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Sunday, January 26. 2014
Steam Department Update 01-25-2014 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 16:03
Well, I am glad to say that the continuing atrocious weather seems to have increased the determination of the steam shop volunteers. We had an excellent turnout on Saturday and made good progress on some items that have been holding us up for a while.
One large team focused on preparing the cab for spray painting.
The edges of the cab sides where there were signs of blistering in the paint were all needle chipped. This revealed a few areas where Dennis will need to make good some holes and cracks. Nothing too major but we do want to get this thoroughly sound before we paint;
The arm rests were removed from the window frames … and identified another job. The wooden base of one of them looks more like sponge than timber. That will need to be remade;
A section of the inner cab lining on the fireman’s side proved to be corroded thru. This was cut out, the rust and scale removed from between the inner and outer sheets and the whole area primed. Dennis can now weld in a new section of sheet metal;
The cab sides were rubbed down ready for painting.
A big area of concern has been preparing the frames and wheels for painting. Ideally it would have good to have blasted the grease and oil from these using the high powered steam cleaner. Unfortunately the extreme weather is against this. There are serious doubts around the practicality of using the steam cleaner in the shop and the obvious concern over how long it would be before there is any chance of moving outside again.
Jim, Jerry and Vince decided to try the liquid degreaser that was obtained for the Shay truck. This proved very successful.
One or two passes with subsequent washing off using a small pressure washer took large areas of the frames and wheels back to bare primer that we had never seen before. We are unclear whether these areas were not previously painted black or if the top coat was so badly adhered that it came straight off with the grease. However, it is certainly clear that the method is getting back to a sound and grease free surface.
Hopefully a second session next weekend, with a more powerful pressure washer to do the final washing off, will bring much of the lower part of the locomotive to a suitable condition for painting.
Jason finished testing all the cab gauges and also trained Phil in this operation.
One of the gauge faces is much worn. It raises a question of how it was originally painted. All the black lettering is indented, even the fine detail of the maker’s name.
On the Shay:
Eric and his Dad worked steadily thru the job of fitting the long bolts thru the frame and truck pivot casting. By end of day, all six of the bolts were properly fitted. Nuts are noticeable by their absence !. Tom did not make it to Union because of the weather but a telephone discussion indicated that supplies of 1 inch nuts were likely to be in the container. Ah Yes!. That thing sitting out behind the 3 foot snow drift at 10 degrees in a gale !. Nuts will be for another day;
The bolster was turned over and Eddie cleaned the other face to allow it to be primed.
In the shop in general:
Stu and Bob finished painting the planer, which Phil and Jane had progressed over the last week. Unfortunately it was not possible to reassemble the valve block and test the machine. The distorted face of the valve block has been surface ground to ensure that it will seal but was in Tom’s car in Chicago.
They then worked on rebuilding the lubricator for another of the machines.
Phil has now made a big difference to the storage area and is planning what to do with the adjacent areas..
So overall a pretty successful day.
Sunday, January 19. 2014
Steam Department Update 01-18-2014 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 12:21
What a year!. Another Saturday somewhat disrupted by the Winter weather. There was a reasonable turn out at the shop but a lot of people left at lunchtime as the rate of snowfall increased. For those of us that stuck it out, the snow did cease by evening and the slither down US20 to the expressway was what we are becoming used to.
It was definitely a day for work inside the shop and the absence of some key people and parts meant that testing of the paint sprayer could not proceed. However work progressed in a number of other areas.
Matt primed the area of the engineer’s side walkway that was cleaned off last week;
On the Shay:
In the shop in general, some significant reorganization was achieved:
So overall a successful day despite the weather.
Sunday, January 12. 2014
Steam Department Update 01-11-2014 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 11:28
A rather more normal weekend allowing quite a lot to be done in the Steam shop on Saturday.
All credit to the team that made it to the shop. The main roads were fine but the local roads toward the site were rather icy in places and the museum site is a nightmare. Although the air temperature was above freezing, the ground is still frozen. So, despite efforts by B&G, large areas, including all the roads and walkways around the shop were thickly covered in smooth wet ice!. The team cautiously slithered their way from cars to the shop and stayed inside !.
I spent the morning at the Board meeting but the team got to work and a lot was achieved.
