spacer BSM Track Updates . . .

John LaCosta

Track Updates for July 5, 1998

John LaCosta    F riday started the long 4th of July weekend. Rick Obbink and Ed Amrhein spent the day disassembling one of the Philadelphia snow sweeper trucks. The truck is an archbar design and must be dissassembled in order to remove the wheels and axle. We will send four sets of axles out to have them widened to Baltimore guage.

     Even if we had not had to remove the wheels to have them regauged, the truck frame needed to be dismantled. The design of this archbar truck is very simple with a number of structural improvements over the original design. It dos have on drawback, however. To strengthen the truck, a number of the bars are really "U" channels. These channels add a great deal of strength for a small additional weight. One of these channels runs from one side of the truck to the other side. It is at the center of the truck with the "U" pointing up.

     This arrangement is required to have enough space for the springs and clear the track. The bad part of this design is that any water that falls on the channel tens to sit there and allows the channel to rust. The rust was so bad that when Rick and Ed lifted the top of the truck frame off, the bottom channel fell to the ground, almost inch of metal had rusted away. We will have to buy new channel and attach is to the side frames. Given that our cars are stored inside, rusting should not be a concern with the rebuilt truck. Paul Ritterholf called me this week to say that the foundry has cast the modified brake shoe in aluminum. When we get this sample brake shoe back, we will make sure it will fit in the brake head and have the proper offset to match the Baltimore gauge wheels.

     I forgot to mention that when we lifted the crane off the truck, the crane cables bent the roof overhang on the end of the cab. Ed straightened it out and it looks as good as new.

     Saturday the museum participated in the Towson 4th July Parade. The Museum's house car was pulled in the parade by two horses. I am not sure who was involved loading the horse car on the trailer, taking it to the parade, or loading back on the trailer, but I know a lot of people helped, I will let you know who they were if someone can give me a list. I hope to have some pictures of the horse car as it went past me in the next few weeks. I was helping with parade organizers with radio communications and was stationed with a medic unit along the route during the entire morning.

     Once I was clear of my duties at the parade, I meet Ed and Rick down at the museum and we put the PCC on the pit for a mini inspection. Everything looked OK in the propulsion controls and the car ran as expected. We check the sloop in the swing link on the front truck and decided that this fall, after 1164 comes back in service, we will readjust the shims in the swing links slightly.

     Saturday had a light turnout of visitors. With all the parades around town, it is hard to compete. Carl Merson dispatched with Ray Cannon, Ben M Bates, C. Ben Bates and John Diefenbach as crew.

     Sunday was an off day for the shop, but Ray Cannon dispatched with Sharon Higgins, Carl Thistel and Buster Hughes as crew. We had more visitors, but it was still somewhat light. When I left at 5 PM Andy Blumberg was taking pictures on 554.

     I hope everyone had a pleasant and safe 4th.

     The reports for the next few weeks may be very short. I am in a Gilbert and Sullivan Musical and the next two weekends are performance days.


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