Overhaul of Nickel Plate Road Steam Locomotive 587

Information

4-19-14

Nickel Plate Road 587 is a coal-burning steam locomotive built in September 1918 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Nickel Plate 587 was one of the 625 engines of this particular type commissioned by the United States Railroad Administration during the World War 1 rearmament, and one of 15 identical locomotives built for the former Lake Erie & Western Railroad. During 1922, the Lake Erie & Western and the Toledo, St. Louis & Western Railroad (known as the Clover Leaf Route) were acquired by the Nickel Plate Road. Operation of these three railroads was consolidated during the next two years, and thus, a system-wide renumbering program was adopted for locomotives and rolling stock. In 1924, Lake Erie & Western locomotives 5540-5554 became Nickel Plate locomotives 586-600. The second locomotive of this group, LE&W No. 5541, thus became Nickel Plate No. 587. All engines in this group were classified Nickel Plate Class H-6o, and subsequently were repainted and re-lettered.

Nickel Plate 587 is perhaps the best remaining example of a United States Railroad Administration (USRA) Light Mikado Steam Locomotive, an outstanding design developed during the World War I rearmament. This versatile and universally successful locomotive design was utilized in both freight and passenger service on railroads throughout the United States. The design elements of the light Mikado ultimately served as the basis of larger and more powerful locomotives built during the final three decades of steam locomotive construction in America. Nickel Plate 587 avoided major modification during the locomotive’s 37 years of active service, and thus represents the essential USRA Light Mikado design in virtually original form. Of the 625 USRA Light Mikados constructed between 1918 and 1920, in 1984 587 was one of only six known to exist, and is the sole survivor from the original group of 15 LE&W locomotives.

Nickel Plate 587 is known as a Mikado locomotive because the wheel arrangement (two pilot wheels, eight driving wheels, and two trailing wheels, or 2-8-2 type). The Mikado design was first used in an order of locomotives for the Japanese National Railways built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works during 1897; however, the Mikado design came to be best known as a medium-sized freight locomotive of American lineage and dimensions. Hand-fired, these locomotives had a firebox grate area of 43.5 square feet, said to be about the maximum area that a fireman could handle continuously.

During the locomotive’s 37 year career on the Nickel Plate, 587 was a frequent visitor to Indianapolis, on the route to Michigan City via Castleton and Noblesville (The Indianapolis – Michigan City Division). This route is used by the Indiana Transportation Museum as an interpretational railroad today and often saw 587 in excursion service prior to the expiration of the locomotive’s operating permit in January of 2003. The locomotive’s career on the Nickel Plate came to an end when the locomotive was retired in March of 1955. When Nickel Plate 587 was donated to the City of Indianapolis and placed on display in Broad Ripple Park in September of 1955; community leaders welcomed the opportunity to preserve a genuine steam locomotive for the education and enjoyment of all Hoosiers. By 1983, however, vandalism and the elements had made ongoing preservation of the locomotive difficult. Following public hearings, the locomotive was leased to a group consisting of the Friends of 587 and the Indiana Transportation Museum. Concluding the locomotive’s 25 year lease in 2008, the locomotive was sold for one dollar to the Indiana Transportation Museum.

Restoration

The restoration of Nickel Plate 587 required nearly 5 years, many thousands of volunteer man-hours, and a quarter million dollars in donated money and materials, and was completed at the Amtrak Maintenance Facilities in Beech Grove, Indiana. Through the efforts of Museum volunteers, Nickel Plate 587 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In September of 1988, Nickel Plate 587 made a triumphant return to active service pulling an excursion train between Indianapolis and Logansport, Indiana.

Overhaul

Today, 587 is undergoing a federally mandated replacement of boiler tubes and flues. During inspection, several areas of the firebox were found to be too thin and are being replaced. Work on 587 began in April of 2007 when the funding from an Indiana Department of Transportation TEA Grant was released.  Significant progress has been made towards the completion of 587 over the past several years, which serves as a major testimony to the dedication of the volunteers and skilled craftsmen who have undertaken this long and tedious, yet important project.

