Getting #6 Running – boiler test failed…

A few weeks after my last post (say April, 2013) we did a boiler test of #6 and it failed.  There was an ever so tiny weep inside the firebox, where the crown sheet met the boiler plate.  This was a sad and unexpected occurrence.  We had hoped to run #6 at the local track and show off how 1″ scale can be just as fun to run….However, this tiny pin-hole leak will prevent us from running at the local club track, as a passing boiler certificate is required.

It’s probably OK to run the loco in the backyard but we do not yet have enough track down to justify the firing of a steam loco….At some point in time, we’ll probably try a ginger treatment to plug the hole.  A new boiler seems out of the question, we have other locos with boilers in greater need than the #6.  2013 passed without the ginger treatment, possibly we’ll try in 2014.

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Getting #6 Running again Part 2 – Fixing a Bind

In part 1 of “Getting #6 Running again” my father and I identified a bind in the running gear.  It was clearly occurring when the right side rods were in the fore and after positions (cylinder fully extended one way or the other).  We hypothesized that old, stiff oil was in the cylinders.  That the oil was the bind.  However, when I left my father’s shop, I was not confident that was the problem or only problem so I asked around the internet and here are some of the responses I got:

  • JPM Wrote: Yes, I know. What has happened is the cylinders/rings have locked up. You need to remove snifter valves if equipped , and pour into the cylinder via the valves some liquid wrench in liquid form. I let my soak for 2-3 days when it happened to me. Then I unbolted the main rod form the piston rod on both sides. Rolled the locomotive back about 1-2 inches. The I took a piece of wood (4 inches), and placed it on the end of the piston rod, and very gently, tapped it with a hammer. Continue to do this until you have movement one direction, both sides. Then roll the loco up to reconnect the main rods. Then gently try rolling it back. Also, remember to remove the cylinder cocks so the oil and crud can come out.
  • JA Wrote: Since the locomotive has been in storage for several years I would put money on rust in the cylinders. If built correctly there is not much clearance between the piston and cylinder. When the locomotive was put into storage there was probably a drop or two of water left in the cylinders. Over time this builds a bump of rust which on full sized locomotives is no big deal, however on these small models it is a big deal. I would recommend not running the locomotive until you find out what the problem is and fix it otherwise damage to parts may occur. I would recommend removing the front cylinder head and take a peek inside. If there is rust inside or oil clumps like you thought remove the piston from the crosshead and clean the cylinders by scraping the rust or oil out, hone the rust spots out using a small brake hone. Clean the cylinders by flushing with Brakleen and compressed air. Be sure to check the piston rings to ensure they are free on the pistons. oil and reassemble. Ensure that the piston-crosshead relationship is the same as it was when it came apart. you may also want to inspect the valve ports and related surfaces. I have worked on locomotives where the rust is 1/16″ deep after the locomotive was stored with water under the valves for several years. Best of luck, let me know if you have any other questions.
  • HM Wrote: Hopefully the cylinders aren’t rusted or were seized initially, may need cylinders bored out and new rings.

  • MR Wrote: Definitely sounds like seized pistons, had it happen to me several times. If the heads and rings are cast iorn this will happen if stored and not well oiled. Try taking the heads off and tap on the cylinders with something soft. It should be okay unless the cycliners are badly pitted.

  • JY Wrote: You might try putting come oil in the cylinders through the cylinder cocks. You should also check/lube the driver axle bearings if you can get to them.

  • JH Wrote: The advice you have been given by others on the Switchlist has been good. Let me add one more idea. Some oils do get gummy after many years, due to evaporation of the more volatile components. You might try getting some penetrating oil into the cylinders. It is a very, very light oil, and may dissolve some of the old gunk. Just be sure the cylinder cocks are open when you move the pistons so you don’t do any damage. If you get them moving freely flush the cylinders with more penetrating oil. Drain the oil onto a white paper towel. If it looks rusty, you better remove the cylinder heads and check for corrosion. The brand of penetrating oil I have found that works the best is Kroil. I don’t think you can get it at hardware stores. You may have to go to an industrial supply store. It comes in aerosol cans or small cans with a pour spout.

Cross-head lubricator on #6.  Oil drips from tank into lubricator.  Valve on tank controls the flow.

Cross-head lubricator on #6. Oil drips from tank into lubricator. Valve on tank controls the flow.

