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 Post subject: Re: What is important, a case study, The Birney Car
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:12 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 5:03 pm
Posts: 33
It would be interesting to know how many operating Birneys are out there without historically correct, Safety Car Control equipment. Frank Hicks' and Jeff Hackner's "Preserved North American Electric Railway" Equipment" website gives an excellent listing of much of the primary electrical and air brake equipment on preserved cars. Perhaps some of you reading from various museums' car deptartments (I know you're out there) could send them details as I notice many Birney brake valve details missing or listed simply as SME or straight air. Type of emergency valve (often K-1) would be helpful too.

The M-28 Motorman's Brake Valve was the most common brake valve for Birneys. Dave Garcia put together a comprehensive M-28 listing for the ARM a few years ago The number of variations are staggering. The MD-28 type (and it's many variations) with built in door selector, which I believe is what Randy is referring to, were very common. Other "plain" M-28 types offered door operation on the main quadrant. The point being that missing the seperate door selector portion on the valve does not necessarily indicate incorrect equipment.

Finding correct equipment becomes more difficult with each passing year but it's not always mpossible. Many of us still have parts buried on shelves somewhere. It does often require a lot of contacts and patience. For example, I have a few Safety Car Control, E-1 type deadman/pilot valve assemblies surplus and am looking for an M-28F or MD-28F with door selector at the moment. Trades anyone?

Last comment is that Birneys may not have been well liked by riders but they served from WW1 until the '50's, were standard cars built by the thousands and saved opertaing companies $$$ on platform, power and track maintenance costs. Perhaps they were a success after all?

Gord McOuat
Halton County Radial Ry.


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 Post subject: Re: What is important, a case study, The Birney Car
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:00 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 12:02 pm
Posts: 76
If you want a good example of a Birney that was restored to operating with non standard equipment Mc Kinney Avenue Transit Authority in Dallas has one. It has self lapping brakes and a fabricated truck. Here in Fort Collins, Colorado we have what is likely the best example of a completely restored original Birney car in the country in the form of our car #21 and we have been running the wheels off of it for 23 years now. Infact we already wore out one set of them. Shortly we will begin the restoration of FCMRY #25 When we get it back home in March.

Roger Mitchell
Master Mechanic
Fort Collins Municipal Railway

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Roger Mitchell
Master Mechanic: Fort Collins Municipal Railway


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 Post subject: Re: What is important, a case study, The Birney Car
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:17 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:37 pm
Posts: 216
If you'd like to see a case study on the Birney safety car, refer to my article in the November 2007 issue of The Milepost, the journal of the Friends of the RR Museum of PA. We own an operable Birney streetcar used by the Conestoga Traction Company, currently on loan to the Manheim Historical Society in Manheim, Pa. My article is a case study of the Birney concept using our car as an illustration.

K.R. Bell


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 Post subject: Re: What is important, a case study, The Birney Car
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 1:08 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 12:56 am
Posts: 341
Location: Northern California
The Bay Area Electric Railroad Association (Western Railway Museum) acquired their Birney Safety Car, SN 62, directly out of service in 1947. It was one of four Birney cars still running on the Sacramento Northern in Chico, CA. The Association paid $50 for it and immediately moved the car to Oakland, where it ran on excursions on the Key System streetcar lines, which were abandon in 1948. It ran on other electrified lines in Northern California, including San Francisco, until 1964, when it was moved to the Western Railway Museum. By 1968 it was in service at the Museum and has been is continuous service there ever since.

There were over 6000 Birmey Safety Cars built between 1914 and 1930. The significant feature of the Safety Car was how the brake system, door system and propulsion system were inergrated to improve passenger safety on a one man car. On a Safety Car, if the motorman released the controller handle or foot valve, if he places the brake handle into emergency, or if the safety pipe is broken at either end of the car; then the brakes are applied, the track is sanded, the doors are balanced so they may be opened by the passengers, and the propulsion power is shut off.

I can only think of about eight Birney Safety Cars that were saved complete out of service. I am not aware of any Birney cars restored from a body that have the proper Safety Car equipment on them.


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 Post subject: Re: What is important, a case study, The Birney Car
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:30 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 10:58 am
Posts: 371
Location: Reston, VA
Dave, you are right, there are not very many Birney cars that were saved as complete cars.

Operating ones that I can think of are your Sacremento Northern car, the Conestoga car, the Fort Collins car, a Connecticut Co. car at Branford, and the two PE cars at Perris, which I believe came from a movie studio.

There are a few in storage or on display, including the other four Ft. Collins cars in various locations, a Kansas City car at the Museum of Transport., and the two York Utilities cars at Seashore.

The only carbody restoration that may have complete safety car equipment is the car at Ft. Smith, as they used a derilict complete car for a truck, motors & controls.

As always, I hope more people can add to this information.


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 Post subject: Re: What is important, a case study, The Birney Car
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 1:00 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:34 pm
Posts: 632
Location: Union, IL
There's also Montreal Tramways 200 (ex-Detroit 223) at Delson, which I believe was acquired out-of-service, but it was later converted to a farebox car later in life so I don't know whether it has its original safety car equipment or not. And as far as I know you're correct that Fort Smith 224 is the only Birney body restored with a complete set of original-type equipment.

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Preserved North American Electric Railway Equipment News
Hicks Car Works


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 Post subject: Re: What is important, a case study, The Birney Car
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 11:19 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2447
Location: S.F. Bay Area
Dave wrote:
As a veteran of several chicken coops I can attest to a desire on the part of almost everybody I know in the business to want to use the best equipment possible - but a sense of frustration that all they have to choose from is what is available. Make enough new replica trucks, brake valves, etc at cost similar to what is available, and they will be used gratefully.


