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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 1:54 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
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Location: southeastern USA
Nice if we went back to a system of apprenticeship, where the theory of the classroom was tempered with the reality of the shop floor..... and both were necessary for graduation / certification, etc. Now it seems skilled trades workers are required to have a degree, and their diploma is nothing more than a piece of paper that opens the door into their opportunity to learn the real job.

dave

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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 2:18 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:54 am
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Location: NJ
I may have said this before, but what scares me today is the lack of 'hands on' that some of these college kids exhibit. At a previous job (building custom automated assembly and inspection equipment) I worked with maybe a dozen co-op students from a few different schools. They were all great at AutoCAD, could do calculus in their heads, etc. but "righty-tighty, lefty-loosey" was often a foreign concept. Trying to drill a hole with the drill running backwards? One guy in particular was about to get an electronics degree of some sort, but even in electronics you need to know how to use simple hand tools.


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 3:39 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 1:33 pm
Posts: 312
Location: Oroville, CA
Maybe this is too far "afoot" for this thread, but it is an example of what experience, common sense and a "need to 'er done now" situation management is.
There was a friction bearing diesel locomotive that need to be used nearly immediately. The engine hadn't moved in many, many years, and an inspection of the axles revealed one that had gotten water in it. Three of us got together, and the decision was made to "shoe shine" the axle with fine sandpaper. Once that was done, we had a round axle, mostly polished, but with rust pits in some spots. I used a Dremel tool to grind down the edges of the pits to eliminate any sharp edges that could possibly cut into the Babbitt. We determined that then the pits would be "oil reservoirs" The Babbitt was also checked, and appeared to be in good shape. Yes, we used some calipers to check the roundness, and it was withing 10 thousands. Considering the diameter of the axle, the conclusion was that, while far from perfect, probably withing operating tolerances of the bearing surfaces. I admitted that the exercise was a gamble, and expressed my concerns, but the owner did not want, nor had the resources, to do anything more drastic, like drop the axle, have it turned, and new Babbitt poured.
The locomotive ran for thousands of miles after that, with no bearing problems. I do believe it ended up being scrapped, sadly. It was an old Alco 244, military version. Was this "best practices" NO! But it was experience and common sense and a little "Yankee Ingenuity" to solve a mechanical problem and keep the equipment functioning.
I suppose in modern Corporate Management practice, we'd all be fired! Oh well, we were all volunteers anyway! :)

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Help save the last overnight steamboat, Delta Queen!
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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 10:25 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 1062
I didn't see this posted earlier in this thread, and I apologize if it's redundant. Nicholas Valdez posted a multiple-part YouTube video of the presentation on March 7 to the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club. Part 1 is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3l-xAxl_98

and the following parts (there are 4 total) will probably come up as first choice for the 'next video to play'. There is also a 41-minute view of the main presentation from a different angle here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfu5v8LdrMA

I look forward to more informed comment when you've all seen this for yourselves.

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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 9:24 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1881
It occurs to me that in addition to the Sigma 6 process, and legal/HR issues, the slow progress at UP might also be for budget reasons. Assuming there is only so much money to go around in a calendar year, did the Big Boy project consume financial resources during 2014 that would normally go to a rebuild of 844?

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 5:02 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 793
wesp wrote:
It occurs to me that in addition to the Sigma 6 process, and legal/HR issues, the slow progress at UP might also be for budget reasons. Assuming there is only so much money to go around in a calendar year, did the Big Boy project consume financial resources during 2014 that would normally go to a rebuild of 844?

Wesley


Normally, there would be no need for a rebuild of 844 so soon after the one it got 10 years ago.

If anything, there should me more than adequate money available, because they are not spending anything to operate trips, as there are no trips, and the fact that there is surplus money in the labor part of the budget due to the smaller crew size now.


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 7:50 pm 

Joined: Sat May 02, 2015 2:51 pm
Posts: 10
Overmod wrote:
I didn't see this posted earlier in this thread, and I apologize if it's redundant. Nicholas Valdez posted a multiple-part YouTube video of the presentation on March 7 to the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club. Part 1 is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3l-xAxl_98

and the following parts (there are 4 total) will probably come up as first choice for the 'next video to play'. There is also a 41-minute view of the main presentation from a different angle here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfu5v8LdrMA

I look forward to more informed comment when you've all seen this for yourselves.


The event hosting the March Ed Dickens presentation was the Rocky Mountain Train Show at the Denver Mart. This multi scale show draws 11000 public visitors and at least 100 to Eds presentation. Ed also presented there in March 2014. I spoke with Ed while setting the show up and it seemed like they were making progress on the Steam Shop and 844. Ed spoke for over an hour followed by at least a half hour of questions direct from the audience. He also answered individual questions after that for several hours.
Hopefully we will start seeing some results soon. Cheyenne Depot days is next weekend with the shop and roundhouse open to the public. First week of June Ed will be speaking to NMRA members registered for the Regional NMRA convention at the Sheraton Denver tech center. This will be followed by a NMRA Cheyenne Steam Shop tour for those that sign up.
Kent S
Littleton CO


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 9:56 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
Posts: 555
$1 says that things are arranged this year so there will be no more pictures like the ones of the tubes last year. Prepped and staged to the max!


