Sunday, November 25, 2018

65 Takes its First Trip Down the Line in Over 20 Years

65 has seen some important physical touches put in place over the past two weeks. The last grab iron was installed, a door was refitted, tack stripping was installed to hold the roof membrane in place, and the repaired motor hatches were leveled to the floor. All this meant the crew was able to take the car out on a test trip down the line. Galen, Kelly, and Wil were joined on the car by Chief Motorman Roger Pierson and motorman Ryan Trombly photographed the event. This was car 65's first trip down the line in over 20 years. The car performed beautifully with only a few minor issues noted as needing work, such as the west end whistle not functioning. When the car returned to the yard, the crew hauled its seats out of storage and placed them in the car in preparation for them to be installed over the coming weekends. Once the seats are in place, we will be able to test the heaters. The crew is short 3 bench cushions for the car. A temporary solution will be devised.

65 at North Road curve prior to departing for testing
Photo: Ryan Trombly

Test crew at Wells Road after a successful outbound trip
Left to Right: Wil, Roger, Kelly, and Galen
Photo: Ryan Trombly

65 inbound by Skylark Airport
Photo: Ryan Trombly

65 inbound leaving Hancock Siding
Photo: Ryan Trombly

Heading outbound on 65 as the car is brought to full speed for testing
Video: Wil Gambardella

Seats placed in 65


John has been at work on Diesel 1 and one area of the locomotive now has fresh primer. The crew decided the diesel will be painted red, leaving the frame black.

Diesel 1 is being primed


Car 16 has been designated out of service until spring. As the car does not have heat, it is experiencing issues with its air system freezing due to the cold weather.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Roof Complete and Winter Projects a Go

Taking another shot at the rubber roof membrane, Galen was able to complete 65's roof. The material is much more cooperative when it is cold out.

65's roofing is all in place


3001 is being tarped off so it can be heated this winter, allowing John to continue work.

3001 is being prepped for winter


Adam began prepping Diesel 1 for a much needed new paint job.

Adam grinds old paint off of the locomotive

Sunday, November 4, 2018

A Slight Reorganization and Much Progress

To better serve the needs of the museum, there has been a slight change in the shop's management structure. John has moved from the role of shop manager to that of restoration manager, to allow him to better focus on 3001. Galen has stepped into the role of shop manager. Kelly's title has changed from assistant shop manager to maintenance manager, her responsibilities remain the same. Questions and concerns regarding operating fleet should be directed to Galen and Kelly.

John is working on 3001's roof structure The first wooden pieces are now in place. Rebuilding the roof will allow the new west end framing to be attached. It is currently clamped into place.

John installs the first wood piece

First wood brace in place

Galena and Kelly began the work of installing roofing on the side sections of 65's roof. The rubber membrane is not working well. Some roll roofing will be acquired and installed. As the roof is only temporary, no canvas will be used on the car.

Galen works on 65's roof

Diesel 1 has been moved into the shop behind 3001. Some initial inspections have been performed to assess the work it will need this winter. It will be kept heated and ready to serve until after Winterfest. Work on the locomotive will begin in January.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The new steel for 3001 has finally arrived and John has been working on the west end framing. Fred continues to work on cleaning up components, including the lightening arrestor and more roof domes.

New steel in 3001

Bruce and Rex have been at work on the motor hatches in 65. They are being leveled to give a safe walking surface inside the car. The car has been cleaned out some more and most of the grab irons have been reinstalled.

Kelly is working on rebuilding some trolley catchers that she and Galen came across while seeking parts for 65. Having a few working spares on hand will make things easier if one of the operating cars needs a replacement.

Disassembled Wilson trolley catcher

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Cleaning up and Windows in

Car 65 received some further cleaning up inside. Most of the items that were being stored in the car have been moved to their proper homes. All of the clerestory windows are now installed. The power line to the east end is in place and the car is now movable from both ends. Some further investigation is required, as only two of the four motors are being engaged by the east end controller.

