Monday, January 24, 2022

Company work

Frank writes...


Most of the time I'm working on my own projects, mostly the 18 these days, but Sunday was a day to pitch in and help with a "company project." This turned out to be IT 415, our stalwart suburban cars, which has been out of service since late 2020 for repainting work.
For one reason or another this work was delayed for much of 2021, but towards the end of last year the car was sand-blasted and we are hoping that sometime soon it gets its coat of fresh paint. To that end, pretty much everybody in the shop on Sunday was working on something involving the 415. I went at the car with my trusty pad sander, sanding down the window sash.
With a few exceptions, the windows didn't need to be sanded all the way down to bare wood, but usually only down through a failed upper layer of paint. Thanks to Zach for grabbing the action shot below!
In the meantime, Tim was conducting a woodworking class for Zach, Greg, and Good Nick, with the goal being to create new blocking to support the dasher at the (current) east end of the car. Above, after the blocking was cut to shape, Nick drilled the necessary holes using the shop drill press. By the end of the day he had also sprayed a fresh coat of maroon paint onto the end sign boxes for the car so that they can be reinstalled.
Work on the 415 wasn't the only thing being done, of course. Joel was working more on rearranging stuff in our storage areas, and once woodworking on the dasher blocking was complete, Zach and Greg turned their attention to making more progress on the wood that will become new side doors for the 757. In addition, Zach, Greg, and I trimmed the seat frame for the 18 so that it will fit nicely as planned, and then with Greg's help I took some windows painted last weekend over and installed them in the car.
And here's some good news: Dan has finished rebuilding the D3-EG pump for the 36! The next step is to take it out into the barn to our air compressor test rig, make sure it runs okay, and then bring it back inside to be wire-wheeled and painted. Then in the spring it will go back onto the car and the 36 should be cleared for service again, following its annual inspection of course.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Urban Development

The big news for today is that Main Street USA is expanding once again -- the North Western building is going up!  Contractors were hard at work with their big crane, putting up the posts for the walls on what will be the home of the C&NW Historical Society and its collections.  It was pretty cold and windy outside, but these guys know how to dress for the weather.




This building will be another valuable addition to our campus.  Remember, you saw it here first!

Meanwhile, back in the shop, we get to work in relative comfort.  Here Tim is stripping one of the doors for the 1808.  By the way, he points out that the diagonal piece on the door is there so that if somebody tried to close the door while the brake handle was still in the stand, that would push it out of the way so the glass wouldn't break.


It was too cold to do any painting, but I worked on installing new slats at the #1 end.  By the time I left, the first seven are trimmed and more or less permanently installed.



#3 will have to be removed so I can install the rain gutters at this end.  I realized from studying pictures that the gutters were somewhat higher on the 714 than they are on the 160, so at this end at least I'll try to get them correctly located.   In this picture they're just sort of wedged in place.


And guest photographer Jon Fenlaciki comes through again!  Fine art at its finest:


Jon and Andy were working again on installing the various parts of the ceiling in the 65.  


It's extremely difficult to get all the different metal parts to line up again, even when we have two of the best minds in the business working on the problem.  They're certainly doing better than I could.


I did, however, point out that the root cause of the difficulty was that people ever decided to stop making cars out of wood.

On a more somber note, we were talking about plans for Charlie King's funeral tomorrow.  Tim brought out a picture from a railfan excursion to Toronto back in the seventies.  I wasn't along, but I knew all of these guys well, and more than forty years later I still see some of them regularly.


Rear (L to R)  John van Kuiken, Bill Wulfert, Charlie King, Joe Reuter
Front (L to R)  John Nicholson, Tim Peters, Frank Sirinek

It seems like only yesterday.



Update: An IRM group photo from the visitation for Charlie King:


(L to R) Andy Sunderland, me, Dave Diamond, Frank Sirinek, Norm Krentel, Charlie's two daughters and son-in-law, Nick Kallas, Rich Schauer, Bob Olson, Jon Fenlaciki.  The family really appreciated that so many people from IRM showed up.