My father reviewed the responses and wrote the following:

Dave … I just reread these pieces of advice … they are very good …If we could get the covers off easily … or if we did have ‘snifter valves’ (or inspection holes), then I’d follow their suggestions in a minute…But, thank-goodness, I’m thinking now that #6 is just ‘gunked up’ not ‘rusted up’.

In a side email or on the phone he expressed doubt that #6’s cylinders or pistons had Iron. My memory is that he though they were bronze or maybe it was brass.  Then in another thread he responded:

I’m not convinced yet that we have a problem … I think that it just got “gummy” in the cylinder … you know when oil dries out it gets like a solid. We just have to make sure the lubricator is working so as to thin and flush out the “gummy” area. … I’ll take a look at detaching the piping from the lubricator and squirting WD40 into the fitting.

He never did remove the lubrication piping.  Instead, he simply squirted WD40 into the lubricator and continued to squirt into the cylinder cocks.  By the time I arrived the next week, all seemed good.  The loco rolled freely.  It was possible to move the drivers 360 degrees by hand.


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Getting #6 Running again Part 1 – Evaluation

I’ve been a long time model railroader.  I know little about live steam.  My father has been a long time live steamer, but had little time for the hobby when I was at home.  Recently we’ve decided to get together to work in his basement on live steam and/or machining projects.  Our first project is to get #6 operating again.  For more information about #6, click on the KVRR #6 category at right.

#6 propped up for an air test.  It has not been run in over 15 years.

#6 propped up for an air test. It has not been run in over 15 years.

For more than 15 years #6 has been stored in my parents basement.  It has been in a box, protected from the elements.  It’s not even been rolled or shown off to guests.  It has been patiently waiting for it’s next opportunity to run again.

TEST #1 – Roll the engine

The engine would not roll, it was completely locked up.  Loco would slide rather than roll.  This was not expected, as the engine is finely crafted and has always rolled freely.  Dad started squirting WD40 everywhere.  On the rods, valve gear.  Finally, he opened the cylinder cocks and began squirting into there.

After waiting 5-10 minutes and using a very forceful shoving action, the drivers turned.  10-20 more shoves back and forth and it seemed to roll mostly free.

TEST #2 – Air Test

At this time we propped the engine up, so that the drivers were not hitting the stand, then hooked up air through the pop-valve (took valve out).  We set the pressure to 40-60 lbs.  Here are the observations

  1. Air rushing sounds in multiple places
    1. Right front cylinder cock seems stuck open
    2. Injector has air coming out of it, thus check value on boiler is leaking or valve on back of cab is leaking.  Besides the obvious reason that the leaks will impact efficiency, my dad says the leaks will result in the injector getting hot and injectors need to be cold to operate or operate well.
    3. The packing gland for the throttle is leaking (this was clear when we put soapy water around the glad while attempting to identify exact leaks)
    4. Top valve on the water glass is leaking .. just a little (not perceived to be an issue)
  2. When throttle was opened, drivers seemed to bind when right side rod was exactly in forward/after positions (piston fully extended)

Next post I’ll continue with evaluation and resolution of the problems.  The objective is to prepare for a boiler test, followed by a steam up on the stand.

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4-6-0 KVRR #6

1" scale #6 built by Richard Stokes - Seen in embassy shops

1″ scale #6 built by Richard Stokes – Seen on blocks in embassy shops.  Ready for an air test in Feb 2013.  This photo shows off Mr. Stokes attention for finer details not always found on a live steam locomotive.

Ten wheeler #6 was build by Richard Stokes of Riverside California (later moved north to Carmel area). According to the builders plate it was completed in 1953. The locomotive is based on Kishacoquillas Valley Railroad (KVRR) number 6. A Baldwin locomotive built in 1930.

Builders photo of KVRR #6

Builders photo of KVRR #6

Technical Stats for KVRR #6

Locomotive Encyclopedia, p207:
Road Kishacoquillas Valley Railroad (KVRR)
Nbr #6
Type 4-6-0
Gauge 56.5″
Built BLW 1928
Gear Walschaerts/piston
P 180 psi
D 56″
cyl 18″x24″
WBdriv 10’6″ (WB: Wheel Base)
WBeng 20’7″
WtDriv 92,900 lbs (TF=21,245 lbf)
WtEng 121,200 lbs
WtEng&Ten 206,000 lbs
Tender 4000 gal H2O, 6 ton coal
AreaGrate 21.8 ft2
AreaHeatingSurf 1435 ft2
Superheater none

Richard Stokes photo of locomotive at his track – Tender is lettered Tesquite Valley. That lettering remains today (Feb 2013)

For those of you who may be interested the Kishacoquillas Valley Railroad was in the middle of Pennsylvania.  Photos of the railroad can be found on the internet and there was a book published about the RR.

