Saturday, March 21, 2020

Painting Starts on S193

First, the car shop will be closed for at least the next two weeks to comply with the State of Connecticut's closure of all non-essential businesses. So, don't worry about not hearing from us. We'll be back when it's safe for us to do so. We hope you are all staying healthy.

Now, on to better news. Mike and Jeremy began the repaint of S193 last week and it's looking much better already. Mike has completed the prep work on the areas needing black paint and once we're back to work that'll be done along with another coat of red.

S193 boldly sports its new red paint (Mike Luzzi photos)

Mike paints the west end (Mike Luzzi photo)

Jeremy works on painting the side of the car (Mike Luzzi photo)

Today, Lou put the first coat of insulating varnish on the arc shoot set we're rebuilding for line car 1. Jayden, Wil, and Adam did some measuring of controller segments for K10s and K35Gs and Jayden will work on models and drawings at home. This will help us with our parts inventorying. Galen, Kelly, and Tim did some outside cleanup. A initial candidate compressor for rebuild for 836 has been identified and initial inspections on car 65 were completed with no issues found.

We're saddened to report that car 16 has been placed out of service. While running a special trip last weekend, smoke was reported from the underside. Inspection today revealed charring on the wiring harness, coming from the inside, indicating a short. The car is known to have aging wiring and with this first sign of trouble, it's safest to remove it from the fleet until issues can be addressed. The car could also benefit from truck work which should be performed in tandem with the wiring.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Cabin Fever 2020

This weekend we were delighted to host the annual NEATO (North Eastern Alliance of Trolley Organizations) Cabin Fever winter get together. The shop came in early Friday, hoping to get our CA&E interurban 303 out, however, the bitter cold thwarted us, preventing the locomotive's batteries from charging up. By the time we finally got the little engine that could started, it was too late in the day to begin the intense inspections 303 needed after a 20+ month stint in dead storage. We also feared the locomotive wouldn't start a second time, which would prevent us from putting the car away later on. The diesel has developed a new leak in the fuel pump and a leaking oil line since last weekend. John was able to patch the oil line, but more work is needed. The necessity for a battery rehab was reinforced.

Our initial plans foiled, we opted to provide more trips than originally planned on Conn Co car 65 instead. 65 remained under shop supervision throughout the event, which proved it's worth as it popped a breaker for unknown reasons coming home on its last trip of the event. The car will be inspected before further operating. We were able to get 5 of our motormen behind the controls for the first time and let our Operations Manger take his first trip on the car since he was the last one to run it in 1997. Our 3 junior motormen/shop team members also had the opportunity to run the car. We were happy to have all 4 of our age 18 and under crew members present for at least part of the festivities on Saturday.

Our guests enjoy a trip on 65 Friday night


Sadly, we had to place 836 out of service early Saturday morning. It blew a fuse while being pulled out for operations and inspection of the car found a high bar in the air compressor. We'll need to remove and rebuild the compressor before the car can return to service.

Thank you to everyone who came for being wonderful guests (and good sports about not being able to run 65). We'll see you next year in Baltimore!

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Fleet is Ready for Cabin Fever Guests

Today we performed inspections on cars 4 and 355 and they are now ready to run for our Cabin Fever guests next weekend. 355's air governor got an adjustment as it had drifted out of range. We also did some switching in front of Northern Barn which will allow us to treat our guests to a very special car if the weather allows. Jayden got to run the diesel for the first time as part of the maneuvers.

Lou spots the box car trucks as they're moved down the hill. Galen Semprebon photo


Jayden remodeled and drafted the segment Westfield Technical Academy reverse engineered for us last year. Wil 3D printed it and it was successfully test fitted in 1326 today.

Prototype segment. Wil Gambardella photo

Sunday, February 2, 2020

5645 Ready for Cabin Fever

We're happy to report that car 5645 is repaired and ready for our Cabin Fever visitors who will be coming in a few weeks. Yesterday, Tim, Galen, Rob, Sully, Lou, and Kelly replaced brake shoes, lowered the car back onto its truck, and reconnected the motors and brake rigging. Since the jacks were to hand, the other end of the car was lifted and the center bearing and slider plates lubricated. 5645 was taken around North Road curve to verify smooth operation and returned to its home in Kelly Barn. 355 is now up in the shop for a little TLC. It and 4 will be given checkups next weekend.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

5645 Going Back Together

The crew continued work on 5645 today, enjoying the unseasonable warm day. The source of the car's derailment was found, a skewed journal bearing which trapped and seized. When the car fell, the bolster met the inner rail of the switch, causing the spring support piece to pop out.

A new bearing was installed in the car and Galen, Adam, Mike, and Kelly began reassembling the truck. All components are in place for the car to be lowered on to the truck to compress the springs and allow finally assembly. As a bonus, we straightened out a bracket that was interfering with the brake adjustment bar while we had easy access.

Galen heats the troublesome bracket so it can be straightened

Adam tightens bolts during reassembly

Sunday, January 5, 2020

5645 Truck Bolster Work Begins

The crew was able to switch 5645 to the shop last weekend, so this week the car was jacked, the damaged truck pulled, and the bolster disassembled. Oddly, nothing appears to have broken beyond the piece that came out. The failed vs. unfailed side will receive further review before reassembly begins. Weather permitting, we hope to have the car back in service for spring operations.

Galen works on disassembling 5645's bolster

Segment prototyping continues. Kelly tweaked the segment for 836 and it now matches the scale drawing. Prototypes for 355 and line car 1's controllers were also printed thanks to Wil and match the originals nicely. The next step is creating drawings from the 3D models and seeking machining resources.

Final prototype for 836

Prototype for 355

Prototype for 1

Sunday, December 22, 2019

65 Makes its Debut

We're excited to report that Car 65 made its first public service trip since 1997 Friday night. Galen and Kelly would like to thank the crew who worked so hard with them this past month to make this Holiday miracle happen- Wil, Jayden, Justin, Roger, Mike, Jeremy, and Adam. The car was upgraded in status from emergency replacement for 1326 to desperately needed to keep Winterfest running smoothly as 5645 had to be placed out of service this past week due to truck damage, leaving 836 the only operational high passenger capacity closed car.
65 came out a wonderful success, taking 2 trips Friday night and another 5 or 6 on Saturday without any major issues. The car remains under shop supervision at this time and will only run in limited service. 5645 will be switched up to the shop after the ice melts so the truck can be reviewed to determine the extent of the damage.

65 on North Road curve before its first passenger trip Friday night

65 waits for its second night in service Saturday afternoon


On another happy note, progress continues on reverse engineering full series/parallel segments for car 836. Kelly 3D modeled a second approximation for what an unworn segment would look like and Wil got it 3D printed thanks to his school. They and Jayden test fitted it into the car yesterday and it is looking good. It needs a bit more tweaking to replace lost material and match a factory scale sketch, but is a marked improvement over prototype #1.

Segment prototype. Wil Gambardella photo

Test fitting the prototype into 836