The New Shops at Everett, Boston Elevated (1923-1930)

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New Repair Shops at Boston

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 61, No. 6 · February 10, 1923 · pp. 239-242.

Boston Elevated Railway Is Spending $5,000,000 for New Shop Facilities -- How the Work Will Be Routed Through the Various Departments, Which Are so Arranged as to Keep the Travel of Heavy Parts to a Minimum.

The extensive repair shops which the Boston Elevated Railway is now building near the Everett terminal will occupy a tract of 22-1/2 acres, thus making them one of the largest of the kind in the world. The floor area of these shops will be 493,478 sq.ft.

For a number of years the Boston Elevated Railway has had shops which were admittedly inadequate. The greater part of the car equipment repairs has been done in the Albany Street shops, which are largely the result of circumstances. These shops were originally part of the Hinkley-Williams Locomotive Works, which were purchased by the company in 1889 for power station purposes. In addition, the company has what it calls its Bartlett Street shops, which were originally built for horse-car repair, and it has a shop fitted primarily for inspection purposes, at its Sullivan Square terminal.

Decision to build adequate shops for the company was reached after the present shops had been outgrown and the necessity of new facilities became not only a question of economy but even a physical necessity for the furnishing of satisfactory service. Through the trustee form of management under which it operates, the company is able to secure credit for the construction of an extensive undertaking of this kind, and erection is now under way. The company hopes that the work on these new shops will be far enough along so that the tools now at the Bartlett Street shops may be transferred to the Everett shops about November, 1923, or in about eleven months, and at the end of the following twelve months that the Albany Street shops may be closed and the Everett shops will be able to take care of all of the work.

A preliminary perspective drawing and a plan of the shops were published in the issue of this paper for March 19, 1921. The plan, with some modifications, is reproduced on page 240, so that the following explanation of the shop arrangement will be understood.

It will be noted that there are four buildings, arranged for the handling of cars, two on each side of the transfer-way; i.e., wood shop, paint shop, equipment shop and repair shop. Track connections to transfer tables for surface cars are through the open space between the wood shop and equipment shop and for rapid transit cars through space between paint shop and repair shop. There is also a steam railroad track connection to the transfer table at the south side of the wood shop. The transfer tables will be of such dimensions and capacity as to permit the handling of loaded steam railroad freight cars, the largest rapid transit cars or the smallest surface cars. The arrangement of shops and transfer-way permits flexibility in the movement of cars from one shop to another as the progress and the nature of work may require. The transfer tables will be covered so that cars may be moved in stormy weather without their getting wet. To facilitate quick movement, transfer tables are equipped with two 40-hp. motors and air brakes. Operating cabs are provided at each end of transfer table. An electric winch is also provided for handling dead cars.

The blacksmith shop is located adjoining the equipment shop and wheel and axle shop, the latter being also connected with the truck shop, which is in the repair shop building, and also with the first floor of the storehouse. A storage yard is provided for wheels, axles, trucks, etc. This yard is partially surrounded by the blacksmith shop, wheel and axle shop and storehouse and is served by a 10-ton crane. Scrap bins are also located in this yard which will permit the handling of scrap by electromagnet. Provisions are made for the handling of materials between yard and wheel shop, truck shop and blacksmith shop by a 5-ton telpher.

The motor and armature shop is located directly over the truck shop and the machine shop over the wheel and axle shop adjoining the motor shop and second floor of the storehouse, thus affording direct communication between these departments. Further detail description is as follows:


This is a one-story building having twenty-two tracks and a capacity of fifty-two 50-ft. cars. A balcony 40 ft. wide is provided on the side opposite from the transferway about two-thirds the length of the building. The balcony will be used for miscellaneous painting, such as doors, sash, signs, etc., and locker rooms. Beneath the balcony is located the paint stockroom, glass storage, toilets, etc. A basement under the paint stockroom is provided for the tank storage of paint materials which can be drawn from outlets on the main floor.


The wood shop is similar in construction to the paint shop, having twenty-two tracks and a capacity of thirty-six 50-ft. cars. The mill room occupies a space 60 ft. x 150 ft. in the southwest corner of the building, and a balcony 35 ft. wide extends from the mill room to the end of the building on the west side. This balcony will be used for upholstering and cabinet work, locker rooms, etc. Dry kiln and lumber storage is provided in separate buildings adjacent to the mill room.


The equipment and steel car shop is a one-story building of similar construction to the paint and wood shop but with additional height to accommodate traveling cranes which will serve practically the entire area of the shop. There is one craneway having a span of 60 ft. and a capacity of 25 tons; another having the same span of 10 tons capacity and one with 16-ft. span and 3 tons capacity. An 18-ft. balcony is provided extending the entire length of the building on the west side. This balcony will be used for miscellaneous light work, locker rooms, etc.

Pits are provided for one car length on each track on the transfer-way side. The 3-ton and 10-ton craneways extend into the blacksmith shop, which will permit convenient handling of heavy or fabricated materials from that point to the location of assembling. There are twenty tracks giving a capacity of forty 50-ft. cars and an additional working and storage space 30 ft. wide the entire length of the shop.


The construction of this building on the transfer-way side for a width of 65 ft. will be one story, the same as the equipment and steel car shop section next to the transfer-way. There are twenty tracks having a capacity of that number of cars; pits are provided on each track. This section will be served by a crane, having a span of 60 ft. and capacity of 25 tons. This crane will be arranged with two trolleys, each trolley carrying two hoists properly spaced so that the hooks drop each side of the car body. This will permit tho raising of car bodies by attachment at four points on the car sills without the necessity of using cumbersome spreaders and slings.

The truck shop section is 75 ft. wide and extends the whole length of the shop. The tracks extend into the truck shop so that when the car body is raised the trucks can be moved forward on the tracks into the truck shop. For handling motors and trucks there will be provided ten 5-ton jib cranes each serving two tracks, one 12-ton crane running lengthwise of the shop and having a span of 24 ft. and another 6-ton crane with a span of 24 ft. In a space between the jib cranes and craneways a 5-ton telpher rail is provided. This extends through the truck shop and wheel and axle shop to the blacksmith shop and storage yard and will be used largely for handling wheels and axles.

Motors will be taken off and installed in trucks in the truck shop, but motors will be repaired in a motor shop located on the second floor of the building above the truck shop. Motors may be handled between truck shop and motor shop by truck and elevator, or entirely by cranes, there being a hatchway provided in the motor shop floor through which motors may be hoisted from the truck shop by traveling crane on the second floor.


This shop occupies the first floor of the building at right angle to the repair shop and connects with the truck shop, blacksmith shop and storehouse. Two tracks run into the building for the receipt or shipment of wheels and axles by cars. A part of this shop will be used for such work as gear-case repairs, electric welding of truck parts, etc.


The blacksmith shop is a one-story building with construction similar to the equipment and steel car repair shop with craneways of the two shops connecting. A track running into the shop provides for receiving material by car. The craneway extending through the end of the shop into the yard serves iron storage space adjacent to the receiving track.

Wash and locker rooms are located on a balcony at one side of the shop. A part of this shop will be used temporarily for a brass foundry.


As previously described, the motor and armature shop is located over the truck shop. A craneway extending the entire length of the shop is provided in the center section. This crane is of 5-ton capacity and has a span of 24 ft. Lighter traveling cranes are also provided in the other sections for handling motors and armatures. The impregnating and dipping room is arranged to be adjacent to baking ovens at the end of armature shop.

After the armatures are removed from motors in the motor shop they are cleaned and blown out by compressed air. They then pass down one side of the armature shop for winding, inspection and repairs. Then they pass through the dipping and baking process and return through the other side of the shop where they undergo commutator inspection and repairs, shaft inspection and repairs, banding and testing, arriving again at the motor shop ready for service. This plan provides, it is believed, for the least possible travel or handling of armatures. After the motors are assembled, they undergo a stand test to make sure that they are in perfect condition before being placed in service.

The present practice of supplying carhouses with spare armatures and field coils for motor repairs will be changed. Complete motors which have been thoroughly tested will be delivered to carhouses and defective motors will be returned to the motor shop for repairs. To facilitate the handling of such motors, which are transported by truck or service, a 2-ton telpher is arranged in the motor shop extending over tracks at the side of the building so that the motors can be delivered on trucks or cars, or vice versa, with but one handling. On each side of the shop and running its entire length are 25-ft. balconies which will be used for coil winding, controller and miscellaneous electrical repair work. Toilet and locker rooms are provided at each end of the shop on both floors.


The machine shop is located over the wheel and axle shop and its arrangement is similar to that of the motor and armature shop, with a main floor and balconies. The central section of the main floor is served by a 10-ton crane having a span of 45 ft. All heavy machine tools will be located in this section so that heavy parts can be handled by crane. Smaller tools will be arranged on and under the balconies. A 10-ton elevator is located so that it serves all floors of the machine and motor shops. In addition to this there is a balcony provided at the main floor level of the machine shop and projecting over the storage yard so that tools or material can be handled direct from cars to the machine shop floor by the yard crane.


This building is three-story with basement. The basement, first and second floors are occupied by the stores department, and the third floor by the department general office, drafting room, cafeteria, etc. This building is equipped with both freight and passenger elevators. The first floor is 4 ft. above grade and a platform is provided around three sides of the building at the shipping and receiving end at car-floor height. A steam railroad track is located on the yard side and surface car tracks on the opposite side, leaving the end platform clear for teams and truck service.

