Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wednesday Report

We'll start today by looking at the progress being made by Volkmann Railroad Contractors on the south yards and the new car line.
 New switches are being installed for the next two tracks in Yard 15.   Here we are looking east.

And this is looking west. 

And here is the right-of-way for the new streetcar line, which will pass south of Yard 15.  This is probably a much better roadbed than most interurbans ever had.   And it appears to be wide enough for two tracks. 

Looking east towards the curve.

And they are putting in the switch for the car line on the lead to 15. 

I went over to Barn 11 to do some more cleaning in the 321.  If I do a little each day, perhaps it will eventually get done.  I ran into Dave Rogan and Victor H., who are working on the Pennsy bobber.   

Here Victor points out all the fixes made to the platform.  You've probably never been inside the car, so come on up!

Much of the ceiling structure had to be replaced; the new boards are evident.

 And likewise at the other end.

 Looking up into the cupola.

This is an authentic PRR stove.

The tan color is the final finish.

And later, in the shop, Victor showed me one of the grab irons from the car, an unusual type of casting which will have to be reproduced.

Then I wandered over to Barn 4 to see what was happening.   Pete Galayda was working, as usual, on the Charles City engine.  

Gerry Dettloff and I helped out with sequencing the control, with Mike McCraren recording the data as the sequence proceeds.

It's not as easy as it is on the passenger electric cars.  The contactors are under this hood, which cannot be disassembled, so two of us have to squeeze into this narrow space and watch the contactors operate on 600V a few inches away as the third person operates the controller.  Pete helpfully explained that "nobody has been zapped yet."  There's not much room, and all you can do is crouch there and hope that the electricity doesn't leak out.

(Illustration by James Thurber)

As before, the contactors sequenced in series but not in parallel.  So we got out the circuit diagram and traced the parallel control circuits to find the open.  It turns out there's an interlock on the reverser which is connected to the motor cutout switches.  This engine has four 600V motors in two permanent series pairs, for operation on either 600V or 1200V trolley.  Motors are cut out not by opening the connections, but shorting across the pair of motors.   So if either pair is cut out, and you try to advance beyond full series, nothing happens due to this interlock.   I crawled back under the hood; this part of the reverser is in the most inaccessible location, but I was able to fix it, and now everything sequences properly.   So that's a big step forward.   We should be able to test the locomotive for operation soon.

Jon Fenlaciki is still working on Indiana Railroad 65; there are still a few details to be taken care of.   The seats all had a small metal pamphlet holder attached to the back; here's one of the many Jon has been painting.   The IRR put out a newsletter called the "Hoosier Traveller" for passengers to read, much as Metra does today, and they fit these metal holders exactly.  And Jon asked me to point out that the 65 project is still in the hole, so your donations would be most appreciated.

 The rest of the day was mostly spent sanding and painting in the #2 vestibule of the 36.  Here it is after the flag box and the shelf have been removed.  They were taken over to our nice air-conditioned shop for further work.

 It usually isn't necessary to remove all of the original Pullman Green paint in the vestibules.  This stuff is like glue and very hard to eradicate.

And here's some more brown primer on the ceiling and other parts of the vestibule.   This will continue as time permits.  But this Saturday will be Thomas again, so I don't know what I will be doing.  But we'll post it here, newsworthy or not.


Anonymous said...

I was long under the impression that the Charles City loco was 1200v only. The option for 600v as designed is great. Is this newer news? Looks like you had a nice carpet to lounge on while you did this electrical engineering work.

Randall Hicks said...

I think the correct way to describe it is that there is an MG set to convert 1200V to 600V for the auxiliaries, such as the compressor, and the control system. This would be bypassed when running on 600V, and we won't need to use it. The motor circuits are designed just for 1200V, and on 600V it can only go at half speed, in much the same way as our South Shore and IC cars. But that will be fine.

Oh, and yes, that carpet was a real luxury. I can hardly wait to open the lounge compartment for visitors to experience while the locomotive is moving.

David Church said...

Does that mean you run the South Shore cars in full parallel at the museum to obtain half speed?

Randall Hicks said...

Yes, actually a little less than half. The South Shore cars have 750V motors in permanent series pairs, so each motor sees 300V when operating in full parallel, or two-fifths of the design voltage. That, however, is fast enough for our needs.

Anonymous said...

I think the idea of "running in parallel" works some people up a bit. But from the standpoint of motor voltage, there's no big difference between running a South Shore car with its permanent series-paired motors in parallel, and running a North Shore car with its permanent parallel-paired motors in series, other than the 25% between 600 and 750. In each case, each motor sees 300 volts.

R. W. Schauer

Randall Hicks said...

Well, that's true. In ordinary operation, North Shore and CA&E cars are limited by law to full series, with a top speed of 35 or 40 MPH, which is probably about what the South Shore cars will do in full parallel. The difference is that with proper authorization and the right circumstances, NS or CA&E cars can still reach their design speed of 70 MPH or so. The South Shore cars can't.

Anonymous said...

I was worried that you had been called on the Carpet.