Southern Pacific #18 restoration – October 2014

Heating up the water in the boiler prior to the hydro.

Heating up the water in the boiler prior to the hydro.

Marty and Charlie relax after the hydro.

Marty and Charlie relax after the hydro.

The front tube sheet minus the steam pipes and tee. The lower right stud in the photo was the issue.

The front tube sheet minus the steam pipes and tee. The lower right stud in the photo was the issue.

The tee on the bench.

The tee on the bench.

Dave's trusty forklift with Doug at the controls.

Dave’s trusty forklift with Doug at the controls.

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Coming in for a landing with the cab.

October 17th was a big day for this little restoration project. The FRA inspector was in town to witness the boiler hydro. To make sure that all was ready, Charlie and Rick gave the final half-roll on all the flues on the firebox end since earlier in the month our boiler welder Robby had finished the flue welding.

Next was to heat the water to the proper temperature required by the FRA to perform the official hydro, about 110 degrees is where we ended up. The hydro and subsequent inspection took the about half of the day Friday and almost everything was great. The one issue we discovered was a leak on one of the four studs holding the steam tee to the front flue sheet in the smoke box. This leak hadn’t appeared earlier. Since we had just put the steam pipes in since the last hydro, we proceeded to remove both pipes (practice makes perfect) and the tee. Upon inspection the lower fireman’s stud was leaking. Thankfully it appears that we can caulk it and it should be just fine.

With the FRA inspector on his way back to Sacramento it was time to move on to the next projects and get ready for the BBQ dinner on Saturday.

First up the cab. After considering multiple options on how to reinstall it (the tent wasn’t there when it came off), we felt it could be accomplished with some fork extensions on the forklift and rolling the engine to the front of the tent. Well, almost. After a couple try’s it was decided to abort the attempt and try plan B at the next work party.

Under the loco progress was being made with the brake rigging installation, although we have no photos to prove it, by the end of the weekend about 80% of the brake rigging had been installed and we should have the rest done at the next work day.

Finally, the BBQ! Once again, there was more support than could be imagined from a small town of 587 people. At the end of the night, after expenses, we had made $10,437 dollars!!! Of that almost $4000 was from raffle tickets alone! We also received one very generous $5000 donation!! We tried our first ever auction which earned $526 on the sale of one of the old piston rings, thanks Keith from Lone Pine.

To sum up the weekend, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone that contributed with the labor to put it on and through the kind donations of money as well as raffle prizes that we received, as always it couldn’t be done without you.

I also want everyone to check out Ed Fleming’s new Volume 2 Restoration Video trailer, once again Ed is making a great documentary and if you haven’t picked up a copy of volume 1 you’re missing out.

Southern Pacific #18 restoration – September 2014

With apologies from your webmasters for their lack of timely posts, we are finally able to provide you with a proper update.

We worked two weekends in September, the 13-14th and 20-21st. The first weekend was spent on a few fronts. First off was finalizing the shoes and wedges. In all, 3 shoes needed some adjusting. When set correctly the shoes, which are located ahead of each driver box between it and the frame, set the driver axles square with the frame and at the correct distances between axle centers. This is not a difficult job to shim them, if you have a pit. Since we don’t have a pit it took us all weekend and we finished up the following Saturday. With that job done we can finish installing the brake rigging and fuel lines.

The #18 under hydro at 225psi.

The #18 under hydro at 225psi.

Dave and Forrest working on capping the safety valves

Dave and Forrest working on capping the safety valves

Our newest member John works on seating in the donuts on the steam pipes

Our newest member John works on seating in the donuts on the steam pipes

The finished job

The finished job

Looking east from the future end of track.

Looking east from the future end of track.

ccrw birthday bash tickets 2014

We also spent some time getting things ready for the hydro the following weekend as well as re-seating the copper gasket on the right steam chest. Both of these jobs were completed and we came back Saturday the 20th ready to hydro.

When performing a hydro test to FRA requirements the boiler must be taken to 1 1/4 times maximum operating pressure. Since the #18 will operate at 180 psi, we must hydro the boiler to 225 psi. To get the boiler to this pressure we decided to use a normal pressure washer and plumb it through the blow-down. By adding a second valve off the pressure washer we could easily control the pressure right where we wanted it. The hydro went great! We are now ready to weld the flues on the firebox side and have scheduled to have the FRA in town to perform the official hydro test in the next month.

Aside from the hydro we were able to get both steam pipes re-installed in the smokebox. These pipes are big and heavy and have a cast iron donut on each end to seal them to the dry pipe and saddle. We wrestled with them for the better part of Sunday and finally got them in place and seated.

Over at the museum on Saturday; Forest, Bob and Rick were able to get the last of the ties moved out of the right of way. While there are still things to get rid of, we were able to have the surveyor out to do his work. Turns out the 600 feet of main line track will have a 3.14% grade, probably about what the #18 would have experience at some point on Mt. Montgomery.

Finally, please mark your calendars for our annual Birthday BBQ. October 18th in Independence, this is our biggest single fundraiser of the year. If you haven’t been before your missing out on the best trash can tri-tip anywhere around!