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Wednesday, December 26. 2012
Steam Department Update 12-22-2012 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 18:03
With Christmas close it was a small but active team at the steam shop this weekend.
The next major milestone on 1630 was achieved as planned.
The last 17 fire tubes were loaded so all except for the 9 that will be installed along with the super heater flues are now in place.
Then we moved on to rolling the fire box ends. As with each step, this was initially slow. It is critical that we fully understand the technique and can do it right each time before we start to do it on a large scale. However we made a good start, got more confident as the day progressed, and by end of day the first 15 were rolled. Looking closely at the view below you can see the effect. Comparing columns K, L and M to the adjacent columns, these are now tight in the tube sheet and set at a consistent 1/4 inch projection beyond the sheet.
Once we have proved that everything is watertight the projection will be beaded over. All tube ends in the fire box are beaded to protect the joint from the direct effects of the fire.
The rolling requires a team of three and is achieved by first setting the tube accurately with a 1/4 inch extension beyond the tube sheet. The team member in the smoke box then clamps that end of the tube to prevent movement. The roller is then inserted into the tube. Here you can see the construction of the roller. Three small hardened rollers are turned by the rotation of the tapered pin that is inserted thru the center.
The air motor is attached and rotates the central tapered pin.
The rotating pin is slowly drawn into the roller forcing the three hardened rollers out into the wall of the tube slowly increasing its diameter.
When the tube is fully expanded against the ferrule and tube sheet the taper pin has been largely drawn into the roller.
The motor is then reversed to free the pin and the process continues with the next tube.
In addition to the work on the fire tubes:
· annealing was completed on the 16 super heater flues, so these are now ready to load once the fire tubes are secured;
· drilling continued on the fire box patch. The holes are now complete on the front face. Once holes are made in the side face it will be finally formed to the mud ring along its whole length.
We also took advantage of reasonable, if cold, weather to jack the end of the KCS tender to remove the wood packing that was left between the rubbing plates when it was delivered. This should now be in a condition which will allow it to be shunted so that the box cars of parts can be relocated back by the road to allow access.
Sunday, December 16. 2012
Steam Department Update 12-15-2012 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 12:14
I suspect that a number of steam shop volunteers are, like me, feeling rather stiff, aching and bruised this morning. However, that is an indication of a very productive day yesterday.
On 1630 the re-tubing is almost at the next key milestone. All but 17 of the tubes below and around the super heater flues are now loaded into the boiler and, by end of day those 17 are all cut to length. So it should not take more than an hour to load these next week.
Those following the progress chart will notice a discrepancy between the full total of 180 and the target (171) that we are currently working toward. These are the 9 fire tubes that lie in between the super heater flues that have been removed. These will not be loaded at this time but slotted in as the super heater flues are fitted. This will not be done until the 171 are secured by expanding.
After a couple of hours hammering ferrules into the remaining holes in both tube sheets, loading started in earnest. Here Phil stands on top of the large pile of tubes on the staging.
Phil selects a tube of the correct length and passes it to the team who feed it into the next hole in the front tube sheet.
Slowly it gets more and more restricted in the barrel. Matt (believe me this is Matt !!)guided the tubes thru the barrel at the sides and here at the bottom under the super heater flues. By this stage he was looking rather uneasily at the space left for him to make his exit !.
Shortly after this, Matt squeezed his way out thru the remaining gap leading to the access hatch, having finally checked that no rogue objects remained in the boiler. Hopefully this is the last time that anyone will be able to get to the bottom of the barrel for the next 16 or so years !!.
Squeezed in between the siphons in the firebox I was guiding the ends of the tubes into the rear tube sheet.
Once Matt was out, we continued loading tubes by sliding them in on top of the ones below. The trick to this is the guy in the firebox (normally me !) who has to catch the end of the tube with a hammer handle, lift and then guide the end into the rear tube sheet.
By the end of day you can see the 17 remaining gaps in the front sheet and the large number of tubes now in place can be seen thru the super heater flue holes.
Inside the boiler is a very different picture when compared to where Matt was lying a few hours earlier
The rear tube sheet now is now largely full with the small area of projecting ferrules indicating where the remaining tubes will be fitted.
Comparing this to the shot at start of day shows just how many tubes have been moved into the boiler.
The staging area beside the locomotive is now empty. We are starting to get space back into the shop. It is amazing the sheer volume of tube that fits into the boiler.
The one thing that slowed us towards the end was that you can no longer keep a stock of cut tubes ready to load. With only a few to go, they have to be exactly the sizes required for the remaining holes. So we stopped loading in mid evening, having loaded all the precut tubes. We then cut the exact sizes needed for those 17 holes ready for next Saturday.
Work also started on annealing the super heater flues ready for loading and expanding. This will be a different technique from the fire tubes as they are too large in diameter to fit the furnace and will need to be heated using the acetylene torches. The first of these was annealed yesterday (1 down 15 to go).
Meanwhile work continues on fitting the corner patch to the firebox. Here Mike and Jerry are drilling the patch using the pillar drill.
