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 Post subject: Re: Alaska Railroad 2-8-0 #557 to be returned to service!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:48 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
daylight4449 wrote:
However, the tubeplate fractures appear to have been a cronic problem that presented itself when the S160s were getting broken in on the London and North Eastern Railway.
The funny thing is I encountered a WW2 RR unit hogger veteran a couple of months ago and we talked about WW2 railroads for a couple of hours. The subject got to the surviving Army locomotives and he actually said then that he would be surprised if 577 didn't need a lot of work to this very area, based on his experience with S160s back in 1944-46 in the UK and Europe. So I'm not the least but surprised and have anxiously been waiting on news of the restoration for that very reason...

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 Post subject: Re: Alaska Railroad 2-8-0 #557 to be returned to service!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:48 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
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daylight4449 wrote:
I find this revelation on the firebox interesting to say the least... If 557 had as much care as it did as a training engine, you would imagine the firebox to be in better shape. While that is the thought, obviously that isn't the case now. However, the tubeplate fractures appear to have been a cronic problem that presented itself when the S160s were getting broken in on the London and North Eastern Railway. This article on the LNER encyclopedia explains the class details;

http://www.lner.info/locos/O/s160.shtml

But just to point out that some of the issues highlighted with 557's disassemble, I yield the floor to this section of the article;

Quote:
The S160s worked a lot of heavy goods traffic, but they had a high failure rate due to hot axleboxes, tubeplate fractures, and leaking firebox arch tubes. The hot axleboxes were directly due to the austerity measure of having grease lubricators on the axleboxes.

The S160s were powerful and free-steaming locomotives, but their braking was poor when compared to British standards. A steam brake was used for the locomotive, but was woefully insufficient due to the long distance from the driver's valve and the brake cylinder.

The S160s did suffer one major flaw. The roof stay bolts on the firebox would heat and tend to fail due to metal fatigue, if there was low water above the crown of the firebox. Poor boiler wash-outs would result in a build up of scale in the crown. This all contributed to a weakening of the firebox crown, and eventual collapse. In a space of ten months, three UK S160s suffered a collapse of the firebox crown. The first collapse was GWR's No. 2403 in November 1943, and killed the fireman. This was rebuilt using the boiler and cab from No. 1688 (broken frames). The second explosion was No. 2363 on 12th January 1944, whilst hauling an Ipswich to Whitemoor goods train past Thurston. The engineman was injured, and the fireman was forced off the footplate by the explosion. The third explosion occurred in South Harrow tunnel on 30th August 1944 when No. 1707 was working a goods train from Neasden to Woodford. The third explosion was not investigated fully due to the fact that the S160s were being handed back to the US Army, although No. 1707 was eventually rebuilt.


Obviously the firebox failures of three engines shows that at least those three engines had some defects, to say the least. But the discovery of damaged bearings, cracks in the tube plate and damage to the firebox (while annoying in the sense that the whole restoration timeline just got longer) wasn't unheard of with members of the class while in service. I have to agree with Howard, but 557 doesn't sound to be in as good of a shape as was originally hoped...


Of the three S-160's (numbers 1707, 2363 and 2403) that suffered firebox crown failures on the London and North Eastern in England, where was each one built? Just curious.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: Alaska Railroad 2-8-0 #557 to be returned to service!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:08 pm 

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Location: Leicester, MA.
Les Beckman wrote:
daylight4449 wrote:
I find this revelation on the firebox interesting to say the least... If 557 had as much care as it did as a training engine, you would imagine the firebox to be in better shape. While that is the thought, obviously that isn't the case now. However, the tubeplate fractures appear to have been a cronic problem that presented itself when the S160s were getting broken in on the London and North Eastern Railway. This article on the LNER encyclopedia explains the class details;

http://www.lner.info/locos/O/s160.shtml

But just to point out that some of the issues highlighted with 557's disassemble, I yield the floor to this section of the article;

Quote:
The S160s worked a lot of heavy goods traffic, but they had a high failure rate due to hot axleboxes, tubeplate fractures, and leaking firebox arch tubes. The hot axleboxes were directly due to the austerity measure of having grease lubricators on the axleboxes.

The S160s were powerful and free-steaming locomotives, but their braking was poor when compared to British standards. A steam brake was used for the locomotive, but was woefully insufficient due to the long distance from the driver's valve and the brake cylinder.

The S160s did suffer one major flaw. The roof stay bolts on the firebox would heat and tend to fail due to metal fatigue, if there was low water above the crown of the firebox. Poor boiler wash-outs would result in a build up of scale in the crown. This all contributed to a weakening of the firebox crown, and eventual collapse. In a space of ten months, three UK S160s suffered a collapse of the firebox crown. The first collapse was GWR's No. 2403 in November 1943, and killed the fireman. This was rebuilt using the boiler and cab from No. 1688 (broken frames). The second explosion was No. 2363 on 12th January 1944, whilst hauling an Ipswich to Whitemoor goods train past Thurston. The engineman was injured, and the fireman was forced off the footplate by the explosion. The third explosion occurred in South Harrow tunnel on 30th August 1944 when No. 1707 was working a goods train from Neasden to Woodford. The third explosion was not investigated fully due to the fact that the S160s were being handed back to the US Army, although No. 1707 was eventually rebuilt.