By the time I got back to the shop the small air tank was already back in place on the locomotive. So we are now able to power the reverser with compressed air to allow the measurements of the piston valve rings to be made;
Eddie and his sister made good progress in preparing the walkways for painting. Jane is setting up to prime these next weekend;
The paint sprayer has arrived but unfortunately the correct nozzle for the material we have to spray was not available until next week. Anyway, we have the machine and will hopefully be able to do the first test run next weekend;
We are hoping to avoid having to reapply all the main lettering so Jim was hard at work masking the cab lettering;
Phil and Jane removed the blower ring from the smokebox so that Dennis can start on fitting the new plate work for the spark arresting system;
The pressure hose for the injector overflow / cab wash down (what I as a Brit would call the slacker pipe) arrived and was fitted;
Jim and Jane primed the first of the main air tanks;
Eric loosened the nuts on the smokebox front and hand rail. We are preparing to add more gasket material to this joint as the seal was not as good as we would like during the test run;
Jason and Collin finished cleaning and reassembling the steam regulator for the air pump. Jason decided not to refit it but rather to duct tape the pipes to which it is fitted. Having produced this nice clean brass regulator he seems a bit sensitive about it being in place when people are spraying paint around it!.
On the Shay there was quite a bit of activity:
Phil finished caulking the rivets, both below and inside the smokebox. This was a lot of work but the result is a very neat job. Well done Phil. Another big benefit to completing this is that the rest of us can now work around the shop without our teeth suddenly starting to rattle in our heads as he uses the air hammer;
Jason and Eric made good progress on reaming and threading the holes for the crown stays that are being replaced and were able to test fit some of the new stays.
With no further swaging planned for some years, I finally took down the swaging machine for storage. This will allow much easier access thru the doors at the South end of the shop. The machine and the mounting timbers were marked with paint to provide a clear pattern for reassembly when next required and then it was taken down for storage.
With a bit more reorganization we will be able to fully use the door again.
So a good day of progress. Hopefully if the weather remains moderate we can get the painting under way next weekend.
Saturday, January 4. 2014
Steam Department Update 01-04-2014 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 20:13
Well the first weekend of 2014 proved to be a virtual wipe out (or maybe white out) in the Steam Shop and probably most other areas of the museum. The forecast made it clear that snow and brutally cold temperatures can be expected Sunday thru Tuesday but I had hoped that the snow was not to arrive until afternoon / evening on Saturday. This looked plausible on the drive out from Chicago but, once I left the expressway, the last 8 miles to Union was an unpleasant surprise. Wind was whipping drifts across US20 and it certainly looked as if new snow was falling even at 9 a.m.
The museum site was challenging. The few who made it had to break thru a drift at the gate and dig their way thru a drift at the trolley loop crossing by barn #9. 5 of us made it to the Steam Shop and I found a similar hard core at the Car Shop.
We did a number of jobs to prepare for testing of the paint and spray equipment next weekend:
The small air reservoir was moved back beside the locomotive ready for fitting;
Jane painted the walkway and supports so that we can refit this tank next weekend;
The two large air tanks were moved to the South end ready for painting.
However the major task turned out to be the response to a phone call from Phil who, in attempting to be the 6th shop volunteer had ended up in a ditch on US20. Luckily Eddie has a 4WD pick-up so he, with Collin, Rick and a couple of sets of shop chains, went to the rescue. Having got Phil back on the road they were also able to pull out at least one other driver who had encountered a similar problem. US20 was deteriorating rapidly.
So, having completed the jobs above, we headed out at 11:30. There was little sign of improvement and a definite forecast of much worse late in the day. Much as we love the museum, I do not think anyone liked the idea of being stuck there for a couple of days that threaten record low temperatures.
So we can only hope that the weather next weekend is more helpful.
Sunday, December 29. 2013
Saturday provided a brief respite from the recent frigid weather in which the Winter work plan could be continued steadily.
The large copper pipes were annealed. Dennis heated them to red heat with the acetylene torches and then Brian and I moved them into the water bath to quench them. They are now ready to be re-insulated and then re-installed when the painting under their positions has been completed;
Jane and Stu finished painting the backhead in the cab;
Jane, Ed and I were busy preparing the front and walkways of the locomotive for painting;
Brian, Jerry and Jim worked with Tom on the plans for painting. More advanced spray equipment is needed for the paint that has been donated for this repaint. This will hopefully be available in the next couple of weeks and the first test spraying can then be planned;
We took the opportunity to get out to the boxcar and measure the dome cover in order to determine how thick the insulation on the dome should be. With this information, Jerry will hopefully be able to complete the insulation. The dome is the last piece remaining to be insulated;
The small air tank that serves as the reservoir for the reverser was painted with conventional spray paint to allow it to be refitted. This is required to allow the reverser to be moved allowing measurements of the valve chambers for future fitting of replacement rings.
