Monday, November 29, 2010

Heyworth Railroad Museum

Over the weekend, while on our way to visit relatives and eat eat eat, we stopped to see the Heyworth Railroad Museum, which was recently organized in this small town a few miles south of Bloomington. From the web page, they have ambitious plans for development.

So far, the collection consists of this IC side-door caboose, which is nicely painted and lettered. There were no signs or indications of when it might be open. It's located on what's left of the old IC main line from Bloomington to Decatur; about 1/4 mile of track south of here to the current end of live track has been torn up and the streets regraded. To the north, it appears there's at least 1/2 mile of track still in place, but there don't seem to be any plans for operation.

Friday, November 26, 2010

IT Antimacassars

My daughter Esther has finished making 30 new antimacassars for the IT 277, as seen here, plus a couple of spares. These will be installed in the car for the IT meet next April. Now all I need to do is to get them silk-screened. This may not be cheap; the first quote I got was about $200 for the set. I'll keep shopping around.

More info about this project was posted here and here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Neither Rain Nor Sleet...

... nor cold nor hail can keep us from painting, as long as we have the right facilities. The smoking compartment is small and air-tight enough so that a space heater can get it up to a comfortable temperature, even when it's at the freezing mark outside.

Several sections of wall got a final coat or two of polyester filler, followed by sanding and a coat of white primer. One of the sections I did is seen here, before and after. I believe it's going to turn out quite well.

John Faulhaber had made this piece for the D13 dump motor, and needed some checks and cracks filled. And since I was the only one around who was armed with polyester filler, I did a quick job on this unusual wedge-shaped piece, both front and back. It's smoother than it probably looks, and he should be able to sand it smooth quickly.

After this I had thought about doing some more finish painting, but decided against it. Instead, I continued to strip the #1 vestibule. The paint is too badly checked to save. Fortunately, I'm having little difficulty getting down to bare wood, as you can see here. It's time-consuming, but not a bad job for a cold day.

And over in Barn 2, one end of the 451 has been painted, as you can see.

Danielle was slowly and carefully prepping all of the window openings; the side should be ready for primer in a couple of days, she says.

It will be great to see this car in service with the 460, won't it?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

319 Report

The first thing I did on Saturday was to check on the 321 and retrieve my clamp, which had been stored there. This was built back in 1979 in order to glue the veneer on the interior walls of the 309. Several places had come loose, and the only feasible way to clamp them was to run a piece of conduit from one side to the other, with blocks of wood on each end and a line bolt for adjusting and tensioning the system.

This is just the thing for raising the ceiling panel in the 319 where it had come loose, as pictured last time. A step box was needed to provide the correct height.

I installed some screws, but decided to leave the clamp in place for now. The panel has been hanging down for a while and has warped, and it may be difficult to return to its original shape.

One amusing thing is that the wires for the 600V lighting circuits run through the ceiling just where I would like to install screws, so I have to work around them. Or else.

Then it was on to more sanding, filling, and painting, as seen here. I would like to finish the smoker over the winter, then maybe go on to other things. The main compartment can be used for revenue service as is next year, I believe.

Finally, over in Barn 2 the contractor Jim Followell and his helper Danielle were finishing up surface prep on the 451. They were planning to paint the east end of the car by the end of the day, but I had to leave early. Next time I'm out, we should see some nice bright red!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Veracruz Open Car

Phil Stepek pointed out to me that Pete Schmidt has posted on Flickr several pictures of a Veracruz open car in service in 1958. They're quite interesting. Note the huge beer advertisements (CERVEZA MOCTEZUMA!) painted on the ends. That will be a first for IRM!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Time for Dessert

I love butterscotch -- don't you? That's what the interior paint for the 319 resembles, so what's not to like?
After some more surface prep, and giving the smoker compartment a chance to warm up on this chilly day, I put another finish coat on the entire bulkhead, as seen here. The wall on the right side has been used for testing various methods, and looks pretty good.

The paint on the door and below the window on the left side was in good condition, so those parts I just roughed up and repainted. The section around the window may need some more work, but basically I think it's going well. I also did more work on the side walls.

As a side note, in the left-hand picture above, the window frame in the lower right-hand corner is exactly the same color as the wall behind it. So you can't really trust these photos. You have to see it in person.

While I was doing this, there were two men (contractors, I suppose) working on the roof of Barn 8 driving in more screws to hold the roof on, and I don't know what else. Of course, the sound reverberates through the barn. So I'm trying to listen to Don Giovanni while I paint, and these guys are making strange noises up on the roof. How inconsiderate -- what would Emily Post say????

After painting was done, I started working on the ceiling. There are a couple of places where it's come loose. This is the worst place in the car, and it's in the smoker. I don't know if these pictures really show the problem. In any case, I found that substantial pressure will be required to push the ceiling panel back up to the supports so it can be refastened with new screws and nails.

Luckily, I have just the thing, a clamping device I made many years ago for pressing loose veneer to the walls in the 309 while the glue dried. It's stored in the 321, so I'll get it out next time and start fixing the ceiling.

Meanwhile, over in Barn 2 painting on the 451 has not yet started, but it's getting close. Final surface prep is nearly complete, and when I walked over there, one of Jim Followell's helpers was prepping one of the ends of the car.

And the Cleveland PCC that Eric and Ed have been working on for so many years is now in Barn 2 also, waiting its turn for painting.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

ARM Convention 1978 - Track Dept.

Tom Hunter sent us these photos he took back in 1978 before and during the ARM convention, which we mentioned earlier. The convention was held in August, but on July 4th weekend that year, there was the biggest flood IRM has yet experienced, and there were numerous washouts on the mainline and elsewhere. So a lot of trackwork had to get done in a hurry.

Some of the people in these pictures include the late Ralph Weege and our friend Josh Leppman who came in from Baltimore to help out.

Tom can undoubtedly tell us more about some of these shots. As he says, he's been working on IRM track for a loooong time!

All photos are copyright Tom Hunter and not for reproduction, etc.

Note the standing water in some of these views!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday at the Museum

I was able to make it out to IRM for a few hours on Sunday afternoon. I worked on a few small projects and also enjoyed wasting some time going for a fan trip on the 460 and helping Bob Kutella test out the buzzers in the Sand Springs car. After looking over all the progress being made on the 319 (see post below), I took the #1 end controller cover over to Barn 4 and proceeded to needle-chip and wire-wheel it (at left, photo halfway through the process). The next time I'm at IRM I can needle-chip the #2 end controller cover.

Following this, I took a few photos of the truck-mounted sanders on the 205 for our old friend Laddie Vitek; he is working with the group in Portland, Oregon restoring Portland Traction 813, a Brill Master Unit that operated during the 1950's alongside our own 205 (813 as PT 4012 and 205 as PT 4003). I also brought the very last end window from the 205 into the shop to be stripped; the photo at right shows some of my progress. Once all of the paint is off of the window it will be reinstalled, completing that small part of the restoration.

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?