Saturday, January 4, 2014

December, 2013 Work Weekend & North Pole Express

The annual 3-weekend North Pole Express event and the December work weekend overlapped (as usual!) this year. This blog entry treats everything as one big event.

(The following pictures were taken during the December 6/7/8 weekend.)

The first NPE train of any weekend is on Saturday, so the next few pictures were taken on Friday. We've been warming No. 12's boiler gradually with natural gas fires this year. The gas line is hooked into the port along the oil line. After the fire is lit, the moisture from the flame is seen exiting the smoke stack.

A close-up of the nat-gas flame. The new brickwork can be seen on either side and protruding from the rear wall of the firebox .

While the cab crew attendants were dealing with No. 12, work on the DRGW boxcar continued. The boxcar was obtained some time ago and it needs a considerable amount of care to get it ready for service. Over the summer, several volunteers started spraying linseed oil on the inside. Others removed various pieces of hardware, removed the rust and reconditioned them as needed, and reinstalled most of the items. Matt C. is seen here heating a bracket to correct unwanted bends

(The following pictures were taken the weekend of December 13/14/15/16.)

This may look like a dirty stack from an improperly tended oil fire. Well, in a sense, it is!  No. 12 wasn't firing as nice as it should have so we blew compressed air through the flues to knock most of the carbon off. The "dirty stack" is particulate matter being blown clear.

Roger R. operating the blow gun.

Compare this set of pictures with those taken on the December 6/7/8 weekend; the most obvious difference is the white stuff on the ground. Considerable snow fell Friday night which required us to clean the switches and flangeways throughout our entire system.

Cleaning switches west of the South Station (also known as the "North Pole").

Cleaning switches along the west track.

John G. and Kendell O. posing in front of No. 12's tender.

Besides the snow, the temperatures dropped close to zero. We decided the usual oil for the engine was too thick to flow through the ports so we switched to a 30W oil. Roger R. must have spilled a few drops while refilling the oil cans and is seen here apply some oil absorbent on the mis-directed oil.

A few scenes from when No. 12 was first taken out of the yard and onto the mainline.

We used No. 14 to cut the flangeways. Here, it is completing the last portion of the mainline west of the South Station.

No. 14 completing its work near the west doors of the South Station. It was at this time that its compressed air system stopped working. The Vulcan gasoline switcher, No. 101, came to the rescue by pulling No. 14 away from the South Station and back to the shop for inspection.

After the last train on December 15th, we pulled No. 12 into the shop and started the "boiler wash" project. Rex F., Roger R., and Matt W. disconnected and drained various lines and fittings on the locomotive in anticipation of disconnecting the tender from the locomotive.

Draining the warm water from the boiler.

Elliot H. removing flue cleaning sand (and soot) from the smoke box.