| BLOG | DIRECTIONS | SCHEDULE | STORE |
Sunday, July 14. 2013
Steam Department Update 07-13-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 11:13
A busy day with some big ups and downs in the steam shop. There is not much to see externally and only one photograph this week but this shows a big milestone. We put water into the boiler for the first time.
The focus was on 1630 and above all on starting to test the newly fitted tubes for leaks.
· In the morning the focus was on closing every hole below the crown sheet level:
the last remaining wash out plugs were installed, lubricated with graphite paste and tightened down;
the pressure gauges were finally fitted and plumbed in to the boiler;
all remaining flexible stay caps were cleaned, lubricated with graphite paste and tightened down.
· Just after lunchtime this was done. We linked up the hoses from the milk car and started pumping. To be clear, there is no intention to pressurize at this point. We need to fill and empty the boiler several times before we can apply pressure. Pressure testing is carried out with water heated to about 100 degrees by circulating thru the pool heater. It is rather important that we wash out debris such as residual sand blast material before trying to re-circulate the water thru the pump !. These filling and draining cycles also allow initial testing of the sealing the tubes and other parts of the boiler. While no external pressure is applied, the boiler is at least 6 feet to the crown sheet so there is a good deal of pressure simply from the depth of water.
The first filling was rather disappointing for those of us who had not seen this done before. I had expected some leakage from the tubes, where they seal into the sheets, when water was first added but had probably not expected leakage from 30 or more of the small tubes, some of it quite extensive. On closer review, it indicated some variation in how much we had expanded the tubes at different times. Interesting, we were not conscious on any great difference as we did the expansion but the water was very revealing. The smokebox was excellent. There are no more than 4 tubes there that show any leakage and then no more than a dribble. Great job by Brian, who did most of this area. In the firebox, the engineer's side was relatively good while the lower fireman's side had a substantial number of tubes with a lot of leakage. Clearly we did not get these as tight as other areas.
So we noted the leaks, dumped the water, which came out looking really dirty, and got working. Brian and others set up the air motor driven expander and worked thru the list of 30 or so small tubes that had been noted with leaks. At the same time, others worked on a few issues noted such as a weeping plug, a couple of stay caps that had been missed and a check valve that was not fully closed.
A second filling in early evening was very satisfying. Although there was still a lot of leakage from super heater flues - no surprise as we had not worked these, the improvement in the small tubes was remarkable. We still had around 8 with minor dribbles but these were generally ones we had not previously noted, probably because the leakage was missed at the first pass due to the far greater leakage from other tubes. All those that had been worked on after the first test were dry. In addition the minor leaks other than at tube ends were all now dry.
The shot above may look a bit confusing but is a big milestone for us. Water now covers all the tubes. Compare this to shots 6 months ago, when this area was wide open and you could look down on the open holes in the firebox tube sheet. It also shows the patches of debris lifting off the crown sheet as the water starts to cover it. This is the last area from which we must wash the debris before we can circulate the water thru the pump and heater to carry out pressure testing.
The water was dumped again. This time it did not look significantly different from the input water. We will need to make sure that have thoroughly washed any debris off the top of the firebox crown but it looks as if we are now close to the point that the boiler is clean enough to allow us to circulate the water.
Mike and I worked into the evening hand rolling the first of the super heater flues that were flagged as leaking. Hopefully we can get the same "night and day" result on these that we achieved with the small tubes.
· While we worked on the water filling and tube ends, Mike, Tom and Jerry had been working on the blanking plate for the dry pipe. The throttle is now blanked off and ready for pressure testing.
· Richard, Rick and others worked on the studs and nuts for the inspection hatch and dome cover. These are now clean and the threads prepared ready to fit these covers. Hopefully in the next week we can have the tube ends sealed tight under water pressure and the hatches in place so that we can move to the next step of applying some pressure.
· Jane did a great job stripping the air tanks. These are now nearly ready to prime and repaint. This is a very unpleasant job involving long stints of needle chipping and wire brushing which creates nasty black dust. Anyway, nearly done.
· Stu checked out and regenerated the softener in the water supply box car. This confirms that we have a full supply of clean water to keep on with the testing . Now all we need to do is get the diesels off the end of the steam shop spur so that we can move the water car to and from the supply water supply!!.
While almost the whole team was busy on 1630, Bob and Stu have been working steadily on the wiring for the planer. Much of the conduit is now in place and we are moving toward the point when we will be able to start testing the operation.
So it was a pretty successful day and we look forward to further testing next week.