One of the challenges the Museum faces is bridging the gap between contemporary expectations and the challenges of historic preservation.  Today we’ve become accustomed to instant everything.  Press a button and a meal is ready, press a button and information or entertainment appears on your screen.

In contrast, preservation generally moves at the pace of an earlier era. Much of the work must be painstakingly done by hand.  Even with the best of plans you never know all that will need to be done until a machine is opened up.  To complicate things, parts can’t simply be purchased from a steam locomotive store. Instead, originals must be painstakingly dismantled, reverse engineered and re-manufactured. Even under the best of circumstances restoration is a time consuming process.

At one time railroad shop crews of 20 or 30 men working  3 shifts a day – skilled boilermakers, pipefitters, sheet metal workers, machinists and electricians — descended on engines to turn them out again in a matter of days. Today without unlimited funds and an army of workers there’s only one way to get the job done and that’s to stretch it out over time.   The work once done by 30 or 40 men now might be done by a crew of two or three specialists aided by some volunteers.

Even so, a routine periodic overhaul typically exceeds well over a million dollars.  Without a doubt, the cost of restoring the 587 if all the volunteer hours and in-kind contributions are added up, will top this figure.

The Union Pacific Railroad — which has continuously maintained a steam locomotive shop with full time employees since the age of steam– required over 6 years to rebuild its engine 8444. Similarly, it took Mystic Seaport 5 years and $7 million to rebuild the wooden whaling ship Charles W. Morgan.

So, despite appearances to the contrary Engine 587 is well along on the road to operation.  Under the guidance of master craftsman Bob Gold, and project manager Michelle Yerkeson, all of the painstaking, high precision work of rebuilding the engine’s firebox – the steel box supported on flexible bolts within the boiler that holds the white hot coal fire is done. Rebuilding of the smokebox at the other end of the boiler is nearly done.  When complete, the more straightforward work of reattaching the auxiliary machinery and piping to the boiler begins.   Much work still remains to be done on the tender, the car that carries the fuel and water for the engine.

Please explore this webpage to see the outstanding progress accomplished on the 587 project. Please check this page often for further updates regarding the completion of 587. We at the Indiana Transportation Museum hope you will faithfully join hands with us as we work to bring this magnificent piece of railroad history under steam again. Monetary and volunteer contributions can be made through the information below, and are greatly appreciated.

Contribute

To contribute monetarily towards the 587 overhaul, please follow this secure link. All contributions are greatly appreciated.

If you are interested in donating your time to the overhaul of Nickel Plate Road 587, please email our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteer@itm.org. Our Volunteer Services Department will direct you to the project manager for 587.

General Locomotive Specifications

Engine Weight (Fully Loaded)

300,900 lbs.

Overall Length (Coupler to Coupler)

90’ 6-7/8”

Wheelbase

80’ 8-1/4”

Height

14’ 11”

Driving Wheel Diameter

63”

Pilot Wheel Diameter

33”

Trailing Wheel Diameter

44”

Tender Capacity (Class 22RA)

20 Tons of Coal

22,000 Gallons of Water

Overhaul Progress & Milestones

2-17-15

2/17/15 Stack hole rounded out and centered. Welding complete. All rivets complete, studs for super heater manifold repaired. Branch pipe hole seen at bottom right.

Check Back for Further Updates

2014
spring

4/12/14- Spring at last! Bob Gold spent time over the winter building new brackets to aid the removal of the spool valves. Both are removed and ready to be cleaned.

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4/19/14- The spool valve covers back on for safe-keeping. Back to smoke box work. The new mounting ring is mounted-temporally welded in place and the door is bolted to the ring. It is easier to make the smoke box conform to the door than the door to the smokebox.

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5/18/14 -The new smoke box holes drilled for new rivets. Reaming holes is the last step of the prep.

