Sunday, May 21, 2017

Work continues on 836. The window frames are receiving a fresh coat of paint. Doors have been varnished. Window sill are primed and painting has begun.

South side windows are painted as is the window sill

Southeast doors are varnished

West end window sills are primed

Southwest corner shows work in progress


Elsewhere, 3001 has been cross-braced with chains in preparation for floor removal.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Window Work

Progress continues on 836. Fred has completed scraping the metal window sills. Here it can be seen where John has primed the area with dark red Rust-Oleum. Fred and Kelly have begun prep sanding the wooden window frames. These will also receive a fresh coat of paint before the car returns to service. John and Bruce have mostly finished the woodwork for the replacement window section. Both plan on milling quarter-round molding during the week to finish that section, plus replace damaged pieces on other windows.



Galen has mostly finished giving 18 a protective coating of green paint. He was work left to do on the roof.



5645's motor is back from repair. Once work is complete on 836, 5645 will be brought to the shop so the motor can be installed. The shop will also do some other work on the car while we have it. With the installation of the motor, 5645 will be back on all 4 motors for the first time in about a year.


We're also happy to share that we have a new welder. This will greatly ease the work on 3001. Pat and Kelly both got a MIG welding lesson from John while he was repairing the backhoe's bucket yesterday. Welding lessons will continue throughout the spring and summer to expand the shop crew's skill base. The new welder can also support stick welding, for heavier duty projects.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Fresh Paint and a Broken Seat

The shop arrived yesterday to news that one of 355's seat supports had been broken. A passenger had apparently been jumping or bouncing excessively on the seat...



Paul made quick work of the repair, with some help from Kelly.




Elsewhere, work resumed on 18, with Galen removing some more of the old, peeling paint and beginning the application of new, fresh paint. The dull red is primer. The shop hopes to return 18 to work service.



Work continues on 836. Fred is making progress on scraping/sanding the window the window frame in preparation for some touch-up painting, John has removed more of the damaged window sash Paul and Bruce started work on last weekend. Kelly and Paul performed maintenance on the car, so it is ready to go back into service as soon as the repairs are completed.

In other news, 5645's armature is expected to arrive back this week. Once work is complete on 836, 5645 will be brought to the shop where the armature will be installed. This will allow the car to be run on all four motors once again, returning some much needed pep to its trips down the line.

We've also begun removing the old wood pulp insulation from the walls of the shop. This will eliminate a huge fire hazard when we begin welding work on 3001. It also has the added benefit of making the shop look a lot better.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Cleaning Up and Tearing Down

After a snowy and cold opening day, it's been a busy couple of weeks in the shop. Maintenance has been completed on all six of the cars in Kelly Barn and each has seen service down the line. With the exception of 5645 developing a dragging brake shoe last week, the season opened well. The issue was quickly resolved and the car returned to service.

We were happy to see Trolley Care Class Alumni Paul and Noah visiting last weekend, while Adam and Jim were in yesterday to lend a hand. They helped Kelly with the maintenance of car 4, then assisted with cleaning up the shop and doing a bit of work on 836.

We are also delighted to welcome a new member to the shop, Paul James.


The shop is taking advantage of having its hands on 836. The doors are being sanded down and re-varnished by John. Bruce and Paul have started work replacing the damaged window sash on the car's north side, which survived the last operating season held in place by duct tape. Fred began sanding down the tired looking window sills, in preparation for some touch-up painting.

 The north-east doors have already received one fresh coat of varnish

The damaged section of window sash has been removed


Work also progresses on 3001. John has stripped the remaining tar paper from the roof. Yesterday, the trolley bases were removed. Now, work can begin on removing the rotten roofing from the car.

John waits atop 3001 for Galen to return in the front loader after depositing the first trolley base in the storage pod. Jim and Paul observe the action.

Roof removal has begun on the east end of the car

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Final Touches

Saturday was the shop's last chance to get in some final touches before opening day on April 1st.

Inside the Visitors' Center, John finished up the small projects on two cars while Fred cleaned up the Northern (1500). As of next week, we'll be back out in the shop, no matter the weather.

65's faux roof has been painted

10's controller has been repaired, reassembled, and painted. Visitors will now be able to use it and experience what it is like behind the controls of a trolley


Outside, we were excited to see the Overhead Department at work. They've set a new pole for the shop lead, adjacent to Kelly Barn. Once the wires have been transferred, we will be able to run cars up to the shop under their own power, something we've not been able to do for over a year due to the old pole's condition.


Bruce conducted some minor repairs on 5645. Simultaneously, Galen and Kelly finished up some maintenance on 2600. They were joined by Junior Motorman Wil Gambradella. After a break for lunch, they conducted some car moves.

Line car 1 had been left on the main shop track after car rearrangements in the Visitors' Center and under the train shed. It was moved up to outside of Northern Barn, allowing access to the shop.

Next, 16 was brought down from its winter resting place in the shop to rejoin the fleet in Kelly Barn. Maintenance was begun on the car and will be finished during the week by John so it is ready for opening day. Opening day fleet will be 5645, 1326, 2600, and 16.

