Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 2009 Work Weekend

Lots of mundane tasks this weekend!

The two primary achievements were the cleaning of 9's (Shay) fuel tank and spraying for weeds on the entire layout of the MCRR.

Before any work starts, the "oracle" is consulted. Here, Griffin W., Brian B., Dustin B., Tiff, and Matt C., discuss what is happening on the bench separating everyone and tactics for weed spraying. Not pictured are Abe C. and Elliot H.

Matt was starting to reassemble the German turbine/generator for the 16 (Henschel). The housing was cracked; it was being prepared for welding. The cast iron shell needed to be heated and then stick welded. At one point there was a complete "oven" built around the housing.

The weed spraying used the Model A firefighters' car and a little trailer which housed the spraying equipment.

To keep anyone from drinking from the trailer's water tank, an appropriate symbol was painted onto the tank.

Abe C. was caught filling the pump's gasoline tank.

Not more than 15 seconds after leaving the shop doorway, the spraying trailer left the rails. This delayed the staff for a while as they got it back on the rails.

Abe C. uses the handheld wand to get the weeds around the switches. The spray rod attached to the trailer only reaches from outside one rail to the other. Areas further than the ties needs hand work.

Griffin W., is operating the Model A while Abe was doing the real work.

While spraying was going on, others were emptying the fuel tank on the 9 (Shay). Elliot H. was moving the "vacuum" hose around in the tank while Rebeca N., holds the flashlight as appropriate.

After sucking most of the oil out from the top of the fuel tank, the pump hose was attached to the tank's water drain. from time to time, the pump was turned on to suck the goop which had accumulated in the hose into the tote (not shown).

A few problems from the July 4th "Running of the Shays" were remedied. Jesse V., Dustin B., and Griffin discuss what else needs fixing on the 9.

In the general shop work area, Jesse V., Dustin B., and Elliot H. prepare for tank diving. If you look closely, Dustin and Elliot are holding forced air respirators deemed necessary to go inside the fuel tank. It was a real surprise to find the respirators since none of the three even knew they existed. They had been tipped off by the president of their location and last use -- approximately 1995!

There was 14 years of dust on the two respirators which was easily cleaned. Not so easy to deal with was the rotted straps on the full face respirator. Originally, it was thought with two respirators, both Dustin and Elliot would enter the tank. Luckily for Elliot, the respirator which he choose was the one with the broken straps thus Dustin was the winner of the tank dive.

It was expected that the tank dive would be a classic "world's dirtiest jobs" entry. To eliminate some of the oil from getting onto Dustin's skin, Brian B. tapes his rubber gloves to his tyvek suit's sleeves.

Looking down into the fuel tank, Dustin's backside is on the left, the milk crate used to step into the tank, the drop light, and the forced air hose.

Dustin shifted to the fireman's side of the fuel tank.

After over an hour in the tank scooping about 15 gallons of sludge from the tank's bottom, Dustin emerges from the tank.

The bright white tyvek suit turned an oily black from wandering about in the confined space. We had to cut Dustin out of the suit.

A few miscellaneous pictures round out the day.


July 4th: Mt Pleasant Independence Day Celebration

Months of work by Jesse V, Dustin B, Griffin W and others to deal with the 9's problems proved successful during Mt Pleasant's Independence Day Celebration.

Check some of the other blog entries and you will see how the three steam cylinders were thoroughly reworked and the drive shaft was repaired and aligned per Lima specifications.

To prove the effectiveness of the repairs several full power runs were performed starting before the curve leading to the North Station. The awaiting passengers on the platform had their fingers plugging their ears as the roaring three truck Shay passed by. The engineer was seen with a big smile and commenting that " has never run this good."

The following series of pictures shows the 9 in various places around the MCRR layout.

Enough pictures of the 9 doing its thing.

The next series of pictures are various coach and caboose scenes.

Three wise men from the shop are hitching a ride on the caboose. Left to right are Elliot H, Mike E, and Dave R. Actually working, with his back to the camera is Steve R.

Lead conductor Daryl is getting ready for the next train's arrival.

These next few pictures were taken on the 2nd and 3rd of July. Hidden from view of the passengers are the hundreds of hours which go into maintaining the tracks, equipment, and grounds in and around the shop.

Did you ever wonder what superheater pipes look like? (Hahaha...did you ever wonder what superheater pipes were? Did you ever hear of superheaters?)

Part of the 9's seasonal preparation is to hydrostatic check the boiler and associated pipes for leaks. The boiler is filled to the top with water and then pressurized to over 200 PSI. Even the smallest pinhole will manifest itself as a stream of water pouring to the ground.

This year, the superheater pipes were reluctant to seal to their manifold located in the smoke box of the 9. Of course, the leaking superheaters were not the "front row" pipes, but those in the second and third tier which required removal of the properly sealed front row pipes.

(And for those still wanting an answer to the questions posed above, a complete description can be found here at Wikipedia.

Quoting the most pertinent paragraph from the above linked article,
"In locomotive use, by far the most common form of superheater is the fire-tube type. This takes the saturated steam supplied in the dry pipe into a superheater header mounted against the tube sheet in the smokebox. The steam is then passed through a number of superheater elements—long pipes which are placed inside special, widened fire tubes, called flues. Hot combustion gases from the locomotive's fire pass through these flues just like they do the firetubes, and as well as heating the water they also heat the steam inside the superheater elements they flow over. The superheater element doubles back on itself so that the heated steam can return; most do this twice at the fire end and once at the smokebox end, so that the steam travels a distance of four times the header's length while being heated. The superheated steam, at the end of its journey through the elements, passes into a separate compartment of the superheater header and then to the cylinders as normal."

Again, the link to the complete article -- and the above quoted paragraph can be found here.)

Dustin B adjusts the connections to the water tower.

Elliot H waves from atop the water tower before he plunges inside to sweep out rust and other debris which formed through the 2008 operating season.

Pictures courtesy Paul K. and Steam Airman.