Saturday, August 11, 2012

Type 5 Almost Ready!

My apologies to my readers, as I have not posted in quite some time.  Unfortunately, work has taken a considerable amount of my free time and posting here was lost in the shuffle.  There has been a considerable amount of work accomplished in my absence.

Boston Elevated Railway Type-5 5645 - Galen Semprebon, along with Scott Kritzky and John Pelletier have been working tirelessly on the car in order to get it ready for Rails to the Darkside.  The motors are back in its trucks and they have been tested and all appear to be working correctly.  Once the motors were tested, the trucks were pushed back under the car and wired up.  Inside the car, Kelly has been working on pieces for the heating loop system.  We were able to find the proper door motor seals and John has been able to repair the door motors.

Brooklyn Rapid Transit car 169 - Scott Kritzky has taken on the project of the cosmetic restoration of car 169.  In the past week, he has made some great headway removing the paint from the exterior clerestory of the car.  When the car has been completed, we will be able to move the car out of the shop and put it on display in the Visitor Center.

Boston Elevated Railway PCC 3100 - Chris Perry has been working on car 3100 just outside the shop.  Over the years, many of the window posts have deteriorated around the bases.  One by one, he has been removing the old window posts and welding in newly fabricated ones.  A new front step well has been fabricated as well, but has yet to be installed.  In the rear of the car, a new left rear fender support has been fabricated and welded in place as the original support was in pieces.  Although Chris only is able to work on the car one week a year, each year he makes considerable progress on the car.  In a few years, we should have a display-worthy car.

Illinois Terminal PCC 451 - Kevin Mitchell and the Boy Scouts have just about completed the repainting of car 451.  There is some minor detail work to finish but overall the car looks much better than it did when the project commenced.

Visitor Center Train Shed - Thanks to Louis, the walkway along the edge of the building in the Train Shed area is progressing nicely.  The framing has been installed and the walkway planks are being cut to fit.  This will be an excellent alternative display area for the 2013 season.

Monday, July 2, 2012


It is amazing to see the progress that has been continuing at a fantastic rate.  Work has been accomplished in a number of places by a range of volunteers.

In Kelly Barn, Illinois Terminal car 451 received its first coat of paint.  This project has been a long time coming.  On Saturday, the primer coat was finished.  First thing Sunday morning, those helping Kevin Mitchell on his Eagle Scout Project began to apply the green base coat.  By the end of the day, I was told that the whole car should have the green finished.

Up on the hill, almost half of the roof was replaced on The New York New Haven & Hartford coach (also known as the "Dining Car") by John Pelletier.  This has allowed us to remove some of the tarps from the car, thus making it look much more aesthetically pleasing.  Once the roof on the car is completed, we should be able to re-purpose those tarps to replace the failed tarps on Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee car 162.

Under the Train Shed, The Bangor & Aroostook Caboose wood is getting primed.  Most of the wood has already been completed thanks to the hard work of a group of volunteers in the evening.  In addition, a couple of our "Community Service volunteers" have been working on priming the wood as well.  It shouldn't be long before we can start to pull the wood off of the roof.

Inside the Lusa Car Shop, one truck set has been fully tested for the Boston Elevated Railway car 5645.  We have had our resident machinists hard at work manufacturing some of the missing parts for the car (clips, covers, etc).  Next weekend that truck should be pushed under the car and the car lowered back down on it.  Then we can slide the car down the track and do the same with the other end.

For the past couple of weeks, Fair Haven & Westville Railroad car 355 has been sitting over the Maintenance Pit.  Work was completed over the weekend on the brake rigging of car 355.  Bits of the underside of the car had to be "re-engineered" because of a problem where the brake rigging was chafing one of the motor leads.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bucket Truck Repaired

Thanks to John Gasper and Aaron Mangan, the museum's bucket truck is now operational.  Sunday, I helped them lift the hydraulic cylinders in place and pin them in.  It was more work than we initially thought because they location of the boom required the cylinders to be extended out.  We had to get the cylinders just right and even still it was a pain because the bushings needed to be cleaned up as well.  Finally just after noon, we were able to get the truck together.

