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Re: Hawaii Railway Society

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:10 am
by NP317
Thanks for your Oahu RR Report. Their history has fascinated me for yours.
I'd be there helping, if I could.

Enjoy, and please occasionally send us teasers.

Re: Hawaii Railway Society

Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:10 pm
by Glenn Brooks
One of the Whitcomb 25 ton road switchers lost a traction motor the other day. The volunteer maintanence crew found a long length of stainless,heavy gauge, 4 strand electrical wire wrapped around the axle and somehow penetrating the venting slots in the Traction motor, where it attaches to the gearbox that drives the axles. The wire was stout enuf to somehow come in contact with the aluminium cooling fan inside the case, breaking it into bits and pieces - thereby cutting into some of the windings on the motor. Causing $25k worth of magic smoke to waif up into the cab, where the engineers on the day’s run noticed their day had suddenly come to a rather disappointing and abrupt end.

Note: The motor (on the opposite truck) had just been rebuilt and installed- last week. Very disappointing to have to pull (another) the truck out from underneath the frame again. The loco will be down for at least a couple of months.

The loco was built in 1944. Surprising to know there is still a local shop in Honolulu that can rebuild these. It’s possible the front office has decided to ship the motor off to Railroad Constructors in Laramie in exchange for a rebuild, as the local guy took a year to rebuild, last time. And the price is cheaper.

Re: Hawaii Railway Society

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:36 am
by Glenn Brooks
Couple of photos of work pulling the traction motor out of the truck frame. Our loco mechanics pulled the brake rigging rods from the frame, then we lifted the frame off the trucks and stripped down the mounting brackets and massive, spring suspended bolt holding the motor in place. Very simple really. But quite a bit more massive than 1/8th scale.

Ill be turning a new pin to hold the motor mount to the frame bracket. It’s a 2 1/8’’ pin. The old one is worn out of round a good .200’’.

Also, the U shaped safety bracket that acts as a preventer - keeping the motor from dragging on the ground should the massive motor mounting brackets somehow fail, needs to be renewed. It’s made of 5/8’’ x 4” plate, formed into a 2’ long square, and bolted to the side of the bolster assembly. The mounting bolts have somehow worn the edge clearance down to nothing. So time to renew. Overall, Not bad for a 1944 loco.

Re: Hawaii Railway Society

Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:43 am
by Glenn Brooks
Moving forward with installing the left side truss plate on the 1922 passenger car reconstruction. The truss is full dimensional 50’ length of Doug fir, ordered in from the mainland. Notched out the ends to fit against the upright corner posts on both ends of the car. Then spent the remainder of the day drilling out 9 or 10 large knots in the truss. Then prepped the holes for “Dutchmen”- wooden dowls inserted and glued to fill the void. The original timbers were old growth, tight grain fir having no blemishes or irregularities. Impossible to buy these days, at any cost. So the Museum decided to plug and seal the holes to keep out moisture and bugs (e.g. termites). We are hoping to see 50- 75 years Car life on this rebuil. Hence the Dutchmen. Second growth at the best of times is riddled with wide grain irregularites, and unless you buy #1 select, horrendously expensive for 100lf of 2” quarter sawn heartwood - you have to put up with knots - remnants of small 1” old dead limbs, around which the tree has grown, trapping the original limb material in the grain.

Spent Most of the day Making up some dead centers, for turning wood stock, then turning some nice tight grain oak and fir stock down to round plugs. We’ve got a set of Foresner bits ranging in size from 1/4” up to 2”. But trying to limit to 3 standard plug sizes: 3/4” , 1”, and slightly under 1.40” diameters. Mainly to expedite the repair by standardizing the Dutchmen to small, medium and large size knots.

The fun part was turning a bunch of oak square stock on the old SB 10L. And mic’ing the OD to thousands with my trusty micrometer. Much easier to smooth and polish the surface with sheets of sandpaper! The round stock gets banged into the holes on Tuesday and glued in place with epoxy. Then sawn off, planed smooth, and painted a couple of times to match the rest of the structure. The timber then gets bolted into place with 14 each 3/8” x 18” draw bolts. Another weeks worth of work, more or less.


