Mini-Rail Boiler Testing Procedure

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Mini-Rail Corporation

Owners and Operators of Miniature Railroads

Seymour F. Johnson


ANSI Standard

The Mini-Rail Corporation's Boiler Testing Procedure MRC-1 was approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as ANSI-MRC1-1990. The standard has since been withdrawn. The text of the standard is as follows.

Boiler Testing Procedure

All steam boilers - including stationary boilers - used at a member club's facility shall be given an initial test and be retested annually thereafter. State or local government laws will be accepted provided that the inspection encompasses the intent of these practices of Mini-Rail. The Mini-Rail receipt should still be filled out. Mini-Rail members will accept visiting locomotives with current valid certificates issued by a Mini-Rail club.

The reason the comments regarding the need for including "inspection encompasses the intent of these inspection practices of Mini-Rail" were added is because there is at least one state inspection program that does not include some of Mini-Rail's suggested procedures that we feel are necessary.

A. Initial Inspection

1. Steam boilers shall have the capability to shut off heat immediately in case of an emergency. Oil fired and LP gas fired boilers shall have a valve or other means to stop the flow of fuel to the burner. Solid fuel fired boilers shall have a means of either dumping the fire out of the firebox or smothering the fire with steam, water, etc.

2. All steam locomotives shall have at least two devices for putting water into the boiler, one of which shall be operable when the locomotive is not in motion.

3. Steam boilers shall have the water level gauge located with the bottom of the gauge high enough above the crown sheet level to show ample water covering the crown sheet.

B. Pre-Testing Instructions

1. Check smokebox and firebox flue sheets for hot spots and buckling.

2. Remove safety valve.

3. Fill boiler with water until it runs out the top.

4. Connect hydrostatic pump for test.

C. Boiler Preparation

1. Owners shall also supply a fitting, preferably for a blowdown or a washout plug operning, threaded on one end to fit their boiler and tapped or threaded at the other end for 1/8 inch or 1/4 inc male or female IPT. This fitting is for the connection of the test equipment which will be available at the club track.

D. Test

1. All boilers shall be hydro-tested to a pressure of not less than 150% of the working pressure before being put into operation and shall be retested every twelve months thereafter.

2. Boilers shall be retested after any repairs or modifications have been made regardless of the test time remaining on the boiler.

3. Boilers shall show no bulging or displacement of sheets, firebox, barrel or pressure surfaces and no serious leaks, unusual sounds, and

4. No sudden drop in pressure either while building up pressure or at the maximum.

E. Gauge

1. If the steam gauge is sufficiently accurate - within 3% - and has a high enough scale, it shall be left in place and a record made of its accuracy at operating pressure. If the range is not sufficiently high enough to stand the test pressure, it shall be removed and replaced with a higher reading gauge with an accuracy of 3% or better.

F. Safety Valves

1. Safety valves shall open at, and hold the boiler pressure, not over 105% of the working pressure. If they do not, they shall be replaced with accurately operating valves. Owners shall supply plugs or caps for safety valves and the appurtenances they do not want test pressure to reach.

2. Steam boilers shall have two (2) safety pop-off valves set to operate within 10 pounds (PSI) of each other and at no more than 2/3rds of the boiler test pressure.

3. All engines with only one safety shall be grandfathered into the program. When a boiler with one safety is ever modified for any reason, the second safety valve should be installed for safety reasons.

G. Propane Fired Engines

1. On any propane gas fired engine, there shall be safety chains used between the engine and the car carrying propane tanks. The latter must be adequately vented.

H. Recording Inspection

1. the boiler testing inspector shall fill out and file a certificate of the test and a committee member shall sign the certificate indicating that he or she has witnessed or conducted the test. A copy shall be given to the owner, a copy retained by the testing club, and a copy sent to Mini-Rail.

Test Records

November 1987

Boiler tests are to be made by each club and by a member who is knowledgeable about the procedure and who is designated to be the official club boiler tester. Each boiler test and inspection shall be witnessed by another member.

