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Friday, November 7, 2014

Work Session for November 8 is CANCELLED

Dear Volunteers and Friends:

I am sorry for the relatively late notice, but tomorrow's Maintenance Department Work Session is cancelled.  The parts delivery is being rescheduled for a later date.

However, the scheduled work session for November 15 will proceed as scheduled and help is still needed.

I will be at home this weekend overhauling the pneumatic door engines for JTC #311.

Thank you for your support of Rockhill Trolley Museum.  I hope to see you November 15.

Best wishes,
Matt Nawn

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Upcoming Rockhill Trolley Museum Car Maintenance Work Sessions

Dear Volunteers and Friends:

Your help is needed for two upcoming Car Maintenance Work Sessions.  This is an important time of year for Car Maintenance as we are fast approaching the Holiday Events when our cars see their heaviest service of the operating year.

Saturday, November 8:
Focus for this session is reorganizing the spare parts stored in Carbarn 2.  We are long overdue for this work and we will be taking delivery around noon of a donation of several pallets of spare parts.  Many hands make light work!  I will be onsite around 8AM to start the work.

Saturday, November 15:
This is our final maintenance scheduled maintenance session before the Holiday Season begins.  This is our annual governor servicing session for cars 163, 355, 172, and 249, as well as a time to give each car a check of all bearings including the journal and side bearings.  We have kept up on controller and pole maintenance throughout the year but this final push is necessary.  Session will start around 8AM. 

New volunteers are always welcome - please feel free to contact me in advance to discuss further.  Thank you for your volunteer dedication and support.


Best wishes,
Matt Nawn

Friday, June 13, 2014

Help Needed - Multiple Dates - Our U2 LRV is arriving and being reassembled

Dear Volunteers and Friends:

Your help is needed to receive, unload, and reassemble our newly acquired former San Diego MTS U2 Light Rail Vehicle #1019. 

Schedule is as follows; with help needed each day:

Arrival of car sections by highway trailer, unloading, and staging: Thursday, June 19. 

Reassembly preparations: Monday, June 23

Crane on site, reassembly of A and B sections into one unit: Tuesday, June 24

Maintenance and basic functionality training Part I: Wednesday, June 25

Maintenance and basic functionality training Part II: Thursday, June 26

Clean up, other maintenance tasks: Friday, June 27

Being these dates are on weekdays, it is especially important we get volunteer support.  We will have outside assistance with the work from June 23-27; but we have to have volunteer support to receive this help.  Our most critical need for help is Wednesday, June 25, but we need help every one of the days listed if we are to successfully reassemble our Light Rail Vehicle.

Please contact me (mwntrolley@aol.com) if you are able to assist, and for which days.

June 23-27 is museum's annual week-long work session, with overhead wire work and brush cutting planned as well.  Help is needed in these areas as well; if able to support this work, please contact Henry Long, Track & Wire Department Head at trackman1978@hotmail.com.

We are only a few steps away from getting this vehicle reassembled and back to operating condition.
Your help can make this happen!

In 1981, San Diego was thrilled with its "New Trolley". 
In 2014, we are thrilled with our "new trolley" too.
I look forward to working with you soon!  Thank you for your help.
Best wishes,
Matt Nawn

Monday, May 12, 2014

Friday, May 16, 2014 Maintenance Department Work Session

Dear Volunteers and Friends:

Rockhill Trolley Museum will have a Maintenance Department work session this Friday, May 16.  This session is to ensure our cars are ready for Members' Day and the start of the regular operating season.  I will be onsite by 9AM.

Prioritized projects for Friday are as follows:
- JTC #355: Grease side bearings and service controllers
- PSCT #6: complete repairs to door circuits
- P&W #402: reinstall coupler knuckles and lubricate couplers, including release mechanism (we are scheduled to tow the caboose with this car on Saturday)
- Liberty Liner Independence Hall: clean and lubricate controllers
- Carbon inserts: check/service all cars

New volunteers always welcome.

Thank you to all who keep the museum functioning.

Matt Nawn

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Electroliner/Liberty Liner - Next Work Session is Saturday, February 8; Report of February 4 Work Session

Dear Volunteers, Friends, and Visitors:

Rockhill Trolley Museum will be having another work session focused on the Electroliner/Liberty Liner #803-804 "Independence Hall" this coming Saturday, February 8.  New volunteers and additional help are always welcome.

