January 2, 2015
As 2015 approaches I was remembering all the 2926 projects completed and also of those that are still ongoing. Bob D. has informed me we have surpassed 114,000 volunteer hours on the restoration thus far. This number would be more if it hadn’t been for the major on site track siding repair which prevented us from working on Wednesdays for the duration of the project which lasted more than twice the time the contractor estimated.
Two time consuming projects are being addressed.
The flexible staybolt sleeve replacements have, for the most part, absorbed all of Danny R.’s welding skills for the whole year. Welch’s Boiler Service donated many hours and yet more welding hours were performed by J. B. Henderson Construction which was paid for via a BNSF Grant. Countless hours have been spent removing old metal wasted sleeves with grinders large and small. More hours were spent cutting each new sleeve to the proper angle to fit the curvature of the firebox crown sheet. To speed the project along Welch’s Boiler Service donated many hours of welding. With the aid of a BNSF Grant, J. B. Henderson was hired to do much of the sleeve welding.
The other project still ongoing is the fabrication of the superheater pipe assemblies. New return bends, pipes and support shoes were procured a few years back. All the original bifurcates are being incorporated into the new assemblies.
Carlos O., another one of our qualified welders and his merry gang of fitters, are in charge of this project. Each one of the four tube sets requires sixteen socket type welds. Eight ¾” pipes and fittings are a handful to hoarse around as the welding progresses.
The first quarter of this year saw the replacement part completed for the radial buffer. That is a very heavy piece of steel which took many hours to cut, bevel and weld all the pieces together. As most of you remember, this was one of the items the metal thieves removed from our site. We have one more item to be fabricated due to the theft. It is an upper bracket that supports the throttle control.
As with past years, many more parts were cleaned and painted. Most were returned to storage for later installation. As of this writing however many of those parts have now been installed. Cab electrical parts have all been painted and installation of those items is next on the schedule.
Much of the work requires specialized tools which in many cases are no longer available or are too expensive to purchase. Our machine shop workers, Ron T., Eric R., and at times Dave V., Bob D. and John M. have saved the day. Dave V., using a CAD program, performed most of the design work for these tools and parts as needed. Crosshead tramming equipment, cylinder hones, drive motors and lube oil flushing equipment are just a few of the projects engineered and built in our shop.
The crosshead rebuild project was another important aspect of the restoration completed this year. The huge crosshead guides or beams had to be reconditioned as they weren’t perfectly straight. Al l the components were taken to the Grand Canyon Railroad shop at Williams, AZ. The guides were machined there while the crosshead slides were rebabbitted in Phoenix, AZ. They were then returned to Williams to be machined to match the guides. Another trip out to Williams to pick up the finished pieces expertly done by Sam Lanter and his machine shop crew was accomplished in early July. The parts were immediately hung to await tramming. Tramming equipment was designed and built. Once the tram work was completed the four remaining side rods and permanent rod protectors were installed. Installation of the Walschaert timing gear parts followed with the eccentric installation. The slide bearing parts associated with the steam valve are currently being reconditioned.
Using some of the crosshead tramming devices the in-house designed and built honing equipment was put to work. Cylinders only required a small amount of honing to clear them of surface rust and scratches.
Mike S. headed up the lubrication line flushing. Compressed air was forced through each line as they were identified. Surprisingly very little debris and old lube was observed.
Another area of concern of late is the brake linkages. Most all of the various arms have badly worn bushings and pins. The machine shop has been turning out those parts for several weeks. All of the new parts are being heat treated in Phoenix most of which have been returned and are ready to be installed.
A repetitious project has begun this last month. The prefabricated copper seals for the flexible staybolt plugs are being installed and snugged. Each one is marked when finished. When they are all installed all will be torqued tight and again identified as finished.
I had been shopping around for a second dynamo and was very surprised at the cost of these units. Out of nowhere, Scott Altenbach here in ABQ’s south valley, had a 2900 dynamo which was rescued from the ABQ shops when they were being shut down. Scott is a friend of 2926 and donated the Sunbeam dynamo. After some clean-up and a fresh oil change the unit was spun up with compressed air. The unit produced its rated power. We did notice a slight vibration so the unit has been disassembled and inspected. Two new bearings were procured and the whole unit taken to ABQ Generator who rebuilt the first one. Some of the wiring is in need of replacement.
Not all of the restoration work has been performed on site; mostly because our metro area does not have the industrial base some projects require. Some have previously been mentioned. Some members have requested to take part from afar. Dick D. in Indiana has been fabricating small brass fittings and lubrication cups as needed. Brake shoes are being fabricated in Utah. A Colorado company built all the replacement flexible staybolt sleeves. Strasburg has provided many stems including all the staybolt plugs.
Bob K. from 3751 is overseeing the reconditioning of the safety valves which may be finished in January. John H. also from 3751 is providing a new foam and cold water boiler feed meter. He is also helping out with the brake stand.
We have members on our Advisory Council scattered over several states working to take care of non-mechanical projects. We have other members from other states working alongside us with various projects they’ve been requested to tackle, such as Jim and Debbie V. in FL. Our office staff should not go unnoticed as well. They spend many hours working on the computers and Newsletters.
One of the major events this year was our Open House. In previous years we were seeing about 1000 visitors to the site. This year that number jumped to 1750 visitors. Several trips for more supplies were required that day. Much needed funds were raised for the restoration.
Another major project that was completed in December 2014 was the addition and construction of our merchandise store. That project was headed up by Randy Mc., electrical was provided by Johnny P. and many hours of volunteer assistants.
As of February 2014 a milestone was seen. The volunteer hours surpassed 100,000. These guys and gals work year around outside through the heat of summer and the cold of winter. This Saturday morning the temperature will bottom out at 16°, maybe less.
These folks need your support to finish this project. If you are one of several thousand persons who read this update each week and are not a member, please consider joining our group. Single membership is only $30, Family is $50 and Lifetime is $500. All donations are tax deductible. Our annual audit, which is posted for all to see, indicates 93% +/- money donated to this organization goes into the restoration. The rest goes for telephones, computer/office expenses, and our bathroom expenses. The lion’s share of that 7% is the annual audit.
We look forward to a monumental 2015 year for the 2926 as the finishing projects are completed. I hope to hear from all of you in the coming year.
As usual . . .
Keep on Steamin’,
Rick Kirby, CMO