Up one level Neidrauer Live Steam Locomotives Photo Albums » Building a Live Steam Locomotive - the Mikado Project » Operations and Alterations - After years of effort, we run the engine!
Operations and Alterations - After years of effort, we run the engine!
2016 Several seasons have gone by and the engine is solidly performing great, steaming well, with no major mechanical issues. It's a solid engine design and Bill and I could not be happier with it. September 2014 Engine and new Tender ply the tracks with much success. A couple issues pop up which we address. October 2013 Several more runs at the SLLS track and Big Creek & Southern reveal a fine running engine. Also pictures of the first fire-up of Frisco 4166 September 2012. First throttle pull at the St. Louis Live Steamers track. A three-day break-in run at the Big Creek & Southern and last run for the season. At the time, I used a borrowed tender from a friend (still needed to build one).

 24-November-2018 What a mess inside my boiler! This strange picture show all the mud/debris/calcium on the crown sheet of the boiler. It was shot from the steam dome looking toward the back of the boiler. This boiler uses crown bar stays on the crown sheet, the rectangular box in the middle is the end of the crown bar. The front of the firebox is the lower third of the picture.  25-May-2018 Although I used flared fittings on all my waterlines, I still had an air leak on the firemans injector water line. I was stunned. The defect is the little  24-May-2018 Unplanned early spring season repair job: There is an air leak in the fireman's side waterline which is causing the injector to not pick up and work properly. The waterlines are tucked up in the tender frame, so the hoist is used to lift the tender, allowing me to drop the middle axle so I can get to the kingpin so I can remove the front truckset. After the truckset is out of the way I can finally access the water lines!  20-Jan-2018 After six year of use, the firepan is looking beat up. The top skim layer is used has flaked away, but the botom refractory is still intact and has not eroded through.  14-Nov-2016 With the operating season over, we begin the winter overhaul work. The tender has water leaks in the tank, pulling it off the frame uncovers a large rust patch, still wet a month later.  8-Oct-2016 Hauling passenger revenue -- St. Louis Live Steamers public run day with new box cars in tow.  6-May-2016 Morning sunshine on the Mid-South Live Steamers spring meet steaming bays.  6-May-2016 Bill Crosses the diamond at Mid-South Live Steamers spring meet. We are taking a break hauling passengers, running SLLS member Joel's cars.  4-Sept-2014 The engine, tender and new cab roof with a load of passengers ready to go at the club track.  30-May-2014 For some reason the engineer side injector would not pick up at all the last time I ran it. After several attempts, I found the problem: a piece of hard PFTE plastic jammed in the water cone. We must have shaved a piece off one of the ball valves when we assembled the plumbing on the new tender.  19-May-2014 Having bought the brake valve assembly finished, I did not have a blueprint for it. I use the magnifying scope and DRO on the mill to reverse engineer the hole layout in case we need to make a new valve block out of a material harder than the yellow brass.  19-May-2014 Bill chucked the brake valve block up in the lathe and turned the scratches off, then I worked to finish the surface with water-wet sandpaper on the surface plate, resulting in a smooth finish.  2-May-2014 After two days running at the Columbia, TN Mid-South Live Steamers track, the brake valve started leaking steam continuously and would not shut off. When we take it apart, the deep scratches in the brass make the problem clear.  24-Mar-2014  The factory valve handle with its cast square hole developed too much slop in the mechanism, so we make a new one out of stainless steel.  October 2013 The  October 2013 While performing the procedure to blowdown the sightglass, it started leaking on the right side, ending the days operation. The silicone sealant used just does not stand up to steam service and was replaced with a #30 o-ring. Note the crack at the bottom of the glass, this occured when I was tightening the bolts to stop the leak. I had to buy a replacement glass.  27-Sept-2013 On the road at host track Big Creek & Southern, Bill prepares to re-light after a break for lunch and some more mainline running. Tying a string of 10 cars on gets her to start working a little bit and we can start running without the safety blowing off all the time. The next day after some rain came through, we tied on to another RRSC Mikado and doubleheaded a consist of 37 cars around the track, fighting the slippery rails on the grade. We are very happy with the engines performance.  21-Sept-2013 Out on the St. Louis Live Steamers home track, we fire up Frisco 4166 for the first time in a year and check her for readiness.  All is found to be in order.  20-Oct-2012 Last run of the season, Tim M. at the throttle running the SLLS loop in reverse.  6-Oct-2012 Friends Bud P. and Jerome S. hanging with Bill and I at the steaming bay while 4166 warms up.  6-Oct-2012 Working revenue at the St. Louis Live Steamers track on a cool fall day. The load of passengers was no trouble on the gently graded track.  21-Sept-2012 3/4 profile shot in the sunshine at the Big Creek & Southern railroad.  21-Sept-2012 Guest running at the Big Creek & Southern track.  This big layout gave Bill and I a chance to put a couple miles on the engine, taking all the 'sharp edges' off, and run continuously for several hours at a time. The engine ran great, and we learned a lot about firing the engine.  15-Sept-2012 Filling the fuel tank with kerosene, as the safeties lift.  15-Sept-2012 Bill at the throttle with a few cars tied on.  15-Sept-2012 Re-filling the lubricator. Trackside photo by Zach M.  15-Sept-2013 A proud day for the builders! A fire in the belly and a smooth run using a borrowed tender.  15-Sept-2012 Setting the safety valves. Tim M. and Bill look on.  15-Sept-2012 Rounding the north curve, watching the guages. Fellow SLLS member Al looks on as I go by.  15-Sept-2012 On the turntable, heading out to the track. I think I am checking the water flow of the firemans injector as Bill looks on.   15-Sept-2012 At the St. Louis Live Steamers track, warming up in the steaming bay with a borrowed tender.  15-Sept-2012 Air compressor buzzing, proving aux air, burner working great.  2-Sept-2012 Blowdown at the end of the day from a very successfull first-fire up.  The burner light off on our first try and worked great on air. Removing the plugs from the over-fire tubes in the fire pan seemed to help the fire. Trying to run the atomizer on steam was not as good, several unions in the line were leaking badly and will have to be tightened.  2-Sept-2012 The engineers side boiler check is also weeping pretty good.  2-Sept-2012 Putting the safeties in and raising steam, a couple leaks reveal themselves. This washout fitting seems particularly troublesome.  2-Sept-2012 Start the clock on the boiler! We've got a fire in the firebox!  2-Sept-2012 Borrowed Tender is connected and plumbed to the locomotive, fuel tank filled with 5 gallons of jet kerosene, boiler filled with water, aux air line connected for the atomizer. Time to light a fire!  2-Sept-2012 Think your boiler is clean? Here are some of the chips we flushed out.  2-Sept-2012 Step on to first fire-up, wash the boiler out.  Hooking up the hose, we run water to flush out the chips and debris accumulated during construction.  2-Sept-2012 First time ever, the locomotive is out of the basement and outside!