spacer BSM Track Updates . . .
John LaCosta

Track Updates for May 17, 1998

    O ur Saturday training class continued with Greg Thompson and Charlie Plantholt. Ray Cannon and I split the instructor duty with Ray teaching the Car House portion and I with the cashier and single truck operation.

     For those that have never run a streetcar, the session with Ray is the first one that the students get to practice parking a streetcar very close to another one. For this session the other streetcar is a plastic can, next week is the actual streetcar. Parking a streetcar is not an easy task and takes practice and concentration. Using the plastic can helps the students gain confidence without having to worry about hitting a real streetcar.

     Saturday Ed Amrhein, Rick Obbink and, after class, Greg Thompson continued to work on the PCC. They drained and replaced the oil in the rear truck axles and installed one of the two reworked brake beams on the front truck. They also replaced the frayed parking brake cable between the two brake beams on the front truck.

     The most interesting part of replacing the brake beams was to adjust the brake shoes. Unlike the drum brakes on an automobile, these brakes have three separate adjustments. The first adjustment keeps the brake shoe "parallel to the wheel when the brake is released. The second adjustment keeps the brake shoe "parallel to the wheel when the brake is applied. The third adjustment determines the piston travel of the air brake cylinder (it should be no more than 1- inches).

     The first and second adjustments require using a 1/16-inch shim, applying the brakes, and then tightening two bolts. If every thing works right, when the shim is removed and the brakes are released, the brake shoe will be in the right position. The third adjustment will have to wait until we get the other brake beam in place.

     During the afternoon I also spent time in the Visitor's Center tracing down a problem with the fire alarm system. Fortunately the system is not inoperative, but it is sending a warning to the monitoring company. After a number of tests it was isolated to either a bad wire or the monitoring company's unit.

     Sunday Rick spent the afternoon replacing the lights in the pit and painting one of the two pit walls. The pit is about five feet deep and made of concrete. After many years of use, the concrete has gotten very dirty and does not reflect the light very well. For what Rick said, the pit is a much brighter place, he painted the one wall white, Next week he will try to finish the painting.


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