solid brass were an indication of hairline cracking. Tom now had quite a few hours of work to produce a replacement for the hydro test but I understand that this was fitted on Sunday afternoon.
Updates from Brian so far indicate that most of the leaks have been corrected by Tuesday so we hope that we can move on to other work next weekend around the planned hydro test on Sunday.
Sunday, August 11. 2013
Steam Department Update 08-10-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 11:03
There has been a lot of progress in the steam shop in the last two weeks. The team was hard at work last weekend while I was relaxing in the UK (and having an interesting visit to the Great Central Railway). A lot more was done during the week and this weekend, but unfortunately we have seen the date when we expect to be ready for the formal hydro test drop back a week.
The reason for the delay is frustratingly simple. As reported two weeks back, the unexpected issue found in the first pressure testing was leakage from the sockets of two flexible stays. This necessitated the removal and replacement of the stays and their sockets. While we have some spares on it site, it turned out that we had in stock only one suitable blank, from which to make the new stays. Tom managed to locate a source that could supply more from stock but these only arrived this week. (The available from stock is rather critical as they can be made but the lead time for this is 6 weeks plus !).
So the second of the stays is still being machined and ................. it is sort of difficult to pressure the boiler to test all the other defect correction when you have a 1 inch hole in it where the stay should be !.
During the last two weeks a lot has been done on 1630:
· Over the last two Saturdays all the tube ends, that were identified as having leakage, have been re-rolled. This included both super heater and small tubes at both ends.
· The old stay sockets were ground flush and removed from the backhead .
· On Thursday evening Dennis welded the new stay sockets into the backhead. This requires that the socket be accurately positioned using a special tool seen below. The socket is positioned on the tapered holder and the tapered thread is then screwed into the hole in the inner firebox.
The end can then be slid along the shaft until the socket is tight against the backhead. It is held by the rod in the correct orientation to align exactly as the stay will do.
Held in this way the socket can be tack welded into place. The tool is then removed and the socket welded into place.
The purpose of the weld is not to hold the socket against pressure (the stay and the fact that the socket is far larger than the hole in the backhead will do that) but to ensure that the seal to the backhead is steam tight.
By the end of the evening both sockets were in place and ready for their new stays.
· Dennis also made good a small area of the caulking between the inner firebox sheet and the mud ring that had shown some seepage under pressure;
· Mike, Jim and Jerry used the special taps to enlarge and thread the stay holes in the inner firebox sheet ready to receive the new stays, while Mike prepared the copper rings that seal the cap into the socket.
· Aside from investing a lot of time locating the spares, Tom has been machining the replacement stays. One is now threaded and just about ready to fit while the other is getting under way. A significant amount of work is required to turn each blank into a stay ready for fitting. This shows a blank alongside one of the old stays.
Each one requires:
o Slotting the head of the ball (to allow the stay to be screwed into the firebox);
o Polishing any ridges off the ball;
o Drilling the tell tale hole along the length of the stay;
o Reducing the diameter to the exact size required for threading. (Each time that a stay is replaced the size is increased by 1/32nd as the new thread is cut into the inner firebox). Just to ensure life is not simple, the two being replaced prove to be marginally different in size.
o Finally cutting the thread on the stay.
o Only once this is done can the stay be screwed into the firebox and hammered over. After all the preparatory work, the final fitting is relatively quick.
o The current plan is that the machining and fitting will be done Sunday and during the coming week.
· The fireman's side water gauge was removed and refitted to correct a leak detected under pressure;
· The engineer's side water glass was fitted so that it can be part of the next pressure test;
· The unions to both check valves were split and remade. It was found that the copper sealing ring on the engineer's side was missing. This could explain why this was leaking under pressure. A new ring was annealed and the union remade so we believe that this should be much improved.
· With all the defects that were noted under pressure corrected, but being unable to test this work, we moved on to other tasks:
o Jason worked on examination and cleaning of the air brake valves;
o Mike and Phil started preparing the air compressor for operation. The valves in the compressor all need to be opened, cleaned, lapped where necessary, and lubricated so that it is ready for testing as part of the steam test. Once the cleaning is done we will plan to test it initially using compressed air;
o The cab was cleaned up and the first major group of back head fittings was reinstalled. This includes the flange and hydrostatic lubricators. These were fitted first as they are needed to allow the air pump supply line to be pressurized. It is good to see the cab starting to take shape again !.
So, in the next week, everything rests on the progress of Tom and the team can make in machining and fitting the stays. If they can complete this during the week, we will plan to test the tightness of the boiler and fittings again next weekend.
