Friday, December 13, 2019

Steam locomotive 924 updates

Steam locomotive 924 is an 0-6-0 constructed in 1899 by the Rogers Locomotive Works.  By 1901 it was owned by the Northern Pacific Railway and had been shipped west to Seattle.  It served a distinguished career in the Seattle region switching docks along Elliot Bay, building passenger trains to originate at King Street Station, and even switching industry in Everett, Tacoma and Auburn.  

Even by mainline standards of the early 20th Century, the 924 is a light locomotive.  So by 1924 it had been retired and found a second life working for a paper mill near Spokane.  In 1968 it was donated to the Northwest Railway Museum and was leased to the Chehalis Centralia Railroad.  It was moved to Snoqualmie in the late 1980s.  It listed on the King County and City of Snoqualmie Landmark Registers in 2015.

The 924 has been undergoing restoration and rehabilitation at the Northwest Railway Museum's Conservation and Restoration Center for the last several years.  Since completing the hydro-static test in September, efforts have focused on plumbing the locomotive.  Heavy steel pipe (schedule 80) is being formed to attach appliances located in their original positions.

Replacement injectors now hang from each side of the boiler.  They were extensively rebuilt by Backshop Enterprises and will soon be used to inject water into the pressurized boiler.  Before that can happen heavy piping will connect the injector with the tender water tank, steam from the turret valve, and a pipe for the product of steam and water to be delivered to the boiler check valve.

Towards the rear of the locomotive, a rebuilt Detroit hydro-static lubricator has been attached to the boiler shell with a big stud.  This device will inject steam cylinder oil into the cylinders and the steam air pump.  It relies on boiler pressure to push lubricating oil into the steam cylinders against boiler pressure, which may sound almost like a perpetual motion machine, but it does work.

On the boiler back head, new try cocks and water glass valves have been installed.  These important safety devices are used to measure the height (amount) of the water in the boiler.  Originally the 924 had just one water glass but Federal regulations now require two.  So one will be visible to the locomotive fireman and the other to the locomotive engineer.

Another important feature is called the blower.  It uses a small amount of steam that it exhausts into the smoke box to help enhance draft.  This helps the boiler build steam a little faster.  It is pretty simple: just a valve and steam pipe running from the back head all the way to the smoke box, exhausting therein.  There are drains so that condensate may be drained from the line when the locomotive is shut down.

While all the plumbing has been happening, other members of the crew have been working on mechanical components including driving boxes, connecting rods, and the main rods.  So progress is evident on more than one front, and Spike will produce another update in a few weeks to show you even more progress.

The 924 project is one of the largest rehabilitation projects the Museum has undertaken, and work is in the final phases.  Your support can help bring this project to completion, and really does make a difference!  Your donation in any amount may be made on the Museum's web site here and is tax deductible to the extent provided by law.