Sunday, July 7. 2013
Steam Department Update 07-06-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 19:23
A brief update courtesy of Phil as I was not at the steam shop this weekend.
On 1630 a major milestone is achieved. The firebox corner that was the cause of her withdrawl from service is now completely restored.
· The stays were fully fitted, cut to length and then formed with the air hammer. They can now be seen fully fitted into the patch and ready for service;
· Jason instructed Collin, Phil and others in the use of the gauge testing equipment. The boiler pressure gauges were successfully tested and can now be finally fitted in the cab;
· Phil and Jerry carried out a tricky "fishing exercise" and managed to extract two ferrules that had dropped into the bottom of the boiler barrel during tube fitting. Not absolutely essential but a great deal better that they are not loose in the bottom of the boiler;
· Work is progressing on refitting the remaining flexible stay caps were loose following removal for inspection and cleaning of the stays;
· Brian, Paul and David made good progress on stripping the air tanks.
Meanwhile Bob is starting to install the ducting to provide a permanent power supply to the planer.
.............. and lastly a reminder. IF YOU DO NOT ALREADY HAVE YOUR TICKETS FOR THE STEAM DEPARTMENT BENEFIT next Sunday (14th) at the San Filippo Estate- THERE ARE STILL A FEW AVAILABLE. They can be booked from the link the IRM website. Hope to see you there.
Friday, July 5. 2013
Steam Department Update 07-03-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 09:37
An interim update this week as I was at the shop on Wednesday with my son who is visiting from the UK.
With additional work sessions Sunday and Wednesday a lot was achieved.
On 1630 the primary focus is on the remaining tasks to get the boiler water tight for initial testing.
· Phil has now finished caulking the rivets inside the firebox so the rivets are now complete subject to hydro testing;
· The major remaining task is fitting the two new flexible stays into the patch. These are steel rods with domed heads that must be threaded into the inner firebox and tightened so that the domed head makes a seal with the socket in the outer firebox.
Here you can see the holes in the inner firebox into which the stays will be screwed. The end of the thread cutter is projecting from the right hand hole.
Viewed from the outside we can see the two sockets. The one on the right is empty and, thru the socket, you can see the hole in the inner firebox into which the thread will be cut. The guide and cutter are in place in the left hand socket ready to start cutting.
Here Tom is setting up one of the stays to cut the thread on the stay itself.
Here the thread is being cut. This also gives a good view of the overall shape of the stay with the thread being cut at one end and the ball, nearest to the camera, which will seat into the socket. The slot in the ball is essential to allow the stay to be screwed into the threads in the inner firebox.
Here Michael is manually cutting the thread into the inner firebox sheet.
Good progress was made and by evening the stays were being screwed into place. This is not a "one-time" operation as the threads must be carefully adjusted so that they are tight but not excessively so in the threads of the inner firebox when firmly in contact with the socket. Once this is achieved the inner end is to be peaned over and caulked to complete the sealing
Another major task completed Wednesday was the hammer and hydro-testing of the three air tanks. All were successfully tested to 180 psi and have now been partially stripped of paint. Paint stripping will continue so that they can be repainted before fitting. A lot of preparatory work was required for the hydro-testing, which has commissioned and tested the equipment needed for the boiler testing in the next few weeks. The water for testing both tanks and boiler must be warm. The heating is achieved by circulating thru a pool heater. Preparing the pump and heater system for use after winterization requires several hours work. This was successfully achieved and the system is now tested and ready for use in the boiler testing.
I will not be at Union this Saturday so will look forward to an update myself on Sunday !Nigel
Monday, July 1. 2013
Steam Department Update 06-29-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 09:00
A bit of a delay in posting the blog this week as we are busy with my son Michael over from the UK this week. However he is keen to work in the shop while he is here. It has been another week of intense activity focused on 1630 and getting to the point where we can carry out the first test of the tubes with water in the boiler.
We keep pushing forward on 1630.
· The replacement valves had arrived and Richard, Michael and others fitted them to the milk car. By lunchtime it had been filled with water and it was then moved back to the shop by the operating crew at end of day. So we have the water supply in place;
· Phil had worked during the week on caulking the rivets. This is a tough job with the air hammer carefully sealing the edges of the rivets into the sheet of the boiler. He had worked on this during the week and finished the outside on Saturday.