The oilhouse is located adjacent to the storehouse and connected to it by an extension of the shipping and receiving platform. The storehouse track also serves for the delivery of oil, etc., to the oilhouse by carload lots. Oil will be stored in tanks in basement and be drawn from outlets on the main floor, which is divided to provide for waste and packing storage, and a room for preparing and cleaning journal packing and filtering and reclaiming used oil. A large part of the oils and packing will be used at these shops, but the present practice of furnishing carhouses with oil and dry journal packing will be discontinued. Journal packing for the whole system will be prepared ready for use at the oilhouse and shipped to carhouses in suitable receptacles with weekly stock supplies, and all packing removed from cars will be returned to the oilhouse for cleaning, sorting and resaturation.


The work of overhauling will be begun in the department marked in the plan "Repair Shop." It is expected that every car will be overhauled about every twelve or eighteen months. When a car enters the shop for overhauling, the body is raised by a crane, which serves all of the tracks. The trucks are then run out into the truck shop for overhauling. Other equipment which is in need of overhauling, such as trolleys, circuit breakers, controllers or contactors, compressors and wearable parts of air-brake equipment, will be removed from the car and sent to the proper department for repairs. The car body, having been placed on dummy trucks, is then taken to the various shops, depending upon the class of work to be done. If piping or wiring repairs are required, it goes to the equipment shop; for woodwork repairs, it goes to the wood shop; then to the paint shop and finally returns to the repair shop for trucks and equipment which have been overhauled, thus holding the car out of service the least possible time and reducing to a minimum the spare equipment requirement.

Adjacent to the repair shop there will be a test track which has a level tangent of approximately 900 ft. This will be equipped with both overhead trolley and third rail, the feeders for which will pass through a test room in the motor shop, where a graphic recording ammeter is installed. After cars have been through the shops for overhauling they will be given a running test on the test track to determine their braking efficiency, smoothness of operation, etc. By means of the graphic recording ammeter installed in the test track, feeder circuit faults in wiring connections, resistance grouping, automatic relay setting or control functioning can quickly be determined without the necessity of connecting test apparatus in the car wiring. This is somewhat of a departure from the practice of other electric railway companies so far as Is known and simplifies greatly the work of the test engineers.

The foregoing details outline the routine of cars going through shops for general overhauling, but of course cars for collision damage repairs will not go through this routine unless their time for overhauling is nearly due. Likewise there will be a large number of elevated cars which will go to the repair shop only for change of motor or wheels, as owing to the large number of curves on the Boston rapid transit lines, it is necessary, on account of wheel wear, to remove wheels frequently for grinding and turning. This amounts to ten or twelve cars per day. It is the intention to do all overhauling work for both surface and elevated cars at the general shops, leaving only cleaning, inspection and light repairs to be done in the carhouses.

It will be about a year and a half before the company will have to buy any new tools for the shops. Much of the tool equipment of course will be taken from the present shops. The company's equipment of tools is quite complete except where it has been impossible to install new tools because of lack of room.


It is estimated that the savings resulting from the shorter time that will be necessary to hold cars out of service for repairs and overhauling and the reduction in the number of cars taken out of service on account of failures will be equivalent to a gain of 100 cars at an average value of $12,000 each. It is also believed that there will be a 50 per cent reduction in the number of car failures with a great saving in lost time of crews, pull-in mileage, loss of fares and other items. These savings, outside the gain in more efficient car service, have been estimated by the company at $332,500 per year. Other savings, including an estimated 10 per cent in efficiency in labor, amount to $376,360 a year. Detailed figures on the various estimated economies to be secured from this shop were given in the article in the issue of March 19, 1921, already referred to.


These shops, now being erected by the Boston Elevated Railway, will cost $5,000,000.


Plans for the Second and Third Floors of the New Boston Elevated Shops.

Everett Shops of Boston "L" Pave Way to Maintenance Economies

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 64, No. 2 · November 22, 1924 · pp. 871-874.


The New Shops of the Boston Elevated Railway Occupy a 221-Acre Site Adjacent to the Everett Terminal of the Elevated Line.

The New Layout, Which Provides for All Equipment Repairs Except for the Cambridge Subway, Was Decided On After Careful Survey of Requirements -- Growth of the System Dictated Concentration of Facilities for Rolling Stock Maintenance -- Comprehensive Provision for Mechanical and Electrical Services.

Strategically located to reduce dead mileage to the minimum, designed to meet the increasing demands of rolling stock maintenance on this transit system for years to come and finely equipped with woodworking and paint shop machinery and individually motorized tools, the Everett shops of the Boston Elevated Railway mark a distinct advance in traction repair facilities and point the way toward substantial economies in administration. Preliminary drawings of these shops were published in this paper March 19, 1921, and in the issue of Feb. 10, 1923, a general description was given of the layout of the buildings and the proposed routing of the work. Thus far the company has built only the paint shop, lumber storage, kiln, boiler house and wood shop, with related yard facilities as mentioned in the latter article. The steel-working shops or general machine shops have not yet been begun, as appropriations for these have not been available. Consequently there has been no opportunity as yet to secure the full economies anticipated from the ultimate layout, but on the woodworking and painting sides of rolling stock maintenance material gains in convenience have already been attained.


For many years the company has needed proper shop facilities for taking care of rolling stock maintenance, though large investments have been made for new and improved cars, heavier tracks and for power generation and transmission equipment. Many of the shop facilities used up to the occupation of the new shops were relics of the horse car days. The principal shop was located at Bartlett and Washington Streets, Roxbury, in an old horse car barn, which after electrification was converted into a car repair shop by making such improvements as were possible without a general remodeling. The greater part of the surface car repairs, except work on trucks and motors, was done there.

This arrangement worked fairly well for a while, but as the number and the size of the electric cars increased, this shop became more and more inadequate and inefficient. While there was considerable land available at the Bartlett Street site, there were no railroad facilities, so that expansion at this point was deemed inadvisable. Another shop which was in use for many years was a remodeled building on Albany Street, 1-3/4 miles away, and also without railroad facilities, which was purchased in 1889 as part of a site for the electric railway power station, and which was remodeled as a truck and blacksmith shop. The upper floors of this building were destroyed by fire in 1912, and an adjoining building was leased to provide additional space for the machine shop.

As the amount of rolling stock continued to grow it became necessary to handle at the individual carhouses much of the heavier maintenance as well as some painting. Then, too, a considerable area of the Bartlett Street shops became unusable since the transferway, elevators and track clearances were too small to permit the movement of the larger cars. By cutting notches in the columns some of the cars could be handled, but without sufficient room between tracks for good work. There was no space for lumber storage near the mill room, and frequently lumber had to be handled 200 ft. to be finished. Beginning with rapid transit service in 1901, it was necessary to provide shops for the elevated cars. The first shop was built at Sullivan Square, all the work being done there except for the inspection and cleaning done at first in a small shop at Guild Street, adjoining the Bartlett Street surface car shop, and later in an inspection yard and shop at Forest Hills. With the construction of the Everett extension the inadequacy of repair facilities for the elevated was aggravated, since the construction of the main line tracks necessitated the removal of a portion of the shop.

The Cambridge subway was constructed, independently of the remainder of the rapid transit system, and the cars are so large that they cannot be operated over the remainder of the tracks. Accordingly a modern inspection and repair shop was built at Eliot Square, Cambridge, adequate to provide for this division and for the East Boston tunnel cars. An inspection loop is also planned in connection with the electrification of the Shawmut branch of the New Haven Railroad which will be operated under lease as a part of the Dorchester tunnel extension.

For a number of years the company has been investigating the selection of a proper site for repair shops. The primary needs were felt to be accessibility to both surface and rapid transit lines and proper steam railroad and water transportation facilities. Such a site was chosen on a 22-1/2-acre plot adjoining the Everett terminal of the rapid transit and surface lines. This site borders on the Mystic River and is within a 15-minute ride of the center of Boston.

Owing to the unsatisfactory conditions at Bartlett Street, particularly lack of room for car painting, it was decided that the first unit at Everett should replace those facilities. This unit, work on which began a year and a half ago, consists of a woodworking shop, paint shop, lumber building and dry kiln, with transferway and track connections to elevated and surface lines. There also are freight sidings and a connection to the steam railroad. In the first unit are also included the permanent heating plant and necessary electrical equipment common to the entire project. This first unit was put into partial operation in December, 1923.

The mechanical and electrical service supply of these shops centers in a combined steam boiler plant and substation located on the Broadway, Everett, side of the property. This plant is a brick and steel structure 84 ft. x 79 ft. 6 in. and containing one story and a basement. The ground floor is divided into a boiler room and an electrical operating room, the basement being occupied by ash-handling facilities and by low tension electrical control equipment. The electrical bay on the operating floor extends the entire length of this building and is 29 ft. wide. A spur track connects the company's system with the north side of the house for the convenient handling of fuel, ashes and equipment.

