Boiler Lift to Proceed Tomorrow

Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s steam restoration progress continues in a very noticeable way tomorrow (Oct. 17) with a crane coming to the museum to lift parts of two steam locomotives.

First, Saginaw Timber Company No. 2’s boiler will be lifted on to the frame/running gear. This comes after successful early tests of the running gear in the preceding weeks. Reassembly and further testing will continue in the coming months.

Next, the boiler (along with smokebox and firebox) from C&NW No. 1385 will be removed from its frame/running gear. The boiler will be set down in the space next to the Engine House being vacated by No. 2’s boiler.

This move marks a transition in the C&NW 1385 project from focusing on rebuilding the tender (which will be completed in the coming weeks) to working on the locomotive itself. The separation of the boiler from the frame/running gear will allow easier access to parts for restoration work and reverse engineering of replacement parts as the project moves forward.

Annotated C&NW 1385

C&NW 1385 with major components labeled. Photo by Jeffrey Lentz.

Crane Built to Assist with Restoration

Bob and Dave have built a crane to lift and position the front tube sheet for the WC&C #1. We test drove the crane last week.

Welding on the rear sheet continues as well as work on the frame and running gear. During Snow Train™ weekend, riveting the mud ring was started.

July 10-11, 2004 WC&C #1 Work Session

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.

Progress on Fitting Second Boiler Course

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.