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

Saturday, November 11, 2000

Raising the "Little Ranger", an update from Greg Ramsey

Yvonne and I rolled into the Park about 10:30 a.m. this morning.  As we arrived, I saw Gordon Bachlund and Jim Vicars servicing batteries on the cabooses but not much other activity. The plan for today was to assist Bryan Reese with the raising of the front of the Motorcar and the removal of the power truck, but he was not yet there.  Doug was already inside the car and he came out and mentioned that Bryan would be arriving around noon.

I decided to proceed with my alternate work project, the wire brushing and painting of the front plate of the Track Liner which I had removed a couple of weeks before to heat and straighten.

Jim Vicars then went about starting the Baldwin.  Last week we had left the Charley Atkins at the end of the mainline and now we had to move the Baldwin west a car length to allow us room to pull out the M.177 power truck.  Jim and Gordon made the move and then secured the locomotive.

I noticed that Bryan had dropped off some more blocking and cribbing since last weekend, but his 50 ton jacks were not yet there. He beat Doug's prediction and rolled into the Park about 11:30 a.m. with the jacks in his truck.

I went over to get the forklift, but as it was cranking a little slowly Gregory and I retrieved the new rolling battery charger and with a little assistance it cranked up nicely and hummed to life. Bryan had stood the jacks up and after adjusting the forks in, I picked up the jacks one at a time by their handles and sat one on each side of the motorcar.

I also had to move some of the Oil drums with the Motorcar's engine oil while Bryan cribbed up to place the jacks. Once all was in place and the slack taken out of the jacks, Bryan started jacking each side a few strokes at a time.  The first several inches of lift were taken up by the compression of the truck springs, but finally we started to see daylight between the bolsters.  We were also able to see the locking center bolt for the fist time. The bolt is about 2 inches in diameter and has a head which holds it to the bottom of the truck bolster and it then has a nut which is accessed through the floor of the motorcar.

We were pretty sure the nut was already off, but a lot of the sand from the engine room sandblasting had collected in the hole and had hardened into a sandstone like consistency.  As the car was raised, we could see that the pin was raising too.  Bryan and I scrambled back into the car, but still couldn't find the nut.  We dug it out, Doug vacuumed the loose sand and eventually I was able to jam a jack handle down deep enough to prove that there was no nut.

As we continued to jack, the bolt continued to rise. The sand had created a mortar around the bolt and it had cemented it firmly in place. We finally decided to try and break it free by blocking the bolt up between its head and the keeper plate in the truck bolster. With the block in place, we gently lowered the car about 4 inches. Sure enough, the weight of the car overcame the friction and the bolt slid up into the car slightly. With our assumption that the bolt was loose we again raised the car, but the bolt was still stuck in the car's body bolster. Much effort was expended banging on and jacking against the top of the bolt, but with little effect. We decided to just keep jacking the car and assumed that the weight of the truck would eventually pull the bolt out.

Sure enough, after re-blocking and raising the jacks for a second lift, the bolt finally started to pull out of the car. Then with some renewed banging, some engine oil and a car jack inside the car, the bolt finally dropped free. Unfortunately the bolt still extended about 14" above the truck and slightly into the bottom of the car.  We still had enough stroke on the jacks to get the frame to clear, but the bolt was going to interfere with the draft gear as it rolled forward.  The bolt was going to have to drop.

Bryan and Doug (the only two thin enough to fit) crawled back under the truck and tried to remove the plate keeping the bolt up in the bolster.  They were successful by removing a few of the lock nuts, but were unable to remove the bolts nor the plate. At this point, Bryan decided to stop work so we could safely block the motorcar where it was before it got dark.  Next week we will be ready for those retaining bolts and will finish the removal.



Charley AtkinsE-mail questions and comments to SCSRA Dispatcher
Copyright 2000. The Southern California Scenic Railway Association Inc.