The exposed location of these shops on an open plain in the lower valley of the Mystic River and the extent of the ultimate installation of shops led to the selection of water-tube boilers fired by mechanical stokers for the steam heating plant. The paint shop and wood mill are of concrete, brick and steel construction, with butterfly roofs. The paint shop is 362 ft. 4 in. long x 172 ft. 4 in. wide, the wood mill being of the same length and 157 ft. 4 in. wide. There is space in the boiler house for four boilers set in two batteries in a single row, but the present installation consists of two 369-hp. cross-drum type Babcock & Wilcox units equipped with Taylor stokers and burning bituminous coal. B. & W. superheaters raise the steam 50 deg. F above saturation temperature. The boilers are designed for 160 lb. pressure, but about 125 lb. will be used for the present.

Two turbo-driven Sturtevant forced-draft fans are installed on the operating floor of the boiler room to supply air to the furnaces. The boilers are equipped with concrete ash hoppers fitted with rolling gates. Ashes are discharged by gravity from the hoppers into an ash car and trackage system in the basement which connects with an automatic skip hoist on the outer side of the building. By pressing a button this hoist elevates the ashes above the boiler houses and discharges them into a 10-ton overhead hopper from which gravity delivery is made into cars on the spur track.

Coal crushed at the company's main generating station is brought to the boiler house in company cars and is dumped into a track hopper under the ash chute, so that when desired the same car can be used to deliver coal and remove ashes. From the track hopper the coal is carried by a belt conveyor to an elevated tower which forms part of a 200-ton storage bunker at one end of the boiler room, whence it is delivered to the stoker hoppers by a motor-driven lorry of the weighing type. The coal and ash handling machinery was installed by the Underwood Machinery Company, Boston.

Two Lee-Courtney two-stage turbo-driven feed pumps constitute the major equipment of this type, but to obtain more economical operation at times of light load on the heating system a Union Iron Works reciprocating pump capable of supplying feed water to one boiler has been installed.

Electrical energy is being supplied temporarily to these shops by the Maiden Electric Company, but the installation is designed so that in the near future it will come from the main generating plant of the Boston Elevated Railway. Energy will enter the substation at 13,200 volts, 25 cycles. Two No. 0000 three-phase underground feeders will serve the initial installation, with space provided for a third. These cables enter the substation basement and pass through disconnecting switches, current transformers and General Electric FH-103 500-amp. oil switches and further disconnects to a high-tension bus structure in this room. From the high-tension bus, cable connection is made through similar oil switches on the operating floor to starting compensators and switches controlling two General Electric synchronous frequency converters located in the operating room and designed to transform the 25-cycle, 13,200-volt energy into 60-cycle, 550-voIt, three-phase energy for local distribution. One converter is rated at 500 kw. and the other at 750 kw., space being provided for a third unit of the larger rating. Two 34-kw. direct-connected exciters, with room for a third of the same size, are included.

From the generators of the frequency converters connection is made to a 550-volt, 60-cycle, three-phase bus located in the basement, whence feeders are run to the various shops. The switchboard controlling the various equipment, including frequency converters and feeders, is located in the operating room and is of the remote-control type. An "E-9" Exide storage battery of 55 cells supplies direct current for oil switch operation and emergency lighting through an automatic switch installation. The battery is charged from a small motor-generator set in the substation. Space has been assigned in the operating room for a motor-driven air-compressor, but at present air is secured from the company's pipe line system. An Underwriters' fire pump of l,000-gal.-per-minute capacity is installed, with space for a second unit. The substation is served by a 20-ton Whiting electric crane.

In general the paint shop and wood mill are heated by hot blast fans which force the air across steam coils and discharge it through outlets into the room below at the rate of 1,000 cu.ft. per minute per fan unit. In each of these buildings eight fan and heater coil units are installed. Steam is carried to the paint shop by an underground 10-in. line, with a 1-in. continuation to the wood mill. The latter pipe is carried in an insulated inclosure across a bridge clearing the transferway between the paint shop and the mill. Reducing valves are installed on the supply side of each set of heating coils.

The heaters operate on from 30 to 35 lb. steam pressure. In certain inclosed spaces such as offices and lavatories direct radiation supplements the fan system. The heater units are mounted on the skylight sections to leave the supply of natural light as free as possible. The air in this system can easily be recirculated and fresh air can be introduced freely from outside the shops. The heaters are of the Sturtevant inverted type, 8 ft. 3 in. high x 7 ft. wide, each unit having four discharge outlets at the bottom of the casing and located 18 ft. 6 in. above the floor. The heaters are supported by steel members spanning the space between roof trusses and also by hangers attached to the roof girders. A steel platform around each heater makes inspection and repair work easier. The fans are all motor-driven. A 6-in. return line brings the drips from the heating system to the boiler house for recirculation in the feed water system.

The lumber storage building, two stories high and about 55 ft. x 52 ft., is served by a 3J-in. steam line. The second floor is divided into a series of warm rooms arranged in tiers along two sides of the building with an open space between. In each one of six rooms two sets of heating coils are installed. Each set of coils consists of 168 linear feet of 1-1/4-in. pipe, affording 72 sq.ft. of heating surface per set, and each set is served by a 1-in. live steam lead and has a 1-in. return lead to the drip piping.

The dry kiln is heated by the direct two-pipe vacuum system. The heating unit is sufficient to build up and maintain a temperature of 150 deg. F. in the kiln while changing the air five times per minute. The fan installation has been made in connection with supply ducts leading from the fan discharge down the center of two trucks of lumber which are run into the kiln loaded on tracks at right angles to the transferway. The return ducts are along the sides of the kiln. A humidifying system provides for the entry of live steam sprays between the heating unit and the fan intake. There are also two lines of pipe extending under each line of tracks so that the lumber may be steamed before beginning the drying process. Various instruments used in testing the moisture content of the lumber, temperature and humidity are installed, with an electrically controlled charging oven for use in studying moisture present in small samples of lumber.

The standard pipe coloring schedule approved by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers is followed in these shops.


The Transferway Constitutes the Main Axis for the New Boston Shop-- The Paint Shop on the Left and the Kiln Building and Wood Mill on the Right.


[Left] Switchboard for Feeder Circuits, with Fuses Inclosed In Cabinetry Beneath. [Right] The Ventilating Fan In the Wood Mill Is Installed on a Gallery.


Layout of Heating for Buildings Already Constructed.


Completed Layout of the Everett Shop. 1. Wood shop. 2. Mill room. 3. Carpenter shop. 4. Lumber storage. 5. Dry kiln. 6. Equipment, piping and wiring. 7. Steel car repair. 8. Blacksmith shop. 9. Sand blast. 10. Paint shop. 11. Paint room. 12. Glass room. 13. Repair shop. 14. Truck shop. 15. Wheel and axle shop. 16. Storehouse. 17. Receiving. 19. Oil house. 20. Boiler house.


Schematic Wiring Diagram for Power House, Including Provision for Future Additions.


The Piping Is Carried Over the Transferway on a Bridge In An Inclosure.


Layout of Wood Mill and Paint Shop, the First Units of the Everett Shop to Be Completed.

New Boston "L" Lumber Storage and Kiln

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 64, No. 24 · December 13, 1924 · pp. 989-991.


Noteworthy Features of the Wood Mill Are the Individual Motor Drives for All Tools and the Suction Dust Collecting System.

The Lumber Storage Building, Outside Lumber Storage and Dry Kiln for the New Everett Shops, Boston, Illustrate Advanced Design and Practice -- For Efficient Handling of Materials Improved Equipment Is Used.

In the present article on the new Everett car repair shops of the Boston Elevated Railway the improved facilities for handling and treating lumber are described. An outline of the reasons for the construction of the new shops, with a description of the boiler plant, heating installation and power supply, was published in the ELECTRIC RAILWAY JOURNAL for Nov. 22, page 871.

The main axis of the shops is a transfer-way 80 ft. wide, extending from the southerly end of the yard northerly to the site of the future wheel and axle shop. This may be seen by reference to the general plan on page 872 of the Nov. 22 article. On the west side of the transferway are already built the wood shop, dry kiln and lumber storage building, and in the upper southwest corner of the property is a section of the yard devoted to the outdoor storage of lumber. The lumber storage building and dry kiln building are each 80 ft. square, and are located between the wood mill and the lumber yard. Each is two stories high and the wood mill, about 364 x 158 ft., is one story in height with the exception of a balcony on the west side used as a carpenter shop.


The kiln building, also containing storage space, contains a modern two-track Sturtevant hot-blast lumber kiln with humidity feature, fully equipped, and has bi-folding doors of the jack-knife type set flush with steel-frame openings. Half the first floor is used in kiln work and has two tracks which extend from end to end and thence to the transferway. The remainder of the first story is used for heavy metal storage and the second floor for the storage of light parts and miscellaneous equipment. Details of the ducts for the heated air are shown in the accompanying line drawing.

The first floor of the lumber storage building is utilized for the storage of heavy lumber under cover, the second floor being employed in the storage of lumber under heat. In the northwest corner is a baling room for sawdust and shavings which are piped over from the millroom.

Most of the lumber used at the Everett shops arrives by the steam railroad connections on the west side of the property and is unloaded by hand from cars on spur tracks serving the yard on the west side of the transferway and south of the kiln building. The yard will hold about 350,000 ft. of lumber, or 7 months supply. From this yard a passageway about 15 ft. wide runs between the kiln and lumber storage buildings, terminating at the wood mill, and three tracks laid at right angles to the transferway axis facilitate shifting of cars along the sides of the kiln and storage buildings and parallel to the millroom doors. The lumber is piled as needed on four-wheeled hand trucks carrying about 1,000 board-feet each for convenient distribution about the millroom or lumber storage building. For kiln drying it is stacked on special kiln cars or is moved on flat cars by the aid of the transfer table and a service car to any desired point served by the yard and building trackage. If desired, motor truck loads of lumber can easily be delivered into this group of buildings. It is also readily possible to unload lumber directly from the flat cars into the storage building by shifting them through the yard to the transferway and thence to the appropriate track paralleling the side doors of the building.

