Sunday, January 31, 2010

Plans for the CA&E Cars

Many of you are interested in what plans we have for restoring the CA&E cars recently acquired from Trolleyville, so here's what I know. The steel cars will be handled by others, Stan and Joe and Charlie and so on, so I'll let them announce what they decide. For all three steel cars, the final 1950's paint scheme of Brilliant Red and Aurora Gray is the only choice, so that's what it will be. I understand that the 409 will probably be done first.

Now for the wood cars. The 319 will be done first, and work has already started. The car is basically in very good shape, and I don't foresee any problems with putting it into operation later this year. The car was heavily modified in 1953 when it was painted red. The original double sash windows were completely replaced with single sash and new hardware, one of the oval windows was squared off and replaced, the controllers were changed, and the interior colors were changed. We don't think we can accurately recover the earlier shades of paint used on the interior. As a result, we have decided to repaint the 319 in the 1950's red and gray also, as seen here.

The interior needs to be touched up; some of the light tan paint is bad, and there are a couple of places where it was stripped as a test. The roof needs some work, and eventually should be recanvassed, but for now we should be able to use what's there. The car operated at Cleveland, and the trucks and motors from the 321 are known to be good, so we believe all electrical and mechanical systems will be OK.

We won't start serious work on the 36 until the 319 is done. No firm decision has been taken on what paint scheme to use. While at Cleveland, the control system was disassembled and the governor was removed, etc. These problems may take a while to fix. I can't make any definite predictions as to when the 36 might be finished. However, the roof is in good condition, and basically so is the interior.

I know we can't please everybody with a choice of paint scheme, but these decisions are mostly driven by practical considerations. Let me know if you have any questions via the comments.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Open For Business

Barn 11 is now open for business, and the first cars were switched in today!

But first, let's see some progress on the 319. Greg Ceurvorst was helping again today, and he really worked hard. Here he is (L) stripping paint from a window, while Rich Witt (R) is working on replacing the rotted sash on the sign box for the 409.

I removed the two sets of dash lights and folding signs from the 319, since they were installed at Trolleyville to backdate the car and are not correct for the period to which we're restoring it. The castings and signs are now safely in storage, so don't panic! I need to make some new pieces of siding to fill up the hole, so I decided I should check what's there, and I'm glad I did. The siding on the ends of this car is a different thickness than standard car siding, 1/2" instead of 3/4". You can see blue paint and part of the number 9, but don't be deceived: these are remnants of the light blue paint scheme which the 319 had for many years at Trolleyville, and not from the CA&E.

Greg did a great job of sandblasting the brass window latches, and was crushed to learn that they will have to be painted. Sorry! But here they are in all their brazen glory.

I spent some hours stripping the purple paint from the 319. I was hoping perhaps I could just sand it down and repaint, but haven't decided yet. The top coat comes off easily enough; beneath it is white primer, which is harder to remove. I'll probably sand it down and put on another coat of white primer.

By the end of the day, Greg had finished stripping one drop sash and one side window sash, and painted them with white primer. Thanks!!!

Meanwhile, lots of switching was going on, so I could watch trains going by while I worked! The 36 was pulled outside, so two L cars could be switched out, and this resulted in another new picture from Wheaton Shops, almost:

The 36 was then moved to 84, next to the 309 for the first time.

I had to leave before the switch move was completed, but several cars had already been moved into Barn 11. From right to left, Fort Wayne 91, the Knoxville Birney, the TM portable sub, CTA 6125-6126, and North Shore 253. The barn really looks great; a big round of applause for everyone who worked on it! I noted with envy that it even has automatic garage doors, since there's no trolley wire.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Work Session - Help Wanted

(bumped) We'll be working on CA&E car 319 again this Saturday, Jan. 30, and if you'd like to help it would greatly appreciated. I have several things for people to do, and not all of them require heavy lifting or working in the cold. Hours are (roughly) 10AM to 4PM. Please email me if you have any questions, and so I know you're planning to help. My address is randallhicks at wideopenwest dot com. This project is subject to cancellation due to weather, of course, so we need to communicate. Thanks!

