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streetcars and ice on the trolley wire
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Author:  Stationary Engineer [ Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:39 pm ]
Post subject:  streetcars and ice on the trolley wire

Yesterday, Kansas City had a stranded streetcar due to ice on the overhead wire. The car had to be towed back to the maintenance facility by a large tow truck. The news report said that they had been deicing the trolley wire overnight. It had been raining all night and then in less then an hour it went from 40 to below freezing.
My question is, these new streetcars have pantographs instead of trolley poles. I can't believe that the old streetcars had that much trouble with ice with their sliding shoe or wheel collectors. There was not that much ice on the wire from the video they showed.
Tom Hamilton

Author:  EJ Berry [ Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: streetcars and ice on the trolley wire

In trolley wheel days, there was a sleet-cutting trolley wheel. It was slotted to allow the ice to fall through. Philadelphia sweepers had them on board but not routinely installed on the pole.

There was also a sleet cutter attachment to a conventional wheel that didn't require replacing the wheel.

Phil Mulligan

Author:  F40PHR231 [ Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: streetcars and ice on the trolley wire

Systems that normally experience ice have shrouds on wires (used on Portland's MAX) and light-rail vehicles equipped with two pantographs instead of one. The extra pantograph is dedicated to cutting ice since it has grooves in it like a nail file (whereas the normal pan is smooth for maximum contact with wire), and those are only raised when needed. Here's a pic of Salt Lake City's TRAX from several days ago with the extra pans raised.

To continue this a 'preservation' topic, are there any traction museums that have equipment to trim ice from overhead wires?

Attachments:
icecutters.jpg
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Author:  Andy Nold [ Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: streetcars and ice on the trolley wire

McKinney Avenue Transit has a sleet scraper that fits over the shoe/wheel and runs an ice train all night long when frozen precip appears. It's fun to be the only thing on the road that can move. As long as the switches are clear and the wire is clean, the car pretty much runs like any rainy day.

Author:  Larry Lovejoy [ Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: streetcars and ice on the trolley wire

This has been a problem since the earliest days of electric traction. Frank Sprague’s pioneering electric trolley line in Richmond, Virginia was iced in one morning until an enterprising mechanic climbed on the roof of a car and began whaling away at the ice-encased trolley wire with an upended broom as his colleague slowly inched the car forward. Nearly a century later, I personally witnessed the same technique in action on an icy night in Pittsburgh. Line car M210, with both poles up, was moving slowly along the line while a lineman on the platform banged away at the wire with what appeared to be a baseball bat. There were still plenty of fireworks coming off the rear trolley wheel, which was doubtless pitted beyond any salvage before the night was done. Today, the Port Authority has LRVs equipped with sleet cutter pantographs similar to the Salt Lake City example above. Even with those, it’s crucial to run the sleet cutter trains on close headways so the ice doesn’t get ahead of you. If it does, you're sunk and have to wait for warm weather.

/s/ Larry
Lawrence G. Lovejoy, P.E.

Author:  Stationary Engineer [ Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: streetcars and ice on the trolley wire

Thanks for the info, very interesting.
Tom

Author:  EJ Berry [ Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: streetcars and ice on the trolley wire

The PRR in icing conditions had the motors run with both pantographs up and had pan inspection platforms at major stations.

Ice can form on the pans too and the ice weight on the pans can reduce the contact pressure at the wire.

Phil Mulligan

Author:  JimBoylan [ Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: streetcars and ice on the trolley wire

At Penn's Landing (Philadelphia, Pa.) Trolley, we used trolley poles with sliding shoes instead of wheels. Sleet cutter attachments to fit over the shoes were stored under seats in each of the operating cars, and we had instructions about how to install them. I never got to actually use them.
Branford (Conn.) Electric Rwy. Ass'n. - Shore Line Trolley Museum has the sleet cutter attachment for a wheel on exhibit in the station. One icy off season day when I was operator of a charter, the only trip that day, I asked about using the "sleet cutter". I was told NOT to use it, as we have thin and well used 00 trolley wire, and I might wear it enough very quickly to cause the wire to break. Many trolley car lines use thicker 0000 gauge wire.
There are You Tube videos of sleet sparks.

Author:  Clyde Putman [ Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: streetcars and ice on the trolley wire

Andy Nodd mentioned McKinney Avenue Transit in Dallas. Here in Dallas we don't get much snow, but occasionally get nasty ice storms which take down trees and powerlines. My hat is off to Andy for running ice clearing duty, here is Dallas we ALSO mostly don't know how to drive in ice, I would be terrified of some idiot driver running into me!

Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: streetcars and ice on the trolley wire

EJ Berry wrote:
The PRR in icing conditions had the motors run with both pantographs up and had pan inspection platforms at major stations.


It still happens fifty years later.

Just published to the Baltimore Chapter NRHS Facebook page: this photo by Chapter member Mark Hummel at Middle River, Md. ca. 2000:

https://www.facebook.com/BaltimoreNRHS/ ... =3&theater

Image

Author:  Andy Nold [ Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: streetcars and ice on the trolley wire

For what it's worth, we have a forecast for frozen precip in Dallas Monday night into Tuesday. When I was taking train 3 out at MATA on Saturday, I heard the discussion of operator assignments for the ice train Monday night. Thankfully not me, I have a regular job and can't run overnights anymore. If your in the area, feel free to hop a ride. They're predicting 1/2 inch accumulation.

Author:  wilkinsd [ Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: streetcars and ice on the trolley wire

To bring this back into the realm of preservation, the late Fred Perry was very active at Seashore for many years. Later in life, he served as a consultant to various light rail systems that were being built, including the one in St. Louis. When in St. Louis, he designed the front "sleet scraper" pantograph. St. Louis, from my experience living there, gets an awful lot of ice storms in the winter months. It isn't connected to power. A resistor used the collected power to heat the contact shoe. I believe the spring tension is slightly higher than the power-collecting ones too.

When the very serious, German engineers from Siemens first saw this, they were horrified, but realized that Fred had properly designed and installed it. It was then made an option on all Siemens light rail cars.

Author:  traindude70 [ Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: streetcars and ice on the trolley wire

Speaking of McKinney avenues ice shoes; Here is a picture of our Ice Cutters. Not good to use them non stop since they don't lubricate the wire, its best to use them on only a couple of cars and keep carbon sliders on the other cars so the line stays slick.

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Author:  Gord M [ Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: streetcars and ice on the trolley wire

traindude70 wrote:
Speaking of McKinney avenues ice shoes; Here is a picture of our Ice Cutters. Not good to use them non stop since they don't lubricate the wire, its best to use them on only a couple of cars and keep carbon sliders on the other cars so the line stays slick.

Attachment:
26167167_1948492908514171_2785197772714978189_n.jpg


These are the same as Toronto's ice cutters meant for a J-6 trolley harp and are a bolt on replacement for the carbon slider shoe. There is also a sleet cutter that looks much the same but is solid cast iron with no slots and is meant for light coatings of ice or sleet on the contact wire. Both types require monitoring so that they are removed once the sleet or ice has been cleared.

Author:  dinwitty [ Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: streetcars and ice on the trolley wire

It seems lubing the wire would help keep ice from sticking too hard and be an easier scrape off. I don't know how many museums run during the winter, IRM is mostly closed for the winter except for some special winter runs, I would presume they have ice scrapers available.

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