Monday, November 27, 2023

A New Fender

Frank writes...

Sunday was a day of good progress, thanks in large part to Frank Kehoe, who made an unusual weekend appearance and worked with me for much of the afternoon on the Eclipse fender for Shaker Heights 18.
"The what now?" you ask. Well, good question. Eclipse was a company that made streetcar fenders, basically baskets mounted to the front of streetcars that would "catch" any pedestrians struck by the car and prevent them from going under the wheels. In some cities, such as Los Angeles, fenders like this were required by municipal ordinance for decades. Cleveland Railway used fenders on its 1200-series cars for many years, and so did Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, though SHRT modified the design somewhat. Shaker Heights stopped using these fenders sometime around 1950, I think, so car 18 can be operated correctly either with or without a fender (various in-service photos can be found here). But it's the only car at IRM that had this type of fender in service, so of course, we've got to install one.

IRM received three fenders in various stages of disrepair as part of the Trolleyville acquisition in 2010. It should be possible to combine parts from the two better ones to make one good one, so on Sunday, Nick, Steven J, and Frank Kehoe helped me haul the two fenders from out in Barn 4 into the shop. Above, the better one is on sawhorses while the worse one is on the floor.
The fender consists of an outer frame of 1-1/4" pipe, with two elbow castings at the corners and two T-shaped castings along the sides, each unique (lefts and rights are not the same); a main "basket" of woven steel strap; and a rear "fence" of vertical steel strap. On the better fender, the basket and fence are in good shape but one elbow casting is missing, the second cracked, and a couple of the pipes are rusted clean through. Above, you can see a T-casting with a bolt that serves as a hinge for the "fence."
At the "top" corners, the pipes that form the sides of the fender attach to the car's bumper using this method. The attachment casting sticks into the end of the pipe and is held in place by a large cotter pin, long since rusted totally solid. We had to drill out and/or grind off the cotter pins to extract these castings.
Here's Frank pulling one of the T-castings off the end of the pipe after we removed the attachment castings and the "fence." It took a lot of Kroil and elbow grease, but we got the pipe frame pretty well disassembled. Frank then spent a while cleaning all the rust and oxidized pipe pieces out of the castings. We'll order new pipe to replace the rusted sections and we're getting new steel strap to replace the pieces where the basket is attached to the frame. I also sand-blasted and primed the two attachment castings, so those are ready to paint black and then be reinstalled when we get to the reassembly stage. A huge thank you to Frank for his work on this project!
The only other work done on the 18 was to remove the two "temporary" windows that are currently in the car and give them a quickie coat of cream paint. The one on the left is an original Shaker window (though not from the 18) in very poor shape, while the one on the right is a CA&E 318 window. They're just being used until work is completed on new replacement windows, but in the meantime, the paint will make the car look better.
There was exciting news from Illinois Terminal land. First, Mikey and Brian got the last of the new pins for the Class B's contactors machined, meaning the contactors are all rebuilt and ready to go back on the locomotive. They and Steven J also installed a number of the rebuilt contactors.

And out in Barn 4, Mikey, Brian, and Steven J crawled under IT 1702 to take a good look at its electrical and mechanical condition for the first time in many years. The car's reverser was rebuilt by Carl Illwitzer back in the 1980s or 1990s, so that's in excellent condition. The motors, which we've never touched, were also found to megger very well - the worst was 8 megohms, with the others around 10-12 megs. So that is extraordinarily good news. The air compressor also meggered very well, so hopes are high that the 1702 may be able to make air and motivate itself once a full inspection and some cleaning and maintenance can be done. They also looked at the contactor box, shown above. Mikey found a badge plate: these are DB-41 contactors, so that's a pretty early type, I'd say. The design is pretty similar to the DB-131 contactors under the 308 and 409, but these are beefier. They also have a different interlock design that sits underneath the contactor and more closely resembles the DB-15 interlock.
Besides this, Richard and Bus Steven were spray-painting detail parts for the Milwaukee Marmon while Joel and Nick spent a fair amount of time tending to Happy Holiday Railway-related tasks like turning on, and later turning off, a huge number of light strings, inflatables, and other attractions. Jimmy was also out but was drafted to be the conductor on the 4391. The event seemed to get off to an excellent start on its inaugural weekend, even with some snow on Sunday morning. Many thanks to all the volunteers working to make it happen!


Pete Lerro Jr - Big Daddy said...

When you refurbish a seat or bench, you can think of how many thousands of people sat on that particular seat over the century. I wonder how many people have landed on, and been saved on that fencing now being restored.

Scott Greig said...

The three-section (5-5-3) contactor box under the 1702 is called an SB-45 box. Milwaukee crane D-16 uses the same equipment.