Friday, April 23, 2021

Steam test 2021

Northern Pacific Railway steam locomotive 924 was fully rehabilitated and restored over a period of five years.  It made its debut on 1 November 2020 with passenger runs from Snoqualmie and North Bend.  Yet with any steam locomotive, maintenance and inspection are ongoing responsibilities.  

Steam locomotives require an annual inspection and test of the boiler.  This work includes a series of visual and other non-destructive tests, followed by a hydrostatic test of the boiler at 125% of operating pressure.  Then a steam test is performed during which the safety valves must demonstrate that they lift and seat at the required pressures.

The 924 received its annual test in April 2021, and a portion of the test was witnessed by an inspector from the Federal Railroad Administration.  There were no anomalies reported, and the locomotive boiler was declared fit for service.  This was also the first time the complete new locomotive jacketing was displayed; continuing tests and rehabilitation did not allow the new jacket to be installed until this past winter.  The jacketing project was funded in part by the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association; the Museum is grateful for their support.

Pandemic-era restrictions are particularly difficult for steam trains  because of the higher operating costs.  Fewer passengers places the cost per passenger much higher that normal. Notwithstanding, the Museum has committed to operating steam trains on at least two upcoming weekends: Mother's Day Weekend and Father's Day Weekend, when they will operate on two hour return schedules, and include a brief visit to the Train Shed exhibit hall.  

Do you want to see the 924 continue to run?  Please consider a Give BIG! 2021 donation now or on May 4 & 5 to the Northwest Railway Museum to help support operating of the Museum and the 924 during the pandemic.