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Messages - Jason M Lamontagne

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Work and Events / Re: Eames Train Brakes - Official Work Thread
« on: January 01, 2021, 09:59:38 AM »
We are absolutely ECSTATIC with this test.  This is the 5th month of controller testing- with this round we have solved its biggest problem and inadvertently improved another feature many times over.  First- we’ve achieved the full range of vacuum: 0-21 in Hg.  We’d previously only achieved 16 in Hg.

 In doing so, we also reduced the automatic vacuum maintenance hysteresis to a remarkably fabulous less-than 0.5 in Hg swing.  (Our calculations predicted this, however when we were only achieving a hysteresis of 2 in Hg we figured it was unexplained mechanical loss and accepted it.  Turns out the cause was the same as our loss of total range.)

The controller has only a few minor touch up items remaining- the fast-application valve needs to be resprung, and the steam valve seal needs to be reworked.  The quadrant needs travel limit stops and detents, and the valve will then get one final set of internal adjustments.

Please note this controller is based on US Patent 241,334, issued to Fred Eames in 1881.  We used his basic design: a diaphragm which compares vacuum level to a compression spring- however we did make several improvements to improve functionality, sensitive component protection, and compactness.

We are now proceeding fully on construction of two prototype “bellows cylinders,” based directly on US patent 228741.

Tickled pink with this controller, we are!!

Happy New Year,

Museum Discussion / Re: Merry (Victorian) Christmas - 2020 Style!
« on: December 26, 2020, 09:13:20 AM »
I believe it was Jonathan who actually pulled the cord.  Well done, guys.

Merry Christmas everyone.


Volunteers / Re: December 2020 Work Reports
« on: December 18, 2020, 08:32:38 AM »
We got about twice as much snow as predicted in Bath- I presume it’s similar in Alna.  I’m going in to get started cleaning out the railroad today.  I’d appreciate any help.  I suspect it can’t get finished today so be prepared for further cleaning ops tomorrow.


Volunteers / Re: December 2020 Work Reports
« on: December 16, 2020, 07:25:29 AM »
Planning storm cleanup ops in the late morning Saturday. 


Volunteers / Re: December 2020 Work Reports
« on: December 10, 2020, 09:02:57 AM »
A new priority Saturday will be clearing Sutter’s crossing of its 4” of mud.  Currently frozen, Saturday may be our best or only chance.  Then I do hope we can make a dent at albees field.  It will require a coordinated effort across multiple days and crews.  This effort is in support of a Pete Lerro charter- the first at our railroad.  Let’s all band together and show Pete and his guests a great time.


Work and Events / Re: Electric Building - Official Work Thread
« on: December 10, 2020, 08:43:54 AM »
As previously discussed, we’ve already booked this choice down to a commercially available converter.  The electric service required for a home brew or a commercial unit is the same; we opt for the one which is fully engineered, rated for our service and rated for cold storage.  The price range for these units is well within the scope of the no 11 project- put another way- we want to keep our efforts focused on the main task at hand.

Honestly by the time you source the 50hp motor and generator, motor controllers, overload protectors for both sides, come up with a frame and or enclosure, and other ancillary concerns, the cost would likely approach that of the equivalent commercial units we’ve found, which are in the low thousands.  Some used units under $1000.


Volunteers / Service Connection Rule and 52 Block Heater Reminder
« on: December 09, 2020, 07:21:28 AM »
Hello all,

A reminder that an orange or yellow flag displayed in the marker bracket of a piece of railroad equipment indicates a service connection to that piece of equipment.  Rule 24, page 15.

Anyone may inspect for and remove such service connections; it follows that after doing so you also remove the orange or yellow flag so as to not give a false indication.

Also: remember we prefer to keep 52’s block heater plugged in at all times in the winter, when parked outside. 

Punch line: if you use 52- and find it with an orange or yellow flag and disconnect the block heater for use, when you are done PLEASE plug the block heater back in and ensure the flag is back up.

We were frustrated yesterday to find the flag displayed but block heater not plugged in.  We didn’t use 52 yesterday as a result and altered our work plans accordingly.  It was probably just a matter of the last operator forgetting to do so, however I wanted to both post a reminder of the service connection flag concept and ask everyone to act with your best diligence for the sake of our other members.

Thank you,

Volunteers / Re: December 2020 Work Reports
« on: December 09, 2020, 07:09:13 AM »
We have two projects in dire need of attention prior to hard freeze up:

I am very much asking a Saturday crew to help with these.  Saturday will see a high in the 40s.

1.  Blade trim the right of way along Albees field.  (This is a requisite of a major charter next month).
2.  Clear ashes down to top of ties on bay 4 lead.  (It is possible this can be done with the new back hoe; if so we’ll know before Saturday and will report here.  Even so, some hand work will be required).

We’re up against the clock on these and just haven’t been able to get to them during the week.  I’ll be in mid morning or so to help, but if James or anyone else can lead either effort to an earlier start that’d be great. 

I’m asking this in the spirit of pulling together to get done what needs to get done for the railroad.


Volunteers / Re: December 2020 Work Reports
« on: December 04, 2020, 09:10:37 AM »
I had been hoping to dig all the cinders out of bay 4 track before snow or freeze, but snow is now tomorrow.  If the snow holds off and there’s available help tomorrow morning let’s see if we can get it done.  I started last week but working alone only made a dent.


