Sunday, February 28, 2010

On the Move Again

Today started off with another huge switch move, involving inter-departmental cooperation between Car, Diesel, and Track. The 319 was moved over to the heated shop in Barn 2. The locomotive for the first part of this move was the 431, and here's a close-up of the adapter coupler.

Here, then, is another unique train. Although the 319 and 431 are from the same railroad, and will soon have the same paint scheme, they never normally operated together.

Part of this switch move involved pulling the 966 out of Barn 2 for the first time since the barn was built, we believe. This Milwaukee streetcar was acquired for parts; its EIB trucks were placed under the 354 many years ago. It now sits on freight car trucks, and hasn't seen the light of day since 1976, when the barn was built over it, as I recall.

Due to the heavy use of salt on Milwaukee streets, the underframes on these cars rusted out badly, and the floor heaved up over the truck bolsters, as seen here. The 972 had the same problem, but this was fixed several years ago.

The 309 and 321 lived in Barn 2 many years ago, from 1984 to about 1992, so this is like old times, a little. It was an awful place to have to work, dark, crowded, and dreary. The facility has been vastly improved since that time. There's still a few relics of my stay there. These wall lockers were in the smoker of the 321, and the lightning arrester cabinet beside them was fastened to one wall. The lockers are empty, and I might have good use for them again.

Let's see if I can summarize the switch move: the 319 went where the 749 was, the 749 went where the 68 was, the 68 went where the 409 was, the 409 moved up into an empty slot, and the Twin City PCC moved into 8 where the 319 was. Thus Frank will be able to do serious work on it, towards getting it into operation. And there was a lot more switching in Barn 2; I have no hope of getting that right, so see the Diesel department blog!

And here is the 319 on its way into Barn 2: passing (L) the Burlington 504, and approaching (R) the roll-up door on track 52.

Finally, it's placed inside the shop alonside the 451, in another IRM re-creation, this time of the Wheaton paint shop.

Al Reinschmidt was out today, and helped with stripping some more window frames, as seen here.

I installed the latch on one of the recently repainted windows and put it back in the car. And removed two others to take back to the shop.

And I installed the refinished seat back seen last time. Ah, that's much better! The cushion was removed to take home, so it can be done next.

I can't say enough about how much work was being done on the 451 today. There were at least four different guys taking turns needle-chipping the sides, and work was also being done on the motors and various parts of the end platforms, by Charlie Strong and others.

To the right, we see Dan Fenlaciki needle-chipping the sides, and behind him a new member named Kevin something. Sorry, I should have written it down. Then there was Eric Zabelny and and several others. And there were at least two other needle-chippers going on Diesel Dept. projects, so it's really loud in there!

And finally, here Jeff Obarek is putting a first coat of primer on the roof of the 451 with a roller. It looks great!

All in all, we're making progress in full parallel, with the field taps in. So hang on tight!

Update: Gwyn Stupar sent along a link to her Flickr stream here, which has lots more pictures, mostly of the 749 (natch!). And also her site for wedding and other event photography here.

Update: and Dick Lukin was working on the 451 on Saturday; one of the side doors was taken to the shop, where he removed the hinges and wire-brushed them, then the window frame.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Seats and Windows

The first thing I did today was to move all of the seat cushions from the 319 into the baggage compartment of the 277 for temporary storage. This will make it much easier to repaint the floor, and also makes it easier to oil up the mechanisms and make sure that all the seat backs can be reversed easily. Six to eight of the cushions need to be reupholstered. I can do this at home, and I have material left over from the 308. The top cushion is one I've already done.

Gerry Brookins thought the floors should be painted red (Jim Blower did some of the cars) but I'm not sure why. I know they would paint the decks red on a man o' war so it wasn't obvious how much blood was being spilled during a battle, but we won't have any cannonballs coming through the 319, so we'll go back to the CA&E brown color.

Some of the seat backs had cable ties attached at Trolleyville so they couldn't be reversed, but I think this was only because the seat cushions were bad at that particular location. All of the mechanisms seem to work OK, and I started oiling them. There are no broken castings, so we're in better shape than on the 309.

This shows one of the seat frames. This one has a unique feature: a metal clamp holding it to the floor, since it must have worked loose from the wall. This must have been installed by the CA&E. You will notice that the wall is constructed with inserts so that the seat cushion can be about 2" wider than the back. On the earlier cars the wainscoting is made of long flat planks, and the backs and cushions are the same width.

I also installed the two ceiling globes, as seen here. They were removed for safekeeping when the car was moved from Cleveland. For some reason there's no globe in the smoker fixture, and no way to mount one if we had it.

Then I did some painting in the shop, which I had all to myself. 15 window shade tracks were brought over from the car, sanded down, and repainted with butterscotch. These parts were made by the CA&E in 1953 when the car was converted to single sash, and they used pine to save money. This wood is easily gouged, so even though they weren't in service very long, the parts have a lot more damage than corresponding parts made of mahogany or oak as on the 308 and 309. But it is what it is.