The kiln proper consists of a single heating compartment containing two parallel tracks, each capable of accommodating two special flat cars and giving a total capacity of 24,000 board-feet of lumber for simultaneous treatment. The kiln proper is about 50 ft. long by 21 ft. wide. The rails are laid to standard gage on reinforced concrete beams, and a 3-in. plank flooring is provided with the wearing surface flush with the rail top. Under each track between the rails a row of ducts supplies hot air to the charges of lumber. The return ducts are in the floor outside of the kiln tracks, with a single large return duct running through the center of the kiln. These ducts are covered with gratings assembled from iron bars of 1/4-in. x 1-1/2-in. section, spaced 1 in. apart. In general these cover louvered openings 4 ft. long by 12 in. wide below the floor level and average 9 in. wide at the outlet. Forty-five gratings are provided for the complete kiln, of which 27 are used as returns to the duct system. The louvers are operated by a stick from the floor.


Heated air for kiln service is supplied by a 5-hp. motor-driven fan mounted in the basement of the kiln building and arranged to draw air through a chamber containing steam coils before it enters the supply ducts. This heating chamber, a sheet-iron box adjoining the fan housing, is also equipped with a steam vent by which the degree of humidity in the entering lumber can be controlled. The kiln room proper contains lines of 1-1/2-in. pipe laid between the rails and ... a large number of 3/4-in. outlets for the discharge ... steam directly into the kiln. The return ducts ... the entire length of the two sides of the kiln ... under its center, the three being merged together ... the west end and carried back to the fan room for ... of the air. The ducts thus provide a con- ... lous recirculation of air from the supply ducts up ... in the center of each load of lumber and outward ....the return ducts to the rear of the heating .... The maximum steam pressure required is 10 lb. .... The fan is designed to supply five changes of air per minute through the lumber pile at approximately 1 in. ... pressure. The kiln will maintain temperatures to 150 deg. F. Thermostatic controls of temperature humidity are installed on the wall of the kiln room also in the fan room. A Powers regulating valve controls the steam supplied to the coils in the heating chamber, and the installation includes a recording ...chrometer (registering continuous wet and dry bulb temperatures) with tubing directly connected to a ... in the supply duct system where the maximum ... ing conditions prevail in the kiln; indicating ... rometers and testing instruments to determine the moisture content of the lumber. A 660-watt, 110-volt ... oven supplied by E. H. Sargent & Company, Chicago, is provided to test the moisture content of lumber samples. The kiln-drying system was furnished by the B. F. Sturtevant Company, Boston, and the ...instruments by the Foxboro Company.


Lumber to be kiln-dried is stacked on special trucks, ... air spaces between the boards, and is hauled by a service car to the transferway. The spacers are ... 11 in. cross-section. From the transfer table the lumber trucks are pushed into the kiln. The kiln treatment varies somewhat according to the kind of lumber in hand and its condition. Whitewood of all types is first live-steamed for four hours at about 10 lb. square inch, in order to saturate the fibers thorougly. The stock is then soaking wet to the heart of the wood. Steam is shut off and the blower started, a small amount of steam being let into the hot-air chamber of the air-duct system as air is admitted. The supply of hot air is continued for 5 to 6 days, lumber being inspected daily to see if the sap is ...off at the proper rate and if the drying is proceeding normally. Should the temperature run too high the lumber tends to curl and if the heating is .... to continue at an excessive rate warping and honeycombing may follow. The automatic control is usable in preventing fluctuations of temperature humidity after the proper values have been determined. On the last day in drying whitewood the moisture is cut off and the work finished with hot air alone. Mahogany is given about the same treatment as whitewood. The same is true of oak, except that in handling ... wet-sawed stock it is steam-heated at 100 to 120 [degrees] followed by 6 to 8 days of kiln drying up to a minimum of 140 deg. Three-inch maple is steamed ... 3 to 5 hours at 100 to 120 deg., followed by 10 to ... days of kiln drying at 140 to 150 deg. Eight days drying generally suffices for 1-in. and 1-1/2-in. maple. ... 24,000 ft. of lumber was kiln-dried here in a recent 3-weeks period.

The lumber storage building is equipped with six dry rooms on the second floor, each having double-sheathed wooden partitions and doors, and heated by coils supported on the floor over which the lumber is piled. The central portion of the building is open and skylighted to provide for convenient handling of lumber to and from the lower floor. The lumber is either transported to the south door of the storage building on a kiln car or brought in on a hand truck. The compartments on the second floor are capable of holding 17,000 ft. of lumber each, packed 9 ft. high, and are each 16 ft. square inside. One is utilized in the hot storage of soft pine of li-in. size, the next for hot storage of 1-in. pine and the next for dry storage of mahogany and 1-in. whitewood. The bins on the opposite side are assigned to the dry storage of 1-1/2-in. whitewood, oak, ash and cherry. The kiln-drying process is used on sizes of pine above 1-1/2 in. thick, the smaller sizes being hot-dried in the storage house for about 2 weeks at temperatures of from 100 to 150 deg.

Air-dried stock is stored under the second floor compartments. These are provided with balconies 3 ft. wide reached by short ladders at the end of the building. They are electrically lighted and equipped with automatic sprinklers and ventilating openings near the top and bottom of the doors.

To facilitate handling lumber from the first floor to the bins above, a detachable wooden roller 4 ft. long and of 4 in. diameter is placed in sockets in front of the required bin at the walkway edge, this taking a considerable portion of the weight of the board from the handlers on the floor and balcony. On the ground floor another convenience in holding boards on the diagonal when passing them up or down is a metal pin inserted in a portable stanchion about 4 ft. high, the handler allowing the board to rest in part against this pin when pausing in the work. In general the steam valves controlling the heating coils in the storage compartments are near the second floor level and close to the doorways.

The kiln building cost $9.51 per square foot of floor space, including equipment, and the lumber storage building cost $7.89 per square foot.

The lumber storage building is connected with the wood mill by a bridge which provides access to the sawdust and shavings separating hopper above the baling room and helps support the dust discharge piping and a steam line feeding the hot storage compartment coils.

Boston "L" Woodworking Shop Uses Individual Drive

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 64, No. 26 · December 27, 1924 · pp. 1065-1070.

A Great Variety of Equipment Is Installed for Car Repair Work in New Everett Shops -- Machine Shop Is Temporarily Housed in the Wood Shop -- Method of Stripping and Rebuilding a Car Described.

The section of the new Everett shops of the Boston Elevated Railway now used as a carpenter shop and wood mill presents a good illustration of individual motor drive. Induction motors are used mainly, operating on a three-phase, 60-cycle, 550-volt circuit. The various tools installed also show advanced practice in safety engineering. The accompanying table, which lists the principal motor-driven machines in the shops, indicates that there is a greater variety of machinery than ordinarily has been available for car repair work on electric railways.

The many woodworking processes at the Everett shops can in general be divided into two classes: (1) Repair jobs on rolling stock, and (2) production of materials or parts used in quantity by the company in any branch of its service. Ample facilities for quick repair are afforded by the trackage in this building and its connection with the transferway. Most of these tracks are carried at least two-thirds of the way across the building. To facilitate the work until future cranes are available two body hoists built by the company and a jib crane are installed in the northern portion of the shop.

The latest types of equipment of the mill include a rip saw, doweling machine, belt sander, high-speed and a disk sander. These embody various features of design which increase the convenience of operation, render the work safer and reduce obstruction to the movement of men and materials in the mill. Several of the motors are mounted inside the machine frames or above the floor level and out of the way of the user. Control equipment is located as a rule within easy reach of the machine operator, and a general scheme of screening these tools and their drives adds to the safety of the installation. All tools above 7 hp. have General Electric switches, by which the compensators can be "killed" in connection with repair work. While the operations performed by these machines and other equipment were carried on to some extent in the older shops of the company, with this later equipment more rapid production is possible through easier settings of cutting devices, more automatic regulation of processes, multiple cutting and higher powered tools.

Some of the articles regularly made in the wood mill are cross arms, third rail shoe beams, seats for trainmen, surface car life guards, feeder switch boxes, track switch parts, toilet sets for stations, office furniture, trolley planks, car flooring and car doors. Repairs to cars brought into the shop on account of collisions or other accidents naturally take precedence over routine manufacturing operations.