836 was brought up to the shop to take 16's place. The shop will conduct a wiring inspection at the recommendation of the New Orleans Public Service (NOPS). We are also waiting to hear back from the NOPS if they have any of the special segments used in the controller for the full series and full parallel notches. These segments are worn on both controllers and need to be replaced. Unfortunately, their design is different from all of our other cars, so will need to be custom made if the NOPS does not have any that they can spare.

Wil backs Diesel 1 away from the shop after Kelly and Galen placed 836 within

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sprucing Up the Old Standbys

In preparation for opening day, the shop has been hard at work on a pair of beautification efforts inside the Visitors' Center.


Car 65 is being given a faux roof on the west end. The drop clothes will be painted grey to simulate canvas.



Meanwhile, an effort is underway to make car 10's controller operational, so that visitor's can experience what it is like to notch a controller. The spring inside that affixes to the reverser is broken and will be replaced to restore functionality. In the meantime, a thick layer of dirt and tarnish was removed from the controller cover, revealing the beautiful brass underneath.



Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Peek Inside Sweeper 010

For the 2017 season, Capitol Transit snow sweeper #010 has been moved inside the Visitors' Center. Yesterday, the shop crew removed the tarp that had been protecting it from the weather while it was stored outside under the train shed. This marked the first time in years that the car could be seen completely. Let's take a look.



She's looking pretty good for 118 years old. The car body has a distinctly southwards lilt, likely caused by a combination of hard use and storage on uneven track. The pole was pulled so tightly to the body for storage, that it caused some damage to the roof. There is rot evident on both platforms. At a rough estimate, she is in approximately the same condition as 169, which is currently be restored. We hope to perform some paint touch up to improve her visual appeal while she's on display.

Due to the poor condition of the platform floors and the dangerous exposed equipment inside, 010's interior will be off limits to the public. However, we've taken some photos, so you can see the inner workings.

The sweeper's original bamboo snow brushes are visible in their storage spot near the east end of the car. In the foreground is power shaft for spinning the brushes.


There wasn't much in the way of safety in 1899

Here is the brush speed controller



West end controls

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Cleaning Up & Early Spring Maintenance

With temperatures reaching into the upper 60s, Saturday was highly productive.

In the morning, John, Bruce, and Kelly helped with cleaning up and moving cars inside the visitors' center. The caboose is in it's new home, 10 has been untarped after its brief stay outdoors, and 65 is back inside after having spent Winterfest under the train shed. We're excited to relate that visitors will be seeing some new cars in the display hall this season. Which new cars? Well, we're not about to spoil the surprise.

In the afternoon, Kelly introduced Motormen Roger Pierson, Sully Mrowka, and Larry Lunden to car maintenance. The team covered how to oil journal bearings and car motors and how to check a car's compressor to ensure it's in good condition. Larry also got to see the inside of a controller for the first time and learn how they are cleaned and how they could come to be damaged by poor operation of the cars.

By the end of the afternoon, both of 5645's controllers were cleaned, all four motors were oiled, and all eight journal bearings were oiled. 1326 also had its journal bearings oiled, two motors oiled, one controller cleaned, and its compressor checked. The Motormen seemed to have enjoyed themselves while developing a new appreciation for the work the Shop performs in order to keep the cars rolling.

Sully and Roger oil one of 5645's motors

Larry pauses for a break

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Northern Work

The shop continues to work inside the Northern (aka 1500).

Here's some of the intricate inlay work in the dinning area that has been cleaned up and revarnished. This is the level of beauty that can be coaxed out of the remainder of the car. Keep this in mind



Bruce and Gary have been at work removing the cracked and splintering outer wall layer in the kitchen. This will be covered with nice, new 1/8 inch material. The hole cut into the wall by the previous owner will also be covered up. Eventually, the partition between the bathroom and kitchen will be recreated.


The orbital sander made quick work of stubborn green paint.


Terrible green and white paint has been removed from the majority of the kitchen/bath. Ceiling sections display cracks and will have to be replaced. The room's doors have been removed to give a bit more space to work in. While they're down, their brass hinges and knobs will be polished.




Saturday, January 21, 2017

January Thaw

Today we were lucky enough to have an unusually warm winter day with the temperature reaching into the low fifties. We used this to our advantage, getting some work done in both the shop and Northern barn in the afternoon.

Fred, Kelly, and Bruce started the day in 1500, continuing work on scraping old varnish and paint from the walls and trim. They were joined by Bruce's brother Gary who's visiting from out of state.





Galen has been busy wiring 1201 for 120V lights so it can become an illuminated display. The new ceiling was recently installed by Motorman Sully Mrowka, and friends, as part of his Eagle Scout project.




John has gotten 3001 completely cleaned out. He and Fred worked on the car in the afternoon, Fred beginning the process of removing old paint from the wooden corner supports.



Galen and Kelly spent their afternoon chasing wires in work car 101. This car was one of the ones vandalized in 2010. Thieves ripped out the majority of the interior wiring, including the special control panel that allowed this car to operate on both 600 and 1200V DC overhead. The below images shows the empty control panel box and the 12 wire remains that used to connect to it. By using a continuity checker, Galen and Kelly were able to find points on the motor cut out switches and reverser where 11 or the 12 wires electrically connect to. It is a start in deciphering how this car was once wired. The hope is to have the car rewired and running so it can be used by the shop as well as track, overhead, and signals departments who now rely on S193 and Diesel 1 as their main means of transportation.