Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Tuesday Report

As mentioned earlier, the 2872 (or 872) is now in Barn 4.  But Tim wants us to admit that there was some false advertising involved: the car is actually in worse condition than it might have appeared.  Investigation is still underway, so that's about all we'll say for the moment.  But this will undoubtedly be as big a project as any of the wooden L cars so far.

Bill was helping with the 872 project.  Here is one of the battery-voltage headlights that were used on the Met's early cars.

Meanwhile, over on track 43, work continues on the 306.  The guys have cleared off the roof, but today they were working on the body again.

John is providing support as Gerry welds in some more steel.

By the way, you get a nice view of the Electroliner from up here.

I worked on installing the guards and baffles for the horns on the 453.  When finished, the #2 end looks like this:

At the other end, the guard required some bending to regain the right shape, and that took a while.

I also cleaned up and installed both of the trolley hooks.

Then, I decided it was time to drill the holes for the bases.  The bolts that hold the bases on these cars form a perfect 10" square, and thanks to my vast knowledge of geometry that was easy enough to lay out and drill.  Whenever the bases are ready for service and I have some help, they can be lifted onto the car and installed.

The bases are the same distance from each end of the car, of course, but because there's a slight difference in the spacing of the carlines, and therefore the saddles, at the #1 end, they don't look like they're placed the same.  At one end the base straddles a saddle, but not at the other.  But that's how it was.

Now I just need a small vacuum cleaner up there.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Sunday journal entry

Frank writes...

I was out Sunday afternoon and, though I didn't arrive until a bit later than usual, it was quite a productive day in the end. The first thing I had to do was go over to the west end of Barn 4 and check out the newest resident:
CTA 41 was on the pit and Jack, Richard, and a newer volunteer whose name I didn't get were working on inspecting it for much of the afternoon. In the meantime, I dragooned Nick E and Greg into helping me out on the 18. First, we installed and wired in the two marker lights that were rebuilt over the winter. Unfortunately they still don't work, so there's some issue in the system - possibly a resistor - that we'll need to chase down. Then, since revenue service was ending, we decided to take the car for a few trips around the streetcar line to check journal bearing temperature.
In general the car performed well, and it's obvious that the fresh paint will make a real difference in its appearance. The two bearings we repacked last year were #2L and #4R. The former ran cool the entire time while the latter ran a bit warmer than the others, but never got more than 20-25 degrees warmer than the rough average of the other bearings. So I'm pretty happy with that. There are some other minor issues we'll want to look at and we need to clean out the air compressor valves and the master controller.
Here's a look at the newly-reinstalled markers at the back end of the car. While all of the journals ran just fine for several trips around the car line, when we were putting the car back in the barn one of them started "singing" just as we got up to the barn. This is the same thing that had happened previously - this car just doesn't like backing up! So at some point we will need to run it back and forth and figure out which bearing is doing that, and why.
As we were putting the 18 back in the barn, the 41 got moved back to Barn 8 and two other temporary residents of track 41, the 415 and the 160, also go moved out. Then the Electroliner, seen here in the background, was switched over to the pit. I think they're doing some quick inspection work and then it will be put back in Barn 7 as work on it continues to progress.
And finally, I primed three windows for the 18 that my father had left in the wood shop a few weeks ago. I kept forgetting to do this but these are now ready for cream paint and then installation. A fourth window in the wood shop is already painted and ready to go back on the car.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Saturday switch move

Frank writes...

I'll have an update from Sunday shortly, but in the meantime, Bill Wulfert sent along some photos from the big switch move on Saturday. The impetus for the switch move was moving the 1754 out of Barn 4, now that work on it is substantially done save for the motor truck, which doesn't require the presence nearby of the car itself. And replacing it as the latest product of the Tim Peters Restoration Works is - drum roll, please - CRT "Met car" 2872! See below for more. All photos by Bill Wulfert.

