August 9, 2007
Repairs to Tie Inserter
The latest repair task was to build up the tie gripper jaws where they
were worn. These jaws spend their operating life sliding in and
out of the ballast and dirt, meaning that the steel is worn down from
use. Also, the surface that grips the ties becomes smooth from
wear, while it should be dimpled in order to properly grip the wood without
slipping. The repair method selected was to build up the worn surfaces
with welding. For this purpose, Joel C. removed the tie jaws and
took them to the welding shop.
Also in the photo, the gripping surface of the tie jaw can be seen. The original surface was a waffle-grid for maximum gripping power. Over the years, as the original grid was worn away, a random pattern of bumps had been built up on the surface to give it more gripping power. After the new 1/2" steel plates had been welded in place, a series of new bumps were welded in place. This was done using a hard-facing welding electrode, in order for the bumps to last as long as possible.
With the tie jaws repaired, they were installed with new bolts onto the workhead of the Tie Inserter. Hopefully, the repaired jaws will give many years of use before they wear away to this extent again.
August 7, 2007
Repairs to the Tamper
The Tamper uses solenoid operated hydraulic valves, and has limit switches that trigger certain actions of the machine as the workheads do their job. These limit switches are located on the exterior of the machine, and are exposed to the weather. This has caused problems in the past. In fact, almost every winter, one or more of the limit switches will have a problem due to water leaking into the switch and causing corrosion of the electrical and mechanical parts. The problem here is that the body gaskets of the switch are old and no longer hold out the weather they way they were designed. Replacing the gaskets was not an option since in the thirty years since the machine was made, the manufacturer of the limit switches has moved on to another design that uses a different gasket. The solution, then, was to replace the limit switches with new ones.
Six new limit switches were purchased for this project. The old ones were unscrewed from their mounting bases, and the wires disconnected. The new ones fortunately fit the same footprint, so installation was easy. In the photo, the upper limit switch is one of the old ones ready to be removed. In the middle, the new limit switch base is installed, ready for the wires to be connected. The lower limit switch is the new one complete. With the new wires connected, the operating head of each switch was screwed into place, and the replacement was complete. Hopefully, the coming wet season will be free of limit-switch problems.
Track Crew work party day
July 26, 2007
Tie Inserter Repairs
One of the items that was missing from the Tie Inserter when we got it was the travel safety latch for the inserter workhead. Instead, a chain was looped over the front of the machine to support the workhead while traveling. While this was functional, it wasn’t very easy to use, and tended to encourage the unsafe practice of not latching the workhead for travel. In order to improve the machine safety, Joel C. decided to make a new latch.
Fortunately, there was an identical latch on the machine at the other end, supporting the scarifier workhead. Joel removed the double hook of the latch to use it as a pattern for the missing one. The double hook was made from two flame-cut pieces of 3/4 inch steel plate, separated by a section of pipe. This weldment was in turn was supported by a steel pin made from round bar, and two eyes also made from 3/4 steel plate.
After the hooks were roughed out by flame cutting from the plate, holes were drilled in them for the pin and the hook. In the first photo, the old hook used for a pattern is shown with the rough-cut hooks ready for drilling. Once the holes were drilled, the hooks were finished by grinding. When the various pieces were prepared, the hooks were welded together with the pipe spacer to form the double hook. Then the eyes were welded to the frame of the tie inserter, and the latch assembled.The second photo shows the completed latch in place on the front of the machine. The round bar below the double hook is the part on the inserter that engages the hooks to hold it up for traveling. With the latch complete, it became apparent that some system was needed to conveniently disengage it from the workhead when the machine goes to work. While there was no evidence that such a thing existed before, it was decided to make an operating handle for the latch. A piece of 1/2" round bar was formed to an appropriate shape, and welded onto one of the hooks. This is easily reached from the operator’s position, and keeps the hands away from potential pinch points while operating the latch.
July 7, 2007
Track Crew work day
Being inside the Car House, the track is used to store streetcars. The first task, then, was to get the track cleared out so the crew could go to work. The Operations Department stepped up to the task, helping by moving all the cars out of the way first thing in the morning. Then the Track Crew marshaled their equipment and went to work.
Trying out the new digger flap on the Tie Inserter for the first time, it proved to be quite useful in excavating a slot in the dirt next to the track for extracting and inserting the ties. As it turned out, most of the ties were so deteriorated that they were extracted in small pieces, by breaking the old tie with picks and shovels, and picking out the pieces. Once the old ties were removed, the scarifier attachment of the Tie Inserter machine was used to clean out the old tie hole, making space for the new tie to be inserted. With everything prepared, the new ties were lined up and inserted using the Tie Inserter. In the photo, the Track Crew is using the Tie Inserter to install the new ties, while the Tamper waits in the background to tamp them up after insertion. Finally, the Crew installed tie plates, and drove the spikes to hold the track. With all these new ties, this track in the Car House has a new lease on life and should serve well. The Track Crew for this day was Jerry A., Joel C., Robert M., and Pete W.
With the tie work complete inside the Car House, the Crew continued on to replace ties in the turnout just outside. All the ties marked for replacement in this turnout were replaced, making good progress on this work. Of course, there are lots of ties yet to be replaced, so the Track Crew will continue with this work for some time to come. The work of completed on this day represented some of the most difficult and complicated work to be done, so it was satisfying to see it completed.
July 5 , 2007
Repairs to the tie inserter
Before installing the new piece, the remains of the old one had to be removed. The machine was brought into the shop, and the workhead tie clamps were removed to provide working space. The old welds were cut and ground to remove them. Finally, the remainder of the old plate was pried loose. It was quite thin, about 1/16 inch in thickness where it started life at 1/2 inch. All that wear was due to many, many ties removed and inserted. Next the new piece was positioned on the workhead and held in place using a small bottle jack. When it was accurately positioned, it was welded all around. The photo shows the workhead, partly dismantled for access, ready to receive the new slide plate with hinged flap. With the welding completed, the workhead was reassembled. Now the machine will be ready to excavate slots in the ballast shoulder for inserting the new ties. The Track Crew will try this out on the next work party day.
With a little time left in the day, Joel C. continued by replacing the turntable valve. This was a matter of removing the bolts holding it in place, transferring the hoses to the new valve, and bolting it up. This was very satisfying, since once replaced, the machine functioned properly by holding itself up on the center jack. This will make using the turntable much easier.
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