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Tractor Talk Discussion Forum

Re: people mover

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Author  [Modern View]

05-04-2013 20:23:36

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I was the people mover guy at our local threshing show for many years, got away from it and now I got my arm twisted to get back into it for this year's show.
I've built three horse or tractor drawn trolleys and I was kind of involved with building a people mover a few years ago though someone else engineered and built that one, and did a really good job, by the way. The things you need to consider is the age of your crowd and how much they will be carrying along with them. Young parents have strollers that need to be stowed away or carried on the people mover. Old folks can't do steps well and they need good railings on both sides of the entrance to steady themselves when getting on. One side entrance is good because the driver only has one entrance to keep track of. Left or right side entrance is your choice. Think about which way is easier for the driver to twist around to look back with the foot on the clutch. Driver fatigue can lead to an accident when a driver isn't accustomed to doing this. Rear entrance is also good because it's pretty hard to run over someone who falls out the back. If you have a rear entrance you have more opportunity to make steps that go way down close to the ground. It's pretty hard to stick steps out the side. We've never had anyone get hurt since I've been involved and we have 10,000-13,000 people at our show every year. One big important factor is the driver. Is he/she alert? I've had mostly very good drivers but I've had a few who thought they were the king of the show and had pedestrians running for their lives. You don't want that.
If the tractor has a cab the rear window needs to be open at all times. A quiet cab with the rear window open and the radio OFF is actually a little better in the fact that the driver can hear the people on the people mover better than he can with an open tractor. Pull the fuse on that tractor radio. Once again, that rear window needs to be OPEN!
If you put it on a running gear, chose a nimble one that responds well. Sometimes you get caught between close isles of parked cars and the easier the people mover is to maneuver, the less chance of putting a long gash in the side of a car. There's nothing more fiersome than a woman who has had her car dented! Westendorf 6 ton or 8 ton gears work well. They weave a little more at speed but they're nimble. You shouldn't be pulling people faster than 6 MPH anyway. Radial car tires will not stand the weight. Spend the money for implement tires. Passengers get real excited when a tires blows out under them. Have a spare tire and jack somewhere handy at the show in case you do have a flat.
If you weld steel railings to your people mover take into account the flexing and twisting of the people mover, especially if you have overhead framework for a canopy. You'll be surprised how much creaking light weight overhead framework will do.

For awhile I bolted school bus seats to Donahue implement trailers. One was 28? feet and the other was 32 feet. They would haul a lot of people out of the parking lot and they could empty in 20 seconds flat. Downfall was the huge size and no fenders over the wheels. They rode smooth but the people sitting in back were whipped up and down a bit because of the long overhang.
I put hydraulic brakes on four Westendorf 6 ton gears with 5 hole rims for the horse people. You get the rear brakes off an old Ford 1/2 ton pickup from, lessee, the seventies or older I believe, weld a little square plate on the rear wagon spindle to bolt the backing plate to, ream the drum center out to four inches diameter and bolt everything together. Rig up a master cylinder with a hand lever up front and you are equipped with brakes. I could go on-and-on. Good luck with the project. It brings back a lot of memories as I type this. Jim

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