Sunday, November 14, 2010

Action-Packed Weekend

I was able to spend the whole weekend at the Museum, starting late Friday afternoon, so a lot got done and this will be a long post.

Mostly I worked on repainting the smoker in the 319. This is a combination of filler, primer, and finish coats. To the left, this wall now has a first finish coat, after several tests of various fillers and procedures.

This occupied much of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Frank was out on Sunday, and approved what's been done so far.

Joel Ahrendt wandered through on Saturday, and I recruited him to help me install the remaining ceiling dome fixture, as seen here. He was on a project to put anti-freeze in all of our padlocks.

This wall had been subjected to some test stripping while it was in Cleveland, so it took a little more work to get a smooth surface. The center part was sanded, filled, and primed; other parts only needed spot priming.

I also started stripping one of the vestibules. This seems to be working much better than it did many long years ago when I had to strip the 309's vestibules. The paint is badly checked, and we will want to strip it down to bare wood and spray it.

I also cleaned up the floor in the smoker and put on a first coat of primer. This gets rid of the last of the ugly red floor. My old friend Jim Blower worked for Brookins for several years and might have painted the floor in this car red. Sorry, Jim.

Now here's the most surprising news in a while. Last Monday, Rod Turner swapped out trucks under the 36, putting the correct motor truck under it -- the one we brought back from Connecticut. And he did it all by himself. I still don't understand how this was possible.

On Saturday morning I made several sets of measurements. There's no doubt that the car is no longer level, and we will need to shim up the bolster at the motor truck end. This is not entirely unexpected; it's a result of the truck swap between the 36 and 303 that took place in Cleveland, as we've explained before. So there's some more work to be done, but we're getting close. Thanks, Rod!!!

The more I learn about this business, the more confused I get. It turns out that the body bolsters on the 36's car body are of two completely different designs, as seen here.

(L) The bolster at the #1 end is of a standard design, with two heavy plates; the bottom plate is bent down and goes under the center sill. (R) The #2 bolster is a flat U channel, with notches cut for piping and other obstructions. I really don't know why they should be different; perhaps due to rebuilding after a wreck. And I found that the wheels on the motor truck are smaller than those on the trailer truck, by 4" in diameter. I guess we're lucky if both wheels on a given wheelset are the same diameter!

And I spent some time, while waiting for paint and filler to dry, to install a couple of air hoses for the sleet scrapers on the 319. These don't actually have to be functional, of course, but it looks stupid if they're not there. I need two more hoses. And I found that the pipe fittings are an odd mixture of 3/8" and 1/2" sizes. Typical -- just bloody typical.

In other news, the painting contractor Jim Followell will be painting the 451 this week, and on Saturday he removed all the windows, since they don't get painted. Here it is in Barn 2.

And on Sunday, the Shore Line society had its board meeting at IRM, so the 749 and 460 were pulled out for fan trips. A good time was had by all.

And the Schroeder Drug Store is now placed down on its permanent foundation. Of course, more work is need on the structure, but it's looking good.

I even looked inside, hoping they had Prince Albert in a can. But it appears they're not open for business yet. Maybe next week?


David Wilkins said...

I'm hoping to pick up some Dapper Dan Pomade or some Lucky Strikes on my next trip up at the store....

Seriously, Randy, I noticed it looked as if the CA&E never really stripped the vestibules, like they did the exterior. Is this true?

Bruce Duensing said...

I have been following your continuing work on the interior of 319 and took notice of the wall light sconces after seeing the refurbished ceiling light. Did these have ( at some point) glass globes or shades? I know from my limited experience that the older CRT cars never appeared to have them. Also another question, with all the marvelous auxiliary equipment you folks have restored ( signals, etc), has there been any thought to wig-wags or gates being put up on the main line @ crossings as a "finishing touch"?

David Wilkins said...

As the "legal department" let me step in on this one:

Typically, the decision to install warning devices at a crossing is a decision made by your state's department of transportation, or similar authority. Due to certain legal issues, it is rarely a good idea to install what is considered obsolete equipment to either replace crossbucks, or other forms or protection. As such, I doubt it would ever be a good idea to put "obsolete" equipment at a live, public crossing, or install warning devices at any time, at a crossing without a mandate from your state's regulatory authority. Of course, this legal opinion is free, and as such, use it at your own risk.

Randall Hicks said...


The wall lights never had any covers of any sort, they were always bare bulbs. Originally there would have been a globe over the ceiling lights in the smoker, but it was removed.

The crossing gate question is a vexing one. We would like to have crossing protection, but it would be expensive and complicated. Because our main line is parallel to the UP, the gates would have to be wired to signal circuits on both lines. And the UP would use DC circuits, whereas our signal system uses AC due to the DC power used for the electric trains. And we would have to be able to respond quickly to any failure in the crossing system, such as the gates being stuck down. The UP can afford to maintain a 24-hr signal department to take care of such problems, we can't. Dave or Nick could give a more detailed picture of the legal and cost ramifications. In the meantime, we have several operating wig-wags on our own property, where we can do whatever we want. They're great!

David Church said...

Just curious... do the blosters net out the same height at each end, and all the difference is the wheel diameter?

Was this car always a half motor?

You all sure have some interesting challenges with which to work when you do these restorations..

Randall Hicks said...

This type of measurement is difficult to make, due to the cramped conditions and the necessity of finding the distance between parallel lines in space, etc. So the best thing to do was to put it all together and then determine how much shimming is needed.

The 36 was built as a four-motor car, but this lasted only a couple of years until new cars were acquired without motors. Julie Johnson was able to figure out exactly when this happened, about 1906, I believe. So it was almost always a half-motor.

David Church said...

Thank you sir:

Seems like you have several kits on your hands with all the parts cut wrong, and no directions.

Amazing what you all have been doing, as I follow your posts.

David Wilkins said...

If anything the "interesting" finds on these cars (different wheel size, different bolsters, etc) shows how much the CA&E was a shoe-string operation, especially in the later years.

I'm surprised Randy has not found a bunch of bailing wire holding the cars together....

Randall Hicks said...

Thanks for the comments. However, it's not as bad as it might sound. All of our CA&E cars have been in pretty good shape mechanically and very little reverse engineering had to be done. The 36 is an exception only because of changes made in the past few years at Cleveland.

The really amazing project, which should be completed soon, is what Frank Sirinek and his friends have accomplished on the West Towns car. The body was made into a house, and all of the underbody equipment had to be built from scratch. I can't imagine having to find new trucks and motors and rebuild all the brake rigging, the control system, and the 1001 little parts you never think about until they break.