Quincy Railway


Quincy Railway
by Stephen M. Scalzo

Headline image: Quincy Railway 110 was the pride of the fleet and the most modern single-truck streetcar in America when this photo was taken about 1912. All photos from the Stephen M. Scalzo Collection except where noted.

Quincy started talking about the formation of a street railway system before the close of the Civil War, but it was not until the fall of 1864 that a company was formed by a group of its citizens. On February 11, 1865, the Quincy Horse Railway & Carrying Company secured a charter from the state legislature for the exclusive privilege of operating a street railway for a period of 50 years. The bill that had been passed by the legislature permitted the sale of 1,000 shares of $100 per share stock to finance construction. The franchise for the company was prepared by two recognized Quincy attorneys, Nehemiah Bushnell and Orville H. Browning, with the former soon acquiring the company's stock and becoming the first president. E.H. Buckley was hired to manage the company.

In 1867, construction of the first 1.3 miles of trackage running west on Maine Street from Sixth to Fifth Streets, and on Fifth north to the city limits at Locust Street, began. When five cent horsecar service began operating in the fall of 1867, the company had only three 12-foot four-wheel cars. Four horses, two of which were used at one time, kept two cars moving. Later, mules from Missouri were purchased to replace the horses, because of the steep grades on the system, and they supplied power for the horsecars for the next 20 years. Turntables were placed at Fifth and Maine Streets and at Fifth and Locust Streets for turning the cars. Rails consisted of two-by-four timbers set up on edge with a strip of iron on top for the horsecars to roll over. The first office and barn was located on the northeast corner of Fifth and Locust Streets. The company earned nothing during its first two years of operation.

In 1869, Lorenzo Bull became president and E.K. Stone became superintendent. On June 10, 1871, the city council passed an ordinance taking over the powers granted to the company by the state charter and granted a new franchise. The company was then given permission to build trackage on Fifth, Eighth, and other north-south streets between Fifth and Eighth, for the purpose of extending service to Woodward Cemetery. Various plans for new branches were delayed by the city's overall financial problems. In July 1871, the property owners along Maine Street east of Sixth Street subscribed $10,000 for extension of horsecar service. By 1872, the Maine Street line had been extended from Sixth Street east to the Fairgrounds, and another line was operating north on Twentieth Street from Maine Street to Highland Park. Also, about that time, the company built a new $11,000 carbarn and stable at Twentieth and Maine Streets. By 1879, the company had 15 cars and 60 mules.

Car 36 was likely part of Quincy's original order for electric cars in 1891.

On November 18, 1889, the city council revised the franchise, giving the company the right to electrify service. The Broadway and Tenth Street extensions were opened just before construction began on electrification in 1890 by the Thomson-Houston Company. Late in the afternoon of January 1, 1891, the first electric streetcar began operating in Quincy over the five foot gauge trackage. The powerhouse on First and State Streets supplied electric power for the overhead to power the 13 new St. Louis-built streetcars over 11 miles of trackage. In April 1896, a $12,000 fire destroyed the north carbarn. By 1897, the company had 13 miles of track over which it operated 31 streetcars and seven trailers.

Open car 78 is on Hampshire Street passing the square on the State Street line, probably around the turn of the century. Quincy had more open cars for a system its size than perhaps any other street railway in Illinois.

An unidentified open car is shown, supposedly at 20th and Maine, around the turn of the century.

On August 5, 1898, the McKinley Syndicate purchased the system for $360,000, and immediately spent $100,000 to increase trackage, with extensions on South Fourth, Broadway, and North Fifth to the Soldiers Home. A new carbarn capable of storing 28 streetcars was constructed at Twentieth and Hampshire Streets. Earnings were $100,450 in 1900. The population of Quincy was 36,252. By 1901, the company had 17 miles of track with 35 streetcars and seven trailers. In March 1901, the South Fourth Street line was completed and placed into service.