By evening he was working on the rivet ends inside the firebox. Access to the area around the patch remains the limiting factor in getting the boiler water tight. Two stays have to be fitted to complete the repair. The holes are drilled and the stays ready. We must now cut the threads into the inner firebox sheet, screw then into place and then caulk the projecting end. However, this is not possible at the same time as the rivet caulking;
· Eric worked all day on the smokebox ends of the super heater flues. Having trimmed these to exact length, the ends need to be slightly flared to improve the seal ahead of the water test and in preparation for beading. By end of day, after a lot of hard work, these were all done;
· During the week, Tom had measured the throttle seat in the boiler and ordered the steel to make a blanking plate to seal this during hydro testing. The blanking plate should make a better seal than the throttle valve itself during hydro testing and should make inspection a great deal easier. After the hydro test the braces must be inspected. It will be easier to get thru the dome and onto the top of the tubes without the large body of the throttle to crawl around. Hopefully the plate will be available for the Wednesday working session;
· The gauge plates in the cab were given a final coat of black paint so that gauges can be permanently fitted as soon as they have been tested, which we hope to do next Saturday;
· One very awkward job was lapping the seat of the main turret shut off valve. This critical valve is located at the very top of the turret at the highest point of the firebox in the cab. It can only be accessed thru a hatch in the cab roof and by threading wrenches in between other fittings on top of the firebox in the cab. This shows the location with the valve body removed.
Its purpose is to enable the turret, from which all auxiliary devices are supplied with steam, to be isolated from the boiler in an emergency. While it is seldom closed when the locomotive is complete, it will be important as the intent is that the first tests will be done without letting water into the turret. It is also important that the valve should shut correctly when required.
Michael and Brian had great fun with this. However, with a good deal of hard work the objective was achieved. The valve body was removed from its seat in the turret and rigidly attached to a shaft that would guide it accurately onto the seat and allow it to be turned repeatedly against the seat. The guys worked for several hours working the valve head against the seat with increasingly fine grades of abrasive lapping compound until an even seal was achieved all around. Here Michael displays the end result !.
Then everything was reassembled. At the end of the day everything looks as it did before. Only those involved know that a lot of work was put in and we now have confidence that this key valve is in good shape.
Aside from work to seal the boiler for first testing, one very visible achievement was the removal of the fireman's side air tanks. These are now with the engineer's side tank on the floor of the shop and have been marked up for hammer testing. If no issues are apparent from hammer testing, they will be hydro tested then cleaned and painted ready for service.
On other areas:
· Bob made good progress on setting up the power supply for the planer;
· The mounting brackets for the air pump were test fitted to 428. This was a revealing exercise. When she was stripped many years ago the additional brackets were found mounted between the casting that secures the pump to the boiler and the pump itself. With some measurement it is now clear that this was an essential modification at some stage in the life of 428. Absent these extensions, which set the pump out and lower than if it were directly mounted to the bracket, the top of the pump would foul the feed from the injector to the boiler.
So continuing progress. The plan is now for quite a few people to work on Wednesday.
Sunday, June 23. 2013
Steam Department Update 06-22-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 13:52
It was a day of downs and ups in the steam shop. The order is significant, despite a couple of early set-backs it became a very successful day. I had to leave mid-afternoon for an evening event downtown. The major progress was achieved in the evening ..... hmm, there may be a connection there !!.
We keep pushing forward on 1630.
· When we arrived in the morning, Dennis had completed the required welding during the week but no more rivets had been placed. It turned out that a couple of the mid-week team had been sick or unavailable so no riveting was possible on Wednesday.
· In addition Kevin had been in during the week and made great progress on needle chipping the front of the locomotive ready for repainting. In addition he had done a lot of cleaning in the shop. This is a major part of work in the steam shop. A lot of what we do creates dust and, without periodic cleaning, the place gets into a real mess.
· We are now getting close to the first tests with water in the boiler to check the sealing of all the tubes that we have fitted. So various jobs were scheduled to prepare for this. One big requirement is obviously water, which we need to supply from the treatment plant in the steam lead and have available for use in the shop. For this we use the tankage of our milk car.
Jim West, who was conductor of the day, managed to schedule things so that the car was switched over to the steam lead by the service locomotive before the first train. Thanks Jim.
Thereafter things went downhill !. We initially had problems with leakage from the inspection cover of the pump in the boxcar. Good thing it was near 90 degrees as a number of us had unexpected showers. Then, having overcome this and linked the milk car to the supply, we discovered that two key valves in the milk car were split. It seems that the car was not completely drained last Fall and the valves froze. Good thing we started this a little ahead of when we absolutely need the water for testing.
During the day Jeff removed the damaged valves from the car so that replacements can be ordered for fitting next weekend. Stu and Jeff worked on the water treatment plant so that the softener, which was out of commission due to a leak, is now working again and properly sealed the inspection cover on the pump to avoid further showers.
