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Messages - Jon Chase

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Work and Events / Re: New to us work truck
« on: March 16, 2021, 03:59:49 PM »
Here would be another approach:

Museum Discussion / Re: Switch lanterns on high mast switches
« on: November 25, 2020, 12:02:20 AM »
All interesting opinions, but all devoid of reference to any actual standards, which in a museum setting should raise alarm bells when it comes to the treatment of an "artifact" - a status conceded by Ed.   Is the concern that a WW&F Museum visitor might see the "Rutland" lettering on the lamp and become hopelessly confused, thus justifying what amounts to ruining the incongruous artifact in order to create a more satisfying fake?  Or is the concern that someone might steal the lamp and try to sell it, in which case making an irreversible alteration to a supposedly-rare object to identify present  ownership seems a fairly drastic conservation choice to inflict on an artifact....

Again, personal opinions are interesting, but what are the WW&F Museum's actual standards in such cases?  Once could perhaps imagine a museum adhering to standards for the conservation of artifacts under which it's considered perfectly acceptable to destroy the integrity of one historic object in order to facilitate group make-believe that it's really something else, but wouldn't it be easier to simply admit that this is effectively what's being proposed?  In which case - why is it acceptable to alter a Rutland lamp in this fashion, but not, say, an original SR&RL one?

Keith, upon that reasoning, nobody would have used the coat hooks (which are equally prominent in the B&SR example, and quite often cast as part of the racks and centered over each window/seat bottom as in the ex-WW&F coach 3 photo) on rainy days either, out of similar fear of ruining the upholstery and woodwork.  Not to mention obscuring the view out the window in coach 3... demonstrating, among other things, that passengers 125 years ago may have had different expectations and priorities than tourists today.

In fact, the separate coat hooks shown in the B&SR coach photo are centered between the windows, not over each window, and thus are not only mounted directly on the intricately carved wooden wall panels, but also directly above the seat backs. Does anyone have an original B&SR rule book containing an order to the effect that "Trainmen are warned to not allow passengers to use the coat hooks on rainy days"?

I'm not saying that umbrellas or canes are the answer, but that the answer is most likely ascertainable based on evidence that's available, in places that quite likely include the archives of other railroad museums having copies of the relevant car trimmings catalogs for the periods in question.

Besides the illustration, referenced by Cosmo above, on the NG Discussion Forum from John White's "The American Railroad Passenger Car" that shows similar rings on a standard gauge coach of more-or-less similar vintage to the two original B&SR coaches, an internet image search (depending on your search engine and search terms) will reveal other examples of such rings, sometimes incorporated as part of luggage rack end castings.  I've attached an example, from what appears to be a museum setting, in which hats are shown hanging from some of the rings.  Even so, I'd argue that this may be a misinterpretation of the actual purpose, as rings mounted directly on the walls in the B&SR example would seem ill-suited to such use.  In fact, in the illustration from White's book, the rings appear to part of the bottom of the rack castings, clearly impossible to hang a hat from.

Cosmo may have the right idea regarding umbrellas - even though someone on the NG Forum rejected that interpretation because hanging umbrellas would swing and mar the woodwork!  Clearly that criticism misses the point that the umbrellas could have been slid horizontally between two rings.  In addition to Cosmo's umbrella idea, one may note from many old photos that walking sticks and canes were once in common use.  (When I was a kid, walking sticks were many decades out of fashion but quite a few  elderly people walked with canes; nowadays I suppose they get hip replacements instead...)

Especially given the examples of such rings being incorporated into luggage racks, I suggest that the path to an answer isn't imaginative speculation about gloves or even miniature spittoons (!), nor even "scientific method" processes of elimination.  Rather, we should realize that railroad car builders did not typically manufacture the fittings (such as lamps, luggage racks, and seating) themselves, but purchased them from suppliers of such items, such as Hale & Kilburn or Heywood-Wakefield for seats, and Adams & Westlake (later Adlake) for racks, lamps, locksets, and other items.  While I don't have access to an Adlake car trimmings catalogue for the era in question (or for the somewhat later era suggested by the attached photo), such resources exist.  I would assume that catalog images of luggage racks with the ring and others without it would be accompanied by text descriptions of the functional differences and relative advantages.  Such a catalog might also show individual rings for use without luggage racks, as in the B&SR example.



