Recently my travels took me through Franklin County, Missouri. U.S. 50 through most of Franklin County parallels the old Rock Island St. Louis-Kansas City mainline. The line is still in place, but "rail banked" and owned by the State of Missouri. A portion of the line from the old Rock Island Page Avenue Yard in St. Louis to the town of Union, Missouri is operated by the Central Midland Railway.
The town of Gerald is just west of Union. Just west of downtown, in a park, sits the old Rock Island Depot. The depot is in excellent shape, maintained by the local Chamber of Commerce. Signage at the depot indicates that it was moved from downtown to the park in the mid 1980s and is the only remaining depot on the line. While not on the old Rock Island anymore, the depot remains just across U.S. 50 from the old mainline.
As for the Rock Island line, there has been on and off talk the past several years about reopening the entire line. It is unclear if and when this would ever happen.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The job is always easier if you have the right tools. Here half of one side plus the roof has been removed in maybe 20 minutes.
By the end of the day, we are down to a flatcar sandwich.
But wait, there's lots more interesting stuff to report today!
First of all, we need another trainman for both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Sign up if you can. Thanks!!
Then I spent some time stripping a door post where the paint was likewise in bad shape. Notice the inlay which will, alas, have to be painted over again.
And I went to Woodstock to drop off the engineering drawing for new parts for the IRR 205 at R&B Metals, one of IRM's certified suppliers.
A westbound local has pulled into the north track at Wheaton in a light rain and the crew trades jibes with the shop men who will shortly run the cars into the CA&E's coach storage yard just to the west.
Actually it's Fourth of July 2009 at the Illinois Railway Museum; Mark Paulson captured this view of Les Ascher, myself, Randy Hicks and Nick Kallas with the 308-309 in the background prior to the start of the Trolley Parade. Photo is copyright Mr. Paulson and may not be reproduced without permission.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
We didn't have time to ride the train this time, but it's scenic and enjoyable.
Monday, July 27, 2009
After that, it was back to the 277. I started disassembling some parts of the wall on the left-hand side that will have to be replaced, as seen here. I'll need to make new molding pieces.
The paint on the smoker bulkhead is alligatored, as seen to the left. I used the heat gun to remove it on the right-hand part, being careful not to use too much heat to damage the wood. It was then sanded down and given a first coat of primer, as seen to the right. It will require another couple of coats of paint and sanding.
And then I stored some more parts, took a seat arm home, etc. But it's nice out, so let's go for a walk and see some scenery.
CTA S-329 started life as a Metropolitan wooden coach. After many years of service, it was demoted by the CTA to a flat car. Its frame then became a foot bridge across Boot Creek, until the floor rotted out, making it unsafe.
Across the creek and through the woods, we come across more of the Museum's farm land. Here the corn is doing well. Eventually the plan is to build a connecting line from the new south yards to the main line right through this area. The main is just beyond the tree line in the distance.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
For a change of pace, I spent the day operating Illinois Terminal 415 on the museum's streetcar loop. The 308 and 309 were operating on the mainline throughout the afternoon with Jeff Obarek as motorman; the recently adjusted brakes on the 308 were said to operate just fine. Public attendance seemed decent and the weather was gorgeous. My conductor for the day was Bevin Brouillet (above right). The 415 is actually designed with a conductor's position directly behind the motorman though it can be (and usually is, at IRM) operated as a normal one-man car.
At the end of the day, just when I was leaving, I happened upon a switch move involving the museum's attractive CB&Q S-4 Hudson, 3007. I was able to take a rare photo of the engine in the sunlight, out of its usual habitat in Barn 9.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Henry Vincent helped me put the cylinder back together with the new spring -- thanks!!! Sam Polonetzky and John Nelligan helped with switching. Gerry Detloff and George Clark provided useful guidance. The brakes now appear to be working OK after some brief tests, so the two cars should be in service again this weekend if it doesn't rain. By the way, we still need a trainman for Saturday!
After that, I didn't have the time or energy to start another project. So here, by way of scenery, is the Museum's corn on the south 40. This hasn't been a good year for corn, of course, so it's at least two or three weeks late.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
This turned out not to be too hard; I moved some spare parts around in the 253 and opened up plenty of space to store the 277's seats temporarily. That took a while, but I ate too much over the weekend and needed the exercise.
The seat cushions are still stacked on a couple of the seats, but they're easy to move and don't damage anything.
Our restaurant review feature continues with Del Toro's Tex Mex Grill in Huntley, a favorite of the Car Shop Sunday gang since it's open on Sunday evenings. The food is mainly Mexican and is quite good, though a bit pricier than some of the other local joints at about $10-15 for most of the entrees. The fajitas and enchiladas are highly recommended, as is the salsa served with tortilla chips before the meal. We'll usually go through several baskets of chips and a couple of bowls of salsa before the meal arrives even though the service is reasonably fast! The servers tend to be quite good at keeping everyone well stocked with salsa, drinks, etc. There's also a bar area next to the dining room.
Del Toro's is located on Route 47 on the north side of Huntley in the Huntley Center shopping mall; visible in the above photo is the Huntley water tower right behind the mall. But beware when you go: the parking lot in the mall has a large light pole in the center of it that has a reputation for having jumped out in front of a particular member's truck, giving Del Toro's its IRM nickname: Andy's Truck Stop.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Due to supply issues (i.e. I need to buy more Bondo and Rustoleum primer) I didn't get as much done on the 205 today as I had hoped, but I did get about a third of the anticlimber at the west end of the car wire-wheeled clean and ready for primer. The car will need to be moved from its current location about 1" from the coupler knuckle of South Shore 504 before I can do the center part of the anticlimber, but that will happen in good time. In the meantime, before and after views:
Later I had a lengthy conversation with regular blog reader Dan Fenlaciki and a friend of his who wishes to remain anonymous regarding the mechanical condition of the 205. Arguably the most interesting part of this conversation was opening up the switch group boxes on the car for the first time, which confirmed that the unit switches appear to be intact.
During a break from wire-wheeling I spent about an hour working as ground man for US Army 8537, the museum's 44-tonner which only recently was restored to working two-engine configuration. Joe Stupar (left) was engineer on the 8537 for the Parade of Power during the annual Diesel Days celebration. The highlight of this year's parade was undoubtedly Burlington SD24 504, shown below, which was just repainted and is 99% done following a seven-year restoration. This is truly top-notch restoration work and the project included backdating details such as steps, markers and headlight arrangements. Kudos to the Diesel Department on a fantastic job!
Finally, a quick photo of progress around the grounds. While negotiations continue to obtain ballast for finishing the fourth track in Barn 11, work on the structure continues. The east end of the barn is pictured; the aircraft hangar-style door for tracks 112 and 113 has been added within the past few weeks.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
I helped Joe with a switch move for a little while, stored some spare parts, and showed some friends through the 309. There was a good crowd of visitors out today!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
First, I use a heat gun to lift the old veneer. Then the core is sanded smooth.
Next, cut out a piece of new veneer to fit exactly. I like this -- wood you can cut with a pair of scissors. This modern veneer has a paper backing so it doesn't split and can be worked easily.
Contact cement is used as an adhesive. This is not the contact cement you might have used in grade school, but an industrial-grade adhesive used for laminating counter tops and things like that. Not for use by children.
An even layer of cement is applied to both surfaces. Then it is left to dry for 20 to 30 minutes. While drying, it gives off noxious fumes, so this seems like a good time to go have lunch. We're lucky there's a fine Greek restaurant nearby.
I also removed the rest of my tools from the roof, and tightened up some bolts and connections. And more sorting of parts and straightening.
And finally, some campus scenery from the material yard. Nature does her kindly best to camouflage our mistakes.
Posted by Randall Hicks at 8:12 PM