And one definition of fanatic would include driving 428 miles round trip for 20 miles of ‘rare mileage’ rails. Still that’s what Beth and I did last Monday. We were presented with the opportunity for a speeder excursion on the Beecher Falls Branch in Colebrook, NH. The state is considering removal of the rails and conversion to an ATV trail.
It was worth the drive.
The latest news is that the locals are supportive of a multi-use trail which would preserve the rails. Time will tell.
Beth and I went for a picnic on the Cotton Valley Rail Trail today. She really did have fun, but just wouldn’t smile for the camera. My batteries were dying, so I couldn’t make extra attempts. We did about 16 miles in the railcar, and it was a good opportunity to road test some recent adjustments. All went well, and the rain held off until we were off the rails.
The weather was forecast to be nice today, so I was eager to get the motorcar out for a run on the Cotton Valley rails. Yesterday I installed my foot clutch conversion. The hardest part was drilling the hole in the tunnel for the shaft to pass through.
The hand clutch lever had a return spring which appeared to be aftermarket. I didn’t really need it on the pedal, but I didn’t have a cotter pin handy so I reinstalled the spring in the hole.
Today when I got to Fernald, the battery was low on the car, probably as a result of the excessive turntable usage yesterday while working underneath. I was forced to attempt a push-start; no fun with a cold Onan. (Memo to self: jumper cables, and charge the battery before going out.)
After multiple attempts which served to prime the carburetor, the engine finally caught. As I slammed the clutch pedal down to allow the engine to idle, my foot slipped off. The spring caused the pedal to fly through almost 270 degrees, slapping the battery switch to Off and shearing the key.
No problem. I can quickly rewire the battery to bypass the switch. The second push-start was quick and fairly easy, but now it wasn’t charging. Cutting the battery circuit with the engine running is a bad thing.
In the end, my laziness with the cotter pin cost me a blown alternator and a broken battery switch, not to mention today’s ride.
And therein lies the Value of Doing It Right The First Time. Everything’s back together and seems OK now, and the darn spring has been removed. (Edit: Another motorcar operator pointed out that the weight of the pedal alone could be detrimental to my clutch throwout bearing. I’ve since replaced the spring with a properly-sized one, and installed a more robust battery switch. A pedal stop will be forthcoming as well.)