BUFFALO CREEK #43
by Scott H.
February - March 2017
|Western New York had another unpredictable winter with very little snow but wild temperature swings and crazy winds. At our first organizational meeting in early February 2017, we discussed our goals for the year. After getting the prime mover started last July, we want to do an oil change. The "dip-stick" at the bottom of the crankcase showed full but the oil was very dark.|
|The Buffalo Southern Railroad has been an indispensible friend to the Society in so many ways. Looking toward becoming more independent we decided to make our own "pre-lube" pump for the lubrication system. Rick B. bought a 5 gallon per minute pump from "Northern Hydraulics™" and I connected it and a 1/2hp motor to a plywood base.|
|To make the "pre-lube" process easier without removing a crankcase cover, we decided to add some new extra plumbing. We pulled the 2" plug from the bottom of the crankcase and reduced it to 3/4." A 3/4" brass ball valve was added with a quick connect "MHT" end. At the other end we removed our 1/2" ball valve from the timing gear box housing and added a 1/2" union and pipe to get over to the other side of the prime mover.|
|Using new 1/2" black pipe, we neatly plumbed over the front of the engine, through the block of our M&S 538 prime mover and down to the bottom of the crankcase. The new pipe will be primed and painted with "Industrial Grey" enamel so it will look like original equipment. When we removed the plug from the crankcase, a small amount of oil was lost when we switched the fittings. We will remove the handles on the ball valves to prevent the accidental opening of the pipes and replace them when needed.|
|After all the plumbing was complete, we connected our shop built hydraulic pump to the new pre-lube system. Within 10 minutes we had oil dripping into the bottom of the crankcase. When we last tried to bar the engine over in the fall to clean commutator segments without pre-lubing, it would not budge. After the pre-lube, I was able to bar the crankshaft myself.|
|We never got a chance to test our General Electric CP-26 compressor last year so we spent a little time making sure it would be ready this year. After removing the two crankcase inspection covers, we were pleased to see that everything was well oiled and there were no signs of water. Using a 2-1/2" socket and a 3/4" ratchet with a long extension, we were able to easily rotate the pinion gear and get fresh oil all over the bull gear.|
|In anticipation of installing batteries this summer, we are making insulation boards for the bottom of the battery compartments. Jim L. and I went down the tracks to install a tarp on the roof of our NYC transfer caboose. Plans are being made for an entire new roof this summer. Last week, Rick B. started scraping and wire brushing the underside of the two engine compartment roof hatches. This week he got them both primed and ready for paint.|
|April 24th was a perfect day for painting so Rick B. went up top to apply the finish coat of Industrial Gray enamel to the two hood hatches. In less than an hour, both hatches looked brand new. Jim Long donated a huge tarp which we installed on the other 20 feet of our NYC #19602 Caboose.|
|The weather continued to cooperate the rest of the week, so Jim finished priming and painting both sides of the battery compartment insulation boards. Over forty 2-1/2" drain holes were cut to match the holes in the steel compartment floor to allow water to drain from the bottom.|
|On May 3rd, we were confident that freezing weather was behind us so we filled the cooling system. We ran 175 feet of hose from the ArtCraft Train depot to the locomotive and in less than an hour had filled the system, and again had no leaks. While we had all that hose out, Rick B. used his pressure washer to remove some of winters grime.|
|The Buffalo Southern Railroad continues to be an invaluable asset to our progress. On May 17th I had Pat C. load six used "GBC" 8 volt locomotive batteries onto my 1/2 ton truck. At 275 pounds each, the 1680 pounds of batteries really made the truck squat. Using a "strong back" plywood ramp, we slid each battery into the engineers side battery compartment. Silicone spray on the plywood and the insulation boards really helped the process.|
|At the end of the day we had 48 volts of power on one side of the engine. On May 22nd and 31st with fewer batteries on each load, we filled the fireman's side compartment. After the battery terminals were cleaned we had to attach ten "jumper cables." These 2 foot 2/0 gauge wires have a two hole terminal at each end which were also polished and clamped with eight battery stud nuts to the battery terminals.|
|With all 12 batteries connected in series we now had 96 volts of power. Since many of the units were sitting idle in the BSOR shop for quite a while, they need to be charged before we can use them to start the engine. However, we couldn't resist trying out some of our low power systems like the lights. As Rick walked back from retreiving our "blue flag" he took a photo of the rear headlight on "bright." (now a 100 watt 120 volt bulb)|
|On June 5th, we charged another set of three batteries with our 24 volt charger. While that was happening, Rick and I inspected the "pressure regulator" switch for the compressor. Previous owners had removed the large ALCO electrical/pneumatic unit and repalced it with a smaller, much less complicated "Furnas" brand regulator. However, the mounting system and wiring left much to be desired. We will fabricate a proper mount and rewire the unit to prevent any problems in the future. The photo to the right shows a detailed view of the "backside" of the electrical cabinet where the pressure regulator switch is located.|
|With confidence that the compressor system was good to go, we went back into the cab to give it a try. Meter readings at the battery switch showed we had 88.6 volts of power, more than enough to roll the motor over. With an easy push on the compressor relay switch, the motor after resting silent for 18 years came to life! With another system checked off our list as "good," we again connected our "pre-lube" oil pump so we could bar the engine over. This was to allow us to clean the hundreds of brass commutator segments on the three generators. The cleaner the segments are, the better the generator performs. With the prime mover oiled, we were able to rotate the crankshaft a little bit at a time to polish them with red "Scotch-Brite™" pads.|
|The WNYRHS greatly appreiciates all the generous donations to this project to date. However, we could still use your help! All Donations to the WNYRHS, Inc. are Tax-Deductable! If you would like to mail in a donation, send it to
WNYRHS Inc., PO Box 416, Buffalo, New York 14231-0416
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