Progress inside of 65


S193 is also receiving some attention courtesy of Tim Baisley and his daughter Lily. They have replaced a few windows and have begun preparing the car for a fresh coat of paint.

Lily works on S193's window (photo by Tim Baisley)

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Fall maintenance began, a bit late this year, and good progress was made. Cars 16, 836, and 1326 were completed. 355's trolley catcher was changed out when it became jammed and 65's catcher, which jammed last weekend, was repaired.

TJ watches while Jayden works on a motor in 1326
(Photo Credit: Wil Gambardella)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

65 Moves

Today was an eventful day. Car 355 returned to service after having its compressor replaced. 836 is now in the shop for line switch repair. Adam began diesel locomotive operating lessons.

Adam, Kelly, and Harrison Bissonnette, from SC&ET, put polls on car 65. After some interior clean up, and a round of general lubrication maintenance, the car was put under power for the first time in over twenty years. It was quickly discovered that a main power wire was missing to the east end, rendering that controller inoperable, but the car received some light testing using the west end controller. Galen and Kelly were able to move it under its own power from the shop to Kelly Barn, where it will reside while 836 is repaired. Both brake stands exhibit air leaks that need investigation before the car enters service. Once the missing wire is installed, the car will receive full testing. The crew thanks Harrison for taking time away from his home department to help out today.

Poles installed on 65

65 testing

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Under and On Top

65's pole bases were placed on its roof yesterday afternoon. The emergency brake rigging has been hooked up and clerestory window installation has begun. There are still a multitude of things that need to be done before the car is ready for service. We encourage anyone who is interested in helping to please reach out to us.

65 got a breath of fresh air while its pole bases were lifted into place


3001's west end framing is now fully assembled. It received a coat of Connecticut Company red yesterday.

3001's painted west end frame

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Trolley Boards

Trolley board installation has begun on car 65. Roughly fifty percent of the work was completed before it became too warm to work safely atop the car.

Trolley boards installed at 65 east and west ends


Work continues on the assembly of 3001's west end frame

Progress on 3001's frame

5645's floor has been painted

New paint on 5645's floor

Sunday, August 12, 2018

A roof, a floor, and a frame

Car 65 now sports a rubber membrane roof on its main section. Roof cleats were positioned and installation has begun. Trolley boards received a coat of primer and will be installed next weekend. At this point, the car will not be receiving a roof canvas. Canvas will wait until the car undergoes restoration. Both trolley catchers have been cleaned and rebuilt.

Cleats being spaced out on 65's new roof


Thanks to motormen Aiden Nies and Ryan Trombly, operating fleet cars will be receiving fresh floor paint. Car 16 is complete and they are targeting 5645 next.

16's floor looking east

16's floor looking west


The west end frame for 3001 is being assembled. A former shop member had created most of a kit to complete this work and the remaining pieces are being fabricated.

West end frame being assembled for 3001

Sunday, July 29, 2018

And we have lights!

After patching in some missing sections of wiring and replacing some missing switches, 65's interior lights shone brightly for the first time in years yesterday afternoon. The car also received some body paint work and replacement roof pieces. The clerestory windows were painted.

65's clerestory windows received a coat of Connecticut Company red

One of the new roof pieces in place on 65

3001's west end is going back together. The repairs to the frame are complete and wood pieces are being fitted.

Test fitting the first wood piece for 3001's west end

Saturday, July 14, 2018

July Trolley Care Day Helps 65

Today saw a great turn out for the summer session of the Trolley Care Program. A fantastic amount of process was made on 65. Galen finished re-shimming 65's slider plates with Paul and Christopher's assistance. Julia, Sully, and Noah prepared the car's clerestory windows for primer. Wil then masked the glass and Julia and Christopher primed the windows. Wil and Kelly painted most of 65's roof. Galen traced wiring in the car, identifying the lighting and heating circuits. Bruce is making replacement pieces for the roof corners.

Noah works on a clerestory window from 65

Sully and Julia work on 65's clerestory windows

Team at work

Wil painting 65's roof

Paint work in progress as seen from roof level. Photo by Wil Gambardella


John has finished the disassembly of 3001's west end and is beginning steel work. Fred is cleaning components that were removed so they will be ready for re-installation.

