There was a volunteer work session during the weekend of September 17 and 18, 2022 that focused on the CNW 1385 tender. Work concentrated on closing up the cistern ports. The ports allow water either in or out of the cistern or water tank.
One of the next steps is to fill the tender with water. This will allow project volunteers to see how much the tender settles down on its springs with the added weight of the water as well as to verify the function of the different seals.
Access panels on the sides of the tender allow volunteers to reach some of the harder-to-access cistern valves.
Thank you to volunteers Lloyd H, Steve P. Sr, Jay S, Ross S, and Larry S for helping out during the work session.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this update, coming soon…
What are those 3 most important things about a boiler? Water! Right Again! How can you tell where it is at? Peer through the looking glass although it is more commonly known as the water glass, sight glass or gauge glass.
The 3-dimensional chess continues with placing the water glasses on the backhead of the boiler. The board clamped in place served not only as a way to locate both FRA-required water glasses correctly but to facilitate checking for enough clearance around and under the other appurtenances already in place.
The metal plate clamped to the backhead serves as a nice flat baseplate for the magnetic based drill used to drill the holes for the appurtenances and studs.
The plate is lined up for drilling of the hole for the first glass. The result is seen here. And like the bottom try-cock the lowest indication of the water glass is 4” above the highest point of the crownsheet per C&NW practice.
The plate was then moved to the fireman’s side where the single glass had been mounted on the original boiler and X marks the spot.
After drilling and tapping in the threads the second glass is seen here.
With both glasses mounted the backhead is looking more like a locomotive all the time.
A volunteer session is being held on September 17 and 18 to work on the the C&NW #1385 locomotive tender. Tasks planned include filling the tender with water to check the truck spring compression and making any necessary adjustments. Additional work planned includes brake pipe fabrication. Persons with experience heating/bending pipe are highly encouraged to participate in this session. If there is sufficient help, other tasks in the Engine House will be tackled. Sign up by contacting project lead Ed Ripp or using the form on our Volunteering page.
The next item to be mounted to the backhead of the 1385 is the hydrostatic lubricator. That is merely a complicated name for the device that delivers steam cylinder oil to the valves and pistons as well as to the steam end of the engine’s air compressors. Steam cylinder oil is specially compounded to mix with and then be carried by the steam to all the internal moving parts.
The lubricator lives in the cab of the engine within reach of the engineer so he or she can keep a constant eye on this vital function. If the oiling stops the engine will begin to make some really ugly noises in a very short time and if not immediately corrected those noises become quite expensive.
Once again the 3-D chessboard is set to mock up the placement of several pieces at once and the lubricator is hanging from the chain hoist. The bracket for the lubricator is mounted using 2 studs and its position is being verified between the try-cocks, throttle and one of the two required water gauge glasses.
Here is the lubricator mounted in its final position showing how it is studded to the boiler. Our parting shot shows the upper right corner of the backhead and the top of the boiler with the body of the throttle peeking up out of the steam dome area. The dome was made to be removable to better facilitate maintenance work in the future.
One of the next steps at SPEC Machine has been to finish the installation of the throttle rod and handle on the backhead of the boiler. Many of the new parts were shown in the December 25, 2020 update and now they have found their final home. The chromed end of the throttle rod has been mated to the long reach rod and is being fed through the boiler to the throttle proper. The half-lap and bolted connection is per the C&NW drawings and replaces the threaded coupling that was found when the throttle rod was disassembled.
The packing gland was installed to properly position the rod so the throttle handle anchor could be properly located and studded to the boiler per the C&NW drawing.
As another part of the 3-dimensional chess moves, the throttle handle support was mocked-up to check not only for correct placement of the handle but also proper clearance over the gauge-cocks and around the boiler stays.
The original support was an “L” shape with the short leg pointed down. The new support has the short leg pointed up because the new boiler has a stay rod in the way of the old mounting. Here is a look at the completed assembly with the support studded to the backhead. The anchor does have a dog-leg in it per the C&NW drawings. It also does connect squarely at the stud end even though the camera lens distortion makes it look differently.
Last but not least is a look down the top of the boiler from the throttle handle down to the throttle itself.
In the next update: Installing the hydrostatic lubricator
The latest accomplishment on the 1385 boiler has been the installation of the Try-Cocks. That is the proper name of an important set of monitoring and safety devices. In previous posts the question “What’s the first 3 things to know about any boiler?”, was asked and the answer is still “Where’s your water?“, times three. It was also shown the highest point of the crown sheet was measured and marked. We are additionally required to install water level indicating devices whose lowest reading shall not be less than 3 inches above the highest point of the crown sheet.
Close study of the locomotive drawings has shown (Thanks, Ed) that the C&NW standard was to install the indicating devices to show not less than 4 inches of water, giving us an extra inch of safety margin. One of the types of indicating devices is a set of three Try-Cocks, so named because they allow the operator to “Try” the level of the water in the boiler.
In the first picture the punch marks showing the water side of the crown sheet can be seen just above the blue tape. Steve R. of SPEC Machine works so quickly it is sometimes hard to catch a clear picture as evidenced by the photo of him placing a punch mark to locate the center of one of the Try-Cocks. A hole is then drilled and threaded to accept the base or “spud” of each Try-Cock.
The above shot shows all three in place along with a temporary placing of the throttle handle to check clearances. This is part of the 3-D chess necessary to make sure all the components will fit before they are installed. In the circle is a marking of the water side of the crown sheet so we can be sure the lowest Try-Cock is at the proper level.
The Try-Cocks themselves are a mixture of new and old. As seen here, the bonnets and stems are original to the 1385 but the spuds were machined from a new piece of code-compliant material. This was necessary because the new boiler has a reinforcing plate applied to the inside of the backhead in order to meet with the strength requirements of the current construction code. This means the steel in that area is much thicker than the original boiler and in order to properly reach far enough into the water space the spuds needed to be longer.
Each Try-Cock has a drain tube installed in the valve stem to direct the steam and water into the drain cup when the valve is operated to “Try” the water level. Below is how they look after final installation of the spuds, stems and drain cup. The drain cup will have a pipe that extends through the cab floor to drain the water out onto the right-of-way.
In Upcoming Updates: The throttle handle and rod as well as the engine lubricator.