Monday, October 23, 2017

A Visit to Salt Lake

David writes.....

Randy and Maggie did visit us in their way through Salt Lake City on their return to California.. Here we see Randy being welcomed by the family goodwill ambassador, Reagan McDoodle Wilkins.

Not to be outdone, my daughter Alexandra insisted that Randy help her assemble her Duplo train. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

More Painting

It's sort of frustrating trying to photograph the interior painting of cars under most of the lighting conditions we have available, so all I can say is that you have to see it for yourself.  Let me know when you want a guided tour.  Today I pulled out the cars again to continue on the 319's interior.

You've heard of a round peg in a square hole, I imagine.  The light fixture in the corner (above) is unique; all the other fixtures are square.

Tim has been making his usual astounding progress on the 1754.  The woodwork on this end is nearly complete.

Our exalted Executive Director proudly shows off a check from a model railroad company that contracted with us to make models of the UP turbine.  This check covers about half the cost of putting the turbine inside. You really have to admire Buzz Morrisette; almost as soon as he's finished painting the acres of surface on the three units, it's time to start going around again.  I couldn't stand it.  But once the turbine is inside, that won't be necessary.  As usual, you can help! 

A lot of switching was going on.  Here are the NYC redbirds.

And then, another passenger car.

The 749 was holding down a single-car Mundelein local.

A few hours later, the 1754 was partly painted with a first finish coat.

Some of our revenue crew: Nick Espevik on the 3142, and Zach Ehlers on the 749.

Max was busy pumping water and mud out of the manhole.

By the end of the day, about half of the remaining part of the 319 was repainted.  You'll have to take my word for it, but it looks a lot better.

And finally, a look at just a bit of what the B&G guys are doing.  The entrance ramps for the Schroeder Store are being put together.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Museum Miscellany

On our California trip we briefly stopped at a number of small local museums of various types.  Here's a sample of ones we saw on the return trip.

Folsom, Cal. has a local railroad museum of the typical sort: an old depot, a passenger car, and a caboose.  As well as a pioneer village that wasn't open.

And they also have the old gallows turntable still in place.

The Saltair pavilion at Salt Lake City is still in use, although it no longer has interurban service.

It's an impressive building.  You just have to imagine the SL&U trains pulling up in front.

The railroad museum in Ellis, Kansas has a depot, a caboose, and this park train, modeled after the Train of Tomorrow.

But Ellis is also the boyhood home of Walter P. Chrysler, so we went to see that.  Just so I could tell my friend Bill Stewart I had been there.  Walter Chrysler's father worked for the railroad, and so did Walter himself as a young man.  The museum itself was quite interesting.

I asked how they came up with the unusual "Chrysler" for the normal German spelling "Kreisler", but this seems to be lost in the mists of history.  The spelling was changed well before WWI.

Too bad they didn't have any Chrysler Building kits for sale.

You may have heard of Atchison, Kansas somewhere or other.  Its railroad museum has a good-sized static collection, including this nice 2-8-0.  They do have an operating park train of some sort.  It was early in the morning, so no one was around, but there's nothing to keep you from touring the collection, apart from a sign forbidding vandalism.  OK, I promise!

There are several Burlington cars in the collection:

The  Budd coach Silver Gleam, and an RPO, the Silver Pouch

Flags were at half-mast due to the Las Vegas massacre:

The original stone depot building serves as the city's history museum.

Finally, in Laclede, Missouri we visited the boyhood home and museum of General John J. Pershing, the man who won WWI and founded the Pershing Rifles.  It seems like only yesterday I had to be able to recite, on command, all the facts of General Pershing's life.  The town of Laclede itself seemed to be stuck in the 1930's.

But wherever you may travel, there's no place like home.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Repainting Here and There

We've been running the 319 in revenue service for a few years now, and everything has been fine except that when the car is outside in direct sunlight, it's obvious that the walls were not completely painted, and coverage is spotty, to say the least.  Most people won't focus on this, I hope, but when serving as conductor I find myself wondering who did such a shoddy job.  Well, look in the mirror.

 All I can say in my own defense is that inside the barn with just the car lights and a drop light or two for illumination, it looked much better.  So when we have a nice day with plenty of natural light, the thing to do is pull the car out and apply another coat or two of paint.  A couple of months ago I redid one side of the smoker.  Yesterday I finished the smoker and started on the main compartment.

After painting, it looks like this.  The paint is still wet, which probably magnifies the difference.

 And at a different angle, with flash.  It looks like a different color, doesn't it?  Here you can even see, at the bottom, the reflection of the sun shining on a seat back.  The weather was perfect for this, although it was rather windy, constantly rattling the windows and doors, and occasionally even rocking the boat a little.  That's not a problem unless you're trying to edge something like this:

So I hope to finish this job before winter sets in.  Luckily the ceiling looks fine, and most of the walls below the window sill are better, or at least the imperfections are less noticeable.

I didn't spend much time seeing what other people were doing.   Henry Vincent proudly shows off a conductor's chair he refinished at home.  He points out that there are no glue joints in this chair; it's entirely held together by little steel rods.

Riveting continues on the Michigan Electric car.

And outside, the B&G guys are hard at work.  Here Andy Choutka is working on 50th Avenue, which is a constant maintenance problem.  As Bob Olson was pointing out, Jim Blower used to repaint the station every year or two until he died, then we had Carl Illwitzer doing it, and now it's Andy's turn.  Bob says it's too bad we can't get vinyl siding in the correct color, ha ha. 

But probably the biggest news was pouring concrete for the southward extension of the parking lot.  At lunch time, work was finishing up on forms for the curbs of these little islands that will be surrounded with pavement.

And a few hours later, the concrete was in place and being finished up by the contractors.