Obviously the firebox failures of three engines shows that at least those three engines had some defects, to say the least. But the discovery of damaged bearings, cracks in the tube plate and damage to the firebox (while annoying in the sense that the whole restoration timeline just got longer) wasn't unheard of with members of the class while in service. I have to agree with Howard, but 557 doesn't sound to be in as good of a shape as was originally hoped...


Of the three S-160's (numbers 1707, 2363 and 2403) that suffered firebox crown failures on the London and North Eastern in England, where was each one built? Just curious.

Les

I'll have to do some digging Les. Although I see where you're going with this...

*Edit

I found this website that details some info on the S160s, including which number series was built by a given manufacturer.

http://www.railalbum.co.uk/steam-locomo ... s160-2.htm

To save some reading (The chart is midway down the page), it appears that 1707 and 2363 were built by Baldwin, while 2403 was an ALCO product, so it appears that issues with the firebox might not be restricted to the Baldwin examples.

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 Post subject: Re: Alaska Railroad 2-8-0 #557 to be returned to service!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:26 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:41 pm
Posts: 378
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Does anyone know if the "major flaw" in the firebox was cured by installation of new firebox components, i.e rear tube sheet or crown sheets? The unfortunate incidents in the UK sound suspiciously like low water due to poor water management. Could they have been caused by unfamiliarity of the British drivers with American-style construction? Is there any documented evidence of other failures while the locos were in Army service in Europe?


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 Post subject: Re: Alaska Railroad 2-8-0 #557 to be returned to service!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:36 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:49 am
Posts: 231
Location: Cambridgeshire UK
Hi Guys; S160s had one major flaw; roof stay bolts on the firebox would overheat and fail due to metal fatigue, believed due to quality of steel used during the war. Also, contributing to weakening the fireboxes, and eventual crown collapses, British enginemen, not being familiar to US style boiler sight glasses on S160s, would sometimes run with low water. Due to wartime conditions and shortages of water treatment, the engines would sometimes get poor boiler washouts, resulting in scale build-up in the crown sheets. Add all this together, you got trouble in river city.

Over a ten-month period, three S160s suffered collapse firebox crowns. In November of 1943 on the Great Western, S160 number 2403 dropped its crown sheets, killing its fireman. She was latter rebuilt using the boiler & cab from damaged S160 number 1688. On January 12th, 1944 number 2663 exploded while hauling an Ipswich to Whitemoor goods (freight) train past Thurston station. The third explosion, S160 1707, took place on a Neasden to Woodford goods train in the South Harrow tunnel on August 30th, 1944.
David Notarius, London UK - ex New Hope Pa


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 Post subject: Re: Alaska Railroad 2-8-0 #557 to be returned to service!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:11 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:55 am
Posts: 70
Hi all,

after months of lurking this is my first entry, I couldn't resist:
David Notarius wrote:
Hi Guys; S160s had one major flaw; roof stay bolts on the firebox would overheat and fail due to metal fatigue, believed due to quality of steel used during the war. Also, contributing to weakening the fireboxes, and eventual crown collapses, British enginemen, not being familiar to US style boiler sight glasses on S160s, would sometimes run with low water. Due to wartime conditions and shortages of water treatment, the engines would sometimes get poor boiler washouts, resulting in scale build-up in the crown sheets. Add all this together, you got trouble in river city.

David Notarius, London UK - ex New Hope Pa


As engine 557 always stayed under rather stable conditions in the US as a training engine and now shows the same problems after "only 5000 miles", and as these problems occur with Baldwin- as well as with Alco-locomotives, I rather see lots of obviously unexperienced US soldiers treating 557's firebox - and add this to an obviously less than perfect firebox design. Cass firemen told me just days ago, one reason why they have their locomotives in personal responsability were the stresses in the firebox being better "understood" by the same person than by changing crews.

Have there ever been alterations made to the S160's to deal with the inherent problems on the railroads which used them, and would it be sensible to use apply the alterations now on 557? As I understand it, the 557 will be a tourist mover, with safety and reliability a higher goal than 100% historical accuracy in the staybolts...

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Alaska Railroad 2-8-0 #557 to be returned to service!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:57 pm 

Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 8:35 pm
Posts: 199
It has been years since I read the British published book on the USA 160 2-8-0 locomotives, but if I remember correctly the main problem with the Crown sheet roof bolts was the threads of the bolt did not go completely through the sheet. It was a design flaw that affected all the 160 locomotives regardless of who built them. One of the solutions was longer bolts.


Kevin K


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 Post subject: Re: Alaska Railroad 2-8-0 #557 to be returned to service!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:45 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:52 am
Posts: 21
tim o'm wrote:
557 mechanic... I hope you don't mind, but I put your photo through my photobucket account, so it is a bit easier to see the entire photo.
Image


I don't mind a bit, I was doing good just to figure out how to get the photo here:P. As my kids tell me I am somewhat of a digital neanderthal. My skills are in busting rusty bolts.
Jeff


Last edited by 557 mechanic on Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Alaska Railroad 2-8-0 #557 to be returned to service!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:28 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:52 am
Posts: 21
Frisco1522 wrote:
I would be a bit nervous jacking under the front of the firebox and smokebox. Maybe it's just me.



