Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Another thing that needs to be done on the 757 is to repair or replace the end windows; all four have wooden frames that are badly rotted, at least the bottom rail and the ends of the stiles. To the right, we see the hand of Henry Vincent pointing out the bad areas, and to the left, the man himself is starting to remove a window for repair.
One of the main reasons the 757 has been out of service is that the compressor armature shorted out. (That means the air pump which supplies compressed air for the brake system is no longer functional.) Fortunately, we have a spare which just needs to be installed. Here we see it sitting on the platform.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Well I have been forgetting my camera a lot, but today I remembered it so I decided to go nuts. Today was the second day of regular operation for the 308-309 since the 309's completion; yesterday was the first but none of the Hicks Car Works crew was out. The train was run yesterday by Stan Wdowikowski and today by Jim Nauer, both very capable people we are lucky to have in operations at IRM. The only problem was that one of the traps in the 308 is pulling out of the bulkhead, which will be fairly simple to fix, and a few minor air leaks, which will be more annoying to fix. I took a couple of photos:
On the left, the train coasts through the "plant" at the west station track throat, while on the right the train accelerates eastbound over Boot Creek Bridge. Those cars really stand out among all the greenery! And for something different, I even took a video:
The best that can be said regarding quality is that it's slightly better than nothing, but keep in mind that I shot this using my point-and-shoot Kodak camera without a tripod. This shows the train westbound passing "Big Tree" across from the station. (I have heard that there is a new "Big Tree" location but I refuse to believe it, even though the tree itself has been gone for years!)
I spent most of my day on the 205, but started out by lettering an ammo box that Stan was kind enough to donate for use with the 308-309 handles. This will be locked up for use by future motormen operating the cars.
Back to Door Day on the 205; I decided to devote my efforts to window sticks, the little trim pieces that hold the glass in place on the car's wooden doors. When the car was acquired a lot of the windows had been broken, and Bob Bruneau led an effort to replace broken windows. These were held in with whatever window stick scraps could be found, so when my father built the new doors for the 205 a year and a half ago I asked him to run off some extra window sticks. Today I put those extras to use, cutting sticks for the lower windows on both of the closed-off door leaves at the southwest corner of the car (pictured) as well as for the lower window on one of the door leaves at the southeast corner of the car:
This project was made more difficult by the fact that the window sticks were made out of rare "ironwood" which did not go well with the finishing nails I was trying to drive through it. Note that visible through the door are the trolley hooks for the car, which were previously cleaned up and painted in preparation for installation when we mount roof boards. After this I decided to remove the drop sash that had been installed by Portland in the upper-left window of the closed-off door pair. I'm not sure what the purpose of this was, as the drop sash itself is probably about 6" wide and 24" tall, but it looks a little strange and certainly isn't accurate to the car's Indiana configuration. Shown below are before-and-after photos of this removal (before shot from inside the car, after shot from outside).
And finally, a gratuitous shot of the newly-installed North Shore Line sign at the corner of Central & Railroad Avenues:
So now that I've made an undying enemy of anyone with a dial-up connection, I promise to go easy on the photos next time... or at least to try.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
First, breaking through the banner:
Then, coupling the two cars together. I thought this might be interesting because you seldom see Van Dorn couplers in action:
Then, we load the passengers and leave on the first trip:
And thanks to Al Stasch for posting these to YouTube and helping with the html!
Monday, July 21, 2008
Then I made a few pieces of wood for the 321. The end of the roof is covered with two layers of thin pine, each about 5/16" thick. I made some new ones out of some spare wood, and checked that they will bend easily enough. These are just ripped out of 2" stock pine - the tool marks on the original wood are obvious.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
The 308 and 309 were supposed to operate today, and the weather was fine, but the handles weren't in the usual location so the crew had to take the North Shore train out instead. Which brings up a question: does anyone among our readership have an ammo box like the one shown here that they could donate? These are perfect for storing handles and now that 308 and 309 are in regular service we could use one of these. Thanks!
