Author Topic: Can old boilers be fixed?  (Read 11170 times)

Jock Ellis

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Can old boilers be fixed?
« on: December 17, 2011, 01:26:23 AM »
Suppose the boiler of a locomotive fails to pass an ultrasonic thickness test (UTT). Can more metal be welded on at those areas?
Jock Ellis

John L Dobson

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Re: Can old boilers be fixed?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2011, 07:23:36 AM »
Suppose the boiler of a locomotive fails to pass an ultrasonic thickness test (UTT). Can more metal be welded on at those areas?

In UK It depends on the extent of the wasting. If the area is limited, then it is accepted practice to cut out the wasted section and weld in a patch of the required thickness. The welding has to be done by a 'coded welder' (i.e., someone trained to do the welding to the required high standard) and the welds themselves are subject to inspection and ultrasonic or 'X-ray' inspection (IIRC the latter is actually done using a radioactive source). These inspections are normally carried out by a representative from the boiler insurance company.

When Garratt No.87 was restored for use on the WHR, a whole new backhead, complete with new back piece for the inner firebox, was welded onto the boiler and a piece was welded into the barrel near the throat plate.
John L Dobson
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Keith Taylor

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Re: Can old boilers be fixed?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2011, 04:41:13 PM »
Suppose the boiler of a locomotive fails to pass an ultrasonic thickness test (UTT). Can more metal be welded on at those areas?
A lot depends on the design of the boiler as well. Some old boilers were made from wrought iron and you can't use steel welding rod to pad plates on an iron boiler. The basic construction of the boiler is another issue. It the boiler has lap seams, most States will no longer allow them to be steamed. Some early boilers used crown bars in place of radial stay bolts....they are a no-no now and I don't know of any authority that will allow a boiler to be steamed with crown bars.
Keith

Mike the Choochoo Nix

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Re: Can old boilers be fixed?
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2011, 12:32:26 PM »
The real basic answer is that you can repair almost anything, but it is often cheaper to build a whole new boiler.  Here in Minnesota a lot of traction engines are being reboilered for that very reason.
ps, Minnesota still allows lap seams, and I belive they allow crown bars.
Mike N
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Matthew Gustafson

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Re: Can old boilers be fixed?
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2011, 12:45:43 PM »
Do any of the 2 Foot Railroad sites in Maine have any old historical boilers lying around?  :) If any of them do, are any of them useable? :)
Steam Department Volunteer at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: Can old boilers be fixed?
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2011, 06:38:18 PM »
Engine 9's original Portland built 1891 lap seam boiler is on display at Sheepscot Yard on the WW&F.  The boiler has not steamed since the 1930's but was tested 15 years ago by running the locomotive on compressed air.

Stewart

James Patten

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Re: Can old boilers be fixed?
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2011, 07:15:46 PM »
I think the Phillips Historical Society has the boiler from one of the very first Sandy River Railroad engines on display on their lawn.

Boothbay Railway Village has two paper company steam engines on display with original boilers.  One engine is going in for refurbishment and returning to steam (hopefully).

Other than that (and #9's boiler) I can't think of any old boilers from any other two foot engines.  Whatever was left at the end of running would have likely been scrapped for the war drive in 1942.

Robert Hale

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Re: Can old boilers be fixed?
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2011, 07:24:21 PM »
A boiler failure would not be a good thing since water's expansion ratio is about 1700:1. Big bang no theory. Even welding the material can lead to unknown stresses down the road. Boilers that are not in constant service are temperature cycled so that is a stress as well.

Richard "Steam" Symmes

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Re: Can old boilers be fixed?
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2011, 08:50:12 PM »
Isn't the Phillips Historical Society's display boiler one of the two Billerica & Bedford locomotives that went to the Sandy River RR?  I've heard that from several sources.

Does anyone know for sure?

Richard

Richard "Steam" Symmes

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Re: Can old boilers be fixed?
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2011, 09:02:28 PM »
James, is Boothbay considering restoring one of their ex-S.D.Warren Co. engines to operation?  Aren't they the ones which went to New Jersey long, long ago to run at some park?  They cut out the fireboxes and installed V8 truck engines connected to the rear axle with a chain drive if I remember correctly.  When the park failed, the engines ended up coming up to Boothbay.  I've seen them there years ago with the boilers butchered to install the gas engines. I felt that was such a shame.

I have quite a few pictures of the engines at S.D.Warren (Cumberland Mills Ry.) in the day.  They were not too photogenic at the end.  And they were pretty small. Built by Baldwin I believe. Sure would be great to see one restored and running on steam again.

Richard


James Patten

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Re: Can old boilers be fixed?
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2011, 07:08:31 AM »
James, is Boothbay considering restoring one of their ex-S.D.Warren Co. engines to operation? 

Yes.

Quote
Aren't they the ones which went to New Jersey long, long ago to run at some park?  They cut out the fireboxes and installed V8 truck engines connected to the rear axle with a chain drive if I remember correctly.  When the park failed, the engines ended up coming up to Boothbay.  I've seen them there years ago with the boilers butchered to install the gas engines. I felt that was such a shame.

That I couldn't tell you.  I've never looked much at their boilers.

Dave Crow

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Re: Can old boilers be fixed?
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2011, 08:55:14 AM »

There was discussion in the following older thread that one of the SD Warren engines at Boothbay has been moved into the shop for long-term restoration:

http://forum.wwfry.org/index.php?topic=331.15

Dave Crow
« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 09:13:31 AM by Ed Lecuyer »

Richard "Steam" Symmes

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Re: Can old boilers be fixed?
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2011, 11:10:49 AM »
The WARREN'S STANDARD newsletter of the S.D.Warren Co., special edition of November, 1974, featured an entire 12 page issue-length story of the mill's railroads, both narrow and standard gauge. It is well illustrated and researched.  Anyone interested in the subject should look for a copy. They are on slick paper and the reproduction is first rate.

Two follow up articles appeared in the January and February, 1975 editions of the same publication. These contained corrections and additional information to the original article.

I have photos taken by the late Hugh Boutell in 1939 of the engines at work in the mill yard. They were part of a collection he left to my friend Charles Purinton. Those negatives now are at the Walker Transportation Collection, Beverly Historical Society.

Richard Symmes

Jock Ellis

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Re: Can old boilers be fixed?
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2011, 10:07:52 PM »
The reason I asked this question is that I read somewhere, probably Trains, that some museums wanted total historical accuracy and would rather weld than build new. it seems that their insurance companies would object and pressure them to go with new for the safety.  Seems like eddy current  testing would work and be much cheaper but then I don't know how thick the metal on boilers is. EC has its limits. X-ray inspections are limited only by how many people you can evacuate from the area.
Jock Ellis

James Patten

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Re: Can old boilers be fixed?
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2011, 07:04:37 AM »
Ultrasound is what we used on #9's boiler, and what was used on the boilers on #3, #4, and #10 to check the staybolt weld issues.  However it requires someone to know how to read it.  We tested #9's axles that way and at first thought we had some major cracking, turned out it was I think a key way.  We use a company in Portland, the founder is in his 70s but really knows his way around ultrasounding.  The first (younger) tester condemned the axle, later the old guy passed it.