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Maneuvering the first side of the new smoke box into place. The door is removed after the holes are drilled in the ring (seen as a free-standing ring). The holes in the far end of the smoke box match up with the holes in the boiler/ tube sheet flange.

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5/24/14- Reaming both sets of holes at once ensures that they line up perfectly. They are bolted in place to ensure that the sheet can not slip or move before it can be welded in place.

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5/31/14- The second side is maneuvered into place in much the same operation as above.

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Bob and Matt finish some last minute reaming before riveting.

7/19/14- Riveting the new smoke box into place. We work in four or five person teams. In this case, five. One person to heat the rivet- Jake Stage seen in red, Bob Gold andUntitled17

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Matt handled the heavy lifting with the pneumatic hammers, one person to hand off the hot rivet and one helper (Eric Frank) in the smoke box to help push the hot rivet into place. The door is back on the hinges(bolted in place) to help keep the steel from creeping or moving even though it is still bolted into place until just minuets before riveting. The hinges are re-shimed and riveted in place in this session. Re-shimming the hinges is important to a freely swinging door—something that was long gone due to age and droop.

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9/16/14 Heat and Beat. The tube sheet flange and the new smoke box still were not laying as close togeather as Bob would like. Heat and beat is the answer. Heat the steel and use some stritigicaly placed dead blows to make them come together. The final steps include bolting the two sheets together while still hot.

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9/16/14 Ream holes for last rivets.

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9/21/14 – Bottom rows of rivets (at yolk) and every other pair of rivets around the tube sheet flange installed. Bob is rebuilding studs for the Super heater manifold. Riveting almost done, just the fireman side left. The holes seen in the front of the mounting ring are for new studs that protrude through the door when it is closed. The door is then bolted shut.

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11/1/14 All rivets completed. New stud holes drilled and reamed, first pass of welding complete. New rivets at hinges and around smoke box front. New holes cut for branch pipes.

In January, the remaining brackets on the engine were removed. Upon further examination, it was decided that the studs that held the brackets needed to be replaced. These were not replaced during any of the previous restorations, and were 1950’s NKP shop work.

Starting in the early part of February, the frame of the engine was jacked upward just a fraction of an inch above the rail. This took the weight off of the suspension and brake gear so that bushings can be replaced.

As the brake gear has come off, it has been needle scaled and sand blasted, then primed and painted.

The combustion chamber sheet was heat treated, fitted, and welded.

Harold Stark milled new pins for the brake gear in his home shop. The collection of nine pins took sixty-eight hours to produce, including the slot for the key.

The throat sheet was fitted and welded.

New staybolts were trimmed and “pinged over”.

All existing staybolts were seal welded.

The rest of the mud ring riveting and throat sheet riveting was completed

The new combustion chamber rivets were put into place.

The back frame of the engine was needle scaled in preparation for paint.

The exterior throat sheet is fully complete. Threads for washout plug are also complete.

Bob reamed new staybolt holes in the throat sheet.

More staybolts were installed in corners, side sheets, and the throat sheet.

The back frame crevices were cleaned and the back frame is readied for primer.

There were 65 new rivets on the front sheet area to install plus about ten on the front corners and one stray rivet that didn’t set correctly the first time and had to be cut out. The crew works in four person teams: one person heating rivets, one bucking hot rivets inside the fire box and one person bucking rivets on the exterior. The remaining person is the “picker” who picks the hot rivet out of the forge and delivers it to the rivet hole. It took them only two days day to set all of the rivets.

Mud ring rivets are complete.

The first few weeks of September were spent repeating the process of cleaning up rivet holes, but this time for the combustion chamber rivets. The combustion chamber rivets presented a challenge. There is very little—only three or four inches— clearance between the interior of the boiler and the underside of the combustion chamber. There is not enough room to get the pneumatic hammer in the tight spot. Bob Gold built a compact model to fit the small space. Setting the rivets from the fire box side was no problem; it’s only the boiler side that the tight fit causes issues. The forge had to be moved into the boiler so that the formed end of the hot rivet could be on the inside. This meant that gravity was working against the team; the hot rivet always wanted to fall out until the compact pneumatic hammer was in place. Again, the four person team worked well, with an extra person in the boiler just in case an extra pair of hands was needed.

