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

Sunday, April 1, 2018

2018 Operating Season is Underway

While operations began last weekend, worked continued on maintaining operating fleet. Kelly, Wil, and Rex cared for car 355. Galen helped as well, replacing a defective brush holder in the compressor. Locomotive 18 was placed back in front of the shop where we hope to have time to work on it again soon.

Yesterday, we were happy to see Julia Saari-Franks and Christopher Franks, current participants in the Trolley Care Program. They helped Kelly maintain cars 4 and 16, finishing the spring maintenance for the operating fleet. They then moved on to scraping paint on 169 while Kelly continued cleaning up 3001's east end controller. With spring weather arriving, we're all glad to be back out in the shop.

John has begun planning the year's work for 3001. Fred and Bruce continue to clean up seat bases for the car. John and Kelly also discussed potential other projects for the year, including some much needed floor painting for operating fleet.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

2018 Trolley Care Program Starts

The 2018 Trolley Care Program series began today. Despite the cold start, we saw a good turnout for the session. Participants gathered in 1326 for an introduction then were split into two teams. New members covered maintenance on 836 with Galen and were taught about how the cars function. They were also given a tour of the shop. Returning members joined Kelly and completed maintenance on 5645. The whole group took a trip on 1326 before gathering for lunch. All enjoyed their day.

If you are interested but were unable to attend the first session, we still encourage you to come to future Trolley Care days. You can contact the museum office to be added to the mailing list for the program to receive information throughout the year.

Adam and Katy clear flange ways outside of Kelly Barn before the day began, taking over from Galen and Kelly who greatly appreciated the help

Participants gather outside 1326

Galen shows participants inside one of 1326's journal boxes and explains how the lubrication system works


Meanwhile, Rex and Bruce cleaned up inside 1500 as we prepare for the museum to open next weekend. John installed a new air governor in 2600 and replaced the air gauges on 16. All 7 cars are in an operable state as we enter the 2018 operating season.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Hidden Treasure

Removing damaged paint in the stateroom of the Northern yesterday revealed original gold leafing under a later repainting. Lots of patience and gentle scraping is bringing the pattern out. Much is damaged or missing, but there is enough left that we'll be able to recreate the original design. The light green was the original wall color. There are hard to reach areas on the car where this color was never painted over.

Pattern begins to emerge

Section of the full design on the upper walls

A corner of the pattern

A glimpse of the pattern from the ceiling. This needs more work to be fully revealed

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Caring for an Oft Neglected Car

The car shop was happy to welcome Nick Green to the crew yesterday. He was quickly put to work with Kelly and Rex as they got a jump start on spring maintenance in the unseasonably warm weather. They began with the SC&ET Department's long ignored line car, S193. Unfortunately, no one could remember when the little red car last saw a complete maintenance routine and the consequences were quickly apparent. Journal bearing covers were found to be exceedingly difficult to open, partially due to the excessive weight the car has been carrying for decades. The SC&ET Department hopes to have their shop area ready soon which will give the excess equipment a new home and alleviate stress on the car. The controller was given a thorough cleaning and lubrication, the motor was oiled, and a new trolley shoe was installed. The car is now ready to face another year of work and has been permanently added to the spring maintenance schedule so it won't become neglected again. We also hope to get line car 1 running for the SC&ET Department this year which will help them in their endeavors.

The maintenance crew then moved on to 1326 and were joined by Wil. After giving the car its complete maintenance, it was taken out down the line. This served the purpose of completing a line check before opening day on March 23. It also gave Nick and Rex a chance to run a car, which they did between Winkler and Wells Roads. Both did a great job and will get more operating experience later in the year. The shop aims to have all interested crew members capable of moving cars around in the yard and into and out of the shop. Currently, half of the crew is either a fully qualified member of the Operations Department (motorman or junior motorman) or yard qualified (able to run as long as no visitors are aboard the car).

If you are interested in learning about the cars and how they work, we encourage you to consider attending the upcoming Trolley Care Program. If you cannot make the scheduled date(s), we still welcome you to stop by and see us on a Saturday (please let us know of your visit in advance, if possible). The Operations and SC&ET (Signals, Communication and Electrical Transmission) Departments are also looking for new volunteers. Please reach out to the museum office if you are interested in helping out in these or other departments.

John and Fred continued work on components for 3001 and Bruce worked on 1500 while Galen got back to work on the much needed drainage project which will alleviate flooding of the front lawn.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Winterfest 2018

Each February, the northeast region's trolley museums gather together for a weekend of operating and discussion. This year, Halton County Radial Railway in Milton Ontario hosted. Galen, Kelly, Tim, and Christine made the journey north for the long weekend.

Festivities began Friday night with pizza and trips on their beautiful suburban car, London and Port Stanley 8, Toronto Transit sweeper S-37, and their small Peter Witt car, Toronto Transit 2894. Rides continued on Saturday with the addition of guest operations. Large Peter Witt car, Toronto Transit 2424, Toronto Transit rail grinder PCC W-30, and Toronto Transit plow TP-11 were added to the car rotation. The day closed with a fantastic buffet dinner at the Canadian Legion and a slide show on the PCCs of Toronto.

The event ended with a visit to Toronto Transit's Leslie Car House on Sunday morning. A tour was given of the LRV maintenance and repair facility. Several guests used the LRV training simulator and the tour closed with a trip around the facility in one of the operating cars.

We'd like to thank Halton County for being wonderful hosts. We all enjoyed our visit.

Plow TP-11 at Rockwood Station followed by Peter Witt 2424

Plow S-37 in carbarn before operations began

Rail grinder W-30 approaches the station

Suburban 8 waits outside the carbarn

LRVs inside Leslie Car House in Toronto

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Old Comics and News

Work continued in the Northern this weekend. Kelly, Larry, and Brian continued to remove old varnish and paint from the bedroom. Galen worked in the bathroom and kitchen, measuring out where the sinks and stove may have been given outlines found on the wood flooring which were exposed then the linoleum was removed. Meanwhile, Fred and John keep 3001's restoration moving ahead by cleaning component parts.

Carpet remnant from 1500's hallway. We think it may have been original

Comics found under the linoleum in the kitchen date from WWII

News from 1943 found under the kitchen floor

Current status of the bedroom. Varnish is off the lower walls and paint removal has begun

Another image of the bedoom

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Trolley Care Program Returns

We're happy to announce the return of the Trolley Care program this year for those who are interested in the mechanical side of the trolley cars and want to help maintain, repair, and restore the trolleys. The idea behind the program is to provide a fun, hands-on learning experience working on the trolleys. All facets of the operation of the trolley cars and how they work will be explored as part of the experience.

The Trolley Care program will be held one Saturday of every other month from 8:30 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. All ages are welcome. Youth 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult. For those under the age of 12 who are interested, please contact the coordinators in advance. Please wear work clothes. Lunch will be provided.

The first session of the program will be held on March 17, 2018 (weather permitting). At this session, we will be exploring the general maintenance of trolleys, covering lubrication of the cars, controller maintenance, motor and compressor inspection, and other general maintenance activities.

To register, please contact us using the "Do you have a question for the shop?" feature on the side of the page or by emailing the museum office. We're also happy to answer any questions you may have about the program.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Aftermarket Flooring is Gone

The shop was delighted to have a record size winter crew of eight in yesterday. While Fred and John continued cleaning parts for 3001 up in the loft, Galen, Kelly, Wil, Bruce, Rex, and Larry made great progress in 1500. A large portion of the varnish has been removed from the bedroom walls. Additionally, the linoleum that had been put down in the kitchen, bath, and bedroom areas has been taken up, revealing the original wood flooring beneath. Torn and stained oriental carpeting was removed from half of the car's hallway. The stubborn ice box door was removed. Bruce took it home to be cleaned up and slightly trimmed so it will no longer stick. Wil also started cleaning up seat bases for 3001 so they can be repainted.

This half of the hallway is now carpet free. The ice box door has been removed for repair

Aftermarket flooring has been removed in the kitchen and bath areas 

The bedroom walls are starting to look a lot better without a lot of their old, peeling varnish