· Rick, Paul and others worked on the smokebox front, cleaning this up and preparing the gasket.
· Eric continued work on the super heater flues in the front tube sheet. He is ensuring that any excess ferrule is removed and starting to flare the tube ends in preparation for beading the ends once we have ensured that they are water tight.
· Several of us worked on fitting the plates in the cab, on which the gauges are mounted, and then fitting the boiler pressure gauges to these. The water level gauges were also fitted. All of these are needed for the initial hydro testing. It is really nice to see fittings coming back into place on the back head, which has been bare for more than a year.
The pressure and water gauges are now back on the fireman's side
and on the engineer's side as well.
· Then, after I left, the main event started. The three remaining rivets were placed. THE RIVETING IS COMPLETE. Some of them still need to be caulked but the riveting itself is done. The next key job is to fit the two flexible stays. The stays fit into the two open sleeves that can be seen just above the rivets in the front face of the firebox wrapper.
So another major milestone is achieved. The patch is now fully installed and we can move forward to testing and reassembly.
Sunday, June 16. 2013
Steam Department Update 06-15-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 11:18
We are moving away from the traditional pattern that my jottings on Sunday are a simple summary of what happened the previous day !. Increasingly work is taking place several days a week whenever people are available. Since last Saturday one or more people have been in the shop on several days.
The focus is on 1630 and particularly on completing the riveting.
Progress on the riveting has been steady. It may be slower than we might have hoped but it has to be correctly done and we are now well on our way to completion.
· On Tuesday Dennis made good around the hole for the rivet that had to be removed after last Saturday.
· On Wednesday a team including Tom, Mike, Phil, Rod and Jerry worked most of the day and set three more rivets including the first two countersunk rivets in the corner itself.
· Yesterday Ralph took over from Rod in the critical role of forming the rivet head and three more rivets were placed. This took us into the worst area of all, the apex of the corner. These should be far the worst ones we have to place and they are now in and good. The reason that this area is nasty is not apparent from the outside. Externally the rivet heads appear well spaced (and actually have patch screws between them). However, the geometry of a tight bend means that, on the inner sheet, the rivet head are as close as they can be. So in some cases, once one rivet has been installed, it must be caulked and any excess material removed to ensure that the bucker can be placed to drive the adjacent rivet. According to Tom's reading of some railroad maintenance standards this is not a new problem. This suggests that, in later years, some (the Santa Fe was likely one) did not use rivets thru the apex of the bend but welded the corner to the mud ring. This would probably be logical when thinking of the forces involved. The strength of the sheet when bent into a tight radius curve will be such that there is probably little force on the rivets in the corner as the boiler is pressurized. However, this is academic in our case as welding the corner would require the mud ring to be solid in that area, not thru drilled for rivets as it is on 1630 ..... and we are surely not in the business of replacing a section of the mud ring which is in perfectly good condition !.
· So, after these efforts we have 3 more rivets to fit. These are ones that require some additional forming of the holes for the countersink before they can be placed and this will hopefully continue during the coming week.
Around the critical riveting we continued to progress other jobs in preparation for the testing and reassembly that will kick off once the rivets and stays are in place.
· Paul and Cameron continued the installation of wires to hold the insulation. The firebox is now well on its way to completion. Nigel spent quite a while wondering how on earth to wire the sides of the firebox where there is no apparent way to secure the wires to the firebox. After a bit of cussing about the lack of any photographs of the old wiring before we took it off .... Tom pointed out that there is no wiring because the insulation in this area is attached to the cladding sheets so that it can be easily removed to check the stays that are behind the cladding in this area.
· With Vince's help I installed all the wash out plugs aside from the one in the immediate area of the riveting. This is a job that requires care. The plugs are brass and have a tapered thread to seal into the steel boiler sheets. They must be cleaned, lubricated with the graphite sealing compound and carefully run into the threads before being finally tightened with a wrench. While the final tightening requires significant torque, it is critical that the plug is smoothly in its thread before force is applied. The results of forcing a cross threaded brass plug is pretty devastating to the brass threads !.
· Jeff is setting up to cut insulation blocks ready for installation. (If you visualize rectangular blocks of insulation that are to be fitted around the outside of the circular boiler barrel, we will need a whole lot of blocks with the long edges cut to a standard angle to fit closely with the adjacent blocks). Hopefully we will have these precut and ready for when we are able to fit them.