Bob gold installed the wash out plug sleeve in the new throat sheet. The hole had been covered with duct tape to protect the delicate threads.

There was a slight bow in the tube sheet, probably as a result of previous Nickel Plate shop work. To straighten the bow, Bob Gold made three “strong backs”. A strong back is a piece of steel stock with a slot cut in the middle. The stock has three inch tall feet on each end. The strong backs were secured through the tube sheet with the strong back on the cupped side (in this case the boiler side of the tube sheet). The tube sheet was heated and the strong backs were tightened down to leverage the bow out. Over the next few weeks, the strong backs were used in a variety of locations in the boiler.

Volunteers continued work on the studs that hold the brackets, steps, and running board brackets. Some of the studs were acceptable to use, others needed to be replaced. The existing studs that need to be replaced will need to be removed carefully as not to de-laminate the steel.

Bob Gold built three new longer and stronger strong backs to finish taking the sway out of the tube sheet. The longer strong backs worked better and the improvement was noticeable.

Bob Gold continued to work on seal welding stay bolts. Each stay bolt gets seal welding in two passes. Seal welding helps keep cinders and coal ash from collecting and eroding the steel around the stay bolt.

Volunteers have been working on trimming off and grinding the new stay bolts to the proper size so that they can be pinged over. They will wait until all of the stay bolts are trimmed and then spend a whole weekend pining them over. They will set new washers and stay bolt caps at that time as well.

Volunteer Jeff Kehler and Bob Gold worked on drilling new studs in order to mount the prepped and painted bracket for the air compressor.

Smokebox Rebuild Commences

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9/7/13- Marking locations of studs, hand rail brackets, brackets for steps, running boards and branch pipe holes. The old (but not original) smoke box is being kept until this aspect of the project in finished.

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10/11/13-Burning out the old rivets that hold the hinges.

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10/18/13- The old smoke box is cut into two halves to make it easier to remove and store while the new smoke box was built.

10-18-13- The old rivets had to be carefully burned out to avoid damaging the boiler flange under the smokebox flange

10/18/13- The old rivets had to be carefully burned out to avoid damaging the boiler flange under the smokebox flange.

10-19-13 Fireman’s side cut away. The front of the boiler tube sheet clearly visible. The yoke (remaining) is seen at the bottom

10/19/13 Fireman’s side cut away. The front of the boiler tube sheet clearly visible. The yoke (remaining) is seen at the bottom.

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10/20/13 Both halves cut off and removed. The bottom frame and yoke is clearly seen.

The new steel for the smoke box, purchased as a sheet, and rolled and Mid West Roll forming. Delivered to the Noblesville shop

The new steel for the smoke box, purchased as a sheet, and rolled and Mid West Roll forming. Delivered to the Noblesville shop.

The new steel roll quickly cut into half, just hours after it was delivered

The new steel roll quickly cut into half, just hours after it was delivered.

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11/15/13- Also delivered on the same day was the replacement inner ring that the door mounts to. The 2” bar stock was also rolled at Mid West. The next week we got a heavy snow that shut down work for the rest of the winter. 2014 was a record cold and snowy year.

In January, the remaining brackets on the engine were removed. Upon further examination, it was decided that the studs that held the brackets needed to be replaced. These were not replaced during any of the previous restorations, and were 1950’s NKP shop work.

Starting in the early part of February, the frame of the engine was jacked upward just a fraction of an inch above the rail. This took the weight off of the suspension and brake gear so that bushings can be replaced.

As the brake gear has come off, it has been needle scaled and sand blasted, then primed and painted.

The combustion chamber sheet was heat treated, fitted, and welded.

Harold Stark milled new pins for the brake gear in his home shop. The collection of nine pins took sixty-eight hours to produce, including the slot for the key.

