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by Rick Henn

"The Blue Flag" - 1/2018

         The winter months are usually a quiet time for the Car Department but not this year. During this time planning goes on for the upcoming year, budgets are detailed and contacts are made to allow us to move forward. Our crew was called to the task right after New Years Day.

(1/2/18) - Today George and I spent an hour in Lockport removing the piping to the "Decelostat valves" on the Society's ex - Union Pacific - Lunch Counter Car #4001.  He took the piping to his house to remove some of the fittings to be reused. The weather is supposed to break soon and we have to be ready to move quickly in getting the lunch counter car ready to ship and taking the brake valves off the coaches.

(1/7/18) - Adam and I went to Medina to get a start on the brake valves. Our goal was to remove the conductors' valves from inside the cars and we accomplished that. We also had to dig through snow a bit over a foot deep to make a path to the cars. I know we have plans to go back tomorrow and that Bill has made special arrangements in order to help so here is the situation. While it is supposed to be warmer tomorrow it is also supposed to be very windy so it could still be unpleasant. Also, neither generator would start so we had no heat. Whether they will start in 10's warmer weather I don't know. The batteries are run down now.

(1/9/18) - Well, the lunch counter car is going to fight us right to the end. George and I went to his work to pick up the compressor. We had hoped to blow out the lines, replace the relay valve, the "decelostat" piping and do an unofficial test with our test device. However, the compressor was buried inside a building behind a snow drift. We did get the new piping in place but that was all.

(1/10/18) - Okay, so today I have some good news and some better news. Cody, Brody and I went to Medina, taking advantage of the relatively mild weather, to remove the brake valves from the cars. It took us about 4 hours to do all five cars, which I felt was pretty good. More good news is that both diesel generators started. They ran for the entire time we were there so they should be fully charged. The next step is to find someone with a big pickup truck that wants to drive to Pittsburgh Air Brake to deliver the valves for rebuilding and testing. We also found out that Brody is a lean-mean-lifting-machine. He picked up the 100 plus pound service portion from the ground and carried it up the steps to put it inside the coach. I would suggest not messing with Brody. The old guy, that would be me, survived the day pretty well but, in all honestly, I let the young ones do the heavy lifting. And we finished before it started to rain.

(1/14/18) - Well, some more good news from Lockport. George, Al and I braved the 14 degree weather to replace the "relay valve" and retest the car. Once again, it did not release the brakes. We spent some time trying this and that before finally placing a call to a guy that knows lots about railcars. After being on the phone with him for about 20 minutes he had George loosen a pipe fitting on the pipe bracket where the service portion hangs. When he did that, there was a hiss of air and we got the release. Here is what we think happened. This car is equipped with a retaining valve and the air from the relay valve vents through it. Apparently the valve gave the folks that sent us the car 12 years ago problems, so they disconnected the line to it which allowed the release to take place. Since we didn't know that, we never checked the line and over the years it got plugged with wasp mud so it would not allow the release. We have to do a quick re-piping, install a "wasp excluder" and then do the official test.

(1/20/18) - It was nice to be able to work outside today with shivering. Art and I met Brody and Cody in Medina to transfer the brake valves from the train to Art's truck. The plan is to deliver them to PABCO on Tuesday the 23rd. We also loaded six seat bottoms into the back seat of his truck that we will take to the upholsterer before we head to Pittsburgh. Well, technically it's Carnegie. George is soaking the locks on the compressor cabinet at the HDC to remove the hoses needed for the COAT&S test.

(1/23/18) - Art and I had a productive day but a long one. We dropped off the six seat bottoms to the upholsterer to be recovered. From there we headed to Carnegie, PA to deliver the brake valves for rebuilding. The trip down was uneventful but we hit a brief period of some nasty weather on the way back north on Route 79.

We came back with a certified test device to, hopefully, complete the work on the lunch counter car. I also picked up a new wasp excluder but we'll have to fabricate the piping we need.

This page was last updated: January 24th, 2018

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