First, let's talk about rumors! I've heard from various directions that yesterday our Car Dept. crew got a three-car steel train running on the car line - 409, 431, and 460! I wasn't there, unfortunately, so I don't know for sure. Maybe Elvis showed up for a ride, too. Anyhow, if anyone can send me photographic proof to post, I'd be most grateful! And I'm also waiting for photos of the Snowflake Special from one of our roving reporters.
Update: Here it is: photo by Adam Robillard!
Sorry, after that juicy tidbit, work on the 319 is going to be sort of dull. I started by addressing an issue I had noticed a while back. The 319 is now sitting on the 321's trucks, and for some reason there are several large gaps between the side bearing plates and the trucks. I'm not sure what the spec should be, but for most cars it appears to be a gap of 1/2" or less. In this "before" picture, it's about 2". I just don't remember checking this on the 321; perhaps they had the body bolster plates shimmed down lower? Anyhow, it's best to raise the rollers on the trucks.
I acquired some spare shims and started installing some at one corner. This took longer than expected, but it finally was finished and looks like this. Much better. On the second bearing I attacked, the bolts wouldn't turn, so larger wrenches are needed. At that point I gave up.
I spent a couple of hours sanding down windows. Nothing to see here, folks, keep moving.
Charlie has been doing more preparation for painting the car, but I didn't run into him today. Finally, I made a couple of special wood blocks for keeping the doors locked when the car will be stored in a public area. Each trap door has a latch mechanism which provides a convenient stop for small wooden blocks, and this should be more convenient for the operating crews than the 8' folding sticks in the 308 and 309.
Julie let me borrow another stack of wood car photos to scan in, so I'm adding those to the Johnson Collection folders as I get a chance. So far I've added pictures of 36, 56, 203, 205, 304, and 306. And I'm almost done with the original scrapbook. But of course the 3-D versions will remain my top priority.
Meanwhile, another friend, Ed Maurath, sent along a couple that he has colorized in the fashion of old-time postcards. Enjoy!
Lots of exciting news today. I was too busy to take many photos, but you'll get the picture. This will be in chronological order.
I did a few minor repairs to the 319; I installed plugs in the holes in the drip rail mentioned before, and installed the one missing trim piece. Charlie has finished sanding down the south side of the car, and today he was working on the ends. If all goes well, he may be able to start painting the 319 by Thursday!
IRM will be open to visitors starting next weekend, so we needed to clean up Barn 8. We moved the scaffold into the center aisle, and I cleaned up the 308 and 309. They're now ready for the car cleaners next week.
The 409 was moved over to the pit to get it ready for operation. The rest of the day I spent helping Stan, Joe, Joel, Rod, Warren, and Steve.
Frank and I installed the new frame for the sign box that Rich Witt had made. It looks great!
The 409's motors had to be reconnected, the compressor was checked, and we installed trolley poles, hooks, and the roof fuse. One of the line switch contacts had come loose, so this was re-attached with considerable difficulty.
During all this, I had some free time sitting on the roof, so here's a view of the 431 most people don't get to see.
Here we see Joel and Stan installing the second pole. Once this was done, we pumped up the car for the first time at IRM, checked the sequencing, and applied power for the first time. There are a few issues that still need to be addressed, but the 409 is getting close to operation!
Today we placed new canvas on top of the 451 and stretched it out. When I arrived, it had already been unrolled as seen here. Frank Sirinek, our resident canvas expert, supervised the project, helped by Dan Fenlaciki, Charlie Strong, and myself.
We have a set of clamps made up for just this purpose. Here's a couple of them.
Dan is attaching a clamp to the bottom edge of the canvas. The rope is then tied to any handy part of the underbody equipment, and tightened by twisting a bolt around the rope.
The canvas was wet when installed, and as it dries, it should shrink and become tighter. Then we will tension it again.
Here is what it looks like, sort of, after the ropes have been tightened. Frank is pleased with the progress so far.
Charlie won't be able to start painting the 451 until the roof work is farther along, so the 319 might get done first. He spent much of the day doing finish sanding on the sides; he has a DA sander and knows just what sort of surface he needs for painting.
I fixed one seat back that was coming out of its tracks by cutting out and inserting shims, just as the CA&E did.