It's been a few years since the 321 has been outside. It got moved from the west end of track 113 to the middle of track 114, where it is the first car following some track machines. At some point we want to put the 319's trucks under it and then reinstall the step wells and pilots, as much to get them out of the aisles in Barn 8 as anything.
CTA 6461-6462 are seen here. These cars have either never operated at IRM or only operated briefly, but were partly cosmetically restored in the 1990s for a calendar photo.
The 1808 was moved down to one of the south barns, I believe, to make room for the 1754 and to take the place of the Met car. It's operational but quite tired.
Here's the 1754 in its new home in Barn 8. It was actually stored in Barn 8 for many years, it just never looked this good! I'm not sure whether the car will be in regular service this year. It's operational as-is, just with the wrong type motor truck.
Here's one of our two Met cars, the 2888. Both of our two carswere built by Pullman in 1908 and were members of the last series of wood car built for the Met. In later years they were storage lockers of some sort, I believe at Kimball, so they've got some parts missing and their interiors are kind of a shambles. They also suffered pretty badly from outdoor storage and benign neglect while at CTA.
Here's a "before" shot of Tim's next project, Met car 2872. These are pretty distinctive 'L' cars with their exposed side sills and monitor roofs.
Another photo of the 321. It's too bad that while the paint on the car remained in good shape during its six or seven years of outdoor tarped storage, the roof failed pretty badly. If only it had been the other way around.
Another photo of the 2872. This car was switched over to the west spot on barn track 42 by the end of the day, though apparently it was quite a chore getting it to go around the curve at the west end of Barn 4. 
TM D22 made an appearance during the switch move. This car was painted by Jim Blower and lettered by yours truly probably about 20 years ago.
And another ex-TWERHS cosmetic restoration: box motor M1 got moved around too. My father and I gave this one a quickie one-sided paint job back around 1997 or 1998 (Jim Blower later painted the other side) because at the time it was the ugliest thing in Barn 7.

And finally, Jeron Glander sent in the following photo of the progress on the floor in 50th Avenue. Together with Tim's new ticket booth this will really be a big improvement.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Friday Bulletin

Today, for a change, I was by myself in the car shop, so that made some differences in what I was doing.  Nonetheless there were plenty of things to accomplish.

The final two drip rails were positioned, attached with screws, and caulked in place.

Then I attached the two rope guards.  These are five or six feet long, so I thought it would be easier to install them first, and then use a hand-held wire wheel to clean them off.  That worked well.

I noticed that the rope guards were painted red at one time, which seems a little strange.  We'll have to look at what color pictures we can find to narrow this down.  I think there's light grey paint under the red, which could mean that as delivered they had been painted grey along with the rest of the roof, and then the guards were touched up with bright red.

And then I installed the grab iron at the #2 end, so I can easily get onto the roof from either side.

The next step will be to determine the exact positions of the horn guards and baffles, and attach them.

Finally, I should point out that John Arroyo and Steve Sanderson were working on the Liner, but of course that was way over in Barn 7.

There was also some switching going on; here we see the GN&A Mogul being pushed onto the steam leads by an F unit, something you don't see every day.

And since I've heard that they are planning to move the 321, or what's left of it, onto another track as soon as tomorrow, I stopped by the cadaver on my way out to check that there was nothing underneath that might cause a problem.  Another big switch move is in the works, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

50th Avenue progress

The 50th Avenue 'L' station is having its floor replaced; the ticket booth that came to us with the station has been removed, as have the floor boards, and as of this past weekend a new subfloor had been installed.

Thanks to Bill Wulfert for submitting the top photo, from Saturday, and to Jeron Glander for submitting the bottom photo, taken Sunday after completion of work for the weekend, including a start on the flooring. It looked like the baseboard planks were on Tim's tables in the car shop, so once the new floor boards are all in, I would presume that the baseboards and then the new ticket booth will follow.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Grey day

Frank writes...