Tasks for Saturday are as follows:

- Crimp on new terminal and re-connect ground wire from condenser to carbody under car #804A1
- Crimp new terminals on battery box leads and install batteries
- Inspect MG set and ensure brushes are free; clean brushholders as necessary
- Inspect outbound (#804) end motors; clean brushholders as necessary
- Inspect two functioning compressors; clean brushholders/communtators as necessary; check oil levels
- Grease brake slides on each truck
- Testing
Budd Blair and Matt Nawn participated in the work session this past Tuesday, along with some help from Nicholas Brightbill after he got home from school.  The wiring to the new resistor grids under car #804A1 is completed.  See below.
Finally, a correction is in order.  The report of the January 25 work session neglected to mention that Lance Myers and Nevin Byers assisted with the towing of NJT #10 (and perhaps most importantly, got the sometimes balky M-25 diesel to start).  My apologies for the omission!
I hope to see you at Rockhill Furnace this Saturday.
Best wishes,
Matt Nawn

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Upcoming Work Session CHANGE from Monday, February 3 to Tuesday, February 4; Plus report of recent sessions

Dear Volunteers, Friends, and Visitors:

First and foremost, the weekday Rockhill Trolley Museum work session scheduled for Monday, February 3 (tomorrow) has been moved to Tuesday, February 4 due to your author's work schedule changing at the last moment as well as the forecasted snow tomorrow in Rockhill Furnace.

So, if you were planning to help tomorrow, I hope you can still join us on Tuesday.  I plan to be onsite by 8AM. 

Our planned work for Tuesday has only one focus - continue preparations for making Electroliner/Liberty Liner #803-804 operable again.  Specific tasks are as follows (in order):

- Complete wire replacement to new resistor grids at 804A1 (outbound) end.  We have 10 wires left to splice and land at their new terminals. 

- Inspect and replace battery terminals for MG set #3

- Inspect Motor-Generator set #3

We are making steady progress on this much beloved train.  Tell the boss you need a day off and come join me this Tuesday.  Thanks to everyone who has helped with this project; the recent contributions have come from a diverse group of volunteers.  It will be a big morale boost to return this historic train to operable condition. 

Report of Recent Maintenance Department Work Sessions
  • Saturday, January 25
Despite the bitter cold and forecast calling for snow, several volunteers donated their time to support two important projects:
Joel Salomon led a "search party" consisting of Charlie Wootton, Keith Bray, Budd Blair, and Fred Wagner to find a set of lifting lugs used in 1994 to lift PCC #2743 with a crane.  Unfortunately, said lugs have apparently been long since discarded, as the search turned up empty.  However, Charlie and Keith, with some assistance from Budd, pooled their talents to make a new pair of lifting devices to enable the scheduled crane lift of former NJT PCC Car #10 to proceed as scheduled for Monday.  Their efforts and talents literally would save the day with multiple activities scheduled for this car on Monday.  Late in the afternoon, Joel and Charlie braved the snow and hostled #10 to the Carbarn #2 loading/unloading area so all would be ready for Monday.
While the PCC lifting lugs project was moving, Matt Nawn led the team of Jim Cohen and Fred Wagner with re-wiring of the 804A1 end resistor grids for "the Liner".  Progress started well at first but then went a little slower than planned when it was discovered that 4 wires which had been previously spliced in either Highwood, IL or Upper Darby, PA were terribly deteriorated and required complete replacement back to the contactor cabinet.  Fred and Jim fed new conductors to Matt who worked under the center of the train at the box itself.  Good progress was made by quitting time but more work remained. 
  • Monday, January 27
The day dawned warmer than most but a snow storm rolled in by 9AM.  Undeterred, Matt and Charlie got staged at Carbarn #2 to do the planned truck swap with NJT #10.  The ex-Boston shop trucks supplied by UTCRAS arrived very early in the morning and the 40 ton crane from Saylor's in Altoona arrived exactly on time at 9:30AM.  Careful preplanning paid off, as all lifts and the retrucking itself was completed by 12:30PM.  The lifting lugs fabricated by Keith and Charlie on Saturday worked perfectly and fit properly in the museum's car stands while the trucks were being loaded/unloaded from the flatbed.  NJT #10 now sits on ex-Boston shop trucks and the motor trucks from under the car are with UTCRAS for overhaul.  Departure of this car from Rockhill Furnace for its new owner in San Diego will happen soon.
After lunch, Matt was able to spend a few more hours working on "the Liner".  By the end of the day resistor grid bank #3 was completed and hopefully the worst part of the rewiring effort is over as the remaining wires do not appear to be as badly deteriorated as the first group. 
Photos from Monday's Work Session

