spacer BSM Track Updates . . .

by
John LaCosta


August 26 - October 6, 2007 Update


John LaCostaSeptember continued with warm temperatures, no rain and lots of track work on the second track. 

With ballast distributed along the entire length of the second track, the tamping machine was moved from track 3 in front of the car house to the new track four. With the tamper at the south end of the new track, a laser rail level was used to jack up the low spots on the new line. This involved digging out ballast between every 6th tie under each rail and placing a track jack. Once the jacks were all in place, we have over 30, the rail was jack up to align it to the proper height using laser track level. With all the track level, the tamper went from tie to tie tamping the ballast under each rail. The tamping forces the stone under the tie to support it. The tamper is also much faster than doing it manually, and given the warm temperatures, we all welcomed the mechanized tamper. It was always fascinating while jacking the track up, to see all of the ballast "disappear. It disappeared event faster once the tamper went by. The more we had raised a section of track, the more the stone disappeared. 

Since we needed at least one more lift to get stone under the entire track, it was back to the ballast car. Once the ballast was in place, it was back to the jacking. We used my transit to level the track since the laser level was not behaving, it's always good to have a backup.  With the second lift competed, it was time to return the ballast car, so it was back onto Ed trailer for its trip back north.

With the track gang clear of the new track, the Line department spent the day putting up the cross arms on seven line poles in preparation to hand the overhead wire. The line crew (2 of us) first had to clear back a lot of trees that were too close to the new track for the very high line car. What we had hoped to be a fast project turned into a slow one with the line crew dropping to one person. me, for a part of the afternoon. By 7 PM we had all of the cross arms up and are planning to hang the overhead wire in the next month or two.

During this period the PCC spent a far amount of time in the shop. The first was for a problem with the air operated doors. When I finally found the problem, and swapped parts to repair the air solenoid value, the piping had broken, so that had to be repaired as well. By mid-month it was back in the shop with waht turned out to be problems with the traction motor control system. As I write this report, we have fond the problem and have started to correct it, but it will take a couple weeks to complete the repair.

The restoration crew continues to work on the single truck car and are busy working on the interior of the car and the end doors.

And as always the 22nd street shop has been making parts for the restoration crew. The other major project is to convert the Philadelphia PCC trucks to Baltimore gauge. This involves making a large spacer plate and new bolts to hold the wheel together. They have completed a test axel and are now making the parts to convert one of the PCC line car truck to Baltimore gauge.

The end of September was members day and they were treated to the snow sweeper on display outside the car house on the new trak four, the first car to under its own power on that track.

Digging for track jacksSteve and Carl busy digging out ballast to allow the jack to be set under the rail  Jacking the track
With the jacks in place, the crew is ready to jack it to the proper alighment. The white board on the rail is part of the laser level.
TampingThe jacks can be seen in front of the tamper. As the tamper jets to each jack, the jacks are removed.SweeperSnow sweeper on track four outside of the car house.
Line CarLine car in position to install cross arm on wooden line pole. The ladder is used to work on the pole while the top of the line car is used to place and hold the cross arm in place while the support wire is attached to the pole.Painting the number
Buster doing the final touch-up of the sweeper's car number.
PCC SpacerThe PCC spacer, its solid steel and 1 1/8" thick. CJ is cutting the center hole to the proper diameter.PCC BoltsThe addition of the spacer requires replacement bolts, and her is the shop using its turret lathe to make the replacement bolts.
127 Door
Buster and Dave working on the door.
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