Thursday, February 22, 2018

Warehouse Point updates

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Trolling Flickr sometimes yields recent information on cars on the PNAERC list. Looking through recently-posted photos of an event at Warehouse Point in 2017 provided some updates on a couple of ConnCo cars at that museum. Car 65, formerly in storage, has been repainted and is now on display in the museum's enviable Visitor Center (above). And another ConnCo suburban car, 1326, which was damaged by vandals in 2010, is back in operation as shown below.
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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Branford updates

I recently got my hands on a newsletter from Branford that included updates of some of the car restoration work being performed there. Some of their restoration projects, such as PSCT 4584 and TARS 884, continue to see regular progress. But there are also a couple of new (or perhaps "new to me" would be more accurate) restoration projects that have resulted in PNAERC listing updates. First, C&LE 116, one of four surviving "Red Devil" high-speed cars, has been noted as under restoration. Though the car is not operational due to flooding, the exterior has been restored and a complete interior restoration is currently underway. There's also ConnCo 1802, a 1917 Wason steel car, which is being repainted and is evidently getting other work done as well. Finally, there was an interesting article on B&QT 8361, a Brooklyn Peter Witt recently acquired in unrestored condition from the Trolley Museum of New York. This noted that the car last ran in 1954 and also listed off the locations that it called home during its wandering years with TMNY. According to the article this was the first car acquired by TMNY, in April 1955, and between 1955 and c1967 it was stored in the B&O yard at St. George on Staten Island. It was then moved to Tansboro, NJ to the Trolley Valhalla site there, but only remained a short time until it was moved again to Morristown c1969. There it stayed until in 1976 it returned home to the Coney Island Shops of the NYCTA, where it was part of a stillborn plan to run historic streetcars on the old South Brooklyn Railway line. It left Coney Island in 1982 for the Brooklyn Army Terminal, whence it left for the permanent TMNY site in Kingston in 1988. Whew!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

CLS&SB 73 interior

Bob Harris was kind enough to send along this recent interior photo of Chicago Lake Shore & South Bend 73 showing the state of the restoration at the moment. Glen Guerra and Gary Stott have been working on the car and Bob has said he will forward some additional photos as he receives them. Stay tuned!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Orange Empire updates

I had a chance to visit Orange Empire for the first time in some 13 years last week and it was quite an interesting visit. It was during the week, so nothing was running, but the volunteers there were kind enough to show me around and take me through all of the barns. The "new" barn, the six-track behemoth towards the east side of the property, was especially impressive. And as one might expect, the visit resulted in a number of changes to the PNAERC listings for equipment owned by the museum.

First there is Bamberger 127, shown below, the ex-Fonda Johnstown & Gloversville "Bullet car" which was formerly listed as under restoration. The restoration effort seems to be paused for the moment so it's been changed to "displayed inoperable."
Nearby in the same barn was San Diego Electric Railway 508, an early PCC that was sitting forlornly outdoors the last time I saw it around 2005 but has now been beautifully repainted inside and out and looks like it's nearly ready for service. Its status has been changed to "undergoing restoration" though it may already be a regular service car, I'm not completely certain. Off to the right is Pacific Electric 1624 which has been changed from "stored" to "displayed."

