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Messages - Gordon Cook

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Volunteers / Re: April 2022 Work Reports
« on: April 12, 2022, 03:32:41 PM »
In the previous photo of Alan moving a casting up to the big lathe, please note that this is the center bolster casting for No. 11's rear truck. The outside surfaces were machined a couple of weeks prior, and the round part (away from the camera) that fits into the truck center plate to form the rear truck pivot will be turned on the lathe.
The intermediate and  outer bolster castings have also been machined. They are now ready to be fit up to the sills that run from front to back and have the holes drilled and bolts fitted to tie them together. Our next No. 11 work session on April 26th thru the 27th will see that process starting.

In this picture you can see from left to right the 2 intermediate bolsters, the center bolster, and the 2 outer bolsters.
To prepare to start the assembly of the rear frame, the railcar was moved from bay 2 to the car barn, where it will await the parts needed to get it back into service.
That space will be used to stage and assemble the rear frame of No. 11.
Six house jacks have been purchased that will be used to support the pieces during assembly and allow them to be leveled accurately.

In addition, the picture of Nicole at the Hercules horizontal mill shows not only Nicole machining the coach truck journal pedestals, but also behind her is the new tool chest that Alan acquired for the museum. It has been moved into a space on the south wall. This will allow us to organize and store the numerous accessories for the milling machines.

Museum Discussion / Re: Steam and Sleighs makes The Bangor Daily News
« on: February 11, 2022, 07:12:51 PM »
I was thinking that I should offer a description running the Snow and Steam trains from the perspective of 9's engine crew. I think it typifies winter railroading in Maine at the turn of the 19th century.

The temperature was in the single digits when we started at about 7 AM. The weather the night before had left a coating of ice and sleet and then snow. Fortunately the snow wasn't too deep but enough to require another plowing of the line as it was several inches over the rail in many places.

7 and 9 were hauled out and the fires started. Planning ahead, firewood had been brought inside the shop a couple of days before to thaw and dry out.
Consequently,  Dan made quick work of lighting the fire and after a while steam was raised. Also thankfully, Bryce had oiled around before 9 was brought outside.  Mike brought over a scoop of coal and we filled up the tender bunker. It was cold enough that I was grateful to be in the cab and wished I had added another layer of clothing. I imagined it must be pretty chilly out on the plow train.

Once we were ready to go, we had to go up to the north yard to pick up our train. With the grade and snow, I anticipated a fair amount of slipping to climb up to the barn, but with the track crew doing such a great job of clearing the rails it wasn't bad.

Water was taken on the way in and we spotted the train at the station.

After getting the go ahead, we pulled out. The train was very stiff from the cold and the solid bearings and it took a unusually heavy throttle to keep moving. Once past the yard limit, the first challenge was the crossing at Jane's Way, where there was still enough snow and ice to cause 9 to loose her feet for a bit. After that it was clear that the snow was still covering the rails and traction was going to be poor. With a loud bark 9 would dig in, slip a little, then dig in, slip a little and this was the pattern all the way. At times the drivers were spinning faster than we were going, but not in an uncontrolled way.

We tried to gain some speed for Cockeye Curve, but with more steam about all that would happen was more slipping. On the first curve she settled into a steady pace and was able to hold that up to the next crossing at MLM. Dan was shoveling furiously all this time, and the gauge stayed at about 110 pounds despite the load.

Once again we tried to make a run for the grade after Hummason Brook, but again the poor traction and cold bearings kept us at a moderate slog, but she dug in and we made it to Alna Center, where we were going to stop  but then thankfully we didn't and were able to crest the grade. At that point I realized that we were at full throttle all the way up to Alna Center. I actually had to use steam to keep up the pace down the Ladder and all the way to Top of the Mountain.

Again snow on the rails stopped us short of the platform, so I had to back down with sanders going and then was able to make it up to put the car steps on the platform. The horse drawn sleigh was waiting, as was the plow train with 52.

Dan did a great job of firing, keeping the pressure above 100 despite having to use full throttle for much of the trip. Snow was packed in around all the running gear.

The trip back was interesting also, starting up the grade southbound out of TOM it felt like a brake was on. After stopping and inspection, we backed up a bit and tried again. Either it was just the drag or whichever brake was sticking unstuck, and we made our way back to Alna Center. Again, a lot of throttle was needed.

We took the siding and waited for the northbound train with No. 7. In the distance, we could see her just south of Trask's Crossing, and seemed to not be moving. After a bit much steam and smoke was seen and it became clear she was making her way towards us.

After 7's train passed, No 52 and the morning's plow train, which was waiting in the siding ahead of us, departed for Sheepscot and we waited another 10 minutes and proceeded south. It was still necessary to use steam all the way back, which I don't remember ever needing to do before.

When we reached Sheepscot we pulled into the station. I looked in the coal bunker and realized it was half gone!

The second trip was much more normal, with the snow off the rails and the bearings warmed up. When we got to TOM the second time, I asked Dan if he would have liked to do this 5 or 6 days a week, as they did in the 'good' old days. All I got was a look.

