spacer BSM Track Updates . . .

John LaCosta

Track Updates for December 4, 2001

John LaCosta    S orry for the long absence, but I have been on travel for a large part of the last 4 months or buried with real work. Hopefully these updates will start to appear more frequently.

     Over the last four months much has happened.

     We have added a new car to the revenue fleet, 4533. This is the result of a dedicated effort by a number of people and the result looks great! The museum now has its first old style air brake car, and a one man car at that. At this time over half of the operating staff have been trained and qualified on the car and it should be seen most operating days during the winter.

     The Witt, 6119, has needed some repair during this period as well. The car had started to randomly stop running, no mater what the operator did, the car would not move. To make a long story short, we had to drop the controller from the car and send it up to our 22nd street shop for troubleshooting and repair. The problem was found rather quickly once it was disassembled, too much oil. The controller was cleaned, reinstalled and the Witt was back to normal. The long term goal it to stop the oil from getting to the controller, but that will be another story to tell later.

     The PCC, 7407, also needed some attention. After a review on the pit, a minor adjustment of the brakes cylinders made it as good as new.

     While 22nd street is the location of our shop, it also is where we store the big and bulky spare equipment used to maintain the cars. The good news is we have collected more spares than we have used. The bad news is that we were running out of space. The solution was to find a better way to store it. After a lot of work, new heavy duty, and I do mean heavy duty, shelving was installed and now we have room to move. I hope to recover from that task, but again, another story for a later time.

     The shop was also very busy supporting the restoration of 4533, making numerous parts. The shop solving the inconsistent door opening and closing speed that had been a problem from the first time the car arrived. It turned out that the transit company had not bothered to maintain the door motors. After our shop added some missing parts, and cleaned the door motors, the doors started to work as originally designed. Another major area was the fabrication of fold-down steps for each door. These steps were removed when the car was converted to a work car and were not saved by the transit company. We had the car, knew it needed steps, but did not have the originals. Using both pictures and sample parts from similar cars, new castings were made and the fold-down steps were installed on that car.

     The Transportation department is happy to report that the three new students are well along their way to becoming new additions to our staff. Expect to start seeing some new faces on the cars as these new transportation members start their student trips over the next weeks.

     The track gang finished the tie replacement on the main line and started to work on the second track. Working on the second track quickly turned into a brush-trimming task that took on a life of its own. The good news is they are winning and you can see the second track.

     A major change in the Visitors Center is the expansion of the O gauge layout. A car house has been added and the rest of the layout has been upgraded.

     Since we are getting close to Christmas, the crew has been busy inside and out getting the museum decorated. The outside lights have been checked, tree installed and decorated, train under the tree installed, etc.

     One of my other tasks is to collect data on the number of visitors to the museum and how many people ride the cars. Good news, we have been holding our own, or even starting to grow. Tell your friends to come down and visit, the more the merrier.

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