Fabrication and Installation of Boiler Patches

 

No. 28

No. 28

The No. 28 project is moving right along. Recent focus has been on replacing thinned sections of the firebox. The firebox was assessed after a thorough descaling of  water deposits. Through ultra sonic inspection the crown sheet, knuckle, and area under the firebox door all showed some signs of thinning. The original crown sheet and knuckle were removed and were sent out to have the pieces replicated. The fabricated crown sheet was formed at Benicia Fabrication & Machine, Inc. in Benecia, CA., and the knuckle was formed by Chelatchie Boiler Works, Inc. in Camas, WA..

Original crown sheet being removed.

Norm Comer cutting out original crown sheet.

Portions of the boiler that needed to be replaced were removed in sections by a cutting torch. These pieces were lowered with a electric chain fall and sent out to be duplicated.

Crown sheet removed from     the interior of the boiler.

Crown sheet removed from the interior of the boiler.

Once the crown sheet was removed, the exposed interior of the wrapper sheet was needle scaled to remove accumulated water deposits. After a detailed cleaning the wrapper was inspected for defects. No issues were detected.

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Crown sheet marked for stay bolt holes.

After the crown sheet was formed and returned it was then laid out and measured. The sheet was marked in a grid format. 130 holes were drilled on each half of the crown sheet. These holes will later be tapped and threaded to receive stay bolts. The stay bolts will connect through the wrapper to the firebox sheets.

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Tony Stroud and Phil Hard.

Stay bolt pilot holes were drilled out at 7/8” and later will be opened up by aligned reaming to .920. They will then be tapped with a 1 inch-12 continuous thread through the firebox and wrapper.

Original and fabricated knuckle peices.

Original and fabricated knuckle peices.

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Scott Botfield beveling the knuckle prior to installation.

Upon arrival, the slightly larger fabricated patches were rough cut to size by a cutting torch. The pieces were then ground down until they fit the side sheets. The edges were beveled down to a V which is needed for the welding procedure.

Engine side of crown sheet installed.

Engine side of crown sheet half installed.

 

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New crown sheet halves tacked into place.

 

Greg Nelson welding inside the firebox.

Greg Nelson welding inside the firebox. Photo by Dan Ryan.

 

Greg Nelson welding the seem between the firebox knuckle and crown sheet.

Greg Nelson welding the seam between the firebox knuckle and crown sheet. Photo by Dan Ryan.

New crown sheet and knuckle welded into place.

New crown sheet and knuckle welded into place.

 

Now that the firebox is patched up a substantial amount of work is on the brink. Next step is to thread the stay bolt holes, then installing the stay bolts.

Previous Sierra No. 28 Update: Hydrostatic Testing of Superheater Tubes

Next Step: Tapping and Installing Stay Bolts.

 

Hydrostatic Testing on the Superheater Tubes

Advancement on the No. 28 project-

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Pressurizing superheater tubes.

A hydrostatic test was conducted on all 21 superheater elements. 300 lbs. of pressurized water was applied to determine if there were any leaks. Steam engine Superheaters were engineered to increase efficiency by transforming saturated steam into dry steam.  Saturated steam moves from the throttle valve through the dry pipe into the superheater header attached to the tube sheet in the smoke box. This steam then passes through elements which are housed in the superheater flues. Combustible gasses from the firebox move through the tubes and heat the water and the steam inside of the superheater element.  At the end of it’s cycle through the elements, it proceeds into a separate compartment of the superheater header into the distribution pipes, then on to the piston valves and then on to the main steam cylinders. Dry “superheated” steam is more efficient than wet saturated  steam.

Superheaters are more expensive and require extra maintenance however the benefits are reduced water and fuel consumption.

Interior view of a superheater unit

Interior view of a superheater unit

Performance of a steam locomotive superheater.

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Warren Smith polishing seats prior to hydrostatic test.

Photo of a hydro test conducted on the super heaters.

Park Volunteers Warren Smith and David Ethier performing the hydrostatic test.

 

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Superheater tubes awaiting inspection.

Leaks that were found were marked for repair. Only 3 had leaks and were welded to repair.

 

Tube marked to be repaired

Tube marked to be repaired

After the cleaning, testing, and repairs were completed, the superheater tubes were stored awaiting installation.

Previous Sierra No. 28 Update: Removal of Firebox Pieces for Replacement

Next Step: Fabrication and Installation of Boiler Patches

 

New This Year! Veterans Day Train Rides & Shop Tour!

JAMESTOWN, Calif. – To honor their service and celebrate the patriotic holiday, California State Parks and Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (SHP) are proud to offer veterans and active military personnel with complimentary excursion train rides plus complimentary Park admission on Tuesday, November 11, 2014. In addition, the excursion train running on Veteran’s Day will be pulled by an ex-military diesel locomotive and special Shop Tours will be available.

The 613 is a military Veteran, too!

The 613 is a military Veteran, too!

Veteran and active military personnel are encouraged to wear their uniforms with pride while enjoying a special excursion train ride available at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. this one-day-only on a first-come, first-served basis.