Sunday was actually pretty sunny (and windy, albeit not as windy as Saturday) and the high was about 80, so it was plenty warm enough to put the first finish paint of the year onto the 18. First up: roof paint.
Tim Peters was kind enough to set about half a gallon of leftover roof paint from the 1754 so that I could paint a test patch of the 18's roof to see how well the stuff covers. For simplicity, I picked a spot right near the top of the car ladder and in front of the car's roof boards, shown above in its "before" state. I'm not sure how old this canvas is, but you can see that the canvas running down the middle of the car is a separate piece. This corresponds precisely to the outline of the Scullin rooftop ventilator housing that was removed from the car sometime in the early/mid-1940s. So the canvas likely predates that. You can also see a little loop (and, in the distance, a hook) for a spare pole. One of these days I need to grab a spare trolley pole to put up here just for show. It's on the to-do list.
After painting a test patch, and giving it a couple of hours to dry, it looks like this. Pretty nice! I am satisfied that our "special mix" roof paint will be the way to go. It may need a couple of coats but that's fine. The next challenge will be to figure out the correct color. The car's roof was painted a very bright red by Trolleyville in the 1960s but the scant in-service photographic evidence suggests this isn't right. Tile Red (like what's used on the IT cars) might be right but I'm not certain. And the ubiquity of the 1960s Trolleyville red on the 18's roof makes it tough to identify good samples. We have a couple of spare ventilators in stock that never got Trolleyville red paint so I may look at those. Once I figure out what color I need, I'll put in an order with Galayda Paint Services.
After this, and some more spot-sanding on the side sheets aft of the doors (note to self: pick up more sandpaper), it was about closing time for the museum. And that meant it was time for paint! I washed down and then painted the right side of the car from the doors forward with Bankers Grey.
So this is definitely an improvement. Next will be painting the rear half of the car's right side, then over to the left side, though the lighting isn't as good along the center aisle. I can also letter the car on this side with its proper number 18.

That was pretty much it for the day, though I did end up helping Joel with sorting some spare parts. And of course there were plenty of other things happening. CTA 22 was over the inspection pit. It had gotten its annual inspection on Saturday but a wheelset locked up afterwards, which Richard and Jeron traced to a wayward pin. I didn't get a photo of the 22 but you know what it looks like.
I snapped a photo of the second Cleveland PCC truck in the lean-three, still in its disassembled state but (I think) steadily acquiring more fresh grey paint. There wasn't any dust on these springs, so they must have been painted somewhat recently. Coming soon, watch for 50th Avenue progress photos courtesy of our intrepid freelance photographers. Don't touch that dial!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Shrink-wrapped to Preserve Freshness

Monday was another productive day at the old carbarn.  I'll tell you more about the 306 later.  Meanwhile, I started by installing some more screws to hold down the trolley boards, but that's not very photogenic.  I then modified the shims as needed and managed to attach both horns in a permanent fashion.  So that's a good step forward.  

Then I decided to attack the cables in the #1 attic with the chewed-up insulation.  There are two main power cables in this attic; one comes out from top of the electrical cabinet and goes up through the roof to the trolley bases.  This is the path of current when taking power from the poles.  In the picture below you can see where the cable is completely bare.   I used a light box to check that both cables were still insulated from the car.

Fortunately we had some large heat-shrink tubing on hand, and I only needed about 10" for this run.  I put the tubing over the bare spot, cut a hole in the canvas, and ran the cable up through the roof.

With the big casting installed, it looks like this.

Later, with a heat gun the tubing is shrunk onto the cable so it won't move.  And it's rated for 600V.

The other cable starts at the bus jumper, passes through the attic to another hole in the roof, and then along the trolley boards to the other end, where it connects with the other bus jumper.  We use the bus jumpers only in emergencies, but in any case we want it to be right.  This cable is somewhat smaller in diameter, but much longer.  We had some tubing of the right size, but not quite enough.

In the picture below, the cable starts at about the buzzer pull switch and goes up at 11:00.  There's a metal bracket holding it, and below that is rubber tubing, so that part is OK.  Beyond that almost all of the insulation was chewed.  There's a small bracket just out of sight at the top, but that will be easy to deal with.  Somebody tried wrapping the bare cable with electrical tape, but it just comes off when you handle it, so I removed it all later.  Once we have another 3' or so of tubing, the cable can be fixed permanently and passed up through the roof.

This high-voltage heat-shrink tubing is important for public health.  It keeps our power electrons nice and fresh and prevents them from contaminating our bodies and nervous systems with unwanted currents.

Then I attached another drip rail.  You've seen one, you've seen them all.

At the same time, John, Gerry, and Fred were hard at work on the 306.  Among other things, they have now started on a complete roof job, which the car needs.  I was too busy to get many pictures, but by the end of the day they had removed both poles, both trolley bases, and started on removing what's left of the trolley boards and saddles.  I even got to help briefly.  The trolley bases were lifted with block and tackle hooked to the rafters, then each base had to be pulled over with a guy line so it could be lifted down onto the aisle.  Since I was on the roof of the 453, it was the best location from which to pull the base over the aisle.  

They are carefully taking measurements and making sure the new roof will be an exact reproduction.

And Pete was working on the interior of the 160.

So that's it for Monday.  By the way, the new south wye switch sure looks nice!