Sometimes, despite the best planning, we have one of those crazy days where everything converges at once. Today was one of those days.
We are preparing for the insertion of the crankpins (into the driving wheels) an operation that requires precision machining, coordination, and a bit of low-tech magic in the form of liquid nitrogen. In order to insert the steel pins with the least amount of stress to the cast iron wheels, we are freezing them in liquid nitrogen, which shrinks them for a few minutes and gives us some time to insert them before they expand into place. Today’s schedule called for double-checking measurements, and doing a practice run to get comfortable with the process. Tomorrow is the big day for the actual insertion.
Additionally, some of our key volunteer staff have stepped up to fill in the gaps left by our limited paid staff, and attempt to get the Shay #2 running again for the weekend. A problem with a cylinder lubricator was repaired, but another problem was discovered with the #1 piston. Unfortunately, that issue will require more time to repair, so “another diesel weekend”, as the engine crew says.
To top things off, we have added a documentary film crew to our menagerie. The team from Kailuna Productions is producing a series of documentaries about historic restorations, and is shining the spotlight on the Sierra #3 restoration. This requires a bit of effort on our part, to accomodate the extra folks in the physical space, as well as interpreting the project for the camera.
We also had several tour groups in the park today, with volunteers Darryl Bramlette and John Stier leading tours (along with regular Thursday tour guide Ron Jeske), sent off the smokebox ring to Chelachtie Boiler Works for mating to the new boiler, and procured a hydraulic press rental for use on the project.
We ended the day with the test run of the freezing process, with an impressive display of the physical properties of liquid nitrogen. Whew. Long day.