So I was planning on spending most of my day working on the 205 anyway, and that's just what I did. A while back Bob Bruneau had given me a trio of brass window frames from the museum's stores to modify for use as end windows on the 205, and I cut those down by 1-1/8" in width to fit on the car. Portland had replaced three of the car's brass end window frames with wooden frames, which in addition to being unauthentic were also badly rotted out. These replacements will serve admirably to backdate the car to its Indiana Railroad appearance.
Sorry for the photo quality; I forgot my camera (AGAIN) and these pictures were taken using my cell phone. The wonders of modern technology! On the left one of the frames is shown on the bench in the shop, and on the right we see the center and left (from the motorman's perspective) window frames test-installed. Next they get stripped and glazed before final installation. I also spent some time helping Nick conduct a survey of the display signs of our electric cars on display.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I also worked on the roof of the 321 some more. The #2 end is worse than I thought. Some of this patch work must have been done at North Chicago - I can't believe Wheaton Shops would do work like this. Some of the carlines are missing parts, and were sistered, but the sisters are just junk softwood and were attached with a nail or two (outlined in yellow on the left). And the dutchmen are no better. I'm probably going to sister many of the carlines along the roof, but I'll use good hardwood, glue, and carriage bolts. I also noticed that the two sides of the upper roof where it arches down to the end are constructed in a completely different manner. I'll have to check the other end to try to figure out what's correct. So wish me luck!
News update: They've started stockpiling the materials for Barn 11. When construction actually starts, we'll try to bring it to you here first!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
A continuing series of picturesque car cards:
The brand-name "Satisfaction" car card (which we posted here earlier) is double-sided, which is unusual. Here's the other side. It's too bad the Rolling Stones never knew about this!
Monday, July 14, 2008
After that, I worked on the 321. I checked the compressor and tested the brake system. The governor would need some adjustment if we were going to use it in operation, but for a switch move it's OK. The control system also tested out. We may want to run the car under its own power into Barn 4, when that becomes possible. I then worked on removing more of the roof at the #2 end, where it needs to be rebuilt. No pictures because it's so revolting. I also checked lubrication on the blue cars and sorted parts for a while.
Over the weekend I was in Minneapolis, and I had a chance to visit the Excelsior operation. Car 1239 was operating; here we see its unusual rear end gate design. One interesting aspect of this operation is that they back-pole all the way when backing up. These single-ended cars had only one pole, of course. It seems to work reliably enough for them. The line is about a mile long and has no frogs in the wire. But I promise not to try this at home!
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
The 309's activities over the weekend have already been well cataloged, but I figured I would just write down an overview of the July 4th Trolley Pageant. This year's Pageant was a little different that the past ones, with the cars in a different order. The event was organized by Bob Heinlein with the help of Rod Turner and many others who greased switches, did car inspections, served as ground men and operated cars. The Pageant started at 1:08 and lasted for an hour, almost to the minute. The parade was led off by CTA 4391 and IT 415, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of streetcar service on the CTA and the Illinois Terminal, respectively. The "order of battle" was:
CNS&M 749 - 251
CNS&M 714 - 160
CA&E 309 - 308
CRT 1808 - CER 1754
CTA 4290 - 4410 - 4412
CTA 41 - 22
WEPCO L4 - CNS&M 604
I used the occasion to take photos of some of the equipment in the parade to add to the museum website; cars whose irm.org Car Dept photo albums were created or enhanced are linked above. Virtually the entire fleet that took part in the parade was photographed by Adam Robillard and can be seen here. A few photos of the preparations for the parade are above, including a shot of 1808 coming out of Barn 8, 229 sunning itself in Yard 6 while 714 and 431 wait in the wings, and an "only at IRM" shot of the 4391 and 415 with the Broad Street Subway car between them. The photo below shows the view in Yard 8 during prep for the parade. Only in Union!And finally, I'll leave you with a photo taken during revenue service on Saturday of the Hicks Car Works blog team - left to right are myself, Randy Hicks and David Wilkins.
Posted by Frank Hicks at 9:50 AM
Notice: These photographs are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission.
(R) North Shore 607 and 354. Was the 607 ever part of the collection?
