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Friday, April 24. 2015
Mid-April Coach Department Update Posted by Pauline Trabert in Passenger Car Department at 18:35
Report from Brian LaKemper:
Elsewhere on the property, Buzz was working on the turbine, JD and Cody were working on 1630's stoker, and CTA 4290 was getting its inspection.
Saturday, April 18th: Brian Patterson attended the morning rules review, meanwhile I started work with Mark G. on removing the defective fittings from 2612. After lunch, myself, Brian P, Mike M, Kevin Brown, and others attended the annual safety meeting conducted by Harold Krewer and Jeff Fryman.
While others took the rules test, I went back to work on 2612, with help from Phil from the steam department. With a lot of heat and mechanical persuasion, the rusted fittings finally came loose. Afterwards, I worked on the X-5000, changing an air hose, and other minor housekeeping. I also traced out a problem with Galt House's handbrake not applying, apparently at some point during it's travels, it was decided that the way to release the handbrake was to torch through the handbrake chains!
Rich, Greg, and Joe watch as Brian P. runs the controller and the machine spins engaging its many different contacts - Photo by Brian LaKemper
On Sunday 4/19, I removed one of the torched chains from the Galt House for repair by our metal working experts in the steam shop, and took the removed pipe to the shop for inspection. Big thanks to the steam shop for fixing the chain. I also removed a leaking valve stem from one of the conductor's valves on the X-5000 and flipped the double wear gasket to attempt to solve the leak.
Elsewhere on the property: after the annual meeting, several volunteers gathered in the electric car shop to try out the L car maintenance trainer. Turns out to be a very effective way of entertaining volunteers.
In the steam shop, work was ongoing on 1630's tender and cab floor, in addition to work on 428's axle boxes. The hydraulic planer is functional at last, though it still needs fine tuning.
Report from Michael McCrarren:
The last two Sunday we opened the china exhibit to the public and have gotten very good reviews. People are amazed at the variety of china we have on display. They also love looking at the menus to see what was served. The exhibit will have a formal opening on May 2.
Brian Patterson dropped by and talked to Kevin K who was working on the lantern display - Photo by Michael McCraren
Report from Shelly Vanderschaegen: On Sunday April 5th, Shelly worked on an Ely window frame and began cleaning in the Birmingham.
On Sunday, April 19th, Ray Mormann and Michael Baksic nearly completed their project in the Birmingham. Kevin was putting lanterns in the new lantern display cases.
Tuesday, April 21. 2015
The weather has warmed and so has the interest on the RI 2612. Last week, Brian Paterson and Brian La Kemper preformed a single car air test on the coach and found a pair of leaks that must be repaired before the coach can be placed back in service. This weekend found the both of them repairing those leaks. This involved replacing a leaking angle cock and an air line "T" fitting. In this case, like most of the older equipment, the replacement of the pipe became more involved. Helping the two Brian's was young Phil from the steam shop. Together they had to remove twenty feet of air line pipe in order to repair the damaged "T" fitting. Nothing is easy! Hopefully, with the help of Tom Schneider and other steam shop members a new pipe will be bent and installed next weekend. My thanks for all those helping to make this repair!
Monday, April 20. 2015
More on the John Mcloughlin Posted by Roger Kramer in Great Northern John McLoughlin at 10:31
The news of the week regarding the Great Northern sleeper was the long anticipated arrival of newly manufactured parts for the women's wash room. They consist of one thin steel wall panel about 82' high and 24' wide, 4 interior 82" long supporting brackets and one modesty wall panel.
Also last Wednesay Bob Olsen continued his work on the roof. Hopefully, this coming Wed should see the last of the painting on the roof for the season.
This photo was taken a few years ago but shows where this panel will be install. It is towards the very left of the coat hooks, from top to bottom.
Friday, April 10. 2015
The weather in February, March, and early April have been frightful but we are still working on scraping paint and tar off the John Mcloughlin roof and priming the interior hallway.
