Santa Express was a boost for MCRY all around! Not only did we have better ridership than last year but Santa loaned us a few elves for a week!! The work started off Nov. 26th with Head Elf Bob Ristow beginning the transformation of a pile of parts into a smokebox for the WC&C #1. Also up to help was Bob Jackson, Kelly Bauman, Ed Ripp, Jim Baker, Jim Busse and later on to include Doug Crary & Al Joyce.
One step was to lay out the spacing for the door ring studs on 2 half-circles of steel and then drill the holes. The holes will later be threaded and have studs inserted to hold the ring that then holds the smokebox door and engine number plate. Another step accomplished was to lay out the location for and cut the hole for the smokestack in a cylinder of steel that had been rolled and then tacked together. This cylinder forms the body of the smokebox.
There also was a hole laid out and cut for the inspection/cleanout hole on the fireman’s side. As the week progressed and with the aid of a tool loaned by Skip Lichter the two half-circles of steel for the door ring support were fitted to the inside edge of the front of the smokebox and then drilled for the rivets that will hold them in place. Two reinforcing plates or welts for the seam of the smokebox were fitted and then drilled for the rivets that will hold them in place and the smokebox in a circle.
The photos show the semi-finished product.
On the 4th we had additional help from Elf Eric. Sorry but I didn’t get a last name but would be glad to include it later. He helped Al Joyce with the continuing stud program and from Al’s words he’s welcome back any time. Doug Crary ran a welded driving box from the frame through the shaper. This is to give a smooth surface to the repaired face as well as cut the box to the proper dimension. In the photos you can see Doug attending to the machine and then the box at the end of the day. Some work needs yet to be done. The Christmas present of Bob Ristow all week long, Jim Baker for five days, and the others each weekend has been a huge boost on the project.
Indeed it was quite a successful weekend but it will be a day or two yet before I’ll get the pictures sent. The weekend actually started Friday, November 12th as Mike Wahl, Tye Hasheider, Don Engles and myself were able to come in and continue with the fitting process. The patch is nearly the right size so we are drilling the holes in the edges that will eventually become the rivet holes and bolting it in place as we go. We are working from the engineer’s side over to the fireman’s side to draw the steel into shape and determine how much more must be cut or ground off for the final fit. We’ve found that even with careful measurement and using the old piece as a pattern, the new patch still isn’t exactly the right shape. After all the bolts are in, some heat and persuasion will be applied to complete the job.
A magnetic base drill was rented to make the holes because this allows much more precise positioning and the magnet generally holds the drill quite still while punching through the steel. It was also used to drill out a broken bolt in the frame.
On Saturday, Mike, Tye, and Don returned and we were joined by Rick Peters, Kelly Bauman, Betsy Zonnerville, Jim Connor, Doug Klitzke, Al Joyce, Pat Weeden, and John Risley. Rick and John had earlier worked on repairing the cracks in the drivers and continued on with that task. The depth of the crack has to be defined by grinding away the old cast iron until the bottom is found. The area is then pre-heated and filled by welding. Many of the small cracks have been filled but there is still more work ahead.
Mike, Tye, and Don continued with the patch until Don had to leave, then Doug stepped in and gave a hand. Earlier Doug and Jim Connor unboxed a boiler tool that had been returned from loan to the Grand Canyon Railway. Shipping was not completely kind so they had to repair the box. Inspection showed no damage to the tool which is used for cutting a sealing seat in the steam dome of a boiler. It can also be adapted to the same work on a cylinder head.
Al Joyce continued turning out finished studs in the machine shop. Betsy and Kelly first performed some preventative maintenance on locomotive #4 and then inventoried and planned the use of a box of finished studs.
Jim Connor was even able to put a bit of time in on cleaning locomotive #7 to prep it for Santa Train. Our next organized work session is December 11 and 12 but we will also try to get some things done Santa weekend November 27 and 28. Bob Ristow is hoping to stay the week between Santa and Boyscouts to work on layout and fabrication of the new smokebox. He’s working to get a few people that may be able to help through that week. As it happens, my work schedule will have me off the 30th and Dec. 1st and I plan to be on the project.
The turnout was light for the July session. Rick Peters got at least one more binder fit up on the frame to facilitate alignment and also removed the engineer’s side piston from the rod so the piston can be built up and machined to proper size. Steve Seibel and Kelly Bauman helped get the steel frame under the smokebox and we made another step in getting the 2nd course patch fit in. It may seem slow but positive steps are being made all the time.
June’s work weekend resulted in progress on the fitting of the second course of the Montreal. We had a very nice turnout of workers including Mike Wahl, Kelly Bauman, Bob Jackson, Steve Seibel, Doug Klitzke, Darryl Gasser, and Bruce Case. The second course is the tapered course which is especially difficult to fit. Finished to a point where Becker Boiler needs to fabricate an attachment to allow finish fitting of the patch.
Holes were cleaned up for many of the new studs by tapping the sheets with special boiler taps (tappered). It is necessary to ‘clean’ the holes so that a completely sealed ‘joint’ will be made between the stud and sheet. Obviously, leaks will not be tolerated.
Driving box binder fitting was initiated on the frame. This is necessary to determine the repairs and alterations required to renew the shoes and wedges.
Ultra sounding of more of the boiler sheets was also accomplished. Becker Boiler has started welding up the ‘old’ stay bolt holes so that they can be redrilled, reamed and tapped to return the stay bolts to the original 7/8″ diameter size. When a stay bolt breaks, it can be renewed by replacing it with a new bolt a little larger in size (usually 1/16″ larger in diameter). As time goes on, the bolts can wind up much larger than the original size which can result in more frequent breakage. Returning the bolts to the orginal design size will allow future repairs without jeopardizing the original design specifications.
It may seem as though the progress is slow at this time….fitting of the boiler patches are extremely delicate and MUST be done correctly the first time! Various inspections are also requirred through out the boiler patching process which can result in longer lead times.
Plans are being made to manufacture new tube sheets to complete the boiler repairs.
The driving wheel centers for the WC&C #1 were tested for cracks using the Magnaflux process. Heavy cable was coiled around the section of the wheel to be tested. It was then connected to a very large machine similar to a welder. The area to be checked is then sprayed with an indicator which contains fluorescent iron particles. The machine then passes a very large electrical current through the wire to set up a magnetic field in the coil as well as the iron it is coiled around. If there are any cracks in the material, a flux leakage occurs which creates a disturbance in the magnetic field similar to two separate magnets being very close together. The iron particles are attracted to the flux leakage just like the end of a magnet. A very high power ultraviolet light is then shone on the area. If any cracks are present, the concentration of the fluorescent iron particles at the crack are extremely easy to see. The results? A few cracks were detected and final analysis will be determined by the General Foreman of Running Gear.