Well, my last day of training went great. The last three days included backing the engine into the roundhouse, which is a bit different from normal firing. The timing is important because you need to have 3-nuts of water by the time you get into the roundhouse, but you are using steam and water and you need to keep 125 to 130psi of pressure… I’m sure it will be easier after a few months of firing, but it’s tricky right now.
The first night, I didn’t do great. We had to sit in the engine for about 8 minutes while I added water and built up the pressure, then let the boiler "cook" (heat up and mix the water before shutting off the fire – otherwise you have ‘cold’ water sitting in the water which will cool the other water, bringing down the pressure, causing a lower pressure than is needed to fire the boiler back up in the morning.)
The second night, we were ready to power down and exit the engine immediately after parking! I’m sure that was more luck than skill, because I had only done it once before…
Last night, in my opinion, it was just a little shy of fantastic. There was just barely 3 nuts of water and 125psi when we pulled in. It was technically ready, though a tiny bit more would have been better.
I am very thankful for having Norm Arakaki for my trainer. I’ve had trainers in my life before, but Norm was one of the best.
So on Monday at 10a, Bill Hall will give me the written test to proceed to the last step – the 8 hour evaluation.
I feel good, I feel confident, and I think I’m ready. We’ll see if I make it…