The throat sheet was fitted and welded.

New staybolts were trimmed and “pinged over”.

All existing staybolts were seal welded.

The rest of the mud ring riveting and throat sheet riveting was completed

The new combustion chamber rivets were put into place.

The back frame of the engine was needle scaled in preparation for paint.

The exterior throat sheet is fully complete. Threads for washout plug are also complete.

Bob reamed new staybolt holes in the throat sheet.

More staybolts were installed in corners, side sheets, and the throat sheet.

The back frame crevices were cleaned and the back frame is readied for primer.

There were 65 new rivets on the front sheet area to install plus about ten on the front corners and one stray rivet that didn’t set correctly the first time and had to be cut out. The crew works in four person teams: one person heating rivets, one bucking hot rivets inside the fire box and one person bucking rivets on the exterior. The remaining person is the “picker” who picks the hot rivet out of the forge and delivers it to the rivet hole. It took them only two days day to set all of the rivets.

Mud ring rivets are complete.

The first few weeks of September were spent repeating the process of cleaning up rivet holes, but this time for the combustion chamber rivets. The combustion chamber rivets presented a challenge. There is very little—only three or four inches— clearance between the interior of the boiler and the underside of the combustion chamber. There is not enough room to get the pneumatic hammer in the tight spot. Bob Gold built a compact model to fit the small space. Setting the rivets from the fire box side was no problem; it’s only the boiler side that the tight fit causes issues. The forge had to be moved into the boiler so that the formed end of the hot rivet could be on the inside. This meant that gravity was working against the team; the hot rivet always wanted to fall out until the compact pneumatic hammer was in place. Again, the four person team worked well, with an extra person in the boiler just in case an extra pair of hands was needed.

Bob gold installed the wash out plug sleeve in the new throat sheet. The hole had been covered with duct tape to protect the delicate threads.

There was a slight bow in the tube sheet, probably as a result of previous Nickel Plate shop work. To straighten the bow, Bob Gold made three “strong backs”. A strong back is a piece of steel stock with a slot cut in the middle. The stock has three inch tall feet on each end. The strong backs were secured through the tube sheet with the strong back on the cupped side (in this case the boiler side of the tube sheet). The tube sheet was heated and the strong backs were tightened down to leverage the bow out. Over the next few weeks, the strong backs were used in a variety of locations in the boiler.

Volunteers continued work on the studs that hold the brackets, steps, and running board brackets. Some of the studs were acceptable to use, others needed to be replaced. The existing studs that need to be replaced will need to be removed carefully as not to de-laminate the steel.

Bob Gold built three new longer and stronger strong backs to finish taking the sway out of the tube sheet. The longer strong backs worked better and the improvement was noticeable.

Bob Gold continued to work on seal welding stay bolts. Each stay bolt gets seal welding in two passes. Seal welding helps keep cinders and coal ash from collecting and eroding the steel around the stay bolt.

On March 12 and 13, 2011, several Museum volunteers traveled to the shop of our steam locomotive contractor in southeast Indiana. The team of museum volunteers whom participated were Bob, Justin, Michelle, Harold, Jeff, Craig, Les, Lavonne, and Jake. The purpose was to swage flues that will be placed into the boiler of NKP 587. Swaging is a forging process that reduces the diameter of the tube ends without removing any material.

On Saturday March 12th, 40 of the flues were swaged. All but two were completed by the end of the day. The process of moving and swaging tubes is not easy, as each tube weighs 256 pounds. Two men lift the flue into the cradle, and then the flue is strapped down. The end of the flue is then hydraulically forced into the die to narrow the diameter of the flue’s end.

After swaging, four or five flues were banded together to make them easier to handle.

On the evening of March 12th, the flues were transported by truck on a three hour drive to the Indiana Transportation Museum facilities in Noblesville.