And Max and Roger were working on installing a new compressor for the Barn 2 shop. Lots of other people were out, working on various projects.
I cleaned up and painted the two trolley bases with primer, as seen here. I'm not sure painting the springs does much good, but it can't hurt.
I also worked on some cosmetic details, which I need to resolve if the 319 is to be painted soon. There are a few missing dowel plugs in the drip rail, for instance.
All in all, it's very exciting. We're making progress on many fronts.
This scrapbook is a small part of the Julie Ann Johnson Historical Collection; this book is entirely devoted to CA&E wood passenger cars. We have received permission to post scans of these photos, most of which have never been published.
Most of these are 3x5 B&W snapshots, and roster-type photos of the cars, mostly at Wheaton or Laramie. I scanned these in at 600dpi, and have shrunk them by 1/2.
These photos are copyrighted by the Julie Ann Johnson Historical Collection. Do not reproduce without permission!
A couple of weeks ago I asked if anybody knew what this mysterious plate was. Today I decided to find out what I could. It turns out that there are two rotary snap switches behind the plate. They're missing the knobs which would just screw onto the shafts in the usual fashion. But what are the switches connected to? I'm guessing it's the light circuits, so you could turn off some of the side lights but not others. But for now, that's still sheer speculation.
Now to something more productive. I finished painting the roof black, except for a few square feet at the west end, where I don't have access just now, since the car is up against the door. But we're pretty much ready for painting the car, whenever it happens to be possible.
The S105 is a Very Useful Engine. I stood on it to take this shot.
Then I made my way out to Yard 14 to get some parts out of the 321. I keep telling myself this is the last time, but noooo.... As you can see here, it's stored amongst Shafer cars, the 4001, and other derelicts. I also wanted to check on the tarp. I climbed up an adjacent box car to view the roof, and everything looks fine. Just getting inside it under that tarp, however, is a test of my abilities as a contortionist.
One thing I decided to do was to replace the third rail knife switch in the #1 electrical cabinet. This was removed at Trolleyville. I probably wouldn't bother, but the heads of the carriage bolts that hold the big knife switches in place are inside the car, and if they're missing, there's just some holes in the wall. That looks pretty stupid. (Enigmatically, my picture of the back of the cabinet didn't show up.)
I had a switch from the 318 in the 321, so I retrieved it and installed it in the 319. It now looks much better. The connections at either end were amputated, so there's no reason not to leave the blade in place.
I did some finish sanding and started priming the window sills which Al had stripped last time.
And finally, I put primer on the two grab irons that Chris and Dan had stripped for me. Little by little we're getting there...
The Museum was really hopping today, in spite of the inclement weather! It was difficult to find a place to park in many places. There's a lot going on, so I won't even try to mention everything.
First of all, I noticed that Charlie Strong has made a test application of the Aurora Gray on the 319. These photos don't reproduce the actual appearance of the color at all well, but then we don't think it looks much like it will in natural light. In any case, it's pretty exciting!
Teamwork made a big difference today. I started sanding down the window sills and other parts on the north side of the 319, then Chris Buck took over and finished this job. I also started painting some more of the roof, until Dan Buck arrived and continued until we ran out of paint.
I spent some time in a Car Dept. meeting discussing our plans for the 36. More about that later. And Tom Hunter gave me some more photos from Art Peterson, so I'll be adding those tomorrow.
Al Reinschmidt (L) spent much of the day sanding down all of the rest of the window sills in the 319. And Jim West (R) installed a temporary lighting system that will be very useful. This is really a big improvement.
One of the steps on the 319 got bent out of shape during the move. We bent it back, but it really will never be the same. We'll want to replace it with one from the 321, so Dan and Chris carried the best of the lot over to Barn 4, and scraped off all the loose paint and crud. It needs to be wire-wheeled and then painted.
While Al was sanding down the window sills, I oiled up the rest of the seat backs and worked on miscellaneous parts such as window shades.
Finally, I asked the Buck brothers to clean up these grab irons for the roof of the 319. These parts were missing, but they're essential for safely climbing onto the roof. These are the ones from the 321, so they removed all the old paint, tar, and rusted-out bolts. Thanks a million to everyone who helped out today!
Nice weather today! More work got done on the 319 windows and associated parts. I started by attaching the hardware to four newly repainted windows, and then taking them over to the car.
