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

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Switching and Steel Work

With 2600 out of service it has been placed into storage and the shop is currently hosting 1850, which is on its way to the Visitors' Center to be put on display. Car 65 will be coming out of the Visitors' Center to be repaired and placed into service. While we had 1850 with us, we took the opportunity to give the car a quick checkup so we know what we'll be facing when its turn comes for restoration. We've confirmed that the car will need major truck work. One truck is about two inches out of tram (think of tram as the equivalent to wheel alignment in your car). 1850 is also in need of some structural work due to how it rocks as it travels down the line and lots of cosmetic work. We hope to have the opportunity to work on the cosmetic issues over the winters. The car received a good dusting from Kelly and Wil so it'll be a bit more presentable once it gets inside.

1850 visits the shop


Galen and John have begun assessing the work 65 will need before it can return to service. Bruce and Rex have started making the roof brackets the car will need.

Galen worked on 18. While the brake stand is now fully reassembled, another rotted out pipe has been located and more work will be needed before the locomotive can see service.

John has been at work on 3001's structural steel. Some photos of his progress are below.

Patching at the east end of the south side

Patching at the west end of the south side

Structural reinforcing patches on the frame near the west end

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Patching Up and a Special Trip

Work continued on 18 yesterday. Galen began reassembling the east end brake stand. Dave Coppola (Track Department Superintendent) and Brian worked on cleaning up and painting the west end. Kelly and Wil prepped three areas on the side for patch panels and cut the steel. One panel was partially installed. John had installed a second patch panel during the week and primed the two installed panels.

Brian and Dave at work painting 18. Photo by Mike Luzzi

Fresh paint on 18

18's west end catcher is now fully painted

Patching work in progress on 18's south side

Kelly works on welding in the newest patch panel. Photo by Mike Luzzi


John has been at work on 3001, installing reinforcing plates on the frame.

Support panels installed in 3001


303 came out to make a special trip for the Annual Meeting.

303 and Diesel 1 wait on the Northern Barn track


Lastly, we are saddened to report that 2600 has been removed from active service. The car has sustained damage to one of its wheel flanges and the metal is too brittle to repair to a safe operating state. The car will need new wheels pressed on all around to render it ready for active service again.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Priming and Welding

The majority of 169's east end platform is now wearing a fresh coat of primer. Bruce has removed the pocket door and is in the process of cleaning it up. The door was sticking, so the sliding mechanism will be examined before the door is reinstalled.


169's east end platform sports new primer

169's east end door is cleaning up nicely


Larry primed 18's doors yesterday and Galen began repainting the roof. Meanwhile, John gave Kelly her first welding lesson and the side of the locomotive now bears its first steel patch where the side had rotted out.

18's east end door primed

18's south side prepped for weld

 18's first patch panel is in place


Pat has removed the troublesome starter from the auger truck. A rebuilt or new starter should be installed next weekend to get the truck back up and running for the SC&ET department. The truck is used to create holes for setting new telephone poles along the line to support the overhead wire.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Sprucing up 18

With a beautiful spring day, lots of work was accomplished.

Kelly, Brian, and Wil greased the motor gears for the majority of operating fleet.

The crew also made great progress on 18. Larry and Fred painted the west end cow catcher and window frames black. Galen prepared the locomotive for the installation of the new brake pipes and worked to patch the hole in the roof. Rex and Jordan vacuumed out the interior of the locomotive, clearing years of debris from the floor and ensuring there were no fire hazards inside the electrical boxes and controllers.

Freshly painted window frames on 18

18's west end is looking better


John has removed one of the steps from the side of 3001 where the treadle door will be eliminated. Kelly got back to work on cleaning up the east end controller. Fred also got in a bit of work removing paint from 169's east end platform ceiling.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Brake Work Begins on 18

As the afternoon brought some warmth, Galen, Brian, and Kelly began working on locomotive 18. The east end brake stand was removed and the sections of rotted out piping were located and removed. New pipe will be installed, sealing the leak in the air system. Additionally, removal of the steel plates under the windows on the interior began. This will give the crew better access for weld repairing the rotted areas on the sides of the locomotive.


Brake stand is out