Museum volunteers Kirk, Dan, Ed, Justin, and his friend Rodger all worked another 8 plus hours to move a box car into position, get the crane running, and unload the trailer. All flues were unloaded and placed in a boxcar through the crew’s hard work.

In April, the tubes were swaged using the same process as the flues. The tubes were reduced in end diameter by one quarter of an inch. All 216 needed flues were swaged while 222 were done. 222 tubes were ordered because they are cheaper in bulk order.

In September of 2011, Bob Gold formed and fabricated the two new rear corners (knuckles) of the firebox. The corners of 587’s firebox are an irregular three dimensional shape with a flared angle. Harold Stark was also in attendance to provide the proper demonstration and utilization of heating technique.

In September, Bob worked on “corking” the new tube sheet. “Corking” is filling the gap between the new tube sheet and the top sheet with a fine bead of weld. This not only ensures a seal between the boiler and the firebox, but it also fills the gap so that cinders and ash cannot collect and erode the top sheet.

Bob Gold and volunteer Jon Payne re-heated the engineer’s side corner and beat the corner into a more fitting shape. Bob and Jon bolted the corner into place as it cooled to help keep shape. Locations were marked for the new rivet holes in the mud ring. The fireman’s side corner was worked on the same way. Later, both corners received drilled and tapped mud ring holes. They were later shipped to Dayton, Ohio for a heat treat process.

A 60 degree bevel was ground on the new corners by volunteer Francis Parker. Volunteer Justin Fowler and Bob Gold made final firebox adjustments so that the corners could be welded into place.

Volunteers Jeff Kehler and Greg Hatcher worked to scrape grease from the frame of 587 to prep for paint.

In October, Volunteers Jeff Kehler and Les McConnell worked with Bob Gold to drill out the rivet holes on the engineer’s side front corner mud ring. This work was necessary prior to riveting.

Volunteers Francis Parker, Jeff Kehler, Michelle Yerkeson, and contractor Bob Gold worked on finishing the corners. The mud ring holes are reamed and ready for rivets. The have also have had the counter sink holes drilled in the inside mud ring holes. The new stay bolt holes have also been located and tapped, and are ready to have the larger holes drilled.

Volunteer Greg Hatcher removed combustion sheet staybolt caps so that combustion chamber work by Bob could begin.

Bob gold cut out a section of the combustion chamber that needs to be replaced. It showed signs of fatigue and did not measure up well on the ultra-sonic testing. Bob worked on forming the exterior throat sheet at his shop.

Francis Parker and Bob Gold removed one stay bolt above the fireman’s side knuckle. A new stay bolt sleeve will have to be installed.

Volunteer Mike Ebert worked on prepping the new exterior throat sheet for installation. The cut edge must be ground to a forty-five degree angle to accept the new weld. While Mike was working on the throat sheet, Michelle Yerkeson ground the edge of the combustion chamber cut inside the fire box. Mike finished the job.

Bob Gold worked on fine tuning the new throat sheet and locating the center points for new stay bolt holes and sleeves. He took the sheet back to his shop for one final trim and to drill the mud ring holes. Because this sheet is flat for the most part, it can be drilled off site. Curved pieces, like the knuckles, must be drilled in place so that the holes line up in the curve.

Volunteer Jeff Kehler helped as Bob Gold installed new stay bolt sleeves on the exterior throat sheet area.

Volunteers and Contractor Bob Gold fit the exterior throat sheet one last time prior to drilling new stay bolt holes and rivet holes. Bob took the sheet back to his shop to drill out the holes.

42 rivets were set in the front mud ring, finishing all of the straight areas.

The rear driver was lifted into place. Shoes, binders and wedges were re-installed. The driver was lowered into the pit so that there was more room to work on the front of the fire box. With the driver in place, there is only about a foot of clearance, which is not enough to drive rivets.

The leaf springs were re-installed on the engine.

Bob Gold worked in his shop, getting the throat sheet ready to install. The throat sheet has a wash out plug in the center and contains an odd shape with a concave angle at the bisection of the washout plug. The sheet was threaded to accept the washout plug sleeve.

