Thursday, March 2, 2017

November, 2016 Work Weekend

Today's primary effort was getting the South Station ready for North Pole Express. While most of the volunteers were at the South Station a few stayed in and around the shop to deal with mechanical items.

No. 6 was "pickled" at the end of Midwest Haunted Rails. This year, in addition to the usual tasks we decided to remove the packing from the throttle control rod and the two piston rods. For the former, the throttle was, for lack of a better term, goofy. There was a large amount of slack and then it was quite stiff. It also hissed steam despite the packing flange being tightened numerous times. The two piston rods had a steam leak problem as well, plus we had installed two new piston rods last spring and felt that not having packing holding moisture against the rods would increase their service life.

The throttle rod's packing nearly jumped out of the packing well. The piston rod's packing was another story. Several volunteers worked for hours spread across quite a few days to remove the packing material. The inner layers were concrete-like and resisted nearly every attempt made to remove them. The material's hardness was the likely cause of the steam leaks.

We found it frustrating to work for 30 minutes and extract a 1/2 inch section. Matt W is fighting the right side packing material.

It was a pleasant day for mid November. The 12's October boiler wash did not include flue washing so with the new gadget we proceeded to clean 6 days of soot from the pipes. The next few pictures show the stream of water being forced through the flues with compressed air.

Inside the South Station, volunteers decorated christmas trees, Santa's caboose, moved numerous decorations from the loft storage to the main level, set up the model train layouts, and constructed the bells for the riders.

Another shop project was changing the 12's whistle and mounting pipe. Unfortunately, our attempt to move the 12 to the machine shop where we would have been able to use a gantry crane to assist was thwarted by a derailment!

Once the 12 was re-railed, rather than trying to get it into the machine shop, the swap was done via human cranes in the bright sunlight.

Besides the flue washing and the whistle swap, the final item left over from the October boiler wash was pressure washing the connecting rods and valve gear on the 12. Matt W makes quick work on the rods with the gasoline powered pressure washer.