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Ed Amrhein

BSM Crane Returns

    F inally, after three months of making arrangements for transportation and loading on March 30, 1998, the moving of the crane started. Our shipper, Markey Trucking, was looking for a trip to Ohio with a shipment so they would not have to charge us to dead head to Ohio. After five weeks of waiting, I received a call on March 27, 1998 from Keith (of Markey Trucking), telling me their trucks would be at Difco Monday afternoon to load the crane and other parts. He hoped to be in Connecticut on the following Wednesday. I called Bill Wall at Branford Trolley Museum to advise him and inform the crane company that was going to load and unload the cranes. Bill called me back Sunday and informed me that the crane could not be there until Thursday and Keith had to be notified. This meant that the trucks would spend an extra day sitting in New Haven.

The Crane Carl Merson and I left for Connecticut that Wednesday at 6:00 p.m and arrived at Branford at 11:30 p.m. Upon meeting Bill Wall, we noted that the Ohio crane was sitting on a trailer in front of the Visitor Center! Carl and I spent the night in their visitor center. We met several other members of the Branford Trolley Museum the next morning. The crane that would lift the two trolley cranes arrived and set up at 8:00 a.m. the next morning. By 10:00, the Difco crane was removed from the trailer and placed on its on trucks to be towed away.

     After the Difco crane was towed out of the way, it was time to get #3715 out of the car barn and down to Sprague [a stop on Branford's line]. Bill moved it out of the car barn, Carl operated it from there to the loop and turned it, and I took it for it last trip to Sprague and shut it down.

Crane Trucks Bill, Ted Ikeman, Carl and I removed the trolley pole and cut the motor leads. The car was then lifted into the air, the trucks rolled out and then placed on the trailer and tied it down. This was accomplished by 3:00 p.m. We still had to finish unloading the second trailer and load it with the motors, axles, and one Philly sweeper truck. This accomplished by 6:30 p.m., Carl, Ted, Bill, and I met for dinner. (None of us had eaten since 7:30 a.m.) Carl and I finally got home 1:00 a.m. that Friday morning.

     At 11:00 a.m., we assembled at B.S.M. to take down the overhead trolley wire and got the two trucks ready to go under the crane. After a short break, the truck with the small parts arrived and we unloaded it at the shop. While the rest of the crew unloaded the truck, the driver and I checked on the truck with the crane. We were told the truck was 30 minutes away. I went up to Potts and Callahan, our northern neighbor, to see if they would still be able to unload the crane since it was almost quitting time. While I was talking to the yard foreman, the crane went by. We walked outside to talk with the crane operators; they had already seen the crane and were pulling out the driveway to check out the crane. After inspecting the crane they returned to Potts and Callahan and returned with two cranes to lift #3715 and lower it onto its trucks. Finally every thing was put away and everything fit in the carhouse! Six months of negotiations was now over.

     I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rick Obbink, who traveled with me during the negotiations and was there whenever I needed a hand rearranging the car house and freight shed. Also a word of thanks should go to John La Costa, Dennis Yeager, Carl Merson, Mike Higgins, Mel Boteler, Greg Thompson, Hank Jaeger, Jerry Kelly, Buster Hughs, Dan Lawrence, and many more including Keith, the owner of Markey Trucking and our two wonderful drivers Ralph and Walt. Thank you!

     Of course, none of this would have been possible without the members of B.S.M. The Board of Trustees gave me the end of year money and all of the money left in the memorial funds of Nixon, Lloyd, Gerald, Packie, and Larduskey funds totaling $8,500 and the N.R.H.S. donated $2,000. The N.R.H.S. and The National Capital Trolley Museum gave the board permission to move $1,500 out of the lathe fund ($750 each) into the crane fund. The crane fund will still need about $4,000 to have the wheels of the Philly sweeper truck moved out an additional 1 1/8 inches each to make them fit our Baltimore gauge track. This allows us to use the 27G Brill trucks under the semi-convertible.

     We have found a photograph of the crane in the library as #6028. Anyone donating $50 or more to the crane fund will receive an 8"x10" framed copy of this photo. If you wish to make a contribution, please send your contribution to the Crane Fund in care of the Baltimore Streetcar Museum.

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