Friday, July 30, 2010

Insulated Joints

One of the big problems with insulated joints is, eventually they wear out. When the do so, it can create all sorts of problems with the signal system. This occurred on the west approach to Borrup Road, which was causing a problem with the crossing circuit. However, we could not just replace the insulation, because the ties underneath the joint were junk. So, Wednesday night we had a track party (one of the largest we have had in a while), and replaced the ties under the joint and replaced the insulation on the joint. Replacing the insulation on the joint took the longest. Because it was hot, there was not much room between the two rails, so we had to get the rail stretcher out and push the two rails apart. Once that was done, we were able to slide the insulation between the rails and put the joint bars (once again, with new insulation) back on the track. It was a learning experience, because most of us have never replaced an insulated joint. We started around 5pm after most of us worked our normal jobs and got finished around 9pm.

Meanwhile, up in the shop, Chris Perry was hard at work on Boston Elevated PCC 3100. He has the whole car sanded down and was able to prime and paint the roof. The idea is to get a coat of paint over the car so that it is less prone to rusting. Then, replace the panels on the car that are missing or bad and repaint the car with the proper paint and color.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Busy Saturday

There was a lot of work accomplished today at the museum. When I arrived at the museum after I got out of work at 1, Galen Semprebon and John Pelletier were busy working on 1850. Last week, 1850, the Rio de Janeiro breezer, was removed from service when a clanking noise was heard in the number 1 axle. This was being caused by a bent brake beam which resulted in the brakes applying differently on the left and right wheels. The morning was spent straightening the brake beam. I got to work replacing the trolley rope on the number 1 end. The rope that was on the car was frayed in a couple of places and it needed replacing. While looking at the rope on the number 2 end, it was noticed that the trolley catcher was not retrieving properly. This is usually the result of a broken spring inside the catcher. Because we cannot immediately fix the problem, we borrowed a catcher of the same type from one of the Chicago Elevated cars. One thing that must be remembered is that the trolley catchers on car 1850 are not original to the car. When it operated in Rio, bows were used to collect power for operating the car, not trolley poles.

Just outside the shop, Chris Perry was hard at work scraping and sanding the roof of Boston Elevated PCC 3100. The afternoon was plagued with intermittent rain, which we despiritely need. Chris would alternate between working on the roof when it was sunny to working on smaller parts of the car in the shop when it was raining. From talking to him, he hopes to paint the roof on Monday or Tuesday.

Ted Coppola, Matty Doane, and Pat McCann were busy with the backhoe and front end loader cleaning up around the shop again. They were able to clear a whole spot in front of the shop to place the shop storage pod. The storage pod will be used to store oil and other lubricants that should not be stored in the shop. Also, things that are not used often like jacks will be stored in the pod. Pat then came in with the bulldozer to grade the area so the pod would sit level. Next weekend, we should be able to move the pod itself. At that point we will be able to begin moving stuff into it, which will give more room around the cars to work.

The motor was pulled out of Speeder 65594 by George Contrada and David Coppola. The motor will need a complete rebuild.

Finally, at the end of the day, Connecticut car 1326 was moved up to the shop to get some woodwork done on it. Because 1326 is used as the Birthday Car, it is hard to get the car up to the shop for any length of time to do work on it. John removed an upper window frame from the car which was rotten and plans to rebuild it at home this week. Next weekend, the two cracked windows in the car will be replaced as well.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Please Help Us Save History!

The Connecticut Trolley Museum has a chance to save an old/unusual caboose. This unique piece of history is located in Mansfield, Connecticut along the New England Central Railroad Mainline. After its service on the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad, it was brought to Mansfield Depot. Here, it was parked on a stub track, where it served as an addition to the Mansfield Depot Restaurant. The 80 year old depot burned down in July 2003. The caboose survived damage from the fire. This car is of wooden construction and is much older than our current Reading Railroad caboose. The caboose interior is no longer original, and has been gutted and fitted with variable seating/tables to accommodate dining.

While not being completely original, this caboose can be used like our dining car. Its planed use is for birthday parties/special events. This would be a valued asset to our museum. The outside can be restored to its original Bangor & Aroostook Railroad heritage.

The caboose is available to us as a donation and we need to raise money to transport it. It is our hope to make the move this summer/fall. We are estimating $2500 for moving costs. The museum would be greatly appreciative of any donations that could be raised to help fund this move. This is a realistic goal that we can accomplish.

Please help us in the endeavor. No contribution is too small!

Donations can be mailed to: Connecticut Trolley Museum, BAR Mansfield Depot Caboose Fund, PO Box 360, East Windsor, CT 06088 or made by credit card over the phone by calling 860.627.6540.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Boston Wartime PCC

I have just received word that Chris Perry will be coming down this weekend to resume work on Boston Elevated Railway car 3100. The car has been moved down into Lusa Car Yard so that the tools in the Lusa Car Shop are easily accessible.

