spacer BSM Track Updates . . .
John LaCosta

Track Updates for June 6, 1998

    L ast Monday reminded us of one of the disadvantages of being in the tree lined Jones Falls Valley. After a particularly bad set of storms on Sunday night (5/31) and Monday morning, a tree just north of the substation decided that it would prefer for fall down the hill. It would have succeeded except for some wires that were in the way, our overhead trolley wires.

     We were not the only ones with wires down, the light rail system also had their line out of service with trees on their overhead line. Monday night Ed Amrhein and Mark Hurley removed the tree from the trolley wire. Tuesday afternoon Dennis Yeager, Ed Amrhein and I repaired the overhead. We were fortunate in that while the power feed span from the substation was down, the second track trolley wire was about 6 foot above the rail, one span wire was down and the pull off to the trolley frog was pulled off, no real damage occurred. It took the use of both the line truck and line car to repair the line. Final adjustments were completed on Saturday morning.

     One of the reasons we think the damage was so minimal was that as the tree fell, a series on clamps used to hold the span wires let the span wire "slip" out, absorbing some of the energy of the falling tree, but preventing the tree from breaking the span of trolley wires.

     After the wire adjustment Dennis and I went out the line to trim some trees away from the right of way and measure 28th street loop to prepare for replacement of a number of span wire insulators.

     While we were finishing the overhead repairs and timming the trees, Rick Obbink was busy disassembling the last PCC brake shoe head, cleaning it, and reassembling it. We were fortunate to be able to talk to the repair facility in Boston that reworks air brake PCC cars like our PCC. This allowed us to make sure that the method we planed to use to disassemble them was the proper method.

     The second brake beam was placed under the car and Rick and I installed it and got it ready to adjust. We will finish the adjustment next Saturday.

     During the week, Rick completed painting the pit walls. What everyone had told me was true, with the walls painted white, it seems to be 10 times brighter. The extra light makes it a lot easier to work one the cars since you can see what you are doing.

     Saturday Ray continued the training class, I assume it went OK, but I was too busy with the overhead to check.

     June 6 we started Saturday public service with Mark Hurley as Dispatcher and Greg Thompsom taking his first student conductor run.

     Sunday Rick continued working on the PCC trucks and completed changing the oil in the transmission axles and drained all the oil from the axle bearings. Rick and I hope to have the PCC ready for service by the end of next Saturday. If all goes well the Witt will be next on the pit for it annual inspection.

     Sunday I was Dispatcher so I did not get to do any repair work. We had a reasonable crowd down and things worked well.



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