Monday, April 29, 2013

The Catcher and the Rye

David Writes......

This post could also be titled "Meanwhile in St. Louis..."  I've been attending work days at the Museum of Transportation more frequently in the last couple of months.  Of course, the main focus, electric traction-wise has been the ongoing restoration of St. Louis Public Service PCC car 1743.

While others work on the 1743, I have been attending other maintenance related tasks with our operating cars, including repair of a trolley catcher.  The catcher is a Ideal Trolley Catcher from our friends at the Trolley Supply Company of Canton, Ohio.  The trolley catcher is a reel, that has spring tension on it to "wind up" the trolley rope.  It also has a centrifugal brake device that detects rapid upward movement of the pole and rope, as when a dewirement occurs.  This "catches" the pole and hopefully saves it and the overhead from damage.  The catcher goes on our St. Louis Water Division car, number 10, a 1914 St. Louis Car Company product.  Prior to restoration, the car sat outside at MOT for a number of years and the original springs in the catchers were shot.  
When the car was initially restored about ten years ago, we tried making a take-up replacement spring, but it didn't work very well.  Over time the spring weakened to the point it would not hold a wind.  The rope would dangle from it, and it would not be able to "catch" a dewirement.  To remedy this situation, I found this replacement spring in our parts supply.  The spring is rather long, about twenty feet long when uncoiled.  The other volunteers in the shop were amazed at how good I got at winding the spring up into the base of the catcher.  I also found another complete serviceable catcher of the same make, which I took apart, cleaned up and repainted.  We will hold this as a spare.  

Here, we see the repaired catcher on the car.  Hopefully it will give years of service.

In addition to being up for the annual meeting, I was also up the following weekend, taking Amtrak.
During both trips, we had a series of editorial meetings of the blog staff.  All of my article title ideas were rejected.  Frank provided local shuttle service from Amtrak's stop in Summit.  While you can't really see him in this photo, Frank and I subsequently learned that longtime IRM member Dave Dote was the engineer on my return trip.  In other news, I gave Randy a bottle of Bulleit Rye Whiskey.  I think it may be the Official Rye Whiskey of the Hicks Car Works*

*Drink responsibly


Al Reinschmidt said...

Saw your catcher or its predeseter on TV this AM. A commercial for visiting St. Louis, #10 makes a cameo appearance.

David Wilkins said...

Oh nice, I haven't seen that ad.

This is a good example of why you should repair things the right way the first time. I and others had fiddled with the homemade spring for a long time trying to make it work, to no avail. Using original parts or parts made to original specs fixed it within minutes.