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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cooperation Between Museums Keeps PCC Cars Rolling

On March 2, several volunteers from the Rockhill Trolley Museum took a break from projects there to assist the Baltimore Streetcar Museum with work on two of their PCC cars.  Or, would it be more appropriate to say a group of BSM volunteers focused back on work at their home location?  Or how about a little of both...

There is great cooperation between Rockhill Trolley Museum and Baltimore Streetcar Museum in many areas, perhaps mostly significantly, with regards to work on PCC cars.  A group of volunteers who are active members of both organizations comprise a large part of the group which keeps the PCC cars in good repair at both of these great museums.   

Thus, on March 2, the crew focused on work at BSM.  Primary focus for the day was former SEPTA PCC Car #2168, which was suffering from sticking shaft brakes as well as having problems with #3 door.  Supporting the efforts was Bill Monaghan, Jerry Evans, George Rich, Harry Donahue, Steven Goehring, Matt Nawn, and Matty Nawn.  Ed Amrhein worked on several projects that day but still found time to assist with the PCC work as well. 

Steven blows the accumulated filth away from the shaft brakes on #2168.
First order of the day (after car shuffling to get #2168 over the pit) was to get the shaft brakes working properly on #2168.  Removal of accumulated filth and lubrication solved the problem for 3 of the 4 shaft brake actuators and associated linkages, but the left rear still gave significant problems.  After repeated soaking with penetrating oil and assistance from a large hammer, the linkage was freed.  The part of the mechanism that opens and closes the shoes had frozen itself solid from accumulated filth.  Once corrected, the crew proceeded with a several braking tests which confirmed resolution of the problem.  During one of the tests, a recently married couple posed with #2168 for a photo!
Final checks are made before a road test.  Look at those Cats Eyes!
With the braking work completed, the crew turned its attention in the afternoon to two other projects, #3 door of #2168 and an electrical servicing of BTC #7407.  After significant troubleshooting, it was determined that the #3 door motor was grounded and a replacement was found in BSM stock and installed.  Meanwhile, #7407 got some pit time for a much needed cleaning and servicing of all contactors as well as preventive maintenance to its motor controller.
#7407 waits patiently for its turn over the pit.
Most cars in the picture contest.  Actually, while PCC work was taking place at the pit, a number of other volunteers worked on a clean up of the barn, hence why so many cars are outside on this date.
Car #417 (lower right) helps identify the scene.  All photos on this post were taken by 8 year old Matty Nawn, who also kept the team moving as the tool runner all day.

Hard work, but an enjoyable day nonetheless!  Volunteers make these things happen.
Best wishes,
Matt Nawn

One Month of Progress for JTC #311 Pays Off

The month of March has been a busy one at the Rockhill Trolley Museum.  Efforts with regards to car projects have had one primary focus - the ongoing heavy overhaul of Johnstown Traction Company #311.  Volunteers have been at the museum working on the car for at least part of every weekend from March 1 through March 24, with the contractor support of Keith Bray present as well for the weekends of March 9, 16, and 23.  Substantial progress has been made.

The photos below present a chronological synopsis of the work over the past month.

Rick Hoffmeister emits "showers of sparks" (like the warning labels used to say on old fireworks) as he burns off the remains of an old rivet to allow a new underfloor structural beam to be installed.
By the afternoon of March 1, two new structural beams were installed and heavy structural work to the underframe was now completed.

A major morale boost came on March 16 when one new side was hung on the "shop" side of the car.  The new side sheets are slightly heavier gauge than the deteriorated ones that were removed.
This is how the new sides look from inside the car with the seats, window sill, and interior trim removed.  Like peeling back an onion, as the project has progressed, the scope has grown.  The decision has been made to replace the significantly deteriorated floor as part of the overhaul. 
This is a close up of the floor condition.  Look carefully and you will see some significant cracks besides substantial wear to the top layer.  Note the vapor barrier between the floor layers.
Now we are starting to look like a trolley again!  Installation of new window sills is completed and the letterboard is hung and the first new hot rivets are in place.
Another view of the new window sills.  These were custom fabricated to a pattern we provided as a donation by our friends at UTCRAS (www.utcras.com). 
The rivet furnace keeps the process moving. 
The inside of the new letterboard.  Note the first of the new rivets are in place.
Besides the structural work, work is being done in many, often out of sight, but equally as important to the completion of JTC #311.  Volunteers have been busy sorting parts, stripping and refinishing the roof boards, cherry trim for the interior, disassembling air brake piping (to facilitate floor removal), marking of wires and removing the resistor grids, and organized what has been removed to facilitate an organized reassembly once the carbody work is completed.  The museum has even located a set of large diameter headlights similar to those used on the car around 1950 which will be overhauled and installed in the finished car (the current smaller headlights were later substitutes).
Many volunteers have been assisting with this project, including Rick Hoffmeister, Budd Blair, Matt Nawn, Joel Salomon, Phil Sauerlender, David Brightbill, Nicholas Brightbill, Fred Wagner, Courtney Brown, and Valerie Robbins-Rice.  Keith Bray has been working alongside our volunteers as a contractor.  Any omissions from this list are purely accidental and solely the fault of the author.
The next work session will be April 6 - new volunteers always welcome!
Best wishes,
Matt Nawn

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Next JTC #311 Work Session: March 22 and 23

Substantial Progress has been made over the past three weeks on Johnstown Traction Company #311.  One new side has been fabricated and hung on the car, the letterboard has been hung on the same side, the replacement of deteriorated underfloor beams has been completed, floor removal is in progress, and the wooden roof boards and cleats have been stripped. 

Your help can keep this progress moving forward.  A JTC #311 work session is scheduled for this coming Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23.  Hot riveting of the letterboard, continued floor removal, and disassembly of the "wall" side of the car are planned. 

If you plan to attend, please contact me in advance so we can align your volunteer help with an appropriate project.

A more detailed report on the recent progress of JTC #311 (complete with photos), as well as an update on other projects including NJ Transit #10, cooperative work with our friends at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, a update on PTC #2743, even some very positive information about Liberty Liner "Independence Hall", and information on a new acquisition, is forthcoming within the week.  Stay tuned!

Thank you for your interest in and support of the Rockhill Trolley Museum!

Matt Nawn