Tuesday, June 20, 2017

IRM's latest acquisition

From our intrepid cub reporter, Richard Schauer, comes news of the arrival of the museum's latest acquisition. This trolley bus was acquired from the Orange Empire Railway Museum in California. Richard sent in some photos as well as a description of its history and condition:

"The latest acquisition for the Trolley Bus Dept. arrived [Monday] afternoon. Seattle 656 is a 1944 product of Pullman-Standard, the final coach of an order of 15 allotted to Seattle by the War Production Board.  It was serial number 5528 in lot W6711C; the "C" at the end indicated a four-way split order, with the other coaches going to Atlanta, Edmonton, and Philadelphia.  (The Philadelphia coaches, incidentally, were intensely disliked by operators and management alike, and after new coaches by other builders arrived, were stored for many years.  They probably had less than two years of actual service when they were scrapped in the 1960s.) It carried the number 1006 for nearly all of its life, until June 1974.  It seats 44 and weighed 21,400 pounds, quite heavy for a coach of its size (but about right for a Pullman).

"The coach served a rather unremarkable life until early 1975, when it was selected for battery traction experiments.  This followed experiments in San Francisco in 1973 that were not particularly successful, but showed some promise.  656 was equipped underneath with 6 large bus batteries in series, a pair of contactors for connecting the batteries to the traction motor, and a 72 volt generator to recharge them.  It worked reasonably well, and as expected, with a range of 2 miles at 5-6 mph with a full coach on level ground.

"One experiment led to another, and in April 1975, it received Kiepe automatic retrievers with de-wiring/re-wiring capability.  The retrievers proved to be excessively slow and were replaced with the Earll retrievers the coach previously had.  Funnel pans were installed at a few places, and the coach was tested with moderate success.  The coach saw fairly regular service until about 1981, when it was donated to OERM.

"656 is equipped with GE MRC controls and a 1213 traction motor.  It is missing the inner dual wheels in the back, and the tires hold air but are in rough shape.  The upholstery, which looks kinda like real leather (but I didn't check) is in fairly good condition.  The paint is oxidized fairly badly on the outside, and is peeling a little on the ceiling.  The poles, bases, and automatic retriever equipment have all been removed for its trip east, and need to be reinstalled.  It was unloaded from the flatbed on the side of the Steam Shop and pushed down to Trolleybusland afterward. The Kiepe equipment is still inside, and the poles, bases, and boards are on the ground alongside the bus.  All four trolley base springs are broken."

All photos are by Richard Schauer; reproduction without permission is forbidden, etc etc.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Does IRM need some interlocking plant pipe rollers? There's some along a short section of the abandoned Michigan Central line in Joliet, adjacent to Hickory Creek, north of Washington Street, west of the CN, behind the city sewer department garage property. Joliet is going to to a small creek bank stabilization project back there soon which will probably destroy a few of the rollers.

Also, the old CECO Steel plant in Lemont, now Detroit Salt/Central Salt is getting rail service on new spurs which means the old trackage will be torn out. It is lighter weight rail including up to ten switches but most of it has been buried and beat up by machinery for years.