Friday, July 6, 2012

June, 2012 Work Weekend

With the NRHS visit just a week away, the shop staff performed the annual hydro test of the 6.

One of the activities of the May work weekend was to plug the boiler in anticipation of the hydro test. With that out of the way, the staff topped the boiler, filled the tender with water and fuel, and lit the fire. Once the boiler was warmed, the fire was extinguished and the pressure test began.

The 6 is shown with what looks like an umbilical cord attached to the steam dome. The line leading to the steam dome is the output of the high pressure water pump. The water is fed into the highest point of the boiler to insure no air pockets exist that may obscure potential leaks.

Dave R. checks the crossing gate signal box for proper equipment operation in anticipation of the NRHS event.

The pressure test had an early problem: the firebox soft plug was leaking and needed to be replaced. Since the boiler was full of water, the locomotive had to be moved to a convenient location for emptying.

After removing the soft plug, the threads had to be cleaned up. Dustin B was volunteered into going inside the (warm) firebox to do the honors. After using the tap to clean the soft plug's receiving threads, he hands it to one of the shop staff in the cab.

With the soft plug back in place, the boiler was refilled and warmed, the pressure test was restarted with no problems found.

The leaking soft plug did put the day's plans into disarray.

In a dream world where nothing ever goes wrong with the steam engine, after the pressure test the boiler would have been drained to the correct level and brought to operating pressure. With full steam, additional inspections of the boiler would be completed and and all of the engine's appliances would be tested.

In the real world, the full pressure test was deferred until the following week.