Volunteers and Bob Gold worked on rounding off or “hammering over” the new stay bolts that were installed on the Engineer’s side.

During April, Bob Gold and volunteers continued to work on stay bolts. After they were all hammered over, the tell-tale holes all had to be drilled open and tapped. The tell-tale holes are an open hole that runs almost to the outside (ball end) of the stay bolt. If the stay bolt develops a crack or fails inside of the fire box wall, the stay bolt will leak water into the firebox through the tell-tale hole.

On April 12, volunteers and Bob Gold completed the new riveting on the back side of the fire box. All of the rivets are now complete except for a hand full in each corner and 47 on the front of the firebox. The riveting is a team operation. Harold Stark, long time Director of the Museum’s Steam Program, heats the rivets; one of our volunteers “picks” the hot rivet out of the forge and places it into the hole. Then Bob and Matt work from the inside and outside of the fire box with pneumatic hammers.

The month of May found us bucking more new stay bolts. To “hammer over” the stay bolt on the interior of the fire box, someone has to hold a hundred pound bucking bar against the outside to add resistance. Working almost every weekend on stay bolts means that this phase of the project progressed quickly. While other volunteers were working on stay bolts, Michelle Yerkeson inserted new copper washers in the outside of each stay bolt sleeve and tightened down a new stay bolt cap. New stay bolts that were finished received a quick spray of green paint.

Later in the month, the crew took a break from stay bolts so that Bob could weld more sleeves. While he was doing that, the crew started working on removing the branch pipes. Removing the branch pipes is the first step to replacing the dry pipe.

During June, riveting was finished on the back corners of the fire box. All of the riveting on the back of the firebox was completed.

In July, NKP 587 was pulled out side. Volunteers removed the branch pipes. After they were out, the header was next. The header is the distributor for the super heaters. The super heaters connect into the holes on the bottom and the branch pipes connect the top of the cylinders to the front of the header. Volunteers built a temporary rail system to help guide the six hundred pound header out of the smoke box. While the header is out of the smoke box, volunteers polished the connections so that the super heaters are ready to install. The header probably hadn’t been removed since the 1940’s by the amount of furnace cement that was in the flange. Removal of the branch pipes, header, and flanges opened the way for the new dry pipe. The dry pipe is in Bob Gold’s shop and is ready to be installed.

In August and September, work reverted back to working on stay bolts. Volunteers started drilling out all of the refractory cement in the existing stay bolt holes so that they could pass their conductive test. There are about 2600 stay bolts to drill out. Bob Gold continued to work on a few individual stay bolts that were deemed to need work.

The engineer’s side firebox interior sheet was cut out and replaced near the mud ring.

587 was moved over a pit and the rear driver was dropped to allow work on the front firebox sheet. Stay bolts and rivets were removed so that the interior front sheet could be replaced.

Mud ring rivets were burned and drilled out.

The front fire box sheet was removed and replaced.

Rivets on the back of the firebox were installed in the mud ring.

The engineer’s side firebox interior sheet was cut out and replaced near the mud ring.

587 was moved over a pit and the rear driver was dropped to allow work on the front firebox sheet. Stay bolts and rivets were removed so that the interior front sheet could be replaced.

Mud ring rivets were burned and drilled out.

The front fire box sheet was removed and replaced.

Rivets on the back of the firebox were installed in the mud ring.

In April, all tubes and flues were removed.

A boiler wash was performed.

The cab was removed to allow stay bolt work to start.

Each square foot of the boiler was gridded to be tested in two locations in order to conduct and ultrasound test of the boiler. There were more than 2600 locations in all.

Latest Update – Summer 2015

Smokebox Rebuild Commences

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9/7/13- Marking locations of studs, hand rail brackets, brackets for steps, running boards and branch pipe holes.  The old (but not original) smoke box is being kept until this aspect of the project in finished.

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10/11/13-Burning out the old rivets that hold the hinges.

