Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spring 2014 Steam Department Update



Hello to all of our friends and followers! Winter has passed us by, and as is the case here in California, we never really had one. Spring is upon us and it is time to start considering what we want to, and can accomplish in the 2014 season. 
 
Our primary goal for this year should be completing a successful hydrostatic test on the boiler. For this to happen will take a great deal of effort on the part of all of us, but when we pull together, a lot can get done. This is evidenced by last years effort to get the chassis back on its drivers, as well as putting up the rebuilt springs. When we work as a team it can happen. Thanks again to Roger Stabler for funding the spring rehabilitation!

As I write this, the superheater flue material has arrived in Mineral, Washington and they await the swaging on the ends. This will be done by Stathi Pappas and his crew at the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad. The completed flues will be brought south in June when Stathi’s Porter locomotive number 2 comes back to California for operating dates on several railroads. Thanks to those guys for helping us along with this project. Also thanks again to all of our superheater donors that made this possible! A list of donors is forthcoming.

The Spring work session will be Thursday May 8th through Saturday the 10th.  Someone should be on hand most of that week prior cleaning and priming. Kirk, Dave and Charlie continue this chore, the locomotive is looking far better for it.

Steve Lee, along with our friends from Wasatch Railroad Contractors will be out soon to finish up the welding on the patches after boilermaker Norm Comer completes the fitting of the new metal. We will then be ready for the new rigid and flexible stays. After that there are studs to replace, plugs to make, water glasses to install, and a few other sundry details before we start rolling tubes and flues in. Plans are being made for a full-out two week long session in Portola to get all of this done, more details as they become available.

Again thanks to all of you have been supporting this project, not only with your donations of time, material, and funds, but also with your moral support and kind words of encouragement. That means more to us on the steam crew than you can imagine. See you soon, and have a great Spring season! - JCA

WP 165 in the Portola Roundhouse, October 2nd, 1945 - Bob Sims Collection - FRRS Archives

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fall 2013 Workweek Report



There is nothing like planning a trip a year in advance only to get ill one day before you are supposed to leave for a week. Due to a nasty flu courtesy of our local school district, I was not able to attend the Fall work session. Lucky for me, Steve Lee offered to coordinate things in my stead, not a bad deal to say the least!

Steve reported in after the session, and outlined what was accomplished:

Left main reservoir is on and tightened down.

Right main reservoir:  Will need to move one bracket, which will result in reusing one
stud in its present location and installing two new studs.  The other bracket will be
left in place.

4 of the 6 binders are tight.  Need to chase some of the threads on the #1 binder
studs. 


Wedge adjusters are in place on the #2 and #3, but are not tightened up.  Felt it
unnecessary to do so until we have the engine trammed and everything properly
adjusted.

Once the engine is trammed and all adjustments made, can start hanging the
brake rigging, safety straps, and lower sand pipes.  

Left brake cylinder in place and secured.

More scaling, grinding and priming done. More crap dug out of the mudring.  Still
a lot in there, though.

Rear tube sheet knuckle fitted up and rivet holes drilled.  Ready to weld.

Both sides of tender frame scaled, wire-brushed and primered.  Need to look over
the center sill around the rear truck to see if it is broken/patched like it is at the
front truck.  This thing obviously had a heck of an impact to the rear at one time in
it's past,  as both side sills have been replaced from the rear to about 6 feet forward. 

Norman finished drilling the rear tube sheet patch for riveting.


Left side air tank is up, shown prior to leveling.


Big thanks to Steve for opening the store in my absence. Others helping out this time include Ken and Nancy Harding, Jeff Boone, Dave Roth, Dave Anderson, Kirk Baer, Ed Chase, Hank Stiles, Charlie Spikes, Mike Garritta and Eddie Powell. 


Ken was in the boiler when the locomotive was shoved back into its spot a few feet, so he gave Steve a dime for the fare. That marks the first revenue the 165 has generated since it’s arrival! Steve gave the coin to Gail McClure who will either hold onto it or place it into the General Fund. 

Nancy Harding cleaning scale and assorted detritus. Dave Roth photo.

Jeff Boone helping out. Dave Roth photo.

David Elems attends to something on the pilot beam. Dave Roth photo.

Norm Comer finished fitting up the rear tube sheet knuckle patch, as well as a few other tasks. He will be back to do some riveting soon prior to Wasatch Railroad Contractors welding all of the patches into place.


Thanks again to Steve Habeck, and the Elems for getting everything in place prior to the work session. Having the engine over the pit made working on the binders much easier.


Our next work session will be Spring 2014, May 3rd through May 10th. I hope to have the Superheater flues on site by then, as well as many of the staybolts made up so we can start rolling in tubes. The ultimate goal for next year is a successful hydrostatic test of the boiler. Dave Varley has the FRA Form 4 just about done, a huge undertaking to be sure, thanks to him for sticking with it.


Until next year, have a nice Fall and Holiday season, and be safe! - JCA

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

WPRM Steam Work Dates for 2014




Dates for steam work sessions at Portola in 2014:

Saturday, May 3rd - Saturday, May 10th
Thursday July 17th - Saturday July 19th
Thursday Sept. 25th - Saturday Sept. 27th

Additional dates will be added as necessary. Please contact me ahead of time if you wish to arrange accommodations in the Pullman.