Magazine Advertisement

Bob Kutella sent along a color scan of the magazine advertisement David had mentioned a few weeks ago. Looks nice, doesn't it? Only at IRM!

Disclaimer: We don't accept advertisements and aren't being paid so we're not actually urging you to buy anything. I'm sure everybody's already familiar with this magazine!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

319 Cleanup

Now that we can have lights in the 319 and the accident hazards have been removed from the center aisle, I thought the first thing I'd do is clean up the interior a little. I picked up all of the miscellaneous parts and stored them, made a pile of the five or six seat cushions which will need to be recovered, and then vacuumed the entire car. On the whole the interior looks very good. I plan to repaint most of it, but for now it's almost ready for service as is.

As seen at right, a lot of the paint is flaking off the window sills, since there's no primer. That will be a relatively easy job to fix. I will want to repaint the floor, since its current red paint is incorrect. I took two seat cushions home to be reupholstered, and moved two windows to the shop for stripping and repainting. I also worked on the third rail beams a little more and connected all of the cables. I need to get rubber hoses for the air connections to the sleet scrapers. It's possible I can get them to work, as they do on the 309, but I wouldn't put a lot of extra effort into it.

Then I spent some time examining the control parts in the 36, and looking under the car. We're missing some parts and I'm trying to track them down. I may have more to say about this later.
Update: the missing parts have been located: they were sent to an electrical repair firm in Cleveland for inspection, and are still there. We will be making arrangements to retrieve them. That's a big relief!!!

In other news, while visiting the car shop to get some tools and soak up BTU's, I noticed that Joel Ahrendt has done a great job of repainting the IT parts I left for him a while back. I'm not sure whether he wants to do more on them, so I left them there. Thanks, Joel!!!

And the 451 is over the pit, since it has the worst roof among the steel cars. Since Barn 11 has been approved for occupancy, we're hoping the 409 and 460 can go inside soon. Henry Vincent was working on replacing a sign box on the 409, and there were many others working in the shop. See the department blog for details.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's Your Choice

Monday, January 25, 2010

Museum of Transportation Update

This past Saturday, I managed to find the time to head out to the Museum of Transportation for the day to help the other members of the Museum of Transportation Trolley Volunteers (MTTV) the group that maintains, operates, and restores the traction collection at the museum. It's winter, which means no operations, but winter inspections are in full-swing. CTA single number 44 just completed inspection last week and was not in the shop. I apologize for the lack of quality in the photos, I took them with my cell phone camera.

Here is a freshly rebuilt motor-generator set for our ex-Philly PCC number 2740. The original MG set failed in service last year, and it was deemed to be beyond economical repair. We purchased an extra from the group at Pike's Peak, Colorado and had it rebuilt by the local motor shop.

St. Louis Waterworks Railway number 10 was in the shop for its annual inspection. The brunt of the work happened the previous Thursday, the other day of the week MTTV volunteers are out at the museum. The work that remained for Saturday included replacing the ropes on the trolley poles, checking the trolley catchers, inspecting the controllers, and replacing some interior light bulbs in the car.

The latest restoration effort of the MTTV members is St. Louis Public Service number 1743. This car was part of the third and final order of PCC cars by SLPS. SLPS sold the car to MUNI in San Fransisco in 1957, where it operated until the early 1980s. The car ended up at East Troy, until the mid 1980s when members rescued it from the Phantom Woods carbarn. MUNI finally transferred ownership of the car to MOT about 18 months ago. Since then work has been going full-tilt on it. Like most PCC cars, the 1743 was prone to corrosion. It also had a lot of damage from years of rough service and "fender benders." Over the past year, a metalworker has rebuilt all of the wreck and most of the rust damage from the car.

Here we see the nearly-completed rear stepwell. Last year, this was mostly bondo and cardboard. We've removed the treadles, as SLPS never had them when in service.

We estimate that we have about another 2 years worth of work left on the car. Besides all of the body work, we've been ringing out the electrical system, replacing some missing components, and doing work to backdate the car to its SLPS appearance.

