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Mar 3, 2016

Now at full power with Hot Springs Street Railway #50

Over the course of restoring Hot Springs Street Railway #50, we have had many milestones throughout the years, such as restoring the wooden body, rebuilding the wheel/truck assembly, getting all the pieces back together so that it can be complete streetcar again.


Restoring a streetcar is usually not an easy process (nor a quick one for that matter).  The case of #50 is no exception.  Some of the streetcar parts we were able to repair, others we have had to have new pieces made, source compatible parts, or modify a part made more another streetcar and make it work with what we have.  This process takes time and a lot of volunteer work.


On March 3 2016, we have hit another milestone with #50, which was for the streetcar to move under full power on its own.  For the past two weeks we have been checking and double checking the electrical wiring that goes from the over head wire, down through the controllers and finally to the motors.  Even with the correct wiring diagram, it is still possible to have a crossed wire somewhere that prevents the streetcar from working as intended, which is what happened to #50.  We discovered that two wires were crisscrossed which prevented the streetcar from moving.  Then after that, we had to adjust the contact fingers in both controllers to make better contact.  After all that we were finally able to get it all sorted.


The last time #50 moved under full power was in 1939.  We are beyond thankful to say that is not the case anymore.  With this accomplishment, we are now poised to get the remaining work completed so that we can have an unveiling to the public in the near future.  So many volunteers have worked on this streetcar for over the past 25 years.  All the man-hours, late nights, sweat and perseverance has gotten us to where we are now with the streetcar and it is still unbelievable. 


We still have some finishing work to conduct on the streetcar, such as getting the rest of the trim pieces installed, adjusting the brakes, finishing up the interior pieces, but the streetcar will be ready in time for its first event.... a wedding!  One of our long time volunteers, Daniel Moore, will be marrying his fiancée, Sandra Parnell on Saturday, March 19, 2016 and Hot Springs Street Railway #50 will be taking the family of the bride to Pendergraft Park for the wedding.  The timing could not be better!


Article by Phillip Moore.  Pictures provided by Chris Spain, Daniel Moore, Bradley Martin, Henry Moore and several others.

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