Monday, August 17, 2015

Better Together

Frank writes...

I wasn't able to make it out to IRM on Sunday until 4:30 in the afternoon, so I missed most of the Thomas-related festivities, but it seemed like everything had gone swimmingly and that there had been strong ridership on the Sodor Light Railway.  As it was, I decided to turn my attention to putting the grid box from the 36 back together.

As previously shown, the brand new mica tubes and washers have arrived and I set to work putting them to good use.  Above the grid box is shown early in the assembly process, with the white mica tubes quite obvious.  From this point on, it's a trial-and-error game to make sure that everything fits together and that the box ends up square and that everything is solid once the bolts are tightened down.
And here's the finished product, all back together.  This is as close to a "new" grid box as any of our CA&E cars has, seeing as it was assembled using all new mica insulation and also uses "like new" resistance elements retrieved from storage.  All that needs to be done now is to touch up the black paint (admittedly, hardly anyone will see it either way, but we would still know that it wasn't quite right) and put the box back on the 36.  Then - if all goes well - we'll be back to four fully operational wood cars.

4 comments:

Kirk Warner said...

I know that the Hicks work with the wood CA&E cars; however, do you have any insight as to what the status of CA&E 451 is at this time?

Jeron G. said...

It's still sitting in the diesel shop covered in plastic.

Unknown said...

Is mica still the insulator of choice for these grid boxes? One might expect that materials technology would have advanced in 90 years to something less brittle?

Randall Hicks said...

These new mica tubes are an improvement over the old ones. They are held together with a new process, which I believe is basically a form of epoxy. As a result, they don't appear to be subject to peeling the way the old ones do. But time will tell. And as I understand it, cast iron grids are still in wide use in applications such as cranes, so the manufacturers are familiar with our application.