Open day, and just 3 adults and 2 children. Keith “did the numbers” and declared “we are making a loss – lets turn out the lights until some visitors arrive” – we did! Starting out wet with significant rain, the day cleared to warm and calm. (John’s school of journalism – when there is nothing to say – talk about the weather.) For the more tech minded, I have posted a new item on the alternate site. (ihdunedinnz.weebly.com)
This is the 1960′s pix used for the relocated stairs article
Open day on Sunday 1st December, and with John out-of-service, Raelene reports:
Visitor numbers – 8 adults, 5 children. Youngest prospective volunteer (12 years old). Slight hiccup – gas bottle empty so no pikelets. We had a discussion with the thought that over December and January we could just provide tea and coffee, thus cutting down on costs and wastage until we are steaming again.
No visitors and 6 volunteers today. Never-the-less plenty to report.
First the blog Editor has made an executive decision that in the future general interest items will remain on the blog, but limited interest, technical and volunteer resource material will be recorded elsewhere – more on this later.
One of the pix today records that Mack finally recieved the no2 engine gasket material, thanks for your patience Mack.
The other pix records the gas detector recently donated to the museum by Nova Gas. The Editor lobby’s the board to agree an early formal acceptance of this item, as required by the Trust charter documents.
Finally, collectively today’s on-site volunteers discussed and recommend that (to keep volunteer sanity and enthusiasm) that the museum Sunday open days be abandoned until the boiler is back in service – sometime, hopefully early, in the new year. (I envisage Tuesday work days continue, although Operations Staff are a tad on the short side at this time, there is plenty of project work for those who are still available to do it – Ed) We have no choice but to make a big fuss of returning to steam, and a “grand reopening” feels good. We look forward to an early Board decision.
The No2 exhauster gasket material – on site at last.
The industrial gas detector once used by Citigas staff. Donated by Nova Gas
Work day today, no visitors, and progress in some areas, while (actually negative) progress in others.
John continued “getting his teeth into” 1980s schematic and actual process, pipe, and device interactions. Stan, Mack and Keith progressed their respective projects.
The (referred) header story goes like this: Having gained Board approval to purchase gasket material, today, Mack called to the suppliers to uplift the item. “sorry Sir, we cannot find your account in our system” Mack phoned the museum, but we were unable to help. Arriving on site, Mack advised us the supplier had given him a head office phone number to ring. We discussed the situation, and given that the expenditure was already approved, we decided we had enough authority to process the problem. A toll bar on the museum phone, was overcome by Keith using his own cell. “ sorry Sir we have a “marked for deletion” hold on your account. “ “ To reactivate, you will need to make at least one purchase per year.”
We discussed this and decided we didn’t have appropriate authority to progress any further. After considerable debate, Mack offered to purchase the material on his personal credit card and claim back the expense. Back he went, paid for the item and returned to the museum. On unpacking, would you believe it – the material was broken! Mack returned the item, and left his credit. The supplier has accepted responsibility and a replacement is being shipped in. Next week?
The faulty gasket material.
Work in progress – refurbishment of No 2 exhauster oiler
A couple of the completed oilers
Progress on painting the fuel tank.
Motivated by a positive reception to my last Water Gas infoblog, and while personally expanding the detail today, it became clear I should have included this additional information, now provided here.
On the Braemar street wall, the water gas main exited the building at the high level and connected to the pipe up-stand visible directly below the window. This in turn connected to the water gas holder. The pipe section partially visible front-right of picture is a section of the underground connection to the holder recovered during site work at the current gas holder legs.
This site, on the Western wall of the Engine house extension, once sported a venturi type flow meter, measuring the Water gas flow into the foul main.
This pipe (circled) on the northern wall of the Anderson room, is all that is left of the steam connection to the water gas plant.
Technical descriptions of water gas plant can be found in the GWM library, and on the internet. A couple of information panels are also provided in the Donkin annex of the museum. Therefore, detailed technical description is not reproduced here. Never-the-less a brief summary of the technology is necessary, and included, to enhance understanding of this blog. Water gas production required the interaction between water (steam) and carbon (coke) to reduce water into Hydrogen and (flammable) Carbon Monoxide. If conditions were not correct, (inflammable) Carbon Dioxide could be produced and this was not good! A secondary hydrocarbon enhancement stage was generally provided to produce an acceptable Calorific Value (CV). Production was by a batch system, with gas produced during a “run” cycle, followed by a recharging cycle. As such, water gas systems required some sort of buffer or storage facility, in Dunedin’s case, this was the water gas holder situated near the current gas holder legs.
Known under various names, water gas was produced at the Dunedin Gasworks site, in two different eras. The first plant was dismantled and shipped north to Napier to assist the town recover from the disastrous 1931 earthquake. It was never returned. A second production plant was installed in 1952, and continued until the cessation of coal gas production. Early plant was manually controlled with coloured time-controlled indicators advising the operator which appropriately coloured valve or handle to adjust. Later models were automatic.
The Water gas plant was situated approximately where the traction engine shed sits today. As previously noted, the water gas holder was sited close to, (but smaller than) today’s museum gas holder legs. Parts remaining at the museum today are the water gas main, from the production plant to (almost) the water gas holder, a small portion of the underground connection to the gas holder, and the connection to the foul main where the water gas was mixed with coal gas for filtering, storage and distribution.
The yellow pipe is the water-gas main from the production plant (previously in the distance) to the water-gas holder (previously behind the camera)
The water-gas connection to the foul main (circled). Long gone pipework connected this valve to the water-gas holder.
Open day today. A “trickle” of visitors, an improvement on the “sprinkle” we have been getting recently, and showers of rain. Sian, Phil and Ann on FOH were supported by Mack and John from Operations. Without the boiler and machines to operate, Mack and John cleaned up the mess left after moving the governor last week. While still work-in-progress, but consistent with current thinking, we have left a lot of open space in the Engine House reception area. It is now more easy to visualise the Donkin Engine House extension without the old desk and and the RSJ partitions. (Removal of these items is a sound plan, and look forward to it happening – Ed)
The re-jigged entrance – Lots of open space.
Work day today, and for a short while we had twelve arms, hands, and feet on deck, but must add, only four pair available for heavy work. Taking advantage of the four-on-deck we moved the “indoor governor” and the associated valve to a temporary position in the main Engine House hall. This is work-in-progress with setting up and cleaning up still required over the next few days to be followed in due course by appropriate treatment of the valve body.
Two visitors from Scotland today and John took time out to make a fuss of them. They spent over an hour at the museum, returning very positive feedback and leaving a generous donation.. They had heard about the us by word-of-mouth, but on their enquiry, the (Mercure hotel) reception had no knowledge of our operation. Being fair to the Mercure, the receptionist “looked us up” and correctly directed the visitors – Thanks Mercure.
The governor and valve relocated to the main Engine House hall today. Work-in-progress, also the wall behind could do with some TLC.