I decided this was a good time to start working on the window sills, which have failing paint as seen here. Without DC trolley wire the interior lights don't work, so I'm not doing anything on the inside of the car right now. Yes, of course I could hook up a system with extension cords, but it's easier to just wait until the 319 goes back to Barn 8 or wherever. However, there's enough light in the barn to work on the top surface of the window sills.
The first step is to sand them down to bare wood. Almost half of the car was done today.
Then paint them with a first coat of brown primer. Perhaps another, then two coats of gloss black.
I also removed four more windows to be refinished. This doesn't sound like much, but there are lots of screws to turn, so it takes a while.
Meanwhile, among other things, the car shop guys have started contract work for B&G: they're making new battens for the siding of the Marengo Depot. Here Rich Witt and Bob Kutella examine the new lumber for straightness. Looks OK! And the finished product looks like this. Hundreds of feet of it.
And finally, some scenery along the creek, which is still flowing rapidly.
The Museum will be running a "Snowflake Special" on the CTA on Sunday, March 28. The four-car trip was basically sold out as of Monday, so two more cars have been added to the consist, resulting in more tickets to sell, and thus more opportunity to get funding for the 2000s' indoor storage space. Buy your tickets here! These trips are always a lot of fun. If you don't believe me, you canread about it in the newspaper.
That was pretty bad, wasn't it? That's why we're making all new antimacassars for IT 277. Here's one of the first production ones turned out by my daughter Esther, and they look great. Once they are finished, I'll get the words "Illinois Terminal" silk-screened along the bottom, as on the originals.
I also brought out a repaired armrest. Restoration of the IT cars has had to take a back seat for a while due to the Trolleyville acquisitions, but they're not being forgotten.
Update: Our old friend Dick Lukin wants me to point out that they're not white, it just looks that way due to the flash picture in the darkness, I guess. The color is actually more of a buff. And he says:
I was the last passenger trainman collecting tickets on the last IT train [yes...train....two cars] from Danville. I just happened to have my uniform in my car and at the last minute, there were so many people wanting to ride the last train that the conductor dug out a half motor and coupled it up to the motor. I went to my car and dressed in my IC uniform and lifted tix on the last train. Lots of fun in those days.
These pictures are not the best, so you'll have to take my word for it. Other than the lighting, though, working in the Barn 2 shop is a real pleasure.
I started by painting the center part of the roof of the 319, using a pad applicator on a broomstick. This works well and went pretty quickly. I didn't quite get everything done because the pad started to come apart; evidently they're not designed for use on rough canvas. To finish the job I'll need to move the lift over to the north aisle, and I need to check with the others before I do that.
I brought over repainted window shade tracks, and put a second finish coat on four windows. But they look just like the others.
Here are some of the repainted windows installed; on the outside, there's just a coat of white primer. Charlie will paint these when he does the whole car.
And I got some parts out of storage. For one thing, all the wreck tools are missing, but luckily we had some spares on hand. And some grab irons for the roof, which were also missing. There's always lots of little things to take care of.
The Car Dept. guys have been doing a heroic job of switching. Over the past two days, Stan, Joe, Rod, Warren, and maybe others moved a lot more cars. The skeleton of the 1467 and the 966 were moved on their own wheels into barn 10, as seen here. I would have said it couldn't be done. All of the cars but one have been removed from the barn leads to 6, 7, and 8 so Max can work on raising the wire over those yards. This will be a big improvement once it's done. We've been struggling with the wire there for years.
Joe Stupar asked about how the roof cables were wired. A picture is worth a thousand words. These diagrams essentially apply to all of the wood cars except the 36, which has only one electrical cabinet and a different interior lighting arrangement.
The "Hicks Locomotive and Car Works" banner at the top is taken from original artwork of the company, which was in business from 1897 to 1911. The picture behind it shows the three CA&E wood cars in a train at the Museum, headed by #309, which was built by the Hicks Locomotive and Car Works in 1907.
For more information about these cars, follow these links: CA&E 308; CA&E 309; CA&E 321; and IRR 205. For other equipment at IRM, go to the complete roster.
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Our Current Projects
CA&E 319 The 319 is available for revenue service. Repainting of the interior will continue.