Belly of 2nd Boiler Course Removed to Make Way for Patch

Even though it was Snow Train and a special event, the operations crew pulled together with the shop crew to allow another great step to be accomplished in the boiler repair. The belly section of the 2nd boiler course was cut out to make way for a new patch of material as was done in the first course. MIke Wahl is dress grinding some of the rough spots off the old piece before it gets loaded into Jim Baker’s Suburban to be transported to Quality Roll in Saginaw, MI where it will be used as a template for the new piece.

Doug Crary operated the skid-steer in the tight quarters to pull the piece from under the boiler and then outside for loading. Jim Baker & John Sorrel helped guide Doug as the piece is carefully slid in.

Two braces were welded across the old piece to help it keep its shape and hence usefulness as a pattern. A FANTASTIC weekend was had with help from MIke Wahl, Jim Baker, Lee Nelson, Bob Ristow, Phil Blinderman, Pat Campion, Kelly Bauman, Bob Jackson, Jim Busse, Rick Peters, Dave Wantz, Dave Bierman, John Winter, Jim Connor, John Decker, Steve Brist, George Falor, and no doubt some I have missed. Those that kept the train running help those who worked in the shop by letting us keep working!

Another great boost was received Friday afternoon with a pledge of $17,000 for continued work which helps the contributions go much further.

At this point in time, the 2nd course piece is in Michigan to be used as a pattern; the steel for the new 2nd course patch is in transit; the components for the smokebox proper have been fabricated and are awaiting pickup in Milwaukee; the new 3rd course patch has been fabricated and is awaiting pickup in Milwaukee; we are awaiting a quote for staybolts; we have ordered the magnetic testing of the driver wheel centers; we have received the first batch of boiler studs that are 3/4 finished and we are formulating a request for quote for rivets.

I cannot say enough to thank all the people who are working so hard keeping us moving toward our goal. WE ARE DOING THIS!

Isotopes and X-Rays

We are in the nuclear age, but no we are not changing the fuel the #1 will be using. The technicians had to setup a safety perimiter for themselves and anyone around. The radioactive isotope is actually housed in the box on the floor that has a hand crank connected by the long yellow cables. After the X-ray film is placed on the boiler, a tech turns the hand crank that pushes the isotope to the end of the wand. In this application the wand has a machined piece of solid tungsten placed over it to aim the radiation in a column in one direction to shoot through thesteel.

Under the tape on the side of the boiler are lead numbers that will be used as locating marks to tell where a shot was taken. The lead will block a fair amount of the radiation and show up almost white on the negative.

Another great hurdle has been cleared today. X-rays on the first course patch all showed good welds! The 1st course patch is DONE! While there, they also shot the throat sheet knuckle pad welding and around the boiler check. The throat sheet is good and there are no more cracks around the boiler check than what had been found.

First Boiler Course Welding Completed

Here are some photos taken today. They show Mike from Becker’s padwelding the fireman’s side of the firebox where the spring rigging had dug in. It also shows the finish weld on the first course. YES! The first course welding is complete and will be X-rayed Friday.

There are also shots of prep work going on on the firebox for more buildup welding and removal of staybolts. The shot of Dave Lee drilling is part of the prep for staybolt removal, also.

The welding on the barrel of the Montreal has progressed to the point of the first X-Ray testing. The welding has been completed on the 1st course patch and radiographing will take place tomorrow, Friday, January 30. Steel has been ordered and forming will soon take place for the 3rd course patch. The forming of the front tube sheet started earlier this week. A fabricator to form the 2nd course patch is still being sought but hard leads have been found.

A Big Deal: Two New Studs Applied

Two new studs were applied to the boiler of the Western Coal & Coke #1 on December 27th. Big Deal, you say? Indeed it is a big deal for the steam program-more for what it represents than the actual item. These are the first two new parts of many more to come to be permanently installed on the boiler.

The stud itself is a rather mundane item, a piece of rod, really, of varying length according to application with threads on each end. One end is permanently threaded into the boiler shell and the body is used like a bolt to hold brackets for various appliances on the boiler. Those appliances include things like running boards, air compressors, brake stands and the cab.

In this rebuild we will be replacing all the studs. To prepare for that many volunteer hours have been spent measureing the length and diameter of each one. Another major task has been creating a system to precisely log the location of each stud on the boiler shell so those locations can be transferred to the drawings being made as the rebuild progresses. Many hours are also going into those drawings.

The next task tackled was determining the best method for removal of the old studs. All known processes were tested and the most effective that caused the least stress on the boiler was chosen. At the same time archives were searched and a 1940’s Baldwin standard for stud manufacture was chosen as the specification for the new studs.

Our next step, after determining what was required, was to find a supplier for the proper certified material. A supplier was found and one of our members donated the material. A procedure was then written up that will govern the removal, manufacture and installation of the studs which involved even more volunteer time.

At the same time test pieces were machined to check the manufacturing procedures as well as to produce some jigs to aid the process. After the test pieces were made and the jigs tested out two studs have been so far produced and installed. Big Deal, you say? You decide.

First Permanent Replacement Parts Applied to WC&C #1

This is a Red Letter Day for the Mechanical Shop at North Freedom. Today the first two permanent replacement parts were applied to the boiler of the Western Coal & Coke #1. Al Joyce and Bob Ristow installed the first two of approximately 150 studs in the first course of the boiler barrel. John Risley was also performing build-up welding on the frame so material is being applied there as well.

Progress is being made. WE CAN DO THIS!