In other MOT volunteer news, serveral volunteers have been restoring a former Missouri Pacific round-end observation car. This project has been ongoing for several years now. The carbody is made of alumninum, and all of the old paint was stripped off. New MOPAC colors are going on one side. The interior also is very nice, but it was inacessable for photos.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Last Season

I was able to stop out at the museum today to look over the new acquisitions and have added some interior pictures to the cars' photo galleries on the museum website. In the 460 I also found this mounted in between original 1950's advertisements on the car card rack:It's the operating and fare schedule from the last season at Trolleyville, U.S.A. in Olmsted Falls, Ohio, a subtle reminder of the place these cars called home for over four decades. The next year the operation would be shut down and the 460 moved to dead storage in Cleveland along with the other cars.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Team Jewett

I had lots of help today on the 319, which was greatly appreciated. Let's hope we can keep the enthusiasm over our new acquisitions going for a while.

In the morning, Greg Ceurvorst and Chris Buck helped me with removing trolley poles and brake rigging from the aisle, where they had been placed for the move. But it was an accident hazard. I checked the roof and verified that the trolley boards and wiring will be usable. They also helped me get rope guards and two replacement windows from storage. Here they are removing the first two windows for repainting. I also installed the first new seat cushion and started looking at trolley bases, although it's kind of difficult when they're buried by snow.

In the afternoon, I was helped by Greg, Dan Buck, and Dave Fullerton. We started by spending an hour or two helping Frank, Mike, and Tim Peters unload everything from the 1467 (the "skeleton") and put it into storage. There was a lot more there than I had thought. Whew! Tim then also did some temporary patching to try to help hold the body together when it gets moved soon.

Well, I guess you can't expect the same level of craftsmanship we saw on the 1268....

Then the four of us moved and installed all four third-rail beams on the 319. This is hard work, but it went well and I'm glad it's done.

And of course there were many others out today working on other projects. Teamwork makes a big difference!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Final Unloading

Today the final two cars in this series were unloaded: CA&E 460 from the Trolleyville collection, and South Shore line car 1100, which had been stored in Michigan City.

Here is the 1100 sitting on its dollies as it arrived this morning.

And here is the 460 right behind it. As before, we had a large group of people on hand to help. I really didn't have much to do other than take pictures. So I did some odd jobs part of the time.

And these are our two forklift operators: our own Nick Kallas (L), and Richard from White Bros.

In other news, the heating/AC unit for the new shop extension arrived and was put on its pad. Here we see Dave Diamond running the Bobcat, as the two contractors watch.

The 1100 half way through the unloading process.

After it's on both trucks, the Com Ed 4 pulls it away and moves it into Barn 8.

Interior views of the 1100. Notice the writing over the motorman's position. There was no easy way to turn equipment around on the South Shore, so east and west were permanent directions!

This is really a nice setup.

The ladder up to the platform.

Then it was time for the 460.

Finally the 431 is coupled onto the 460 for the first time, and moves it over to Yard 8 for temporary storage. Julie Johnson was the motorman.

All four CA&E steel cars on display.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Please Take Your Seat

Somebody at Cleveland must have taken this advice too literally, because there was a missing seat cushion in the 319.

Fortunately we have a complete set of spares from the 318, so replacing it is not difficult. I picked the best one I had out of storage. As seen here, we could almost use it as is, if we were desperate enough. You could, for instance, paint it with flat black latex. That helps. But we also have plenty of new replacement material on hand. So I'll recover it.

Here's a view of the bottom. There are four parallel sets of springs with flat steel tops and wooden stringers on the bottom. You can see that when a spring broke or came out, the CA&E would patch it up with spare strips of material. This one required a little additional body and fender work, and is now ready to go.

The material is nailed to the bottom edge with lots of carpet tacks, spaced about an inch apart. The only annoying part of this job is removing all the rusty old tacks with a tack puller.

Finally, the old material can be removed (seen at the left of the picture). The entire assembly of frame plus springs sets is covered with a layer of ordinary canvas. On the top, there's a layer of horse hair (I guess) and then a layer of felt. This material is generally OK.

Then we start installing the new material, using carpet tacks as before. The seat cushion is turned over, of course, and can be stretched by hand as you tack. The material looks dusty from being pressed onto the bench. Here I've just started on folding over and nailing together the first corner.

And the finished product looks like this, ready to pop into place. Please take your seat, but only until the end of the trip!