In other areas:
Phil put in a solid day with the air hammer caulking the tube sheet rivets on the Shay. This is hard and essential work ensuring that the head of the rivet is tightly sealed into the boiler barrel. With eight rivets to do, Phil was working with the air hammer for much of the day and most other people in the shop were wearing ear protectors!;
A team including Jim, Jerry, Matt and others fitted the wires to #428 that will be used to attach the insulation. This is not an indication of an immediate start to insulation but rather reflects the fact that, since the boiler is currently bare, it is easier to install these wires before pipe work is fitted along the boiler;
Work on the planer suffered a set-back. Having filled everything with oil, an initial attempt was made to test the hydraulic pump. The good news was that the pump certainly develops pressure. The bad news was that it was immediately sufficient to blow a gasket in the hydraulic control assembly. Investigation is now under way to determine why this is not sealing correctly.
So the work continues steadily at the end of another year. It is certainly good to be able to compare where we are now to where we were at the end of 2012.
Happy New Year,
Sunday, December 22. 2013
Steam Department Update 12-21-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 12:08
This Winter is becoming a bad joke !. Today was the official start of Winter but we have been in the deep freeze for several weeks. Amazing to look back and see that this time last year we were working outside on the KCS tender that had recently been unloaded. This year we had a crew much reduced by a forecast of a substantial ice storm reaching Union in the afternoon. In practice, although the forecast caused several people to leave in the early afternoon, the air temperature held up better than forecast and the last of us were not driven out until 7, when the rain started to freeze on the cars.
Setting foot outside the shop was an adventure all day as the ground was well below freezing and any unsalted areas were simply sheets of ice which built up further as the rain fell.
However, in the shop we were able to progress steadily.
On the Shay, Phil and I worked with Tom to plan the next
steps on refitting the front truck. Six
large bolts need to be acquired and fitted to secure the casting in which the bolster
of the truck pivots. The holes for these
need to be reamed to allow the long bolts to be fitted. Phil will caulk the rivets that were placed
several years ago so that Dennis can go
ahead with refitting the smokebox bottom sheet.
Elsewhere in the shop:
So more steady progress despite the weather.
Sunday, December 15. 2013
Steam Department Update 12-14-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 14:08
The weather this weekend certainly had a major impact. Steady snow in the morning made me very doubtful about the long drive out of Chicago but, after a rather slow and slushy drive, it became apparent that the forecast was correct and the snow was less to the West, around Union, than it was in the city.
It was a very select crew, aside from myself, only Phil, Jane, Ed and Jerry made it to the shop. However, we managed to get a number of jobs done on 1630. But first, Phil made sure that the traditional Steam Department decorations were in place.
Merry Christmas from all at the Steam Department
Jerry has been working steadily on the insulation during the week and continued Saturday. The sheet metal is now re-installed along the boiler, after the work that was done to fix the steam leak, and the steps and pipework are back in place. This area is now ready for painting before the banding can be reinstalled. In addition he has now largely completed the firebox sides. The engineer’s side is complete and in place. The fireman’s side is complete aside from one piece of sheet metal that is set aside to serve as a test piece for the painting.
I hydro tested the equalizer tank, which tested at 150 psi with no issue aside from slight leakage from the small brass water drain cock. That was lapped and re-installed so the tank is now complete.
Feeling like suckers for punishment, Phil, Jerry and I then set about re-installing it !. After a couple of hours of crawling under and into the loco and much cursing it was back in place. The parentage of whoever thought of locating this tank in among all the pipework under the cab floor was questioned many times !. The tank is not particularly heavy – maybe 40 pounds. However it has to be squeezed thru a hole on the back of the frame on the fireman’s side, turned thru 90 degrees and then moved over to its location on the engineer’s side by reaching thru holes in the plate work of the frame. Having done that, you then use timbers and hands, at considerable risk of getting squeezed, to lift and position it so that the threaded ends of the ½ inch securing rods can be coaxed into holes in the frame plate and nuts attached. The end result of all that effort would not be noticeable to the average person standing by the locomotive. But it is there!. (The small shiny object the end of which you can just see hidden behind all the pipework).
Jane made considerable progress on painting. The cylinder and valve end covers are now primed on the inside and ready to refit. The area around the reservoir for the reverser was cleaned and primed. The objective is to get this painted so that the tank, which needs to be refitted urgently so that the valves can be moved, will not need to be removed again.
Ed started work on removing the pipe leading to the water column. This is the last of the large copper pipes that needs to be annealed and re-lagged.
So steady progress despite the weather.
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