Getting ready for the first lift.  We hope this picture doesn't ruin Charlie's reputation.
NJT #10 rests on car stands before the front shop truck is pushed into place. 
Storm over, crane on its way home, retrucking completed , NJT #10 basks in the afternoon sun.
New wires landed at Liner resistor grid box #3.
Thanks to all of our volunteers and friends who make this possible!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Upcoming Work Sessions on Electroliner/Liberty Liner 803-804, NJT #10, and Recent Work Report

Dear Volunteers and Friends:

There will be several upcoming work sessions focused on Electroliner/Liberty Liner #803-804 and other projects.  Schedule of upcoming work sessions is as follows:

  • Saturday, January 25:
    • Electrical work on replacement resistor grids under outbound (804A1 end) of Liner
    • Prepare NJT #10 for truck swap (to include jacking of car if necessary)
    • Complete repairs to Backup Controller in NJT #10
    • Continued interior work on Liner (loose paint removal is completed; general cleanup and removal of some items to storage)

  • Monday, January 27
    • Swap trucks under NJT #10

  • Monday, February 3
    • Finish electrical work on Liner.
    • Pre-test maintenance work

  • Saturday, February 8
    • Finish pre-test maintenance work
    • Test-run train(?)
Here are the tasks remaining on NJT #10:
- Truck swap
- Complete backup controller repairs
- Remove trolley pole and pole base loaned and installed by RTY for testing purposes
- Prepare car for shipment

Here are the tasks remaining on the Liner before it can return to service:
- Complete repairs to wiring for new resistor grids
- Make new battery terminals, install 3 new 12V batteries
- Inspect MG, clean commutator and brushholders as required
- Inspect outbound motors (under 804A1 and 804C sections); clean brushholders as required
- Check oil level in compressors under center of train and inbound end (803A section)
- Grease brake slides (next to brake pistons on each truck)
- Lubricate roller bearings on axles
- Remove loose stored items from interior (doors, etc).

Our recent membership survey and general membership meeting identified a need to help potential volunteers identify tasks that they can assist with (vice the "just show up and we'll find you something to do" approach).  To support our new approach, here are some specific areas where help is needed:

- electrical helper (cut and crimp wires, wrap insulation, carry tools, inspect commutators and brushes)
- maintenance helper (check oil levels, grease moving parts, etc.)
- general laborer (help carry car jacks and tools for NJT #10, assist with pole removal, help carry items out of Liner that don't belong there)
- car cleaner

Special skills aren't needed - we'll team you up with someone and help train you!

Finally, the upcoming work on the Liner would not be possible had it not been for a dedicated crew last weekend that braved the cold and snow to finish the mounting of the new resistor grids under the outbound (804A1end) - a major accomplishment.

Henry Long led the efforts last weekend.  He was assisted by Lance Myers, Nevin Byers, Tyler McGaw, Nicholas Brightbill, and Stephen Lane. 

To conclude, it is appropriate to post some photos from the RTY Collection of the Liner being worked on...50 years ago.

This scene was recreated by our volunteers 50 years later.

An Electroliner/Liberty Liner with a Bullet Car - could only be at 72nd Street Shops or the Rockhill Trolley Museum

Inside the motor shop area at 72nd street

A Liberty Liner with Plow #10.  Fifty years later both reside at the Rockhill Trolley Museum
My thanks and compliments to our donors, friends, and especially our volunteers whose tireless efforts make everything we do possible!

Friday, January 10, 2014

An Electroliner/Liberty Liner Comes Back To Life One Step at a Time

Dear Volunteers, Friends, and Visitors:

I am pleased to report that Rockhill Trolley Museum continues to make progress on getting the Electroliner/Liberty Liner 803-804 closer to operating status again.  A crew of volunteers displayed a high level of commitment and volunteer dedication by braving the winter cold last Saturday, January 4, to move this project (and others) forward. 

While the train is kept indoors, the building is not heated.  But work continued and considerable progress was made.

Sufficient help was available to enable work to continue both on the replacement of the resistor grids at the 804A1 end of the train (outbound on the museum's demonstration railway) as well as a general interior cleanup to make the train more pleasant to riders. 

Underneath, Nicholas Brightbill, Budd Blair, Stephen Lane, and Matt Nawn devised a method to raise the new grids into position under the train so that new mounting holes could be marked and drilled.  After a few layouts were proposed, it was found that the grids could be hung using the existing framework, which saves considerable hours that would have been needed if new framework was constructed.  The previous arrangement used 4 grid banks; the new arrangement uses three (with elements sized accordingly to provided the same levels of electrical resistance). 