Bob Olsen has been working the winter season on his project of scraping tar and rust off of the roof and then priming and painting the entire area. Many thanks to you , Bob, for your efforts. This is not an easy job especially when it was 20 to 30 degrees in the barn. But, Winter is the best time to remove the old tar. Why? Because it is very brittle and comes off rather easy in cold weather! Nasty, cold work, but he gets the job done!
February 7 Bob starting to scrape more tar from the steel roof. Compare this picture to the April 8th picture and you can see the progress
Sunday, April 5. 2015
March was a month of great activity in the steam shop. Recovering from the set back at the end of February we have made great progress in preparation for the operating season.
Obviously the focus in the shop is on #1630. However turnout has been good during the month and this has allowed substantial work on other projects as well.
Looking first at #1630.
By end of day yesterday she was ready for the formal hydrostatic test of the boiler which is planned for next weekend.
The stay that was found to be broken at the end of February was removed. The old stay was ground off flush inside the firebox, heated and a large wrench applied to the domed head in the socket. It came out smoothly making the rethreading for the new stay relatively easy.
A new one was machined.
We are getting relatively practiced at this process. The worst part of this particular stay was forming the domed end once it had been screwed into place. The ball end must be bucked to prevent the stay moving as the end is hammered into shape. This one was a bear to position the bucking tool and more of the cab floor had to be removed to position the bucker.
Inside the firebox Jason used the air hammer to form the end of the stay.
The finished result is a neatly domed head. … and there was never any leakage under testing.
The weather improved at a critical time in mid-March so that we could safely run the water heater. So for the last couple of weeks we have been filling the boiler, heating the water and pressure testing. It is the nature of the beast that that high pressure water will reveal leaks that do not necessarily happen under steam due to the different temperature and expansion factors. Also, given that all the plugs and a number of stay caps have been removed as part of the annual inspection, there are likely to be points that have not sealed completely. So we have carried out a number of cycles of filling, pressuring, identifying leak points and then draining, fixing identified issues and repeating.
A couple of valves (one test cock and the rail washer) have nuisance leaks that Tom will aim to fix during the week but otherwise she looked good by end of day.
Subject to success of the test next weekend, we will then need to remove the hatch, carry out the internal inspection, and then we can start preparation for the steam test.
As suspected last month, it did proved necessary to remove the axle box shoes from number 5 axle for machining. Phil has become our expert at removing and refitting shoes and wedges. This is a horrible job, involving working in the confined space under the firebox with Portapower cylinders to drive the shoes out and then back in to position.
It is frustrating as they are not actually attached but just slot into place. However, since they are a fairly close fit on the frames and between the substantial weights of the frame and axle box, a good deal of encouragement is required to move them against the adhesion created by the grease. And this encouragement is not easy to apply in the very confined spaces under the locomotive. The absence of an inspection pit is REALLY noticed in a job like this. Hopefully this is a development that we can make in the next couple of years.
Anyway, by end of month both shoes were machined and back in place.. The plan is now to pull the axle forward, refit the rods and then test fit the wedges. It is not certain yet if we will need to put shims onto the wedges but the material has been obtained to do this is necessary.
We have done a good deal more work than initially planned in this area but this actually covers work that was tentatively scheduled for next Winter so overall it is a gain and should result in a significantly smoother running locomotive.
Having proved that the stay caps on the backhead are all free of leaks, it was possible to stay reassembling the footplate and great progress was made on that. The major elements of the stoker delivery system were refitted and most of the footplate is now re-installed. (No pictures of the stoker installation as I had to operate the fork-lift)!.
Another major area of work has been the tender draft gear. As discussed previously, a lot of damage was found in the spring mechanism of the draft gear. One big benefit was that it had been manufactured by Miner Enterprises in Geneva, who still manufacture such equipment and were extremely helpful in identifying options. After a lot of measuring and comparison it was agreed that a later pattern could be fitted into the space and Miner very generously offered a reconditioned unit of the later type in exchange for the 1918 original that will go into their museum.
