Monday, July 27, 2020

924 Testing

On a blistering-hot July 27, 2020, steam locomotive 924 emerged from its track inside the Conservation and Restoration Workshop for additional testing.  The 924 is an 1899-built 0-6-0 Rogers locomotive that served the Northern Pacific Railway in the Everett-Seattle-Tacoma region until 1923.  

The 924 has been undergoing a complete rehabilitation, with restoration to its appearance circa 1908.  Already, an investment of more than $500,000 has been made in this King County and City of Snoqualmie Landmark with support from local residents, museum volunteers, individual donors, 4Culture, Washington Heritage Capital Fund, the Emery Rail Trust, Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association, Schwab Fund, and more.

Check out the moving pictures of the 924 in action:

The July 2020 testing was scheduled to prove the air brake system, most of which was re-plumbed with new schedule 80 piping giving the 924 a fully functional early 20th Century G-6 brake system.  Meanwhile, a number of minor boiler issues including some leaking stay bolts and boiler tubes were being re-tested to see if they had been successfully sealed.

The 924 was also put through a series of operating exercises, including pushing a braking diesel to simulate a load to check for things such as the efficacy of the cylinder packing.  The locomotive tender's new water tank was completely filled with water, but unfortunately did continue to experience several leaks, which will have to be sealed before the tank can be painted.  So not everything is perfect, but the 924 is 121 years old.  Yet aside from exceedingly high atmospheric temperatures, it was a perfect day to run a steam locomotive in the scenic Snoqualmie Valley.

Work on locomotive 924 is continuing and a public debut is expected later this season.  In the mean time, your support helps ensure this work can continue, and is tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.  Please visit the Northwest Railway Museum's online donation portal to pledge your support.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

More on the 924

The Covid-19 crisis has been particularly difficult for the cultural sector, and the Northwest Railway Museum has been no exception.  However, prior grant awards and contributions have allowed at least some work to continue on steam locomotive 924, the Rogers-built 0-6-0 that operated for the Northern Pacific Railway in the Puget Sound Region from 1901 until 1923.  As reported in an article posted in May, after years of rehabilitation the 924 steamed under its own power this year for the first time since 1979.  Since then, the locomotive has taken on a more decidedly finished appearance.

The steam saddle had a number of broken screws that at one time helped secure jacketing.  A process of drilling, tapping, and backing out the remains of the old screws is used to prepared the saddle for new jacketing.  Kyle I. achieved great success by adding just a little heat, too.

Meanwhile, Floyd went to work fabricating a new mounting plate for a period-appropriate bell.  Unfortunately the original bell disappeared many years ago, but was a late 19th century model that mounted the harp up on a pedestal.  The bell the Museum's director selected to replace it is very similar and was purchased in a local antique shop by Joe S. more than 50 years ago.  Yet it too had also suffered from missing parts: the finial was no where to be found.  Fortunately, Floyd was able to fabricate a replacement ball from a trailer hitch as suggested by one the Museum's consultants, Steven Butler.  

One of the more interesting projects was fabrication of a new spot plate.  The remains of the original Rogers spot plate are long gone - the 924 was seen sporting a new plate as early as 1912.  Yet the period of significance the Museum has chosen for the locomotive featured the original casting.  So Lyle E. set to work fabricating a replacement Rogers lookalike using data supplied by the great curators at Railtown 1897 in California.

The replacement spot plate is not a casting, but a steel fabrication that was turned in a lathe to create the original profile.  It consists of a steel "doughnut" with a plate welded into the center.  The plate was placed in a press to create a convex face.  After finishing, replacement cast brass numbers produced by Keith Durfy were attached to the plate.  The end result is a very nearly identical spot plate, but one that is 121 years younger than the locomotive!

The Covid-19 crisis continues to place many restrictions on the Northwest Railway Museum, which remains closed to the public.  However, work is continuing on the locomotive 924 project.  Another update will be posted soon; your contributions are always welcome and encouraged, and will help ensure work continues on this signature project.  Contributions to the 924 project may be made online at shop.TrainMuseum.organd are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.