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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Maintenance Department
6 Month Plan
Summer is over, at least as far as schools, travel, beaches, etc. is concerned.  Within a few short weeks, the evenings will be getting cooler, and fall will sneak up on us. 
This is a good opportunity to discuss plans for the next 6 months with regards to car and maintenance projects at the Rockhill Trolley Museum.  We are getting close to some of our traditionally heaviest events (in terms of vehicle use and ridership), with Fall Spectacular, Pumpkin Patch Trolley, Polar Bear Express, and Santa's Trolley in the next 15 weeks. 
We could also get snow again this winter; perhaps enough to have a day (or more) when we clear the line with the PST #10 Plow and our two sweepers.  This is certainly not a "mandatory" event unlike our major public events, but these infrequent opportunities are much enjoyed by many of our volunteers and are a good mix of work and fun.
To ensure we are prepared for these events, our running cars must be prepared as well.  There will be a major work session in early November (date to be announced soon) focusing on winter preparations.  This session in years past has been critical to having our cars available and operating properly for these events.  We are actually getting ahead of this work now with the effort on shoe inspections and general maintenance (such as controller inspections, fluid level checks, etc.), but this work session in November will be very important.  It might possibly be spread over two dates; exact confirmation to follow soon.
Looking forward, a rough list of priorities for November maintenance is as follows:
  1. Test heat in cars 355, 163, 205, 6, 2743 (in this order).  Car 205 will need the heater fuses all reinstalled and the master heater control (located under the inbound dashboard) turned on.  Car 6 will need the auxiliary heat control turned on (located above the center doors)
  2. Governor servicing/filter change in cars 355, 163, 172, 249, 1875, 10 (if time permits; has J-type governor versus S-type in other cars listed)
  3. Complete any remaining controller inspections and fluid checks
  4. Complete any remaining pole and shoe inspections
  5. Grease the broom chains on Sweeper 3.
Needless to say, we will need a coordinated effort to get this work accomplished!  We have been successful for several years in a row now with getting the critical work completed and not having a single governor freeze-up event.  With your help, we can continue this trend.
Looking into 2013

Railways To Yesterday, Inc. held its official "Gala Grand Opening" on July 6, 1963, with Johnstown Traction Company #311 as the featured vehicle.  Granted, the museum had been operating in one form or another since August 14, 1962, but the official event came later. 
July 6, 2013, which is a Saturday, is approaching as well.  Plans have been started for a 50th Anniversary Event to commemorate this milestone.  To properly celebrate this event, we need to complete Johnstown #311! 
In the next several weeks, the Central of Georgia Caboose will finally leave Buehler Shop and #311 will return.  A major effort will be needed to complete #311 on time.  It is intended to contract out much of the remaining carbody work, but major work still remains for our volunteers with underbody preservation, repairs to underbody electrical wiring, repairs to/reconfiguration of underbody piping, installation of the rebuilt compressor, packing of journal bearings, overhaul of door engines, brake valves and controllers, etc.  There will be work sessions planned through the winter and spring, with the goal being a 2-day work session just before Easter (as was done this year with CA&E #315) to make the car operable again.  Work will likely continue right up to July with finishing details (JTC #355 got some final touch up work the night before its grand unveiling in 2007). 
Your help will be needed to make this happen.  Completion of the heavy overhaul of our very first trolley, the very first trolley to operate at a museum in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, will mark the end of a ten year overhaul effort and a great way to start our next half century.  It will provide another practical "every day" car to our operating department.  Building on the concept of our successful "PCC Car Day" event, we can look forward to "Johnstown Day".  Please be a part of this worthwhile effort.
Exactly 50 years ago, RTY volunteers were working to make #311 more presentable and operable.  "The more things change, the more things stay the same..."
It's time to pack the car, the children, and head off for a day at the museum.  Thank you for your support as volunteers, members, and friends.
Best wishes,
Matt Nawn
Maintenance Department Head