And then there was the line of Pacific Electric "Hollywood cars" shown below. Orange Empire owns no fewer than five of these cars: car 717 is one of their regular service cars while car 655 was recently acquired in semi-restored condition and is in line for restoration work. That leaves the three cars below, which a decade ago were stored outside (as attested by their faded appearance) on display but are now stored safely inside the new barn. However they're not really on public exhibit - at least I don't think they are, as the volunteer docent showing me around didn't seem familiar with this part of the barn - so their condition has been changed from "display" to "stored." From left to right that's car 637, car 716, and car 5123.
In that same part of the new barn was Pacific Electric 1000, the business car "Commodore." It too has been changed from "displayed" to "stored."
Below is San Diego Electric Railway 1003, ex-Utah Light & Traction 656, whose condition belies its historical significance as the only preserved city car from Salt Lake City. Similarly to the "Hollywood" cars this car used to be stored in a fairly prominent display position on the OERM property. It has also been changed from "displayed" to "stored" but it has made its way to the far back of the property on the other side of the fence. I assume it's still owned by the museum though.
And finally there's Los Angeles Transit Lines 1435, which I was surprised to see at Orange Empire at all since the last I knew it was privately owned and stored in Los Angeles. But I shouldn't have been surprised, as this blog post from the ATRRM blog points out that the car arrived in Perris in early 2016. Unfortunately it has arrived to be scrapped; Orange Empire owns two other cars from this exact series in better condition, 1423 and 1450, and car 1435 is missing a great number of parts that were stripped by Muni for eventual use on Johnstown 351. The ATRRM post also corrects an error formerly included in the car's PNAERC listing; I had thought the ill-fated trip north from Orange Empire, and subsequent transfer to Muni, was in 1993 but this suggests it was actually 1975. That has been corrected and the car's ownership has been changed from Electric Railway Historical Association to OERM.
And then there were a few cars that had changed since my last visit or just caught my eye, even if no PNAERC changes were made. Below is Los Angeles Transit Lines 2601, the very unusual prototype Peter Witt. This is a rare example of a traditional pre-PCC car. Not many streetcars were built between the onset of the Depression and the advent of the PCC so this car is a rarity. It is undergoing a thorough and long-term restoration.
Another long-term restoration is Pacific Electric 498, the museum's "Blimp" combine. This ex-Interurban Electric Railway car has just recently been painted and looks gorgeous. As with SDER 508, its restoration may be just about done but I'm not entirely sure.
There isn't really anything new about PE 1001, I'm just a fan of big wooden interurban cars. What a classic! To the far right is PE 655, mentioned earlier.
Here's something of a mystery: Orange Empire owns three "Huntington standard" bodies of Los Angeles Railways cars, cars 744, 807, and 836. Anyone know which one this photo shows?
This isn't Orange Empire per se, but rather a next door neighbor. Visible from the back of the property are two Los Angeles Railway "sow-belly" center-entrance car bodies, cars 34 and 44, listed under Electric Railway Historical Association ownership and located on private property adjacent to the museum. (OERM has a car of this class, LARy 936, in much better shape.) Also located on the property are the body of San Diego 201 and a Toronto PCC.
You can even see them on Google aerial photos. Who knows...

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

First rebuilt El Paso PCC outshopped

More news shows up on Facebook: the El Paso Streetcar page there posted a few photos late yesterday showing the first of the El Paso PCC cars to be outshopped by Brookville. It's not clear whether car 1506 is completed or whether it's in some nearly-complete stage of rebuilding, but it looks complete - and certainly looks very different. As shown above the car now has an enormous fairing stretching almost the entire length of the roof which presumably contains air-conditioning equipment and may also contain propulsion or control electronics, I don't know. It also sports a rear-mounted pantograph as well as a variety of new warning lights on the front and rear. That said, the car has kept its original number and is painted in one of El Paso's several PCC liveries, the same mint green with red trim livery worn by the El Paso tribute car in San Francisco.

At the moment I've changed car 1506's description from "prewar PCC" to "modified PCC" but it's still listed as being under restoration, since it's still at Brookville and it's not in operation yet. At the moment it still has its original electrical equipment shown in the listing though I'm pretty sure that's not accurate. I need to get information on what electrical and mechanical equipment is being fitted to these cars by Brookville. Car 1506 is also still noted as owned by Paso del Norte Streetcar Preservation Society, which for decades was the caretaker for the collection of El Paso PCC cars in storage in that city, but I'm not sure that's still accurate. Anyone know who technically owns these El Paso rebuilds and/or will be operating them?

