Sunday, November 29, 2009

November 2009 Work Weekend

With only a few weeks to go before the first North Pole Express, much of the activities this weekend took place in the south station, soon to be renamed, "The North Pole."

Numerous MCRR supporters helped set up the scenes and remove remnants of the Midwest Haunted Rails.

The next few photos were taken by Ms Elsie B. as members readied the ornaments and stopped for lunch.

Meanwhile back at the shop, some sandblasting was taking place for the planned painting of D-9 parts.

Shelby deals with the sandblaster.

The parts needing priming are stacked on top of a metal flat car. Quite a few pieces had been removed from the D-9 for the torque converter repair.

With the parts on the flat car, all that remained was to ready the paint sprayer.

The author painted nearly everything while everyone was out of the shop. After a while Griffin W and Brian B returned from some intense "playing with trains" (moving cars and locomotives). Brian found a few places needing touch-up, so the sprayer was simply handed over eliminating the chain of command.


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.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

The 2009 edition of Midwest Haunted Rails

One of the last props to be completed for the Midwest Haunted Rails was the animated alligator (commonly referred to as Alligator Version 1.0).

The incredibly lifelike foam beast sits on top of its shipping crate awaiting the handiwork of Jesse V and Dustin B.

The bottom side of the beast shows some of the metal framework. The framework supports the various pneumatic cylinders and hinges necessary for the movement of the mouth, legs, and tail.

After the initial fitting into the body, several additional brackets needed attaching.

Dustin B. makes some cuts in the beast's mouth so it will accept the lifting mechanism. It does look like the beast is trying to eat Dustin.

On the first operating day of the Haunted Rails, the 16's fireman, Kim W. backs his pickup truck to the cab to transfer wood. The 16 starts on wood and is switched to coal once the steam pressure starts building.

Until steam pressure is available, the steam locomotives require air pressure to operate the atomizer (9) and the blower (9 and 16). As can be expected, something is bound to go wrong with the hardware at the MCRR. This time, it was the gasoline rotary screw air compressor that didn't want to work.

Roger R. examines the carburetor for problems. The compressor would fire but not idle or sustain steady high rpm operation.

Fireman Brian B. detaching the airhose from the 9's feed point.

Coiling the hose after use.

Jennifer B. holds the CPVC frame for one of the props at the"CarnEvil" exhibit at the south station's east end.

Nathan V. keeping the 9's boiler at pressure before handing it over to the designated fireman for Ghost Train.

Hey! Who was using my camera?

John G. must have lost some tools and decided they were on top of the 16.

After checking on the source of a seemingly large water leak, the author tightens the nuts holding the smokebox door shut. Brian B's decoration is shown in position over the 9's number plate.

The next few pictures are of the props in the "spook house" also known as the South Station.

Dear to many MCRR volunteers is the 6, the 2-6-0 Baldwin Locomotive. Down for boiler repairs, Griffin W. made this incredible grave marker in its honor.

We are still raising funds for the restoration of the 6. Check the 6's webpages for details.

This is Jennifer B's "CarnEvil" exhibit. The CPVC frame she was holding in the earlier picture was dressed and appears as one of the figurines in the next two pictures.

The author, an honorary (perhaps "ranking member") of the "Henschel Wrecking Crew" is contemplating his next move in firing the 16.

"Gee...the reception isn't too good on this old TV screen."

Fooling with the train brake actuator.

Longtime MCRR member Jim B. sits in the driver's seat of the 9.

Griffin W. drains the water from the tender's oil tank before firing the boiler while Brian B., Dustin and Braden B. supervise.