I think you're right to consider the "extra post" arrangement shown in your mock-up photo, but while the extra 18" (or so) in clearance width this would create at a central "entrance" point is certainly better than nothing, it seems to me that 11'6" is still quite restrictive in terms of limiting the ability to turn a long vehicle toward either end, until fully within the building.  Given the probability of future events where an outside vendor might be bringing in a large truckload of chairs, a portable stage, or sound equipment, etc., I wonder if the alternative of leaving out one post altogether (i.e., creating a 20' wide vehicle access) might be worthwhile in the long run.  Could this be accomplished, fairly easily and without much additional expense, through use of a truss?

A wooden truss beneath the top plate (beam) might be bulky, reducing vehicle headroom significantly, and be somewhat vulnerable to the weather if not sheathed externally.  However, the use of truss rods to increase beam spans or carrying capacity was certainly not uncommon historically, as you may have seen in old mill buildings, railroad roundhouses, etc.

What I have in mind would be essentially similar to a truss-rod flatcar, with a couple of conventional queen post castings spaced beneath the plate, with a two-part truss rod having a central turnbuckle. The truss rod ends would pass through the tops of the adjacent posts, with a heavy bridge washer and nut. It might be prudent to incorporate something to restrict sidewards strain at these locations when the turnbuckle is tightened, such as a short (scrap) length of heavy steel angle with one leg bolted through the plate/beam and the other leg abutting downward against each of the two posts on the "inward" side (i.e., the side facing toward the truss).

Someone among us with a degree in civil engineering may be able to refine this idea, and do the necessary calculations, but if the only investment would be a couple of, say, 12' steel rods, some scrap steel angle and bolts, and some extra car hardware that may already be in stock, it may be a relatively cheap way to gain a considerable advantage (while saving on the cost of the extra post, concrete, etc).  Plus it would have a "railroad-like" visual appearance, creating a subtle architectural focal point for the "entrance." 


Work and Events / Re: B&SR Tank 14 - Official Restoration Thread
« on: December 03, 2019, 08:40:08 PM »
Will there be any special preparation or precautions taken when the lettering paint is applied, to ensure that it adheres to the galvanized finish?  Does the manufacturer of the galvanizing compound make a compatible paint for this purpose? 

Work and Events / Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« on: October 22, 2019, 05:08:42 PM »
Doesn't the museum own an easement over the trackbed (I hesitate to redundantly say "an easement over the right of way") northward from the end of the section owned in fee simple that ends in the middle of the cut, as far as the former crossing location at Head Tide Road?  I'm pretty sure there have been forum posts or newsletter articles in the past so indicating, and reports of occasional work to keep the easement area clear of brush.

From observation, the Head Tide crossing location, where the road itself appears to have been lowered by about four feet following track removal, seems to be about as close as the railroad got, in terms of walking distance, to Head Tide village.  Based on historical photos, the station itself was actually a fair distance further away.  Food for thought, as it seems to confirm that Route 218 remains the major challenge to reaching Head Tide in a meaningful location, not the existence of some property boundary within the cut. On the other hand, the numerous physical and other impediments to going on further to the original station site could well take many years to overcome, if ever, and ironically result in apparently-poorer pedestrian access to the historic village.  Making the nebulous possibility of one day gaining access all the way to the original station site the defining threshold for doing anything else is antithetical to the way planning, permitting, and fundraising processes all work - in effect, "we'll think about it someday."

However, I completely agree that the discussion of pros and cons of any extension in either direction is much more complicated than building more track just for the sake of doing so, in order to keep momentum and interest going. "We build track because we build track" is not a museum mission statement.

