Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Long and the Short

It's always educational to have some fundamental contrasts that you can explain.  The short is what I was doing today.  The #2 vestibule in the 36 still needs to be repainted.  All this piping and other mechanical objects make it a slow task, but it's getting sanded down and primed, slowly.

It's kind of a shame that these nice brass fittings have to be painted, but that's life.  Incidentally, I have no idea why these otherwise identical castings on the same door frame are a different color.  As Buzz says, it's a different copper content, but how that could happen is a mystery. 

And at the other end, the scrap fuse box was installed.  There's a pipe clamp to the right of the box, of unknown function.  None of the other cars have this.  I sure hope it wasn't just installed at Cleveland for some stupid reason.

I also spent some time finding a new cut-out cock for the 36, to replace one that was leaking, but I didn't start to install it, since we may want the car to be operational tomorrow.  But that's all I accomplished.  Pretty short, I admit.  For the long, let's look at what everybody else was doing.

The 4000's were running, with Joel as motorman and David Streeter as conductor.  It doesn't seem so long ago that nearly every weekend, the 160 and 714 were one train and the 4000's were the other.  Nowadays we have a much greater variety of mainline equipment out.

I must say that I always liked the way the 4000 cabs were set up.

And then the IT Geep was pulling the heavyweight train.  For a Diesel, it's pretty good-looking.

Trolleybus service has been suspended, due to the installation of new streetcar tracks.  (Where have you ever heard of that before???)  So, Chicago Motor Coach (the "Boulevard Route") is filling the gap with luxurious motor coach service.  

You won't find customer service like this at any other museum.

 I wandered over to the steam shop to look in the technical library.  Although I didn't find what I was looking for, probably my favorite steam engine,  Burlington 637, was sitting outside.

Aha, I think I see a problem.   I'm no expert, but I believe the tender should be at the other end of the locomotive.  I'll mention that to Tom next time I see him.

Finally, the biggest effort today was probably going into cleaning up the material yard.  The Track Dept. and B&G are cooperating to clean up and sort all all the stuff located in the west yard, south of Barn 8.  Here we see some of our stockpile of girder rail; to the right, the crew are holding a job briefing prior to starting work.

Ties are being sorted out, and mechanization speeds things up a lot.

(L to R) Bob Olson is running the big forklift, and Dave Diamond and Jerry Lynn are helping stack ties more efficiently.

All day, as I was working in the 36, I could hear the constant "clank.....clank.....clank" as tieplates were being sorted into piles.  That's got to be an awfully monotonous job.  But luckily, the track guys are doing it, and by the end of the day, there's a large pile of carefully sorted usable material, and a huge pile of scrap metal is inside the gon, waiting to be turned into money.

And a good portion of the material yard is now clear.   Well done!  There are lots of possibilities for improving this area south of Barn 8, if it can be cleaned up.

 Frank DeVries, head of the Track Department, showed me what had been done, and explained what the plans are for the future.  Among other things, he wants to set up a switch stand display, similar to our signal display, using all these old switch stands that we don't want to use for actual operations.

But more importantly, we want to construct a Track Barn, east of the connector track, to store the track machines and material and free up the space which is currently being used, rather uncomfortably, in Barn 2.  This is now part of the Master Plan and they have started serious fund raising to make this possible.  First, however, the east material yard needs to be cleaned up.  Almost everything in the west yard is track material, so the Track Dept. can do that themselves, but in the east yard, there's a huge supply of old electric car and steam dept. parts, so it will take a group effort to sort it all out.  I'm certainly willing to help, whenever the time comes.  How about you?

In the meantime, we still have a good-sized section where trees are growing up through the abandoned parts that have been sitting here for eons.  To me, this area has a mystic, poetic feel to it, especially at dusk, so I guess I'd better enjoy it while I can.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Traction Miscellany

More interesting photos sent to us by Art Peterson.

All Images Copyright by the Krambles-Peterson Archive

This looks to me like something a model railroader would build out of spare parts, but it's actually a Cincinnati Car Co. demonstrator locomotive, completed on Dec. 17, 1925.  The non-equalized six-wheel trucks are strange enough, but check out that misshapen cab.  It ran in demo service on the Western Ohio, the Cincinnati & Georgetown, and on the CH&D (C&LE) as their number 605.  It was finally scrapped at Moraine, sadly enough.

The Scioto Valley was a third-rail interurban (the only one in the Indiana-Ohio network) best known for its big wooden cars, but it also had some more modern steel cars.   This is #120, in its final resting place at 119 E. Main in Lancaster. 

This is another Scioto Valley car, probably the same series, but its actual number and location are unknown.

