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Friday, August 31, 2012

Upcoming Maintenance Department Work Session

Saturday, August 1, 2012

The next Rockhill Trolley Museum Maintenance Department Work Session is scheduled for tomorrow, August 1.  Unlike some of the other sessions this year which have often involved special or unusual projects, tomorrow's session is simply an opportunity to get some basic maintenance activities completed.  This is a great opportunity for a new volunteer or member who like to work with their hands to take that first step into volunteerism.
Projects for tomorrow include:
  • Inspect the pole base, harp and associated hardware on STCP #172.  This car has been dewiring constantly of late the inbound frog at Altoff siding.  To help narrow down a root cause of this problem, the pole base and harp needs a full inspection to ensure the problem is not related to the car itself (or correct the problem if it is).
  • Annual servicing of the low voltage contactor on PSCT #6.  Based upon the amount of use our PCC cars receive at our museum, an annual servicing of the low voltage contactors keeps these cars braking smoothly and properly.  Hard to believe, but it has been over a year since this was last done with #6.  This is a simple task that takes less than 30 minutes. 
The contactors on the master controller can be seen in this shot.  These need careful periodic cleaning with a file.  Take note of the comment NJ Transit scribbled to its maintenance staff: "DO NOT FILE WIRES"
  • Inspect trolley shoes.  Bill Monaghan has been making good progress with inspecting our trolley shoes and carbon inserts, but we need to continue this for the entire operating fleet with our busy fall and winter events approaching.  
  • Survey barn space in Carbarns #1 and #2 to find a place to store two Brill 27F trucks.  We are making arrangements for shipping and delivery of the Brill 27F trucks we obtained in trade this past March (along with Sweeper #3) for former DCTS Sweeper #09.  We are planning for delivery in September.  No, we won't be jacking up Valley #12 in the immediate future and finally reuniting the car with Brill trucks for the first time since 1923, but delivery of these trucks is a huge step towards eventual restoration of this car.  Valley Railways #12, a very rare 1895 vintage car built by Jackson & Sharp of Wilmington, DE, could be our next major restoration project once CA&E #315 is completed.
 It will be a very good day for Rockhill Trolley Museum when these trucks arrive. 
  • Controller servicing.  Cars #1875, 249, 172, and 355 could use a controller servicing as a preventive maintenance effort to ensure all is ready for fall and winter.
  • Fluid level checks cars #1875, 249, 172, 355, 163.  At the same time controller maintenance is done, recommended practice is to ensure all oil levels in the bearings and compressors are at the proper level.

Recent Work Completed

York Railways #163 was giving operators fits in recent weeks with the inbound controller seeming to "go dead" after changing ends or when getting the car out of the barn.  Budd Blair systematically did several checks of the controller disconnect and serviced the device as well, but this still did not correct the problem.  Jerry Deily and David Brightbill offered assistance one evening with a controller inspection but nothing seemed obvious.  Last weekend (8/25), Budd performed some checks with a meter and found several fingers on the inbound reverse drum were not making good contact with the drum and also found a worn segment on the master controller.  After a thorough servicing and tension adjustments, the problem seems to be corrected.  Thanks, Budd!
This also brings to mind a note about parts in private collections.  While servicing the controller on #163, Budd found that our stock of the segment needed for this controller (GE K-68) was depleted.  After we spoke, I recalled that we may be able to salvage a spare from RTY stock, thanks to a donation in the past year of a private collection of numerous parts, including a K-68 controller.  Do you have parts in your collection?  Would you be willing to donate them, knowing they can again be used to keep a real trolley car running?  Many items used to restore and maintain the operability of our cars came from private collections (we even have a PCC car backup controller that was formerly used to power a model railroad).  Please let me know if you do, and are willing to help us!  It might be just the part we are looking for or have no spares of for a specific vehicle.
     Parts like this controller are very helpful to us in keeping our cars running!
 I hope to see you tomorrow in Rockhill Furnace!
Best wishes,
Matt Nawn
Maintenance Department Head