Work and Events / Re: B&SR Tank 14 - Official Restoration Thread
« on: July 31, 2019, 02:16:07 AM »
I have a somewhat different view.  I was one of those few who worked on the repairs to the Maine Narrow Gauge Museum's flatcar well into the evening on the Friday of the Spring Work Weekend, and most of Saturday, having asked those in charge if help was needed and being welcomed enthusiastically, perhaps with recollection of prior participation in shop activity (I typically try to spend one day there each work weekend, and another on track work). Like some volunteers, I have a certain amount of experience in rolling stock restoration, having accomplished such things elsewhere as completely reconstructing the rotten ends of "broad gauge" heavyweight passenger cars, so the comparatively modest work needed to relocate the draft gear on a wooden flatcar seemed a natural thing to lend a hand with.  Most importantly, this work was promoted as being of critical importance to the weekend trackwork itself, so as to have four flatcars available for ballasting, and with the hard work of a small crew, we got the job done.  Yes, there were a few people "hanging around" from time to time, including a couple of guys in their 80s who didn't seem to me to be withholding much in the way of spike-driving agility, but were certainly willing to hold the end of a tape measure. Others "hanging around" the flatcar job from time to time included members of the Webb family and their fellow RRE members who were not present to drive spikes, but to present a check for thousands of dollars in support of the Mountain Extension....

A couple of people asked me about my seemingly-awkward efforts to work wearing one glove. By way of reluctant admission, several months prior to the Spring Work Weekend, I had the misfortune to lose the tip of an index finger following a painful crush accident, and remained under medical orders to avoid certain types of work involving repetitive shock, such as hammering (believe me, for a long time it hurt to even try to do such things).  So for this reason as well, it was hardly a case of seeking out "sexy" work on the flatcar rather than driving some spikes, but instead being glad to be able to help productively with something that was within my particular skill-set and experience, and my then-current limitation.  I could, on the other hand, have simply stayed home.

At the prior Fall Work Weekend, I was recruited to be one of the chainfall operators on Elmer the gantry crane and the amount of progress it facilitated was self-evident.  I'm glad to say that if asked to do so again, I'm now back to the point of being able to handle such work, but if asked to assist in some other way, that will be fine also.

I believe Dana raises fair points, and I certainly respect them.  I take no position on whether the B&SR tank car should be worked on during this coming FWW or not, but I also respect the decisions of the Board of Trustees to help ensure its preservation, and the mechanical leaders' ability to make that happen using whatever resources, human and otherwise, as may be at their disposal.  And if part of the evolving Work Weekend management process is now going to include people in charge of making sure help is properly directed to where it can best be utilized, I'm OK with that too.

Work and Events / Re: Maine Locomotive and Machine switch and siding
« on: November 28, 2018, 10:31:23 PM »
Well, continuing on the existing American literary theme for WW&F crane nicknames (i.e., "Ichabod Crane"), how about "Elmer Gantry"?

Volunteers / Re: January 2017 Work Planning
« on: January 11, 2017, 03:29:04 PM »
Do you have a specific product, a Sthil 23987128, in mind?

McMaster-Carr # 78265A41, "Propane Torch With Extended Handle"   

A little pricey at $92, but if a source for the large burner head itself could be found, the rest could easily be made from fittings.  I've used this device for tasks ranging from to melting ice, to re-melting asphalt pavement.  I use a propane-grill size tank, but a larger tank might be useful for extended work periods.       

Volunteers / Re: January 2017 Work Planning
« on: January 11, 2017, 10:56:09 AM »
Joe, a word of caution about the use of rock salt.  I've personally worked on rebuilding (including near-complete replacement) of the lower vestibules and end decks on several standard-gauge heavyweight passenger cars at several preservation sites, all attributable to the corrosive effects of rock salt used on station platforms and crossings, and tracked onto the equipment over the years.  (I realize that in an ideal world it doesn't matter because WW&F will in due course replace all Edaville-applied steel car end platforms with proper wooden ones, but still....) Besides, salt can get tracked onto engine steps and decks just as easily, and hosing down may just have the effect of distributing salt water into inaccessible areas (ask Bill Sample about a certain baggage car).

I sometimes use a commercially-available propane burner on a hose (designed for roof work) to melt ice. Such a tool might be ideal for freeing up switch points and clearing flangeways.  Because the resulting product is water, damage to wooden ties and crossing planks would seem relatively minimal.       

