The beginning of June saw the last of the components arrive in Durango to facilitate repairs to the #18. With all the parts on hand – pistons, rods, ring material, and cylinder head – the D&SNG machine shop got to work and started “making chips”. The process started with machining the raw cast pistons, next step was fitting the piston rods to the pistons; this process consists of machining the tapers to have a slight interference so when heated they seat together tight. Once the pistons and rods were together rings were machined of iron. The rings are machined in a relaxed position and gaped so they can both be opened up to fit into the ring grooves, and so when compressed they fit tight to the cylinder bore and have proper ring groove clearance. With all that completed the most important part of the job is fitting the taper to the crosshead itself so when driven tight together the pistons have the proper clearance to both the front and back cylinder heads. All this accomplished, along with some final assembly, and #18 is back in business.
After an initial yard steam test, #18 pulled 3 cars to Rockwood on June 28th and rearranged equipment in the Rockwood yard. #18 performed great on its test run and was caught by Bob Whitney in this short video. Later on the 4th of July #18 spent the day switching the Durango yard, very appropriate for an engine that normally lives in Independence!
Now that #18 is back together the D&SNG has announced that #18 will pull and invitation only Carson Colorado Charter on August 23rd and will head a photo train with Pete Lerro Productions on August 25-26th. Additionally #18 will be out and about occasionally for various other tasks and some short trips prior to her eventual return to California in September. Thanks for all the support and be sure to buys those tickets for upcoming trips and send in those donations, they are greatly appreciated!