Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Looking for Details

While looking through the Johnson collection the other day, I started studying this picture taken at Wells Street.  It shows many interesting details about CA&E cars in the early days.  So let's take out a magnifying glass.

The car on track 3 has the dash light and folding signs, and the cars on 2 and 4 don't, so the picture must date to about 1911.  The terminal is packed with CA&E cars, so this photo must have been staged.  Seventeen cars are visible.  At that time the road had a total of about 50 cars, so this is one-third of the entire fleet.

I can't make out any of the numbers, but some cars can be identified.  You can just barely see that the second car on track 1 has a baggage door at the far end, so it must be car 10.  The car on 3 still has its split front window, so that must be another of the short Niles cars.  The cars on 2 and 4 both have the control sockets mounted on the front walls above the bumper, so they are brand-new Kuhlmans.  And if you look carefully you can generally tell the difference between the short and long cars.  For instance, track 3 appears to be short-short-long-short, sort of like Morse code.

Some of the shorties have many more saddles than others; I suspect this is a difference between Niles and Stephenson as built, but it could be due to roof replacement jobs at Wheaton.

You will notice that none of the cars have retrievers, as we already knew.  Trolley ropes were just lashed to a stanchion on the end post.  Retrievers came along about 1925.

None of the cars have roof fuse boxes.  This is the part I don't understand.  In most cases there's a single cable, attached to both bases, going down to one of the cabinets.  So the main power supply to the cabinet(s) was unfused.  Of course there would be fuses on the lighting and control circuits, and motor fuses under the floor, but I would think the unfused supply was a hazard.  I don't know when the roof fuses were installed.  Even the trailers had them in the latter days.  (The second car on 2 is a trailer and has no roof cables at all.)  And the cables on the Kuhlmans appear to go down through a hole in the canvas, rather than just over the edge as they did on all cars in latter days.  That seems to be an unnecessary complication.

Well, that was fun.  At least no changes are required for the period our cars are restored to.

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