Saturday, May 6, 2017

For Want of a Nail

Today was another busy, productive day at your Museum -- and I had to leave while lots of fun was still going on.  So this will be just a small snapshot of what was happening.

When I arrived, Joel was replacing the trolley shoe inserts on the 309.

 And as you can see, it was none too soon.  These are what was left of the old inserts.

The main project, however, was to check up on the motor bearings on the 309.  This is a long story, but basically we're going to need to have new bearings cast for the #1 truck.  I wanted to check the current condition of the system to make sure that we can still use the car in occasional service this year.  So one by one, we removed the axle caps from the two motors and checked them thoroughly.

This picture is a little fuzzy, but with the axle cap removed, we can see that the axle is nice and smooth, and is being well lubricated.  If it were overheating, the surface would be turning blue, but that's not the case here, so that's good.

This is the inside of an axle cap casting.  It fits around the axle, and in the middle we see the nice waste bundles that Frank made for it many years ago.

The amazing thing was that on this one axle cap, there were no pins to hold the bearing in place!

The outer half of the bearing has a large oval hole where the wasted presses against the axle to lubricate it, and some small holes for steel pins to hold the bearing in place so it doesn't rotate.  If the pins are missing, there is nothing to keep the two halves of the bearing from rotating, which could be really bad.  We were left scratching our heads as to why this didn't happen -- it's a miracle.   As I was thinking about it later, this has to date back to 2003.  The two motors on this truck were rebuilt by Steiner, and then when they arrived they were reinstalled in the truck.  I wasn't around when this was done, but evidently the pins were overlooked when putting it all back together, and it's been like that ever since.  As I say, the fact that we've been operating the car ever since without incident is miraculous.  But we can't rely on that forever.

Rich Schauer volunteered some hours of his time to make new pins for us.  He claims not to be a machinist, but to me he seems to make an awfully good substitute for one.  

The final product looks like this.  They're not very big, but they have to be machined to exact tolerances.

Bill Pollman was visiting today.  He seems to have evaded my camera successfully, but he helped a lot with the work on the motor bearings, with which he's had a lot of experience and gave us expert advice.  Mostly he was here to swap L car parts.  He's an active member at Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine, and they're working on CTA car 1 in their collection.   Here are some seats that he dropped off; Bill Wulfert gave him the sign boxes from car 1 that he had removed many years ago, and so on.  I'm sure Bill will fill us in with the truth.

And here we have a new member hard at work on wire-wheeling parts for the new door for North Shore MD car 213.  John Goon is the person we saw getting a tour of the shop last Wednesday with Jeff Brady.   He must have liked what he saw, so he came back to do some work.  And of course today he got to see several trains running and go for a ride or two.

After some work, these rusty old plates look much better.  I had to leave before the project was completed, but Joel said he's supervise as John put a coat of primer on them.  If the door can be replaced, Gerry says we should be able to use the 213 occasionally this year as a trailer in a two-car MD train.  

Anyway, the moral of this story is that we can always find productive work for new volunteers to do.  Ponder that for a minute or two, if you will.

Eric points out that new car cards are being put in the Cleveland PCC.  These used to be in the 24, but they weren't the right size, so Tim has new ones made, and the old ones work in the PCC.  This is recycling at its best.

The interior of the car is going to be as good as new.

Meanwhile, Victor was needle-chipping some castings for the Pennsy bobber.   He ruefully admitted he should have had ear protection.   You whaaaat???

Thomas Slater is well-dressed for his job of running the 3142 today.

Tim is preparing the wood he'll need for replacing the roof of the 1754.  This will be a big job.

A lot of switching was going on today.  Our Chicago and North Western Day will be two weeks from today, and in preparation for the festivities, the 1518 was pulled out of the barn for the first time in several years.  

I got a chance to ask Jamie about this.  This is the first production GP-7, but it started life as an EMD demonstrator, with a silver paint scheme. 

This interested me because I recently finished repainting my personal privately-owned  GP-7 in its as-built paint scheme.  Now Jamie says, as I suspected, that it should say "ELECTRO-MOTIVE" rather than "AMERICAN FLYER", but that's a mere detail.

Be that as it may, there will be a lot of North Western equipment in authentic paint schemes on display at IRM on Saturday, May 20th, so don't miss it!

And after putting the 309 away, I had to leave, but switching was still going on.  

 There's seldom a dull moment at IRM!

Update:  So many things were happening yesterday, I forgot a couple of them.  First, I took the bent coupler over to the Steam Shop, where our friends agreed to straighten it out.   Tom later told me they think it will have to be disassembled first, but they will certainly be able to do it.

And then I was able to attend a make-up Safety Meeting at the Pullman Library, run by our friend Larry Stone.  I appreciate the operating guys taking time to provide this service for those of us who weren't able to attend the regular safety meeting in April.


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Randall Hicks said...

I would agree with that, certainly. Generally, volunteers are expected to provide their own personal protection, but the department also has extra safety glasses, ear plugs, and earmuffs available. When John showed up, I found some nice safety glasses for him to wear over his regular glasses, for instance. All it takes is one small fragment in the right place to make you permanently blind.

Hearing protection is a little more iffy: when are the ambient noises so loud that you need earmuffs? (I can't stand ear plugs, but that's just me.) As an amateur musician, I tend to err on the side of caution. Is wire wheeling so loud that you need protection? It depends on how long you expect to be at it. Needle chipping is awful, but if you're only going to do one small part, it won't take long and there's a temptation not to bother. I don't mean to be critical of Victor: he's been around a long time and certainly knows how to work safely. We're all liable to try to cut corners now and then. I've done the same thing myself, I must admit. But I was lucky: nobody caught me on camera!

Anonymous said...

I worked in safety in an industrial environment for 38 years. Federal regulations require hearing protection based upon the the level and length of exposure. As an example, hearing protection would be required if an individual is exposed to 90 decibels for eight hours. An individual exposed to 110 decibels for one half hour would be required to use hearing protection. Table G-16 in the standard includes additional guidance. Momentary noise exposure may not exceed 140 decibels. Some estimates of noise levels for various tasks included needle gunning (113 decibels, grinding 108-110 decibels). To be certain of what is required noise sampling and an analysis of the individuals exposure over time is required. The facility I worked at did this sampling and analysis but decided to require hearing protection at all times in the facility to insure employees were protected. When you use hearing protection (plugs or muffs) regularly you become accustomed to them and after a while you don't even notice you are wearing them.

Always enjoy the blog. Keep up the good work.

Mark Becker - IRM Member

Kirk Warner said...

What are the black items on top of the wood, stored on the cart, for the 1754?

Anonymous said...

The dark objects on top of the wood are the old "sample" carlines removed from 1754's roof. Some were broken, and some were just too full of nails to be used again. One of them was cut when the North Western Elevated decided to add roof mounted sign boxes, just like the one created for car 24. There is a picture of S-333 (1754) in the deadline at Skokie Shop, and it is missing the trolley pole at one end of the car. Tim suspects that the roof may have been damaged while in work service, and that the car was then pulled from service. The Jewett cars typically had what looks like a roof saddle across the end of the roof with the trolley pole hook attached to it.
Bill Wulfert