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Steam Department News
From Rail & Wire Issue 114, March 1985

By Jeff Brady
Since our last report work in the steam department has been concentrated on the Union Pacific 428 project with the ultimate goal of having it operational for Members' Day. The major project to date has been getting the boiler ready to be hydro-tested for the final state inspection from which the state will then determine what working boiler pressure it will allow.

As detailed in the last issue much work has taken place on the 428 just to get it to the point that it could be hydro- tested. Tom Schneider, steam department superintendent, has been managing and coordinating this project with help from the steam shop volunteers doing the actual work and from Everett Weston, a retired mechanical engineer. Weston's railroad experience was on the Chicago and North Western until 1955 when he went into private practice as a consultant. His work on the North Western was on steam and diesels and he has the distinction of working on the acceptance tests for the C&NW's class H Northern type steam locomotives when they were newly delivered from the Baldwin Locomotive Works.

Under Weston's supervision the Pittsburgh Testing Laboratory came out on several occasions to perform tests on the boiler and take samples back to the laboratory. These tests were outlined in detail in Rail & Wire issue 113. Briefly, the tests were: chemical analysis of the steel in various sections of the boiler, mag particle test (magnafluxing) of the riveted seams, ultrasonic thickness test of the boiler sheets, and a Burnell (hardness) test of the parts of the firebox that had welds.

The findings of these tests were then used by Weston to recreate the boiler blueprints and resulted in a 36-page report of which seven pages were the testing lab findings and the other 29 pages were Weston's calculations and findings on each section of the boiler. All of this work was done in order to meet the new state requirement however it will also be used to obtain Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) approval of the boiler. Weston's work will be used to recreate the Form 4 for the FRA. A Form 4 is the engineering report for the boiler and each boiler must have one in order to be inspected. As the railroads switched to diesels most of this type of material was thrown out by the railroads which is what happened to the 428's original Form 4.

Federal inspection is required if the 428 is ever used off the property on mainline railroad excursions, a longtime Museum goal. Therefore it is advantageous to do the work necessary and have the inspections while the engine is torn apart thus saving a lot of extra work.

The story of the hyrdo test began on Thursday evening Feb. 21 when the long-range weather forecast was for a mild (40's) weekend. The boiler had been ready for hydro for several weeks however the cold weather had precluded doing it. In order to do the hydro test the water in the boiler should be a minimum of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. On Thursday evening Bruce Bergman began filling the boiler with water. Friday morning the heat in the shop was turned on and work continued on filling the boiler so that on Saturday morning it was topped off. On Saturday morning a portable "torpedo" kerosene heater was installed in the firebox door to heat the boiler and water. The water temperature was not quite warm enough for the "big" test however a preliminary hydro of 100 pounds pressure was performed and some leaks, mostly caps not tightened enough, were observed. The heat torpedo was left on overnight and through the morning so that by Sunday afternoon the water temperature was up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

With workers on hand to observe for any leaks the boiler was taken up to 285 pounds pressure by the hydro pump and held at that point while the boiler was checked for leaks. The reason that the boiler was hydroed at 285 pounds is because that is 11/2 times the working pressure (when under steam) which for the 428 is 190 pounds. The outcome of the test was that after careful inspection of the entire boiler only four rigid staybolts were leaking and will have to be replaced before the state can be called. As a result of the hydro, test it was determined that the 428's boiler is sound and work can now be concentrated on the machinery.

A hydro test is a test of the boiler using water and air pressure in duplicating the pressures exerted on the boiler without the expansive qualities of steam and is used as a safety check for any cracks or leaks in the boiler. Areas and items being checked is the flexible and rigid staybolts, the riveted seams between boiler courses, washout plugs, the firebox, the tubes, all valves going to and coming off the boiler, etc.

While waiting for the weather to warm up so that the hydro test could be run, work was begun on the machinery under the guidance and direction of Weston, Schneider and Ed Beard our project machinist. Every weekend Beard and his wife Jean make the drive to Union from their home in Rock Island, Ill. to work on the 428. On some weekends they are accompanied by their daughter Edie or sod Ed who along with Jean pitch in and work on the 428, either scraping, needlechipping or in Jean's case actually assisting Ed in some machining project. Also assisting Ed is the regular shop volunteers consisting of Bruce Bergman, Rick Fenhouse, Don Maywald, Roy Hughes, Darryl Van Nort, Tom Stoneburg, Paul Pierson, Rich Gajnak, Al Maywald and others.

Machinery work has centered around the cylinder and rods on the engineer's side of the 428. All the rods were dropped and inspected. It was determined that all new rod brasses will have to be made however the crankpins were checked and found to be okay. In checking the cylinder and piston on the engineer's side it was found that the cylinder was out of round and would have to be rebored, and that the piston must be built up and new piston rings must be purchased. Work is well along on the cylinder using the boring bar that is in the Museum's inventory of tools. This is a long and arduous project as it takes five hours per pass taking off 5 thousandths (.005) of an inch until it is a true diameter. Several weekends have been spent on this and it still isn't done. We are very fortunate in that the cylinder on the fireman's side was okay and will not have to be bored.

Some other work completed includes the rebuilding of the turbocharger by Roger and Hans Kramer, the mechanical lubricator was taken off and cleaned, the cab sides were removed and it was determined that new sides and floor will be needed, all the piping was removed and will have be replaced, new boiler expansion pads were made and installed, new safety valve collars were made, 28 new flexible staybolt caps were made from scratch using our own shop machinery, a certified boiler welder was hired and he welded on 26 new flexible staybolt sleeves, as well as the needlechipping of the frame and drivers by Jean Beard, Ed Beard, Jr. and Bruce Bergman.

Among some of the work still to be done is the rebabbiting of the crosshead shoes, the crosshead guides must be checked out for straightness, the springs and brake rigging must be checked and replaced where necessary, new grates must be cast up, and a new boiler jacket must be made, among other things. Still to be addressed is the work that may be needed on the tender.

There is still much work needed to be done. Some of this can be accomplished with little expense however some of the projects will need funds for the purchase of materials so that we can keep our volunteers working. $2,000 is needed to purchase new cylinder liners that will be needed within the next six weeks. Our goal is to have the 428 complete and operational for Members' Day 1985 and with your donations to the UP 428 fund you can help make that goal a reality.

Bruce Bergman, right, and Ed Beard, left, running the boring bar
Bruce Bergman, right, and Ed Beard, left, running the boring bar.
View of the boring bar installed
View of the boring bar installed.

From the Rail & Wire Issue 114, March 1985


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