Illustrating the routing methods followed attention may be called to the process of making car doors. The lumber is brought from the kiln to the mill room by a service car and the transferway. The lumber is unloaded on the floor and is then hauled on a hand truck to the cut-off saw (J), where it is cut into lengths, it is next trucked to the rip saw (K) and cut into the deesired widths. Thence it goes to the buzz planer (Q), where it is finished in two passes. The next machine used is the molder (S), which cuts the stock to the proper sizes. The stock then divides, the door stiles going to the mortiser (Y) and the rails to the tenoner (X). The stiles then pass to the shaper (V) for molding and thence to the carpenter shop in the balcony, the rails are also molded by this shaper and are then passed to the bevel saw (A A) for "relishing," after which the rails go to the balcony for assembly with the stiles. The door panels when glued together start with the cut-off saw (J) and pass through the buzz planer (Q) to the mortiser (Z), thence to the bevel saw (AA) for bringing to size, on to the sander (FF) and to the balcony for assembly. The doors are then taken to the mill room floor and edge-straightened in a buzz planer (Q or U). Next they are cut to the proper length and width on the bevel saw (A A), after which the sander (FF) is used, the edges are molded by the shaper (V), and the doors trucked to the paint shop. They are returned to the mill room for glazing. The beading is cut up in the rip saw (J), passes through the molder (S) to the paint shop and is returned to the mill for insertion at the time the glass is set. The completed door then goes to the paint shop for installation.

Window sash goes through practically the same operations as the doors. Steel paneling is largely replacing the wooden panels on the company's cars and this work is done in the temporary machine shop section of the wood mill, in the main.


The mill building is equipped with a dust and shavings removal system by which all sawdust and other debris are drawn by suction through branch piping into a heavy discharge main leading out of the building and across a bridge to a separating hopper on the top of the extension of the lumber storage building. An accompanying drawing gives the sizes of the various intake pipes leading from the various woodworking machines to the main collecting duct. The piping is supported on the trusses and columns of the building by wire guys and straps. On a balcony in the southwest corner of the wood mill is an 80-in. Sturtevant exhaust fan, belt driven by a 50-hp. motor. A suction of 2i in. of water is produced when the fan is running at full speed.

The dust and shavings are drawn from the machines and forced into a 36-in. trunk duct. They are discharged into a 36-in. collector with top and body of No. 18 and cone of No. 16 galvanized steel, carried on top of the baling house by structural steel supports. The hopper is about 18 ft. high and 12 ft. in diameter and is fitted with a 1/4-in. mesh screen by which the sawdust and shavings are separated to discharge into compartments below where baling takes place in a 7.5-hp. Trojan baling machine. The bales of shavings, weighing about 80 lb. each, are sold to jobbers. Sawdust is bagged and sold.

A feature of the dust removal system is the installation of floor sweeps with suction openings at the floor level. These connect with the exhaust piping by 6-in. risers having dampers to reduce power requirements when the sweepers are not in operation. Each sweep has an orifice 24 in. high and 15 in. long. The arrangement is shown in Fig. 4, page 1066.

The wood mill balcony also contains an upholstery shop, cabinet shop and locker room. On the ground floor is a stockroom for miscellaneous hardware used in car repairs and in the temporary machine shop. A temporary brass room also has been provided in the machine shop beyond the stock room. The upholstery shop chiefly repairs curtains, automobile cushions and canvas, there being few if any cushioned seats in the Boston cars.


The shop buildings are of concrete construction up to and including the first floor, with brick walls and steel sash, steel-supported roof, wood plank and Pond type skylights. The foundations are laid in soft ground. In the design of the roof particular attention was given to secure the maximum amount of daylight. In general the construction of the mill building and paint shop is uniform, although the woodworking shop is somewhat narrower. The skylights were designed with the lower half stationary and the upper half movable to give efficient ventilation. The operating sides are movable portions, are motor-driven and controlled by push-buttons from the ground floor. A run of 150 ft. represents the maximum which can be conveniently handled in a single section.

The wood shop has 22 tracks and a capacity of 36 cars of 50 ft. length. Pits are provided for 17 tracks. The entire floor of the building is paved with treated wood blocks. The southwest portion of the wood mill is used for general heavy woodwork and the northerly portion of the building is temporarily utilized for blacksmith, tin and machine shops, pending the construction of the metal-working shop north of the present building.

The finished floor was laid over the foundation after the rails were installed and the pits were constructed with a reinforced-concrete foundation. The pits are 4 ft. 7 in. deep from the top of the rail to the pit floor, with offset walls. The pit tracks are laid on tie plates anchored to the concrete and spaced on 24-in. centers, the rails being fastened by standard rail clips spot welded. A small amount of heat is available in the pits, pipe coils being run in the offset on one side. Light outlets are installed on the other side, with extension cordg hung up so that they will be out of the way when not in use.

The transfer table, which was built by George P. Nichols & Brothers, Chicago, has a speed of 63 m.p.h. and a weight loaded of 100 tons. It was found that it would be a considerable undertaking to provide a suitable bumper which would, stop the table without damaging it, and so the engineers of the railway company installed a so-called natural bumper, with a slope of 30 deg., built of cinders covered with 6 to 8 in. of crushed stone. This has proved satisfactory, as the table will run into it without derailing and apparently without injurious result, either to the table or to the end wall of the transferway.

An Elwell-Parker 3,000-lb. industrial electric crane truck is used for many services about the shops, particularly in handling electric motors and other parts to and from the temporary machine shop, in moving trailers on and off the transfer table and spotting cars on tracks.

At present 373 men are employed at the Everett shops.


When a car inspector, with the approval of a district supervisor, has sent a car to Everett it is placed on a side track to await inspection so as to determine just what repairs are needed. These often exceed the recommendations of the transportation department, as rotted sills and posts cannot be seen until the sheathing is stripped off and the frame exposed. When a berth in the shops becomes vacant, the next car scheduled for repairs is transferred from the yard to this berth.

As soon as a crew of men has completed another car, they are assigned to the one just placed in the shop. Their first duty is to strip the car unless it is one that has been painted comparatively recently and has just been involved in an accident. In this case the needed repairs are made, the paint is retouched and the car released. About 225 cars per year are sent into the shops on account of collisions.

When a car is stripped all window screens are removed, transferred to the machine shop for repairs and thence delivered to the paint shop for cleaning and dipping. Sash and doors are removed and sent to the sash and door department. The door-operating mechanism is taken down and thoroughly overhauled. Seats and backs are all put in first-class condition and sent to the paint shop for cleaning and repainting. The seat frames are all gone over and any found defective are removed and repaired. Metal and brass hardware is all removed and sent to the brass room for cleaning, repolishing and lacquering. If the car is old and shows indications of rotten framing it is further stripped of all outside sheathing and possibly the floor is removed.

From this point the rebuilding begins. All rotten portions, such as posts and framing, are removed carefully and sent to the mill, where exact duplicates are made, this being found more economical and quicker, with the modern machine tools available, than the old method of trying to fit new parts to the car at the repair track. The original timbers are cut in many ways to fit the contour of the car and to allow clearance for rivet heads, bolts, angles, etc. Sheathing plates, if badly corroded or bent, are sent to the sheet-metal department to be straightened or duplicated. Bumpers, if badly bent, are taken off, reheated and are then reshaped.

Gradually every part removed is returned to the car renovated or duplicated, the framing is replaced and spliced, the car resheathed, the floor laid and every detail gone over and made good. The doors and windows are put in and the car sent to the paint shop. There the final trimming of hardware is replaced, seats are put in and window screens are attached, glass cleaned and the final trimming is done just before the car is sent out.


[Left] Exterior of Dry Kiln with Entrance to Provide Service from the Transferway. [Right] Interior of Dry Lumber Kiln Showing the Tracks, Gratings and Ventillating Arrangement.


Plan of Kiln Building with Sections of Duct Construction.


The Dry Lumber Storage Has Six Rooms, Each 16 Ft. Square, and Heated by Steam Coils.


Conveniences for Wood Work in Boston "L" Shops. No. 1. Three-roll sander (FF). No. 2. Disk sander (GG). No. 3. Saw set and filing machines for band and circular saw (II). No. 4. Suction sweeper intake pipe for removal of floor refuse. No. 5. The sawdust and shavings exhauster and collector. No. 6. An overhead mounting is used for the motor-driven blower of the sawdust removal system.


Wiring Layout for Motors In Wood Mill of the Everett Shops.


Plan of Wood Mill Showing Piping and Outlet for Suction System for Collecting Shavings and Sawdust.


Some Special Woodworking Tools. No. 1. Vertical boring machine (O). No. 2. Double surfacer (L). No. 3. Routing machine (W). No. 4. Cut-off saw (J). No. 5. Belt sander (EE). No. 6. Tenoner, five motors (X). No. 7. Hollow chisel mortiser (Y).


At Left, Boring and Mortising Machine (N). At Right, Molder Equipped with Five Motors (S).



Modern Painting Methods Used in the Everett Shops, Boston

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 65, No. 5 · January 31, 1925 · pp. 173-177.

Many Types of Modern Motor-Driven Equipment Used for Paint Preparation Include Paint, Enamel and Putty Mixers, Pebble Grinders and Lead Cutters -- Very Complete Facilities for Paint Storage -- Records of Paint Tests Kept -- Procedure Followed in Painting of Cars, Signs and Various Fittings Is Described.

The various phases of painting work, preparation of paints, storage and testing occupy a prominent place in the Everett shops of the Boston Elevated Railway. They are described in this article. Three previous articles, respectively on the heating and ventilating installation, the lumber storage and kiln and the woodworking department, were published in the ELECTRIC RAILWAY JOURNAL for Nov. 22, Dec. 13 and Dec. 27. The paint shop is of the same general design from the building standpoint as the wood mill. It has 22 tracks available for car painting, with space for handling 52 surface cars of the largest type operated on the system. The floor is of reinforced concrete, finished with a surface treatment to keep down dust. Between the rails are drains in the floor to take care of the drippings from the cars. The floor, however, is practically level, to facilitate the operation of traveling painting stagings. The small amount of water coming in is taken care of by sweeping it into the drains.

Special provision has been made in this building, as in the others of the Everett group, for adequate toilet facilities. Urinals in the centers of the painting spaces are concealed with small screens. Thus the men do not have to walk any great distance. Excellent lavatory facilities are also furnished.

A thoroughly modern paint mixing and stock room is located on the ground floor, with a complete and well arranged layout of slate shelving for storage and motor-driven machinery for mixing paint and making putty. Adjoining the paint storage is a glass department, where glass is stored in cases, according to size, and so distributed as to be available at all times. The south end of the paint shop floor is assigned to the painting of trucks and buses. Beneath the paint stock room is a basement containing supply tanks from which turpentine, oil, varnish, etc., are pumped for delivery inside the storage room.

A balcony extending over the paint and glass storage rooms is connected with the ground floor by an electric elevator. This balcony is devoted to sign painting, locker rooms, shower baths and the office of the superintendent of the Everett shops. In this building the height from the top of the rails to the under side of the roof trusses is 20 ft. and the bays are 32x44 ft. The sky-lights were designed with the lower half stationary and the upper half movable. It was found that sufficient ventilation could be had in this way, with the operating mechanism kept at a minimum. As in the wood mill, the operating sash are moved by motor-driven equipment controlled by push-buttons from the first floor. About 150 ft. of sash can be handled satisfactorily in a run from a single motor.

The paint stock room, about 63 ft. long by 89 ft. wide, combines preparation and storage functions and is exceptionally well equipped with power-driven machinery. Three fire doors in the wall separate this section from the paint shop interior proper, another fire door on the north side leads into a stock room for dry colors and a fifth fire door opening into a driveway on the east side of the building is used by motor trucks in delivering supplies to the paint storage section. The handling of materials has been simplified by this door arrangement. Barrels of turpentine, linseed oil, driers and varnish are rolled off the trucks by hand and skidded into the stock room. These are then rolled over to the west side of the room, tilted upon cradles equipped with sieves and discharged into basement storage tanks through floor funnels terminating in short pipes feeding the tanks below. Racks for the storage of containers are also provided in the stock room and in the basement, these raising the containers above the floor about 12 in. to facilitate tapping.

On the west side of the stock room is a battery of 11 hand-operated self-measuring Milwaukee pumps connected with the basement tanks and discharging into receptacles as required in the stock room. Nine of thi-se tanks are in the basement, but to give fire protection a 500-gal. tank for the storage of gasoline and another of the same size for the storage of alcohol are placed underground below the driveway. These are filled from tank trucks by outside hose connections, and the liquids are drawn through pipe connections leading through the stock room basement to the tank outlets.

Containers for soluble oil, orange shellac, white shellac, paint remover, "cotelac" and electric car oil are racked on the east side of the stock room. These materials are used in color mixing and thinning and for lubrication.

In this shop the method of mixing or agitating has been carefully worked out. Most of the machinery in the stock room was designed and built by the J. H. Day Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. Economy of labor was kept in mind at every stage. Centrally located is a group of three agitators served by removable containers holding 80 gal. each. These containers are kept in the stock room on the east side just beyond the color mixing and thinning section and hold bronze-green truck paint, zinc-white floor paint, lead-colored roof paint and bunter white. The battery of agitators is driven by a 5-hp. motor mounted on the ceiling. Each agitator is belted to a central overhead pulley chain-driven from the motor pulley. Idler pulleys for each agitator enable any unit to be cut out of service independently. The containers used with these agitators are mounted on wheels to facilitate rapid placing and removal. The mixers are so arranged that the operator can grind his color material into the requisite can, roll the container to the mixer and either thin down or tint for use as necessary.

Beyond the east door of the paint stock room are located a white-lead cutter, a 350-lb. putty mixer and a steam-jacketed kettle for breaking down and recovering paint skins from pots, etc. The lead cutter, a 50-gal. "Hero" mill, is used in breaking down and mixing heavy pastes preparatory to their grinding and thinning. This machine is driven by a 5-hp. motor with starting switch on the mill frame. Next is a 350-lb., 48-in. putty chaser, group-driven with a 50-gal. kettle from a 3-hp. motor mounted overhead. At the north end of the room are a 20-gal. pebble mill, an 80-gal. orange shellac cutter and a similar one for white shellac, group-driven by a 5-hp. motor which also drives three water-cooled mills in group. Any one of these six machines can be cut out of service by a clutch without interfering with the others.

The pebble grinder is a No. 7 Abbe mill with Silex lining. It is specially designed to keep the material out of contact with the outside air and is particularly valuable where the thinner is volatile and must be confined absolutely during the grinding process. The three 15-in. diameter color mills are arranged in gang to enable one mill to be used for a particular color, thus saving cleaning and the possibility of discoloration which sometimes results where a mill is employed for several colors. The stones are dressed for color grinding and the mills are used extensively in the preparation of delicate coach colors.

Three 200-gal. Paragon mixers group-driven by a 5-hp. motor in the center of the stock room are used in thinning down and tinting paint produced in quantities and are each provided with a clutch for separate operation.

Between the pebble mill and the pump and serving shelf section of the paint stock room is a battery of 10 10-gal. enamel mixers group-driven by a 5-hp. motor. Each has an independent clutch. These mixers are assigned to the following enamels, keeping each intact for one kind of material outside car green, inside light green, inside dark green, outside pullman, inside white, outside white, cherry, outside black, black baking and orange. A portable "Revolvator" driven by a 4J-hp. motor is in service in the paint shop.

The tank installation in the paint stock room basement consists of seven 50-gal. tanks assigned to compressor oil, machine oil, compensator oil, kerosene, lard oil, lacquer and lacquer thinner, two 300-gal. tanks for japan and driers, five 500-gal. tanks for finish varnish (3), black varnish (1) and rubbing varnish (2), and two 1,000-gal. tanks for linseed oil and turpentine. The tanks beneath the self-measuring pumps are equipped with floats connected through chains to indicators beside the pumps in the stock room.


A major factor in the selection of the motor drive for the machinery in the paint stock room was the elimination of the extensive amount of belting and shafting so generally associated with this class of work. This virtually does away with the throwing of dirt and flaky scales and helps in the preparation of purer colors. The use of induction motors also does away with the objections common to direct-current commutators. In general, the motor starters in the stock room are mounted on columns adjacent to the controlled machine units and the wiring is carried in iron, conduit. In addition to the complete automatic sprinkler installation, the paint shop is equipped with chemical extinguishers and a private fire alarm box, with standpipe and hose centrally located.

A great variety of paints are prepared at Everett for use in all parts of the system. A few of the more important preparation jobs are described in the following paragraphs:

Putty is made up in the mixer in batches of 350 lb., about 4 hours being required. Red putty is made by mixing 330 lb. whiting, 25 lb. oil lead, 7 gal. linseed oil and 10 lb. dry Venetian red. The last ingredient is omitted in making white putty. The red putty is used largely in setting sash in cars with cherry trimmings, the white being used mainly in setting sash outside buildings. In the mixer the putty is rolled by a 900-lb. steel wheel, whereas by the old hand methods only 25 lb. was kneaded at once.

Semi-white lead paint is used largely around stations. In a typical batch about 575 lb. of white lead is broken up for an hour in the lead cutter, and with 3 gal. of linseed oil and 15 gal. turpentine the mass is agitated in one of the 200-gal. tank mixers for 4 to 5 hours, the necessary colors being added during the latter process. The paint is then drawn as required from the agitator tank.

Structural gray paint is used largely on the elevated structure. About 1,200 lb. of white lead is prepared in the lead cutter. Zinc white, ground in oil in the water-cooled mills, is added to the white lead and made into a paste. To this are added 400 lb. of French yellow ochre ground in oil and 60 lb. oil lampblack; 70 gal. of linseed oil is then added, the proper colors having been added during the grinding process in the 200-gal. agitators. The paint is served as required from the agitator tanks.

Dry red lead is hand-mixed into a batter with oil and thinned with turpentine and driers. It is then delivered over the counter to the painters.

The ground color used as a base for orange enamel consists of white lead, red lead and golden ochre. They are mixed and thinned with turpentine and drier to form a flat color. About 60 gal. is mixed at one time in the agitators near the pebble mill and drawn off as required. Lead color, used on trucks as a base for green enamel, consists of white lead mixed with lamp-black in oil and thinned with turpentine and driers. The mixing is done in the same agitator battery.

Surface car gray roof paint is an oil paint consisting of white lead mixed with oil lampblack and thinned with linseed oil and driers, with the addition of a small quantity of turpentine. The paint used for elevated car roofs is an oil paint consisting of white lead and French ochre in oil mixed with Venetian red which has been ground in oil in the agitators. This is thinned with linseed oil and driers. Plow paint is made in the same way except that burnt sienna is used in place of Venetian red.

Cherry ground paint used on doors, sash, etc., as a base for enamel consists of white lead and burnt sienna mixed by hand and thinned with turpentine and drier. Bronze green used on service cars, coal cars, derricks, etc.. is broken up in oil in the mills above mentioned and drawn for use.