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 2:03 pm 
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
Jeff Lisowski wrote:
Honestly, this thread has beaten the proverbial dead horse and is slowly degrading into a Train Orders style bashing.
And the funny thing is I called it in the second post in this thread (not that anyone probably thought I was wrong with my prediction at the time):
p51 wrote:
Hear that rumbling sound? It's the sound of an oncoming rush of il-informed people with grudges against UP or simply making up stuff. Some will swear they're involved directly but even among those, the answers vary wildly. They follow and respond prolifically to any such thread. Just wait a few minutes, they'll be here soon enough.
I have heard every variant of an answer to your question that you could imagine. God alone knows which opinion is correct, so I won't be re-hashing any of them.

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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 4:06 pm 

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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Quote:
Honestly, this thread has beaten the proverbial dead horse and is slowly degrading into a Train Orders style bashing.


Take the good with the bad. Some posts are great, some are just filler.

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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 7:30 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 793
As one who has been much closer to the actual situation than most of you ever will, I take exception to this out-of-hand dismissal of anything as ill-informed rumor and inuendo. Just because some of you cannot accept some information does not make it less factual.

I will also say that in my opinion there has been a great effort to avoid any personal slander in this thread. I think that is the main reason why our sometimes over protective moderators have let it develop as it has.

It is tough to argue that most of what has been reported or predicted the last few years has not happened, but feel free to do so.


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 10:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8878
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
Agreed for the most part.

However, IF--and I repeat, IF--a particular management style/technique, accounting method, philosophy, or even hands-on mechanical technique (for example, the allegedly "wrong" use of certain water/boiler treatment chemistry) were to create such a clash of results, personalities, or whatever so as to be the difference between mainline steam being a part of a railroad's marketing arm versus being banned systemwide even for others on trackage rights, then I would suggest that such discrepancies or differences NEED to be discussed and addressed for the future of the steam experiences a great many of us grew up with, etc.

I mean, as nonsensical as it sounds and with no evidence to support it, could it be that a "Six Sigma" management protocol, badly applied, is the entire reason CSX allegedly treats the mere notion of steam like the ebola virus? If so, is there any way to address this discrepancy within their manners of thinking, or should we just give up and go home?


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 3:38 am 

Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 1:33 pm
Posts: 312
Location: Oroville, CA
I think the overwhelming majority of the posts in this thread has been questioning and discussing the application of modern management theories to the process of maintaining steam equipment in this modern world. Yes, there has been some speculation that this is what is happening to the UP Steam Shop, but it has been very reserved, and IMHO, given the shop's management team the benefit of the doubt.
I may be all wet, but it seems to me that a compilation and comparison of practices from all the present preserved steam shops could lead to a pretty valid "Best Practices" list. Not everything developed by committee is bad, look at the PCC transit car design. Perhaps the use and adoption of such a knowledge base would prevent a single individual from instituting a bad practice (such as a boiler wash or water treatment regime) that leads to damage to the equipment or the industry. Now some may try turning this example into "an attack" but it is just an example using something that is common to all steam operations--and presently has a lot of different solutions (pun intended) by different groups. This thread, so far, has been a very interesting discussion of "where are we now & where are we going"--granted, a bit afar from the original question!

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David Dewey
Help save the last overnight steamboat, Delta Queen!
Write your congressman to support and co-sponsor House Resolution HR-619. This bill only grants her permission to run; there is no cost to us taxpayers.


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 2:37 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:22 pm
Posts: 339
That's exactly what I had in mind. Personalities aside, there are better and worse ways to do almost anything, and if 99 people have had good results with a process, odds are that if the hundredth one says they're all wrong, he'd better be able to back it up.
Having a manual of what has worked and WHY it has worked allows for progress in a logical way when materials and supplies change, while discouraging those who would try something off the wall in an arbitrary manner.

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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 8:46 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 793
Again, without getting into personalities, I'll expand a bit on what Becky said.

In most cases, a manual isn't really needed. Much of it already exists, in the form of the exam booklets for promotion and the railroad's old written standard practices. You might be amazed at how many of these still exist. Most have been modernized (for example, it is no longer nice to instruct people to use asbestos or white lead).

It does, however, require a willingness to read and absorb, ask questions, and otherwise learn from what you predecessors did that worked well and why, what didn't work and why, and don't repeat the same mistakes they made before you were even born. Go forth and make all new mistakes!

If an individual has the benefit of inheriting locomotives, shops, crews and is willing to learn, he has several legs up on the game already. If he starts with the idea that the machinery and facilities are junk and the people are all idiots, he starts WAY behind the curve and may never catch up. Add to this toxic brew some weird ideas (don't you X-ray the cast steel frame on a regular basis?) and an unwillingness to accept accountability for your mistakes and an overeagerness to blame others,and you get pretty much what can be witnessed today.


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