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.
Progress was made during the last work weekend. The ultra sounding is basically completed, the rear flue sheet template done, and the second course patch started for fitting. The testing of the wheel centers is scheduled and should be completed shortly, this will tell us the condition of the spokes and centers of the drivers. If you remember, the 1385 drivers had only two spokes that didn’t have cracks and some of the spokes had several cracks. We do have ‘new’ tires that can be machined and shrunk onto the centers.
Spring Fling was compact but successful. We had the help of Doug Klitzke, Kelly Bauman, Jim Connor, Phil Blinderman, John Sorrel, Jeff Bloohm, Bob Jackson, Doug Crary & Mike Wahl. Both diesels were inspected and readied for the season although serious problems were found with the “A” prome mover of the 4. The work of fitting the second course patch is about half done. More ultrasounding was completed and a cardboard template of the rear tubesheet has been made. Our next work session is the 8th & 9th. Opening Day! More of the same, ultrasounding, drilling of staybolts and also drilling rivet holes in the 1st course patch. More fun to be had by all!
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!