Western Rail Road Museum Maintenance and Restoration Shop News

Shop News Archive

November 2011


This fall the shop crew has continued to work on Sacramento Northern 1005. Because the power resistors were removed to be replaced, the control resistors could be repaired and otherwise inaccessible parts of the brake system serviced. The cast iron frame which holds the control resistors on Sacramento Northern 1005 was repaired and painted. The iron frame was cracked and had to be sent out to be furnace-brazed back together. Resistor elements were installed in it. Several replacements were used to replace elements which were open and no longer functional. Some of the control resistors had run so hot that one of the terminal boards was charred and required replacement. The assembly was then installed under the car and connected to the electrical system and tested.

The brake system’s automatic slack adjuster was removed and repaired. It had not been serviced for many years since it is only accessible when the power resistors are removed from the car. The slack adjuster keeps the brake cylinder piston travel at the same value as the brake shoes and wheels wear. This allows for uniform stopping regardless of the amount of wear. In addition to the slack adjuster repairs, some improper modifications to the brake lever system were removed. It is suspected that stops were added at one end of the car to allow clearance for the train control equipment added when 1005 started running over the Bay Bridge. However, the stop had been poorly designed and reduced the braking force on one truck.

The power resistors on 1005 generate a lot of heat, which had charred some of the cleat blocks holding electrical wiring, and could have ignited the wooden floor of the car. A heat shield made of cement board was designed, manufactured, and installed underneath the floor to protect it.

While the power resistors were removed from the car, several otherwise inaccessible areas were cleaned and painted.

After all the work above the power resistor area was done, the wiring from the voltage changeover switch and the switch group to the power resistors was replaced as the original wire was badly deteriorated. Considerable study was required to plan the installation of the wires since the large #2 wire is very difficult to bend. Since the heat from the resistor grids would have charred the rubber insulation on the wires running above them, that insulation was removed and the bare wires were threaded through new maple cleat blocks which were insulated with cement board. The new resistor assemblies were then mounted under the car and connected to the new wires. This completed the year-long project to replace the power resistors.

The two M-24 brake valves on 1005 were serviced, and some internal parts were exchanged for those on other valves in storage so that both of the brake valves would have the same behavior when stopping the car. Car 1005 had been converted to Key System motorman’s valves and triple valve. These have been removed and the proper M-24-A motorman’s valve and M2B triple valve are now back on the car.

There are still several items left before the project is complete, but training of operators for 1005 has begun.

Work continues on Sacramento Northern electric locomotive 652. Many spare parts which had been stored in the locomotive for many years were removed and placed in the Blakemore Warehouse. Paint scraping and priming continues in the cab. The couplers were serviced and lubricated, and two new knuckle pins were machined. One of the pins was bent and the other was the wrong kind. Work continues to free up stuck valves in the head from one of the air compressors.

On Shipyard Railway 563, work continues on preparing the trucks, truss rods, and other exterior metal work for painting. The end doors and interior doors to the cabs have been removed, and are being stripped and rebuilt as needed. Many pieces of interior woodwork have been cleaned and varnished, and work continues on repairing the deteriorated decks at each end. The electrical conduits for the color-coded route designator lights on the roof have been rebuilt and await installation.

Window shades were installed in Sacramento Northern caboose 1632 on all of the windows including the end door windows. These were missing when the caboose arrived at the Western Railway Museum, but one was found in a locker and was used as a sample to make replacements..

Visalia Electric diesel locomotive 502 received its annual inspection, and various final adjustments to its newly-overhauled #1 diesel engine.

Machine work, assembly and painting continue on the new seats for Peninsular Railway 61.

Petaluma & Santa Rosa combine 63 was in the shop for air brake repairs. The quick release valve, emergency valve, safety valve, and compressor governor were all serviced.

The shop crew welcomes other Museum members who want to join us on our Wednesday and Saturday work sessions. We can use your old skills and teach you new ones. For much of our work, the most important skill is patience.

Shop News Archive