Friday, November 9, 2012

Number 19 Progress...

Work is continuing on Sumpter Valley Railway number 19. The new firebox sheets are going in, the fireman's side reinforcing plate for the boiler check has been replaced, and the boiler is almost ready for tubes.

The old boiler check patch has been removed, and the area has been cleaned and the boiler shell is being dye checked for cracking.

The new patch has been rolled to match the boiler diameter, and it is being test fitted prior to drilling.

The boiler contractors are checking the internal fit of the new reinforcing plate.

With the cab floor removed it was possible to remove the last of the mudring rivets.

 The new plate being drilled out on the railroad's refurbished drill press.

The new patch is being bored out and aligned prior to riveting.

Hot riveting is underway on the fireman's side.

The last rivet is being driven home.

Both the front and rear tube sheets were also cleaned and dye tested to check for cracking. Both sheets are in very good condition and required only minimal repair.

The new boiler tubes are ready to be installed.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Heisler Boiler Wash...

Every 31 service days a steam locomotive must have its boiler drained, washed out, water glasses inspected and cleaned, and the firebox inspected and hammer tested. With the new regiment of boiler treatment we have been using, we were expecting a large amount of scale to come out in the wash. It turned out to only be a few cups of accumulation from the tubes, which is a very good.

The rear belly plug is out and sitting on the frame. Notice a little bit of color in the water as it drains out.

Four plugs in the mud ring, two in the boiler belly, two on the back head, and two in the "wagon top" section of the boiler. They all come out to gain access to different sections of the boiler interior with the washing wand. 

The fire car pulls double duty on a wash day. One person runs the pump and maintains the water level while another washes the boiler. Both people tend to get very wet.

Steve Christy rolls up the hoses after Taylor Rush has replaced the washout plugs, done the firebox inspection, and refilled the boiler.

Good for another 31 days of service.

After being refilled with water, a small fire is lit and the locomotive is very slowly warmed up. Not only does this help reduce stresses, but it allows for a quicker hostling the following day.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

At the Backshop...

Our regional FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) inspector was up in mid-Septemeber to do an internal inspection on number 19 prior to the new tubes going in. He found no problems and approved the locomotive for the repairs. While we've been waiting on the last of the new components to arrive, work has been underway on cleaning and prepping the undercarriage for paint.

The Heisler is providing the steam to clean number 19. Number 3 was cleaned earlier in the afternoon in preparation for a boiler wash.

Not quite under steam in this picture, more "over" steam. Ha. 

The steam chest is definitely going to need a fresh coat of paint.

The running gear is starting to look like it should. The rods all need to be polished, and the drivers repainted, but most of the oil, grease, and debris has been removed.

The engineer's side builders plate from number 19. This plate is a replica as the original plates from both number 19 and 20 were removed at some point in Alaska and are currently in a private collection.

Monday, August 13, 2012

D&RGW RPO 122...

Denver & Rio Grande Western RPO number 122 has been moved into the backshop at McEwen for some much needed stabalization and repair. This car was constructed as a baggage car by the Denver & Rio Grande in 1881, and was originally numbered 23. It was heavily rebuilt and upgraded to its current configuration for service on the "Shavano" train, and was later transferred to the "San Juan" when the former was discontinued. Later the car was modified for work train service and was renumbered X122. It was stripped of its passenger trucks which were put under car number 331 for service on the tourist trains of the Silverton Branch. Retired from service it was sold to Don Drawer for use on his private railroad the Sundown & Southern, but it saw only very limited use. It languished in Colorado until it was purchased by the Sumpter Valley Railroad and moved to McEwen in 2001. Current plans call for the car to be rebuilt as a wheelchair accessible loading car with a small limited use restroom being added along with a section for coach seating. The exterior will be rebuilt to reflect the historic appearance of number 122 when it was in service in the 1930s, while the interior will be upgraded, but will still retain much of the original interior siding and other details.

Number 122 in service on the Denver & Rio Grande Western in 1939. When refurbished the car will carry this livery.

Steam Locomotive Repairs...

When it comes to steam locomotives, work is always underway. On Sumpter Valley Railway Mikado number 19 the disassembly stage of her overhaul is finally complete with the rear section of the firepan coming out to facilitate the installation of the new door sheet sections.Reassembly will begin shortly, and despite several delays, it is still hoped that the big oil-burner will be ready in time for the October photo trains.