Work and Events / Re: Box Car 67 - Official Work Thread
« on: March 02, 2016, 04:09:26 PM »

I have used the electrolysis method for rust removal and it works quite well.  Specifically, I used it to clean down to bare metal a large, ornate cast-iron flywheel that was heavily rusted, and the result looked like it had just come from the foundry.  I used a $5.00 plastic wading pool for the tank, and the iron rebar electrodes were simply hung from the edge with the connecting wires - the suspension method shown in the video is more elaborate than necessary, but perhaps better lends itself to repeated use.  As I recall, the sodium carbonate (washing soda) I used was sold under the Arm & Hammer label in grocery stores.  I rested the heavy part to be cleaned on a couple of bricks.

But while this is a good method of rust removal, the problem at hand, as I recall from seeing the boxcar last fall, appears to be more a situation of paint removal.  If the paint in question was on top of rust, electrolysis might encourage it to fall off, but in that case it probably wouldn't be adhering too well anyway.

If you decide to experiment with electrolysis, an important safety concern is that the process produces hydrogen gas, so setting it up indoors, as the video appears to show, is definitely not a good idea. If you leave the process running outdoors, you may want to suspend some sort of roof over the tank, as rain will dilute the sodium carbonate solution and reduce its effectiveness. In my experience, larger items require more time than the small nuts and bolts shown in the video - my flywheel took three or four days to come clean.  Additional electrodes might have helped this along.

All in all, sandblasting is much, much quicker if the facilities are available, and will easily deal with paint just as well as rust. A cabinet is not necessarily required except for the smallest parts, as plywood or similar material can easily be set up as a sort of work enclosure to direct the nozzle toward, which will help capture most of the sand for re-use.

Jon Chase


Work and Events / Re: Top Of The Mountain Siding - Official Work Thread
« on: September 17, 2014, 09:44:03 AM »
Jason and James, thanks for explaining the reasoning.  As I said, my comment was was offered for the sake of discussion, so I guess it worked ... in any event, one thing which occasional participants like myself can always be assured of is that whatever the given project may be, the background thought and planning has been extensive and well-considered.       

Regarding my evident unfamiliarity with the actual current method of regular operation north of Alna Center, I guess I need to ride the train more often! 

Thanks again, and see you in a few weeks.

Work and Events / Re: Top Of The Mountain Siding - Official Work Thread
« on: September 17, 2014, 04:12:21 AM »
For sake of further discussion, is there really any need for a runaround at TOM, temporary or otherwise?  Reference has been made to operational safety.  I'm not involved in WW&F operations, but based on my experience on other railroads I do wonder what would actually be gained by running around cars at TOM and then pulling them up The Ladder with the locomotive at the south end, in the current absence of automatic train brakes. Logically, the practice of pushing cars south from EOT, which has been done successfully for some years now, seems "safer" in the event of a coupler and safety chain failure (however unlikely we hope that is). The present mode of operation north of Alna Center completely avoids this risk.    

On the other hand, avoiding a potentially dangerous stop on a steep grade at a new EOT partway down The Mountain is also entirely logical, particularly with a major washout or landslip just beyond.  Utilizing TOM siding, in its original stub-ended format, as the temporary "main" line would also accomplish this.  The switch itself could normally be clamped in the thrown position, with a procedure for authorizing removal of the clamp established in the operating rules so as to allow access down the grade for work trains or other special operations.    

By way of reference to Ken Flemming's "keep it simple" comment, this would eliminate paying for, building, and ultimately removing one or two superfluous switches, would allow accurate restoration of TOM siding including keeping the mainline switch at its original location, and would satisfy both of the critical safety functions mentioned above - which I believe are the essential ones identified in every discussion of this issue.  

-Jon Chase (looking forward to seeing other work weekend regulars in a few weeks)

Museum Discussion / Re: Weather Report?
« on: February 04, 2011, 10:03:41 PM »
Cindy and I went to Stafford, Ct last thursday so we would be close to Springfield for the Big E show. Stafford had just gotten another big storm in fact Stafford and northern CT has set an all-time record for January snowfall.  The snow banks were hugh! As Gordon said, pulling out into the street is a real challenge. We spent all afternoon clearing snow off of the roof of Cindy's Grandmothers home. 

Good thing you did, Stewart.  This afternoon in Stafford, half a block collapsed:

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