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A message from Chuck Ham, Superintendent of Buildings & Grounds at Mid-Continent Railway Museum and volunteer with the Saginaw Timber Company No. 2 restoration:
Mid-Continent will close after the last Pumpkin Special train on October 19th. The property will close and electrical and heating will be curtailed except to keep the plumbing from freezing. Full power usage is authorized only for Santa Train and Snow Train weekends. This means that there will be no power or heat in the engine house to continue work on Saginaw Timber Company No. 2 in December, January, February and the first part of March. It is estimated that it will take $1000/month to keep work going through the winter. This will keep the lights, air compressors, machine shop and welding equipment running and provide above freezing temperatures in the engine house and machine shop.
Let's all help make sure that Mid-Continent has an operating steam locomotive for the 2015 season! Your donations are ABSOLUTELY NECCESSARY to make this a reality! Please send your donations to the museum office with the memo "Saginaw Timber No. 2."
Checks can be made payble to Mid-Continent Railway Museum
Mid-Continent Railway Museum
P.O. Box 358
North Freedom, WI 53951
After the exciting first steam up of Saginaw Timber Company No. 2 on Friday, Oct. 10, work continued throughout the weekend of Oct. 11-12. Steam tests were performed on both Saturday and Sunday. Like Friday’s test, Saturday revealed more issues to be worked out. A control valve was found to be defective. It was temporarily replaced with a ball valve that was on hand but a replacement or repair to the existing valve will be necessary before final testing and operation.
Although working better than the previous day, efforts still largely focused on continuing issues with the burner. Trial and error of the various adjustments took up much of the day. The older fuel used for the tests, which has been sitting in the tender since the last time No. 2 operated in 2000, may have contributed to some of the difficulties. Unlike Friday’s test, the oil was pre-warmed this time around. The various adjustments during the day allowed the boiler to reach 130 PSI as of 7:00 p.m.
Another round of testing continued on Sunday morning. More issues were discovered, including some studs slightly hissing under the firebox supports, which were addressed and chalked. On Sunday morning, the 180-pound pop-valve could be seen in action, giving a signal to spectators that the boiler had successfully reached 180 PSI – full operating pressure. The boiler’s maximum operating pressure is 200 PSI, but the locomotive is to be operated at a more conservative 180 PSI.
With operating pressure successfully reached, this series of tests reached their conclusion. Overall the steam test was a success. Although a great deal of work remains, it was an important step for the project. The tests also proved a very visible sign of the eminent return of steam for all 1,665 passengers aboard the museum’s Autumn Color trains as each train passed the engine house and got a good view of the action.
Re-engineering of the burner location and access remains as the prominent project moving forward. Aside from the aforementioned control valve, piping also has to be straightened so that the boiler insulation and jacketing will fit properly when the time comes. A slew of other minor adjustments also remain.
Upon completion of the testing on Sunday afternoon, No. 2 was moved back inside the engine house and the boiler drained and winterized. The tender was separated from the locomotive and stored outside, making way for the duty engine, MCRY 1256, to be moved indoors.
P.S. Be sure to visit the Trains magazine blog post Steam: Some days are diamonds, some are clinkers by Editor Jim Wrinn discussing his observation's of Friday's steam test and watch the time-lapse video!
The first fire since February 2000 was lit today at 12:15 p.m. as part of the locomotive's first steam test. After a slow warm-up, at 2:52 p.m, the steam pressure gauge jumped to a reading of 2 pounds (PSI), marking the first sight of steam within the locomotive in over 14-1/2 years.
Ken Hojnacki, a project volunteer, provides an account of the steam test:
We used shop air for the blower to create a draft and the atomizer to feed the oil until we reached approximately 30 PSI. It took a long time because the water was very cold and high in the boiler and we didn't want to rush heating the boiler. We then switched over to steam, assuming we would get better draft and atomization, but with less than expected results, we switched back to air until the pressure rose to a little over 50 PSI. This was not enough to test any of the appliances this time.
Skip gave the honor of the first whistle blow to Dave Wantz, then everyone took a turn. Jim Wrinn from Trains Magazine was there to photograph the activity and even lent a hand in the preparations. More and more members and visitors showed up and many took their hand at the whistle as well.
As it was growing dark, the fire was dropped before the engine was pulled back into the house. Adjustments are needed to the burner, which was not totally unexpected. No definite plans for when another steam up will occur but other work will continue as long as weather conditions permit.
As mentioned in Ken's account, Trains Magazine editor Jim Wrinn was on-hand for today's steam test. Magazine subscribers should click on over to the magazine's online News Wire for the story.
