Thursday, March 22, 2012

Good News, Bad News

Like most sermons nowadays, let's start with a funny story. While the 36 was at Cleveland, the original type J governor either failed or was thought inadequate to the task of running on a 750V rapid transit system, so it was replaced with a newer model. (Rod could tell us what it was, I forget.) Anyhow, in service it flashed over and started burning, and the car filled with smoke. They hit it with a fire extinguisher, but the smoke got worse, so it was pulled out of the subway out onto the bridge until the panic was over. And that was the end of that, until today.

Here's what the area looks like before we start. Fortunately, none of the car's wood was actually burned; only a small amount of paint on the floor was singed. The white stuff is powder from the fire extinguisher, and the black stuff is soot. So let's just vacuum and scrub until it's nice and clean.

The goofy red paint will have to be changed, of course, but otherwise all is well. Al Reinschmidt was out today to help, and together we recoated the interior of the new governor with Glyptal, checked that we had the right piping, and Al installed it as seen here.

The wiring meggers OK, but looks a little tired. We may want to replace the wires with new material, but that isn't affected by having the governor in place.

Then we started inspecting the compressor, and here the news is considerably worse. The commutator is grounded, the fields are grounded, and the brush holders, with the leads disconnected, are grounded. We could not understand how the isolated brush holders could be grounded, but there it is. And the commutator is badly worn. This compressor is probably not worth trying to fix. We looked at the spare compressors along the avenue, and at least one appears to be a better candidate to the naked eye.

Al helped me retest the parts of the control system that have been installed so far, and everything appears to work fine. So that's a relief. I wanted to install another contactor, but it turns out there's not quite enough clearance. The second box, which opens towards the center of the car, is mounted lower than the others, so I'll have to rebuild my little platform. Thus there will be a slight delay.

We went out to check on the 321. Here is the nice new access road to the south yards, which was installed last fall. I guess this is an extension of Railroad Avenue. Anyway, it's nice and solid, and here's the stone culvert over the drainage ditch between 13 and 14.

Finally, Al helped me clean up the interior of the 319 so it can be cleaned for service. The Operating Dept. cleaning days are coming up soon, and this help is greatly appreciated. The 308, 309, and 319 are ready for some TLC.


Anonymous said...

Last I checked, the batteries in the megger were low. This has been sometimes causing a false reading. Unless you meggered the control wiring again with it, I'd maybe try changing the batteries and retesting the compressor.

Randall Hicks said...

Yes, I noticed that. The megger can't be adjusted to read zero, but it's still usable. If you get the same reading, say 0.5M, between check zero, having the leads connected together, and testing, whatever you're testing is grounded. That megger and I have been fighting each other for almost forty years, and I usually win.

Anonymous said...

Can the wooden C,A&E cars like the #36 be MUed with the later C, A&E cars like the steel 350s?

How do you tell what goes with which?

Ted Miles
IRM Member

Randall Hicks said...

The CA&E wood cars have a different control system and couplers from the steel cars, so they cannot be mixed together in regular service. The wood cars can all be trained together, as can the steel cars, so it's very simple.

And the same was true on the North Shore. So when I see pictures of interurban lines where steel and wood cars could be trained together, it just doesn't look right!

Anonymous said...

Make sure you clean up ALL of the fire extinguisher power, that is some nasty corrosive stuff, eats electricals real fast.


Anonymous said...

Was there one exception to the wood car - steel car rule on the CA&E. Weren't the Niles parlor cars, when rebuilt to coaches, equipped to MU with the steel cars, not the wood cars? This would explain any photos of wood and steel cars coupled together, which I recall seeing.


Randall Hicks said...

Art: Yes, that's true. Those two cars were covered with sheet metal, but retained the same wood structure. And of course they didn't survive.

Jim Mueller said...

I am not sure why us, the citizens of Fernley, are not fighting harder to keep the depot and the rail cars. Fernley has very little historical sites and this is a very nice thing for our city to keep and have as it's center to the City of Fernley's ideas for restoration in the downtown sector. Please contact your elected officals and let them know that you want to keep the rail cars and the depot. We all need to get along and put Fernley's Future First. It is extremely important to keep the cars in Nevada but more significantly keep them in Fernley for all the community to enjoy! Thanks, The Mueller Family