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.
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!