I am not certain, but I believe a dry pipe that runs inside the boiler is the problem. If I understand correctly, the pipe is compromised and allows water into the steam chest and thus into the cylinder. Repairs have been discussed, but are difficult because space does not allow the pipe to be removed in one piece. Because of its location, the pipe has to be an exact length.
If this isn’t correct, I hope a railroad person will jump in and educate us all.
The Porter lives! I was on the grounds today, heard a whistle I didn't recognize an realized an engine was going around on the tracks. I hustled over near the crossing to Visitor's Camping and got these pictures.
They drove around the grounds several times in reverse. Mark K, wearing the t-shirt with his back to us, is running the throttle. I think Phil P was firing. I am not sure who was riding on the front. Crews in the past have said it is easier to drive the Porter backwards because the visibility is much better.
Later, they went forward around the track. And even later in the day, they hooked on to several cars and pulled them around the track.
I don't know what all was done to the engine to get it running again. I don't know what needs more attention. I don't know who was in the crew doing the work. I do know the entire crew gets a big THANK YOU for working on the Porter and bringing it back to life.
It's quite a story (for someone else to tell) how it all came to be... but it is great to see it operational again. It was a pretty involved repair brought on by "hard" water and a dry pipe inside the boiler. I know Mark (in photos), Phil and Vern were all very involved in the effort, as were I am certain many others!
Like pretty much everything else around Rollag, this happened in a round about way. There’s a group of really talented younger folks (well, just about everyone is starting to look young to me) that have been working in the Machine shop and foundry for the last couple of years. I was having dinner with Jim Nowell during last year’s show and he pointed out that these would be the ideal sort of folks to take on the Porter as what the engine needed is some dedicated friends. We showed them the engine and made a play date to start on it the second week in May. They all showed up, along with Phil and Vern, and got it done.
The manifold and all valving and appliances in the cab had to be removed (Vern did that previously) as well as everything in the smokebox. All of the plumbing in the front end was removed, the steam dome opened up and the throttle valve removed. The main dry pipe and all internal joints were pulled out the front end. Next, the smaller dry pile that goes from the steam dome to the manifold was fished out. This one froze full of water and was split almost it’s entire length, which is what made the engine inoperable as injectors, lubricators and the air compressor run on steam, not hot water. Also, one of the ball joints on the main dry pipe was leaking as well.
The small dry pipe to the manifold was replaced, the manifold’s shutoff valve and seat was machined and lapped so it closes. The main dry pipe originally had 4 copper O-ring joints and 2 machined ball joints (required for flexing as the boiler goes form ambient to full pressure/temperature). All of these joints were sealed with steam services O-rings. The whole mess was reassembled and passed inspection. The throttle valve itself took about 4 attempts to lap to a decent seal (install valve, seal dome, fill boiler with water, pressurize, find leak, drain back boiler, open dome – rinse and repeat).
As a result of sitting, the lubricators all had to be removed, disassembled and cleaned, the independent valve and compressor valves were froze up, and both cylinder and both valve stem packings were replaced. At this point the engine has a work list of about 30 items, but it basically runs and has about 40 operating hours over the past week, before and during the show.
Best of all, Jim Nowell spent pretty much the entire show working with the folks who restored it, teaching them how to fire it up, oil it, fire it during operation, roll flues after someone left too much of a hole in the fire (oops) and shut it down. I think we have a pretty dedicated porter crew in place.
I’ll forget some folks, but particular thanks go out to Vern, Phil, Matt Carlyle, Gretchen Carlyle, Tony Deleo, Britany Deleo & Wyatt Werner