Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Yet another San Diego U2 preserved

Thanks to Chris Baldwin of the Orange Empire Railway Museum, who alerted me to the fact that at the end of March yet another San Diego U2 type LRV made it into preservation. This time it was SDMTS 1002, donated to the San Diego Electric Railway Association and moved to that organization's site at National City. The car is now on static display there along with an unusual assortment of other traction equipment including an ex-St. Louis Public Service PCC, a Seattle Birney, and a couple of foreign single-truckers along with one ex-San Diego California car.

This is the seventh San Diego U2 to be preserved, including one car that SDMTS has apparently earmarked for its own historic collection. That's equal to the number of extant Boeing-Vertol LRV cars, and that number of Boeing cars includes a couple of work cars retained by the MBTA that may or may not make it into museum preservation. There are currently no light rail cars that aren't either Boeing LRVs or San Diego U2s on the PNAERC list. But you never know when that might change!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Postcard from Tetepilco

While looking for photos taken at the Museo de Transportes Electricos del Distrito Federal, or Federal District Electric Transportation Museum, in Mexico City I stumbled across some interesting updates. Again, I'm a little behind the times on this, but it's good to get the roster updated nonetheless. The thing that surprised me most is that a few years back (apparently in 2012 or 2013) the museum cosmetically restored a second PCC. The car, Servicio de Transportes Electricos del Distrito Federal 2434, is shown above in the only picture I've been able to come across showing it. The last I knew of this car it was in dead storage at nearby Tetepilco Shops (as seen in the car's record linked above) so I was surprised that it had been fixed up and put on display. It's something of a contrast with the other PCC on display at the museum, STE 2192, which was cosmetically restored back in 2006. That car (which is lettered 2784 for reasons totally unknown to me) is an ex-Detroit car and somewhat more closely resembles its original American appearance. Car 2434, though, is an ex-Minneapolis car and received a few extra modifications including smaller front doors and a different windshield. It has been updated to reflect the fact that it's now on public display.

Photos of this museum are hard to come by online, but as luck would have it, it's easily visible from Google Street View! From the street you can easily see the body of line car 1303 with car 2434 behind it, with PCC 2192 and car 0 down the track from the line car.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Two electrics leave Noblesville

The City of Noblesville has now officially evicted the Indiana Transportation Museum from Forest Park. Most of the remaining electrics owned by ITM are still in the park and are now under the authority, if not the property, of the city. A previous post on Wednesday had noted that Singer 1 was moved to temporary storage in Francesville on Wednesday the 10th. It's now been confirmed that the locomotive was sold to RAIL Foundation of Michigan City. Definite plans for the diminutive locomotive have not been finalized but it is intended that it be preserved and placed on display. For the time being its ownership has been updated.

Another piece of electric equipment that left Forest Park on Wednesday was the Lafayette Birney body shown above (well, you'll have to use your imagination!) in a photo taken about a week ago. This car, whose number is unknown, has also been acquired by RAIL Foundation and moved into temporary storage in Francesville. It is intended that the car be preserved and, eventually, restored.

These two departures leave a total of 12 pieces of electric railway equipment still listed under ITM ownership. Three are Lackawanna MU cars stored in Cicero on a privately-owned siding, so it's thought that those cars are still under ITM ownership and control. Of the other nine, ownership is uncertain given the eviction order but most are thought to have been sold (at least on paper) to other organizations. For the time being, I'm following my longtime practice of not considering a car's ownership to be formally transferred until the car itself has moved, hence the nine pieces of equipment remaining in Forest Park will remain listed under ITM ownership until they're relocated. Whether that happens sooner or later is tough to predict.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Third El Paso PCC rebuild returns to Texas

Silk Road Transport has posted on their Facebook page, which unfortunately is not accessible if you don't have a Facebook account, a photo of the third El Paso PCC en route back home. This one is car 1504, which like previously-completed rebuilds 1506 and 1512 was part of an early order of PCC cars built for San Diego and was later sold to El Paso. It's also had its original early GE-built PCC equipment removed (and possibly scrapped, though I hope that's not the case) and replaced with new European-built all-electric equipment generally similar to Westinghouse PCC equipment.