Jerry Huck cuts the rear of the firepan loose so that the upper side section can come off.

Two sections of the removed firepan showing the draft holes. The large scraped area in the middle of the sheet is where the trailing truck has rubbed against the firepan on tight curves and switches. Sister locomotive number 20 has an inset section in this area to allow the trailing truck more swing. Number 19 will be modified with an indentation as well on the new firepan.

The oak flooring has been pulled and the steel sub-floor of the cab has also been cut out to remove the mud ring rivets.

The door sheet on number 19 shows off its missing rivets and staybolts. All of these fasteners will be replaced when the interior sheet is renewed.

A clear view under the rear of the cab since the back half of the firepan has been removed.

Heisler number 3 has recieved attention as well. Bret Bane is performing some minor repairs to the sander valve which had a broken pull rod connector.

A new check valve for the fireman's side water injector on number 3. Since this photo was taken the engineer's side has also received a new check valve.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Water Tower Repairs...

Work has been underway to replace three of the four main support timbers on the former Oregon Lumber Company water tower at McEwen. The Kinsman Foundation awarded a grant to the Sumpter Valley Railroad to complete these structural repairs, as well as building a protective frost box for the feed pipes and upgrading the pump system to allow for winter operations. The new support timbers were cut on the steam powered sawmill at Antique Powerland in Brooks, Oregon.

The first of the three cross supports has been replaced. This beam was the most heavily rotted, and also the easiest to remove. The water tower house was lifted by the forklift and then blocked up so the beam could be slid out and the new beam slid in, then the house was set back on the supports. After some minor adjustments the house was bolted to the beam.

The second beam has been pulled out with the forklift. To remove this beam, not only the house, but the water tank itself had to be lifted slightly for removal and replacement.

With the second beam out of the way you get a good view not only of the McEwen depot, but also the bottom of the steel tank. Originally the water tank would have been made of redwood staves banded together. Unfortunately when the water tower was relocated to McEwen from Bates, the original tank was found to be completely unusable, though the steel tank bands have been preserved for posterity. 

As the forklift can only access the tower from the side, the new beam had to be strapped to a fork and cantelivered into place.  

Lining the beam up.

 Checking the clearances and making sure there are no obstructions.

Sliding it into place and making the final adjustments with a sledge hammer. 

All the beams are in place as well as the new support brackets. Next up on the repair list for the tower is painting the base, some minor structural repair to the tank house, and then a lot of siding repair. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Steam Returns to the Valley...

The first train of the year was a small charter on May 7, 2012, but it was a good chance to give Heisler number 3 and coach number 20 a break-in run as both pieces of equipment had received repairs over the winter.

Safety Weekend...

On April 28th and 29th the Sumpter Valley Railroad held its annual Safety Weekend and all in attendance agreed that it was one of the best we had held in years. This year focused less on book work and more on the hands on aspect of operations and safety. Attendees were coached in locomotive operations, train handling, routine maintenance and servicing, and even got a chance to familiarize themselves with our switcher locomotive number 110. Breakfast and lunch were provided on both days, Sunday being served by Linda Raney out of the Western Railway Preservation Society's newly refurbished 1883 vintage Denver & Rio Grande Western outfit car number 04951. In addition, the weather was excellent, and much progress was made on minor projects around the yard as well as routine maintenance on the passenger equipment and locomotives.

If you were unable to attend this years Safety Weekend be sure to mark your calendar for next spring as attendance is mandatory for operating crews. CLICK HERE for more information on membership and volunteering.

Heisler Hydro...

As the Sumpter Valley Railroad is under the regulations of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) each year the locomotives must undergo a full hydrostatic test and inspection before entering service.

Heisler number 3 has been reassembled and is being warmed up for her annual hydro test and inspection tomorrow. The water in the boiler is heated to between 70 and 100 degrees for a hydro test to relieve stress on the boiler and tubes.

Our CMO Scott Hutton (left) and Road Foreman of Engines Steve Christy (right) are carrying out the hydro test on Heisler number 3. Also assisting but not pictured are Eric Wunz and Taylor Rush. The 97-year old locomotive was pressure tested to 231.25 psi, or 125% of her permitted operating pressure of 185 psi. However though she is certified to a higher pressure, we only run her at 150 psi. It was a good test, no problems to report, number 3 is ready for the summer!