3001's west end is disassembled

Fred works on cleaning 3001's west end bell

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Shimming Slider Plates

Car 355 is back in service after a two week visit to the shop. The car's slider plates (greased metal blocks that allow the body to slide over the trucks when going around corners) were re-shimmed while the car was with us. The car has settled during its time in service and was riding constantly on the slider plates, rather than only during curving. Riders will notice that the car now rocks side to side more while traveling down the line.

355 leaves the shop on its way to rejoin operations. Photo by Wil Gambardella


Work also began on re-shimming 65's slider plates as they are riding too closely to the car body. We took the opportunity of the car being outside while we switched it back into the shop after 355's departure to remove the rest of the dirt from the roof using compressed air. Work also began on cleaning up the car's clerestory windows.

Galen cleans off 65's roof. Photo by Wil Gambardella


John continues work on 3001's west end and Chris Perry is visiting to work on PCC 3100 (seen in the photo above with 355).

Saturday, June 30, 2018

3001's West End

When assessing 3001 to removed the treadle doors, the west end was found to be in poor condition. The sheet metal was removed from the end to reveal the frame and repairs have begun.

John works at disassembling 3001's west end

3001's west end before condition

3001's west end after condition

Roof repair work is in progress on car 65. The electrical and air systems have received initial testing and show good indications that we have four functioning motors and a working compressor.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Work Starts on 65

Courtesy of great efforts last night by some dedicated volunteers, 65 was over the pit, ready for us to start work on, when we arrived this morning. After cleaning out some accumulated parts for 169 and other cars, work began. Galen inserted a few more roof supports then worked on patching some of the motor wiring. Kelly swept off the roof, then joined Fred and Pat on scraping the peeling white paint on the car's exterior.

We will need all of the help we can get to have this car ready in time for Rails to the Darkside, so if you have an hour or two or more on a Saturday, please consider joining us. No prior experience or expertise is necessary.

65 in the shop

Inside of 65

1850 is now at home in the Visitors' Center

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Evaluating 65 and Trolley Care

The Trolley Care group helped evaluate car 65 yesterday. The condition of 3 of the 4 motors was evaluated (4th motor fittings proved a challenge and it will be tested once the car reaches the shop and proper tools). The motors appear to be in good condition, however, the wiring is not and will either need to be replaced of heavily patched. The team also checked on the controllers, compressor, resistor grids, and air tank. The controllers are missing a few components, but all systems appear to be in good condition. The structural integrity of the car also received an initial assessment and a few needs were identified. We hope to have car 65 in the shop for next weekend.

Trolley Care group checks 65's motors with Galen


The group then moved out to the shop where Galen and Kelly demonstrated how to check if a truck is in tram, using 1850 as an example. 303 was brought outside using the diesel and the group learned about how to switch cars safely and how interurban cars work. 303 made a special run in the evening for the volunteer appreciation dinner and three hardworking members of the SC&ET Department (who are also motormen) had the opportunity to run the car as a thank you for all they have done to get the Borrup Road crossing gate back in service. Cheers were heard throughout the car as the gate performed flawlessly both times we crossed the road.

Trolley Care group examines 303's controller bank


We were happy to have Trolley Care participants stay after the day's program ended and much was accomplished in the afternoon. 1850 received more cleaning and is now ready to go into the Visitors' Center.

Sully sweeps out 1850's interior

Christopher removed a thick layer of dust and debris from 1850's roof

Wil raises one of 1850's end windows so he can wash it


Work also proceeded on 3001's controller, with Christopher, Wil, and Kelly masking and spray varnish insulating components.

3001's controller case reinsulated

A selection of controller components were insulated

3001's main controller shaft was partially reinsulated


Bruce and Rex have made some new roof brackets for 65. John has been at work on the Case backhoe/loader, which requires air system work and will be receiving a new air tank.

65's new trolley board brackets