Tuesday, February 17, 2015

At the Health Club

The weather outside keeps getting colder and colder, so it was another good day to stay inside and work out by lifting weights at the East Union Health Club.   Did I mention that dues are very reasonable?
Let's limber up those muscles by assembling a couple of third rail beams.  As you lift the parts into position, remember to bend your knees, not your back.  Then you get to spend plenty of time finding, sorting, and tightening nuts and bolts.  They say it's "aerobic", whatever that means.

To relax, you'll want to make the little wooden plates that cover the bolts holding the heavy shoe assembly.  I imagine they are supposed to prevent flashovers to the truck frame.

 And then the parts get another coat of primer as needed.  We've decided the parts below the beam don't really need to be painted.  The original beams don't seem to have any paint on those parts.  Next time we can start painting them black.

Tim helped with some of the heavy lifting, but was mostly working on the seats for the Bowling Alley.  Frank Kehoe and Jim Heinlein were working with him, but I didn't get a picture.  Sorry!

And you can see the sparks fly as he grinds down some more parts.

Once the third rail beams were done, I did some more surface prep and painting in the vestibule.  These vestibules are small, so a single space heater can easily warm them up to a good temperature for primer. It will be nice when this can start turning blue. 

And then I took the flag box to the shop to finish stripping it, and put on a coat of primer.

And I guess everybody needs to take a break now or then.  Here's an anonymous entry in our modern art contest.

Say, you probably made a New Year's resolution to get more exercise.  Better get down to the health club toot sweet!


Anonymous said...

Any idea why the folks in Cleveland took the third rail shoes off the car?

It was a third rail railroad after all. I am glad you have the hardware to put them all back together!

Ted Miles
IRM Member

Randall Hicks said...

Well, Ted, third rail equipment is always problematic. It generally has to be removed in order to ship the cars somewhere, and whether you go to the trouble of bringing the parts along with you and reinstalling them depends on how important you think it is. Apart from the New York Transit Museum, nobody runs museum equipment on third rail power, so it's purely cosmetic.

Even at IRM, not all of our CA&E, North Shore, or rapid transit cars have their third rail equipment in place. Bill Wulfert is working on building several new CRT beams, but there's always more to do. As always, it's a matter of priorities.

For the preserved CA&E cars, circumstances vary. Gerry Brookins acquired all of the third rail beams for his cars, but they were stored in a pile and never used. Fortunately we were able to acquire most of what we needed when the collection was distributed. When the Iowa guys acquired the 320, they evidently left the third rail stuff behind, since it would never be needed. When the car was completely rebuilt, however, that decision was regretted, so replica beams had to be made. At Rockhill, the third rail equipment was never installed on the 315 because it wouldn't clear the passenger platforms, so we were able to acquire two sets; the other two could not be found and are still on my to-do list! Fox River and Seashore have done a good job of installing and maintaining the third rail equipment. I haven't checked, but I think most other museums that have North Shore cars have never bothered with the third rail beams. Perhaps they don't even realize the cars had them.

In your area, I believe the only third-rail interurban was the Sacramento Northern, and from pictures it appears to me that not all of the SN equipment at Rio Vista has third rail shoes. Maybe that's due to the difference between the northern and southern divisions, I don't know enough about SN to say. You might be able to explain that.

Anonymous said...

Yes the SN used third rail shoes when they started running through the old Northern electric line to Chico.

The #1005 has third rail shoes; sadly the only original NE car we have is the bidwell; which is a body only So it is someday on that one!
The other big third rail user around here was the Central California Traction Company and the CCT #7 has both poles and third rail shores, I believe. I'll have to look next time I am in Car Barn Three.

Thanks for your comment.

Ted Miles
IRM Member

David Wilkins said...

Even if it doesn't currently, CCT #7 should have third rail shoes. I believe most of the CCT mainline was third rail, with overhead in yards, on industry tracks, and in street running.

Interestingly enough, the 7 has all three modes of current collection, third rail shoes, a pantograph, and a trolley pole.

David Wilkins said...

Also, if I remember correctly, the third rail shoes used by SN were mounted on the car when through trains were in Sacramento at the station. The whole beam assembly was taken off or put on the car.

Randall Hicks said...

That's right, David, I'd forgotten that. I had to look it up, but southern division motors could run the length of the road. At Sacramento a northbound motor would have third rail shoes installed, and the voltage would be switched from 1200 to 600. Northern division motors were wired only for 600 and could not operate south of Sacramento. As a result, they say the motors were usually switched at Sacramento and only trailers ran through. Quite complex.

David Wilkins said...

And when the cars got to the edge of Oakland, they'd switch from 600v overhead to 1200v overhead. On the Key System trackage they used the pantograph, which was lowered and locked down. I read you had to throw a switch under the car to change from 600V to 1200V operation.

I think when the Bay Bridge became operational, they kept the third rail beams on all the time as they used that for power into the Transbay terminal. The overhead on the bridge was for the IER trains only.