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10/18/13- The old smoke box is cut into two halves to make it easier to remove and store while the new smoke box was built.

10-18-13- The old rivets had to be carefully burned out to avoid damaging the boiler flange under the smokebox flange

10/18/13- The old rivets had to be carefully burned out to avoid damaging the boiler flange under the smokebox flange.

10-19-13 Fireman’s side cut away. The front of the boiler tube sheet clearly visible. The yoke (remaining) is seen at the bottom

10/19/13 Fireman’s side cut away.  The front of the boiler tube sheet clearly visible.  The yoke (remaining) is seen at the bottom.

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10/20/13 Both halves cut off and removed.  The bottom frame and yoke is clearly seen.

The new steel for the smoke box, purchased as a sheet, and rolled and Mid West Roll forming. Delivered to the Noblesville shop

The new steel for the smoke box, purchased as a sheet, and rolled and Mid West Roll forming.  Delivered to the Noblesville shop.

The new steel roll quickly cut into half, just hours after it was delivered

The new steel roll quickly cut into half, just hours after it was delivered.

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11/15/13- Also delivered on the same day was the replacement inner ring that the door mounts to.  The 2” bar stock was also rolled at Mid West.  The next week we got a heavy snow that shut down work for the rest of the winter.  2014 was a record cold and snowy year.

2014
spring

4/12/14- Spring at last! Bob Gold spent time over the winter building new brackets to aid the removal of the spool valves. Both are removed and ready to be cleaned.

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4/19/14- The spool valve covers back on for safe-keeping.  Back to smoke box work.  The new mounting ring is mounted-temporally welded in place and the door is bolted to the ring.  It is easier to make the smoke box conform to the door than the door to the smokebox.

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5/18/14 -The new smoke box holes drilled for new rivets.  Reaming holes is the last step of the prep.

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Maneuvering the first side of the new smoke box into place.  The door is removed after the holes are drilled in the ring (seen as a free-standing ring).  The holes in the far end of the smoke box match up with the holes in the boiler/ tube sheet flange.

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5/24/14- Reaming both sets of holes at once ensures that they line up perfectly.  They are bolted in place to ensure that the sheet can not slip or move before it can be welded in place.

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5/31/14- The second side is maneuvered into place in much the same operation as above.

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Bob and Matt finish some last minute reaming before riveting.

7/19/14- Riveting the new smoke box into place.  We work in four or five person teams.  In this case, five.  One person to heat the rivet- Jake Stage seen in red, Bob Gold andUntitled17

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Matt handled the heavy lifting with the pneumatic hammers, one person to hand off the hot rivet and one helper (Eric Frank) in the smoke box to help push the hot rivet into place.  The door is back on the hinges(bolted in place) to help keep the steel from creeping or moving even though it is still bolted into place until just minuets before riveting.  The hinges are re-shimed and riveted in place in this session.  Re-shimming the hinges is important to a freely swinging door—something that was long gone due to age and droop.

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9/16/14 Heat and Beat.  The tube sheet flange and the new smoke box still were not laying as close togeather as Bob would like.  Heat and beat is the answer.  Heat the steel and use some stritigicaly placed dead blows to make them come together.  The final steps include bolting the two sheets together while still hot.

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9/16/14 Ream holes for last rivets.

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9/21/14 – Bottom rows of rivets (at yolk) and every other pair of rivets around the tube sheet flange installed. Bob is rebuilding studs for the Super heater manifold. Riveting almost done, just the fireman side left.  The holes seen in the front of the mounting ring are for new studs that protrude through the door when it is closed.  The door is then bolted shut.

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11/1/14  All rivets completed. New stud holes drilled and reamed, first pass of welding complete.  New rivets at hinges and around smoke box front.  New holes cut for branch pipes.

2015

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2/17/15 Stack hole rounded out and centered.  Welding complete. All rivets complete, studs for super heater manifold repaired.   Branch pipe hole seen at bottom right.

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