Monday, February 27, 2017

September, 2016 Work Weekend

The September work weekend was held a week later than usual. Instead of Saturday, September 10th, it was the following Saturday, September 17th.

Midwest Haunted Rails was extended to four weekends this year. With the first MHR weekend fast approaching the rescheduled work weekend gave volunteers a week of rest from the just-completed 2016 Old Threshers Reunion and then to go "all out" for "Spook House Saturday."

Volunteers helped convert the South Station from a mundane rail car storage area to the famous "spook house." Those present also participated in a potluck lunch.

I was not able to get any pictures for this activity but the October, 2016, blog post has pictures of the attractions riders found in the South Station.


Friday, February 24, 2017

August-September 2016 Old Threshers' Reunion

It is a good thing that photos are taken during events and work weekends. If not, it would be much harder to create blog entries 6 months after the event.

This blog covers roughly 2 weeks leading up to and through the 2016 Old Threshers Reunion. For several days during the reunion, I was unable to take or have anyone donate pictures. Those days will simply not appear in the post.

==>August 25

With a week to go before the show starts, there remains lots of things to do in and around the MCRR. Matt W replaces a bad female connector on the compressed air line while Roger R studies the vice.

We were suspicious about the 6's mechanical lubricator. There was evidence that it wasn't being as liberal with steam cylinder oil as we were expecting. Over the winter, the mechanical lubricator was removed, cleaned, inspected, and installed. Alan P removes an oil feedline from the steam chest on the left side steam cylinder to verify oil actually flows from the lubricator to the steam chest.

Nelson S and Matt W prepare to install the manway cover for the water portion of the 12's tender. The new manway gasket needed holes punched as appropriate for the mounting studs. Nelson tapes the gasket to the cover so the holes can be placed in the correct spots. Dustin B looks on from a distance.

An ever present task is track work. Past blog posts illustrated the updates being done to the tracks east of the South Station. The elevation of quite a few feet of rail needed adjustment. You can see the rumble cart with air hoses, tools, ballast, and a water jug. The rails have been jacked awaiting tamping.

After a bit of tamping Matt W needed a short nap. It doesn't say much for the accommodations when the most comfortable place is a pile of rocks.

This is a view looking west from a point about 200 feet east of the South Station. The pronounced dip in the track is quite evident. That section of track was eventually adjusted.

=>August 26

At the shop, it was time to move No. 12 out of the building. Everyone was anxious to use the newly refurbished Frederick Snare No. 2 (also known as the "Squirt" and formerly known as MW101).

The FS 2 lacked a horn but had gained an air compressor with the replacement engine. Matt W prepares a mounting bracket for its new twin air horns.

Alan P soaks some cotton packing in special lubricating oil before installing on the 6.

A caboose parked outside the machine shop portion of the shop building.

The lead on the west side of the South Station. Besides the freight cars, the "T" and the "A" are outside.

Kendall O contemplates some maintenance on one of our two boxcars.

No. 14 pulls the cars out of the South Station.

==>August 27

No. 6's boiler has been topped with water and it is getting ready for its annual hydrostatic testing. Matt W attaches the pressure line to the steam dome on the 6's boiler while Alan P gets ready to start and raise the line pressure via the pump.

Uh oh! The spool valve was leaking leaving a torrent of water to gush out of the steam cylinders.

After the steam dome lid was removed, Alan P checks the mating surface for debris. While Alan was checking the lid, Matt W removed, cleaned, "lapped" and replaced the spool valve. After that bit of unscheduled maintenance, the hydro test was successful.

The trim paint on some of the cars was a bit rough from the 2015 operating season. Wayne P applies new paint to some of the spots.

==>August 28

With the hydro test out of the way, the next step for No. 6 was to bring its boiler to pressure, ready the appliances and take it for a ride.

The recently placed ballast was a bit too generous in spots. Enough so that the 6's pilot truck rode up and over the rail. It took a few minutes and a few strategically placed blocks of wood to get the 6 back on the rails.

==>August 29

Now, it is the 12's turn for the hydro test. Roger R removes the safety valves from the 12's steam dome and attached the fittings necessary to attach to the high pressure pump.

That's right...the boiler is at 225PSI!. Leak checks through the entire boiler and firebox stay check were performed while the boiler was at pressure.

The old blast style blower outlet was replaces with a ring blower. Roger R bores holes in the ring to allow steam to escape which, when necessary, provides draft for the 12's fire.

While mechanical work was being done on the locos, Lee R, Dave R and their team had a massive task to accomplish. During the track rework on the east side of the South Station, several portions of the signal line was unearthed by the backhoe. Here, Dave and Lee prepare the new multi conductor signal line.

The "team" -- Rex F and Nelson S dig near the crossing gate to start the installation of the new signal wire.

John K and Chris P site the jacked rails in anticipation of installing fresh ballast.

The days before the Reunion were very hot and humid. The track gang has a needed rest.

The signal team continue their rewiring project.

Dan H had a surprise while running the manlift back from the water tower: a high pressure pump on the lift's engine broke a seal dumping loads of diesel fuel into the crankcase.

Part of the yearly certification of the locos includes calibrating the steam pressure and brake pressure gauges. One of the brake gauges had an interesting problem where the error became increasingly worse as the pressure went up. Usually a gauge will have the same error throughout its range. In this situation, the mechanical workings inside the gauge were mis-adjusted. After removing the hands from the gauge, the face is removed and the internal adjustments are made.

After reassembling the gauge, it is placed back on the tester and the hands are calibrated against the weights and reference gauge.

==>August 30

No. 12's burner draining prior to its annual cleaning.

Mark M cleans the 12's tender.

Part of the signal improvement project included installation of a new relay box. Lee R inspects the box which is ready for installation.

Dave R and Rex F mix another load of concrete for the signal relay box's base.

Andy C does some tamping of new ballast while Logan N shovels the material to the tamping site.

==>August 31

Roger R, Dave R and Ralph inspect the signal improvement work site.

We host a pre- Old Threshers Reunion morning of trains for school children and others. Riders are boarding the cattle car.

No. 12's "office."

==>September 1

Getting the two steam loco's ready for service.

No. 12 pulling into and away from the North Station.

No. 6 pulling into the North Station.

Moving the train in the switch yard.

Scott D and Mark M inspecting the mechanical end of a crossing gate.

Preparing for riders at the South Station's ticket counter.

The Model "A" firemans' car coming into the South Station's platform.

==>September 2, 3: no pictures!

==>September 4

Fire up time for the locomotives.

Inspecting the valve timing and rigging for the 6.

The 14 was used to move the 6 back and forth as the running gear was inspected. Soon, the decision was made to sideline the 6.

Paul K leads spectators through the shop on a regularly scheduled tour.

Jennifer R watches as her father, Dave R, runs the 12.

Ringing the bell as the 12 approaches the North Station and the loading passengers..

==>September 5: no pictures!

==>September 6

Boiler wash day. Both boilers were emptied. Using compressed air, as much moisture as possible is removed from the steam cylinders, dry pipe, and appliances.