· The smokebox front ring was retrieved from storage and set up on stands in front of the shop where it will be used to cut the pattern for the gasket that will be required to seal it to the front of the smokebox. Alex made good progress in wire brushing the surface ready to start work on the gasket.
So work continues steadily. Once the last three rivets are in place we will be close to the next big step of testing the tubes for leakage.
Sunday, June 9. 2013
Steam Department Update 06-08-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 17:38
I guess we would have to say that it was a reasonable rather than a good day of progress in the steam shop. While we moved forward with the critical activity that we have been planning for several weeks, progress was not as good as we had hoped. There was however real progress on the most critical work remaining to be done.
Obviously the main focus remains on 1630
· Eric and Curt worked steadily at grinding the tube ends in the front tube sheet. This is a tedious job, requiring care to ensure that the projection is reduced to 1/4 inch but no less. They have now completed all but one of the super heater flues. Good work guys!.
· Brian and David worked with Richard to install the wires to secure the insulation. Wiring of the barrel is now largely complete.
· Jane worked on cleaning and priming the small cladding plates. These are used under the large sheets to seal around pipes and rods. Given the number of projections from the boiler, there are a LOT of these, all of which need to be clean and painted ready for fitting.
· The remaining large cladding sheets were lifted back onto the top of the machine shop to store until required.
· All of which brings us to the main event !. Work started on installing the rivets to finally secure the patch into the firebox corner and so complete the boiler shell.
Firstly a correction to last week, which demonstrates the dangers of documenting things that happen while you are not there !. Having read last week's notes, Jerry pointed out that it was he, not Mike and Tom, who set up the timber staging to hold the bucker in the firebox. He even spent much of Memorial Day doing so. Sorry Jerry, my bad.
Overall there are 13 rivets to be installed. Of these 6 are not significantly countersunk into the sheets and have conical heads on the outside while 7 (those in and closest to the corner) are substantially countersunk (and have shallow rounded heads on the outside). 11 are ready to install while 2 more require some further welding work by Dennis (after the 11 are in) before they can be fitted. (To avoid confusion, the six domed heads already in place in the corner are not rivets but patch screws threaded into the mud ring.)
Bolts were set into each of the holes to lock everything rigidly in place before setting the rivets. One bolt is removed at a time and replaced with a rivet. In this shot the first rivet has been fitted in the front sheet while bolts indicate the 12 remaining to be fitted.
Work started on the cone headed rivets, of which there are four in the front and two in the side. Here two are fitted and the hole is ready for the third to be fitted.
The heated rivet is passed to the team in the firebox and placed into its hole. The end projects substantially thru the outer sheet. The bucker is positioned behind it and activated to start hammering. In this shot you can see the length of rivet that initially projects thru the sheet.
The hammer is carefully positioned on the projecting end.
Hammering compresses the hot rivet to form the head. The time to do this is a matter of a few seconds as the contact with the mud ring and hammer cools the rivet very quickly, As the rivet cools from the light yellow, at which it is placed, toward a dark yellow and then red it cannot be further shaped by hammering.
When the hammer is removed we can see the formed rivet head, still red hot.
Forming the head of the rivet is rather like forcing back on a projecting cylinder of putty to form the required shape. The challenge is that it must be driven back accurately so that the head remains centered on the shaft of the rivet. If it once starts to bend, the force of the hammering will tend to accelerate the bending, resulting in a head offset from the body of the rivet that must be removed and replaced.
The four in the front sheet went in well with no failures.
Unfortunately the two in the side proved more problematic. The first did bend in forming and produced an unacceptable result. The head was ground off and, with a significant amount of work using the air hammers, was driven out, much to our relief as the greater concern is that it "mushrooms" in the hole and must be drilled out. This hole will need to be cleaned up during the week before another rivet can be fitted.
Installation of the second rivet was attempted twice late in the evening. In both cases we had problems with the air hammer forming the head, as a result of which the process was stopped before the rivet was seriously deformed. So there should not be much problem in removing the rivet. The problems with the hammer were resolved but, by 9:30 at night, operator exhaustion was a substantial risk factor and work was stopped for the day.
So nearly 1/3rd of the total are installed. The disappointment is that, based upon initial progress, we had hoped that substantially more would have been completed. So - to be continued next week.
The other big exercise was the continuation of work with a large B&G team to relocate the materials from West of the shop access road.
The tricky items such as the tank and cab of the 0-4-0 were safely located to a much better area, where they are now standing on more secure supports that will keep them clear of the ground.
So we will be back next Saturday with the target of making a good deal more progress with the riveting.
Find us on Facebook
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, [...]
Powered by s9y.