The new draft gear looks quite different but has the same essential dimensions. One small anomaly is that it has a projection caused by the casting process in a place that would foul when installed in #1630. Miner’s advised that it was of no significance and could be removed …. So it was!.
Dennis has done a lot of build-up work on the yolk and coupler. What remains is the weld build -up of the support brackets under the tender. Once Dennis can complete this, we will have the “fun” of refitting the whole assembly under the tender.
The drawbars that link the locomotive and tender have been annealed and then inspected. A lot of hard work is required to thoroughly clean the drawbars to allow the inspection for cracks.
Once the footplate is completed, they are available to reconnect the locomotive to its tender. However, this will likely not be done until the draft gear is completed as it is difficult to move the tender accurately until the coupler is back in place.
The reverser cylinder was finally disassembled. This proved extremely difficult as it is clearly many years since this was last done and bolts securing the cylinder end to the cylinder were in very tricky locations and seriously frozen to their threads.
Snag is that you can repack / add additional packing to the piston gland for a long time but eventually you need to clean the whole gland out and repack. This year was eventually!. It is now being reassembled and will hopefully be another “catch up” job that will not need to be done again for a generation.
Work has accelerated substantially on the Shay.
We have used donated funds to employee Phil for several days each week primarily to complete work on the firebox. The result of his efforts, along with JD and Cody, is that all stays now either have tell-tale holes cleared to the required depth or have been removed.
The major success from this work is that all the stays that could not be accessed without motor removal have been cleared. We can now progress on the basis that the project will not require removal of the motor. Plans are now being made to fit new stays to replace those that had to be removed and then to re-tube the boiler this year. The sequence may look a little strange as we will likely fit the tubes before rebuilding the smokebox. While you would normally fit the tubes from within the smokebox, the small diameter of the Shay’s smokebox makes this an uncomfortable job. So the thinking is to take advantage of the absence of the smokebox floor and refit the tubes before it is refitted.
A lot of other work has been progressing on the Shay.
Air tanks have been hydro tested;
Interior of the water tank has been cleaned and prepared for painting;
Work has started on preparing the timber for the front beam and running boards. Unfortunately the plan of obtaining the timber for the beam some years back and allowing it to season has not worked out as intended. One of the timbers twisted a good deal more than anticipated in the process so we now have some tricky calculations to determine if it can be trimmed square and still be big enough for the purpose.
Ed has worked steadily thru the refitting of pipework. This has now moved on from the cab to other areas.
The “riveting team”, led by Stu, has worked a number of days on the cab and has made substantial progress.
After a lot of effort, Mike and the team have the planer substantially operational ready for work on the axle boxes. This has been a huge effort as it is probably about 50 years since this complex machine last operated. The documentation is not very detailed and a long period out of use, coupled with uncertainty over any defects it may have had when last used, make for a few challenges!. It is now clear just how complex the processes achieved thru the hydraulics are. The huge table moves back and forth, travelling slowly on the cutting stroke but substantially faster on the return. At each end of the stroke, the movement slows (to avoid a hard stop and reverse). At the end of the cutting stroke, the cutting heads are tilted upward to clear the work as the table returns. At the end of the return stroke, the traversing shaft rotates to advance the cutting head for the next cut by an amount that can be varied by the operator. Seeing all these actions being carried out smoothly is fascinating and a number of us spent time watching in awe!.
So wish us luck in April. We have made good progress but still have plenty to do in order to be ready to run in May.
Saturday, April 4. 2015
End of March 2015 in the Coach ... Posted by Pauline Trabert in Passenger Car Department at 13:35
Michael McCraren Reporting: On Saturday, March 28th, Buzz Morisette and Kevin Kriebs assembled the second cabinet for the lantern display.
The opening of the 1st Exhibit Car with the china display is scheduled for May 2. Previews maybe held in April depending on staffing. Work has begun on adding displays to the 2nd Exhibit Car.
Work has started in Exhibit Car 2 laying out a photo history of Grand Central - Photo by Michael McCraren
On Sunday, March 29th, Michael Baksic and Ray Mormann continued their work in the Birmingham.
