Saturday, November 20, 2010

The 2010 edition of Midwest Haunted Rails (Part III)

The last act of Midwest Haunted Rails is the boiler washing event.

There is still one more event of the operating season -- North Pole Express -- but that event requires the 9. This means the 6 and 16 can be "put to bed" until next summer.

The 16's boiler washing chores include cleaning the ash and clinkers from the firebox, removing the coal still in the coal bin, removing the ash from the smoke box, removing the boiler plugs, removing the water tank belly plug, removing the injector check valves, a thorough washing of the inside of the boiler vessel, washing the firebox and washing the smokebox.

The 6 doesn't need coal and fly ash removed but it needs the various plugs and check valves removed and the boiler's innards washed.

The skid-steer is positioned as a moving trash receptacle as the firebox is cleaned.

Steve R. shovels the ash from the smoke box under Brian B's supervision.

The 6 and 9 are towed to a convenient spot for the draining of their boilers and tenders.

The masked man is Steve R.

After draining the water, the 9 and 6 are moved back to the north end of the shop. The 6 has already been dropped off and the 9 is eased back to its resting place.

The skull is still on the 6!

It is a good idea to remove the water lingering in the steam cylinders. We do this by pressurizing the boiler and air brake system with air from the gasoline air compressor and operating the train as if it were under steam pressure.

The skid steer has been repositioned to accept coal from the coal bin, located in front of the fireman.

Washing the boiler is a wet activity as witnessed by Dustin B., a perennial boiler washer.

Griffin W. operates the pressure washer pump. Once again, Brian B appears to not be doing anything useful.

Dustin washes the season's grime off the cab of the 16.


The 2010 edition of Midwest Haunted Rails (Part II)

Polystyrene insulation panels were the raw materials used to make the large graveyard at the spookhouse's west end. A few minutes work with a serrated edge knife made the shapes. After the shapes were cut, adapters were fastened into place (which in turn kept the grave stones attached to the stakes which had been driven into the ground). The grave stones were painted grey and finally placed into position.

Nancy M. has a short rest from her gravestone cutting responsibilities.

Tanja H. completes the paper mache work on the 6's skull. The paper mache goop was white flour, resin glue, and water.

This is the graveyard in daylight. Nancy spent the better part of an afternoon putting the text and other artwork on the gravestones. She also placed the various skeletons, bones and skulls around the area.

Many of the gravestones had red LEDs attached to their backsides which threw light onto the stones behind them.

This picture and those following are taken with a long exposure and a flash. The long exposure captured the lighting (if any) on the objects while the flash lit the objects for the pictures. Unfortunately, the lighting necessary to take the pictures tends to spoil the overall look.


The 2010 edition of Midwest Haunted Rails (Part I)

The best part is shown first: How often do you see three steam engines under pressure at one location in the US? (and in southeastern Iowa!) And yes, that is the solid fuel fired 16 behind the diesel Plymouth switch engine.

The first two pictures were taken during the second week of Midwest Haunted Rails.

The next few pictures were taken on the last week of MHR.

You will notice the "mask" on the front of the 6. It is supposed to be a skull although some have likened it to a large marshmallow while others say it resembles "Frankenstein." Regardless, it has eyes that glow red. We had a suggestion to vent a steam pipe through its mouth. Perhaps next year?

Elliot H. and Roger. R are discussing something. It looks like an offset jaw pliers but what would be holding their attention like that?

Brian B. looks on intently as Elliot H. dips a rag into a cleaning solvent.

Roger R. and Brian B. discuss the reassembly of the valve gear during the repair to the fireman's side steam cylinder. A small amount of linkage had to be removed on the engineer's side to insert the new gasket.

John G. (bending down) is continuing the work necessary to install the new gasket and Dustin B. (right) and Jesse V. (left) discuss the progress of the repair.

John G. cleans the surface where the gasket will be placed. Braden B. gives John some advice.

The steam cylinder head is rotated slightly to inspect the placement of the gasket. (Actually, the gasket is a 4 gauge copper ring, brazed at the joint. The soft copper fills the gap between the cylinder and the cylinder head.)

Brian B. insures the forks of the skid-steer are set correctly under the portable light generator which will be set up at the park's north end.

Midwest Old Threshers' "Volunteer of the Year" (well, one of the volunteers of the year) Dylan D. places grease sticks in the cogs of the 9's drive train while engineer Paul C. watches.

John G. and Roger R. perform various tasks necessary to prepare the 6 for use on the evening's Midwest Haunted Rails.

The Henschel building up pressure. Based on the color of the smoke, its fire is being switched from wood to coal.

Three steam engines building pressure.

To induce draft when the steam pressure is low, we hook the locomotives to a gasoline compressor. You can see the air line leading down from under the fireman's seat on the 9 and leading down near the brake air cooling tubes on the 6.

The 16. Like the 9 and the 6, the 16 is hooked to the gasoline air compressor to induce the draft while the steam pressure builds.

A few ties just outside the shop needed replacing. The gauge was approaching 37.5 inches which can easily cause a derailment on a 36 inch system.

After Dustin B. had started the spike, Elliot H. drives it into the tie with the air hammer. Randy V. is prying the tie upwards while the spiking is completed.

Eric C. is oiling the running gear of the 6.

The 9 and 6 under pressure and weaned from the gasoline air compressor.

Frontal view of the skull on the 6

OK...we do play practical jokes on one another.

Griffin W. backs Dustin's car onto a tilt bed truck while Matt C. guides it on the ramp.

Abe C. gives words of encouragement to Griffin.

The car was transferred from the tilt bed truck to a flatcar that was parked outside the south station. We started the decorations which included inserting a skeleton into the driver's seat. The skeleton is holding a "cell phone" to his head, much like the actual owner of the car often does.

The decorations are complete.