Personally I am very grateful for all the effort put in by the many volunteers that make this all possible. It is an amazing amount of work that goes into all the preparations. Doing it in winter is both exciting and daunting.


General Discussion / Re: Whither coal?
« on: January 08, 2022, 10:40:55 AM »
Some more information on this subject. I'm surprised that there isn't more support for keeping at least one or two mines open, given the size of the heritage train business in the UK.

General Discussion / Re: Conway Scenic 7470
« on: January 04, 2022, 08:17:53 PM »
My speculation was wrong, it was a lead-acid car battery as Bill says.

General Discussion / Re: Conway Scenic 7470
« on: January 03, 2022, 06:25:50 PM »
It would be interesting to know what the cause was. If it was indeed the radio batteries, then my speculation would be that they were Lithium Ion, and those can cause a very hot fire. This is a problem with EVs and I believe Chevrolet Bolts were just recalled because several had battery fires.
Alkaline, NiCad or NiMH (nickel metal hydride) aren't usually associated with combustion unless it is caused by something else powered by them.
Something to think about.

Massachusetts' Two Footers / Re: Whithin Machine Works
« on: October 19, 2021, 05:24:50 PM »
Some 2 foot trackwork remaining at Whitin Machine Works in Whitinsville, MA

Museum Discussion / Re: Movie about #9: "The Nine Lives of #9"
« on: October 02, 2021, 10:38:17 AM »
I too was a little confused about the dam construction in 1965 because I think that is the year my high school sweetheart and I visited Alice. She thought we were there to get married because she was a JP. No shotguns were necessary, however.  :D

Later in the movie it became apparent that she reached an agreement to stay on the property until her death and the part of the farm where the house, buildings, and engine shed were not part of the reservoir.

I also loved that the story really was about people and their passions and how we are bound together and inspired by our history.

2 Thumbs Up!!

Work and Events / Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« on: September 27, 2021, 06:15:54 PM »
It's safe to say that there will be increased railfan and photographer activity in that area, especially on weekends and during special events. We see some of that at the grade crossings now. There may be dangerous situations created because of parked cars and pedestrians.
I would assume that we've discussed this with the appropriate authorities and have an understanding of any concerns.

I am guessing that if we started a rumor that something was buried there, like WW&F No. 2, the digging would take care of itself.

Museum Discussion / Re: New Injector for #9
« on: August 04, 2021, 05:24:43 PM »
It has the #4 nozzle. Jason spoke with Anthony and confirmed that it would be appropriate for #9.

Museum Discussion / New Injector for #9
« on: August 04, 2021, 03:04:06 PM »
The museum has purchased a new boiler water injector for the fireman's side of #9. It will replace the injector that has been on the engine since its return to service and has often been a source of trouble. Recently it suffered a complete failure of a major component. One of our many talented members quickly machined a new part so we were able to return the engine to service without any disruption to scheduled operations.

As many of you know, new locomotive injectors of a size suitable for our small engines have not been manufactured in many years. We have had to rely on old injectors which are not in the best condition. Also, it is difficult to test and troubleshoot problems with them.

Because of the critical role that the injectors have in ensuring a safe and reliable operation, it was decided to make this investment when we were alerted to the availability of a new injector that will provide reliable operation for years to come.

The new injector has been manufactured by Anthony Duarte of Eccentric Engineer. He manufactures injectors and other components for the Live Steam hobby and recently produced a full size replica of a Number 4 Nathan Simplex injector which should be ideal for our engine.
As finances permit, we plan on purchasing more of these for #9 engineer's side, #10, and #11.
As you can see, these are truly works of the machinist's art. The first picture gives a good idea of the complexity of these devices and the level of skill and knowledge required to successfully reproduce them. It also shows why it is not easy to figure out what might be wrong with one.

(this image borrowed from EE's Facebook page)

Our injector fresh from the oven:

The check valve:

Museum Discussion / Re: Movie about #9: "The Nine Lives of #9"
« on: June 23, 2021, 09:08:00 PM »
For many events at AC, a 12V battery along with a converter to 120VAC would be a good solution. Modern projectors and PA systems don't use that many watts.

Museum Discussion / Re: Movie about #9: "The Nine Lives of #9"
« on: June 23, 2021, 03:41:13 PM »
BTW, the northeast corner of CT is a lovely place. I'm not sure if the Ramsdell Farm isn't underwater, though?

Putnam has some nice restaurants and shops, the P&W goes through,  Woodstock is a pretty town, the roads are good, and the scenery is, well, scenic. Further to the south Foxwoods can be entertaining in many ways.  :P
Bill's Bread and Breakfast on Providence Street  in Putnam has wonderful muffins and breakfast until 1PM.
Worcester also has some very good restaurants, a new ballpark, a BIG train station, and CSX intermodal yard.

If you go early and come back on late Saturday, the traffic will be heavy but 'should' not be too bad.

I may try to go. It would be nice if a couple of museum members could show up.

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