Brian LaKemper Reporting: The 556's brakes are completely reassembled and ready for an air test.
On Sunday, March 29th, I cut the final pipe to the correct length, threaded and installed it with the help of Cody Z. from the steam shop. The needed fittings to assemble it all were procured and installed. Thanks to the Steam Department and the Electric Car Department for all their help on this part of the project.
Mark Hoffman finished priming the cleaned ceiling panels. Still a lot of work in the interior of the car.
On Wednesday, April 1st, Brian Patterson and myself applied air to test the brakes. After receiving a replacement gasket from Rod Turner (Thanks Rod!), everything was leak free and the brakes worked as intended. Once the interior is finished, the car will be ready for operation.
Elsewhere on the property: the clutch was removed from the Joy #2, so it can be repaired. The L car team has mounted poles on the 2400s and are rapidly finishing them up. In steam land, work is progressing on machining 428's axle boxes, 1630's winter repairs, and clearing tell-tales on the Shay.
Monday, March 30. 2015
This is a follow up to a post by Brian La Kemper a couple of weeks ago. We have been focusing on this coach the entire winter. Its finally showing results. "Busy" is the word of the month while talking about our Erie Lackawanna coach 556. It will be that way until we get her interior painting complete and placed back in service. Already the two Brian's have reinstalled the repaired brake beam, located missing pins and bushings, installed the brake valve and related piping. Next on their work sheet is to complete an air test to make sure everything is working correctly.
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Ted Miles, IRM Member about Mid-April Coach Department Update
Sat, 04-25-2015 19:24
Mr. Cronin, You have a big job on oyur hands with that Passenger car Collection. So why is the C,B & Q 7128 coach with is cut down to [...]
Russ Prince about Model Railway Display Building
Thu, 04-23-2015 23:00
This Model Railroad board doesn't seem to be generating the interest I would have hoped it would. Is the idea of funding a building for a model [...]
Roger Kramer about Springtime 2015 on the RI 2612
Wed, 04-22-2015 08:44
Thanks Brian for updating the repair facts. Yes, Safety First! Roger
Brian L. about Springtime 2015 on the RI 2612
Tue, 04-21-2015 22:57
The pipe itself is still intact and sound. A fitting was rotted out and we had to pull the whole pipe up to that point to get to it. The only anchor [...]
Kirk Warner about More on the John Mcloughlin
Tue, 04-21-2015 09:42
What is to be done with all of the holes in the roof where the rusted out metal has been removed?
Roger Kramer about More on the John Mcloughlin
Mon, 04-20-2015 19:33
Hello Dave Well.... Yes, your right. I always try and edit everything I print but sometimes my eyes miss things. This time it was two little [...]
David S about More on the John Mcloughlin
Mon, 04-20-2015 15:09
82 feet high? I don't think that will fit under the trolley wire! But seriously, kudos to all of you who work on this and the other cars.
Brian L. about The Old Bag and the Silver Beaver
Sun, 04-19-2015 20:34
Adding 1309 to the mix gives us more flexibility in building consists and allows us to reduce wear on our service cars. 1309 also has 6 axles and a [...]
Jerry C about Diesel Shop update from January 17, 2015
Sun, 04-19-2015 04:49
I need to get in contact with someone from the Diesel Department about sound recordings of a particular locomotive that the IRM owns. I am willing to [...]
MRZ about The Old Bag and the Silver Beaver
Sat, 04-18-2015 09:26
After last weeks severe weather that occured not too far from the IRM's campus I began to wonder about how, and if the museum's collection is covered [...]
Robert Penn about The Old Bag and the Silver Beaver
Fri, 04-17-2015 17:33
Couldn't you just add another car for extra brakes? Also then shouldn't the RPO car always be out for a more authentic train?
Brian L. about The Old Bag and the Silver Beaver
Thu, 04-16-2015 22:08
From the operations side, 1309 would be a welcome addition for appearances behind 1630 and give us more weight and therefore more brakes. When 1630 is [...]
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