And this is Western Ohio car #51, a Kuhlman.   Again, the location is unknown, but it appears to be right next to a former main line.


One of the nice things about this hobby is that there are often things that can be done at home.

Kevin McCabe was an enthusiastic member of the Museum for many years, and was President of the Board until his untimely death in 2004.  One (among several) of his lasting legacies is the development of a uniform display sign, and these signs are now on nearly every piece of rolling stock and many of our structures, and so forth.  These are all 2' x 3' sheets of aluminum, and Kevin acquired a machine for cutting out the vinyl lettering.  The uniform appearance of these signs gives the place a much more professional look.  And in his honor, we usually refer to them as "Kevin signs".  The lettering process takes quite a bit of skill, and fortunately after Kevin died this task was mastered by Ray Piesciuk.  Many of these signs are mounted outside, and they are remarkably resistant to weathering.

For stationary objects, mounting a Kevin sign is usually no problem, but for rolling stock used in revenue service we need to find some way that they can easily be mounted and removed without damaging the equipment.  For the CA&E cars, the handrails are the obvious place to mount a sign, but then the paint gets scraped off.  I pondered a way to clamp the sign onto the rails, but anything with moving parts is a maintenance problem, and finally decided to stick with wooden frames, with scraps of upholstery material added to reduce scraping.  The signs had also become dirty over the years, as you may be able to see, and needed to be cleaned.  I fixed up two of them, and when the others are done, we should be in good shape for many more years.

And then there was lettering on the little tin box for the 36.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

36 Report

Now that most of the operating fun is over for the year, it's back to work on painting and things like that.  My first priority will be to finish repainting the #2 vestibule of the 36.  It was raining most of the day, with plenty of lightning and thunder.  So, keeping the word "Sheboygan" in mind, I did not want to have the DC traction power turned on in the barn or lights in the car.  Drop lights provide enough illumination to do pretty much everything.  A lot of it is sanding down the wood in various corners and odd places.

The grab irons in the vestibule need to be wire-wheeled, so that's an opportunity to go over to the shop and see what other guys are doing.

Rich Witt is our one-man drafting department, and here he is working on the design for the "banquettes" in the Dover Strait.  This is part of the seating arrangement in the car, sort of a small partition.  Only one is left and five more are needed, so Rich is trying to make a plan that a metal shop can use.  Without destroying the one remaining original, he can only make his best guess as to how the parts were fabricated.

After the grab irons have been stripped, they can be reinstalled. 

While most of the old paint is in pretty good condition on the ceiling, you may notice that the trim pieces around the vestibule light are badly alligatored.   So they go back to the shop to be heat-treated.

Down to the original Pullman Green finish.

Meanwhile, in between thunderstorms, the contractors continue to make progress on the Central Avenue streetcar tracks.   Ballast is being dumped so they can be raised.

Big threaded rods are used as gauge bars about every ten feet.  The rails are spiked without tie plates so they will be level, but axle loadings for anything using this track will be low.

 And by the end of the day, it's time for primer on most of the center ceiling, including the trim around the dome light.

And more progress on the new track.  Nick stops over to check it out.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Showcase Weekend, Part 2

One of the highlights of Members' Day is meeting old friends, and making new ones.  Al Reinschmidt was out and was looking much better after recent health problems, as was Bob Rayunec.  And there were many others, such as Charlie King, Randy and Betty Anderson, and John Myhre,  And I met several blog readers, some for the first time, and enjoyed talking to them.  Your words of encouragement make it all worthwhile.

We'll start with some pictures of the 972, which hadn't operated for the public for about 40 years.

L to R:  Jeron, David, Joel, Richard.

And here it is coming around the curve at South Jct.:


Another nice thing was that the diner Galt House was on the heavyweight train, which hasn't run for several years, I think.   They weren't serving food, but it looks great inside.

Jerry Boguse showed me the kitchen and explained all the work that has gone into it, as well as what still needs to be done.

Along with the DM&IR coach and the Santa Fe combine, this makes a nice-looking train.
Jerry, Roger, and Bill.

After dinner, I was the conductor on the night train, so didn't have much of a chance to take pictures.  Anybody who has some night photos of the 36 and 319, we'd appreciate them!

However, at one point we were waiting for a while before the next trip, so Frank got out his portable Victrola, put in a new needle, and started playing some popular music (Harry James) for the waiting passengers.  This is not the unit that actually belonged to a CA&E conductor, but it's the same idea.



Oops, we didn't wind it up enough.   Sorry....


Ahhh, much better.  You won't find customer service like this at any other museum.