The talk of steam tests has led some to wonder if it will be a steam-filled Snow Train 2015 this coming February. Unfortunately, logistically it is extremely improbable for that to occur. Not only is there still much to do on the locomotive itself, but there are many behind-the-scenes related items that must also come together before No. 2 can turn a wheel with a train behind it. Items include another FRA inspection, Mid-Continent's own inspections, refresher training for volunteer crews on No. 2's lubrication and maintenance, contracts to arrange, insurance changes, supporting infrastructure needs, marketing, and so on. While it would be a picturesque debut, odds are overwhelmingly in favor of Mid-Continent's diesels being at the head-end of all trains this February.
The first steam test of Saginaw Timber Company #2 has been tentatively rescheduled for Friday, Oct. 10 (tomorrow).
The nice part about this minor delay is that museum visitors coming for tomorrow's start of the three-day Autumn Color Weekend (Oct. 10-11-12) will be getting an extra show beyond the fall colors.
Saginaw Timber Company No. 2 passed its Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) hydrostatic test with flying colors. The boiler was tested to 266 PSI, the same as the test when the boiler was brand new 102 years ago. The boiler has been given a Maximum Allowed Working Pressure of 200 PSI. However, the locomotive will be operated at a more conservative 180 PSI.
Yesterday the FRA made the final internal inspection in which all of the internal braces were checked to ensure that they were tight and under load. This test was passed as well. Also yesterday, the tender was mated to the locomotive.
The initial steam test is currently scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 9. After the steam test the locomotive will undergo final assembly with insulation, jacket and reinstallation of the cab. Volunteers are still needed and are welcome to assist in the final assembly and testing!
It has been just over a month since our last update on the Saginaw Timber Company No. 2, but work has steadily moved forward and some important milestones are approaching. Skip Lichter continues work on the locomotive almost daily with assistance from volunteers when available.
The plumbing is now complete. An initial hydrostatic test has also been completed within the last couple of weeks. A hydrostatic test involves filling the boiler with water at high pressure to help in finding any leaks so any necessary adjustments can be made. This is a precursor to a hydrostatic test scheduled to be performed with a Federal Railroad Administration inspector on Monday, Sept. 29, 2014.
The installation of refractory brick into the firebox, which was just beginning as of the last update, has since been completed.
Currently, work is taking place on the telltale holes. Staybolts for boilers are drilled with holes so that a defect such as a crack in the stay bolt within the water or steam space of a boiler will become evident by leakage through the telltale hole. This will spray water into the fire should the staybolt break. The work currently taking place involves plugging the telltale holes in the fire side of the staybolts with fireproof materials to prevent them from corroding shut and thereby becoming an unreliable indicator of whether the staybolt is broken.
The tender (still with original water tank – the replacement tank will be installed at a later time) has been moved from the storage track to the engine house lead track in preparation for connecting the fuel oil lines to allow the locomotive to be steamed. There is no schedule as of yet for the first steam-up. Test fire-ups will allow all the final adjustments to be made to the valves and running gear. The FRA inspector has indicated the official steam test is to be conducted “when the engine is ready to go down the road.” This means it will come after the boiler insulation, boiler jacket, and the cab have all been installed.
The following is an update provided by Ken Hojnacki, a volunteer on the Saginaw Timber Company #2 restoration project. All photos are provided by Ken.
Work continues on the Saginaw Timber #2. [Last week], Stephen Lentz helped Skip Lichter load firebrick into the firebox in preparation for installation.
The firebrick must cover the sidesheets above the rivet line to protect them from the heat of the fire. Above that line, there is water between the inside and outside firebox sheets to keep the metal cool. The rear or door sheet will be covered with brick nearly to the door opening. Notice the brick is placed on the long end to provide the maximum insulation for the door sheet. This is because the fire is directed back toward the door sheet, making that the hottest part of the firebox. These rear bricks will be red hot as they are heated during operation of the locomotive.
Notice the two rows of vertical pipes in the trough at the bottom of the firebox. These are the draft holes and lead to the damper box on the underside of the firebox to control the amount of air being admitted for proper combustion. Also note the trough. According to Skip, Baldwin staff recommended a trough bottom for all oil burning fireboxes in order to better concentrate and direct the fire as it extends from the burner in the front of the firebox to the door sheet in the back. This will help provide the best combustion and heating of air to boil the water in the boiler and make steam. The whole trough will be lined with one course of firebrick.
While Skip was working in the firebox, I was cleaning out the smokebox in preparation for painting. After that, I painted the underside of the running boards and then finished needle scaling the areas of the drivers that were inaccessible because of the previous position of the rods (except for the right #1 driver, which was still obscured by the crosshead).
So if you would like to be a Van Gogh for an hour or so, stop by the engine house and Skip will give you a paint brush and you can add your contribution to painting the remaining driver parts. Come on out and help Skip get the 2 ready for her steam test, the next step in her return to service.
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Company No. 2
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Coke No. 1