What would that take? I have seen with my own eyes reproduction Birney journal boxes, and I understand that a significant fraction of that cost is one-time setup. I'm sure lawyers would cringe at being associated with the sale of safety equipment, but that's what LLC's are for.

I also know of cases where companies no longer interested in making certain parts have willingly given away the drawings. I have drawings for speeder wooden deck parts, as the company had moved on to things with hydraulic hoses and no longer wished to be my artisan woodworking supplier.

Today there's a prolific cottage industry at making virtually every part in a speeder at uncannily low prices. They even make all new speeders, except for the transmission (totally unique). Could that be done with Birneys?


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 Post subject: Re: What is important, a case study, The Birney Car
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 11:44 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1808
Birney parts are available in Australia.

http://www.newsteadtramcars.com/sparts.htm

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: What is important, a case study, The Birney Car
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:28 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5254
Location: southeastern USA
K35JJ on a double truck Birney perhaps, not on a single.

Fine print: you must purchase one of their streetcars to qualify to buy these spares. They are excellent cars, BTW, so not a hardship unless you are trying to complete another carbody you already own and don't want another car.

dave

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 Post subject: Re: What is important, a case study, The Birney Car
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:42 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 1:05 am
Posts: 1140
Location: San Francisco
Guys,

I am late on this discussion, but I have been out sick away from my computer.

The Birney car discussion has been most interesting.
The car we have at the western Railway Museum is as complete as it was when it came out of service in 1947. The car came from Chico, California where it provided local service for the Sacramento Northern.

The wood roof is the most fragile part of these cars and it has been replaced (canvas and paint) by the Western Railway Museum. Interior paint as well.

The car gets run nearly every weekend.
Years ago the Bay Area Railroad Association had the car down to San Francisco for an excursion and the #63 became the only Birney to run in San Francisco.

As reported, there are lots of others Birney's around. At Rio Vista we have the bodies of two Fresno cars and one Stockton car. We have trucks for two of them.

Nothing has been said about wheels; but I understand that the usual small 24 inch size is very hard to find.

In other museums that I know: Seashore has two from Colorado, but I have never seen them running. Orange Empire has two from the Pacific Electric, but I have never seen them run, pictures seem to say they run once in a while.

Frank, can you tell us if Illinois Railway Museum has any Birney's?

The two Connecticut museums each have the two truck stretch version of the Car that the Connecticut Company used. I do not know how much they get used.

My other question is, does any museum have a Briney car under restoration? As I said lots of bodies, but not a lot doing to restore any of them.
Too many other cars in line ahead of them.

Ted Miles


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 Post subject: Re: What is important, a case study, The Birney Car
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 2:01 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 3:25 am
Posts: 1025
At OERM PE 332/OPT 10 runs in passenger service fairly often. This is one of two that came from the MGM studio in Culver City in the mid-Sixties. Its current green paint job is from its service on the Old Pueblo Trolley line in Tucson. Because of 332's background in movies, I sometimes tell visitors that it's still "in makeup" from its previous "role". Shortly after MGM bought 332 from PE in 1940, it had its "closeup", playing a Moscow tram in the film "Comrade X", starring Hedy Lamarr and Clark Gable. After being a rarely seen item on late, late, late night TV, "Comrade X" is available on VHS and probably DVD.
Our other PE Birney, 331, is operable but not in service, needing some body work. It does have the correct PE red paint job.
The PE Birney that "got away" was 337. It also went to MGM, but reports indicate that it was dismantled in the late 50's. This is the car that had a "cameo" in "Singin' in the Rain" when Gene Kelly climbs on the roof to avoid over-zealous fans.
Considering how lightly-constructed Birneys were, it's rather amazing that some are still (or again) running 80 to 90 years after they were built.

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Bob Davis
Southern California


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 Post subject: Re: What is important, a case study, The Birney Car
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 2:10 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:51 pm
Posts: 1483
Location: Southern California
Bob, you beat me to the post.

Former PE #332 was in use this last Sunday -- a very rainy Super Bowl Sunday. We had it out because it is weather tight and we had operators that need to keep their knowledge of operating the car fresh.

Could write more, but the topic is Birney cars.

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Brian Norden


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 Post subject: Re: What is important, a case study, The Birney Car
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 12:07 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:34 pm
Posts: 632
Location: Union, IL
Ted Miles wrote:
Frank, can you tell us if Illinois Railway Museum has any Birney's?


Yes, Illinois Terminal 170. It is a body but most parts to (authentically) restore it are on hand, and this car was recently the recipient of new journal boxes courtesy of the multi-museum order. A list of preserved Birney cars can be found here.

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Frank Hicks
Preserved North American Electric Railway Equipment News
Hicks Car Works


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 Post subject: Re: What is important, a case study, The Birney Car
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:00 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 1:05 am
Posts: 1140
Location: San Francisco
Frank,

Thanks for the list. My goodness there are a lot of them out and around!

I would disagree about them ones in the Old Spagetti
Factory being "preserved" They have little prospect of ever seeing trucks and rails again.

Maybe some day there can be a multi-museum order for 24 inch wheels or other hardware needed to do a proper restoration on the cars.

Ted Miles


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 Post subject: Re: What is important, a case study, The Birney Car
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 4:55 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 10:58 am
Posts: 371
Location: Reston, VA
Small wheels are easy to obtain. We got a set made for our Pittsburgh low floor car from Irwin Car & Equpment. I know Ft. Collins also had new wheels made.

Try finding 25hp motors, such as GE264 or WH508 's. Good luck.


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