Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Four for Four

It wasn't really planned this way, but attention was paid to all four of the CA&E wood cars today. At least those in the barn.

First up was the 319. There had always been a couple of minor problems with the so-called "trap door" at one corner. One of the bolts holding up this molding strip had broken off, so it hung down at an angle. It really doesn't have much structural function; there was no danger that the step would collapse or endanger anybody, but it looks like we don't care about appearances. And that's not true. After some work, I drilled a new hole and installed a screw to hold it in place.

Next was the trap itself. There's a coil spring which is supposed to lift the trap, but nothing was happening. You can lift the trap by brute force, but that annoys everybody, even me. (This is basically the same design as the North Shore cars or the CA&E steels.) Also, maybe you can see that the plate holding up the spring-loaded bearing is loose and falling away from the car. That's not good.

I was afraid that the spring was broken and would have to be replaced, but after some work I found that it was OK and just had to be adjusted. With some longer lag screws and new bolts, the plate is firmly attached to the car and the trap springs up as Jewett intended. Case closed, for now.

I meggered the compressor on the 308 and it still appears that the field coils are a dead short to ground. That's pretty grim. I really don't know where we go from here. So the 308 probably won't be in revenue service this year, although the rest of the brake system works and we could run it in the middle of a three-car train for the pageant and Members' Day.

And I spent some time disassembling the replacement seats for the 309 and sorting parts.

Like all of our wood cars, the window sills (aka belt rails) on the 36 have rotted-out places here and there. The section shown here was the worst, but the other cars have had far worse sections, so this is not bad at all. Bondo™ is the answer. I removed all of the window blanks on the (south) side, the one we're currently repainting, and filled all the cracks with body filler, and then sanded it all down. This could all be done from inside the car, which makes it much easier than dragging the scaffold or stairs back and forth. The entire sill now needs another coat of white primer, that'll happen next time.

Finally, during a break I caught Dave and Carl assembling more of the locomotive on Ray's new playground. Ray Bellock himself was supervising, as usual, but he must have moved out of the picture before I could snap. As you might have noticed, some of us are wanna-be celebrities, others aren't.


R Stahl said...

You may be able to disconnect each field coil ( I think there are two) and find which one is grounded. Then perhaps there is a way to loosen the pole shoes and see if the ground goes away, if it does you might be able to slide some insulation between the winding and the compressor frame.

Randy Stahl

Randall Hicks said...

Thanks for the comments. I would expect that if there's a short, it's between the windings and the core in one or more of the poles, so there's no easy fix other than replacing the whole field coil. So we have to take the compressor apart. (Also, these are four-pole motors.)

This illustrates the difficulties we face as a volunteer organization. A good-sized railroad would have one or two guys whose only job was to rebuild compressors. Maybe it's kind of boring, but hey, it's a job, and they would be good at it and be able to fix things quickly and efficiently.

It would be nice if WE had somebody to just rebuild compressors, but nobody wants to volunteer only to do that. Luckily, pumps don't fail very often under our conditions of service, but when they do, we're left scratching our heads. Do we have any spares that can be made to work? If so, where would they be? If not, how do we take one apart - anybody remember? And so on.

In any case, it'll be interesting!