Ps we’re not worried about the plow right now.  This is only a 3-6 storm at most and the ground is still above freezing.  We should however get crossing flangeways cleared of mud ASAP.

Work and Events / Re: Box Car 67 - Official Work Thread
« on: November 25, 2020, 06:05:42 PM »
Eventually all cars will be vacuum brake equipped.  There are no specific plans for 67 right now.  We are focusing on the most frequently used cars first- and evening that comes after system testing and refinement, which is what we are doing now.


Whimsical Weirdness and Foolery / Re: A Fictional Day
« on: November 24, 2020, 05:10:45 PM »
Thanks all... fun to think in these terms.  Imagination run amok..  and yes, of course there's a mag phone in that station, John!

Whimsical Weirdness and Foolery / A Fictional Day
« on: November 23, 2020, 01:59:57 PM »
I wrote this a couple of years ago, just for fun.  It's not meant as the "one" answer- it's just an exercise in thinking through one possible answer.  I never really knew what to do with it, but now as it becomes out of date, I figure I'll put it here before it's totally dated and irrelevant.  Happy reading...


Volunteers / Re: WW&F Work Needs
« on: November 12, 2020, 09:17:25 PM »
Hi Bob, John, all,

Following up- and I apologize for my delay, slowing the pace of this discussion.  We can look at off-site support roles (Bob), and lantern procurement and care (John) should have made my list- however bear in mind that Stewart currently manages that activity.  I certainly acknowledge the board’s action to authorize you to seek additional lamps and get them in working order; we very much appreciate that effort.

I want to point out the principal concern here is the lack of proactive, preventative maintenance regimens for existing, major infrastructure concerns.  In other words- I’ve listed many of our top problems- but checking these off the list doesn’t alone solve the problem.  We need personnel and systems in place to regularly and systematically identify and correct issues.  This is a dire need.  In the way that John M “owns” our mag phone system, every initiative- every event, project, or maintenance regimen- needs a champion.  This need for champions exists two dozen times over.  Some one person must be paying attention to each concern.  If we can achieve that, we will begin to get ahead of the curve.

I hope that makes sense.

Great credit and thanks to Randy for spending the week glazing shop windows.  They’re almost done (they need paint- Randy would love help).  Credit to Stewart for pushing ahead on the electrical building- as Brendan had me put shingling on the list.  Steve L, Mark, Brian W, Leon tackled and accomplished a major track geometry improvement at ToM this week.  One step at a time..

Thanks all,

Volunteers / WW&F Work Needs
« on: November 09, 2020, 12:54:08 PM »
Some general maintenance concerns for which we are looking for volunteers.  These are operating maintenance items which in most cases currently lack dedicated volunteers (except as noted).  Anyone interested should check in with the  department manager indicated, and if a sub-manager is indicated, also that person.

Buildings, Brendan: 
Window Glazing (THIS ONE IS DESPERATE).  We have dozens of windows which require complete reglazing and then sealing.  Many are right on the Sheepscot campus.
Window casing repair: the north window casing of Sheepscot Station needs a complete rebuild.  The last paint job required some innovative patchwork to make it through.
Chimney flashing repair: Shop bay 4 chimney flashing requires repair.
Painting.  Stewart.
AC Platform rod. 
Shingle new electrical building

RR Operating Department, Jason:
Sign maintenance.
Car/truck/brake inspection.
Car Bearing Service.  Phil B.
Magneto Telephone system.  John M. (more dedicated help please!)
Track/ switch inspection (and light repair): (Currently Steve L, Mark C, Dan M, more division of duty is required)
Vacuum brake system technicians.  Jonathan (again more needed)
Wooden Rolling Stock Repairs (Coach 8 is growing desperate- it's now kept inside!, caboose 320 needs more, etc)
Rolling stock paint.  Stewart. 
Station supply keeper.  (I'd REALLY like to see this filled).
Bookkeeper (tracking conductor's reports, dispatcher needs, other office related needs).  (Conceivably this could morph into a Chief Dispatcher position)
Mechanical maintenance/ overhaul (Brookville- Jay B, Fluids and light mechanics in 52, light steam maintenance)

Grounds, Mike.  (Note that Mike directly manages and/or performs all of these so these are listed mostly for general info)
Culvert inspection. 
RoW smoothing for improved mowing.
General mowing.  Randy.
RoW mowing.  Mike.

Off-rail equipment, Mike.
Overhaul: Trailer, Mitsubishi, Loader, tractor.  Brendan.
Overhaul: Kubota.  Mike
Overhaul needed: Forklift.
Running maintenance: fluids and light mechanics in all equipment.


Volunteers / Re: October 2020 Work Reports
« on: October 08, 2020, 03:45:15 PM »
Thanks Mike and all- I’m pleased with how these turned out- and thanks to Foreman Steve L for a well executed and well reported job. 

The inside of these beams are set just beyond the loading gauge.  Also- the track is 6-8” low at these locations- the reason for the shoulder reinforcement in the first place.  As soon as we can load stone, will ballast lift and tamp these locations.


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