Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November, 2013 Work Weekend

Two near perfect days in mid November to "pickle" No. 6 and do some needed repairs on one of the coaches. ("Near perfect" = "low 50s and sunny")

We deferred No. 6's boiler wash and winter storage routine from the last day of Midwest Haunted Rails until this weekend.

The first order of business was to get the locomotive away from the shop to drain the water from the boiler and tender. Tasks like this are best suited for our Vulcan Locomotive Works gasoline switcher, affectionately known as the "Little Squirt" or just "the squirt." While waiting for the water to drain, Roger R. removed the bolts holding the smoke box door closed.

Water draining from No. 6's boiler.

With the water out of the boiler, we attached the locomotive to the gasoline air compressor to blow out the various lines, pipes, and steam cylinders. Dustin B. places a quick call to the yard dispatcher for clearance in anticipation of moving the locomotive under its own power.

While waiting for the boiler to get enough air pressure to blow out some of the pipes, Roger R. disconnects the water lines leading from the tender to the locomotive.

Water being blown out of the fuel tank heater.

With the air compressor and other lines as dried out as we could get them, the next chore was to blow the steam cylinders out. Filling the boiler to 90 PSI from the gasoline air compressor, we move No. 6 back and forth until water stops coming out of the cylinder cocks.

If you look closely, you can see the fog around the right side steam cylinder.

This is what it looks like up close.

Once the lines, pipes, and steam cylinders were blown (almost) dry, we moved No. 6 into the shop to remove the boiler plugs for the upcoming wash. Plugs removed, No. 6 is pulled outside to have its smoke box pressure washed.

After the shop oriented tasks were completed, we moved No. 6 to the water tower for the boiler wash. Roger R. inspects some of the fittings needed to connect the tractor/PTO driven water pump to the water tower.

A few "gender changes" were needed to connect the pump to the tower; Rex F. assists Roger in reconfiguring the fittings. Jesse V. and Dustin B. supervise the reconfiguration.

Now that the pump can boost the water pressure from the tank, the washing begins. Roger R. runs hundreds of gallons of water through the opened ports in NO. 6's boiler.

Chris P. pays a visit to check on the boiler washing team's progress.

Dustin B. hops inside the tender with the high pressure hose to clean the dirt out of the tender.

As the boiler washers work outside, Chris P. removed both trucks from the "Quinn Coach" with the intention of servicing the bearings and replacing the rear axle of the rear truck. One of the wheels had a flat spot.

The flat spot's correction ended up being more than could be handled in a weekend, so we decided to swap the rear truck of a short coach with that of the Quinn Coach. Of course, the designated donor coach was at the east end of Museum B so an operations team had to move loads of our rolling stock to gain access.

Once the coach was moved into the shop, removing the truck was a matter of removing the brake linkage and jacking the end of the coach off the truck. Rex F. helps roll the truck out from under the coach.

The two coaches were on adjacent tracks so once the trucks were free, they had to be swapped from one track to the other. With some track bar and skid steer help, the task was quickly completed.

Brian B. stares at one of trucks and then pushes it away from the skid steer to make it easier to move. .

A few interesting shots of the crew working on the truck swap. That's Rex F. in the background, Kendall O holding up the right side of the picture, Roger R. butting his head against the right side of the picture, Matt W. downing a Mountain Dew, and Elliot H. wearing his ratty blue hat, wondering what is going on. Various others come and go from the next few pictures.

If you look close at this one, you can actually see Elliot H. pretending to do some work pushing the truck under the coach.

It was mentioned earlier that some of the MCRR rolling stock had to be removed from Museum B in order to fetch the donor coach. Here, No. 14 pulls one of our box cars, No. 16, and No. 1 out of the way.

A work weekend usually includes a Board of Directors meeting. Occasionally, it gets a bit sleepy in there...


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

October, 2013 Work Weekend and Midwest Haunted Rails!

This work weekend was coincident with the first weekend of Midwest Haunted Rails. Nearly 100% of the activity was centered on readying the trains and completing the props in the South Station.

We will start with a few pictures taken in and around the shop with the two locomotives.

Notice that No. 12 is being readied for use? Matt C along with a few others worked nearly every weekend in September and whipped the suspension into shape. After coupling the tender to the locomotive, No. 12 was ready for stress testing.

After hooking the gas line to the burner inlet, Roger R adjusts a few other items on the tender to loco connection.

This is what a natural gas fire looks like in the firebox of No. 12.

A few cab shots of No. 12.

And now, a walk through the South Station!