Most if not all of these pictures seem to have been taken on the CERA fan trip of July 4, 1956.
(R) Car 16 on the deadline at the west end of the orchard.
(L) Car 36 was preserved by Gerry Brookins and is now at Cleveland. From left to right: 406, 459, 36, 311, 313.
(R) Car 56 at the Batavia terminal.
(R) Car 300 along the Fox River at Batavia.
(L) Car 310.
(R) 315, now at Rockhill, Pa.
(L) 320, now completely rebuilt at Mt. Pleasant, Ia.
(R) 415 inside the shop building.
(R) GE locomotives 2001 and 2002 on the ready track.
(L) Locomotives 4006 and 2001 at Wheaton.
(R) 4005-4006 pulling a (typically short) freight train at Lakewood. Beyond is the fan trip train, and the bus to St. Charles is front of the station. Hey you, get out of my picture!!!
(R) The east side of the main shops building in Wheaton
(L) At State Rd. on the Batavia branch
(R) At the EJ&E overpass east of Batavia Jct., meeting an eastbound express.
(L) At the Batavia terminal
(R) A different extra train at Glen Oak, with steel cars.
(L) Several pictures of PCCs from near the end of service in the late 50's. This is #4164.
(R) 4174 at the turnaround loop on Clark across from Devon Carbarn.
(R) 7258. The motorman in this picture is not identified. I'd like to think it could be Ray Zelinsky. Why not?
(L) PCC 7143 beside the storage yard.
(R) Salt car AA-26. What are those devices mounted beneath the cars at each end?
(L) S-308 was originally a wooden L car, Met #2717, rebuilt to steel; by this time it was used in snow plow service.
(R) X-3, much like our X-4.
(L) AA-77 was a salt car, originally #1478, a CUT streetcar like our #1467.
(R) AA-27 was "Matchbox" #1142. Our #1374 looked just like this in its salt car days.
(L) D-4, a 1908 McGuire- Cummins sprinkler converted to a snow plow.
(R) F-30, a 1930 CSL-made snow plow. This looks exactly like our F-305, built at the same time.
Unfortunately, most of the North Shore photographs are very dark. I may try to correct some of them later. If anyone remembers the days when cameras required film, that was the way it went. Results were often unpredictable....
(R) The fan trip train at Highland Park, same day.
(L) MD car 215 at Highwood, July 24, 1955.
(R) 251 at Milwaukee.
(L) 454 at Highwood.
(R) Line car 604 at Highwood.
(L) Line car 606 at Highwood. This car, or what's left of it, is still at Noblesville.
(R) Weed sprayer 1265.
(North Shore #450)
(L) Car 242.
(R) Peter Witt 565.
(L) PCC 2257.
(R) PCC 24??
Car 801 was used for training at the Fond du Lac car station. This car had two poles, trolley-bus style, because the station trackage had somehow lost its ground return, they say. This strikes me as a very complicated solution to a simple problem, but I suppose it must true.
(L) 861 turning from WB Wells Street to SB PROW
(R) 882 as the employee shuttle car, parked in front of the Lakeside Power Plant in St. Francis, WI.
(L) Car 861, Route 10 on p.r.o.w. SB between Wells St. and Wisconsin Av.
(R) Car 954. This must have been the fan trip vehicle. Rt. 10 exiting Wells St. Viaduct EB at about 38th St.
(L) Car 954 again, Rt. 10 WB on W. Wells St. (at about 4th or 5th St.?)
(R) Rt. 10 WB on W. Wells St. at about 7th St.
Viaduct. #978 is now owned by the East Troy Electric RR, and currently is stored in Appleton, WI in inoperable condition.
Wells St. Viaduct
I can't positively identify either of these cars, but they're interesting shots anyhow. Learn shorthand in 6 weeks!
(R) L-9 is still in service at East Troy.
(L) 70-Grand line, five blocks south of the water tower; (R) 40-Broadway line, possibly South St. Louis
Both bottom photos taken on the 70-Grand line just north of Sportsman's Park. SLPS caption info from David Wilkins.
Notice: These photographs are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission.