The Interborough Shops and Maintenance Procedures

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Interborough to Have Enlarged Shops

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 63, No. 18 · May 3, 1924 · pp 688-689.


General Layout of the New Shops of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company. The Insert at Lower Left Shows Construction. Upper Right. Pit Construction and Arrangements for Lighting.

An Area of 26-1/2 Acres Will Be Occupied with New Office Buildings, Repair Shops, Service Buildings and Separate Yards Additions to the Present Shop, Not Including Equipment, Will Cost About $2,000.000.

With the continual increase of rolling stock necessary to carry the traffic on the lines of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, New York, has come a pressing need for more adequate shop facilities. Accordingly, the company is now making additions to its 148th Street shop. When completed an area of 265 acres will be occupied by the present and new shops, office buildings, service buildings and storage yards. The new buildings will extend from 147th Street to 151st Street between Seventh Avenue and the Harlem River, and additional storage space will be available between Lenox Avenue and the Harlem River as far south as 145th Street. The Lenox Avenue subway has a station at 145th Street and two tracks will run from this into the shop yards.

To secure additional space and provide facilities for receiving materials the bulkhead line along the Harlem River is being extended by permission of the War Department. A large amount of heavy supplies come by water, such as castings, rails, ballast, sand, car wheels and timber. The location of the yards along the Harlem River is particularly convenient for receiving such supplies.

The buildings now nearing completion constitute the third addition to the 148th Street shop. The first consisted of an extension of the shop east toward the Harlem River. The second was an addition to the south side of the shop throughout its entire length to provide facilities which, with the new arrangement, will be used as a blacksmith shop, mill room, wheel shop and repair shop for wrecked cars. The third addition, which is now under construction, consists of the general repair shop, an administration building, section for electrical and machine repairs, together with two service buildings, one for the stores department and the other for the way and structures department. The accompanying plan shows the arrangement of the shops and yards and indicates the various additions. The first and second are now completed, the third is under way and will be finished by midsummer.

The original shop and the first and second additions are now being used for maintenance work. The equipment in these portions at present will be rearranged as soon as the third addition is completed. The arrangement shown on the accompanying drawing is for the shop as it will ultimately be equipped.

A new administration building for use of the transportation, mechanical, electrical and track departments is being constructed at the northeast corner of Seventh Avenue and 147th Street. The building is of reinforced concrete throughout and has five stories and a basement. The first floor is on the street level. The general shape of the office building is that of an L, which extends along Seventh Avenue for a distance of 105 ft. and along 147th Street for 136 ft. The basement will be taken up by storerooms and an instruction room for the car equipment department. The first and second floors will be used principally by the transportation department; the third will be occupied by the offices of the mechanical, electrical, and economy departments; the fourth, by the engineering department and statistical and test departments ; the fifth, by the assistant general manager and his assistants. A large lecture room is provided on the first floor, which will be used for general instruction purposes, when it is necessary to assemble a considerable number of men.

The third addition to the general repair shop will be of steel and reinforced concrete construction. It will have a total width of 200 ft. and a length extending along 147th Street of 512 ft. There will be three bays. The first bay along 147th Street will be but 18 ft. high, as this part will not be provided with overhead traveling cranes, but instead will be served by an overhead telpher system with 4-ton telphers. This bay will be partitioned off for use as an air room, a machine shop and a department of electrical repairs.

The second and third bays will have a height of 45 ft. The front portion will be used as a general repair shop and the rear for truck repairs. Four tracks are to be provided in each bay with pits the entire length. The tracks will be laid with 15 ft. between centers and entrance will be from the storage yard at the Seventh Avenue end. When completed, the shop will be equipped with four 25-ton traveling cranes.

Sixteen 3-ton floor-controlled bridge cranes will be installed in the truck overhauling shop. In addition, an overhead telpher system will serve the truck shop at either end and connect with adjacent departments.

A small open transfer table will be provided along the east end of the truck and wheel shops. This will be used only for moving trucks and supplies for the wheel and truck shop and is not intended for shifting cars. The location of machines and equipment for the wheel and axle department, which is adjacent to the truck shop, has not been definitely decided, but wheel press and wheel lathe locations have been laid out and double-track connections perpendicular to the sides of the shop are being arranged to each machine. The telpher system, which is to serve this department, has been laid out so as to provide a continuous movement of material without interference.

One of the outstanding features of this shop design is the absence of transfer tables for the shifting of cars. This is accomplished by the use of ladder tracks at the Seventh Avenue end of the shop. Inside the shop the tracks are provided with pits, with the floor between pits constructed flush with the top of the rails. An accompanying drawing shows the construction.

The lighting' circuits for the machine shop have been laid out in two ways to include both alternating and direct current circuits. There are alternating rows of 100-watt lamps with the wiring capacity arranged so that 200-watt lamps can be used if required. In addition, there are rows of direct-current, 40-watt side light clusters. The d.c. clusters will be spaced 16 ft. apart and the a.c. lamps will be located 14 ft. apart. The purpose of having the two systems of lighting is so that if one should fail the shops would not be in darkness.

In addition to this general lighting, drop lights and hand lighting is provided at machine tools. The floor of the section, which will be used as a machine shop and department for electrical repairs, will be constructed of 2-1/2-in. creosoted wood blocks.

Just east of the third section of the repair shop is a three-story building, which has been designated as Service Building No. 1. This will have a floor area of 235 x 106 ft. and will be used almost entirely by the stores department. The first floor will be taken up by a storeroom, a yardmaster's office and lunch, locker and washrooms. The second floor will be occupied by the stationery and lost property departments and the third floor will be used as a storeroom.

Another building, which is designated as Service Building No. 2, is essentially for the track and structures department. This building will have a floor area of 225 ft. x 66 ft. and will be two stories high. The first floor will contain a plumbing and tinsmith shop, a paint room, blacksmith shop and provision for the lighting department, track department and road engineers' offices. The second floor will have a carpenter shop and space for the signal department.

The foregoing details of building construction give a general idea of the extensive provision that is being made to take care of maintenance work for the subway division of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company. Considering the space for buildings and yards, this will be one of the largest electric railway shops in the world.

Preliminary tentative layouts of the tools and equipment for the enlarged shop have been made, but are not as yet ready for publication. The general arrangement, however, has been planned with the object of permitting the greatest possible economy of operation by a minimum movement of men and materials. A description of these layouts will be given in a future article.

Interborough Inspection Shop Methods

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 64, No. 7 · August 16, 1924 · pp 238-242.


Location of Inspection Buildings, Storage Yards and 148th Street Shop of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company.

Inspection of Elevated and Subway Cars on the Interborough Rapid Transit Railway Is on the Basis of 1,000 Miles for Motor Cars and 1,200 Miles for Trail Cars-- The Work Is Thoroughly Planned-- A Bonus Is Paid to Finders of Trouble of Vital Importance.

Work has recently been completed on a new inspection shed of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company at 180th Street. This is part of an extended plan for expanding the inspection and repair facilities of the company. There are now six inspection sheds of the company at which the work of making running repairs on the cars of the company is being conducted as follows: Bronx, 180th Street (completed); Bronx, Van Cortlandt Park (old shop); Bronx, West Farms (old shop); Bronx, Jerome Avenue (temporary); Brooklyn, Livonia Avenue (completed); Queens, Corona (temporary).

In additional, two other inspection sheds will be built as follows: Bronx, 239th Street; Bronx, Westchester.

This article will give an account of the methods followed in these inspection sheds. A later article will describe the shed recently completed at 180th Street.

Each day the mileage clerk makes out a list, giving the numbers of the cars that are due for inspection, with the number of trips or mileage that each of the individual cars on the list has made since the date of its last inspection. A careful record is kept of the mileage made each day by each car, and motor cars are inspected every 1,000 miles and trail cars every 1,200 miles. After the mileage clerk makes out his list of cars to be inspected, one copy is sent to the shop department and another copy to the train dispatcher.

As soon as a car is put in the inspection shed for inspection and repairs, the car checker compares the car numbers with his inspection list and puts a white inspection or work card on each car that is due for regular inspection. The front of the card so used is reproduced on page 240. The back of the card contains space for record of the inspection of the storage batteries, as each car on the system carries a battery for emergency lighting. There are 26 cells, and the gravity, height of electrolyte, volts per cell, and total volts are recorded. The fact that the inspection card carries a list of the jobs to be done relieves the individual workman from a great deal of bookkeeping, because he has simply to make his entries on this card. On roads of the size of the Interborough where several hundred men are employed on inspection and repair, it is considered very essential that each individual should be held directly responsible for the work he performs. This the work card illustrated allows, because it has listed all of the various parts of the equipment with space for the signature of the man who does the work. No car is allowed to leave the pit until all items have been signed up. There are two other cards somewhat similar to the inspection card, as will be described later. One is blue and the other is red. This distinguishes them from the general inspection card reproduced in the first illustration because it is white.

BLUE AND RED INSPECTION CARDS. The blue inspection card is attached to those cars in a train in the inspection shed which are not due for inspection, not having completed the mileage of 1,000 for motor cars and 1,200 for trail cars between inspections. Nevertheless, while these cars are in the shops, the company does give the more important parts, such as running gears, air brakes, draft rigging, and contact shoe devices a thorough inspection, and the parts of lesser importance a superficial inspection. The men sign up this card for work done in the same manner as with the white inspection card.

The other inspection card used is printed on red stock. It is used for regular inspection in the same way as the white card illustrated, but its color indicates that axle boxes, journals, etc., on the car are due for general oiling in addition to the inspection required on the rest of the car. The general oiling period is 10,000 miles. The entries on this card are printed somewhat closer together to allow for blanks covering the lubrication attention required. A separate entry on this card is made for motorman valves, feed valves, armature bearings, air compressors, center plates, triple valves, journal bearings, axle bearings and gears, and draft brake rigging and side bearings.

When all of the various classes of workmen have completed their work on a train and have properly signed the inspection cards, the train is pumped up, air brakes are tested, and brake rigging is adjusted, etc. The control and the motor circuits are then thoroughly tested. The train is then ready to return to service.

OTHER BLANKS AND FORMS USED. Space will not permit a reproduction of all the various blanks used, but one other is shown on page 240 and a brief reference will be made to the other more important forms. The one reproduced is that used for lamp and fuse renewals, cars cleaned, etc. Some of the other blanks used during this inspection work include the following:

Report of broken glass replaced on cars.

Report of repairs made and defects found on the cars while in for inspection.

Report of journal brasses removed.

Report showing length of time the train was in the inspection shed.

Report of the cars inspected and mileage made since the last inspection.

After these reports are filled out in the inspection shed, they are sent to the assistant to the general manager weekly. They are then tabulated and graphs are plotted showing the recurrences of different troubles, life of parts, etc.

DIVISION OF INSPECTION FORCE AND LAYOUT OF GANGS. Outlines of the duties of the inspection force and of the work performed are given in the two lists, printed on pages 241 and 242.

At the 180th Street inspection shed as many as 144 cars per day are inspected and for this work nearly 250 men are employed. These men work one shift of nine hours, some coming on duty at six in the morning and others at seven. A cleaning force and two emergency men are on duty during the night.

Although the work of changing wheels is usually done only at the main repair shops at 148th Street, some of this work is done at the inspection sheds when it seems desirable.

The storeroom at the inspection sheds carries a very complete supply of replacement parts, but only a week's supply normally is kept on hand as the supply car makes a trip to the various locations every day. The oil supply is cared for in a little different manner. The company has an arrangement with the oil companies whereby an oil tank truck delivers the supply direct to the inspection buildings. Storage tanks capable of holding two weeks' supply of the various oils used are to be found in the oil room.

FOLLOWING UP THE WORK. The work performed at the inspection shed is constantly being followed by a corps of special inspectors. These men drop into the various inspection sheds at unexpected times and check up the work and methods being employed. They report their findings directly to the assistant to the general manager.

The work of inspection is also greatly helped by information received from the transportation department. This comes principally from the motorman's report book. The entries in this book are filled out by the motorman and conductor for every car that has trouble on the road. This report gives the number of the car, minutes delayed, time taken out of service, nature of trouble, names of conductor and motorman, etc. Two books of this kind are kept at each of the terminals, these books being used on alternate days. This permits one book to be sent each day to the shop foreman. The clerk makes a copy of the book each day and returns it to the terminal so that it will be available for the following day. In addition to the entries made by the trainmen, this book contains a space in which the shopman making the repairs enters the nature of the trouble actually found and the repairs made. Space is also provided for his signature.

In addition to the methods described for detecting trouble, the company follows the unusual plan of paying bonuses to employees for discovering vital defects. This bonus is paid to any employee, regardless of his classification or his rate of pay, who discovers and reports cracked or broken parts of the running gear of any car. This system of stimulating the detection of defects to the vital parts of the equipment keeps the men keyed up and is considered by the company the best possible insurance against serious road trouble happening.

When this system of discovering defects is combined with the system described by which every man working on a car personally signs the inspection card for each part of the equipment he inspects and passes, assurance is made doubly sure that all defects are discovered and the necessary repairs are made.

HEAVY REPAIR WORK. Heavy repair work is performed at the 148th Street shop for the subway division and the shop at 98th Street and Third Avenue for the Manhattan division. The former is shown in the map on page 238.

Inspection Routine on the Interborough (These regulations are referred to on page 239) Contactors. Inspect and change when necessary, all arc chutes, contactor bases, auxiliary fingers, finger blocks and auxiliary contact plates. These parts are to be kept cleaned and properly adjusted. The contactor base bolts and shunts are to be kept tight. Inspect all motor and bus rheostat leads and jumpers on rheostats. Clean the insulating collars on the circuit breaker and reverser. Remove the covers of the control rheostat coils and inspect and clean them. Inspect the main bus and power fuse and wiring. Arcing plates are to be removed when loose, cracked or broken, and are to be cleaned on all inspections. The clock circuit fuse and fuse block are to be cleaned on all inspections. All relays are to be cleaned and the leads must be examined for loose connections. P. K. commutating drums are to be cleaned off with a damp kerosene cloth, and the fingers are to be adjusted and lubricated on every inspection. The bus and control connection boxes are to be cleaned and inspected on a 10,000-mile basis. The circuit breaker arc chutes are to be cleaned and the inspectors should see that the tips make proper contact, that all parts work freely, that the head is on tight and that the line breaker trips properly.

Motor Inspection. Inspect armatures, commutator, brush-holder, brushes, etc.

Batteries. Remove all storage batteries (Edison type). Test each cell for voltage and specific gravity. Measure the height of the solution. Clean all cells and keep the top oiled. Use only distilled water when the solution is renewed. Clean the top of the cells with steam on a 60-day basis. Inspect the leads and see that they are properly insulated and that the connections are tight.

Jumpers. Change all train-line jumpers on a four-month schedule. Remove all jumpers that are in bad order or over the age limit. Clean out the coupler sockets and clean and spread and tighten all terminals in sockets and jumpers. Inspect the springs and covers on all sockets. See that all jumpers are properly inserted before the train leaves the barn.

Contact Shoe Device. Inspect and gage all contact shoes and beams. Remove the covers and examine the shoe fuses and leads on a 10,000-mile basis. Test out all shoe fuses on every inspection. See that all bolts in the contact devices are tight. Remove all shunts and jumpers where they are worn or broken. Remove all shoes when worn.

Compressors. Fill the crankcase with oil at the filling elbow. Fill the commutator oil well at the oil plug on the commutator side of the motor bearing. Do not oil on the crankcase side. Inspect and clean the inside of motor shell, fields, commutator and brush-holder and replace worn brushes, etc.

Governors and Relays. Inspect and adjust the magnet and air governor fingers and the battery charging switch.

Controllers. Remove the cover from the controller to inspect it. Remove the arc deflector. Inspect the main blow-out coil. Inspect and clean the fingerboard and flash shields. Remove the auxiliary fingers and block to inspect and clean contacts. See that all fingers are properly adjusted. Change all worn or burnt fingers. Clean the segments on the cylinders. Oil all bearing points on the cylinder and gear wheel. See that the screws in the controller top and water cap, controller handle and reverser cap are tight. Replace all weak or broken dog springs in the handle. Clean and adjust the fingers in the master electric-brake valve and engineer's valve. Inspect and repair all MS-41 and 10 switches. Install fuses where they are missing. See that all 1-in. pilot valve cut out cocks are sealed. Replace all worn parts.

Switchboards. Inspect and clean the switchboards and examine fuse clips, fuses, switches, etc., on each inspection, including the main switches. See that the proper rated fuses are in the circuits.

Light Circuits. Cut in the light switches on all cars and test all circuits and markers. Replace all missing and burnt-out lamps and broken sockets. Test out the emergency light circuit on all cars. Replace all missing and blown fuses on the switchboards.

Indication. Clean the indication boxes and disk on the pole contacts. Make necessary repairs on each inspection.

Clocks. Open the cabinets in all clocks (coasting recorders) and see that they are wound and supplied with tape. Test all clocks and circuit with a 4-volt battery. The clocks are to be changed once a year for general cleaning and repairs. Clean the clock relays on inspection.

Testing Indication. Test the motorman's indication circuit on all cars and in train formation. See that all trains are equipped with lamps, jumpers and plugs before they leave the barn. Replace any missing covers on the motorman's lamp boxes. Replace broken seals and rings in the signal box covers where they are missing or broken.

Air Brakes. Test the electric brake and control circuits from each controller and the brake valve in the train, using the electric brake key to determine whether the electric brake master switch is operating correctly and the electric brake fuse is in place. When the controller is in "on" position, let go of the button and make a test of the pilot and "E" valves. Pull all conductor's valve cords and test them for operation. Make a test of the compressors by cutting in all compressor switches. Test the balance circuit by cutting in one balance switch and noting if all the compressors are working. Note that the governors cut in at 85 lb. and out at 100 lb. pressure. Note that no leaks exist in the pipe system. Test the motor circuit on all cars by using a 5-lamp bank across main switch. See that all MS switches have fuses in and are left cut out. Examine the inspection tags and see that all work has been covered and signed for. No trains must be sent out until all work is completed, inspection tags signed, and car in good operating condition. Go around train and see that no men are at work on cars before the train is trolleyed out of the barn. Report all defects noted to the assistant general foreman.

Air-Brake Valve Changes. Change for cleaning at the repair shop, all UE-5 triple-vent A & T valves, governors, etc., on a one-year basis. Change for cleaning the compressors head on a 90-day basis. Make pipe repairs. Tighten pipe leaks, etc.

Car-Body Inspection. Inspect and repair all manually and air-operated doors, draft rigging, car body, interiors, platforms, fitting, etc. Replace all missing and empty Pyrene fire extinguishers. Repair the markers and headlights. Replace any broken glass and missing shades. Inspect the sanitary hand holds. Test all emergency cords, bell cords and bells. Inspect all destination signs and see that each car is fully equipped with these signs. Remove and replace all signs that are disfigured. The foreman of car-body inspectors will make a personal inspection of all cars passing through the barn.

Safety Gates. Inspect, clean and lubricate all gates and slides. Unhook and inspect all locks and springs. Open the gate and inspect for broken rivets in it. Inspect hand holds on all cars passing through barn.

Trip-Device and Air-Hose Inspection. Inspect, gage and adjust all trip devices. Inspect all hose on the car for chafing, being loose at the nipple, or over the age limit. See that all pipe clamps are in place and tight and that all bolts in the air-hose clamps are tight. Mark the height of the tripper on the inspection tag when it is signed.

Axle Box Inspection. Inspect and tighten all axle box and gear pan bolts. Remove and replace all broken axle brasses.

Oil Armatures. Inspect the waste and bearings on all motors passing through the barn for inspection. Remove all waste above the bearing and see that it is well lubricated. Remove all short and hard waste. Gage the oil on every inspection.

Journal Inspection. Inspect the waste and brasses on all cars passing through the barn. Remove the waste and brasses on the general oiling. Test the waste on all inspections.

Drip Cups. Remove all oil from all drip cups on all motors. Lubricate all brake rigging and drawbar slides.

UE-5 Valve. Clean the high-pressure portion of the UE-5 valve and clean the brake cylinder pressure limiting valve on a 30-day basis. Clean the 1-in. dirt collector on inspection. Fill the oil well. Examine No. 3 vent valve and the motorman's emergency cocks on inspection.

Reservoirs. Reservoir tanks are to be drained on every car going through the barn.

Air Doors. Test all air doors. Clean and lubricate all hand bases, sides, rods and gears. Remove all dirt from the door track. See that the door works at proper speed. Make all repairs, including any required on the locking device.

Feed Valves. Change the cab and control feed valves every 30 days. Oil the motorman's brake valve on inspection. Clean the i-in. cab dirt collector on inspection.

Detailed Duties of Inspection Force on Interborough. The General Foreman is in full charge of the inspection barn and of all men assigned to the barn. He is responsible for the proper maintenance of the car equipment under his supervision. He also sees that full service at all times is available for the transportation department.

The Assistant General Foreman assists the general foreman and takes over his work when he is absent. The duties of the assistant general foreman are to run the floor, to check up on work of men, to see that trains are pulled out of the barn when turned over to transportation department, to inspect personally all cars that are cut out for the shop and all trains reported for trouble, and to see that all cars are properly tagged for the shop and are recorded in the log book. He also is responsible to see that the motorman's report book is checked, that the repairs called for in this book are made and that the book is signed to indicate that the repairs have been made.

The Assistant Carhouse Foreman's duty is to check up all cars reported by the transportation department as in bad order, also to check up the men working on the control circuits and to assist in making repairs.

The Clerks and Assistant Clerks keep the general records. They take care of all correspondence and see that the time cards are properly registered and the time recorded. On these and all other matters in which he is in doubt the chief clerk is to consult with the general foreman and assistant general foreman.

The Car Checker checks and tags all inspection and non-inspection cars. He, also checks the bad-order list for bad-order cars and reports on the trouble to the assistant general barn foreman.

The Storeroom Tender receives and cares for all material and sees that there is an adequate supply of material on hand at all times.

The Motor Cleaners clean the retaining rings, brush-holder insulators, and the inside of the motor shell, fields and connections.

The Car-Body Foremen are in charge of the car-body and air-door device inspectors. They also keep a record of all repairs made by them on car bodies.

The Car-Cleaner Foreman supervises all car-cleaning work.

The Air-Brake Foreman is in charge of all air-brake and mechanical work, car body, brake and draft rigging, trucks, wheels, axle box, journal lubrication and packing.

The Air-Brake Inspectors inspect all work done by the brakemen and helpers on the inspection of cars. These inspectors also have charge of the general inspection of the "non-inspection" cars and give special attention to the toggle bar, brake pin, special lock washers and cotter keys.

The Electrical Inspector and Trouble Repairmen make the repairs to the electrical equipment and check the inspection of electrical apparatus.

The Motor Lead Inspector inspects the motor leads, ground leads, cleats, clamps, etc.

The Truck Inspector inspects all trucks for cracks on the side frame and in the transoms, equalizer bars, wheels, swing hangers, etc., for all cars going through barn.

The Wheel Inspector inspects all wheels, trucks, car body bolsters, king pins, drawbars and carriers, center casting and bolts, outside and inside equalizer bars.

The Wheel Inspector (Night) inspects all wheels, trucks, drawbars, shoe beams and general equipment. Every car in for the night must be so inspected. He also reports all defects which he discovers to the night barn foreman and leaves a written report for the general foreman.

The Valve-Room Men clean and test all feed valves, clean and grind the compressor heads, clean the compressor strainers and make minor air-valve repairs.

The Brakemen and Helpers inspect and renew brakeshoes, brake rigging, side bearings and truck chafing plates, pedestal and equalizer bars, etc., inside and out. New cotter keys must be used for all replacements. The key must fit tight in the brake pin.

The Car Inspectors will keep in touch with dispatchers and will report promptly when called by the train crews. They should keep a close check on the motorman's book and sign up when the repairs are made. They should immediately notify the general foreman when ordering a train out of service. In case of any train trouble or delay on the division to which the inspector is assigned he will give a detailed report of such trouble in the car inspector's book, which is provided for such reports. The car inspectors should see that all trains have markers when they leave the terminals. They should also make any necessary minor repairs to doors, signal circuits, markers and light circuits and control circuits.

The Lamp Trimmers equip all trains daily with refilled and clean tail lights. They should inspect the tail lamps on all trains each trip and should see that all lay-up trains are equipped with freshly trimmed lamps at both ends.

Trolleymen and foremen are the only ones allowed to apply the trolley to a train or to trolley a train out of the barn. The trolley is not to be applied to any car or train while men are working on it. Trolleyman will test brakes (electric and pneumatic) on all cars, but the brake adjustment is done by the air-brake inspector, as already described.

The Night Car Cleaners sweep and dust all cars and remove all newspapers from under seats.

The Day Car Cleaners carry out the following program: (1) Clean windows; (2) sponge seats and seat backs; (3) mop car floors; (4) clean and wash lamp shades; (5) wash sanitary hand holds; (6) wash white ceilings; (7) wash or wipe fan blades; (8) renovate the interior; (9) dry clean the interior; (10) clean the markers; (11) clean and dust under the seats, etc.


Rack for Testing Control and Bus Line Jumpers at 180th Street Inspection Shed.


As the Train Enters the Building a Clerk Places a Colored Tag on Each Car Indicating Kind of Inspection Needed.


[Left] Rack for Testing Various Brake Valves, Feed Valves and Other Pneumatic Equipment. [Right] Power for Moving Trains Is Taken from an Overhead Conductor Through Flexible Leads.


Above, One of the Blanks Used by the Inspection Force. At Right, Inspection Card Which Must Be Signed by the Man Doing the Work.

Modern Inspection Facilities for the Interborough System

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 64, No. 7 · August 30, 1924 · pp 305-308.


The 180th Street Building Has Eight Tracks Each Accommodating a Ten-Car Train.

The City of New York Is Building Six Storage Yards and Inspection Buildings to Provide for 2,266 Cars of the Interborough Rapid Transit System These Will Provide for the Full Capacity of Present Lines of the Subway Division The Two Completed Are Described.

Two modern inspection buildings have recently been completed and placed in service by the subway division of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, New York City. These buildings, which embody the latest practices for facilitating inspection of rapid transit cars, along with the adjoining storage yards, are part of a plan under which the city of New York, under the direction of the Transit Commission, is adding to the inspection and storage facilities of the Interborough. Altogether there are six projects of this sort, including the two which have just been finished. Under the contract between the company and the city, the latter is responsible for supplying to the company all necessary facilities of this kind.

The capacity of the new inspection facilities is intended to be adequate not only for the present rolling stock, but also for such increases as are anticipated within the early future. The locations of these inspection buildings are at the ends of the lines and adjoin the storage yards so as to reduce dead car mileage to a minimum. In all the work of design the engineers of the railway company naturally worked closely with those of the commission, so that the finished shops represent the ideas of both.

The work contracted for under the Transit Commission includes only the shell of the building, with whatever conduits, steam piping and plumbing are necessary as permanent features of the construction. The operating company supplies the conduits and wires for lighting and power; lighting fixtures, cranes, testing apparatus, storeroom bins and other similar equipment which is not considered a part of the actual building. The trackwork within the building, however, is classified along with that outside and it is installed by the city.

The locations of the six inspection buildings and yards were shown on a map published on page 238 of the issue of this paper for Aug. 16, 1924, of the six inspection sheds. The two which are completed are those at 180th Street, the Bronx Park terminus of the Lexington Avenue line, and at Livonia Avenue in Brooklyn, at the end of the Eastern Parkway line. There is a storage yard accompanying each of these shops. The other four projects are at the end of the Jerome Avenue line, 239th Street at the end of the White Plains Road line, Westchester at the end of the Pelham line, and Corona at the end of the Flushing extension of the Corona line in Queens. The total storage capacity for all six of these yards and buildings, including the space over the inspection pits, is 2,266 cars, divided as shown in the following table:

LocationTotal Storage Capacity, Cars In YardCars in Inspection PitProbable Completion Date
180th Street26080Completed
Livonia Avenue31040Completed
Jerome Avenue30040December 1924
239th Street54680December 1925
Westchester36045July 1926
Corona Avenue165


December 1926

The subway division of the Interborough at present comprises 222 miles of single track, and there are accommodations for storing approximately 2,000 cars in temporary sheds and on third track. On account of the operating demands the company has constantly been increasing the number of its cars, and this means that there should be corresponding increase in adequate storage space and inspection facilities. It is estimated that with 222 miles of track the maximum number of cars that can be operated is 3,000. Including the existing storage yard, the contemplated plans will only suffice to provide facilities until this number is reached.

THE PROJECT WILL COST $10,000,000. In the entire plan for shop and storage facilities for the Interborough Rapid Transit Railway approximately $10,000,000 is being spent, which averages a little more than $4,000 per car. This figure does not include the $5,000,000 required for the general overhaul and repair shops nearly completed at 148th Street on the Lenox Avenue branch of the Seventh Avenue line, and which were described in ELECTRIC RAILWAY JOURNAL May 3, 1924, page 688.

Each of the inspection projects has its individual characteristics, on account of the varying physical layout and the number of cars to be handled, but the cost of the 180th Street development, which amounted to approximately $2,540 per car, including those in the yard and over pits, is considered most representative. This entire project, costing some $965,000, may be subdivided as follows:

Real estate for the inspection buildings$160,000
Building, including pit construction415,000
Trackwork including that, in yard and building180,000
Real estate for storage yard210,000


These figures do not include the cost of engineering, superintendence during construction, or interest on the investment during the construction period. The real estate was obtained by the city some years ago through condemnation proceedings, and when the value of property in the vicinity was somewhat lower than at present. The total construction cost is, therefore, somewhat less than the cost would be to duplicate the project today, although the building was only recently finished.

The conditions existing at the Livonia project, the other one which is completed, resulted in a considerably higher total cost, as follows:

Real estate$160.000
Building, including foundation and special

steelwork floor, with steel elevated structure for lead-in



Including 310 cars in the yard and 40 over the pits, this cost averages $4,600 per car.

CONSTRUCTION OF THE 180TH STREET SHOP. The inspection building at 180th Street is typical, both as to cost and general appearance, of those contemplated for the four other locations. The building is classed as semi-fireproof, being constructed without wood, but not having the steel work encased in concrete. The building is one story in height without a basement, and is 592 ft. long by 120 ft. wide. Inspection tracks with pits, extending the full length of the building, provide accommodations for 80 cars.

The foundation was placed on earth or piling where rock was not readily accessible. The walls are of concrete. About 50 per cent of the wall area, however, is taken up with windows having steel sash and wire glass. Due to the low roof, which has a clearance of only 4 ft. above the roofs of the cars, these windows are not depended on for lighting the entire floor area. The reinforced concrete roof has saw-teeth extending across the entire width of the building, although the steel trusses which support it do not run entirely across, but are supported at one end on a row of columns set up between two of the tracks. Pre-cast concrete slabs with wire mesh reinforcement cover the sloping sides of the roof, with a finish of roofing tile laid over roofing paper. The vertical faces of the saw-teeth are fitted with steel sash glazed with clear glass, the sections being arranged to swing open. Owing to the necessity of being economical of room because of the high value of real estate the clear spacing of the tracks is only 12 ft. between centers.

The stock room, carpenter shop, transformer room and office are located on the main floor along one wall of the building, while above these on the mezzanine floor are located the washroom, locker room and toilets, and a recreation room for the men has been provided on the second floor above the mezzanine, as these buildings are located in outlying districts of the city.

Each of the eight tracks in the building has a pit extending the entire length. These pits are 3 ft. deep below the base of the rail, and are 3 ft. 9 in. wide. The pit floors slope transversely for drainage. In each pit side wall are recesses for electric lamps and receptacles for attaching extension cords. As the pits are not open on the sides, no attempt has been made to provide storage for parts and tools on the pit floor.

The floor and pits are constructed of reinforced concrete. The pit walls are flush with the floor and longitudinal stringers 6-1/2 in. high are placed on top of them on which the track rails are laid. This makes a depression of the floor about 12 in. below the rail, but ramps are provided at each end of the building to bring the floor surface up level with the rail head. This arrangement was adopted to facilitate the work of the men who handle the lubrication of journals and side bearings.

Entrance to the building is made at one end, eight tracks branching off from a ladder outside the structure. In the building at 180th Street a separate rolling steel door is provided for each track, 16 ft. high and 12 ft. wide.

Low-pressure steam for heating is supplied from a boiler located adjacent to the main building. In this room are coal storage facilities and a small repair shop for maintenance of the steam heating equipment. Radiators are placed along the side end walls of the main shop, and additional steam coils are suspended from the roof trusses. These provide a sufficiently high temperature so that the men may work in the shop during the winter time without requiring extra clothing.

General interior illumination is furnished by rows of fixtures placed approximately 25 ft. apart, with the fixtures in each row spaced 12 ft. apart so as to be directly over the aisles between tracks, thus making nine fixtures in each row. Every second row contains single fixtures, each holding a 200-watt, 125-volt lamp, supplied from the 125-volt a.c. service. The fixtures in the other rows each contain five 40-watt lamps, operated from the 600-volt d.c. railway power circuit. Each fixture has a dome type reflector to throw the light down to cover the floor with as little overlapping as possible. The alternating-current circuit may be supplied either from the Interborough's line or the New York Edison Company's service, both of which operate on 33,000 volts. With these three sources of light it is considered improbable that the building will at any time be in complete darkness.

LIVONIA INSPECTION BUILDING. A different construction was adopted at the Livonia inspection building, as the entire yard and structure were placed on a heavy fill. Although the yard tracks were very conveniently supported directly on the fill, it was considered inadvisable to place the building on such an unstable foundation as was offered by the filled ground. The building was, therefore, mounted on steel columns, with the main floor supported on steel girders to bring it level with the yard. In the space beneath are located the boiler room, coal bins and other storage space. The floor girders support the track rails, these in turn being supported by steel columns. The base is of reinforced concrete. The main inspection floor between the pits is of reinforced concrete, with the top 6-1/2 in. below the base of the rail.

At Livonia Avenue the doors are hand operated and of the jack-knife type. They are hinged horizontally in two sections and when opened fold up against the roof.


Typical Cross-Section Through Pits Showing the Pits Under Each Track and the Saw-Tooth Roof Construction.


[Left] A Portion of the 180th Street Inspection Building of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, Showing Roof Construction. [Right] Interior of the 180th Street Building. The Tracks Are Raised About 1 Ft. Above the Floor to Facilitate the Inspection of Brakes and Journals.


[Left] One of the Pits at 180th Street, Showing Lamp Pocket and Track Construction. [Right] The Storeroom Has a Complete Stock, but by Carrying Small Quantities Its Size Is Reduced.

Maintenance Methods on the Interborough

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 63, No. 18 · March 21, 1925 · pp 440-449.

Repair Shops of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company. Under a Most Exacting Service, an Efficient System of Car Maintenance Has Been Built Up, by Which Delays per 1,000,000 Car-Miles Have Been Kept to a Low Figure.


One of the Inspection Bays at the 147th Street Shops.

This article describes the nature and extent of the repair problem, the methods followed in carrying out repairs and the organization by which this work is conducted in the shops of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company of New York. Previous articles on the repair shops, inspection methods and inspection shops of this company appeared in the issues of May 3, 1924; Aug. 16, 1924, and Aug. 30, 1924. Of the detail views accompanying this article those on pages 442 to 445 inclusive were taken at the 98th Street shops, and those on pages 447 to 449 inclusive were taken at the 147th Street shops.

The immensity of the task of maintaining the rolling stock of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company can be gathered from a few statistics of the traffic conducted, as compared with trunk-line railroads. During the calendar year of 1922, the last year for which statistics of this kind are available, the entire revenue-passenger business on the steam railroads or trunk-line railroads of the country (Classes I, II, and III) reporting to the Interstate Commerce Commission amounted to exactly 989,509,000 passengers, and it is estimated that the few small roads outside the jurisdiction of the commission would not be sufficient to make an aggregate of 1,000,000,000 passengers. During the same year, however, the twelve months ended Dec. 31, 1922, the number of passengers carried by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company was 1,001,730,481. This number was divided approximately two-thirds on the subway division and one-third on the elevated division. Yet this number was carried practically without accident. The figures of passengers carried by the Interborough for 1923 and 1924 are given in Table I.

The extent of the operations of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company can be indicated in another way. Each month this company operates between 15,000,000 and 17,000,000 car-miles. This mileage is more than that which would be taken by the operation of a subway car 20 times around the circumference of the earth at the equator every day for a month.

It is not only in number of passengers carried and car-miles run that the performance of the Interborough Rapid Transit lines is remarkable. The service conditions are probably the most severe in the world. Trains made up of steel cars, weighing between 38 and 40 tons each, have to be started, brought up to full speed and then braked to a stop, all day, at intervals of only about 1-1/2 to 3 minutes. Frequently on the subway individual cars average more than 5,000 miles per month, and during this time they have to make from 12,000 to 15,000 starts and stops. Again, if a car develops a defect after it has been put in service in a train, it cannot easily be cut out and put on a siding or hauled on a branch track to the repair shop, as would be the case with a line operating on the surface. If it breaks down entirely it delays not only its own train but every other train on the same track behind it and means a large loss of fares, as well as discomfort to the travelers. This demands that, in spite of the tremendously arduous railway conditions prevailing in subway operation, breakdowns from mechanical defects and pull-ins have to be kept practically to zero.

Finally, unlike most surface lines, rapid transit lines exist only where population density is high and where, in consequence, real estate is very expensive. This means that the repair shops and maintenance shops have to be designed to permit the smallest amount of space per car with which the maintenance department can get along. Added to all of these conditions which face the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, the city of New York, which is responsible for providing the necessary shop and inspection facilities under the dual contracts, is far behind in this part of its program. It is true that now, after long delay, the shop and inspection facilities of the company are being extended by the city, as described in the previous articles referred to, and an especially needed extension of the repair shops at 147th Street and Lenox Avenue for the subway division is now in course of construction. When this is completed, some time during this year, it will help the situation greatly.

In the meantime, of course, the company has not been able to wait for these new facilities and has had to conduct both inspection and repair work as best it could. In these circumstances, the low record of the company in delays per 1,000,000 car-miles from mechanical and electrical causes, as shown in the upper chart on page 444, is remarkable.

Careful records are kept of the number of cars shopped for different causes. The charts shown on page 444 are typical records of this kind.

Table II shows car-miles operated on the two divisions for the 14 months ended with February, 1925. Table III gives the number of cars owned last fall, i.e., not including those on the recent order.

Organization of Mechanical Department. The car equipment department of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company is headed by a superintendent of car equipment, who is also assistant to the general manager. The fact that the head of the mechanical department is thus also in close official connection with the highest councils in the company shows the importance in which good maintenance is held on the Interborough and the authority which it is realized he should have. This official, James S. Doyle, has charge of all of inspection, maintenance, construction and engineering of rolling stock on both the elevated and subway divisions.

The company makes a distinct separation between its inspection work and its repair and overhaul work. The inspection is conducted in nine special inspection shops, located at different points in the system, as described in the previous articles mentioned. In these shops all cars are inspected on a mileage basis, the motor cars after every 1,000 miles and the trail cars after every 1,200 miles.

The repairs, except such light repairs as are carried on at the inspection sheds incident to inspection, are done at one of the two repair shops of the company. The subway rolling stock goes for all repairs except painting to the shops at 147th Street and Lenox Avenue, now being doubled in size. The cars for the elevated system are repaired at the shops belonging to the Manhattan Elevated Railway at 98th Street and Third Avenue. All painting of cars is also done at these shops. A considerable number of the executives connected with the maintenance department of the company have their offices at the shops at 98th Street and Third Avenue, and here also is the office of the superintendent of car equipment.

At these shops each car on the system is thoroughly gone over at least once a year, at which time all necessary repairs are performed. In addition, the heavy repairs, which, because of their character, are such that they cannot be advantageously performed at the inspection and running repair shops, are also carried on in these shops.

The principal causes for which cars are sent from the road to the repair shop, except at overhauling times, are: Armature and field trouble, wheel turning, worn journals or truck repairs, heavy car-body repairs and painting.

When a car comes into the repair shop, regardless of the nature of the trouble, a careful inspection is also made of the car body, including brake rigging, interior of body, platforms, roofs, sills, body bolsters, and control apparatus. If any defect is discovered the necessary repairs are made. In addition, a regular schedule is carried out with all cars.

Car Wiring Tests at Repair Shop. The control apparatus and car wiring are subject to the following inspection and tests as cars go through the shop.

The controllers are inspected, and if any worn fingers are found they are changed and new fingers are installed and adjusted. If any controller cylinders are found with worn or loose segments, they are removed and sent to the machine shop for repairs. The finger blocks and arc chutes are thoroughly cleaned and any necessary repairs are made. All mechanical parts such as shafts, pinions, gears and levers are repaired and readjusted, where this is needed.

All contactors are tested and inspected, and all worn or burnt contact tips, arc chutes, shunts, interlock fingers and worn mechanism base plates are replaced with new parts. All wire connections are gone over and tightened.

The reversers are tested, cleaned and oiled. All worn or burnt fingers or segment boards are replaced All wire connections are tightened.

The line switches are tested, and all worn, burnt or broken tips, levers, arcing horns and arc chutes are cleaned or replaced with new parts. Worn overload trip contacts and interlock fingers are replaced and adjusted. The operating magnet valves are overhauled and pin valve seats are ground on a six months basis.

The rheostats are inspected for broken or fused grids and loose connections. At this time, broken or burnt insulators are replaced and the insulating collars are cleaned and shellacked.

The coupler sockets are inspected, particularly for loose or cracked insulation blocks and for loose or broken contact fingers and covers.

All switches and fuse base and connection boxes are inspected, particularly for loose parts, and all connections are tightened. All wires are examined for broken strands.

Before any car is allowed to leave the repair shop the electrical wiring on the car is given a high-tension test of 1,200 volts, for break-down of insulation, short and open circuits and grounds.

The truck trolleys and motor leads are inspected and removed on a time basis. The interval for the truck trolleys is every 18 months and that for the motor leads every 24 months. The flexible jumper connections between the cars, on which the reliability of the service depends to a large extent, are removed on a time basis of 18 months. The old jumper cable is scrapped and new cable is used so that the jumpers will be in 100 per cent condition.

All wire used on the cars is made to the Interborough's specifications. These specifications are very rigid, calling for 30 per cent pure Para rubber. Wire is purchased by the company only from certain manufacturers who have been found able and willing to make wire that meets the company's specifications.

While the car bodies are going through the body repair shop, the trucks, brake rigging, air compressors, air brake equipment and trip devices are sent to a separate department where they are thoroughly inspected and the necessary repairs are made. All drawheads, pins and coupling links and also all pinions and gears are checked up for wear with a limit gage. Before a car is returned to service the air brakes, control and motor circuits are tested and the brakes are adjusted. At the same time, the car body is checked for height and side bearing clearance.

Because of the high speed and the limited clearance of the cars with parts of the subway structure, good axles are even more of a necessity than on most electric railways. The company's specifications for axles are known among manufacturers to be very exacting. The original axles were annealed, but many years ago specifications were changed to call for higher-grade heat treatment such as is now used in the best automobile practice. Since the adoption of these specifications there has never been an axle failure under any of the Interborough cars. Although the use of this heat-treated material appears to be entirely safe, the company has always taken the extra precaution of having axles rigidly inspected at the mills before installation and subsequently tested periodically in service. The axles are tested at the shops on a 50,000-mile basis in the following manner:

The wheels and axles are removed from the trucks, and all rust and scale are removed from the axle. The axle is then immersed in a lye tank for 35 minutes. It is then thoroughly wiped clean with waste, after which it is put in a hot bath of oil at a temperature of 240 deg. F. for 35 minutes and again wiped clean and dry. The axle is then coated with whiting and alcohol. It is then vibrated and carefully examined with a magnifying glass for evidence of detail fractures. Views of these tests are given on page 442. The same test of being cleaned and oiled, then coated with whiting and vibrated, is applied to the wheels and also to the swing hangers, equalizer bars, king pins, car-body brake rods, pinions and axle cap bolts on all trucks when they are passing through the repair shop.

All pinions are heat treated. In the vibration test given to them every tooth is vibrated and examined for defects. Axle cap bolt lock washers are of the type known as parallel washer, made of high-powered steel. They are scrapped every time bolts are removed.

Motor Maintenance. The company has a large variety of motors, as shown in Table IV. The controller equipments are also listed in Table IV.

As motors go through the shop all field coils and armatures are inspected and tested for defects. Those found in bad order are tagged with a "bad order" card. This card, which is 5-1/2 x 7 in., carries an illustration of a field coil or armature, on which the position of the defect may be marked. The back of the card contains space for further remarks, as well as a duplicate illustration of the field coil or armature. Bad order tag cards for field coils are printed on white stock, those for interpole fields on blue stock and those for armatures on buff stock.

While the cars are in the shops all armatures are gaged and tested for lateral motion. The brush-holders are removed and the brush-holder insulators are cleaned. At the same time the brush-holder tension is tested with a spring balance. The commutator and the armature as a whole is also inspected and given an electrical test.

Turning Rolled Steel Wheels. The rolled-steel wheel is used exclusively on subway division motor trucks. Previous to its development, less than 20 years ago, steel tires were used, but owing to the high rates of braking they were not satisfactory. The heat from the action of the brakes used would tend to loosen the tire and special means had to be adopted to correct this trouble. The development of the rolled-steel wheel was therefore very acceptable to the operators of the rapid transit lines in New York. The Interborough company was the first to co-operate with the manufacturers in the introduction of the rolled-steel type of wheel for heavy traction work. Since its introduction the company has carefully followed up all later developments and performances of this type of wheel in heavy traction service.

The method of turning wheels at the 147th Street shop was described in an article on page 443 of the issue of this paper for March 17, 1923, with some particulars of the piece-work system employed for practically all the repair and maintenance work of the company. The advantages of this system as a means of saving investment are perhaps no more prominently exhibited than in the work of turning wheels. Under the piece-work system the men have a strong incentive for speeding up, and the output of the lathes is correspondingly increased. The result of this is that at the 147th Street shop only three wheel lathes are required, each wheel lathe operated by one man turning out an average of 15 pairs of turned wheels per day.

Two of the charts reproduced on page 444 show the method of tabulating the number of cars shopped for wheels on the subway division and the number of flat wheels per month developed on the motor trucks and trailer trucks of the Manhattan division,

In one respect the repair situation of the company is complicated in that it has to care for the maintenance and repair of two entirely different kinds of cars, namely, wooden cars, as used on the Manhattan elevated division, and all-steel cars as used on the subway division. It is therefore in a position to be well acquainted with methods of maintenance and repair for both kinds of rolling stock and can offer to others the valuable experience it has gained in doing this work side by side with two distinct classes of equipment. While the same methods are followed in maintaining both the steel and wooden car bodies, the body repairs of each type require entirely different types of shop machinery. The steel cars are repaired at 147th Street and Lenox Avenue subway shop, which is equipped with the necessary iron-working machinery for making all classes of steel body repairs. All wooden cars are repaired at the 98th Street and Third Avenue shops, which have a full equipment of wood-working machinery.

Lubrication Practice. Owing to the exacting character of the service, special attention is given on both divisions of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company to proper and adequate lubrication. The methods employed represent an extended experience of the engineers of both the Interborough Rapid Transit Company and the Galena Signal Oil Company, which has a yearly contract with the railway company for the lubrication of car equipment at a guaranteed cost per 1,000 car-miles. A typical report showing the method of tabulating the amount and cost of lubrication is that reproduced in the accompanying table, which shows the lubricant chargeable to cost per 1,000 miles during March, 1924, for the subway division.

As will be seen, the averages for the different divisions vary considerably. This variation is due largely to differences in the type of equipment used. It will also be noticed that all costs are reduced to a basis of 1,000 car-miles.

Oiling of all moving parts is done at each car inspection, which is at intervals of 1,000 miles for motor cars and 1,200 miles for trail cars, but at the end of every tenth inspection the cars receive what is known as a general oiling. At this time, the waste is removed from the motor axles and journal boxes, which are then repacked. For this packing long-strand carpet wool waste is used.

Gears are lubricated with 4 lb. of gear grease every 10,000 miles, but for every 1,000 miles the pinion end of the armature bearing are given 2 gills of oil and the commutator end bearing l-1/2 gills. All armature bearings are drained every time a motor car is brought into a shop. The oil is then carefully strained through several layers of cheese cloth and is then used again for lubricating journal bearings, while the refuse is retained for greasing drawbars, brake riggings, side bearings sector bars, etc.

As already explained a great deal of attention is given to lubrication because of the hard service which the equipment has to perform and the knowledge that adequate lubrication is one of the greatest means of reducing maintenance.

To insure proper lubrication on the road, a representative of the Galena company pays a visit at least one a month to all depots and shops, taking up with the carhouse foremen their last lubrication report and inspecting the oil housings, tanks and filters with which the various shops and carhouses are provided.

To stimulate interest in better lubrication copies of the monthly reports of the lubrication expert to the superintendent of car equipment are sent to every division superintendent. At this time the superintendent of car equipment calls the attention of the division superintendents to any special points in the lubrication report which seem to call for consideration. Thus a record of an excessive amount of oil used is a reason for asking for an explanation of the conditions which brought about such a condition.

All general painting of cars is done at the 98th street shop. Records are kept in the main office showing the date on which each car was last in the paint shop, the time when it should return to the shop if not called in earlier and the kind of painting called for.

The cars on the subway and elevated divisions are treated from a painting standpoint in an entirely different manner. The elevated cars, being very conspicuous from the street, are painted an orange color with black striping and considerable lettering. The use of so light a color is not considered necessary in the subway, so the cars on the subway division are painted a Pullman green with no lettering except the word "Interborough" on the letterboard, and the number of the car on each side at each end.

An important feature in the paint shop is the use of the piece-work system, which was adopted in 1905. Portions of the piece-work schedule for Manhattan cars are published on page 446. Other figures with typical blanks used in the shops of the company were published in the issue of this paper for March 17, 1923.


The Interborough Rapid Transit Company has two main repair shops. The one shown in the upper view is that originally used by the Manhattan Elevated Railway. It is between 98th and 99th Streets on Third Avenue and occupies the greater part of two city blocks. The yard on Third Avenue is on a level with the elevated structure.


The lower view shows the new shops and the office building at 147th Street and Seventh Avenue. These shops, yards and storage space, when completed, will extend along the Harlem River from 145th Street to 151st Street, with western frontage for part of the property on Lenox Avenue and for part of the property on Seventh Avenue.


The Five Illustrations on This Page Show the Methods of Inspecting Wheels by the Vibration Test and Magnifying Glass. As explained in the text, a great deal of study has been given by the engineers of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company to methods of testing wheels, axles and pinions. The five accompanying views show the processes used when the wheels come into the repair shop. (1) The dirt is scraped and wiped oft. The axle is then immersed in a lye tank for 30 or 35 minutes, and then thoroughly cleaned with waste...


(2) It is then put in a hot bath of oil...


... and (3) then wiped clean and dry again.


(5) It is then carefully examined with a magnifying glass for evidence of detail fractures. Any crack is usually at the junction of the wheel and axle. Three of the views show a motor axle and two show a trailer axle. Both are treated in the same way.


The Five Illustrations on This Page Show Babbitting, Pinion Testing and the Safety Features of Mill Practice. The first view shows the babbitting room at the 98th Street shops. The babbitt furnaces, the pyrometer and the racks for bearings of different sizes are at the right. There is still a larger babbitting room at the 147th Street shops.


The next two views show tile method of testing new motor pinions by the vibration method. It is very similar to the method used for testing wheels, as described on the opposite page. View 2 shows the blow being given to a pinion coated with whiting. Below are piles of coated and uncoated pinions and an oil bath tank.


View 3 illustrates the examination of these pinions with the magnifying glass.


Views 4 and 5 are from the wood mill in the 98th Street shops. The machine in View 4 is a variety molder and shaper. Note the mandrel which slips over the end of the shaft to hold it in place. Note also the safety guards over the revolving parts. These guards are so arranged that while they can be raised they cannot be removed from the machine.


View 5 is of a circular saw and also shows a guard so arranged that it cannot be removed from the machine.


[Top] Delays Due to Electrical and Mechanical Causes — Subway Division. [Bottom] Wheels Flat — Manhattan Division. The Upper Drawing is for Motor Trucks, the Lower Drawing for Trailer Trucks.


Road Failures Due to Grounded, Open and Short Circuited Train Line Juniper Wires.


A Few Typical Charts of Maintenance Records. No. 1. Lubrication cost per thousand car-miles — Manhattan division. No. 2. Lubrication cost per thousand car-miles — Subway division. No. 3. Cars shopped for pinions and gears — Subway division. No. 4. Cars shopped for car body defects - Subway division.


Four Interesting Machines In the Machine Shop at 98th Street and Third Avenue. Views 1 and 3 show the lathes used in turning axle brasses. The outside of a pair of journal brasses is being finished in View 1 and the inside in View 3. The two halves are held together by a band so they will make a perfect fit.


The ring on the arbor of the boring tool in View 3 is a measuring gage.


View 2 shows a pneumatic hammer for forming fiber disks for magnetic coils, washers, etc. This hammer was made from pick-up material in the shop. The fiber disks formed on this machine are first punched fiat from strips. Then they are laid on a hot die and stamped to a dished form with this pneumatic hammer. This is a great saving in time over the old way of turning these disks on a lathe. A safety feature of this hammer is that the operator must use both hands on the machine while the hammer descends.


The machine in View 4 is a device for winding brass wire into the form of spiral armor for motor and other leads. One great advantage of this machine is that it makes this wire armor of uniform size. It is also very rapid. The former method of making this armor was with a lathe with which 1,000 lb. of armor a week was a good record. This machine winds 1,000 lb. easily in a day.


Air Brake and Brush-Holder Repairs Are Facilitated by Special Equipment. The left-hand view shows the testing department for motorman's operating air valves. The valves are tested as in regular service. At the right, a portion of the brush-holder repair department is shown.


Electrical Tests for Car Wiring and Armatures Detect Open Circuits, Short Circuits and Grounds. High-tension tests on car wiring are made at 3,000 volts a.c. The convenient portable transformer outfit shown in the view at the left is used. It can be operated from a 110-volt a.c. socket. The view at the right shows the method of telephone testing armature and commutator connections to show short circuits and grounds.


Equipment for Wheel Turning at the 147th Street Shops. These powerful lathes for turning steel wheels have been of enormous help in keeping the cars used in New York rapid transit service supplied with wheels.


Packing Armature Bearings with New Oil-Saturated Wool Waste.