Monday, January 29, 2018

New Jersey historic cars

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Piscataway Township in New Jersey, of all things, has posted on Facebook some photos of a selection of historic New Jersey electric cars. The post shows photos of two cars owned by the United Railroad Historical Society and one car owned by the North Jersey Electric Railway Historical Society, which is closely affiliated with URHS. NJ Transit 5221 and NJ Transit 5223 are rather aged work cars that until only a decade ago served on the Newark subway system. Both of these are cars whose histories are somewhat uncertain; car 5223 in particular is a bit of a mystery, as it was obviously rebuilt from a standard passenger car but which one is unknown to me. The third car is PSCT 2651, a Public Service standard car built in 1917 and subject of a slow long-term restoration effort by NJERHS. (Until now this car has been listed on the roster under the railway name "New Jersey Consolidated Transport" but that has been corrected to PSCT.) All three cars are apparently stored at the site of a Kinkisharyo plant in Piscataway where subway cars from Atlanta will soon be undergoing rebuild. What the long-term plans are for these cars, which have knocked around various locations in the northeast including the National Capital Trolley Museum and Lyons Industries in Pennsylvania, is uncertain.

And now for the appeal for help: does anyone have any mechanical information on these cars?

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Lake Shore car

Traction preservation aficionados are surely familiar with South Shore cars, the ubiquitous (in the Midwest, anyway) heavyweight steel interurban cars retired in the 1980s and now scattered hither and yon, mostly in disrepair outside a couple of outposts in Illinois and Wisconsin where they operate. But what about Lake Shore cars? There's only one of those: Chicago Lake Shore & South Bend 73, later Chicago South Shore & South Bend 1126, a wood car built by Niles in 1908 and only survivor of the predecessor to the South Shore.

Car 73 is privately owned by Bob Harris, who back in 2004 had it moved to a workshop in southern Illinois and started funding a complete restoration of what started out as a rather decrepit car body. The photo above was taken in 2009, by which point the car's frame and exterior had been totally rebuilt. But with the arrival of the recession work stopped and the car was left stored mid-restoration - until now. Bob recently contacted me to state that restoration work has restarted on the car, and he also sent some very interesting information on car 73's history which has informed changes to its PNAERC listing. The below data comes from a spreadsheet Bob forwarded to me with information on car 73's history and equipment.

Car as built in 1908 by Niles
Seats: 54
Trucks: Baldwin MCB 90-35
Motors: 4 x WH 143D (6600vAC single-phase, 125hp)
Control: WH AB-189 C-Y single-end
Weight: 110,000 lbs
Length: 57'2"
Width: 10'0"
Height: 13'8"

Car as rebuilt to CSS&SB 1126 in 1925
Seats: 46
Trucks: Baldwin MCB 90-35
Motors: WH 567C9 (600vDC, 210hp)
Control: WH HBF
Weight: 108,000
Length: 58'4"
Width: 10'0"
Height: 13'8"

Bob notes that the car, already known to have been rebuilt c1909 following a wreck, was assigned the number 1126 when the CLS&SB became the CSS&SB on July 14, 1925 and was shortly thereafter rebuilt for 1500vDC operation as a combine with somewhat reduced seating capacity. He says it was typically assigned to the 12:05am local from Kensington to Hegewisch and return, a role it filled until May 27, 1927, after which it is not thought to have been used in passenger service. It did continue running in work service until December 30, 1938 when it was removed from operation and assigned to be a yard office at Randolph Street. It was permanently retired in December 1940 and the body sold.

As I understand it, the car as restored will be something of a hybrid. From the floor up, it will be as close as possible a restoration to as-built condition. Mechanically, though, as far as I know it will basically be the 1126, including WH 567 motors and 1500-volt electrical equipment. Its original AC equipment is probably extinct and it would be impossible to find anywhere for the car to run, but with 1500vDC equipment there are a few options for it to motor again someday plus the equipment - the same as was used on the South Shore steel cars - is readily available from scrapped steel cars.