October 26-27 was our latest work session in Independence on SP #18 and the 26th was the night of our 4th Annual Birthday BBQ fundraiser. The fundraiser was a great success, with over 170 folks in attendance from near and far for the evenings dinner and activities. We took in a total of just over $14,000.00. That included the BBQ, raffle, merchandise and membership sales as well as individual donations. That is the largest amount we have raised to date on one of our dinners. One such donation came from Sara and Bob Bauer who donated $6500 toward the purchase of the air tanks and boiler insulation. They gave the donation in memory of Chard Walker who was a long time station agent at the Summit station on Cajon pass.
As for the restoration, a significant part was started on Saturday.We began the installation of the tubes in the boiler. We installed 65 tubes (one third the total amount) and cut them to length; none of the tubes were permanently rolled into place. Once the first tube is rolled we have one year before the clock starts on the 1472 days of operation, or 15 years before they must be replaced per the FRA form 4, so we will not start rolling until the drivers are back in place.
Other work done included the installation of the throttle valve and linkage, now when the handle in the cab is pulled the valve in the boiler opens. Bob and Gary also worked on the water glass steam valves and made some plumbing adjustments needed to make the second water glass fit properly.
On Sunday while more tubes were being installed I did some body work on the firebox door. The door was pretty beat up and out of shape. It also had several cracks in the sheet metal. I worked the metal a bit and welded some of the cracks. There’s more work to be done but its closer. Compare it to the photo in the last post.
And mean while up in Washington, the drivers are coming along but will be slightly delayed. After completing the work on the first two drivers it was discovered that the #3 driver axle is too small and will require replacement. It has also been determined that one journal crown brass will also require replacement. All together, that means that we probably will not see the drivers completed until the first of the year and they will cost us a bit more than initially estimated. Its all just part of the process required to bring the #18 back to life!