Author Topic: How long did boiler rebuilds take in the steam era?  (Read 1254 times)

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mmagliaro

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How long did boiler rebuilds take in the steam era?
« on: June 24, 2018, 08:18:51 PM »
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SP&S #700 is currently undergoing its required 15-year FRA inspection and a boiler rebuild.  It's been ongoing since 2016, and I imagine it will be another year before it's done.

I'm sure that in steam era, it didn't take a year (or more) to completely rebuild a boiler and get an engine back on the road.  These days, parts aren't handy and this has to be done by volunteers with grant money.   So I understand why it takes so long.

My question: How long did it take to do a major boiler rebuild on a large steam loco (like a 4-8-4) back in the steam era, when shops were fully equipped and staffed to be doing this all the time?  Was it more like a month?  3 months?

Chris333

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Re: How long did boiler rebuilds take in the steam era?
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2018, 08:23:14 PM »
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Back then they probably had the new boiler sitting there ready to go.

cne_craig

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Re: How long did boiler rebuilds take in the steam era?
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2018, 08:37:52 PM »
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So this probably doesn't answer your question directly but swapping a boiler took about a month.  Here's my example from the Central New England Railway.

In 1900, it took from July2nd to July 30th to perform the following work: New boiler, new sectional lagging on the boiler, new jacket, new sand box, new running boards, new cab, new cylinders, new back and front cylinder heads, new steam chest, new pistons, one new crosshead, new guides and guideblocks, springs repaired, all new frame bolts, new breast beam, new grates and grate rigging, new ash pan for the cost of 4,233.60 materials and 997.65 labor.  The original engine was a Rogers 4-4-0 and the new boiler and parts came from BLW.

I'd put in some before and after photos but my post count is still low.

Before: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0yTu0foOWxWM1dDS0hyMTBvZ0E

After:  https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0yTu0foOWxWMTR6Y0lGUjY5aEE

Cheers,
Craig
« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 09:21:20 PM by cne_craig »

peteski

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Re: How long did boiler rebuilds take in the steam era?
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2018, 09:28:25 PM »
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The original engine was a Rogers 4-4-0 and the new boiler and parts came from BLW.


Wow!  Brooklyn Locomotive Works has been around since before 1900?!  And they also used to stock 1:1 locomotive parts besides N and Z scale?!  How cool is that? I had no idea!
I bet you didn't see that one coming!   :D
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learmoia

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Re: How long did boiler rebuilds take in the steam era?
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2018, 09:51:35 PM »
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Wow!  Brooklyn Locomotive Works has been around since before 1900?!  And they also used to stock 1:1 locomotive parts besides N and Z scale?!  How cool is that? I had no idea!
I bet you didn't see that one coming!   :D

Nono.. BLI  :trollface:
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CBQ Fan

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Re: How long did boiler rebuilds take in the steam era?
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2018, 10:00:23 PM »
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Baldwin maybe.
Brian

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cne_craig

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Re: How long did boiler rebuilds take in the steam era?
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2018, 10:38:04 PM »
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So, with all those changes would you still consider it a Rogers engine?  Or is it now a Baldwin or Brooklyn ;)?  I would opt for a Baldwin since there was a 10,000 lb difference in the before to after, that would be a LOT of nscale parts added.

Cheers,
Craig

nkalanaga

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Re: How long did boiler rebuilds take in the steam era?
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2018, 12:57:32 AM »
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Baldwin or Brooklyn:  There actually are two "Republic Locomotive Works" - one prototype, one N/Nn3.  No relation, nowhere near each other geographically.
N Kalanaga
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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: How long did boiler rebuilds take in the steam era?
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2018, 10:12:53 AM »
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Back then they probably had the new boiler sitting there ready to go.

This.

Well, some of them anyway (the PRR did).

They also had an ARMY of guys to do the work. Like, 1000s of guys employed to do this.

THIS is the real reason for dieselization.

nkalanaga

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Re: How long did boiler rebuilds take in the steam era?
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2018, 02:01:43 AM »
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"THIS is the real reason for dieselization. "

Right.  The diesels didn't need full servicing after every run, and when they did need an overhaul, just pull the block, drop another one in, and send the unit back to work.  And for the roads that burned coal, diesel is much easier to refuel than coal.
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peteski

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Re: How long did boiler rebuilds take in the steam era?
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2018, 04:06:33 AM »
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"THIS is the real reason for dieselization. "

Right.  The diesels didn't need full servicing after every run, and when they did need an overhaul, just pull the block, drop another one in, and send the unit back to work.  And for the roads that burned coal, diesel is much easier to refuel than coal.

But diesels have no "soul". Steam locos, with all those moving parts, heat, smoke, and steam, seemed like live creatures.  diesels are just cold machines.  But yes, much easier to upkeep.
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Xmtrman

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Re: How long did boiler rebuilds take in the steam era?
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2018, 08:30:31 AM »
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But diesels have no "soul".

If you ever stood trackside in southern Wyoming while four DDA40X's blew by you with a UPS TOFC "mail" train you wouldn't say that.

 :D

peteski

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Re: How long did boiler rebuilds take in the steam era?
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2018, 03:14:51 PM »
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If you ever stood trackside in southern Wyoming while four DDA40X's blew by you with a UPS TOFC "mail" train you wouldn't say that.

 :D

No, you are describing a feeling of soulless  earth- and gut-shaking and deafening horsepower. Sorry, not the same by any means.  And Diesel's stinky exhaust can't be compared to the sweet-smelling coal smoke.  And the oily steam odor. Ahhhhh!

Besides, neither you or me have experienced a gaggle of Big-Boys at full steam trackside. That would be a better comparison to your DDA40Xs.  :P  Or maybe you have?

Hey, some like vanilla, others chocolate.
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nkalanaga

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Re: How long did boiler rebuilds take in the steam era?
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2018, 01:54:38 AM »
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Having grown up with diesels, since the NP retired their last ones in Pasco the year I was born, I find steam interesting, but in a historical sense.  I suspect that, for most people today, which one they like is similar to cats vs dogs as pets.  They're both good pets, but people have definite preferences!
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Maletrain

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Re: How long did boiler rebuilds take in the steam era?
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2018, 09:20:08 AM »
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I am old enough to remember steam engines in mainline service, but they were rare, then, so much sought after.  That probably adds to my interest in modelling them and their operations.

But, even without that experience, I think that watching a steam engine move is more interesting than watching a diesel move.  And, seeing a caboose on the end of the train adds more interest than a FRED.  Seeing double headed steam and steam pushers also looks more interesting than 5 MUed diesel units on the head with pairs of radio-controlled units spaced through the train.

Besides looks, there is the operational aspect, for the folks who care about that.  With steam engines, each with its own operating crew, there is a lot more to multi-engine operations than with a bunch of MUed diesels.  And handling the caboose gives the operator another thing to do at each end of a run. 

Diesel transfer tables may be approaching the old steam turntables in modelling neatness, but there really aren't many of those available.  Roundhouses just seem more interesting than a box building diesel maintenance facility.  And, water towers, coaling towers and cinder dumps seem more interesting than diesel fueling and sanding platforms from a modeling point of view.

So, I model the 1950s.  Maybe if I was born in 1860, I would be modeling Civil War vintage steam.  Today, kids seem to be more attracted to modelng cars and airplanes, so what we remember as kids seems to be a significant determinant.