A 70-series open car is seen at the attractive waiting shelter built at the Soldiers Home. This building still stands, and not only that, the recently built Amtrak station on the outskirts of town was designed to imitate its style as well.

We are looking north on 5th from Maine around the turn of the century as car 38 approaches. The large four-story building block directly over the streetcar is still there.

On March 6, 1910, the Quincy Railway was incorporated to acquire the company. In May 1912, construction began on a four-mile crosstown line on Twelfth Street and east to Walton Heights, and a short extension of the State Street line to the Country Club. During October 1913, a branch west on Adams and south on Fifth to Indian Mound Park was completed and placed into service. In 1914, the company earned $213,876. In 1915, Snyder's Rapid Transit Service opened a rival jitney line, and it operated until May 11, 1916, when the Illinois Utilities Commission halted its service. By 1913, the company had almost 23 miles of trackage operating 16 closed and 22 open streetcars, 12 closed and 14 open trailers, one motor and two trailer work cars, and one snow sweeper. During 1916, the company instituted one-man streetcar service, the first in the state.

Quincy operated some pretty homely-looking single-truck cars. Here, car 90 is shown signed for "Q.Depot."

We are looking east on Maine from 5th Street, with open car 69 visible in the distance. The distinctive building on the left still stands.

In April 1919, new machinery was installed in the powerhouse to permit use of electricity from the Keokuk Dam on the Mississippi River and to permit the old steam plant to be kept for emergency standby service. Later that month, work began on a complete rehabilitation of the trackage in preparation for the 25 new four-wheel one-man Birney streetcars that were placed into service during the fall of 1919 and the spring of 1920. Fares were increased from five to seven cents (or four tickets for 25 cents) on July 1, 1918, and that action resulted in a court battle with the city, which the company won in July 1919 when the Illinois Public Utility Commission authorized the fare increase.

Lightweight car 110 and the other three cars of its class were revolutionary lightweights when they were built in 1912. They were precursors of hundreds of Birneys built for systems across the country over the next 15  years. Here, car 110 is posed in front of the Quincy Railway carbarn.

Open car 69 has trailer 91 and a more diminutive single-truck open trailer in tow, with another three-car train led by open car 67 following, on the Walton Heights line. The photo likely dates to sometime not long after the line opened in 1912.

During the period of 1920 through 1924, the system lost 978,000 riders because of the increased ownership of automobiles. In May 1923, the company was acquired by the Illinois Power & Light Company. As paving costs grew on streets with trackage, a decision was made to convert the more lightly traveled lines to buses.

A 20-series open car (center) and another open car meet at 5th and Hampshire on the square sometime around 1914.

One of Quincy's open cars is shown on 20th Street just north of Maine outside the carbarn. The building behind it served as an office and waiting room.

On September 2, 1925, the first eight new buses arrived for use on the South Eighth and State Street lines; authority was given to abandon those two streetcar lines on October 13, 1925. On October 12, fares were increased to 10 cents. Rail removal began on South Eighth Street on March 12, 1926, and was completed on March 26. On February 1, 1926, the city council passed an ordinance permitting the removal of trackage on the Broadway line, with the Illinois Commerce Commission authorizing abandonment on March 24. On August 25, 1927, the Walton Heights line was cut back to Twentieth Street, and three Birney streetcars were converted to double-end so that they could be used on that stub end line. On September 20, 1927, the Walton Heights line was further cut back to Elm and Eighteenth Street, and on August 22, 1928, the remainder of the line was abandoned. During 1927, five surplus Birney streetcars were sent to Cairo.

Photos of the Quincy Railway's Birneys are surprisingly rare. Here, car 205 is shown signed for the CB&Q depot. The single-ended car lacks a front pole and has front and rear doors on this side.

When it became apparent that the streetcar system was operating at a loss, a decision was made to convert the remaining streetcar lines to buses. On March 3, 1928, the company was authorized to abandon the Soldiers Home line, and on March 28, 1928, authority was received to abandon the North Fifth Street line. On April 1, 1928, buses replaced streetcars on those two lines. In July 1929, the Maine Street line was cut back to Twenty-fourth Street. By 1930, only 4.9 miles of trackage remained in service over five routes.