Have a happy and safe 2014! - JCA

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer 2013 Workweek Report

I really do try to plan these work sessions out well in advance. I purchase tooling and materials weeks or even months ahead, line up contractors and volunteers in advance, all this just to make sure everything goes smoothly and efficiently. Rarely do things go “as planned” despite my best efforts, and last week is proof of that. However, it can work out for the best in other, less tangible ways.

Wednesday, July 17th, together with my dad, we set out from my parent’s home in Concord, CA. Since we had the time, and he had never seen the Feather River Canyon, we drove up Hwy. 70, a nice change from going over Donner. Dad was impressed with the scenery, and I have to say, so was I having not seen the Canyon from the driver’s perspective for several decades. Arriving at the museum we moved into our accommodations, air conditioning in perfect working order I might add, and settled in. An invitation to Kirk and Debbie’s house for dinner was the perfect way to wind down. Thanks guys for the nice break!

Upon inspection of the engine on Thursday morning, I was pleased at the amount of work that the “Wednesday Warriors” (Kirk, Dave, Eddie and Larry) have accomplished by way of needle scaling and primer painting. The 165 is finally looking more like a restoration project than a park locomotive. The care and attention to detail these fellows are taking has really paid off, so keep up the momentum and thanks! Charlie Spikes and David Elems have been working on the tender frame, removing deck rivets so that the wasted sheets under the decking can be renewed. Thanks to Charlie, Mike, David and some coaching from Norman our boilermaker as well as earplugs, they were all out by the end of the weekend. The new plate is on hand and can now be marked out and drilled. 
 
Norman with his back to the camera hooks up the knuckle patch to the air hoist while Mike assists.

Severn Edmonds was in by Thursday afternoon much to our delight. He has made it his mission to get the Lodge & Shipley 16” lathe running for the last year, and I can report that we were finally able to make real actual parts on it this time! Thanks to Severn for sticking with it! 

My hope was to start drilling the remainder of the 2” holes in the front tube sheet this time. I purchased a special hole cutter bit and adaptor so it could be used in a conventional drill chuck, and arranged to have Severn borrow the magnetic base drill press from our generous friends at GGRM. Sadly the adaptor did not fit the drill chuck, so Severn is making up a new bit of tooling so this can be done in the fall. A person can only plan for so much, we continue to fight on.

Dave Anderson continues the needle scaling marathon.

Kirk Baer makes cleaning locomotives look good!

On a happier note, Bob Sims has been quietly converting our ancient D&RGW box car into the steam department tool car. I was pleased that some of our tooling was moved out of my overloaded tool “dumpster” and into the car. Hank and Dave got a long steel table from out in the bone yard, straightened the legs and fork lifted it into the car using Bob’s angular calculations. The resulting space is a real boon to the steam guys, and will help productivity greatly given that everything will be at hand, rather than in a messy pile. Thanks to Bob for sticking with the project and to everyone who helped get us moved in.

Our boilermaker, Norman Comer was in from Tuolumne, CA. His efforts were concentrated on fitting the rear tube sheet knuckle patch that Roger cut out in the spring. This project requires a great amount of fussy cutting and measuring, and he will hopefully be back after Railroad Days to finish it up before Cody the Welder is back out in the fall from Cheyenne, Wyoming to finish all the sheet renewal work. 

Severn Edmonds at the helm of the 16" lathe.
Hank and Severn drilling out rivet holes in the new wrapper patch using the magnetic base drill.

Throughout the course of the weekend my dad was content to hang out in the climate controlled zone of the Pullman sleeper and catch up on his reading, and take the occasional nap. This was a nice change from the day to day of his regular home life. He did wander over to the shop periodically to check on our progress, but given that a heat wave was on, and the interior of the building was hotter than the hinges of hell, we only saw him briefly. To be honest I wouldn’t have minded joining him in the car from time to time myself.

Traditionally, the summer sessions are our least patronized as far as volunteers go, but I am happy to say that things are looking up. Kirk, Dave, Larry, Charlie, Burr, Mike, David, Hank, Duane, Bob, Norman and Severn did accomplish a great deal, and they have my gratitude, and the gratitude of the Board. 

Saturday night everyone was invited once more to Kirk and Debbie’s for the evening meal. It was a nice gesture, and a great way to get everyone in one place at the same time for conversation and storytelling. This social aspect is what I enjoy most about coming up to Portola, so kudos to you guys for facilitating this "team building" event, we hope we can do it again soon!

A big thank you goes to Gail McClure for designing and printing the new 165 “Heavy Metal” t-shirt for sale in the gift shop. Please pick one up next time you are at the museum! And thanks also to the switch crew lead by Steve Habeck who had the engine and tender spotted right where we wanted it. I know it’s not always easy to move stuff around in that yard, kinda like one of those sliding tile puzzles given the amount of equipment we own.

Sunday morning finally arrived, so dad and I moved out of the Pullman, and we headed out the gate. We returned by way of Pine Grove so I could drop a chunk of railroad iron off at my property. Taking Carson Pass over into California, I managed to avoid Highway 80 entirely, which was great. Dad was likely happy to get back home. I took a pause for the cause and headed back out on the road to LA. I arrived late that evening and decompressed a bit before collapsing. Unenounced to me, a week of sanding and painting ceilings lay ahead; something I really didn’t plan for. - JCA