Charlie came through the shop and talked to me about paint. A couple of years ago, John Cloos gave us two bottles of paint samples from Wheaton Shops for the Brilliant Red and Aurora Gray, and Charlie was able to put them to good use. We're using them to match the correct paint for all four cars currently in line to be painted. Jamie has been of great help in this, by the way -- thanks! And I agreed that the 319 should be part of the Centari Empire. (OK, Frank will get that, even if nobody else does!) We'll use the same premium paint as the steel cars. This is expensive, however, and donations are still needed!

And then six windows. On three of these this is the second coat, on the others it's the first. Six down, 23 to go. Ugh!

Meanwhile, Charlie reported that one side of the 451 is now completely sanded down, and most of the Bondo has been applied, so he's making good progress. We're rolling!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Trip To Cleveland

Last Friday, Norm Krentel was generous enough to take a day off from work and drive to Cleveland and back (in one day) to pick up some essential parts for one of our cars. This was a lot of driving, and we can't thank him enough! I should have mentioned this before.

While CA&E 36 was in the RTA shops at Cleveland, all of the contactors were removed from the boxes, and three of them were sent by the Lake Shore Electric group to Redmond-Waltz, an electrical contracting firm, for analysis and quotes on rebuilding. However, Redmond-Waltz were never paid for their work and could no longer make contact with anybody. Fortunately, we were able to learn where the three missing contactors had gone and arrange for their return. Without them, we would be unable to complete the control system correctly.

In other news, the difficulties and delays we experienced in moving our cars to IRM were as nothing compared to what some of the other groups have encountered. Due to the weather, it was only today that the last two CA&E cars, 303 and 453, left Brook Park. The 303 is going to Warehouse Point, but has been embargoed at Scranton due to the snow, as I understand. The 453 is en route to Scranton, but may not make it. And the OX is still at Cleveland. Best wishes for a safe journey!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Better Schools

"How can you help?" Write for a booklet!

Sometime when I have nothing better to do I'll count them up, but it seems at least 2/3 of the car cards in the 319 are these public service ads, for which Chicago Car Advertising didn't get paid. How did they ever make any money?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

319 Progress -- and More!

Greg Ceurvorst and Dave Fullarton were helping today, so we got a lot done. I removed four more side windows from the 319 and brought them to the shop. Greg and Dave sanded down three of them, which takes a while.

Hmmm, is this really good enough?....
(Photo by Bob Kutella)

Meanwhile, I also removed this seat back which needs, of course, to be repaired. I then went to the container to get some spare windows to fill the blanks.

Julie Johnson visited with a friend from New York, whose name I cannot now recall. I showed them through the 319 and 36, while Julie explained their historical significance.

The trolley bases and fuse box from the roof of the 319 were stolen by a trolley collector when the car was moved to Cleveland. Joel found a replacement roof fuse box for me. I cleaned it up a little and repainted the inside with Glyptol, an insulating paint. I also had to replace the mounting brackets, but luckily we still had the original brackets.

Then I went out to the material yard and picked out two trolley bases. Fortunately we have plenty of spares of this type. Dave helped me bring them back to the barn; eventually I'll move them into the shop and repaint them.

By the end of the day, the three windows were ready for painting, and Greg put primer on both sides.

Meanwhile, there were lots of other projects being pursued. Max continued extending electrical service into the new shop extension. Several of the guys brought trolley bases, the pilot, steps, and other parts over to 8 for the 409, and the trolley bases were lifted up onto the roof.

Dave and the other B&G guys were working on the interior of the diner. Steady progress is being made. (L) Jerry Lynn holds up one of the new grills for the ceiling vents. (R) The lower part of the roof needed some structural repairs, as seen here.

Finally, Buzz Morrisette applied the North Shore herald decals to the 749, over in Barn 2. They look perfect! It's hard to get good pictures in these lighting conditions, but it should still be obvious what a mirror-like finish the car has received, thanks to Charlie Strong. I can already foresee this as a safety problem. Once the car is outside in the sun, anyone who looks at it may be temporarily blinded. The other motormen will have to wear sunglasses!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

News from Wheaton Shops

Did you realize we now have a third of the entire world's supply of CA&E cars sitting in Barn 8? That means there's lots to do!

Yesterday I sanded down the sides of the 319 some more; I finished the north side below the belt rail, and then did the east end, including melting off the decal. I then dragged the platform around to the end so I could do the top, as seen at left. I also installed the trim piece over the new siding, as seen at right. I checked on installing the rope guard over the canvas at this end; it should work fine, but I need different screws. I'll also need some more hands.

And I went over to Barn 2 to view progress on the 451.

Meanwhile there was the usual Wednesday crowd at work, on such projects as the 972 and the Com Ed 4.

Henry and Roger S. were helping Max install conduit for the electrical service to the new shop extension.

Finally, since it seemed to be getting colder in the barn, it was time to retreat to the shop and do some painting. We just received a can of paint matched to the interior walls of the 319, so I painted three side windows and a window shade track with the new color. It looks a lot like butterscotch pudding -- mmmmm!

(Photo by Bob Kutella)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Paint Shop Records

Here's a sample page of the CA&E paint shop ledger book from Wheaton Shops, now in the Ralph Taylor collection. There's a new page for every time a car was brought into the paint shop.

Here we see car 36 being repainted on the outside in 1950, in the final paint scheme of Brilliant Red and Aurora Gray. The interior was only touched up. This page includes accounting information; the job took a total of 99 man-hours, a typical result if little was done on the interior. Hester and Miller were veterans by this time, so they knew what they were doing. You can calculate that Hester made $1.59 per hour and Miller made $1.56. The whole process took nine days, which is pretty fast. Sometimes a car might be in the paint shop for more than a month.

The book starts in 1936; presumably there was an earlier volume which may not have survived. It comes to an abrupt end in December 1956.

Our thanks to Ralph for making this information freely available; it's been a great help in restoring the cars correctly.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Blazing (Progress on) Saddles

Rapid and exciting progress is being made on the 451, which is now in the Diesel shop in Barn 2. You'll want to see the pictures displayed here on the Member's Photo Gallery, posted by Pete Pedersen.

And in breaking news, I just got word from Dick Lukin that he had made arrangements with a sawmill in Zion he's familiar with, and arranged for white oak of the appropriate size for new saddles for the 451 to be rough cut. Frank Sirinek and Dick then drove to the sawmill earlier today and bought the wood, which by the time you read this should be in the car shop, ready to mill. I can't promise you we'll have a post every day, but maybe Pete will! And note how Frank, Mike, and Dick are all going out of their way to speed progress on our new cars. Wow!

Anyhow, money is $till needed to keep the pot boiling. Charlie Strong is working full-time to get this job done and will do a superb job, as he did on the 749 (to be unveiled soon!) So please donate to the Electric Car Painting Fund if you can! Thanks!!!

Washington's Birthday

Today is the birthday celebration of George Washington. Washington was said to be "First in War, First in Peace and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen."

My wife purchased this old ad, from a 1930s Life Magazine from the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway. The C&O often billed itself as "George Washington's Railroad" as one of the predecessor companies, a canal company was chartered by our first President. Never to miss an opportunity, the ad also reminds the traveling public of the "fully air conditioned" train The George Washington with daily departures from both Cincinnati and Washington, D.C., with connections to Louisville and Newport News.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It Helps To Be Organistized

Greg Ceurvorst (who is actually an organist) was helping again today, so we got quite a bit accomplished on restoring the 319. First, I had him paint the new siding pieces which I had made with primer.

I worked on making usable locking parts for the doors on the 36. I also removed two more side windows from the 319, and took them to the shop for Greg to strip. I had to work my way into the 321, which is still outside under a huge tarp, and get two more spare windows to fill in the gaps.

The 319 had several visitors today, including Rich Block, Jack Biesterfeld, and Norm and Kathy Krentel. Norm and Kathy also toured the 36; he's planning to take a day off and drive to Cleveland to pick up some parts for the 36 that were left behind, so we needed to look over what exactly he should get.

As mentioned before, dash lights were installed in the 319 at Cleveland to backdate the car, but we needed to remove them. So some of the siding pieces on the end needed to be replaced. After a few hours, the primer was dry enough to handle, so I was able to install the new siding, as seen here. (There's a trim piece along the top, under the window sill, which I'll install next time.)

By the end of the day, Greg had finished sanding down two side windows. The orange latex paint is very difficult to remove. He then painted both sides of the two windows with white primer, as seen here. Thanks!

As usual, there were many other things going on. By the way, here's the interior of the new shop extension. It's now the easiest way to get from Depot St. to the car shop. What looks like tire tracks in front of the garage door is actually the supports for rails in our truck rebuilding shop.

A friend of IRM on the West Coast donated a CA&E headlight, and it arrived via UPS safe and sound. It's numbered 36, but that's purely a coincidence. Headlights weren't assigned to particular cars. Mike helped me get it out of the crate; it was packed with expandable foam, which certainly protected it well. Thanks!

Meanwhile, in the lounge, Julie and the Signalmen were reprising some of their greatest hits from the good old days, real show-stoppers like "GRS Position Light" from the Indiana Railroad. There's always lots of interesting things going on at IRM!

Update: A couple of things I forgot! Joel Ahrendt finished repainting the coat hooks and window latches for the 277, and gave them back to me. Thanks for the help!

And Frank and Mike are going to be finding the wood and making new saddles for the 451 and 460, so I helped them by measuring the ones on the 460. Lots of people are helping with getting the new CA&E cars into service.