Monday, June 18, 2018

Sunday report

Frank writes...

I got out to IRM around 1pm on Sunday to find that the only train running was the CA&E wood train! The weather was hot, mid-90s with the heat index supposedly over 100. When I arrived the streetcar was on a break and the steam engine was down for the day with a failed gasket in the brake stand (which was later replaced, I understand). They were able to bring out a diesel by 2pm but in the interim the wood cars - and the 3142 once it went back into service - were the only things on the railroad.

Above is the crew for the train; motorman and resident wit Andy Sunderland is between a new volunteer on the left whose name I'm afraid I don't know and museum stalwart Henry Vincent. There were more passengers out than I would have expected and the train seemed pretty busy. Things calmed down when the diesel train went into service; at that point the two conductors above left the wood train and went to the coach train while Sam Polenetzky worked as wood train conductor for the last couple of trips. I went along on one trip accompanying my father and stepmother, who dropped by for a Fathers Day train ride.
After that I spent a while with the Car Shop crew hunting down parts and helping with a move to switch out track 83, the weather being too hot for much "real work." Above, Joel, Richard, and Greg have pulled most of the cars on 83 and lined them up in Yard 8. The 101 and the M15 are both scheduled to operate in two weeks for our "Centenarian Traction Weekend" while M37 is just living in Yard 8 these days.
The 1808 needed to be extracted so the revenue train of wood 'L' cars, the 1797 and 1268, did the honors. It's always nice to see a three-car matched set of wood cars! Unfortunately the 1808 is not ready for prime time and is in need of both body and mechanical work before it can be used on a regular basis, but it does run.
The 2200s are normally kept just inside the door on 83, but with the 308 and 319 in service they were stuck on track 84 to get them out of the way during the switch move. Joel pointed out that he didn't think these cars had ever been in the barn on track 84. This spot has held nothing but CA&E wood cars since the barn was electrified in 2000. And quick, for the Car Department trivia challenge, what was in this spot before the barn was electrified?
In other news, Tim Peters continues to race along. At some point during the past week the 1754 has acquired roof canvas on the entire car! Not all of the tacks are in, so Tim is obviously still in the "stretching and tacking" phase, but the progress is - as usual - remarkable. The 'Liner crew was also out, working on the Electroliner and touching up some items in the Signal Display, while Bob was in the shop machining something on the lathe.


Frank forgot to mention that he also spent some time prying open stuck windows on the 308.  They all worked back in March, but on a hot and humid day in June several were stuck and needed some persuasion.  Otherwise it would be unbearable inside the car.

Whenever the operating crew changes, it's necessary to have a job briefing, and here's photographic proof that the required meeting of the minds actually does take place.

A couple more pictures of the new canvas on the 1754, the best I could do standing on the ground.  If you've ever helped out with a complete roof job, you know how much effort is required, especially if done single-handedly.  Looks great!

Pssst: don't tell Frank, but here's a hint for the trivia challenge: they left behind a pile of broken pieces of concrete that never got cleaned up.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Chicago Day Report

Chicago Day went very well, apart from the usual complaints about the weather.   It's always either too hot or too cold, but beyond that we had a pretty good crowd of visitors and everybody seemed to be having a good time.  Actually this turned out to be a CA&E Day: cars 308 and 319 were running, with Bob Opal, Henry Vincent, and me on the crew, and the 431 and 460 as the steel car train.  We were too busy to take many pictures, and we'll even spare you the usual crew portraits.  The 1630 was also running, but I never got around to photographing it either.  Anyway, for most of these pictures the caption is: Just Like Wheaton!

So we all had a great day.  Be there tomorrow if you can.

But wait, there's more!!!

I was handed a collection of pictures from Paul Schneble, who thought these might be of interest.

The inspection car appears to be an ex-Milwaukee Road Dodge, identical to the one now in our collection.  And for those of you who are interested in Great Western B units, a bonus!

This interior photo has no identification other than CA&E, but by process of elimination I think it can only be the 309.  This must be prior to the rebuilding in 1941.  Nice!

And finally, Paul said he thought this motorman looked vaguely familiar.  I agree; I'm sure I've seen him somewhere before, but I just can't put my finger on it.  Maybe one of our readers can help.

Maine Narrow Gauge Museum

The Maine Narrow Gauge Museum is located in downtown Portland.  The museum itself has a number of interesting historical items on display, and they also run a scenic tourist train operation along the bay.  They have been alternating weekends between steam and Diesel, and we arrived on the wrong weekend.  Sad!

Nonetheless, let's go for a ride.  The locomotive looks like this:

But you really have to see it from the end.   If both members of the crew walk out on the same side of the platform, the engine will tip over... I think.

The track was a standard gauge freight branch at one time, and follows the shore for a couple of miles.  We stop when we get to the bridge across the river, which is out of service.

We can get down and take pictures, visit the engineer, etc.  The rolling stock consists of open-air cars built from flatcars or the equivalent.

Including this caboose.

The line was converted to 2' gauge by moving one rail.

That process results in some rather unusual special work.  Sort of like tinplate track.

I guess it can't be a secret that there are no brakes on any of the cars, only the engine.  The conductor said the FRA limits operation to 9 MPH.   Seems rather generous of them.

Inside the museum building there are some nice historical displays.   This is Monson #4, an 0-4-4T built by Vulcan in 1918.  According to Hilton, the line operated with link-and-pin couplers until the end.  But this locomotive operated at Edaville for many years, which must explain the knuckle coupler.   And there are probably other changes.

Then we have the parlor car Rangely which has been very well preserved.

And the combine. also from the SR&RL:

And there are various railroad artifacts on display also.  The museum itself is nicely done.

Including this nifty working model:

Out in the yard, there are many other pieces of narrow gauge equipment stored, in various states of repair.  The conductor told us that anything labeled "Maine Narrow Gauge" is home-built, while pieces lettered for Bridgton and Saco or Sandy River or so on are authentic.   So that's good.

They've built a large number of excursion cars over the years.

Several authentic box car bodies are in the collection.

Not far away, a huge cruise ship was docked.  A group from the ship were visiting the museum, so that seems to be a good source of visitors.

Another couple of home-built excursion cars:

And this is the coach Pondicherry from the Bridgton and Saco.  An identical car, the Mt. Pleasant, is on display inside, but I somehow missed getting a picture of it.

And a combine from the SR&RL: