CTRC - The California Trolley and Railroad Corporation.
Preserving the historical heritage of railroading and trolleys in the Santa Clara Valley of California.

CTRC Calendar

CTRC meetings are open to members and non-members.  You are welcome even if you are not a member.

We usually have a short (30 minute) discussion of status of the various projects.

We meet at 10am at the SP2479 locomotive restoration site in the double wide trailer.

Date: First Saturday of each month.

Time: 10am

2479 Healy Avenue
San Jose, California

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SP2479 Status - September 15, 2009

J Ezovski

Work on SP 2479 is moving slowly forward.  Over the past several weeks, tire clips for the new tire on #2 right driver were manufactured.  A rubber cup for the locomotive's left brake cylinder was received and installed.  The rubber cup that was in the cylinder was damage as a result of water collecting on the non-pressure side of the cylinder.  The brake cylinder was installed back on to the locomotive and brake levers attached.

Precise measurements of the locomotives rods and pins are now being obtained.  Once complete, rod bushing material can be ordered.

Restoration Progress - SP1215 - Sept 11-15, 2009

J Ezovski

This past week the crew completed cleaning and painting of cab interior, boiler wrapper and backhead.  Cab interior looks nice!

Cleaning and polishing of the various rods links is also ongoing.

Attached are images of progress made on 1215's tender.

Image 1 provides a good view as to the condition of the engineer's side of tender prior to start of restoration.

Image 2 is a close up view of what remains of many layers of paint.  This stuff is nasty.  In some places paint comes off easily.  In other areas needle scalers beats on the stuff for some time before breaking loose.

Image 3 is appearance today.

Much work remains, but the appearance of SP 1215 is improving each passing week.  If you haven't visited the 1215's storage area in some time, stop in for a visit.  The work crew is usually there on Tuesdays.  The locomotive is accessible most every day from 8AM to 5 PM.

Update: September 15, 2009

The weekday crew is making progress on cleaning up of SP 1215.  Most of the effort the past three weeks has been on the engineer's side of the tender.

The first photo above shows the tender on Aug 25, 2009.

The image to the right is the tender today.

Cleanup of the area below the running boards is in work.  Because of the amount of work to be performed, it will be several weeks before this area sees paint.

Kelley Park Line Update August 11, 2009

Due to debris build up within the flangeways, the final 750 feet of track has been unusable as the wheels were not able to make full contact with the rails.  Full contact is needed to complete the electrical circuit required for trolley operation.  Different techniques for cleaning the flangeways were explored with the final solution of dragging a pick axe through the dirt and then sweeping the dirt away.  Subsequent runs with car 124 were made to widen/deepen the grooves.  During one of these runs, a barn volunteer is pictured checking for wheel-to-rail arcing.  The second photo is of car 124's first successful trip to the Happy Hollow end of the line.

Motorman availability is our limiting factor to more frequent service over our new Kelley Park line.  Additional volunteer motormen are welcomed.  Contact the trolley barn for more information.  408-293-BARN.

CTRC plays active role in granting a youngster’s wish

Eleven-year-old Henry Mulvey, who is battling mitochondrial disease, has a passion for trolleys.  Although he lives in Massachusetts his wish was to travel to the Bay Area “to ride as many trolleys as possible.”  To date, he has ridden nearly 100 cars across the United States.  With assistance from the Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation®, part of Henry’s wish came true in Kelley Park on Wednesday, July 8, 2009.  While visiting the Trolley Barn, Henry had the opportunity to ride two different trolleys, California car #124 and Birney car #143, over the museum line and the recently opened Happy Hollow extension.  Following the rides, everyone was treated by History San Jose to Obrien's ice cream, located on the museum grounds.  Henry finished his vanilla fudge sundae while keeping an eye on the “yellow car” (Birney 143) … his favorite.

About the Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation®: The Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.  In 2009 the Foundation celebrates 25 years of fulfilling magical wishes.  The goal of the Foundation is to grant a wish to every eligible child in its territory, and anyone can suggest a child for a wish.  For more information or to refer a child for a wish, please call 415/982-9474 or visit www.makewish.org.

Progress on SP2479 - June 27, 2009
Removed Valve Cage

The warmer temperatures probably kept most workers away today, but the very small crew did completed a significant task.  Today, we completed extraction of the damaged front left valve cage.  The objective was to remove the cage without any additional damage.  It was not a simple task.  Several small modifications were made to the set up completed last week. After better then an hour of wrenching, the cage was clear of the cylinder.  Well done to all that helped with this task.  If you are interested in details of this task, visit the restoration site on a Saturday.

Clean up of SP 1215 continues on Tuesdays.  Workers are now focusing on the right side of the locomotive, but there are a number of items to address on the left side.

Blending Historic Trolleys with Light Rail Vehicles in San Jose, California

In 1992 Mac Gaddis made a presentation to the American Public Transit Organization on the blending of historic trolleys with light rail vehicles.

At the time, San Jose was an early proponent of historic trolleys running on light rail tracks.  Perhaps as a result of Mac's presentation, several other cities now offer similar operations.

It provides interesting background on the early stages of the San Jose Trolley Corporation, a predecessor to our current CTRC.

Click here to view the 19 page presentation.

SP2479 Status - June 20, 2009 - Extracting the Left Front Valve Cage

J. Ezovski

Absence of several key workers has not hampered progress.  All of the necessary hardware needed to attempt extraction of the left front valve cage is complete.

Machining of the front plate, the final component, was completed today.  The plate had to be cut to size and holes drilled to accept threaded rod.

All components were then assembled in the valve cage.

An attempt was made to extract the valve cage, but the day's late hour forced this task to next weekend.  Hopefully an image of an intact valve cage will be forwarded to all.


A second crew was busy cleaning and polishing the locomotive's radius rods and combination levers.  Layers of paint are carefully removed and the surface polished. Thanks to Ron and Phil for taking on this time consuming task.

The Tuesday crew continues to make progress on SP 1215. Near all of the left side of the boiler and frame have been cleaned and painted. Work has begun on the locomotive's right side.  The locomotive end of the tender has also been cleaned and paint applied. Much work remains.

Thanks to all that participated!

SP1215 Cleanup
1215 Initially

Over the last three weeks a crew has been cleaning and painting SP1215.  Over 100 person hours have so far been dedicated towards this effort.  To the right is an image of 1215 taken November 2007.  The locomotive did not look good then and had further deteriorated.

Below is an image taken today.

1215 Cleaned

I am not using the terms "before" and "after" as there is still much work remaining. Work on SP1215 will continue over the coming weeks on Tuesdays.

1215 in San Francisco

Here's a photo of the SP1215 in San Francisco in the mid 1950s

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony To Be Held On June 3, 2009

City of San Jose, California Trolley and Railroad Corporation and the San Jose Rotary Club Cut Ribbon on Historic Trolley Line!

A new/old trolley line running nearly a mile from the History San Jose Trolley Barn of the California Trolley and Railroad Corporation (CTRC) down Senter Road to Happy Hollow Children’s Park will be inaugurated at 11:00 AM on June 3, next Wednesday at San Jose’s Kelley Park.

This historically significant reestablishment of a trolley service along Senter Road is open to the public and will feature a ribbon-cutting by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, City Council members, San Jose Rotary President Bert George and other dignitaries.

This new donor-constructed and volunteer-operated service featuring free rides on the beautifully-restored historic trolley cars will serve the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, the Leninger Center, the Japanese Friendship Garden, the Rotary Office, and History San Jose.

The free rides will be available to the public after the inauguration ceremony.

For additional media information contact CTRC President Rod Diridon, Sr. at 408 924 7561 or 408 859 4447.

SP1215 Stabilization
Stabilization of the 1215

The CTRC (Steam team) weekday crew (Larry M, Denis M and John E) has started the stabilization of SP1215 exterior.  This work was started the week of May 18, 2009.

The plan is to complete stabilization of the side exposed to the HSJ parking lot first then complete the otherside of the locomotive.  We plan on reinstalling the piping, hand rails, and other items which were removed when the engine was move to San Jose from Portola California.  In addition the cab will be weather proofed and the rest of the locomotive will be weatherized.


The 1215


The 1215
SP2479 Status: April to Mid May 2009

April 18

With the move complete and most site infrastructure in place, work has resumed on the locomotive.

These past two weeks members have been installing the many components that make up the locomotives braking system.  This may not sound like a significant task, but many of these components are of significant weight.  Weight combined with working in the now smaller area under the locomotive's drivers, makes this a sometimes challenging task.

The new site has brought the restoration into a more prominent view as the locomotive is easily seen from Monterey Highway and Old Tulley Road.  Visitors to the site have been frequent and often surprised about the repairs.

April 25

The fence that will separate the restoration area from the rest of the fairgrounds is in the process of being installed.  Task should be complete this coming week.  The fence line is between 10 and 20 feet east of our site plan, thus giving us a bit more space for parking.

Installation of the locomotive brake system continues.  All levers, beams, brake heads and shoes are now installed.  All but three pieces of the brake safety support components are in place.  We were unable to locate two of the remaining three pieces.  One of these pieces may not have been in place when the restoration effort began.  The missing pieces will be easily formed from 2 1/2" x 1/2" bar stock.

May 9

Removal of the locomotives valves was completed on Saturday.

There were no defects noted to the right side valve and cage assembly. Things were not so good on the left side.  Several significant gouges were observed in the front valve cage.  One of the three damaged areas is circled in the below image.

More information is needed before repairs can begin.  Initial thoughts are to replace the cage.

While one crew was removing valves, other members worked at recovering track ballast from the old site.

Mid May

We are starting to have visitors now that the locomotive is visible from Old Tulley road and, if you look real hard, it can be seen from Monterey Road.  A lady came to the site with her three little children and we issued them little hard hats.  They felt like part of the working crew as they were escorted around the equipment and in the caboose.

The workday crew finished and secured the between-the-container shed. It now contains the fuel and oil as well as the riding mower and racks of equipment.  Temporarily the side rods are stored there while bushings are created.

All the equipment from the old location has been moved to our new location including the turntable and water tank and a property fence now separates us.

The tender and caboose have been moved up close to the locomotive so we almost have a "train".

All the under-the-locomotive brake components have been installed. Two safety bars had to be fabricated.  One other bar needed to be straightened.  It probably was bent in the 1937 wreck and never repaired.

Because of our new, more visible location we now must maintain the area outside our street-side fenced location.  But the good news is that we no longer need to mow the large acreage that is now on the other side of the property fence line.

The steam distribution pistons have been removed.  The pistons appear to be OK but one of the internal cages has a crack that must be evaluated and repaired.

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