Sunday, November 5, 2017

How straight is the trolley?

Now that all the window frame repairs have been completed and 3001 is structurally sound, John is checking how straight the car is. After running a line from middle of one end of the car body to the other, he compared the measurements to a line marking the middle of the frame from end to end. It turns out that the car has an approximately 3/4 inch twist from one end of the body to the other. This isn't all too bad. We'll try to to remove some of this twisting by pulling the body back into shape with come-alongs, taking appropriate measures to ensure we don't build up damaging stresses in the body panels.

A brightly color string marks the middle of 3001's body. This marking was brought down the frame using a square and compared to the frames mid-point to determine twist.

Meanwhile, Kelly is cleaning up the various components of 3001's controller. The controller will be repainted and re-insulated as needed before it is rewired and reassembled. The rest of the team continues work on 169, removing old paint and repairing damaged woodwork.

An original builder's photo of 3001 has been located in the library. We have decided to return the car to its original two door configuration.

John has also been working on 2600's line switch. Installation has begun and the car will be back in service in time for Winterfest.

2600's line switch waits for installation

Saturday, October 21, 2017

All Shored Up

John has made fantastic progress and 3001's window frames are now all patched, returning structural integrity to the car. This has allowed us to remove the cross bracing from the car. The car's lettering has also been traced so it can be accurately reproduced at the end of the restoration.

169 has gotten a lot of attention from the team. Fred, Paul, Rex, and Kelly scraped old paint and varnish from the car. Bruce began repairs to the front window frame.

New trim piece in place above 169's clerestory

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Trim Repair

Much work was accomplished on 169 yesterday. Bruce and Paul fitted up replacement roof trim pieces. We welcomed Rex to the shop and he and Fred worked on removing paint from the walls, dasher, and ceiling of the east end platform. Fred removed the breaker box from the ceiling and began the process of cleaning it. The missing section of the anti-climber was located at the rear of the top shelf on storage rack behind the car. Paul began the process of removing paint from the underside of the roof. Bruce worked on reshaping the anti-climber's metal covering (damaged by some past accident) with assistance from Rex. Kelly and Wil joined in the work late in the afternoon, completing some more paint removal.

John continues replacing rusted out window frame steel on 3001. The east end controller is now stripped of all interior components besides the blow out coil.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

East End Platform Primed

The shop hosted two Scout tour groups yesterday.

John has replaced several more window supports in 3001. He's also almost done hand removing the 265 rivets from the sides of the car, a slow and time consuming process.

Kelly and Wil made great progress with the disassembly of 3001's east end controller. It is now largely apart. It will receive a fresh coat of paint and new wires prior to reassembly.

Fall maintenance is complete for the entirety of operating fleet. John will be bringing 2600 down to Kelly Barn during the week and 355 will take a break in the shop during Pumpkin Patch and Rails to the Darkside which begin on Friday.

The wooden portion of 169's east end anti-climber has been installed. Bruce applied a coat of primer to it and the platform floor.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Window Posts

Steel work is progressing on 3001. Seven window posts have been repaired so far. This is a tedious and time consuming process.



169's bumper was also worked on yesterday, being heated and reshaped to better fit the repaired car body. The bumper was deformed at some point in the car's history due to an accident.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Bumper Fit Up and More Maintenance

Bruce has completed the repairs to the wooden portion of 169's east end anti-climber. The bumper is in the process of being test fitted so a slot can be cut in the platform frame for the tow bar.

Fred finished the last of the painting on 2600's floor. He and Paul spent some quality time with paint scrappers working on 169.

John continues steel work on 3001.

Kelly, Adam, Jim, and Wil worked on maintenance, completing cars 1326, 5645, and 355.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Maintenance, Painting, and Motor Testing

Larry and Kelly began the round of fall maintenance yesterday completing cars 836 and 16. Car 836 has already traveled almost 1,000 miles on the line this year, despite being out of service for over a month for extended maintenance in the spring. Car 16 went out for a test trip in the afternoon, running on three motors. This gives the car more pep, once it reaches parallel, which will be beneficial when the car is pressed into service as the cast car for Rails to the Darkside next month. We are still debating repairing the inoperable fourth motor as it is a multi-thousand dollar fix. The car likely needs extensive truck work as well which could become expensive and time consuming.