Elevated car paint consists of white lead colored with raw umber, hand-mixed. This forms the basic color for the Pullman car enamel used on the outsides of the car bodies. On the insides of these cars white enamel and two shades of green enamel are used, the basic ground paint being white lead and green, thinned with turpentine and drier. All cars on the system are painted with white enamel on the insidea of the roofs.

Truck paint is prepared by first boiling skins scraped from pots in a steam-jacketed kettle. Linseed oil is gradually added. After straining, 150 lb. of white lead is added to each 25 gal. of boiled skins to give the necessary body. This is done in the agitator tanks and lampblack and umber are added, thinning with linseed oil and turpentine to obtain the proper consistency.


At present the railway is repainting its surface cars orange for the sake of increased visibility over the previous standard dark green. This work will probably take three years. About four days is required to repaint an average car. The car is thoroughly cleaned, scraped and sandpapered, stripping to the bare metal or woodwork. A chemical paint remover is used where necessary. Nearly three-fourths of the cars are steel units. The paint is scraped into a hand truck equipped with a detachable hopper from which the paint refuse is later emptied and burned. Bare metal is given a coat of red lead and wood is primed with a light-colored lead primer. Holes are puttied and dented spots looked after. The roof is painted a battleship gray and the main body coat is applied. This kills the green color without changing the color of the finish coat. When the main body coat is dry an enamel coat is put on the body and sash. While in some cases the enamel is the final coat, it is customary to finish with a varnish coat in order to increase the life of the enamel. The numbering and lettering follow the finish coat.

While the exterior is being painted, the repainting of the interior is in progress. As a rule this includes only the sash, doors and headlining, the rest of the work being varnished. The conductor's stand, brake staff and air piping are blacked off and usually the floors are given a heavy coat of dark gray oil and lead paint. The ceiling is washed and touched up with white lead and enameled. The trucks are given one coat of dark gray paint while the body is in hand. After the last coat is put on and is dry the glass is cleaned and the brasswork, seat backs, seats and screens are put in place. Small hand trucks, one for each car, are used to hold the entire set of seats. These trucks are of the flat platform type with racks built of 1-in. x 9/16-in. angles. Screens are dipped in a tank near the south end of the shop and if any enamel baking is required two electric ovens are available.

One man is assigned to roof painting and at the same time two men clean the car body and apply the priming coat The roof dries in about 24 hours and the car body from 24 to 48 hours. Two painters then enamel the body and one enamels the sashes. Forty-eight hours later two men varnish the body, sash and doors. One man paints the trucks with one coat, which dries in about 24 hours. On the car interior three men are usually required.

Three electric ovens are being used in baking enamel at the Everett shops. These were designed and built by the Oven Equipment Company, New Haven, Conn., electrically equipped by the Westinghouse company, and with Bristol temperature control. One 33-kw. and two 10-kw. ovens are in use. One of the latter is in the temporary machine shop and the two others are in the paint shop near the paint stock room.

The larger oven is designed to accommodate a car truck. The outside dimensions are 8 ft. wide, 7 ft. 6 in. high and 7 ft. deep. Heaters are placed on the side walls and are covered by screening to prevent damage by contact. A motor-driven blower and duct system above the heaters circulates the heated air through the oven. The motor and fan are mounted on the roof. If desired, the oven may be moved on rollers as a unit or taken down in sections and transported to another location without injury to the insulation. This oven is used chiefly for baking enamel on automobile hoods, mud guards, fenders and other large pieces. About 10 minutes' baking at the maximum temperature of 365 deg. F. is required.

The smaller oven in the paint shop is used chiefly in baking enamel on light work. Hand strap brackets and conductors' seat stands are ordinarily baked an hour at 350 deg. and tin cases for car signs 10 minutes. Car springs are also enameled in this oven, one hour at 350 deg. being required per batch.

Car screens are dipped once each by hand in a tank of Watertown black and dried on a rack in the paint shop. A tank is also provided here for washing and bleaching car seats with oxalic acid. Used sign cloths are passed through the washing tank and are then used as old rags. A tank with a roller is provided for coating canvas with lead paint. Three men can put through 50 yd. in an hour, compared with three weeks by the old methods of hand painting.

Beading is run through a staining tank 27 in. wide and 8 ft. long, mounted about 3 ft. 6 in. above the floor and equipped with hinged wipers of plush, each about 6 in. wide and 1J in. thick. These wipers are clamped in pairs to the top edges of the tank. The beading strips, a dozen or more at a time, are dipped in the stain solution and pulled through the wipers by hand. At least twenty times the length of beading can be stained in this way per hour as was possible with the old methods of brush coating.

The sign painting section occupies a rectangular space on the balcony above the paint stock room, 75 ft. long by 35 ft. wide. Most of this work is done by hand except where several hundred small signs bearing the same designation are required. In the latter event, the silk stenciling process is used. Signs like "Enter at Front" and "No Smoking" are stenciled when required in quantities.

The eight easels provided for sign painting are used very extensively for painting Hunter signs, which the company has used for many years. The chairs are mounted on rollers to enable the painter to change position without rising. To keep the knees from striking the easel supporting leg and to enable the painter to move sideways without "hitching" his chair backward, the easel legs are curved inward, these legs being of 2-in. x 1/4-in. straps.

In painting Hunter signs paper patterns are used to outline the lettering and then the surface of the cloth is painted black around the letters, leaving these white. Patterns are stored in a portable rack made of 1-1/2-in. angles. It is 5 ft. 6 in. long, 4 ft. high and 2 ft. wide and has 11 shelves. The shelf bracing is of 1-in. angles and the rack easily will hold 2,500 "pounce" patterns of drafting paper. Hunter signs are rolled out flat on the floor in drying. From 6 to 8 hours is required to paint a 26-exposure Hunter sign and dry it.

These Hunter signs are painted on Holland linen and are given one coat of "Hunter sign black." This is made up in 17-lb. batches composed of 10 lb. oil lampblack, 5 lb. Prussian blue, 1 qt. linseed oil and 1 qt. flex compound. If necessary signs can be painted with "drop black" and dried in about 2 hours. Tin signs are usually given two coats of lead paint and after lettering one of varnish. Sheet-iron illuminated signs are given two coats of black enamel and two coats of white lead for lettering. About 2 days is required for these signs. Miscellaneous wooden signs are hand-painted with two coats of white lead and one of enamel, the lettering being of drop black.


A convenient record of paint samples is kept in a series of slotted drawers in the paint stock room office These drawers or sample boxes are of i-in. whitewood and are each 11 in. long, 4-1/2 in. wide and 5-1/2 in. deep and are provided with inside vertical slots 3/16 in. wide and deep, spaced 1/2 in. apart. Each pair of slots holds a plate of white glass 5 in. square and 1/8 in. thick and each plate carries a paint sample with a paster card giving the data upon the former. Each drawer holds 14 plates and a cabinet is provided with a capacity of 30 boxes.

A testing rack for paints and enamels has been set up on the roof. This is of metal, 10 ft. long by 3 ft. 4 in. wide, with inclined plane surfaces carried 30 deg. from the horizontal and fitted with spring clamps by which the sheet-iron test plates can be fastened to the flat surface. There are three panels or flat test surfaces separated from each other by 1-3/4-in. gaps for drainage and for hanging the test plates in place. The test plates are 11-2/3 in. long by 5 in. wide. The ends are looped over to form an L-shaped piece, which helps keep the test piece in place in all weathers. The rack will hold 66 plates and faces the south. It is made with a frame of li-in. angles for uprights, with 3-in. upright channel braces in the center and is 4 ft. 4 in. high at the back and 3 ft. high at the front. The clamps for these test pieces are made of i-in. brass pipe split at the ends and threaded inside to receive a bolt and spring under the testing surface. The clamps rest on 3/4-in. x 3/4-in. rubber feet to prevent electrolysis. Holes drilled in the test plane receive the bolts holding the clamps in place and the rack is provided with metal feet about 3 in. square and is braced to a wall and stairway.

Twelve portable scaffolds are used for car painting. Each is about 8 ft. long, 15 in. wide and 9 ft. high There are two platforms at different levels connected by four steps. These are carried on a frame of 1-in. angle irons and fitted with 7/8-in. pipe railings, as shown in the illustration. The structure is mounted on four 8-in. diameter cast-iron wheels with a 2-in. tread. The difference in height between steps is about 1 ft. so that the painter can easily reach any part of the car body. He can propel the entire scaffold forward or backward without descending to the floor level. An 18-in. x 10-2/3-in. shelf at the top carries supplies for the roof painter, and the steps can be used as platforms or for carrying supplies.


The Type of Painters' Chairs Used Has Proved a Great Convenience.


Paint Storage and Mixing Equipment in the Everett Shops, Boston. [top left] Battery of Self-Measuring Pumps Which Are Connected with the Basement Tanks. In the Foreground Is a Drum In Position for Emptying Into One of the Tanks. [Top right] Battery of Enamel Agitators Driven by Motor Mounted on the Ceiling. These Are Used for Mixing Ten Different Enamels. [Middle top] Three Heavy-Duty Paint Mixers. [Middle bottom] Pigment Mixer. [Bottom left] Portable Paint Mixer- An 80-Gallon Tank, One of Twelve Units In the Everett Shops, Is Shown on the Truck. [Bottom left] Pebble Mills and Shellac Cutters. A Row of Paint Grinders Is Shown In the Background.