Thus, by lunchtime (12:02PM to be exact), the first of the three new grid boxes was mounted in place.  By the end of the work session, the second set was laid out and all holes drilled making it ready for installation at the next session. 

The first of the new grid boxes are mounted.
The work underneath the train was by no means all that got accomplished, however.  Since last fall, Fred Wagner (who traveled from Rochester, NY to volunteer at this work session) has been patiently and methodically cleaning the train of all of all loose paint chips starting at the cab in the 803A (inbound) end of the train.  He continued his work this past Saturday, with Lisa Maloy assisting him as they completed the A section and worked through the B (tavern lounge) section as well.  This is dirty and tedious work but the results are impressive.  
Fred's dedication has a personal connection.  In his youth, he saw the trains on the day of their return to operation by the Red Arrow Lines.  Many other volunteers have a personal connection to these trains as well, myself included.  My father rode the train on the North Shore and my brother rode them in Upper Darby as we grew up a few blocks from the 72nd Street Shops where they were maintained.  There are many other volunteers with similar connections, and others who do not but simply have the dedication and desire to see it operate again.  Together, teamwork gets the mission accomplished.
Frank Shoop took a break from facilities projects to check on the work crew during the afternoon and offered some helpful suggestions with the difficult mounting of the second grid set. 
Much work remains but the train continues to get closer to operating status once again.  It will be 50 years since the Red Arrow Lines put the trains into operation on January 26.  The train will likely not be ready for operation by then, however, it might not be long after that when the world can once again ride an operating Electroliner/Liberty Liner at special events and on special occasions.  We're optimistic we can make this happen soon, barring any new unforeseen issues.
The work crew pauses for a photo.  From left to right: Stephen Lane, Fred Wagner, Nicholas Brightbill, Matt Nawn, Lisa Maloy, Budd Blair.  Frank Shoop took the photo.
More work sessions are planned for the next month; including at least a few weekday sessions.  Announcements will be posted here as well as via the RTY Maintenance Volunteer email list.
In the foreground is a "Strafford" car, #402, and a Liner; all types vehicles preserved and brought back to life by the volunteers of the Rockhill Trolley Museum.
Thank you to all volunteers, supporters, friends, and visitors who make things like this possible!
- Matt Nawn

Monday, January 6, 2014

2013 Maintenance Department End of Year Wrap Up

Dear Volunteers, Friends and Visitors:

Thanks again to the dedicated help of our volunteers, Rockhill Trolley Museum Maintenance Department ended 2013 successfully.  Here is a summary of work accomplished from mid-October through December:

October 19, 2013 Work Session

Matt Nawn and Joel Salomon completed removal of the old resistor grids from under the 804A1 end of Liberty Liner Independence Hall.
November 16, 2013 Work Session
Volunteers Budd Blair, Fred Wagner, Nicholas Brightbill, Rick Hoffmeister, Joel Salomon, and Matt Nawn worked through the day (and into the evening) ensuring our cars were well prepared for the winter Operations events.  A summary of work completed is as follows:
  • Serviced both controllers on JTC #355
  • Serviced "deadman" foot pedals on JTC #355
  • Serviced inbound brake value on JTC #355
  • Inspected/topped off bearing oil levels on JTC #355
  • Serviced governors cars 355, 163, 1875, 172, and 249
  • Installed fuses and turned on heat in P&W #205
  • Tested feel of brake valves car 1875; no lubrication needed at this time
  • Inspected/topped off bearing oil levels on York #163
  • Inspected shoes/carbon inserts cars 355, 163, 1875, 172, 249, 205
Thanks to everyone who helped get so much done this day!
It takes hard work to keep York #163 running in 2013, just like it did in the 1930s
December 7, 2013 Work Session
Afternoon patronage at the museum's annual Santa Trolley Event slowed down enough to enable several volunteers to be relieved of Operations duties and work on other projects.  Thus, Budd Blair, Joel Salomon, George Rich, and Matt Nawn went to work on the following projects:

  • NJ Transit #10 was made ready for truck removal and eventual shipment to its new owner.  Crews hostled equipment in between revenue cars to get #10 over the pit, disconnect all motor leads, actuator wiring, and track brake wiring, along with the kingpin covers, so it can be lifted off its trucks in 2014. 
  • All brake linkages on STCP #249 were lubricated and exercised after sluggish brake shoe release was reported and observed
  • A frozen air system on STCP #172 was dealt with
Once again, thanks to the volunteers who make all this possible!
Work completed for the day, NJT #10 sits under the lights on December 7, 2013