Monday, July 29. 2013
Steam Department Update 07-27-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 15:39
This was a big day at the steam shop. All activity was focused on 1630 and the first testing of the boiler completely full of water and under some pressure.
It is a fairly lengthy process to set the boiler up for pressure testing. The boiler and water need to be fairly warm (about 100 F) for testing. So aside, from pumping 2500 gallons of water from the milk car to the boiler, there is about 5 hours of circulating the water thru the gas fired pool heater to bring the whole system up to an even temperature.
Starting in the morning it was late afternoon before the whole system was at temperature. During that time we spotted and corrected minor leaks around the inspection and dome covers.
Removing the dome cover to fix the seal gave this interesting shot into the open dome. The boiler is now about as full of water as it can be.
With everything sealed we started to apply pressure to check for leaks. In general, we were fairly pleased with the way that the work we have done stood up to pressure. There were maybe 20 small to tiny leaks disclosed around tube ends. In retrospect one mistake was that we did not fix leaks around two super heater flues in the front tube sheet. These were very small sources of drips under gravity but became the limiting factor when we reached 150 psi.
The firebox patch was tight aside from a small spot in the caulked joint with the mud ring which showed a slight leak at 150 psi. This should be easily fixed by a little more caulking. A couple of rivets close to the patch showed signs of weeping. This is not surprising given the expansion and contraction associated with the welding and can be fixed by a little work with the caulking hammer.
The nuisance and minor setback was an area that we had not worked on. We found tiny pinhole cracks in the sockets of two flexible stays in the back head. These may have been there when she last ran as they are so small that we would probably not have seen any leakage from under the lagging and jacket. Certainly they would not have caused any loss of pressure in the hydro-testing.
However, knowing that they are cracked, even a pinhole, they must be replaced. This involves grinding off the inner end of the stay and, after heating the end of the stay, trying to unscrew the stay from the socket. If this fails you have the much more time consuming job of drilling out the stay at the inner end. However, it worked well. By Saturday evening both stay bolts were out, without the need to drill either. In this view you can see the empty sockets after the stays were removed.
On Sunday I started cutting one of the sockets off from the back head and, in the afternoon, Mike and Tom completed the job. So both of the sockets shown above are now gone and we are ready to fit the new sockets. Tom will then need to drill and thread two new stay bolts so they can be refitted. This will mean no pressure testing next weekend but hopefully all will be back and the leaks fixed by 8/10.
On this basis, I met with the FRA inspector on site Sunday and we scheduled the formal hydro test for 8/18, subject to a successful second stage test for leaks the previous weekend.
Just about all effort was concentrated on 1630. However, a big event was that both Bill Chyna and Glenn Parkhurst visited. Glenn for the first time since his motor cycle accident in May. Glad to say they were both in good form and Glenn is hoping to be able to join us again when he has his prostheses fitted in the next few months.
I am heading for the UK on business this week and will not be around the shop next weekend. So I am hoping to see a lot of progress when I get back in two weeks time !.
Sunday, July 21. 2013
Steam Department Update 07-20-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 21:55
It has been a really busy week for me at the museum hence a rather late blog update!!.
I spent Wednesday at the steam shop with Phil and Ed. The main focus was on sealing all significant leaks at the tube ends that showed when the boiler was filled with water. By end of Wednesday we were to the point that , when filled well above the crown sheet, we had only minor dribbles and drips.
Saturday was a normal and fairly successful work day at the shop and Sunday I spent working with the Jim West and the Operations Department on switching for the Diesel Days event. So the blog is a little late this week !.
So what happened Saturday at the steam shop?. Overall a great deal was achieved although there was one set back which meant that we were not able to get as far as our most ambitious targets.
On 1630 I guess I had better try to answer one question I was asked a lot at the event on Sunday - when will you be hydro-testing the boiler?. The answer has to depend upon what exactly you mean by hydro-testing. As the pre-requisite for moving on the steam testing we must demonstrate that the boiler can be pressured using heated water to 125% of operating pressure (so 225 p.s.i. in our case) and sustain that pressure with minimal leakage for a period. Our current expectation is to reach that point in about 3 weeks. However our path to that involves using water, at first simply filling the boiler, then applying increasing pressure to identify and test the correction of any leakage. This is the process that we are currently following. On Saturday our objective was to finally seal any leakage at the tube ends on simply filling the boiler and then seal the boiler to allow some pressure to be applied.
· Following on from the work that Phil and I did on Wednesday, a team including Phil, Collin, Eric and Sean took it in turns to identify and seal the last little leaks that showed by carefully rolling the identified tube ends slightly more. This was hard and tedious work but, by early afternoon, the tube ends appeared to be dry with the boiler full of water.
