Part 26: Steam test of the boiler—June 2002

The first fire in NM25 for over 30 years

One of the most pleasing events in recent weeks has been the culmination of work on the boiler. Hydraulic testing of the boiler showed a few weeps, as was largely expected. Caulking was carried out where required, and the boiler then underwent a warm hydro test, with steam borrowed from SteamRanger's loco 621, probably the first and last time a 620 and an NM are connected together!

The boiler was shifted outside the shed, a rather tricky operation due the the limitations of the crane available, and with great trepidation a fire was lit. The fire was gradually built, with the pressure easing up to just over 100psi. One of the holes in the boiler that needed to be sealed was the mount for the whistle, and naturally the best option was to fit the whistle. Thus, for the first time in over 30 years, the sound of an NM whistle rang out over the hills. The hills in this case were foreign from the NM's native Flinders Ranges.

John Willis lets out the first blast of the whistle on 14 June 2002
John Lyas lets out another blast

Listen to audio of the whistle: a short whistle

And a long whistle

Smiles all round after the successful steam test

It is expected that the final work to be done on the NM while it is at Panorama will be completed this week (17-21 June), and that the engine unit will then be sent to Port Augusta for completion by volunteers. Even with the volunteer labour, more money is still required to get the loco ready to put on a train.