In other news, bus 3001 in the Bus Museum is now running after we changed out the batteries.  It still needs to be cleaned up and other repairs made to it, however, we know that it runs!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Things You Can Learn To Do!

Saturday was a very busy day at the museum.  The shop has become an increasingly busy place, with the addition of a new volunteer, Kelly.  While up in the shop, she was able to learn quite a few new tasks with the help of our shop staff from welding to drilling holes in the motor support bearing covers.  Scott Kritzky brought her into the pit under Fair Haven & Westville car 355 where they were working on the brake rigging on the car.  He was also busy with his project in Boston Elevated Railway car 5645 of removing the seats to replace the flooring under them.

In the machine shop, Brandon Slane spent the better part of the morning machining a new bracket for a gear case cover on 5645.  It is amazing the precision that can be seen in machining new parts.  I, for one, can see what I need and will know what it should look like in the end, but would have no idea how to begin to decide what cuts need to be made to get there with a part so intricate.  I say intricate because I have no idea what to do, but it really isn't much.  That is why machinists are necessary at the museum.

I spent some of the morning packing the motor support bearings with waste for 5645.  When you look at the packing, it looks like you just shove some balls of "thread" into the oil wells for the bearings.  That is not he case at all.  There is a very specific way of doing this so that it will wick the oil properly.  The strands of waste must be dropped down into the well so that the go from the bottom of the well to the top.  They must be in coils in there so that there are no ends that can be "grabbed" by the rotation of the axle.

This is just a sample of what types of work that we do in the shop.  Each weekend it varies.  Stop down some weekend and help out.  You will be sure to learn a lot!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thursday Night Work Session

As you may have read, I have started hosting a Thursday night work session.  There just aren't enough hours in the short weekends that we have and there have been people in the past who have expressed interest in working at the museum on an evening during the week.  Because of that, on Thursday evenings after 5pm, I will be at the museum to host work parties.  This past week, we accomplished quite a bit of priming on the Bangor & Aroostook Caboose.  Hopefully in the coming weeks, the priming of the wood will be completed and we will be able to start the removal of the roof and siding.

Xian Clere also removed the carburetor from the Tie Inserter.  John Gasper is planning to rebuild it.  A few weeks ago, he brought a new exhaust to the museum for the Tie Inserter as well.

Galen Semprebon spent some time working on setting up a test machine to test motors before they are put back under the trolley cars.  This will help immensely so that we will be able to be sure that the motors work properly and not have to jack the cars up a second time once we realize that there is a problem with them.  Currently, the only way that we have to test them is to put them under the car and run the car.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Rainy Day

The downside of this weekend was that it was a complete washout.  The upside, a lot of work was accomplished in the shop.

First, Vacuum Impregnation.  We knew it worked, but did not know how well it actually worked.  We were splicing ends of wires on the Field Coils for the Boston Elevated 5645 and had to cut a sizable length of wire off.  When we cut about 4 inches of wire, we noticed that the varnish had worked its way up the wire between each individual strand.  Now we know why it took a half gallon of varnish for one set of Field Coils.

Second, Floor Replacement.  Also in the Type 5, Scott has been hard at work replacing the floor in the car.  One side is completely finished.  The seats have been put back in place but not completely bolted down.  He has begun to remove the seats from the other side of the car.

Third, Milling.  While this was for the Fire Museum, it was still work that was accomplished this weekend.  Pat McCann had a piece of metal stock in the lathe and was working on milling a new piece for one of the fire trucks.  What the piece was, I am not sure.  The only thing that I am certain of is that it was broken.  It is amazing what we now have in the shop for abilities.

Fourth, Engine Repair.  Now we have migrated over to the Bus Museum.  One of the Buses had developed a leak which we thought was due to a blown head gasket.  While John Gasper was tearing down the engine, he found out that the cause was only a missing bolt, which happened to be laying in the engine compartment waiting to be installed.  Luckily he did not pull the heads yet and was able to replace the bolt, put the engine back together and get he bus running.

It was quite a busy day at the museum for the shop staff.  In addition, many small things were accomplished.  Two seats for New Orleans car 836 were repaired in the shop by John Pelletier.  George Contrada assisted me in removing the rest of the metal straps from the side of Brooklyn Rapid Transit car 169.  I was able to get a coat of primer on more wood for the Bangor & Aroostook Caboose.  Xian Clere installed new seats in the rear of the newly acquired 1975 American-LaFrance from Ellington.

