In an effort to help preserve a small piece of railroading history, U.S. Battery donated a set of its 15-4-1 XC2, 8-volt deep-cycle batteries to the Travel Town Foundation in Los Angeles, California, who are in the process of restoring a 1929 M.177 Motorcar.
The Motorcar was originally constructed by a joint venture between General Motors and the Pullman Car & Manufacturing Company for the Santa Fe railway. According to Bryan Reese, Travel Town Foundation volunteer in charge of the project, these Motorcars were experimental vehicles that proved the use of internal combustion engines in Motorcars were more efficient, and make for a compact all-in-one vehicle. “The M.177 served as motive power, a passenger vehicle, baggage, and mail express all in one car,” said Reese. “This is the only one of three left that still has the original Winton gasoline engine. These batteries from U.S. Battery are essential to making the car work, as it has an unusual electrical system consisting of a 64-volt circuit to crank the engine, and a 32-volt circuit to power the lighting and everything else in the car.”
“The restoration of the M.122 has been on-going since the mid-1980’s,” said Nancy Gneier, Executive Director at the Travel Town Museum Foundation. “Donations like this, however, help us with the continuous process of restoring vehicles that showcase the history of transportation in our country, as well as give high-school students a venue to volunteer and earn community service hours. Programs like ours actually help kids to be responsible and learn how to communicate better, which will help them later in life.”
One of the student volunteers, Will Cosso, started working at the Travel Town Foundation at age 14. Cosso turned 18 and became an Eagle Scout, and was proud to be one of the only volunteers allowed to work on the M.177 project. According to Gneier, additional funds generated from donations, allowed them to build a new gift shop, which has more room for the operation to grow. “We’re turning the current gift shop into our volunteer center,” said Gneier. “This will help us with volunteer meetings and help us expand.
The 15-4-1 XC2 batteries fit perfectly in the two original battery compartments of the M.177 Motorcar and once connected, will help bring it back to life. “We fully support the Travel Town Foundation in their efforts to help kids and preserve a piece of railroad history,” said Don Wallace, U.S. Battery CMO/Executive VP Sales, and Marketing. “If this small donation will help the foundation keep serving the community and helping kids, then we’re proud to be a part of it.”
According to Reese, the engine has a generator and agitator, (used to start the motor). The generator will recharge the batteries and allow the electrical system on the Motorcar to become fully operational. While the M.177 still has a way to go before it’s fully restored, the Travel Town Foundation continues to be dedicated to preserving these vehicles, while providing life lessons to youth in the process.
The Travel Town Foundation and Museum is located alongside the Los Angeles Zoo, and Griffith Park, in Los Angeles, California. The Museum is open daily and offers miniature train rides for children, areas for parties and events, and docent tours given by student volunteers. For more information on the Travel Town Foundation, visit www.traveltown.org. Additional information on U.S. Battery products, visit www.usbattery.com.