Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Tale of Two Trucks

For those interested in "the rest of the story" on the truck swap, below is something of a photo essay. I managed to take quite a few pictures during the process (at the expense of the work I was supposed to be doing!) and these are just some highlights.

Friday's activities for the IRM group commenced when we arrived at Warehouse Point at about 2pm, followed shortly by Jim Lillie's truck bearing the Pullman MCB truck destined for the 303 and a crate that held the body-bolster center bearing, some center bearing shims, and some abrasive brake shoes to take care of flat spots on the wheels of this truck. Unloading took place in the Connecticut Trolley Museum (CTM) parking lot.

At right, some of the crew goes over the game plan in the CTM parking lot. L-R: Jeff B
rady (IRM), Norm Krentel (IRM), and Chris Chestnut (CTM), who was the de facto project manager for the entire operation.

At left, the beginning of the truck unloading project. The nose of the trailer has been detached and a front-end loader is being used to lift one end of the
Pullman truck off of the flatbed.

At right, Jeff Hak
ner (Branford Electric Railway Association/IRM) on the left guides a CTM volunteer running a gigantic backhoe in picking up the other end of the Pullman truck to lift it off of the flatbed.

Following this, the Pullman MCB truck was towed over to the CTM shop where we packed the motor armature bearings with waste and oiled them. The motors in the Pullman truck were rebuilt 4-5 years ago in Cleveland but had not been run except in brief tests, so had not had their armature bearings packed. I don't have any photos of this phase because my forearms were covered in oil for most of the time. This work lasted until maybe 7pm, when we quite and headed for a terrific dinner at a local restaurant suggested by Chris.

The next morning, Randy Hicks (IRM) stands in front of the 303 before the commencement of activities. This photo was taken at 8am; little did we know we'd still be here 14 hours later!

The 303 was towed to a road crossing near the CTM shop where jacking commenced. Since we were using dissimilar jacks, a plumb bob was used to keep the car level. At left a coworker of Jim Lillie (both truckers were from the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton) watches the plumb bob as jacking commences.

At right, the car starts to go u
p. Chris Chestnut (back to camera) watches the plumb bob with a CTM volunteer inside the 303 while two more CTM volunteers (left) and Randy Hicks (right) work the jacks.

At left, Chris Chestnut (L) and Norm Krentel keep a close e
ye on the 303 as it is jacked clear of the Baldwin truck. In the left foreground is the car's center bearing, which had been unbolted from the car's body bolster before jacking commenced.

Following a lunch at the CTM food stand, the crew got back to work. With the car jack
ed up clear of the Baldwin truck, the truck was rolled partway out from under the car and the new center bearing (the one brought from IRM in the crate) was installed. At right, L-R, Norm Krentel, Randy Hicks and Chris Chestnut, with Jeff Hakner behind Chris, use a jack to hold the center bearing tentatively in place while it is bolted to the 303's bolster.

And with that, the truck was rolled free of the car!

M had a variety of heavy equipment on hand to do a variety of tasks. A combination front-end loader/backhoe was used for switching the trucks through the shop yard. At right, the Baldwin MCB truck destined for IRM and the 36 (left) is pulled away from the 303 while the Pullman MCB truck brought from Illinois (right) stands ready to be rolled underneath the 303.

Lowering the 303 onto the original Pullman truck it had been paired with for most of its service career went faster than jacking the car up but was not boring; at one point the carbody had to be steadied by a hand winch or come-along chained to a Caterpillar bulldozer. At left, Chris Chestnut (R) and another CTM volunteer work the jacks with the bulldozer blade in the foreground.

But finally, at about 5:30pm, the 303 was set down on the Pullman MCB truck and the jacks were pulled away. Seeing a car body weighing perhaps 50,000 lbs up on jacks is always a slightly unnerving site and it's always nice to see it back on trucks where it belongs!

Below, part of the group takes a breather and enjoys some of the cupcakes brought by Ray Bellock's daughter in honor of the 749 dedication being held back in Illinois that day. L-R in foreground: Jeff Brady, No
rm Krentel, Randy Hicks and Chris Chestnut.
After this phase of the project was done, the 303 was towed over to the CTM pit where work started on making it operational - understandably a requirement of the truck swap, since it had been operational at CTM prior to the truck swap. Meanwhile the Baldwin MCB truck headed for IRM was towed to a spot near the CTM entrance where Jim Lillie's trailer could be lined up with the track, and the truck was towed up onto the trailer.

At right, Randy Hicks, Jeff Brady and Jim Lillie (back to camera) work on tying down the Baldwin truck before it heads to IRM.

Shortly after this work was done, the 303
was ready to test. The brake rods were reattached by Jeff Brady and Norm Krentel and Jeff Hakner reattached the motor leads. However after moving a few feet, the 303 wouldn't move any more. The motors worked but the car wouldn't budge. It took quite a bit of time but the problem was diagnosed to be one of the axle cap bearings, which had not seated properly and had become jammed in between the motor case and the axle.

This necessitated removal of the axle cap (not an easy job) and realignment of the bearing, which in turn meant jacking up the motor itself to free up the bearing. At left, Norm Krentel, Jeff
Hakner, Chris Chestnut and a CTM volunteer work on removing the bearing following removal of the axle cap.

After a lot of hard work on the part of Norm, Jeff and Chris, the axle cap bearing was correctly seated, the axle cap replaced and power put to the car once again. This time it rolled! After a couple of brief test trips, Chris ran it back into the CTM shop building under power at about 10:45pm as seen below.
The successful completion of this project means that both the 36 and the 303 will have the trucks correct to those cars. We can't thank Chris Chestnut and all of the CTM volunteers who helped on the project enough; they did nearly all of the heavy lifting and Chris himself coordinated every stage of the project, as well as having a hand in some of the toughest parts of the job. People from four museums - IRM, CTM, Branford and Electric City - had a part in this job and it was a tremendous example of the benefits of cooperation. Thanks to CTM and to everyone who worked on this project!


David Wilkins said...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it ws the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.

Seriously, is that a Boston Type 5 in the background of one of the photos? Good work by all! I also see the 303 has that awful "Peach" paint on the roof that is now mostly covered on the 319

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave:

Yup, thats a type 5 number 5645 in the shop area getting maintenace done for summer operation.

We are planning on repaint the peach with the correct tile red on both the roof and the windows in the near future. It may be a winter project. For now we want to shake out the truck and motors and find out what else the car needs. It is hoped to have 303 out once in a while for public service

Chris Chestnut

David Wilkins said...


Type 5 cars have always interested me. I've never gotten to really inspect one. Are they "safety cars?"

Best of luck on the paint. Just repainting the roof and windows would make a huge difference in the car, but I understand the need to address mechanicals first.

Ted Miles said...

Great job guys! To the public a truck is a truck and not something to think about at all. But to those of us in the preservation business it matters a whole lot!

Ted Miles

Scott Greig said...

My congratulations and compliments to all who were involved in this project. As the song said, "little things mean a lot"...and they DO!!!!

Anonymous said...

Although I haven't ridden on in service in over 50 years, I recall that Type 5 cars are safety cars. BTW, 5645 at CTM is the only one that I know of that is regularly operated.

David, I recall that you asked about PTM's open car regauging project. The car is almost ready to run. Let me know if you want details.


Anonymous said...

Actually, I would not call a type 5 a true safety car. It does have a line switch, but no deadman on the controller. If the controller is notched up and the operator passed out, the car would continue on its way

Chris Chestnut