Re: Hawaii Railway Society

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:37 am
by Glenn Brooks
Back to work fitting the 2x10 truss plate to the floor and frame of car 57. Had to order a 24” lineman’s auger to finish drilling the truss plate bolt holes through the plate and frame. The bit augered through the last 10” of decking, cross timbers, and the original,100 year old, close grain old growth sill like Swiss cheese. Except on the second to last hole, I hit a buried nail in the flooring, and everything came to a dead stop. With yours truly spinning around like a top when the bit grabbed the nail in an unfortunias way.

So plugged the hole with wooden dowl and epoxy and will redrill the hole a couple of inches to the left, on Thursday.

Well, once more the site won’t load my video, so will try to post a photo of the work party drilling one of the holes with the auger and our mighty Makita drill. Guess I can try to bootleg the video into Chaski via YouTube.

Edit: OK, here is a short clip of the new makita hammer drill doing its thing with the 24” lineman’s auger (3/8” diameter bit). This little power tool is nothing short of amazing.


Re: Hawaii Railway Society

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 6:41 pm
by Glenn Brooks
Lots of discussion over the years about shop cranes and such - various ways to lift heavy objects onto Milling tables, pick locos off the floor, etc.

Here’s my favorite at the OR &L.
Hoping to take it home with me when we head back to Seattle in a few weeks. If I can fit it into my carry on.


Re: Hawaii Railway Society

Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:07 am
by Glenn Brooks
Well the two man crew from Railroad Contractors, out of Cheyenne, Wyoming has put the 25 Ton Whitcomb back together. They have been busy installing the new traction motor - replacing the one that ate itself up when a long length of stainless high tension electrical wire somehow got pulled into the axle and around the internal traction motor fan. Also they installed the truck back under the Loco, and drove the loco up into the shop to swap out one of the two Cummings main engines. These Whitcombs have two 1942 era Cummins main engines, one driving each truck. I learned today that back shop shorthand is to name rhe end of the loco that runs out to the west end on the Main line, and which end returns eastward to the station. As the road switchers run our scheduled train service out west to the end of line, then east back to the Station, we have a west end motor and an east end motor! Railroad Contractors swaped out the west engine and it’s associated traction motor, mounted down between the drivers on the truck.

Amazing what two guys with a handful of very large socket wrench’s can do with a little help from a 12000# forklift.

Here’s a couple of shots of the Whitcomb pulled up to the Shop, where the engine swap took place. The motor sounds healthy, but the starting system still isn’t solid. So repeated starting tests once in awhile results in sluggish to no motor revolution when they hit the start button. Might be batteries, might be something else. Tomorrow likely will tell the tale.

So regarding the photos, here’s the west end motor being set up for return to operation. It’s now positioned eastward, into the shop, so maybe it’s now the new East end motor! Very confusing. I’ll have to ask about that tomorrow during Thursday volunteer work day.

Also the big yellow 44 toner has pulled up alongside the little Whitcomb to offer moral support. And likely make sure the humans do a proper job putting the Whitcomb’s bonnet back on. These engines, including a second Whitcomb now on the mainland for complete rebuild, have been together now for 76 years on the OR&L. They don’t like people messing with them - taking off pieces and parts and not putting all the nuts and bolts back on.

Re: Hawaii Railway Societ

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:35 am
by Glenn Brooks
Finished up my last day of the winter Railroad season here on Oahu, today. The last bit of work involved finish bolting the second of two truss plates through the edge of flooring and down thru the outer beam of the frame. Earlier in the week I drilled the 3/8” ID bolt holes thru and thru, then plugged the top of each hole with wood dowling. Used the dowling to anchor the point of the forestner bit in the center of the hole to counter drill each hole for a wood plug. We use 1” OD wood plugs to seal the heads of the bolt into the trust plate- makes a smooth, continuous flat surface to build up the inside cabin wall, once the vertical window frames are installed. But the bit actually cuts about .007”- .010” oversize, so store bought plugs don’t fit properly. That’s why I decided to turn down custom sized plugs. With epoxy and a tighter fit, the plugs protect against terminates feasting their way into the grain of the beam at each bolt hole.

