another test day

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It’s another test day at the ranch! This is a fictional “railroad ranch” that I created for the purpose of building and testing the engine. It has over two miles of winding tracks that cut through the greens and the hills, some sidings, and few structures. Most importantly, it has left turns!

The ranch is coming along nicely as well, and it makes the countless amount of testings much more pleasant than pulling the engine around on an empty terrain.

Yes, countless amount of testing! Everything has to be tested, so that’s firing up the engine, pull it around for a while, take notes, fix the problems, and start over.

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Here are some pictures from a recent test on a day that we were testing the air brakes. We wanted to know if the engine was stopping at a proper distance for a given brake pressure and train mass. In the picture, we’ve come to a stop to check the temperature on the brake shoes. If those shoes get too hot the brakes become ineffective. And while we’re checking the numbers, the engine gets a chance to rest while basking in the warm afternoon light, and her front is slightly masked by the escaping steam from cylinders. Her polished brass is surely bright!

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Let’s take a look at the classic paint job! Her new paint is bright but there are signs that she’s a hard worker. There are subtle worn marks to the anti-slip coating on the top of the tender, diesel stains near the fuel hatch, and small pools of water near the water hatch.

On that day we were running with water a bit high in the boiler, so she was drawing the water into the cylinders quite a bit more than usual. Normally, when the engine is at speed the small bits of water should be expelled out through the smokestack along with the exhaust, so water collection is not a problem. But in this case we left the cylinder drains open to make sure that all the water gets out. There’s a small penalty to us as more steam is loss through the drains; but, water collection in the cylinders can be a real problem, and can make the engine come to a stop, cause catastrophic damages, or even injuries…

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…however, on that day all was well and, after a few hours of adjustments, she passed her tests. So, at least the steam out of her cylinders make for a cool picture! 🙂

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