Car 3100 is a President's Conference Committee (PCC) car. It was known as one of the Wartime PCCs as it was built in 1944. Due to the war shortages, the wartime cars were equipped with all steel roofs, non-stainless steel fittings, and air-electric controls. These cars were NOT equipped with roof fans. By 1986, the Wartime fleet was replaced by the LRV and 3100 came to the Connecticut Trolley Museum.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Car Moves

Saturday was a very hot and busy day at the museum. In the morning, the pilot for CA&E 303 was installed on the car.

Most of the day was taken up by shifting cars around to get Connecticut open 840 into the shop. We (John Pelletier, David Coppola, Alex Aberdale, Galen Semprebon, and myself) had to shift the two Boston PCCs (3100 & 3306) off of the Northern Hill and pull New Orleans 836 out of the barn. Then we shifted the flat car with the wheel boring machine on it up into the Northern Barn as well as CA&E 303. It was planned to set up the wheel boring machine in the shop, but with the other machinery that we want to set up, there is not enough room.

While the shop was empty, John and I were able to clean some of the wall space in the shop. A lot of the materials were moved into a storage trailer. Other stuff was thrown out because it was no longer usable. Unfortunately we have had a bad habit of keeping scraps of things that are not large enough to do anything with.

We did run into a problem when we tried to put 836 into Woods Barn. Whoever measured the barn space was not quite accurate. We were about a foot shy. In order to make up that space, we took the knuckles off of 101's couplers, and ran 101 up against the rear wall of the barn. It is actually bulging the back wall of the barn out slightly. Then we ran 836 into the barn. The fender of the car made it about 3 inches under the coupler of 101. The car fit, but the pole hung out of the barn, so we had to pull it out and spin the pole around. At that point, the doors of the barn just barely shut.

We were then able to put 840 into the shop so that work can begin on the repairs to the car. Before work can begin, the woodworking machinery will be set up in the shop to do the necessary woodwork.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Crossing Repairs

As I arrived at the museum for the Board of Directors meeting yesterday, I was informed by operations that a gate at the Winkler Road Crossing was hit during the course of the day. We have new gate components for the crossing, however, the new gates are not fully assembled. I was able to draft the help of Xian Clere, Chris Shaw, and Mike Caputo in fixing the gate. It is a temporary repair at best, but it will get us by until the weekend when the new gate can be finished and installed.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Shop Cleanup

Today a lot of discussion occurred in how best to organize the Lusa Car Shop. After discussing what machines should stay in the shop and what machines should be moved to other storage areas, a plan of action was made to get the shop in order. Pat McCann and Matty Doane kept busy today with the backhoe cleaning out the shop. It seems that trash gets piled up faster than it is taken away. They were able to empty all of the shop barrels into the dumpster and bring a lot of old wood to the wood pile.

I was finally able to replace the trolley pole rope on Montreal 2600 today as we received our order of trolley rope from the manufacturer last week. Eventually Rio 1850, Montreal 4, and Connecticut 1326 will have new rope too, but 2600's was in the worst condition.

John Pelletier was able to finish the roof work on Springfield Terminal 16. While the roof on the car is not the best looking, it should be watertight. The car really needs a new canvas, however, there are other things that need to happen to the car before a new canvas can be put on the car. The Boston Type-5 was switched with 16 to put it in the shop. The roof on the Type-5 is next on the list to be repaired.

Illinois Terminal 451 was brought over the pit today to diagnose and repair the braking problem. The car has been sidelined from service for the past few months because of a delay between the dynamic brakes and the friction brakes. Unfortunately, I had to leave before the crew was finished looking over the car so I do not know if they found the issue.

Just outside the shop, George Contrada was busy turning an old track crane into a flat car for the Track Department. The crane was missing parts and all over not functional. Since the Track Department was in need of a sturdy flat car for moving tools and ties, George took on the task of building them one.

On the front side of the property, Galen Semprebon has been busy leading a crew of volunteers moving the three Connecticut Company cars off of the Hartman Storage Track. When the Visitor Center was built, this section of track was disconnected and the end was buried. In order to get the three cars out, the track was dug out and partially reconnected. ConnCo 1739 is most of the way off of the track. In the coming weeks, ConnCo 771 & 154 will be moved off of the track and the track will be removed.

Overall it was a very productive day. Next weekend calls for the pilot to be installed on CA&E 303, car moves, and more clean up in the shop.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The CTM Blog

In order to keep people up to date on the goings on at the Connecticut Trolley Museum, I have decided to start this blog. I got the idea from the Hicks Car Works blog. They have done an amazing job in keeping people interested in IRM and up to date on the happenings of the Electric Car Shop. I can only hope that this blog will turn out half as good as that blog.

The layout and design of the blog is still a work in progress, but I felt that I should get it up, and then finish working on the finer details. Be sure to check back soon for updates.