OK. This puts me in my place !
Recognize my comments as the whining of an elderly office worker doing this once or twice a week !!.
I suspect that many who did this in the "good" old days would have been !*!* glad to even have an air motor. If you were using an air motor for this regularly the shape and air connection configuration could have been set up to be more helpful that the one we have and it would be worth making a cradle that fits the motor and can be rested directly on pipes set into the tubes. Not worth the time and effort for us doing this once.
But, if you were doing this regularly, you would have been a darn sight fitter and stronger than us!. And you would have been because, for many years, turning of the expander would, I suspect, have been by manual effort !.
From one geezer to another, I sure am glad I wasn't a boilermaker or boilermaker's helper in those days! On the other hand, I don't suppose many of those guys made it into their 60's and certainly not on the inside of a boiler?
Out of morbid curiosity, though, reading the Trains article about the reflueing of the Grand Canyon Railway engine, what would it have cost to have a boiler company come in to do a similar flue fitting?