At Left, Tent Rack for Paints. After Attaching Panels to Rack, They Are Exposed to the Weather. At Right, Method of Feeding Beading Through Staining Tank.


[Left] Hopper Truck for Receiving Paint Scrapings. [Center] Hand Track with Racking to Hold Seats and Backs for an Entire Car. [Right] Brushes Are Held by Spring Clips In Water Tank.


Wiring Layout for Motors and Ovens Used in Paint Stock Room, Everett Shops.




[Left] "Revolvator" Used in Paint Stock Room. [Right] Scaffolding Mounted on Wheels for Painting Exterior of Cars.

Repairing 900 Cars a Year In the Boston Elevated Shop

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 74, No. 6 · June, 1930 · pp. 330-332.

Work schedule at new Everett shop calls for completion of seventeen cars a week, including general overhauling and painting for all divisions except the Cambridge-Dorchester subway and East Boston tunnel.


Excellent facilities for car repair and painting are provided at the Everett shops. The view shows how well lighted is the center of the building.

Car and bus body overhauling on the Boston Elevated Railway concentrated at the New Everett shops, except for the Cambridge-Dorchester subway and East Boston tunnel cars, which are repaired at a shop designed and built for the purpose in Cambridge just beyond the Harvard Square terminal of the Cambridge subway.

In order to have a steady flow of work through the Everett body and paint shops, a definite schedule has been adopted which calls for the completion of seventeen cars each week in the paint shop. This is the maximum number which can be put through for general repairs and painting with the present number of employees. On this basis the entire plan of handling repair work at Everett is laid out.

If a car is to be kept in good condition during its life, it is believed necessary by the management to put it through the shops approximately every fifteen to eighteen months. Assuming a life of about twenty years, the average car would go through the shops from twelve to fifteen times to keep it in first-class condition. If the cars are sent through at about this rate, it is the experience in Boston that they will easily have the life of twenty years. Less frequent shopping, while it may appear to be an economy, results in more rapid deterioration of the cars. Infrequent painting, particularly, increases repairs to the cars when they do come into the shops, and while it saves expense for the time being, the charges in the long run make the cost of upkeep a great deal more owing to decay and corrosion.

The time when the individual car is sent in for repairs is, under the present procedure, determined by the carhouse foreman. With the approval of the district supervisor he is the one individual who passes on the question of when a car should be sent in to the shops for general repairs. Three factors govern the decision of the foreman: the policy of the management, the condition of the car, and accidents. While the amount of money available for maintenance determines to some extent the policy of the management with respect to general repairs, it is not possible to run a car too long without going through the shops, and failures would be too numerous. Frequently after accidents it is necessary to send cars to the Everett shop, as the collisions cause damage too great to be repaired at the carhouse.

When the carhouse foreman, with the approval of his district supervisor, has decided to send a car to the shops, he first fills out a card stating in detail the work that must be done on it. This card is attached to the car and the transportation department is notified to furnish a crew to take the car to the shops.

When the car arrives at the shops it is placed on a siding in the yard for inspection. It often is found on thorough examination that the repair work to be done is much more than that reported by the carhouse foreman. Some of the most serious defects, such as rotted sills and posts, are not apparent until some of the sheathing is stripped off and the framework of the car is exposed. After the condition of the car is ascertained, it is placed on the waiting list to go through the shops.

In order to keep the paint shop busy, it may be necessary to hold some cars requiring heavy repairs in order to let in cars which need only minor work. It also may be necessary to order special material which must be received before the work can start. Then again, the condition of the car may be so bad that the management may be requested to decide whether the car should be repaired or scrapped. So far as possible, however, cars are passed through the shops in the order in which they are received from the carhouse.

As soon as a berth in the shop is vacant, the next car scheduled for repairs is transferred from the yard to the shop. With the completion of the work on a preceding car, the crew of men released is assigned to the new car. If the car just received has been in an accident, the necessary repairs are made, the car is retouched with paint and put back in service, unless the damage is so great that more general repairs are necessary. Cars in for general overhauling are first stripped. All the detachable parts are removed from the car body. Window screens ire sent to the machine shop for repairs, after which they ire transferred to the paint shop for cleaning and dipping. When repairs are needed on sash and doors they are removed and sent to the sash and door department for such repairs as are necessary and then returned for installation. The door operating mechanism is taken down and overhauled thoroughly. Seat cushions and backs are all removed, placed in special racks, sent to the seat repair department and renovated, after which they go to the paint shop for cleaning and repainting. The seat frames are likewise gone over.

After all these removable parts are taken off, the repairs to the body framing are begun. If the car is old and there are indications that the framing has rotted, the outside sheathing is all stripped off and in some instances the floor is removed also. All rotted portions, such as posts and framing, are removed carefully so as to damage them as little as possible. They are sent to the wood mill so that exact duplicates can be made. This has been found the most practical method, since the original timbers are specially made to fit the contour of the car and to allow clearance for rivet heads, bolts, angles and other parts. With the complete equipment of machines the mill can duplicate a piece of complicated framing much more quickly and at less cost than would be possible if the mechanics tried to fit the work on the job. The sheathing plates, if they are badly corroded or bent, are sent to the sheet metal department for straightening or duplication. The heavier metal work and framing is sent to the machine shop and the blacksmith shop to be straightened or duplicated. Collision bumpers, which frequently are badly bent, are taken off if necessary and are reheated and bent to the proper shape.

After repairs have been made to the various parts removed, or duplicates are furnished, they are returned to the car for installation. Meanwhile, the framing has been restored to its original condition. The car is then resheathed, the floor is re-laid and it is made ready for replacement of the parts which are ready. The doors and windows are replaced first. When they are on, the car is sent to the paint shop. The final trimming, including replacement of seats and window screens, is not done until the car is practically ready for delivery to the carhouse. At this time all glass is cleaned and the car is sent back for duty.

When the car has been transferred to the paint shop, it is gone over to get it ready for painting. First it is cleaned thoroughly, scraped and sand-papered. If any of the old paint is blistered or unfit to take new paint, it is removed with a paint remover down to the bare metal or wood. After use of the paint remover the surface is thoroughly washed. All bare metal or new work is thoroughly primed, if this has not been done already in the wood shop, as repairs progress. Then the entire car is gone over, all holes and dented spots are puttied up. The car roof is then painted. This obviates any danger of daubing the sides of the car, which might happen if the roof were painted last. Next, the main body or under coat is put on. Some years ago the cars were all painted a fairly dark green. This was changed to a bright orange and at the present time there are no more green cars in service. This makes it necessary to be certain that the main body or under coat completely covers the green, without affecting the color of the finished coat.

After the main body coat has dried thoroughly, the enamel coat is put on. This is the final coat in all instances except the main line elevated cars equipped with wooden sash, which are given a coat of finish varnish. After the enamel coat all numbering and lettering, which is all hand work, is done.

As the exterior painting progresses, the inside work is being done simultaneously. As a rule only varnish is used on the interior, except for the sash, doors and headlining. The floors are given a heavy coat of floor paint. Trucks are painted with a paint made up by boiling the left-over paint skins with the addition of whatever pigment is necessary to bring the paint to a standard color.

Following the last coat and drying of the car, the glass is cleaned and the car is retrimmed with replacement of the hardware, seat cushions and backs, and window screens. Finishing of these other parts is done in other departments of the paint shop. The seats, cushions and sash are kept together for each individual car, being transported on trucks designed specially for the purpose.

Buses follow the same procedure as cars. On account of the lighter construction and the more severe strains imposed by rough roads, it frequently is necessary to make more extensive repairs to the framing than is made on cars. The bodies are somewhat smaller than those of cars, so that the time taken is approximately the same.

As an indication of the amount of work handled in the Everett shops, it may be stated that 797 passenger cars were given general repairs during 1929, and 664 cars were given light repairs. These figures are considerably lower than the corresponding figures for 1928. The difference is due largely to the better maintenance that has been done during the past few years, and also to the campaign that has been going on among the operating men to reduce accidents and damage to the equipment. In addition to the passenger cars, 21 service and other cars were given general repairs and 33 were given light repairs during the year. Snow plows to the number of 26 were given general repairs and eight were given light repairs during the year. The maintenance of buses has now become a considerable part of the work, 144 going through the shops last year for general work. Ultimately it is planned to assemble all of the repair work at the Everett shops. At present, truck work and heavy machine work is done at the Albany Street shops. However, a large amount of miscellaneous work is handled at Everett. For instance, sign painting is one of the larger activities connected with car repairs. More than 20,000 curtain signs were changed or replaced last year, and in addition several thousand of miscellaneous signs were made or repaired. Doors and sash are manufactured in comparatively large quantities for replacements.

A detailed description of the Everett shops was published in Electric Railway Journal at the time of their completion, in the issues for Nov. 22, 1924, page 871; Dec. 13, 1924, page 989; Dec. 27, 1924, page 1065; and Jan. 31, 1925, page 173.


Inspection of cars at the carhouses permits many minor repairs and adjustments to be made without the need for sending them to the Everett shops.


Window screens are cleaned and then painted by dipping in narrow vats.


Seat cushions and backs, after removal, are placed in racks on trucks arranged to carry the entire set for one car, as indicated on the placard attached to the handle.


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

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