Southern Pacific #18 restoration – April 2015

Smoke box with baffels

Smoke box with baffles

Marty and Randy installing the front end components

Marty and Randy installing the front end components

The front is on once again

The front is on once again

Dave and Bob guide the locomotive out

Dave and Bob guide the locomotive out

Work in April was more of the same on the #18, jacketing, smoke box, and plumbing.

The smoke box was the big push. The first thing was to manufacture and install the baffles. We first cleaned up the old studs on the tube sheet and made two angle iron brackets to bolt above the tube holes. Then, using the 1/4″ plate Forrest had previously roughed into size, we cut the plate into three pieces and bolted it to the new brackets. Finally we made a lower bracket that spanned the width of the smoke box. It took two of us with long arms to reach the lower bolts and tighten them up. With baffles in, Marty began to manufacture a blower ring. Because the original single pipe angled upwards providing the blower was in poor shape, we decided to make a blower ring. A blower ring is effectively a circle of pipe that goes around the exhaust nozzle with – in this application – four small holes directed towards a center point in the exhaust. This is a common thing on locomotives and a big improvement over the single pipe. After all the internal smoke box work was complete we installed the smoke box door and frame. Official videographer Ed did a short fill of its installation which can be viewed here.

The only problem is the smoke tack is too tall

The only problem is the smoke stack is too tall for the tent.

Almost all the way out

Almost all the way out

Guiding the dome into place

Guiding the dome into place

While all the smoke box work was going on, it was time to put our new snap track into service and bring the engine out to install the sand dome and air pump. Because of the height of the stack and tent door we couldn’t bring the engine all the way out – this is in process of being remedied with a new door. As in the past, the locomotive easily rolled out, farther than it’s been to date. With the stack almost against the tent door we had enough room to set both the sand dome and air pump. As we had also found in the past, there is a very slight down hill grade and combined with the freshly rebuilt running gear, a half dozen guys can push the engine back inside the tent without too much trouble.

Now for the air pump

Now for the air pump

Sand dome base in place

Sand dome base in place

With the sand dome in place, Forrest and Doug spent the rest of the weekend continuing on the jacketing. By quitting time on Sunday the jacketing was starting to really look good. One or two more work weekends should have it complete, except of course for the cab portion.

The final weekends project was to continue to manufacture all of the in cab lube lines and connections, most of which we were able to complete. All of these will ultimately come back out, but at least there will not be any issue doing the final assembly.

Once again it was a productive weekend and we are one step closer to having steam!

The air pump is back on

The air pump is back on

Forrest and Doug continue the jacket work

Forrest and Doug continue the jacket work

The jacketing at the end of the weekend

The jacketing at the end of the weekend

Cab plumbing with new brass lines

Cab plumbing with new brass lines

Southern Pacific #18 restoration-March 2015

On the weekend of March 28-29 a good number of us gathered once again to tackle more work on the #18. On the list of jobs to do was to install the firebrick, finish fabricating and install the petticoat mounts, cut and install more boiler jacketing, finish plumbing and then mount the burner, and last but not least build some panel track so we can roll the #18 out of the tent far enough to set the sand dome atop the boiler.

Marty helping Scott with trimming and installing the firebrick.

Marty helping Scott with trimming and installing the firebrick.

Firebrick in the fire box.

Firebrick in the fire box.

Everything on that list was accomplished. Scott and Marty spent the majority of both days laying out and installing the firebrick in the firebox. This required lots of fitting and chipping and refitting. The firebrick has several functions, it insulates the firebox sheets from the direct heat of the fire, stays hot (glowing red) after the fire is out which helps slowly cool the firebox, and if the fire accidently goes out the red hot brick will relight the fire. A special type of high heat mortar is used to hold the brick in place.

Working down under the locomotive, Mike and Ryan finished up the remaining plumbing for the burner. After some cleaning and wrapping the plumbing in insulation, it was all ready to go back on the engine along with the burner.

Forest and Rick meanwhile worked on cutting and fitting the new boiler jacketing. This is a pretty straight forward process of tracing the old jacket sections and cutting the new ones. Simple but time consuming, and even after you copy the old jacket sheets they always seem to need more trimming. After the sheets were cut they were put in place and the brackets installed to clamp them in place.

Jeff working on the petty coat.

Jeff working on the petty coat.

Up front in the smoke box I began assembling and welding the new petticoat pipe mounts. These are different from the originals in that they will be adjustable. Adjustment of the petty coat may come later after the engine has been steamed up and run. If the petticoat is not at the right height above the blast nozzle it can affect the draft in the boiler.  On Sunday, Gary finished the assembly and welding of the mounts. Next time we will work on the baffles and should also be able to reinstall the smokebox door.

Mike and Ryan working on the panel track.

Mike and Ryan working on the panel track.

While all this was going on Dave was gathering rail to assemble the panel track. After finishing the burner, Mike and Ryan helped assemble the track. To accomplish this meant torching the rails to the same length and cutting holes in them for splice bars and all thread to hold the rails at the correct gauge.

Modified 64 rod brass

Modified 64 rod brass

Beyond the weekends work, we also took delivery of the new rod brass billet. Modified-64 brass is the standard material to use with locomotive rod brasses and crown brasses. With the material on hand we are now headed towards getting the new brasses made and the rods installed. To help us facilitate  final machining of the new bushings we now also have a new home for our lathe and mill. Joe Andrews our long time machinist and 50 year Independence resident is moving to Oregon and so we had to move our machine shop to a new location. We will miss Joe, but we have a great new building for the tools.

Our new machine shop

Our new machine shop

Over at the museum, trackage and dirt work plans are being currently reviewed by the County public works department. Once stamped we can proceed with the dirt and track laying. We have also begun the process of getting building quotes and pricing. Things at the museum are moving forward, a little slowly perhaps, but forward none the less.

And lastly, Ed Fleming our official videographer has put together a quick little piece on the bell installation from February. You can check it out here.