We are looking northeast at Hampshire and 8th as a Birney approaches in the foreground. At center-right is the Quincy Post Office, which still stands, while at left the Vermont Street Methodist Church, torn down c1952, dominates the skyline.

Finally, late on the evening of February 28, 1931, Birney streetcar 214 left Washington Park for its final run to close out regular streetcar service. On March 2, the company ran three Birney streetcars over the remaining trackage, with city officials and newspaper reporters joining the general public in the farewell trip. Following abandonment, the remaining trackage was dismantled and the streetcars scrapped.


Thanks to Ray and Julie Piesciuk and to Richard Schauer for making available the materials from the Stephen Scalzo Collection that made this history possible.


Quincy Railway Roster
All cars 5' gauge - this is not a comprehensive all-time roster

20 - single-truck closed trailer
21-28 - single-truck double-end 10-bench open cars - Danville 1909 (ord#512) - 19,500 lbs. - Note 1
33, 34, 36, 38 - single-truck closed cars - photo link - Note 2
40-46 - single-truck open trailers
50 - single-truck closed trailer
55 - single-truck closed car - Brill - 2 x WH 49 motors
56-57 - single-truck closed cars - Stephenson 1901 - 2 x WH 49 motors - 21,500 lbs.
58-62 - single-truck closed cars - Pullman - 2 x WH 49 motors - 22,000 lbs. - photo link
65-75, 77 - single-truck double-end closed cars - Brill 1899 (ord#9034) - Brill 21E truck - 20,000 lbs. - Note 3
76, 78 - single-truck open cars - 19,500 lbs.
81-84 - single-truck closed cars - American 1906 (ord#680) - Brill 21E truck - 2 x WH 49 motors - 21,000 lbs. - Note 4
86 - single-truck closed car - Pullman - 2 x WH 49 motors - 22,000 lbs.
87-90 - single-truck closed cars - American 1906 (ord#680) - Brill 21E truck - 2 x WH 49 motors - 21,000 lbs. - Note 4
91-97 - single-truck open trailers
101-109 - single-truck double-end closed cars - Danville 1910 (ord#554) - Curtis truck - 2 x GE 88 motors - K-10 control - 32,000 lbs. - 33'8" long, 8'2" wide
100, 110-113 - single-truck closed cars - St. Louis 1912 (ord#958) - St Louis 78 truck - 2 x WH 328 motors - 23,400 lbs. - photo link - Note 5
200-224 - single-truck single-end Birney cars - American 1919 (ord#1205) - Brill 78M1F truck - 2 x GE 258 motors - K-10 control - 28' long, 7'9" wide - Note 6
400 - single-truck single-end ultra-lightweight closed car - St. Louis 1916 (ord#1081) - St Louis Special truck - Note 7
(no number) - single-truck snow sweeper - McGuire-Cummings - 3 x WH 49 motors - K-10 control - Note 8
(no number) - single-truck sand car - 2 x WH 49 motors

Note 1: One of these cars was rebuilt by QR as a closed car, while two more had sides added from the belt rail down but without windows.
Note 2: No roster information on hand, only photographic evidence; these appear to be the original electric cars ordered in 1890, which if true would mean they were part of a series of 13 cars; some may have been destroyed in the 1896 fire; car 33 at least survived long enough to have its ends enclosed and acquire a Brill 21E truck.
Note 3: Photos show car 77 to have had a Peckham truck (link)
Note 4: Builder uncertain; contemporary rosters suggest that cars 81-84 (1906) and 87-90 (1908) were built by Danville, but American Car company order lists show six cars numbered 87-90 (and?) built for Quincy in 1906; other sources suggest the six American-built cars were instead numbered 81-86
Note 5: Dr. Harold Cox's seminal work "The Birney Car" points to this series, designed by J.M. Bosenbury and built for Quincy Railway, as the first true pre-Birney cars built, as they incorporated single-truck design, lightweight construction, prepayment fare collection, single-man operation, and safety car equipment.
Note 6: Cars 204, 208, 221, 223, and 224 transferred in 1927 to Cairo Railway & Light, there renumbered 103, 102, 100, 101, and 104 respectively. Three or four other Birneys, numbers unknown, rebuilt as double-ended cars in 1927.
Note 7: Experimental car designed by J.M. Bosenbury, lettered Illinois Traction System but used in Quincy, resold in 1921 via St. Louis Car Company (ord#1254) to Arkansas Valley Interurban Railway as their car 100.
Note 8: Sources differ as to whether the company had one or two snow sweepers.

