Sunday, November 29, 2009

Boiler Washing! (2009 Edition, part I)

After each operating season, the boilers need to be thoroughly cleaned and the locomotive's steam pipes and steam cylinders need to be purged of all water.

A few MCRR volunteers stayed on Sunday, the day after the last ghost train. The 16 was completely readied for over-winter storage, while the 9 was partially prepared since it will be used for the North Pole Express.

The first order of business was to get the twin screw air compressor working (again). Earlier in October, problems had erupted causing some large scale repairs to take place. Thinking it would work without a hitch, the boiler washers quickly determined that while the engine would start, it would not idle or pump up pressure without having the engine stall.

Abe C and Jim work on the electrical problem causing the fault. The one piece start/crank/run switch was replaced with a off/run switch and a press-to-start button.

Cleaning the soot out of the smokebox.

Some coal remained in the left hand storage area. The skid steer was pulled close to the fireman's entry door and the excess coal transferred to its bucket.

After the larger pieces were removed from the firebox, the little pieces were blown out causing a small cloud to form around the locomotive.

Jesse V knocks most of the ash from the 16's ash pan.

Having lost his watch last summer, Dustin searches the ash pile hoping to find a remnant of it.

This meteorite looking object is a large clinker, measuring 30 x 20 x 10 CM, having formed in the ashpan during the final night of ghost train.

After removing the dusty remains of the season, the water is purged from the steam cylinders and steam pipes. The two hoses leading to the engine from the compressor charge the airbrake system and operate the steam cylinders.

A video of the condensation removal can be viewed here.

Abe C operates the tractor powered pressure washer for Jesse V.

The first thing to get washed is the smoke box. Water can be seen draining after a thorough cleaning.

Jesse V positions himself on top of the boiler.

With the pressure washer nozzle inside the boiler, Abe is signaled to turn the water on.

Water and other bits of debris are exiting the boiler through the cab.