Working on the Railroad, page 2

Since I like machining and shop work its only natural that Id get involved in the shop. Usually I like to work on small stuff, I often say I don't want towork on anything I can't carry, but I violate that rule here all the time. Obviously railroads require big tool and big machines.

This shows our big lathe on which we turn railroad wheels, with a big pile of swarf. We made this pile while machining a new set of wheels for the Loon Mountain locomotive on which we did a major overhaul.

Of course I like to make CNC machines, so I had to convert this machine to CNC.

I claim this is the worlds oldest CNC lathe- the machine was built about 1892, in Maine. Here brian and Jason are learning to operate it, as they true up the profile of a wheel set for the Conway Senic Railway.

Boiler Work

There is another narrow gauge railway nearby, the WW&F . This is an amazing place, where a dedicated group of volunteers is rebuilding the old railroad on its original trackbed. They were able to acquire the last original locomotive, known as #9, but its boiler was beyond use. They went searching for a boiler shop to build a new boiler and the BRV shop got the contract. To do this the BRV had to gain the certification refered to as a 'code shop'.

It was a major project to gain all the necessary certifications, both for the shop and for the two shop employees, but it was all accomplished, and the shop began building a new locomotive boiler, as far as we know the first time this has been done in Maine since about 1905.

One requirement of the project was that as much as possible the boiler should look like the original. Obviously it must meet all modern codes, but they wanted to use as much of the old style as possible.

Here I am with a big hammer beating the red hot steel backhead into shape over a form. This is 1/2" steel plate, heated by a big propane burner array underneath, then locally heated to red with oxy torches.

The boiler has about 243 stay bolts, these are 1" dia fully threaded bolts. We cut threads on several 12 foot lengths of rod to make them, then had to cut them to size and drill a teltale hole into one end. After the stay bolts are inserted into the sheets they have to be headed over to seal them.

Here Im using the rivet gun to head over the bolts.

And here is the bucking bar that holds the other side of the stay.

Next Page

Back to my home page