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Backlot Railroad – Riding the rails April 2012

For several years now, my father has been building a 1″ scale railroad in the backyard.  Till now, most of the building has been grading and gardening.  But now, progress has put rails on the ground.  The push came because of a visit of grandson Nick.

Nick, conductor and engineer, directs passengers to their seats. The varnish consists of a homemade handcar built just for aspiring engineers and a flatcar. Both have wooden seats padded in the finest upholstery

Nick’s daddy completed helped dad complete the ballast on the 50′ of line using bucket and man power (it was good for him)

Having a backyard railroad has been a long time dream of my fathers. He grew up in the 40’s and 50’s with live steam running in the backyard and at friends homes. The finer of those tracks went through nice gardens dotted with a few scale structures. The setting for my fathers track is his own backyard, on the hill away from the home. The hill is a mature woods. In the last few years dad has cleaned out the honeysuckle, replacing it with nice trees and ground cover. The track will eventually traverse back and forth 3 times to reach a loop at the bottom of the property. At this time, only the first 50′ from the driveway have rail. The rail came from my grandfathers track 20+ years ago.

Nick demonstrates his abilities to drive the train. In the background his father stretches, in hopes that he will not be required to more more rock.

Papa Jim watches as Charlie takes a turn as engineer. Nick watches for debris on the tracks.

Nick brings grandma safely across the trestle.

Another rider another fare. Nick's uncle enjoys the lush flora.

It is great to see dad’s dreams coming to fruition and the family enjoying it. Steam and Diesel will eventually hit the rails once lift is made to lower the locomotives to the rails. In the mean time, the handcar is entertaining for young visitors and riders.

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B&O M-26 Boxcar Research

Post of Reseach on the M-26 boxcar.

Books & Magazine Articles

  • B&O M-26 All-Steel Boxcars (Railway Prototype Cyclopedia #18).  This book contains an article with many photos of the M-26 box cars.  It seems the M-26 is a derivative fo the 1923 A.R.A All-Steel box car, which is related to the 1923 XM-1 Single-Sheathed Cars and XM-2 Double Sheathed Cars. The book contains info and photos of other 1923 A.R.A All-Steel Cars too.  Included are drawings of the All-Steel cars, that will hopefully serve as teh basis for me to generate construction plans for a 1″ scale M-26.
  • Essential Freight Cars:37 – The B&O’s M-26 boxcars by Ted Cullota (RMC Apr 2007 p90).  This article has a few images and shows how to model an M-26

WEB Information:

Red Caboose has announced a ready-to-run model M-26b in the oxide red, “Sentinel Service Dependability” slogan scheme painted by B&O car shops during 1958-1962. Red Caboose has produced these boxcars in 12 different road numbers, of which four are exclusive to the BORHS Company Store. This model represents a late 1950’s appearance, including appropriate hardware choices and patch panels along the bottom of the car sides. By shear numbers and longevity, the B&O M-26 boxcar family can rightly claim being the B&O signature boxcar. Over 13,000 M-26 boxcars were built between 1925 and 1931. Often refurbished, many of these boxcars lasted in revenue service into the 1970’s and in company service into the mid-1980’s. One series, the M-26b, is nearly identical to the famous PRR X29, right down to the rivets. B&O owned a fleet of 1000 of these M-26b boxcars, numbered 267000-267999, built by Bethlehem Steel in 1926. The store will be carrying these cars as stock items 33147 (267014), 33148 (267098), 33149 (267149), and 33150 (267886). The regular price is $31.95, but a special introductory discount of 15% is available to members. This discounted price of $27.16 is listed on the order form included with the

Short Blasts (good thru July) and will also be available on the web store until the cars are actually received from Red Caboose (mid-April or May?). ~~~~~ Other boxcar models available are the M-26D/E conversions kits from Speedwitch, stock numbers 33113 and 33114, for $32 and $34 respectively. These kits are based upon Red Caboose models.  



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