Monday, May 5, 2014

Inspection Prep

Frank writes...

On Saturday the weather was beautiful, sunny and 65 with a stiff wind for most of the day.  During the coming week the plan is to move the 308 over to the inspection pit in Barn 4 for its annual inspection.  Since the 308 was third in from the door on track 84, I decided to swap the order of the cars to put it at the door.
Shown above is the three-car train as it appeared after being pulled out of the barn.  The 308 was set out on the connector track, the 36 and 309 pulled back into the barn and then I spotted the 308 right outside the barn door on track 84 to begin working on a few of the inspection items.  The switch move wasn't entirely without incident; the Plexiglas cover on the 309's homemade display sign fell off, and the high winds proceeded to wrinkle the paper sheets making up the display, but it shouldn't be too hard to fix this.

I spent most of my time on the 308's C-21 master controllers, inspecting them for any issues and lubricating the sliding controller contacts.  Below is a photo of one of the controllers with the cover removed and the "finger board" of arc chutes folded away from the contact drum (the "finger board" is the red thing at the bottom right of the controller).  These controllers incorporate an impressive array of mechanical interlocks.  Highlighted in red are the two throttle contacts, which only close if the button on the controller handle is depressed.  Noted in yellow is the star wheel, which helps hold the controller in a particular point of power, and to the left of it the reverser contacts (behind the dark red drum).  Noted in blue is an unusual feature of the C-21, which was designed with a built-in automatic acceleration feature.  The black housing at the top of the contact drum contains a (no longer functional) magnetic coil which would be activated by a limit relay under the floor of the car to brake the controller drum from advancing.  When the controller handle was advanced, the actual controller drum would only advance as quickly as the automatic acceleration permitted.  To my knowledge this system was only used by two lines, the CA&E and the Interborough Rapid Transit system in New York City.  The CA&E disconnected the automatic acceleration feature, probably not too long after the cars were built, but most of the components are still there in the controller.  Noted in green, at the bottom of the controller, is the contact drum which makes and breaks contacts in the control circuits.
These C-21's are more complicated than the earlier C-6's on the 36 and 309, and sure enough there were minor issues with the throttle contact operation in both controllers.  I was able to pretty quickly fix one controller; we'll want to take a look at the other one when we get it over to the inspection pit.  I also inspected the 308's reverser and went through checking all of the seats and windows.  Other than a couple of stuck windows everything checked out.  During the week the majority of the inspection work will be completed along with that perennial favorite task, lubricating the motor armature bearings.  Want to help?

There was a lot of other activity on the property as well.  The Track Department was hard at work making repairs to the switch off of the streetcar line onto the turntable leads, not only so that the "iron curtain" of steam locomotives currently parked across from the depot on the main line can be returned to its regular storage location but also so that the 1630 can be serviced in a few weeks when it begins running.  A group of volunteers was inspecting the CTA single cars, Michigan 28 and CRT 1024 were both seeing progress on their respective roof rebuilding projects, and the Cleveland and recently-acquired Newark/Minneapolis PCC cars were both being worked on.  Nary a dull day during springtime at IRM!

No comments: