Thursday, November 26, 2020

November 2020 Update

 A lot has happened at the museum since we last posted. 

As of 11/21/2020 the 4, 355, 836, 16, 1326, and 303 (for special service) have been serviced and are ready for operations.

John continues to work on Line Car 1 and 3001. Line car 1 should have functioning controllers on both ends of the car soon as well as design ideas and prep for the safety platform and diving board system for service in 2021 (Date TBA). 

Minor work continues on 5645 including doors, controllers, and getting the car prepared for overhaul work in 2021.

Dennis Pacelli has been instrumental in assisting John and taking on projects of his own to maintain and keep our fleet in excellent operating order.

303 needed 2 extra days of work to repair, service, and bring the car to operational standards because of Dennis's outstanding effort. 

101 and 18 will also be getting work done in 2021. In 2021 we will continue to rebuild the track and overhead infustructure on the museum property and having good service cars and locomotives at the ready.

Thanks to our new Track Department head Camilo Santiago, a section of North Road Track 2 has been dug out and new ties put underneath it to support the track. 

Camilio replacing a rail on North Road Track 2

We'd also like to extend a huge thank you to Roger Pierson and his crew for their dedication to decorating the inside of the Visitor Center for Winterfest this year!

Monday, November 2, 2020

Replacement Switch Timbers

 Due to last weeks rain, the tar for 303's roof was not all put in place. During the week when the weather is more promising the rest of the coat will be applied to the car. 

Line car 1's controllers continue to get worked on as well as fixing the fuse box inside the car.

The shop will be returning to work very soon on car 3001 once the shop cleanup is completed and some smaller projects are finished.

On Saturday, Camilo and his crew replaced multiple switch timbers within Kelly Yard to improve the trackage going into the barn on tracks 2 and 3.

Kelly 2/3 Switch being dug out

Special thanks this week to Chief Motorman Roger Pierson and his crew for completing the Christmas decorations on cars 355 and 4 in preparation for the Winterfest Season!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Work on 303 Continues

 John found wiring problems with Line Car 1's controllers during the week. We are still looking to have the controllers and handbrakes at the west end working properly by the end of this week. The shop is currently working on plans for the new upper work platform which will be a fixed stationary platform with a diving board system. The shop will also patch up any holes in the roof and winterize the car. 

John replaced the top of 1326's west end brake stand resolving the stiffness completely. Ryan Boucher also replaced the west end pole rope of the car as it was showing signs of wear. 

Work continued on 303 during the week and is showing great progress. Currently the 4 motors of the car are being baked to dry them of moister from the car's extended vacation in Northern Barn. The resistors have been inspected and given a clean bill of health from Dennis. The controller group is currently being inspected. The roof wiring is being replaced and conduit is being reattached on the car. Scraping of pealing paint has begun on the car and touch up paint will be applied. All leaking roof spots are being sealed with tar to re-waterproof the car. 

John putting sealing tar on the roof of 303

The headlights grounding is also going to be fixed. Hopefully this week 303 will be air and line tested. stayed tuned for updates throughout the next several weeks as progress continues.

Once 303 has completed her maintenance and check rides the shop will be moving on to car 101 where she will receive the same heavy servicing that 3030 has undergone. Check back weekly as work continues.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

836 Back in Service & A New Project

Car 836 received scheduled service during this week. A few small corrections were made to the car and 836 is back in full service for the fall season. 

John has been working to complete the second controller for Line Car 1 with the help of members from other museums.

Car 303 is currently undergoing a full mechanical and operational maintenance plan that is beginning this week. All repairs to the electrical, roof, and resistors will be completed over the next few weeks. After some searching, all the documentation on the car has been found allowing the shop to have a more comprehensive maintenance plan.

All of the members of the shop have been working hard to get the operating fleet back up and running, with the help from members of our fellow museums. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered their time to help get our fleet back into operation!

Monday, October 12, 2020

1326's Brake Stand Gets Cleaned

 Over the past week, some of the operators who ran car 1326 noticed the west end brake stand becoming stiffer over time. On Saturday, John looked inside the brake stand and saw that dirt and grime has been clogging the brake stand, limiting its ability to move. The cleaning process only takes 10-20 minutes, so the stand will be cleaned out weekly to prevent the brake becoming stiff. 

Inside of 1326's west end brake stand

West end brake stand without the top attached

The shop has also been working on 5645. The bearing problem has been solved, but it has also been discovered that 2 motors are in need of repair. These motors will need to be sent for repairs in late December or early January.

We would like to give another massive thank you to John, our current shop manager for all of the hard work that he and his team have been putting in to keeping the fleet operational. We'd also like to thank Rob, the President of the CTM, Justin, the Operations Manager, and the Operations department for the hours of hard work they have put in to organizing and helping the shop finish projects to keep the cars in working order. Thank you to all!

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Moving the Fleet

After a week in the shop for some quick touch ups, Connecticut Company 65 has been returned to the Operations Department for service!

65 departing North Road for a test run

In preparation to move 5645 into the shop for repairs, John and the shop needed to manufacture a new oil block for diesel 1. The old block required special hoses to be ordered if one ever failed. John manufactured the new block to be compatible with any standardized oil hose.

The new oil block (on the right with the hose attached)

169 was also moved up into Northern Barn while the fleet was being shuffled around. This was the first time 169 has seen daylight in over 40 years.

169 waiting to be moved into Northern Barn

5645 was moved into the shop after 169 was moved to complete bearing repairs as well as an annual inspection.

A new air tank has been restored to be put under car 16 within the next year. 

16's new air tank

We'd all like to send out a special thank you to Dennis. Dennis has been extremely helpful during our transition in the shop and has been with us to lend a helping hand. Thanks!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Welcome Back to The Fleet!

 The shop has been busy over the past two weeks and has made some outstanding progress getting some of our normal fleet back into operations. During the previous season in October a ringing sound was heard from one of the motors of car 1326, and was eventually taken out of service to be repaired. The car has finally been repaired and has been put back in service for public runs! Welcome back 1326!

1326 in the yard (photo by Wil Gambardella)

Once 1326 was returned to operations, it was 16's turn to go in for some maintenance. 16 was due for work on the brake and motor systems, both of which have been completed. 16 is now running again on all 4 motors as well as a clean brake system. Welcome back 16!

The next few weeks will be spent preparing the final cars (5645 and 65) for their return to operations. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Truck Work and Maintenance

 During the week a lot of work was done on 3001. The main focus was on the trucks. One of the trucks for 3001 has been disassembled and the parts are being worked on so the truck can be reassembled.

3001's disassembled truck

With this, the armature's for the trucks are being shipped out to be rebuilt similar to how 1326's armature was.


3001's armature's

John also worked on the journal boxes for this truck. Since they have been sitting for so long, there were some holes in them. John welded them shut to keep oil inside of the journals and during future operation.

Welded section of one of the journal boxes

It was discovered that diesel 1 has a small oil leak in one of the oil hoses, and a new hose in on order to replace the one currently inside the locomotive.

Car 4 also saw some work done this week. Wil, Jayden, and Sully put more oil in the journal boxes on Saturday.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Shop Work Continues

To start, we'd like to specially thank Kelly and Galen for all the hard work they have put in over the years to keep the trolley cars rolling! 

During the week, the top of car 4's pole had a minor problem and had to be taken out of service for a short period of time. John quickly replaced the head of 4's pole and got it back into service. 

The new head of 4's pole

There has been continuing progress on 3001, and this week's focus was on the springs and suspension of the car. John has been working on restoring the springs to be able to put back onto the trucks of the car.

3001's temporary west end truck

There has also been an effort to reorganize the shop and prioritize where parts are stored so they are more readily available for use.

Scott removing grease from bearings

 Finally, last week car 836's west end window needed to be replaced. Roger from operations removed the window from the car and had it replaced with Plexiglas. It was reinstalled on Saturday by Roger with the help of Jayden and Sully.

Roger and Jayden installing the new window

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Passing the Torch

This post is a week late and for that I apologize. It will also be my last for now. Galen and I have both reached a point where is it best for us to step away from the museum. We leave the shop in John's capable hands and I leave this blog with in the hands of my wonderful crew. I'm sure they'll keep you up to date on goings on in the shop.

With 1326 in the shop for motor repairs, Lou has begun refurbishing the controllers, another needed job.

Lou works on disassembling an arc shoot set from 1326

Scott is helping John out with 3001 by completing final cleaning on the journal boxes.

Scott pauses in his work to say hi

Tad is making great progress on 169. He's gotten much of the front of the clerestory prepped and has started priming work on the sides where accessible.

Clerestory paint work in progress on 169

While it's hard to say goodbye, I know the cars are in very good hands. I can still be reached via the contact gizmo on the sidebar if you need to get a hold of me for whatever reason. All the best. Kelly

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Hello, 1326!

1 was released from the shop after Galen completed repairs to the east end tow point. This will allow us to safely tow the car with the diesel if needed. The car returns to Kelly Barn where it remains out of service until further improvements can be made.

We had a week of air system issues with both 16 and 65 being placed out of service. Jeremy came in and assessed 16, tracing its problems to a hole in one of the pipes. Unfortunately, the pipe was inaccessible in Kelly Barn so repairs had to wait a few days until the car could move up to the shop. Galen and Kelly replaced the rotted pipe and returned the car to limited service. 65 has been diagnosed with a rotted out gasket in the main brake cylinder. We've begun soaking bolts in PB Blaster and hope to complete repairs in the next few weeks.

16's old air pipe clearly shows the source of the leak

New air pipe in 16

Mike has added logos to S193 and completed painting the hand rails. Compared to where this car was last year, it has made a complete transformation, all for the better.

1326 was moved back into the shop so we can being repairs to the motors next week. We expect repairs to take about eight weeks if all goes well. 15 was moved in front of the shop to give the Operations Team better access to power so they can continue exterior cosmetic work. 5645 has been moved to storage while it waits its turn for repair.

1326 waits for repairs

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Sprucing Up

355 received its maintenance last weekend. The car has been placed in reserve status due to increasing damages on the underside from the heaving of the barn floor. We've decided to take advantage of having the car out of service and Scott W has started varnishing the seats. Boy does the car look better already! And he's just getting started.

Varnish work in progress on 355

Tad completed primer work on 169's east end, giving the car its first big visual progress jump in far too long. He's planning on tackling the work around the clerestory next and we're delighted to see the project moving ahead once again.

169's east end is looking sharper

Elsewhere, Adam continued paint work on 18's roof. John is finishing up work on the journal boxes for 3001's east end truck. Galen cleaned out the pit, a needed job so we can roll our nice new pump cart around while working on 1326. Kelly finished up the wiring work under 1.

We were happy to have Scott Kritzky stop by to visit with his son William who's gotten a lot bigger since the last time we saw him. Hopefully we'll be seeing them again soon.

Oh and take a look at the final product of 836's seat refurbishment! We caught the car out in the sun to really show off the great work Scott and Galen did. And, by the way, they did all this in the dark back of the barn working with only drop lights to see by.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Change of Fleet

We're saddened to report that 5645 has been removed from service. The car developed a hot box with bearing melting last week. Inspection revealed that the journal boxes are skewed in the frame indicating box and/or slider plate failing. The car will require extensive truck work, similar to what John has been doing for 3001. At this point, with both of our small shop trucks under 3001, we've decided to place 5645 in storage and prioritize repairing 1326 which will be a shorter repair time-wise. We're ordering a cart to aid in safely dropping 1326's armatures into the pit and hope to start work by fall.

On a happier note, we welcomed Steve Giarrusso to the shop yesterday. He replaced the failed compressor switch on 355. He then joined Kelly in performing routing maintenance on 16. Galen completed temporary truck repairs for the car and it has been released for limited service. We hope to see 16 running one trip a week for the public. It has also be designated as the official training car for new motormen.

Scott completed varnish work in 836 and it will be running regular service, replacing 5645 as the main closed car. We've also released 65 to limited service, allowing it to complete one trip a week. Both 16 and 65 have old rattan seating which cannot stand up to the rigors of coronavirus cleaning, so the cars must quarantine after meeting with the public as their method of disinfecting. The Operations Department will schedule the cars to ensure adequate time for the virus to die off between passenger trips.

Tad has completed removal of the paint from the undersides of clerestory sides on 169. He also completed primer work on the east end wall.