I wouldn't be telling the whole story if I did not talk about the work that occurred during the week as well.  Work on the Dining Car...No, I cannot call it the dining car.  I hate that term for it since it never was a dining car in service, even though everyone knows it as such.  Work on New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad combine 2765 is progressing.  The new sill has been installed on the east side of the car which will stop the rain from entering the car from under the windows.  The car still needs to have the sill on the west side replaced and the roof repaired.  At that point it should once again be watertight.  Then, we will need to replace some of the siding on the car to make it look aesthetically pleasing.

I will close while telling you about something new.  Starting this week, I plan to start hosting Thursday evening work sessions.  The work session will begin around 5pm and we will work until we decide to call it quits.  Quite a few railroad museums do this, because we cannot get enough done on the weekend.  Our primary project will be working on the Bangor & Aroostook Caboose.  However, if we get enough people, there is plenty else to work on.  Any questions, or if you wish to help out, please let me

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Many Projects

It was amazing to see the many projects that were occurring on Saturday.

In the Track Department, Larry Lunden assisted me in preparing ties for installation on the mainline.  Our ties are relay ties that still have the old plates and spikes on them.

After we were finished, I went to the Fire Museum building to collect the battery that I had on a trickle-charge for the Tie Handler.  The once-dead battery once again held a charge so I brought it over to the Tie Handler TH-2, and installed it.  I also drained the fuel from the fuel tank and cleaned the rust and other debris out of it.  Then, I filled it back up with new fuel.  The machine started right up and ran great for a while.  With Xian Clere, I took the machine out on the mainline and loaded ties on the Tie Handler's flat car.  Unfortunately, there must still be something in the tank because after around a half hour of running, the machine started to sputter and I had difficulty keeping it running.  Once I got in the clear in the siding, we got it running well again.  However, I did not want to chance it starving for fuel again on the mainline in front of passenger service again, so we left it in the siding and planned to continue working after operations ended.  However, we never had the chance to do so because of so many other things going on.

Xian Clere, Aaron Mangan, and John Gasper worked on the Tie Inserter.  They re-installed the newly repaired fuel tank.  In addition, they installed a new fuel bowl and inline fuel filter on the machine.  Unfortunately, they could not get it started.  An hour or so later after everyone else had given up, I heard the familiar putt-putt of the motor after John finally got the machine started.

In the shop, John Pelletier and Scott (Unfortunately I do not know his last name) were hard at work on various projects with Rio de Janiero car 1850.  The car is in the shop for routine maintenance.  With the help of Pat McCann, a workbench was brought into the shop and brought into the woodworking area.

In the back corner of the shop, Galen Semprebon was working on the newly impregnated field coils for the Boston Elevated Type-5 5645.  He was peeling back some of the taping around the fields and replacing it.  In doing so, it appears that the vacuum impregnation of the field coils was successful.  We now have the ability to vacuum impregnate in our shop!

In front of the shop, Camilo Santiago completed the work on one end of sanding the Reading Caboose, and began to work on the other end of the interior.  The exterior of the caboose was completed by an Eagle Scout a few years ago.

Inside Kelly Barn, our current Eagle Scout project is underway.  Kevin Mitchell and his crew did some more preparatory work to get ready for the painting of the Illinois Terminal PCC Car 451.

The doors of the barn got some attention too.  One of our community service volunteers spent the day painting the interior of the doors to the barn.  Hopefully in a few weekends, he will have this project completed.

In the section house, George Contrada, Dillon Worth, and another volunteer were working on the speeder.  They flushed the radiator and did preventative maintenance.

The one project that I had hoped to work on, I ran out of time.  I had hoped to work on the Bangor & Aroostook Caboose beginning to prime the new tongue and groove side panels.

In the Fire Museum, members were hard at work on preparing a Motor Coach for a head gasket replacement.

Finally, the big event for the day was the filming inside and outside of our Chicago North Shore cars, 162 and 710 respectively.  A student from New York University brought an entire film crew to the museum from the city to do filming for a senior film project.