A number shall be assigned to each engine and is to be stamped on the engine in a place easily seen. The number of any engine will be the Club's Mini-Rail serial number plus a letter of the alphabet. The letters "I" and "O" shall not be used. When more than 24 engines are in any club, the 25th engine shall be assigned double A, etc.

For example: The Sacramento Valley Live Steamer Club was the 19th club to join Mini-Rail, therefore the first engine to be tested by SVLS club would be 19A, the second 19B, etc., and the 25th 19AA. These would be permanent numbers for the engines.

A card about the size of a business card will contain the engine owner's name, date of test, type of engine and engine number and signed by the person making the test. This card will be carried by the owner of the engine. In addition a receipt will be issued in triplicate by the person who gave the test with a copy given to Mini-Rail, a copy to the owner and a third copy not removable from the certificate booklet remains with the club.

For clarity, a sample is enclosed.

Suggested Procedure #1

Safety valves shall open at, and hold the boiler pressure, not over 105% of the working pressure. If they do not, they shall be replaced with accurately operating valves. Owners shall supply plugs or caps for safety valves and the appurtenances they do not want test pressure to reach. Steam boilers shall have two (2) safety pop-off valves set to operate within 10 pounds (PSI) of each other and at not more than 2/3rds of the boiler test pressure. All engines with only one safety shall be grandfathered into the program. When a boiler with one safety is ever modified for any reason the second safety valve should be installed for safety reasons.

Owners shall also supply a fitting, preferably for a blowdown or a washout plug opening threaded on one end to fit their boiler and tapped or threaded at the other end of 1/8" or 1/4" male or female IPT. This fitting is for the connection of the test equipment which will be available at the club track.

On any propane gas fired engine, there shall be safety chains used between the engine and the car carrying propane tanks. The latter must be adequately vented.

The boiler testing inspector shall fill out and file a certificate of the test and a committee member shall sign the certificate indicating that he or she has witnessed or conducted the test. A copy shall be given to the owner, a copy retained by the testing club and a copy sent to Mini-Rail.

Some method of placing a Mini-Rail membership number on the engine that will be visible to the inspector is necessary. It may be a metal tag or some other method that is permanent. Your M-R number is M24. You will always find this number on the M-R address label on all mail you receive from Mini-Rail. The I letter is the indication that you have insurance and that is it's number.

Suggested Procedure #2

March 23, 1988

All steam boilers - including stationary boilers - used at a member club's facility shall be given an initial test and be re-tested annually thereafter. State or local government laws will be accepted providing that the inspection encompasses the intent of these inspection practices of Mini-Rail. The Mini-Rail receipt should still be filled out. Mini-Rail members will accept visiting locomotives with current valid certificates issued by a Mini-Rail club.

Initial Inspection

Steam boilers shall have the capability to shut off heat immediately in case of an emergency. Oil fired and LP gas fired boilers shall have a valve or other means to stop the flow of fuel to the burner. Solid fuel fired boilers shall have a means of either dumping the fire out of the firebox or smothering the fire with steam, water, etc.

All steam locomotives shall have at least two devices for putting water into the boiler, one of which shall be operable when the locomotive is not in motion.

Steam boilers shall have the water level gauge located with the bottom of the gauge high enough above the crown sheet level to show ample water covering the crown sheet.

Test

All new boilers shall be hydro-tested to a pressure of not less than 150% of the working pressure before being put into operation and shall be re-tested every twelve months thereafter. Boilers shall be re-tested after any repairs or modifications have been made regardless of the test time remaining on the boiler.

Boilers shall show no bulging or displacement of sheets, firebox, barrel or pressure surfaces and no serious leaks, unusual sounds and no sudden drop in pressure either while building up pressure or at the maximum.

If the steam gauge is sufficiently accurate - within 3% - and has a high enough scale, it shall be left in place and a record made of it's accuracy at operating pressure. If the range is not sufficiently high enough to stand the test pressure, it shall be removed and replaced with a higher reading gauge with an accuracy of 3% or better.

Mini-Rail Boiler Testing Record, 1988 version

References