169's clerestory sides are now paint free

Primer work is complete on east wall of 169

Lou completed a window repair on 836 and made a new gasket for 18's brake stand.

Lou works on cutting a new gasket for 18

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Some Fun with 1 and Digging into 18's Issues

Today 1 got some sprucing up. Galen trimmed the extra lengths off the roof boards and the evened out the roofing. Wil and Kelly washed the windows, much improving visibility. The car made two trips on the line before rain threatened and it had to be put away as it is no where near ready to face inclement weather. Wil and Kelly ran the car to celebrate their birthdays and Galen, Mike, and Ryan also took a turn at the controls.

1 with cleaned up roofing

Wil at the controls after completing an eastbound trip

Kelly prepares for the westbound trip (Galen Semprebon photo)

Scott did some cleaning up inside 18 then moved back onto 836, preparing the seats for their next coat of varnish. Lou swapped the two brake stands in the locomotive which allowed us to determine the source of the leak in the air system was one of the brake stands and not the piping itself. He disassembled and began cleaning the stand. Galen finished the work. We found a seized component but issues persist. A new gasket will be made and will hopefully help the problem. The journal boxes were also inspected. Kelly removed mouse nests from five of them and Wil did the much needed oiling.

18's brake stand apart for cleaning

John is making progress with weld repairs to 3001's journal boxes.

Journal box work in progress

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

1 Makes its First Test Trips

Line car 1 went out on the line for the first time yesterday evening. It performed beautifully. So beautifully in fact, we couldn't resist a second trip. We made periodic stops for photos and videos to document the trip and I'll share the best of mine below and add any of Galen's once I get them from him.
At 128 years young, 1 represents a doubling of our running work car fleet and we're looking forward to it joining S193 in service once we tie up loose end. This was its first ever trip down our main line as it has sat in storage since it came to us from Trolleyville in 2009. We're not sure when it last ran at its former home, but 2005 would have been the latest as that's when they closed their doors. For having spent 15 years in dead storage, its in amazing shape. We'll look to make a few minor tweaks in the interim, but at this time we're delighted to say it can take our volunteers out for a few trips this coming Saturday.

Outbound at Hancock Siding

At Newberry Siding, before turning around to head in (railway is closed past this point due to heat sagging in the overhead wire, SC&ET worked hard in yesterday's heat but wasn't able to defeat all of the issues, we wish some better weather for them on their next work day)

Departing Newberry Siding inbound

Inbound next to the semaphores

Passing Woods Barn inbound

Inbound by Woods Barn

Crossing Borrup Road

On North Road Curve

With the newly repaired Isle of Safety

In the yard with 4 and S193

Off to bed

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Line Car 1 is on the Move!

Yesterday brought opening day to the museum under hot, humid conditions. It also brought a new sight to staff and visitors. Line car 1 received its poles and ventured out around the yard for some basic testing. It made two trips up and down the yard before lunch. After lunch, it ventured up to the shop to drop off all of the tools we'd been using to work on it. This had the added benefit of letting us test the car through some more switches and around a curve. So far everything looks good. The weather did us in and we called it a day early, but we hope to take the car out on the line one evening this coming week for its first test trip. A myriad of little things remain needed to complete the car, but it is a delight to see it mobile for the first time in the eleven years it has been on the property.

Hooks and catchers installed on 1 last Monday night

1 sneaks out of the barn on a bug. Mike Luzzi video

Roof side view of pole installation on 1

First move with poles. Gina Alimberti video

1 sits on North Road curve with 4 after its first trip down the yard

Wil runs brakes on the first trip up the yard. Only the east end controller is functional at the moment. Mike Luzzi photo

Galen takes a turn at the controls and makes the second run down the yard

1 up at the shop to offload tools

Mike continues work on S193, More black paint has been added and the car again sports its lettering and numbers.

S193 shows off its new markings

Scott and Lou worked on 836. Scott continued work on varnishing the seats. Lou finished the refurbishment of the west end controller and replaced a section of broken upper window frame on the north side of the car.

Freshly varnished seat in 836

Lou works on reassembling the arc shoot for 836's west end controller

Adam did some painting on 18's roof. Tad worked on removing paint from the underside of 169's roof around the clerestory.

Progress on 18's roof. Adam Krause photo