A sure sign of fall's impending arrival- a woolly bear caterpillar was found between the rails of track two just outside Kelly Barn. We moved it to the foliage on the far side of the parking lot after its photo op.

Fred and Paul worked on giving 2600's floor a fresh coat of paint.

John continues steel work on 3001, removing old rivets. The shop will be attempting hot riveting next year as body work on the car continues.

Galen and Kelly MEG'd 169's motors. The west end unit tests fine while the east end indicates that it is wet. Once the east end is dried, we will likely have two working motors on the car. The truck was checked and found to be in tram. The car will need an entirely new wiring harness before it could ever run.  Although the car is intended to primarily be a show piece, we'd love to see it run it on special occasions.

169's primed east end bumper

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Steel Work Begins

John, Fred, Larry, Adam, Bruce, and Paul accomplished a lot while Galen and I were away and the work continued yesterday. Here's a summary of what's happened this month.

2600 had it's windows washed and received a thorough vacuuming. Fred and Larry began applying a fresh coat of paint to the floor yesterday afternoon. The east end operator's foot rest has also been re-secured to the floor.

John has begun removing old rivets from 3001's side. Several rusted sections have also been removed. The car boasts its first fresh steel in the frame. Disassembly and cleaning work also continued on the east end controller.

Rivets removed and rusted sections cut out so patches can be installed

Work also continued on 169's anti-climber and one half is now fully repaired. The bumper was wire wheeled clean and primed yesterday

Repaired anti-climber section fit up on the car

Second anti-climber section is being patched

 East end bumper in the process of being cleaned

Summer Road Trip

Galen and I took a nine day road trip to visit other museums. It was a great time and we had some amazing hosts. Here are the highlights:

Northern Ohio Railway Museum

NORM began offering passenger rides this year. One can ride a single ended Cleveland car like our 1201 on their demonstration track. A track extension is in the works and we look forward to visiting again in a few years to see the progress.

A running Cleveland single-end car

Ohio Railway Museum

Take a scenic ride in a rail passenger car towed by diesel power. Trolley rides are also available upon occasion. 451's sister 450 lives here and is on display. Our conductor unfortunately taught Galen another railroad joke, beware all, but was delightfully enthusiastic and informative.

451's sister car, 450

Illinois Railway Museum

IRM is a mammoth operation. Be sure to plan for a full day when visiting. We'd like to thank Executive Director Nick Kallas for his gracious hospitality and thorough tour. We'd also like to thank Motorman F. Zimmerman for allowing us to operate 415 with him on the 5 mile long main line. We enjoyed the experience so much, we'd love to come back and qualify for operations, just to be able to fly along at 35 mph in a trolley again. IRM also runs steam and diesel in addition to trolleys.

415 at the station

Mad River and NKP Railroad Museum

Mad River has a nice, small static collection, right along side a main railroad. We saw several trains pass as we viewed their nicely displayed collection. The area is in prime rail fan territory, if that's your thing.

Battery powered locomotive

Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

We arrived in the mist of the Washington County Fair. Despite this, Executive Director Scott Becker still ensured we received a warm welcome and restorer Bruce gave us a thorough tour. PA's line is an unusual broad gauge and their track has loops at both ends, allowing for an uninterrupted trip. We enjoyed ridding 1850's sister car, 1758, the best, but also rode a classic Johnstown car and a fully functional PCC.

1850's sister car 1758 at the station

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and the Strasburg Rail Road

The RR Museum of PA displays a wide range of steam and diesel equipment and the associated passenger, baggage, and work cars. There are many, well throughout displays that send one into the classic railroad era. The trip is not complete with out a ride on the Strasburg RR in a fully restored passenger car pulled by a steam locomotive.

