Restoration Notes: A Day in the Life of a Railway Museum.

Saturday, January 9, 1999

Fuel Tanks and a Track Liner, an update from Greg Ramsey

Today was the first of our periodic SCSRA/ASRA/City project coordination meetings for 1999. It was scheduled for 8:45 AM, but despite my best efforts to get the family up and moving, I was at least a half-hour late. Of course all the juicy discussions about oak trees, drill rigs, etc., that everyone wants to hear about occurred before I arrived. I was advised later that the oak tree will be gone in a month, the drill rig in two months but the entrance project has slowed because the contractor has run out of money.

During the week I had picked up new filters and hydraulic oil for the Track Liner at Port Hueneme Marine Supply (amazing how many railroad supplies a marine supply house has J.) I unloaded that stuff near the set out tracks for Bob Bennett to use and then unloaded my tools near the M.177 before sending Yvonne on her way.

Ted McConville pointed out to me that he hadn't heard anything about the Track Liner, so for him and the rest of you who may not have heard, we were recently donated a working Track Liner. Our Track Liner is a diesel-hydraulic powered piece of on-track MW equipment whose main function is to "line" track or basically take the kinks out of the track by grabbing the rail and then shoving it right or left. As a secondary function it can also do some limited lifting to vertically align the track. It came to us basically in running condition, although we've had to replace several hydraulic hoses and a starter and are in the process of changing all the filters and fluids. We also need to replace components of the hydraulic brakes before it can be put in service.

It was donated by Cox Contracting of Council Bluffs, Iowa and part of the transportation was donated by Road Warriors Trucking out of Wickenburg, Arizona. Thanks to Bob Bennett for locating and arranging for its donation and transportation.

My project for the day was to remove the right front fuel tank from the Motorcar to start cleaning and prepping it for paint. Of course to do that, I had to first install the new starter in our forklift. Our $1 forklift is now closer to a $100 forklift, but that is still a great deal for a running, 4000 pound, propane powered Mitsubishi. Don't tell the Zoo, but I think we have the better lift and $100 is still less expensive than a one-day rental from Wanamaker.

After completing the repairs to the forklift, I started to disconnect the various pipe connections to the tank. After more than a little straining and cussing, Bill Travis heard my complaints and came to my rescue. With his help, and in one case the help of a track jack, we finally loosened all the various pipes and also all of the straps holding the tank. Actually we broke two of the bolts, but the net effect was the same. Then using the forklift and a pallet, Bill and I gingerly lowered the tank down and then gently maneuvered it between the old RPO door's steps and the railhead and set it down near the Baldwin.

Bryan Reese in the meantime had borrowed my fishtape and was starting to thread new sparkplug wires into the Winton's brass conduits. He had bought a 100’ roll of bulk wire and it was going well, but he quickly realized that he was 200’ short. After that he went off and found another missing part. This time it was a vital bell crank for part of the throttle linkage. Actually, I'm starting to worry about Bryan. We keep finding him standing in the boxcar or RPO staring off into space. He claims that is how he finds these parts, but I wonder….

Bryan's good news though was that it looks like we have a solution to the distributor problem. We had sent one of our distributors with the re-located cap to an antique auto electric rebuilder in Michigan. Though he hasn't yet located replacement caps and rotors, he did come up with suitable replacement distributors from some kind of antique auto. They will be rebuilt but will still need some bushings to make them fit into our gearbox. We are going to try and ship them the distributor drive gearbox from the Winton and have them make the whole assembly so we know it will be ready to go when it comes back. I expect to see that happen about March and suspect come Easter we should hear a reborn Winton.

Danny, Darlene and others spent the day tractoring out in the tailtrack area. I had intended to go out there and take some images, but for some reason never made it. Danny, can you tell us what was done?

The dump truck, which has sat idle for so many months because it was rebuilt with the wrong camshaft, (apparently an error by the parts supplier) has finally found a savior in Brad Sloser from ASRA. He stepped forward and volunteered to finish the job. In the one day, he removed the old cam, installed the new one and mounted and torqued the heads. BTW Brad, the Book says the torque should be 85 ft-lbs. At this rate he may have it running by next weekend.

Today was an ASRA tour day, so Nancy Gneier and the rest of the ASRA docents spent the day staying clean, unlike some of us. Yvonne showed up about 12:15 with lunch. She has created another of her noodle and hamburger meals (how come she is always experimenting on us J), but it seemed to go over well.

Bob Bennett showed up later in the afternoon and started working on the track liner. Turned out I had gotten one of the fuel filters wrong, but the most curious discovery was that no one could find any way to pour new oil into the engine. Our best guess is that someone swapped out the breather tube where a filler cap would normally be located and for some reason installed the wrong one. We'll have to remedy this somehow.

Gregory (my son) and I spent most of the afternoon needle gunning the Winton's exhaust manifold and previously removed fuel tank. Surprisingly enough, he actually did a fairly good job on the top of the tank. I was quite pleased.

By sunset, Brian Moore was setting up to do training. At bat today was Yvonne, who is training to be a Hostler, Nancy Gneier who is watching Yvonne, and Brakeman-to-be Darlene Sexton who passed her rules test last weekend.


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Copyright 1999. The Southern California Scenic Railway Association Inc.