LIRR G5s Engine #39 Report from Strasburg, April 8, 2009
(NOTE: click on the thumbnail to view a larger image.)
On Monday, April 8, 2009 I had the pleasure of meeting with Rick Musser, Shop Foreman and Linn Moedinger, President & CMO at the Strasburg Railroad Company. Work is progressing on the firebox of Engine #39. 39’s new roof sheet has been fabricated and work continues to prepare it for installation.
I was happy to meet one of the young craftsmen who work for Strasburg, Mr. Brendan Zeigler. He has been spending many hours working on the firebox restoration. Brendan is a frequent contributor to the Railway Preservation News Forum and has the exceptional ability to explain complex mechanical/engineering concepts in a way the layman can understand them.
Repair work continues on the backhead. Overall, the backhead is not in bad condition. Welded repairs to those areas showing too much erosion are being performed to build those areas up to full thickness.
The crown sheet on the other hand is another matter. Upon close inspection it was found that steel around many of the staybolt holes in the center of #39’s crown sheet had been badly eroded. Since so many areas had been affected it was deemed most efficient to cut out the bad section and replace it with a new crown sheet section. In the following photo, the red marks outline some of the worst pitting and steel erosion surrounding the staybolt holes.
Looking upward from inside the firebox, we see that much of the crown sheet has been removed. The remaining steel does not exhibit the erosion and pitting seen in the center of the crown sheet. (Note the supporting rods for comment later in this report.)
Here is the new crown sheet section, resting on the floor, awaiting installation into the top of the firebox. Note the tabs welded around the perimeter of the steel. These tabs are located to hold the steel section in place while welding is performed.
Brendan holds one of the many flexible staybolt sleeves that will be welded onto the roof and side sheets of the firebox.
In the following photo we see the sleeve set upon the sheet;
a staybold is passed through for demonstration purposes;
and finally the cap is placed over the staybolt into the sleeve.
These flexible staybolts are located in areas of the firebox that must be allowed some movement while expansion and contraction of the steel occurs during firing and cooling.
Following are three photos taken the week of May 8, 2009 by Rick Musser at Strasburg.
The roof sheet is held in place by braces and the new flexible staybolt sleeves have begun being tack welded into place.
Work is progressing at a rapid pace.
This is a brand new staybolt not yet finished. It awaits machining to place the threads on the end and the taper. This is critical work as the threads at both ends of the bolt must start together to maintain the correct distance between the inner and outer sheets of the firebox.
Here we see two NEW support rods. These rods were manufactured to replace the two broken rods located below the roof sheet and above the crown sheet as shown in earlier photos.
Since our inspection trip on April 8, we have shipped #39’s whistle valve and bridge pipe valve (turret valve) to Strasburg for locating and mounting on the roof sheet. In June we will move the steam manifold to Strasburg. Following is a photo of #39’s bridge pipe valve prior to shipping.
Respectfully submitted, May 8, 2009
Don Fisher, President RMLI