Car 33 appears to be one of the original 1891 cars, heavily rebuilt with partially enclosed platforms and a Brill 21E truck. The car is signed for the Front Street line.

Smart-looking open car 68, also signed for Front Street, is shown in an undated photo sitting in front of the main 20th Street carbarn. This building still stands and is in use as a bus garage. Quincy Railway later built another carbarn, a metal-sheathed structure, in the area visible behind car 68 on the right.

There is uncertainty surrounding the origins of the 80-series cars built in the 1906 period. It's likely that car 88, shown here, and its fellow closed cars were built by American.

Danville-built car 105 is shown in this 1910 builder's photo. The unusual Curtis single truck and two-man, Pay-As-You-Enter fare collection design are apparent.

Car 110, the most photographed car on the system, is shown sometime around its date of construction in 1912 signed for the South 12th Street line.

This 1898 Sanborn map shows the old Quincy Horse Railway & Carrying Company barn on the south side of Maine Street just east of 20th. The new carbarn, the one still standing, was built on the east side of 20th north of Maine Street the same year this was printed.

This metal-sheathed carbarn was built sometime after the 1898 main carbarn, which itself is visible on the left side of the photo. We are looking southwest from Hampshire and 20th.

Route Map

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Doodlebug Update

Gregg Wolfersheim once again provides us with detailed pictures of his restoration of our classic UP doodlebug.  Enjoy!


Slowly making progress on the doodlebug with one of the windows getting painted on the interior side. Some gluing and filler were necessary before getting to this stage.


Under windows 13 and 14 the insulation was applied last week.


Today the wall panel and bottom were applied.


The upright trim was also installed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Tuesday Report

 Time for another progress report from Barn 4.  

Good progress was made on the lobster traps.  I removed a few more slats from the forms in the shop and took them out to the #1 end to start installation.  Then all of the other forms were put back in the shop, and all remaining slats that had been soaking were bent to shape and clamped.  In the picture below, two of them have extra bending so they will fit the bottom part of the assembly.


It was warm enough for primer, so I started on the #2 end as seen here.  The bottom surfaces can be painted with a small trim roller; that seems to work well.  I decided I didn't want to go up on top of the car to paint the other half today.


When it gets a little warmer, I'll need to apply some caulk in various places, and then it will be time for black paint.  


Nick came along and suggested a better shot of the two North Shore cars alongside each other.


I did some more trimming and painting on the saddles at the #1 end, and then started attaching a few slats.  They will then need to be removed, redrilled, countersunk, trimmed, and so on.  But by now I almost know what I'm doing...  I think.


The other regulars certainly seem to know what they're doing.  This is the west end of the 1808, with parts of the structure badly rusted out.


Gerry is working hard on grinding and welding to fix it.  Behind him you can see the new steel that will be welded in place.


And here he's grinding down the new pieces.


Tim continues working on doors and windows for the car.


John spent all day sanding down and finishing window moldings for the 306.


And I was very happy to see the progress that's being made on the compressor for the 36.  Here we see the pistons and rods.


And looking inside the cylinders, with the crankshaft visible at rear.  


Finally, since I'm done with soaking wood for now, I started siphoning the water out of the cylinder so it can be moved, emptied, and cleaned up.  I ran out of time so that will get finished next time.

So today was a day for us to do what we have been doing, and what we did got done.   What more could anyone want?