Frisco1522-

The engine is pretty light at this piont, if it were fully dressed I "may" have some reservations of lifting at these pionts but no concern in her present state. She tipped the scales at 140,000lbs when she rolled in on the lowboy. After a diet she has lost 30,000lbs of drivers and pilot truck, 10,000-12,000lbs of tubes and flues, 1800lbs of compressor and ( insert wild ass guess here)5000-8000lbs of cab and misc parts (power reverse, etc), so she is somewhere south of 100,000lbs. The front beam is cradled at the steam chest directly under the reinforcement plate inside the smokebox, there are no other areas as strong as this on the engine. The beam at the hot end is under the mud ring at the throat sheet, the strongest piont of the firebox as evidenced by the waist support plate at this location when the engine was constructed. Both of the locations have the advantage of stability and good weight balance. And she behaved nicely in the air.

If you examine the military pictures of these engines fully dressed being lifted off of ships, they are using a spreader bar that bolted to the steam dome and hooked into an eye welded to the smoke box front- now that would have made me nervous!

Jeff


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 Post subject: Re: Alaska Railroad 2-8-0 #557 to be returned to service!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:11 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:54 am
Posts: 794
Location: NJ
I also have the British book on the S-160s (somewhere...) and what I remember reading, aside from the staybolt issue, was that the British engine crews were not always sure about how to read (and blow down) the American sight glasses. Something like "Does a black background mean the boiler is full, or is it the other way around"?

(I'm sure someone else will find their copy of that book before I find mine...)


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 Post subject: Re: Alaska Railroad 2-8-0 #557 to be returned to service!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:03 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:52 am
Posts: 21
Greetings all, its time for an update for the curious. Work has begun to remove the entire firebox that will be replaced with new. Too many thin spots scattered too widely to justify patch repairs. The 3/8" plate will be replaced with an upgrade to 7/16" and additional flexible stays from factory. The firebox tube sheet has been replaced already once from new, we found a carnegie steel stamping from 1956 on it indicating 52,000 psi, interestingly 3000 psi short of the original spec. Suspension components show excessive wear that will be corrected. Each one of us has put in a little time on the cab, it has become a "hobby" side project and is nearly completed and looks very nice, alot of dents and tweaks had to be straightened and some of the lower panels were rusted out so that metal had to be replaced, we lined it with tung and groove oak stained green to match the interior paint. This was donated by a local wood smith, good thing too, looks like we are going to eat up that $700,000. At this time I will make a plug for donations to help us encumber the remainder of the Rasmusson matching grant, anyone?


We have acquired nearly a complete set of blue prints for this engine from various sources that are proving invaluable when gauging some of these totaly worn out components. We have discovered some very interesting things as we disassemble her, my favorite is the oak block under the R1 spring to short out the suspension taking the weight off of that driving box which has a pounded out crown brass. The frame extensions for the pilot ahead of the cylinder block is bent up about 2", probably from a derailment some time in the past, careful examination of photos reveals this condition existed before it left Alaska.

Thats all for now, I don't get on here very often so be patient, I will be back.
Jeff


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 Post subject: Re: Alaska Railroad 2-8-0 #557 to be returned to service!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:48 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:58 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Alaska
Thanks for the update!


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 Post subject: Re: Alaska Railroad 2-8-0 #557 to be returned to service!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:33 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:32 pm
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557 mechanic wrote:
Greetings all, its time for an update for the curious. Work has begun to remove the entire firebox that will be replaced with new. Too many thin spots scattered too widely to justify patch repairs. The 3/8" plate will be replaced with an upgrade to 7/16" and additional flexible stays from factory.


I am curious about what is necessitating the increase in sheet thickness?

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Strasburg Rail Road Locomotive Dept.


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 Post subject: Re: Alaska Railroad 2-8-0 #557 to be returned to service!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 5:15 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Brendan,


I cannot speak for the Alaskan group, but have read from multiple sources that thicker replacement fireboxes were used by several post-war European operators of the S-160 class, including Italy and Poland.

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David M. Wilkins

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 Post subject: Re: Alaska Railroad 2-8-0 #557 to be returned to service!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 5:30 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2431
Without pointing fingers and getting into an argument over who said what and why, I have to wonder what we can learn from the vast disparity in the projected number for restoration and the actual costs.

Yes, I know, it is impossible to fully determine the condition without tearing the engine down. But it also appears that there will be at least 1/2 million dollars difference between the optimistic estimate of the consultant and the actual costs.

That's a large jump, and one that could have lead to the project being cancelled mid stream had they taken the $250K number and ran with it.

Obviously, it's not the first steam project to go over budget and won't be the last. But how can we get closer next time? I was under the impression that the inspection was pretty thorough and well documented. Is there way to analyze what went wrong and do better?


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