Friday, December 14, 2012

A 12/12/12 marriage to remember

Messenge of Peace trucks and car body married again!
Chapel car 5 Messenger of Peace has wheels again!  Messenger of Peace was married with a pair of passenger car trucks in a lengthy ceremony held on the much-coveted 12 December 2012, or 12/12/12.  The car lost its original trucks in 1949 when it was adapted for reuse as a roadside diner.  The rehabilitation work it is undergoing inside the Museum’s Conservation and Restoration Center includes elements of restoration, including the trucks.

The car body underside showing the

Railway car trucks are assemblies that include a frame, wheels, bearings, brakes, and a mounting plate for the car body.  For the chapel car, these trucks each have six wheels and are constructed predominantly of wood.  A blog post describing the removal process is here.
Car body centerplate and the truck
centerplate slowly come together.

Marrying trucks to a car body requires very careful alignment.  For the chapel car, 22 months of time on car stands had resulted in the car shifting slightly off center.  So the rehabilitation crew carefully nudged the car body back to the center of the tracks in a process that consumed hours.  They used a set of hydraulic jacks to undertake this work on the 60,000 lb car body.  Certainly a great deal was at stake should the car be knocked off the car stands!
Bob, Kevin and Gary roll the rear truck
under the car body.
The massive 15,000 pound trucks were rolled under the car by just three workers.  Then the car was gently lowered onto the center plate.

So 12/12/12 marks a marriage to last: the trucks and the chapel car car body.  And this is both symbolic and indicative of the final stages of this two year project to rehabilitate this national treasure.  Stay tuned for more reports about this incredible project!

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