· Dennis annealed the copper sealing rings for the two covers.
· In parallel with this one team worked on cleaning the threads of the studs that attach the dome cover and another on fitting the cover of the inspection hatch. These are the last two components required to seal the boiler and allow pressure to be applied.
· All seemed to be going well until one of the studs securing the inspection hatch sheared off during tightening.
Luckily everything seems to be shaping up well on replacing the stud. Dennis was in the shop and did a great job of welding a nut onto the broken stud and, to our great relief, this stood up to several of us pulling on a large wrench and the stud unscrewed from the seating. In this view you can see the broken stud with the nut welded onto it.
This was very good news as the alternative, had it failed to extract, would have been to grind it flush and drill it out, potentially a day's work. The studs screwing into a boiler are quite unusual. The thread into the seating is tapered and must be specially machined. However, by end of day, Tom, Cameron and Bob had substantially machined the new stud and, when I dropped by on Sunday, work was progressing. We should have it replaced ready to fit the cover next weekend.
· With the stud out, work focused on fitting the dome cover. This was the first time that we had used the new boom for the forklift, which was made with this type of lift in mind. It was highly successful. The cover was lifted by the forklift in the shop and placed fairly easily.
It was then tightened down without issue. This was a great deal easier than the previous method that required the locomotive to be pulled outside to use the boom truck to place the cover.
· Jason tested the remaining gauges, which all proved to be accurate, so these are now ready for refitting.
· Jane finished stripping the air tanks. These are now ready for painting.
· With Jim West's assistance we refilled the milk car so should now have a water supply sufficient to support testing under pressure. We have now run about 9000 gallons of water thru the boiler which should have removed most of the debris from sand blasting. From now on we should be able to re-circulate the water.
In other areas:
· Stu and Bob ran the wiring for the planer. The one remaining requirement is to locate a breaker to fit our old style supply panel.
· Dennis was rebuilding the damaged grease keeps for the axle boxes on #428.
So a lot was achieved this week. Hopefully next weekend we should be able to fit the inspection hatch and start testing under pressure.
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Nigel Bennett about Steam Department Update 12-07-2013
Mon, 12-09-2013 19:25
Charlie, This does not sound like something for the steam shop but I have passed your information to our librarians. Nigel
Nigel Bennett about Steam Department Update 12-07-2013
Mon, 12-09-2013 19:24
Jason, Thank you for this we will certainly look at this company. Nigel
charlie about Steam Department Update 12-07-2013
Mon, 12-09-2013 10:02
i have hundreds of original engineering correspondence letters from ingersol rand to various other locomotive mfg and development of deisel, steam, [...]
Roger Kramer about Happy Thanksgiving !
Sun, 12-08-2013 18:47
Hello Michael I am sorry to tell you but the Silver Beaver is a long way from arriving at Irm. It could be years!
jason sobczynski about Steam Department Update 12-07-2013
Sun, 12-08-2013 18:35
Nigel, You may find interest in contacting Louisville Firebrick. They are the same company which once produced "American Security Archbrick". They [...]
Michael M. about Happy Thanksgiving !
Sun, 12-08-2013 16:29
The Olympus was scrapped by mistake where it was located. IRM is getting a replacement car, the Silver Beaver which is coming soon.
Roger Kramer about Happy Thanksgiving !
Sun, 12-08-2013 13:48
Hello Logan: Unfortunately, the CB&Q Olympus was scraped last year. Substituted in its place, is the Silver Beaver also a Budd baggage car. Due to [...]
Mark Secco about OHIO Locomotive Crane - June 29, 2013
Wed, 12-04-2013 12:37
Thanks John for the info. Any and all help is much appreciated. J.Sakash Co. has just donated a brand new drawbar sling to us, very useful. We also [...]
Robert Kutella about Wood Shop Update - November 30, 2013 TEST ENTRY
Wed, 12-04-2013 05:57
This reply not in its right thread, but I was having trouble posting a comment there. Again, not my Department but I believe the Olympus was scrapped [...]
Logan about Happy Thanksgiving !
Tue, 12-03-2013 08:39
Hello I have a question about one of the passenger cars that IRM was going to acquire. What happened to buying the CB&Q Olympus? Just curious as you [...]
Logan about Wood Shop Update - November 30, 2013 TEST ENTRY
Tue, 12-03-2013 08:34
Ah well that's a disappointment. Thanks for getting back to me.
Robert Kutella about Wood Shop Update - November 30, 2013 TEST ENTRY
Tue, 12-03-2013 05:19
Not my department but I know plans have been made for acquisition. When some of them became available in the first round of those retired, [...]
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