After a fun celebration on the 4th, we got back to work the last weekend of July. Work was focused on the final components necessary before doing a test steam up on the #18.
First on the list was making a new blower line and finishing off the blower ring in the smoke box. The original blower line is at this point one of the few lines on the locomotive we have found were the original had not been reusable. The blower, designed to provide a draft, originally terminated in the smoke box with just an open pipe somewhat pointed up the stack. Since it was well worn we decided to upgrade it with a blower ring, or pipe that circles the exhaust nozzle with multiple small holes with pipe nipples in them aimed to the center of the exhaust. A day of bending, drilling and threading had that complete. Next, a new line from the cab to the smoke box was threaded and bent, about a 12′ length of 1″ schedule 80 pipe. With all that work, we now have a blower!
Also completed was the fitting up of the injectors, although some of this will ultimately come back apart to complete the mudding and last of the jacketing, we at least have it all fitted and know it will work.
Beyond these two larger projects were some smaller ones such as fitting up the air compressor intake filter and continuing work on the sanders. As things now stand, we are ready for the last big hurdle in the restoration, steam testing. With a successful steam test in the near future we will be able to finish the jacketing and complete the assembly of the air system and a host of other small stuff. We are all excited and feel we are well on track for a 2016 completion of the #18 restoration!