Engine pulls into the Strasburg station

Rockhill Trolley Museum

Rockhill took a while to get to from the highway, but it was worth it. Dispatcher J. Gerhard gave us a warm greeting and we started our visit with a ride on an LRV, which was unexpected, but nice. Following the trip, we joined the group tour of the restoration shop and adjacent car barn. Then we took a ride on Johnstown 311, which is a double truck, Wason built, Birney car, like 3001. After our second trip, Motorman Louis showed us through the second car barn, which is being expanded and we were allowed to fully photograph 311 as an aid for restoring 3001.

3001's cousin 311

Trolley Museum of New York

This is a unique operation. Their line runs right along the Hudson River, which provides beautiful views. One can get off the car at the end of the line and spend time at Rotary Park, returning to the museum on a later trip. This was the first time we'd ever seen a diesel powered trolley, but it works nicely for this museum.

Unloading at Rotary Park

We also visited the Columbus Zoo, the Auburn Cord Duesenburg Museum, the National Automobile and Truck Museum, the Indiana Dunes State Park, The Hershey Story Museum, and the Indian Echo Caverns, all of which we recommend visiting.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

1326 is Back, 355 Will Be Soon

1326 returned to service yesterday afternoon, now on all four motors. Operations reports that the installation of the fourth motor has stopped the car from 'hunting' its way down the track between Winkler Road and Station 7, leading to a much smoother ride.

355 was brought up to the shop upon 1326's return to service and repairs were quickly completed by John and Galen with help from Larry and Fred. The car will likely be returning to service tomorrow after it is given one final inspection. 2600 will be brought up to the shop once 355 returns to service and will remain with us for several weeks to undergo extended maintenance.

Work has also begun on cleaning components for 3001. Fred has prepped the auxiliary air tank for sand blasting and repainting. Kelly began disassembling the east end controller, which had been left open for many years and is now full of dust and debris.

One dirty controller

Sunday, July 30, 2017

1326 is on Four Motors

Yesterday, the installation of 1326's fourth motor was completed. The shop took the car out for testing after hours. The car has great power and runs smoothly. John will do some final adjustments during the week and we'll have the car back in service next Saturday.

Motor running exposed for testing

Galen and John watch the newly installed motor 3 during the test trip 

1326 at the station after the successful test trip

Work also continued on 169's anticlimber. The final replacement piece was glued on. We also are testing out fiber glassing on the south side of the car, as the wooden panels keep splitting.

169's anticlimber continues to take shape 

Test section of fiberglass on 169's south side

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Anticlimber Repair in Progress

Repair of the damaged section of 169's anitclimber has begun. The damaged face was smoothed off and new wood cut to rough shape and affixed. The first new section was then planed closer to the correct shape. The wood glue needs to dry completely before further work can be done.

The first patch piece has been cut to rough shape

First patch piece has been planed to shape and second piece has been affixed

Gear cases were added to 1326's motor assembly.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Motor Built

1326's fourth motor has been assembled. The car was jacked and the truck pulled. Installation work will continue next weekend.

Adam poses with the freshly assembled motor

Elsewhere, John has gone through 3001's lower wiring harness, labeling everything. The harness will be removed and stored until winter when we can lay it out inside the Visitors' Center. It will be used as a pattern to assemble a new harness. The current wiring is in poor condition and is not worth attempting to save.

We are happy to welcome back Paul and Noah, alumni of last year's Trolley Care Class. They assisted Galen, Jim, and Adam with the motor build. Noah also helped Kelly and Adam clean 355's controllers.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Broken Brakes and Anti-climber Fit-up

The shop started the day with a repair to 355. The car had a derailment Thursday, leading to a broken bolt in the brake system. John and Galen were able to conduct a relatively quick repair with assistance from Adam. Unfortunately, the accident set us back half a day on the 1326's motor installation, although Galen was able to start motor assembly in the afternoon.

Chris is here for his annual visit and is hard at work on 3100.

3100 is out from under its tarp

Paul and Kelly worked on 169's front end yesterday, drilling out a hole to accept a pin when the car needs to be towed. Larry also got his first experience with bondo, filling in the gaps where the wood has split on the car's south side. In the afternoon, the car's original anti-climber was rescued from atop a tall shelving unit and the wooden potion was test fitted. The wood is relatively solid, however it shows signs that the car may have been in an accident. The metal sheathing is also deformed.

Pieces for 169's anti-climber

Anti-climber is test fitted

Cracks being patched on 169's south side

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Type 5 is back

5645 returned to service yesterday afternoon, once again running on all four motors. She underwent a successful motor test run and had a quick brake adjustment before being handed over to Operations.

5645 waits to exit the shop for her motor test trip

1326 has been brought up to the shop to have her fourth motor installed. We'll also do some finish work on the car while we have it in our care.

169's dasher has been bolted into place on the platform. The windows are yet to be secured.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Field Trip to Shore Line

Yesterday, Galen, John, and Kelly took a trip to the Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven to visit 3001's sister car 3000. That car is also in an unrestored state, but has not been disassembled like 3001 was. Interestingly, even though the cars are sisters, they display subtle differences

3000's controls. Note the foot button where 3001 has a pedal

3000's interior

We were also shown car 2350. This car has been restored and is operable. It is similar to what 3000 and 3001 would have looked like before they were modified for service in New Haven. (Treadle doors were added, along with the seat configuration changing to allow for more standee passengers.)

2350's controls

2350 has jump seats at either end to provide additional seating for passengers 

 This 'high-chair' allows the motorman to sit while operating, but flips to become a passenger seat when the car changes ends

2350 has wooden seats, just like 3000 and 3001 did when they first began service in Torrington

The shop also got to visit with car 1792, a double truck Brooklyn car that has many similarities to 169. We met the folks restoring and 1892 horse car (Metropolitan #3), which is coming along nicely, Then we took the time to wander through the other barns before heading home. We'd like to thank Bill for taking the time to show us both 3000 and 2350.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Light Bulbs, Part Marking, and Type 5 on Jacks

Today started with some troubleshooting. 836 and 355 both had defect cards written during the week. Both cars had lighting issues and 355's troublesome west end trolley catcher had fallen off once again. 836 was found to have a mixture of 36, 56, and 75 watt light bulbs inside. We're uncertain quite how that happened. All the rouge bulbs were removed and replaced with the required 36 watt units. 355 was found to have four burnt out light bulbs, all on one side, leaving the car completely dark. A number of 36 watt light bulbs had to be scavenged from 5645 to finish both cars. 5646 will be sporting 56 watt light bulbs when it returns to service. In the afternoon, Paul and Larry replaced both the trolley catcher and its bracket on 355. Now, Operations no longer has to worry about the catcher falling off and potentially landing on someone's foot.

5645 was jacked and the the east end truck pulled out. By evening, motor four was out of the truck and its non-functional armature had been removed.

5645 is jacked and the truck has been pulled out

Larry begins hoisting the truck 

Motor 4 is out, the armature is about to be removed

John has been hard at work tearing up 3001's floor and tracing the piping. Today, the car was cleaned up a little in preparation for Father's Day tours coming through tomorrow. So far, we've found two Connecticut Company tokens and an old matchbook cover advertising matchbooks in the car. John, Kelly, and Galen will all be onsite tomorrow to answer questions and give tours. John will be in the shop, Kelly will be in the Visitors' Center with the shop's winter project, 1500, and Galen will be leading trips from the Visitors' Center out to the shop.

Items found inside 3001: a matchbook cover and 2 tokens

Opposite side of the matchbook cover

3001 has dual air tanks, they are labeled for visitors to see during the tours

Air tank and brake cylinder labeled for the tour