Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring Into Action

Maybe it's time to spring into action. Lots of important activities will be here soon.

It was a nice day, so I walked out to the 321. Some switching has been done in Yard 14, so I was able to get a better picture of it, for what little it's worth.

And I went inside and looked around. Everything seems to be pretty much the way I left it.

In other activities, Dave Diamond was helping a contractor work on the Schroeder store. New molding has been installed on the outside, and they were busy putting in the flashing around the doors. This doorway will be equipped with a roll-up door for loading large items into the storage area.

Most of the time I spent on the 319. I would like to have the #1 vestibule painted by the time revenue service starts, so I masked most of the windows and cleaned up the compartment. I also spent time sorting parts and improving the storage of our spare window shades. And general clean-up, since opening day for visitors is this Saturday. Where does the time go?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Miscellaneous Museums

Here's a few more scenes from our recent vacation. In Paducah, there's an IC 2-8-2 on display alongside the flood wall between downtown and the river. It is well-maintained cosmetically.

Now where have I seen that number before?

Behind the locomotive are an IC Harriman-style baggage car and an unusual outside-braced waycar.

The backhead appears to be complete and in good shape.

Also in town is the Paducah Railroad Museum, run by an NRHS chapter. It has a large collection of artifacts and models, but is only open on Saturday.

Owensboro, Ky. has some street running, as seen here. It also has a history and science museum with a coal mine in the basement, presumably similar to MSI's, but it wasn't open when we were there.

In fact, we missed several other museums too: a quilt museum, a bluegrass museum, a creation museum, a tobacco museum (?), and the "mothman" museum in Point Pleasant, W.V. Maybe next time!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Snowflake Special

Frequent contributor Chuck Amstein has sent us photos from yesterday's Snowflake Special, which covered much of the CTA system using the soon-to-be-retired Budd cars. Thanks, Chuck!

End of track west of the Des Plaines Ave. shop. This right-of-way would have been used by the CA&E if service had ever been restarted.

At Racine on the Congress

In center track for turnaround at Morgan

Backing up for photo run at Western on the Midway line

Going through Midway yard

Getting off for lunch at Adams and Wabash

At Ashland on the Englewood line

At Roosevelt in the State St. subway

The drum sign

Kimball yard on the Ravenswood

At Kimball

At Lake and Clinton

Going down the old Douglas line ramp

At Racine for turnaround

If you missed this trip, I just hope you're as sorry about it as I am. DON'T let it happen again!

Friday, March 25, 2011

News Flash - ORM

I passed by the Ohio Railway Museum at Worthington this morning; I was surprised to find that much of the collection is no longer there. The N&W Pacific is gone and it seems that at least half of the electric collection must be gone also. Most of what's left is tarped or out of sight so I cannot say what's there and what isn't. Some of the tracks in front of the station have been taken up and it would appear they plan to remove more trackage soon. I was unable to take any pictures worth posting. Maybe I'm just out of touch but this was unexpected. I'm hoping someone with more information can comment further.

Hicks Car Works -- bringing you more than rumors but less than the whole truth!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cincinnati Union Terminal

Yesterday we visited the Cincinnati Union Terminal building, which is in use by Amtrak and several museums. We only had time to visit the Cincinnati History Museum, which is excellent.

The building itself is an architectural monument, built between 1929 and 1933 in Art Deco. It also houses the science and natural history museum, a children's museum, and the Imax theater. It fell on hard times and was thoroughly restored.

For our readers the most interesting artifact is the body of Cincinnati streetcar 2435, a standard curved-sider built by the Cincinnati Car Co., the manufacturing arm of the street railway. After abandonment, it became a farmer's shed for 30 years. The museum then restored what was left. New seats and other items were installed. There are no trucks, except for cardboard cutouts.

The museum personnel are very helpful. We listened to an entertaining and informative talk by one of the docents, Ben Butler, seen here in his Pullman porter's uniform. He spoke briefly about the history of the street railways in Cincinnati, and about various aspects of life during WWII. He also has various other historical roles he presents.

The replacement seats look like this.

This model was actually used by a salesman for the Cincinnati Car Co.

The museum also includes a huge model railroad layout depicting Cincinnati at various stages of history. I'll post more about this when I get home.

I'd say this is a must-see for anyone in the area.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

That Other IRM

We're on vacation this week, and today we were able to visit the Indiana Railway Museum based in French Lick, Indiana, in the southern part of the state. This other IRM is mostly a tourist line, running excursion trains through the scenic hills and valleys of the area, and serving the popular resorts at French Lick and West Baden. Their website appears to say nothing about the rest of the collection.

Revenue service today consisted of a NYC combine and several Rock coaches pulled by a critter.

There are three locomotives on display near the depot, including this 0-4-0ST, Indiana & Ohio Gravel #11...

And two moguls: (L) Angelina & Neches River #208 (now lettered "FL, WB & S"), a small 1912 Baldwin which had several owners, and (R) Mobile & Gulf #97, a 1925 Baldwin, also a boomer. Neither is operational at this time. See for details.

Of local interest to us are these two South Shore trailers, now located on a storage track as seen here. The doors are open but I was afraid to enter.

And they have a North Western RDC combine.

And there's much more to the collection than I was able to photograph.

The French Lick depot is very interesting architecturally.

Two large hotels and spas were built in the towns of French Lick and West Baden, no more than two miles apart, in the early 1900's. They were both served by the same railroad branch, which ended at West Baden. Until recently, the line between them was served by a small European streetcar. But it has deteriorated, and I was told that they decided it could not restored. So a Diesel-powered unit of some sort will be built new.

Here is the imposing entrance gate to the West Baden hotel, with the end of the streetcar line in the pavement. We ate lunch at the grand hotel, which is huge and impressive almost beyond belief.

The trolley wire was removed over the winter, and this part of the line is no longer in use.

If you're in the area, a visit to the Indiana Railway Museum is well worthwhile.

Monday, March 21, 2011

First day of spring

Springtime came to IRM with a fury: Sunday was a series of thunderstorms and lightning strikes, including at least one or two strikes on the property and a brief loss of power at one point. But there were still plenty of hardy souls out at the museum working.
I spent most of my afternoon working on the west end anticlimber on the 205, shown above. It had previously been needle-chipped and about one-third had been wire-wheeled and primed, so I tackled the other two-thirds and got the entire thing cleaned up and primed by late afternoon. I also spoke with Frank S. about looking for Ohio Brass trolley catchers for the 205 (currently it has retrievers fitted to it, which are too big) and spoke with Tim P. and Rod about looking for canvas-backed rubber for the folding door edges on the car. Any readers have a source? Please let us know!
The shop was pretty busy; Andy was fiddling with the compressor for the 1100, Greg was hunting up trolley base parts for CA&E 451, Jon F. was stripping and polishing more windows for the same car, the Michigan crew were working on traps for Michigan 28 while Dan F. polished window latches, Tim was working on windows for the 1797 (above), and Rod and Frank S. were working on various projects. Max was even out installing power outlets in the "lean-three" shop extension now that all of the lights are installed and hooked up.