Much to our relief, Dennis our welding expert who has been away for a number of weeks, made it in yesterday. This was critical as the team fitting the patch need to work closely to his requirements in shaping and fitting the patch.
Dennis was also able to start on welding the gear for the wheel lathe while Mark started work on freeing the back head on its slides so that it should move when the gear is attached.
Overall a very successful day.
Sunday, December 9. 2012
Covered space for steam collection Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 16:12
In parallel with bringing #1630 back into operation we urgently need to improve the storage of our non operating steam locomotives. Many of our locomotives are currently stored outside where they are deteriorating.
As detailed on the Illinois Railway Museum main website, the museum is currently planning an additional covered storage area. Space in this building will be provided based upon the cost of the building, which works out at about $215 per foot length. This is a substantial cost for a large steam locomotive which can be about 100 feet in length.
Some of our best examples, notably the Burlington Hudson #3007, do not have dedicated covered track space. (While it is currently under cover it is occupying general department space and would potentially have to be put outside again when we have locomotives in operation). Other items that we would dearly like to get under cover, where they could be cosmetically restored for better display, are the Rock Island 4-6-2 #938 and C&O 2-8-4 #2707.
Please consider donating to the fund raising for barn #14 nominating the steam department.
As an added incentive, we have a number of the "Burlington Bulletin" books on the S-4 Hudsons including #3007, which we will provide to anyone who can donate $25 or more to the steam department for covered space.
Sunday, December 9. 2012
Steam Department Update 12-08-2012 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 15:17
There were two very separate activities at the steam shop this weekend.
Outside, the Kansas City Southern tender from Galt arrived and had to be unloaded and put back on its trucks (which had arrived separately during the week). Here the rather unusual trucks of this tender await the arrival of the tender itself.
The tender is a fairly substantial items as can be seen from comparison to the B&G building as it enters IRM for the first time.
A good deal of careful back and fore was required to position the tender (still on the trailer) centrally over the track so that the mounting points would be in the correct position to fit into the trucks.
Once in place steel beams were located under the body. The trailer had then to be raised, blocks placed under the beams, and then lowered a number of times until there was sufficient height to set jacks under the beams.
Finally the jacks were all placed and the tender could be raised off the trailer.
The trailer is free and starts to move out from under the tender.
The trucks are chained to the trailer and each other so that they are pulled under the tender, at the correct spacing, as the trailer pulls out.
The job of lowering the tender back onto its trucks so that the pins aligned and the pivot points located into the sockets in the trucks proved to be a long and tricky exercise. It was well past dark by the time this was completed so pictures of the completed tender are for next week !.
On 1630, things looked bleak in the morning. We are absolutely dependent for tube loading on those of the team who can fit into the boiler. Having arranged a morning and afternoon shift, as it is more than one person can do to work in these conditions all day, Collin's car failed and he was not able to get to Union in the morning. However, while we lost the morning shift, Jason did sterling work in the afternoon. Here we see him "relaxing" between loading tubes. It is not a environment in which you can work for more than a few hours at a time.
We have now completed loading of the tubes down both sides of the super heaters. The fireman's side, looking forward, now looks pretty full compared to earlier views when we were sand blasting.
Looking toward the firebox on the engineer's side also shows the boiler filling rapidly. This also shows the positioning of the copper ferrules, which are set slightly below the surface of the tube sheet in the firebox, where the end of the tube will be beaded, but projecting into the boiler barrel, where the copper can be seen around each of the new tubes.
Mike continued work on drilling the rivet holes in the patch. The accurate alignment of these holes is proving to be a significant challenge.
Sunday, December 2. 2012
Steam Department Update 12-01-2012 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 12:17
It was a productive day at the steam shop again very largely focused on 1630.
· Matt and Stu stripped and cleaned the check valves. These critical valves are where the water is fed into the boiler (from the injectors). These will be essential to even the earliest hydro tests. Since these valves are directly attached to the boiler they must be fully pressure tight to allow any testing. (The first tests will be done when the tubes have been rolled into place to identify any that require further rolling to make a perfect seal. At this point no accessories will be connected to keep the test very simple). It was inevitable that sand blast material got into the valves. In addition, one suffered from occasional leakage when last in use. Both were cleaned and lapped. The seat was replaced on the engineer's valve so these should now be in good shape for testing and service.
· The firebox patch is now ground to shape and fits well onto the mud ring. Mike and Jerry were starting to drill the first hole. Initially a bolt will be fitted. Once the patch is rigidly bolted into place the bolts will be replaced, one at a time, by rivets. This requires considerable care as the holes in the mud ring are at different angles so each must be drilled thru the patch using guides to ensure that each is an exact match to the ring. Once the bolts are in place the patch can be rigidly secured and finally adjusted to form a perfect match to the sheets.
· The last (hopefully) of the tubes were swaged and annealed. We have a few extra tubes that will be held in case of need should any be damaged in fitting but, on current calculation, we now have enough prepared to fully tube the boiler. In the next few weeks, when we have sufficient people available, we will swage the tubes for Shay #5. Having all the equipment set up and people now familiar with it will make it a lot more efficient to do these now.
· As mentioned last week, the decision was taken to fit copper ferrules to the front tube sheet. Although the front sheet is often not ferruled, fitting ferrules will give greater assurance of a leak free seal. Unfortunately this means removing the tubes that were previously loaded. During the day the tubes were removed from the engineers side and the first 30 were reloaded with ferrules fitted. The process was, as always, somewhat tentative at first. However, once the method was established it moved a lot faster so we should be able to have all the tubes, that were previously loaded, refitted with ferrules in place and move on to new ones next weekend.
After final cleaning the valve block for the planer was painted so that should be available for reassembly in the near future.
Sunday, November 25. 2012
Steam Department Update 11-24-2012 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 18:42
This Saturday saw continued progress in the Steam shop toward re-tubing 1630.
The penultimate bale of 37 tubes was swaged and annealed while the final bale was brought into the swaging area ready for processing. The work done last Saturday on cleaning the rough edges from the dies of the swager seems to have worked well. No further problems were encountered with rough surfaces on the swaged tube ends.
Good progress was made with cutting and loading so that, by end of day, we had 96 tubes loaded into the boiler. This time Collin and Jason had the "hidden" role of fitting ferrules into the fire box tube sheet. Here Collin is hard at work fitting ferrules and adjusting the position of the tube to the correct projection beyond the tube sheet.
Overall progress today was very good.
The boiler is now starting to look distinctly full of tubes.
However, we have now decided that it would be safer to fit ferrules to some or all of the front tube sheet holes in order to reduce the risk of leakage. This will require some measurement and testing and may require us to reload some of the tubes. So that will be the main activity next week.
Meanwhile Mike, Bob and Tom worked on the final shaping of the firebox patch.
Ed and Matt continued with fitting the new pipe work along the boiler.
In other areas, Ralph worked on the axle boxes for 428 and prepared the surface of another box for babbit facing using the Bullard lathe.
Sunday, November 18. 2012
Steam Department Update 11-17-2012 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 11:27
This weekend was "more of the same" at the steam shop, which was good as that is exactly what we need at this stage to get 1630 back together. Also, looking back, it is just about a year ago that I started logging detail of activity in the steam shop. It makes an interesting trail of what we have achieved so far.
The focus is now on preparing tubes for fitting and progress this week was good:
· we broke the record by swaging and annealing 43 tubes in the day. This is well over half as many as we have processed in all previous days combined. The other positive development is that several people learned the technique during the day so that we now have a number of people who can carry out this process.
Here we can see Eric and Mark heating a tube in preparation to swage.
And a nice shot of the swager actually forming the end of the tube.
The one set back was that the ends of the last tubes swaged were not as smooth as they need to be. This proves to be the result of "mushrooming" of the edges of the dies. We polished this off in the evening so should be ready to continue next week. However it probably means that we should not do so many tubes at one time. We suspect that the issue may be that, over time, heat transfers to the dies and that is probably what allowed the deformation. Looking at the picture above it is easy to see how this could happen !!.
· We started on loading tubes into the boiler and made good progress. 39 tubes were placed. We started at the sides as these are the most awkward to fit. Thanks to Roger for the photographs as I was buried in the smoke box doing the unseen bits!!. Most of the tubes in the bottom section will simple be pushed thru their hole in the front tube sheet and guided into the matching hole in the rear tube sheet with the ferrule already in place in the rear tube sheet. The ones at the side are more tricky. Because of the steam pipes, the tube cannot be passed thru its hole in the front tube sheet except at an angle that prevents it being fully inserted. So, in this area, the tubes are inserted thru one of the large super heater flue holes then moved to their actual location with help from someone in the boiler. Once in place, they are pushed forward to allow the guy in the firebox to fit a ferrule and then finally slid back into position. The picture show the external part of the operation and not Eric (in the boiler) and me (in the firebox) struggling in the confined spaces !!.
· The stack of tubes on the fireman's side, that looked so large last week, is now virtually gone but we have a good supply ready to cut to length. We brought another bale of 37 into the swaging area. Very satisfying, there is now only one more bale left in the boxcar so the end is in sight. An interesting statistic on the tubes we are fitting. No wonder the piles look so large, the total length of the small tubes in 1630's boiler is a bit more than 0.6 MILES.
· Another substantial task is Jerry's work on cleaning up the swaged ends of the tubes. Each must be polished with a sanding wheel on the die grinder to remove the scale formed in swaging. Jerry has put in many hours of work during the week to ensure that the tubes that we swage one weekend are polished and ready to use the next.
So progress continues and it is really good to see obvious re-assembly work taking shape after so much stripping. The target will be to load all the required tubes before we start to expand them into the tube sheets. Actually fitting the tubes into the boiler starts the time clock on the certification period so we do not want to do this before all is ready to push forward.
In other areas, Bruce was working on the detail measurements for rebuilding the axle boxes on 428.
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