After getting the boiler water tight and completing the hydrostatic testing, everything that was taken apart begins to come back together. All of the items removed from the locomotive for access to the boiler were closely inspected for wear and tear and either determined to be refurbished, replaced with like materials, or found safe and suitable to go back on the engine. The list of parts is extensive, but here are the highlights from the last few months.
The firepan and damper box had to have extensive work done on them. The bottom of the firepan was replaced with steel plate. The old firepan had been reinforced with 40 lb. rail in two places. The ends of the old rail had been forged smaller to fit flush with the firepan and then riveted on. This kind of repair clearly demonstrates the thriftiness and ingenuity of a lean short line railroad. The lead restoration worker was unable to determine whether or not this firepan was the original one from 1922. An entirely new damper box was constructed with exception of the riveted joints. The sides of the box were replaced with plate. The damper box is now made up of both old and new fabric.
Moving along to the front end, all the bits in the smoke box were reinstalled. The superheater elements, that had been tested previously for leaks went in and were tightened with a careful touch to avoid breaking the header. The header is a complex iron casting in the front end that receives saturated steam from the throttle, distributes it to the superheater elements, collects the superheated steam and delivers it to the piston valves through the distribution pipes.
When the original nozzle stand was tightened back into place, one of the mounting flanges broke off while being tightened down. Inspection at the break revealed that the metal was extremely thinned from 94 years of being exposed to the corrosive environment of the smoke box. Miraculously, the new old stock replacement part was found outdoors alongside the warehouse. It was in pristine, unused, unapplied condition. The “new” nozzle was identical to the old one. Finding this part was a huge time saver, for had we not found it, we would have had to make a pattern and send off to the foundry for casting. Volunteer Robert Williams came in and machined the new holes for the studs and fly cut the base, as the “new” nozzle stand was a rough casting.
After the nozzle stand was tightened down, the petticoat and smoke box netting were installed. The smoke box ring and door were freshened up and placed back on making the front end look like its old familiar self.
The bell was polished by spinning on a lathe and reinstalled after new pins had been made.
The sand dome went on.
At the cab, the floor and cab braces were patched with new steel, replacing the old, bent and pitted plate that was there before.
The lubricator lines were reinstalled and then the lagging was applied. The lubricator lines go in at this time because they travel all along the boiler from the backhead. They are hidden under the jacket.
The lagging (insulation that covers the boiler) is composed of calcium silicate blocks. Until the early 1980s it contained asbestos. All of the material used today is asbestos free. The blocks are held in place along the boiler barrel with wire, and then given a rough top coat of “mud”. The mud is calcium based cement that is plastered into the crevices between the lagging blocks. This insulation helps to retain the heat in the boiler. It also evens out the surface of the boiler so that the sheet metal jacket has continuous support beneath it which keeps it smooth and good looking.
Now we are working inside the firebox adding new refractory brick after reinstalling the old burner. The burner is a Von Boden, made in San Francisco.
Meanwhile Eric is putting the finishing touches on the tender and also painting the plumbing lines and accessories.
The steam fountain comes next. It is the main manifold located at the top of the boiler in the cab that distributes steam to all of the accessories. It comprised of the main steam shut off (turret valve) and other associated valves that control the flow of steam to all of the accessories such as the injectors, air compressor, fireman’s manifold, etc. Look for details on our next blog entry.