“Paint, copper and lights – oh the joy”
The last 4 weeks has seem some amazing progress and
some learning experiences that only resolve one to work better and more
efficiently. The learning is really something that is not anyone’s fault – we
just simply do not have the full depth of knowledge and tools or the facilities
that were around 50 years ago. Rest assured there is a wide range of ages in
the volunteer group so we are spreading and sharing the knowledge as much as
possible. With knowledge comes the efficiency.
So what has been happening?
Let’s start at the regulator. We have moved forward many
leaps in the regulator valve assembly. Some may remember a bird had created quite a nice home and two vacuum cleaners later the associated bird poop and straw finally been cleared. The
lapping of the 5 valve seats is now complete after many hours of
sitting atop the boiler and hand cranking a socket to create the grinding
action – great job guys and not an easy task. Once checked and quality checked
the valves will be set in place and the cam and housing bolted down. The cover
plate, a curved section of steel with handles has also been primed and painted
6029 Black, all ready and waiting now for the installation to happen.
The firebox has seen some interesting work.
The coal is delivered to the firebox via the auger which apart from making an
unbelievably loud noise when running partially crushes the coal into “bite”
sized pieces. These then need to be flung to the front of the firebox, the
sides, the middle and the back. This is done by 5 steam jets mounted onto the
stoker table plate. The housing for the jets and the table plate all rest
inside the firebox and need to be bolted onto the auger housing which in turn
is bolted to the firebox. This meant a new tool had to be fashioned to enable
bolts to be held while they were tightened. Also this all had to be done from
inside the firebox. The five steam jets are managed by the fireman from the cab
where they are mounted onto a manifold which allows for the distribution via 5 uniquely
different valves. The unique handles allows the fireman to control coal flow to different parts of the firebox independently and perhaps more importantly, in the dark!
The manifold and stoker motor steam
feed pipe are supplied with steam by the one pipe delivering full boiler pressure, super heated steam, all regulated by one valve. This allows the jets and stoker
motor and hence coal auger all operate together as one system. The stoker normally runs at a low pressure, and there is a valve available to the fireman that sends full pressure to the motor if there is a blockage in the auger. This all means that there are quite a few copper pipes to be refitted and wouldn't you know it, one is missing, and as always, it has special fittings on the end, meaning that we really need to locate the original that was removed a few years ago before the boiler was lifted out. Speaking of copper piping, there has been significant effort to renew many of the old lengths of pipe joining various systems on the loco including the stoker motor and oilers. The work is neat and really shows that testing is approaching.
The painting efforts continue. Those that have been able to
see 6029 recently will note we are starting to cover exposed areas in primer
and top coat including parts of the boiler cladding and smoke box. Getting that
smooth finish is a challenge and the application of many coats and use of the
spray gun will ensure this happens. Anyone with experience in spray painting
that can assist or offer help please step up to the plate your help would be
Painting and cleaning under the engine continues also – the
rear tank has now seen intense cleaning and scraping plus application of
primer ready for top coating. The rear light has been assembled and re-installed on
its mounts. This can be seen in the attached photos and it really starts to put
a statement out there that this project is moving continually towards
completion. Anyone experienced in running electrical cable is welcome to step
up and offer help shortly.
So where are we with water testing? Test one and two were
conducted recently just prior to the visit from Thomas. Both showed leaks down
the lines from the front tank through the balance pipe and into the injectors.
The first set of leaks, from the front tank back to the balance valve was taken
care of. When we tested for the second time a significant leak was detected in
the pipe from the rear tank forward to the balance valve just under the cab –
most inconvenient – plus the fireman’s side injector inlet union appears to
require attention. The pipe under the cab poses a major challenge as
essentially we are trying to stretch that pipe between two fittings mounted on
the frame. The latter are very much fixed in position so the only adjustment is in the gaskets and that
is not so simple to solve unfortunately. These leaks do need to be solved to stick to
schedule so all attention will be focused on his activity next work day.
Last but not least, the last motion pins raised its ugly head last
week – one tapered pin had sheared off many years back and presented us with a challenging
drilling job. But all is not lost... word has just come through that Al has performed yet another splendid drilling job
and removed the embedded length. What can be said except onward and forward!