Car 1504 has also been painted in a different livery than the first two rebuilds; while they were painted in mint green with a red belt rail (example here), this latest car is painted in a slightly older livery of mint green with a dark green belt rail (example here). It will be interesting to see if any cars end up in either National City Lines "fruit salad" or the later green/red/yellow/white color schemes that were also used in El Paso. Regardless, car 1504 has now been moved over to Sun Metro as its owner and its condition has been changed to "operated often" in anticipation of testing and later revenue service.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Noblesville update

The Indiana Transportation Museum officially gets evicted from its site in Forest Park in Noblesville in a day or so, and plans for the equipment seem to have been changing quickly. The current status or condition of the equipment - at least, the electric equipment - haven't changed quite as quickly. Most of the traction collection is in the same state and location it was a week or two ago.
The big change is with Singer 1, the diminutive 250v switching locomotive that was stored in a small display building along with the Indianapolis mule car. The Singer locomotive was evidently moved on the 10th into storage in Francesville, Indiana, north of Lafayette about halfway between Noblesville and Chicago. Final plans for this locomotive have not been solidified. Its new location - as well as a control type (it's the only piece of equipment on the roster with K-21 control) - has been noted on the PNAERC roster.
Of the other electric equipment on-site, Twin Branch 4 has had its condition changed from "displayed" to "stored" given that ITM is no longer really open to the public. A visit to ITM by yours truly allowed me to add a motor type - it has WH 908CD motors, the same type as the Phelps-Dodge locomotives preserved in Arizona - and allowed me to figure out what type of master controller it has. It has 349C2 master controllers but unfortunately I don't know whether its control wiring scheme is HB, HBF, or what (it's a battery locomotive so I'm assuming not HL). Anyone know?

I was also able to get updated photos of some of the electric cars at ITM and they're online here, on our sister blog Hicks Car Works.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Yonkers sweeper goes to Rockhill

Third Avenue Railway 59, a snow sweeper that had operated for TARS subsidiary Yonkers Railroad, has been sold by Branford to the Rockhill Trolley Museum. A more-or-less typical McGuire single-truck snow sweeper, number 59 was retired early, in 1952, and acquired from TARS by the museum. Unfortunately its condition deteriorated significantly over the years. It was transferred to Rockhill for use as a parts source for Iowa Terminal 3, a similar McGuire snow sweeper that spent a few years at Branford and made its way to RTM in 2012 in trade for a Washington sweeper that went to National Capital. The Iowa sweeper at Rockhill has running gear problems, but components from TARS 59 will make it operational.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Capital Traction 27 update

Many thanks to Wesley Paulson of the National Capital Trolley Museum, who has sent along this update of the restoration work being done on Capital Traction 27 (later DC Transit 766):

Restoration nears completion on Capital Traction 27 (Kuhlman 1918). Long familiar as "766", its post-1933 merger roster number, Capital Traction 27 now wears the livery from its early 1930s rebuild.  The Museum decided to restore the car to the 1930s time point to interpret a standard two-man car from that era.  A restoration to an as-built status was determined to be too extensive since the car retains most of the modifications from the rebuilding, including seating and mechanical changes.  It was necessary to remove modifications made by Capital Transit when the car was converted to one-man operation in 1944, including a treadle door and opening the platform doors on the "blind side" of the car.
Interior restoration included stripping paint and varnishing exposed wood surfaces, replacing the ceiling lining, and reupholstering the seats (not shown).  All window frames were rebuilt or replaced.  A traditional fare register will be installed but the original linkage through the car was destroyed in the 2003 fire, having been removed when the car arrived at the Museum in 1970. 
The current project does not include a mechanical restoration.  The car was rewired in this phase of the project, but new brake piping must be installed before the car can operate on its own.  Current plans are to display the car for its 100th birthday in Streetcar Hall.  And open the interior for inspection on special event days.

The restoration was supported by the 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation, the Chevy Chase Land Company, Monarch Paint Company, the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, the Maryland Historic Trust, Heritage Montgomery, and many generous individual donors.

Keith Bray, Bruce Thain and Ed Blossom provided professional services in support of the project over many years.