Western Rail Road Museum Maintenance and Restoration Shop News

Shop News Archive

November 2012


Over the last three months, shop volunteers contributed over 1700 hours working on several different cars. Here are highlights of our work.

Considerable work was done on restoring Portland Traction 4001. Progress on this project will be reported separately.

We continue to work on installing controllers and brake valves on Oakland Antioch &Eastern interurban trailer 1020 so that it can be used as a control trailer in a train with Sacramento Northern 1005. Since we are restoring equipment which was removed from the car, considerable time has been spent studying car 1020 and its un-restored sister car 1019 to find evidence of where equipment and pipes were originally installed. This information is a valuable guide to the restoration.

We began by installing the large 1-1/4" electrical conduits and junction boxes which carry the control wiring underneath the car to the controllers and inner-car connection plugs at each end of the car. Because these conduits are difficult to fit in place and to bend, they were installed first. Smaller air pipes and electrical conduits will be routed around them. After we installed the conduits, we pulled 14 wires into each of the empty conduits and connected the wires to the appropriate controller or connection plug at one end and junction box at the other. The junction box at each end of the car has four such conduits coming into it; it was a large job to neatly and correctly connect that many wires.

While the electrical conduits were being installed much work was done cleaning, servicing, and painting the shutoff cocks, whistles, signal valves and other needed brake and safety equipment All of these parts are used parts, many of which have been in storage for many years, and all needed work to restore them to working condition. Once the conduits had been installed we began installing the pipes for the air brake controls and the air signal systems.

Since 1020 will often be the lead car of a train, it must be equipped with pilots ("cowcatchers") to keep objects away from the wheels during emergencies as it was in service. We found two rusty pilots from a scrapped Sacramento Northern locomotive in our storage area. We replaced damaged parts and designed and fabricated new brackets to mount the pilots under the car. The pilots and brackets were sent to a local shop for sandblasting and powder coating and we have installed them on the car.

Folding doors protect the car's controls when not in use and form operator's cabs when needed. We stripped and repainted the doors, restored the door latch hardware and mounted the doors on the car.

Sacramento Northern 44-ton diesel locomotive 146 is being serviced as time permits. Its air brake reservoirs, which were damaged many years before its arrival at the Museum, have been removed and will be replaced with ones from a similar SN locomotive which was scrapped in the Midwest. These replacement reservoirs were hydrostatically tested and found to be in good condition. New mounting brackets for the reservoirs are being fabricated and the reservoirs will be installed soon.

Meanwhile, East Bay Street Railways car 352, one of our regular operating cars, experienced a resistor grid failure. We fabricated a new grid assembly from spare parts in stock and installed it on the car allowing a quick return to service.

A large government-surplus sheet metal shear was installed in the shop. Our first use of this tool has been to cut sheet metal needed to restore Portland traction 4001.

Several pieces of track maintenance equipment also were in the shop for repair. Shop volunteers have also spent considerable time rearranging our large stock of spare parts which are stored in the old parking lot. Their work included finishing the "wheel garden" (special tracks to store the many wheel and axle sets which had been scattered around the yard). Their efforts make it easier to located needed parts and give this part of the museum campus a much more professional appearance.

The shop crew works on Wednesdays and Saturdays. You are welcome to join us.

Shop News Archive