Riveting a Roof Plate on a Car by a Pneumatic Riveter.



 Manhattan DivisionSubway Division
January, 19245,846,507.8610,612,235.92
February, 19245,640,206.589,904,537.68
March, 19245,900,367.1810,647,975.80
April, 19245,733,409.0410,363,926.38
May, 19245,858,668.0210,586,635.78
June, 19245,647,319.8610,252,600.48
July, 19245,840,973.6410,646,098.08
August, 19245,811,159.0410,687,431.32
September, 19245,609,906.3410,359,475.78
October, 19245,925,431.3810,855,921.44
November, 19245,437,824.7410,236,859.74
December, 19245,781,432.8611,279,051.20
January, 1925 6,065,499.2211,572,098.04
February, 1925 5,173,410.0210,304,671.20
 Manhattan DivisionSubway Division
Motor cars1,4831,464
Trailer cars715


MOTORS OWNED, Manhattan DivisionGE-66, 1,673; GE-211, 178; GE-220, 6; GE-259, 296; WH-302, 240; WH-333-L-3, 594.
Total, 2,987
MOTORS OWNED, Subway DivisionGE-69, 418; GE-212, 460; GE-211, 4; GE-240-C, 12; GE-259, 152; GE-260, 878; WH-86, 540; WH-300, 198; WH-302-F-2, 12; WH-577, 338; WH-33-L-3, 46.
Total, 3,058
CONTROL EQUIPMENTS, Manhattan DivisionType M-GE, Westinghouse Air, Low voltage GE, Low voltage WH
CONTROL EQUIPMENTS, Subway DivisionHigh voltage: Bridge-GE, K-GE; Low voltage: PC-2-GE, 214-WH, PC-8-GE, 214-A-WH, PC-10-GE

Samples of Piecework Prices Used in Painting Manhattan Division Standard Cars. NOTE: Contracts include reflnishing all work found unsatisfactory by foreman or inspector; preparation work; stacking and racking work; delivery of material to and from car and bench, etc.

Body Exterior — Motor, or trail car, burn off enamel with burning machine, sand and putty, letterboards, side and end window posts, window stops, post battens, pier panels, window stools, aprons, sheathings, panels, battens, end body doors, end door posts and headers, door post battens, body corner posts and battens, bulkhead panels, hood bows, hood sheathing, and end stationary sash. Operations: Burning, per car $11.66; Sanding, per car $2.54.

Body Exterlor — Motor or trail car. Enamel (orange color). Side and end window posts, window stops, post battens, pier panels, window stools, aprons, sheathings, panels, battens, end body doors, end door posts and battens, body corner posts and battens, end stationary sash. Operations: Enameling, first coat, per car.... $1.55; Enameling, second coat, per car.. $2.07.

Body Exterior — Motor or trail car. Enamel (black color). Letterboards, lower deck crown moldings, end door headers, bulkhead panels, hood bows, hood sheathing and battens. Operations: Enameling, first coat, per car. . . . $0.86; Enameling, second coat, per car.. $0.95.

Clear Story — Exterior motor or trail car. Enamel (black color). Upper deck sill and plate posts, panels moldings and sash stops, car ends, roof sheathing at eaves, and hood sweep panels. Operations: Enameling, first coat, per car $0.68.

Body Exterior - Motor or trail car. Re-enameled type. Sand and putty, letterboards, side and end window posts, window stops, post battens, pier panels, window stools, aprons, sheathing panels, battens, end body doors, end door posts, and headers, post battens, bulkhead panels, bows, head sheathing, end stationary sash, upper body side end sash. Operations: Sanding complete, per car $1.40. Puttying, complete, per car. $0.23.

Body Exterior — Motor or trail car. Re-enameled type. Enamel (orange color). Side and end window posts, window stops, post battens, pier panels, window stools, aprons, sheathing, panels, battens, end body doors, end door posts and battens, end stationary sash, upper body side and end sash. Operations: Enameling. Apply first coat, per car $1.85; Enameling. Apply second coat, per car $2.20.

Lettering, etc. — Motor or trail car. Exterior. Letter side panels or side sheathing in dark blue color, letterboards orange color, number side of car dark blue color, end door header and bulkhead panels in imitation gold, stencil cross-seat front rail in imitation gold; includes: layout, stripe and cut in. Operations: Lettering. Paint words "Interborough" on letterboards, per car $1.10; Lettering. Paint words "Open Air Line" on side of car, per car $1.83; Numbering. Paint four figure car, 16 numbers on side of car, per car $0.84.

Body Equipment — Exterior motor car. Clean and paint rheostat frames and hangers, contact boxes, fuse boxes, junction boxes, compressor and cradle, brake cylinder, air reservoirs, pipes, cleats, rods, clamps, asbestos, linings, truss rods, posts, needle beams and needle-beam truss rods, end caps and nuts. Operations: Cleaning, per car $2.352; Painting, per car $2.898.

Interior, Skinned Off Motor Car - below advertisement signs. Remove varnish with remover and revarnish advertisement sign and window moldings, window cappings, pier panels, wainscotings, wire moldings at cross-seats, blind stops, cross and side seat framing and risers, end bulkhead partitions, end stationary sash, swing sash, switch boxes, cab partitions both sides, end doors, cab doors both sides, all wood trim not removed from car. Operations: Removing varnish, bleach and sand, per car $16.00; Varnishing, Fill, shellac, putty and varnish first coat, per car $4.26; Varnishing, Sandpaper and varnish, second coat, per car $1.896.

Interior, Complete - Revarnished motor car, upper deck posts, castings and sash, panels, deck sill, and plate ... and moldings, upper and lower.. headlining, edge moldings.. poles, advertisement sign and window moldings, window cappings, upper body side and end sash, pier panels, wainscoting, wire molding between ..., end and side seat framing, and risers, end bulkhead partitions and bulkhead panels, end stationary sash, swing sash, switch boxes, cab partitions and bulkhead panels, end stationary sash, swing sash, switch boxes, cab partitions and head panels, both sides, blind stops, partings and casings, end doors, cab door both sides, and all wood trim not removed from car. Operations: Shellacking. Sand, bleach, stain and shellac in part, per car. . . . $$1.1...; Varnish. Sand and varnish, per car $2.8....

Stripping — Manhattan motor car, curtain or blind type. Strip complete as follows: Remove signal bells, bell and emergency cords, window guards and grab handles, end door locks complete with keepers, swing sash catches and keepers, cab door locks, stile reinforcement plates, upper and lower sash, partings and frame casings, cab pocket, upper and lower drop sash, casings, partings, lifts, lock and lock stops, motorman arm rests; sash, body side upper and lower, partings, casings, lifts, locks and lock stops; blinds, partings and lifts; destination sign boxes and brackets, notice signs, fire extinguishers, emergency pipe cleats, side and cross-seat backs; stencil sash, partings and castings; place all hardware in boxes and bundle up wood trim. Strip complete including upper sash; Motor car, 24 window curtain, per car $2.3...

Trimming — Manhattan Motor Car curtain or blind type, when not equipped with Dahlstrom posts. Trim as follows: Apply window guards, signal bells, bell cord, anchors, hooks and eyebolts, emergency cords, anchors, hooks and eyebolts, end doors, casings, locks, lock keepers, chafing plates, anti-rattlers, rubber bumpers, cab doors, locks, lock keepers, seat rests, and lock stile brace plates, cab upper and lower sashes, lifts, locks, lock stops, casings and partings, cab seats, swing sash catches and keepers, upper and lower body sashes, blinds, curtains, sash and blind lifts, partings and casings, sash locks and stops, notice signs, cross and side seat backs, fire extinguisher box complete, destination sign box and sign blade brackets. Includes: fit and drill all holes, replace all broken or missing parts found on inspection. Trim complete: Motor curtain type, 24 window, per car $9.5...


Typical Monthly Report for January 1925, of Lubricants...


Electric Railway Journal, McGraw Hill Company, Digitized by Microsoft, Americana Collection, archive.org.

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