Plus, Park visitors of all ages are encouraged to arrive early on Veteran’s Day for special Shop Tours that will be offered from 10 a.m. to noon. Interested guests will have the chance to get an up-close viewing of exciting repair work currently underway on Sierra No. 28, a 1922 Baldwin locomotive.

See work underway on the Sierra No. 28 restoration in out Shop Tour at 10am.

See work underway on the Sierra No. 28 restoration in out Shop Tour at 10am.

The complimentary admission and train ride offers are valid for veterans who served in the active military, naval, or air service of the United States veterans as defined by Section 980 of the Military and Veterans Code. In addition, any active duty or reserve military personnel for the United States Armed Forces or National Guard of any state also qualify.   Veterans must show their current military ID or proof of discharge under conditions other than dishonorable or bad conduct.

For more information about Railtown 1897 SHP, please call 209-984-3953 or visit http://www.railtown1897.org for updated information. Like us on faceboook.

Buster and Hobo- the Sierra Railway Dogs

One of the most well known celebrities of the late 19th century was a little dog known as Owney the Mail Dog. For nine years and 140,000 miles, Owney travelled the country by rail, always riding in the mail car and cared for by the mail clerks. His fame grew as he traveled across the country and later around the world. Owney is one of many dogs that have taken to rail travel over the years. In Italy, Lampo, rode the trains and his story was told in the book, “Lampo the Traveling Dog,” by Elvio Barlettani. Pepe Marvel, a young dog who regularly rode the   commuter train in Valparaiso, Chile, became an instant celebrity when pictures of him sleeping on a rail car were circulated on the internet.   Pepe was adept at avoiding the transit security and sneaking on board the trains. His traveling days ended when he was finally apprehended and later adopted by a Buenos Aires family.

Buster the Sierra Railway Dog- artist's rendition by Karen Kling

Buster the Sierra Railway Dog- artist’s rendition by Karen Kling

Tuolumne County and the Sierra Railway were not without their own  canine celebrities. Old Bob was a well-known local dog who regularly rode the stage coaches that traveled between Sonora and Milton.  Besides being a friend and companion to the stage-drivers, he was also an eyewitness to several hold-ups. When the coaches were replaced by the railroad, Old Bob was lonely and despondent. One day, he hopped aboard a train to Stockton for a little change of scenery. Not being a city dog, Bob quickly became disenchanted with what Stockton had to offer. Then he spied a hack driven by Frank Robinson and jumped aboard and made himself comfortable under the front seat. From that day on, he was cared for by the hackmen of the city.

Hobo, arrived in Jamestown about 1898 with Station Agent F.T. Boyd.  Hobo found railroading to his liking and made the train station his home base. He loved everyone, but was particularly fond of the rail workers. Hobo was a wanderer and never one to stay in a place for too long. When he grew bored with Jamestown, he hopped aboard a train and rode up the rails to make new friends and see new sights, returning to Jamestown when the mood struck. Hobo didn’t care much for warm temperatures and would make his way to Sugar Pine or Strawberry each year to spend the summer months, returning each fall to Jamestown. Hobo was a village dog and he was fed and cared for by the many members of the community who loved and admired him.

Bummer, was a very intelligent shepherd dog who lived above Sonora with rancher Joseph Barron. Besides his ranch hand duties, Bummer took it upon himself to fetch the daily paper. Rain or shine, Bummer made his way to the Black Oak Station each night and awaited the arrival of the mail train. After receiving the paper from the express messenger, he would hurry home to his master.

Bummer’s career almost ended when he chased a squirrel across the train tracks and derailed a small motor rail car. Badly injured, he crawled home and was nursed back to heath by Barron.

When you are riding the train at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, don’t forget to bring your own canine companion, and remember the history of the Sierra Railway dogs who came before.

 

 

 

Removal of Firebox Pieces for Replacement

The goal of this project is to replace corroded staybolts, and thinned sections of the firebox.  While we have the locomotive disassembled, we are also completing the 1472 day inspection.  It is helpful to understand the anatomy of the boiler in order to follow along.

The firebox is a compartment, within the boiler, where combustion occurs.  It is surrounded by sheets of steel on five sides.  It is through these sheets of steel, that heat is transferred to the water on the other side.  For heat to transfer efficiently, the sheets need to be relatively thin (about 3/8″).  The firebox is subject to up to 13 tons of pressure per square foot.  To prevent collapse from dramatic changes in pressure, the firebox is tied to the outer portion of the boiler (wrapper sheet) by hundreds of bolts which span the distance between the wrapper and the side sheets.  In oil burning locomotives, like the No. 28, the bottom and sides of the firebox are lined with firebricks.

Side view diagram of locomotive boiler showing the location of the firebox, and rear view of firebox.  J.F.Gairns, illustrator

Side view diagram of locomotive boiler showing the location of the firebox in relation to the boiler, and rear view of firebox. J.F.Gairns, illustrator.  (This diagram does not specifically represent the No. 28, so there are some minor differences)

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In his book, A.F. Huston makes the argument in favor of a new kind of boiler, due to the inherent flaws of the radial stay boiler.  The new design never took off, but these photos demonstrate how common these issues are in steam boilers, and underline the challenge of continuous operation of historic boilers today.

x Over time, changes in pressure, as well as exposure to water, condensation, and scale, corrosive forces will prevail.  When the annual inspection was conducted on the boiler in 2010,

Top (water side) of the No. 28 boiler. Over time, the effects of stress corrosion can be seen. When the annual inspection was conducted  in 2009, pitting like this  on the water side of the crown sheet was observed.

 

Butt welded patches are a common repair practice.  This is an example of a previous repair on the No. 28.

Butt welded patches are a common repair practice. This is an example of a previous repair on the No. 28

Staybolts, removed by acetylene torch.  Some removed due to corrosion, others because they were attached to firebox portions that were removed.  In all, approximately 500 staybolts were removed, and will be replaced with new material.

Staybolts, removed by acetylene torch. Some removed due to corrosion, others because they were attached to firebox portions that were removed. In all, approximately 500 staybolts were removed, and will be replaced with new material.

crown sheet being removed

Removing pieces of the crown sheet that have but cut with a torch.

The piece was lowered through the firebox and removed from underneath.

The piece was lowered through the firebox and removed from underneath. lifting eyes welded to crow sheet, handy electric chain hoist– 200 lbs.

The tube sheet bottom being removed

Grinding where tube sheet bottom was removed, in preparation for application of the patch .

To repair the No. 28, it is necessary to remove patches of steel under the tube sheet, under the firebox door, and the crown sheet, including the knuckle where the sides and crown meet, over the door.  On this boiler the rear corners have been repaired twice before, the front once, as the material has been consumed by use.

Next Step:  Hydrostatic Testing on the Superheater tubes

Previous Sierra No. 28 Update: Removal of corroded staybolts; firebox & tube sheet inspection.

Working on the Railroad- Celebration of Workers- Sept 20th

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (SHP) is planning a festive and fun community celebration on Saturday, September 20, 2014, to recognize and honor the hundreds of current and former Sierra Railway, Sierra Railroad and Railtown 1897 SHP workers, their descendants and family members. The celebration will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will include special photographs, temporary exhibits, live music by the Black Irish Band, and more.

The Black Irish Band will perform from 11-2, under the Tulip Tree

As part of the Celebration, the Black Irish Band will perform from 11-2, under the Tulip Tree

Designed to celebrate all the workers who built, maintained and operated the railroad, the special event will include a behind-the-scenes tour of the Historic Shops, Roundhouse, Warehouse and other areas with a focus on sharing information and interpretation about the workers who practiced their trades, their job duties and who they were as individuals and community members.  The special event will also include a “Memory Wall” in the Carriage Room where Park visitors will be invited to post stories and photographs of past railroad workers that will become part of the permanent Park collection.

Tickets to “Working on the Railroad: A Celebration of Sierra Railway Workers” event are free with regular Park admission:  $5 for adults; $3 for youths ages 6-17; and free for children ages 5 and under.  In addition, steam train rides behind the “Movie Star Locomotive” Sierra No. 3 are available hourly that day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and cost $15 for adults; $8 for youths ages 6-17; and are free for children ages 5 and under (train ride tickets include Park admission).

For more information about the “Working on the Railroad” reunion event or to share family stories or photos, please contact Karen Kling at 209-984-8703 or karen.kling@parks.ca.gov.  For more information about Railtown 1897 SHP in general, please call 209-984-3953 or visit www.railtown1897.org.

The Polar Express Train Ride is Coming to Railtown!

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THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is coming to Railtown 1897 State Historic Park! The popular train ride, based on the book and movie – The Polar Express – has made its way to Tuolumne County. Now children of all ages will be able to relive the magical journey of THE POLAR EXPRESS on an hour-long train ride to the North Pole. Guests enjoy hot chocolate and cookies as they ride along with some of the story’s characters such as the Conductor and Hobo. Upon arriving at the “North Pole”, the jolly old elf, Santa himself, will come on board to give each passenger a silver sleigh bell, the “first gift of Christmas”.

Traditionally, tickets for this exciting family holiday event sell out very quickly. Members of Railtown 1897 State Historic Park will have the opportunity to purchase a limited number of tickets in advance of the general public. There are several categories of membership to suit every household – from $35 – $250, as well as business memberships. New members must join by September 5 to participate, and current members must be active through October 31, 2014 in order to participate in the Member Advance Ticket Sales. Trains departing Railtown 1897 are scheduled for 4:00 pm, 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm; Fridays through Sundays December 5-7; 12-14; 19-21. (Railtown 1897 State Historic Park will not be offering train rides on Thanksgiving weekend, 2014, as Polar Express is replacing those train rides).

Tickets are: Coach – $40/person; First Class – $55/person. Children under 2 years of age are free and must be seated on an adult’s lap during the ride. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on October 9, 2014 and will be available for purchase online only at http://www.railtown1897.org. Prior to the general public sales date members of Railtown 1897 State Historic Park will be eligible to participate in Member Advance Ticket Sales. For more information about tickets or membership, please visit www.railtown1897.org.

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is a fundraiser for the California State Railroad Museum Foundation, which supports Railtown 1897 State Historic Park.