Last steps were to thread both ends of some 3/8” round stock to make up the truss bolts (21” LOA), then tighten down square bolts on the top end of each shank, and drive each bolt down through the aforementioned holes. We’ve got 14 bolts each side, approx every 44” on centers. Finally, at the very end of the day, mixed up a pot of epoxy and glued the wooden plugs into the countersunk holes. Long day, but all finished.

Oh yah, somewhere in the midst of all this, turned a nice, ash, (broken) spike hammer handle to 1.05” OD on the trusty South Bend, to make the wooden plugs. Ash seems like a better quality of wood for Dutchmen and plugs than the mystery wood dowels you can buy at the hardware store.

Here’s a couple of pics of the final product. Doesn’t look like much, but these truss plates are part of the foundation that supports the rest of the car’s super structure.
Pics 2 and 3 might be of interest for live steam car builders. The pics show the inverted V shaped cast steel truss assemblies used by early day car builders to stiffen up the wooden frame. Even up to the 1920’s, builders used wooden frames. These suffered a lot of sag in the middle, due to gravity, and the extended length of the car frames. This car is 50’ long on the deck, and has an all wood frame. Even with 5 sets of 1” od metal rod tensioning rods under the frame, 50’ long wood timbers have a significant degree of sag over time. So car builders developed these inverted V steel truss assemblies on each corner, and added the 2’x10’ truss plates around the edge of the deck to add rigidity and longevity to the car. These are the original 1922 castings.

Eventually the whole frame adds additional rigidity, but it all depends on these 2x 10 truss plates, and the inverted, v shaped trust castings showing in the two photos. Without these, the passenger cars just wouldn’t be serviceable for any length of time.
Well, that’s it.

Tomorrow and the weekend, were off to the beach for a last few days, then back to Washington for the Spring Miniature Train season.

The dog is gonna miss her surf board.

Re: Hawaii Railway Society

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:10 am
by Glenn Brooks
This winter the Society backshops are focusing on regauging and restoring a standard gauge MOW track maintenance car they purchased surplus from a railroad on the mainland. The MOW car is designed to pull and insert wood RR ties from under existing track. So once we finish with the conversion, our track crew should be able to substantially improve tie replacement rate - from 5 per day, to maybe 100 or more per day. As the Oahu is 36” Narrow Gauge, the lions share of work on this piece of equipment has involved cutting down the frame and repositioning the air brakes and hydraulic systems. basically flame cutting 22” of steel tubing off the frame, then rewelding new fixed bolster frames, and turning and mounting the axle sets and air brakes to 36” gauge.

Today, my part consisted of turning both ends of one axle set to allow the front bearing blocks to be moved inward a bit, to align with the newly welded axle bearing mounts on the frame.

A small job, but necessary, as the newly welded frame structure wasn’t exactly aligned to the new NG gauge axle mountings.

Sam The Man is much more photogenic than I, plus as the backshop machinist, someone needed to hold the camera, so Sam is showing how we worked the old 18” Cinci flattop lathe to turn the axles down to final size. The axle and wheels are heavy enough that we organized a three man crew to mount and turn the axle on our big 18” x72” traytop Cincinnati.

I should have posted a couple pics of the whole MOW car for reference, but haven’t yet. These just show one axle and wheel set being carried into the shop. Then a couple of volunteers removed the wheels and bearings, so we could finish turn the axle to 36” gauge. Everything went smoothly - only took a couple of hours - and the axle was off to the yard where it will be bolted back on next week.

Notice the big RR spanner wrenches we are using to remove the 3” axle nuts. I love working with nuts and bolts you can easily see if you drop them on the ground.