Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Progress on Many Fronts

As usual, we have progress of many different sorts to report today.  First of all, perhaps you can see that the Lean-3 is a lot cleaner than usual, and most of the usual activities have had to move elsewhere to make room for Arnfest, which starts tomorrow.  That's good, not only because it makes money for the Museum, but because a yearly cleaning never hurt anybody.   Or so they say.

I spent most of the day repainting the other side of the roof of the 309.   Here you can see some before and after pictures.  This process requires dragging the scaffold back and forth, climbing up and down and up and down and so forth, but it's all good, healthy exercise.

Next, I'm sure you want to hear about progress on the Electroliner.  There are three articulated joints between the four units, and they all seem to have problems.  The design includes a cast "bowl" as well as two complex side bearings.  One of the bowls was broken into pieces, another had serious cracks, and the third we couldn't even be sure about because they're covered with lead paint, grease, and other unpleasant substances.  This needs to be cleaned up before we can proceed.  IRM has always been committed to protecting our environment.

Avalon Rail, the contractor for rebuilding the trucks on the Electroliner, arranged to have all the hazardous substances removed by a subcontractor, Integrity Environmental Services.  Here we see Gregorio, an IES employee, in the process of cleaning things up safely.   He has all the necessary equipment and protective gear to do the job correctly.  It may look like he's on fire, but that's just his reflective safety vest caught by the camera flash.

The job should be finished by Monday, and then all of the various parts can be analyzed to see what needs to be done.  So the Electroliner is making serious progress.

And then, Gregg Wolfersheim is busy doing a cosmetic restoration of our SP/T&NO #975, a 2-10-2.  This is a daunting task, but he has already done much of the running gear and is working on the smokebox and front of the engine, as you can see.  He's spraying a grey primer, followed by gloss black.

Some of the wheels on this side are still in primer, others have finish black.

All the wheels on the other side are black.

This is an impressive locomotive, and this cosmetic restoration will be a tremendous improvement.

But wait, there's more!

Thanks to another generous donation, we now have all the money we need to start the 309 bearing project.  I still need to make some adjustments to the patterns, and check a few things with Bob Sunderlin, our machinist, but we are ready to have the castings made soon.   So our gratitude goes to everybody who helped out, and of course we'll keep you informed on how things are going.  It should be exciting!

By the way, somebody asked me why the Old Woodworking Machines convention is called "Arnfest".  Well, that's easy.  It's because of the material all these old machines are made of: arn!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Even more Showcase Weekend photos

Frank writes...

Most of the photos I took on Saturday of Showcase Weekend were poorer duplicates of pictures Chuck or my father took, but there were a few interesting subjects I managed to capture.

First, our august Executive Director Nick Kallas showed me this fare register which was recently donated. The brass badge appears to show "Meaker Mfg Co" - perhaps it predates the better-known Sterling-Meaker company? CUT was around from 1899 to 1908, when it was folded into Chicago Railways, and there are several ex-CUT cars in IRM's collection including our 1895 single-trucker, the "bowling alley," and the "Matchbox."
I managed to get a shot of the crowd waiting to board the train for the third trip, while the passengers from the second trip get off. In the background can be seen the 3142 passing through Car Line Junction while the 1630 waits on its train.
Here's Andy in the cab before the third trip. Anyone who has used O scale people on an S scale layout can commiserate.
And here's a nice video of the 36 and 319 coming into the station with Andy at the throttle.
And finally, a shot of the 50th Avenue platform with a North Shore train on the west track and 4000s on the east track. Pretty neat!

And Chuck Amstein adds:
Here are my videos from Saturday's festivities.
2018-09-15 IRM Members Day
IRM Frisco 1630 - Happy 100th Birthday

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Thank You!

We've talked several times before about the new bearing project for the 309.  Not too often, because I don't want to turn this into a blegging marathon.  But I am very pleased to report that we now have about $3,000 in the 309 fund out of the $4,000 needed to have the castings made.  Thanks, thanks, thanks to all those who have contributed!  We're getting very close, and you can still help.   Don't miss this window of opportunity!

Also, I'm told that we'll be able to use, with proper training and supervision, some machinery in the Steam Shop that will make the machining process easier.  That's just as valuable a contribution as cash, and I also want to thank our friends in the Steam Department.

And as for a time line, we need to finalize some details on the patterns, then I would think the casting should not take too long, and the machining can be done over the winter.  And we should be able to have the new bearings in place by next operating season, so the 309 can operate on a regular basis.

More Showcase Photos

Saturday of Showcase Weekend was a great success, and a good time was had by all.  We posted some pictures earlier taken by Chuck Amstein, and here are mine.

Cars 36 and 309 were running, and we were nearly full on most trips.  That's always good to see.  The blue cars performed flawlessly; not even any dewirements that I can recall.

Here's our crew: myself as trainman, Frank was the regular motorman, and Jack Rzepecki the conductor.  We had a couple of guest motormen.  So here are some pictures of the nearly-full 36 on several trips.

With Frank as motorman.

On the next trip, Bob Opal was piloting a guest of his, an official with the STB.

With Andy Sunderland as motorman.

CCW 300 was pulling the caboose train for much of the day.

One of those odd situations you see only at IRM.   The Rock Island Geep is waiting for the CA&E train to leave on a trip so it can return to Yard 2.

It's nice and peaceful, but not for long.  We kept running on the hour.

Four North Shore cars on display at 50th.  This train did not actually operate.

Then we had a visit from Joe and Gwen Stupar, with their daughter.

Then the usual barbeque supper, which is always great, and the 1630 blew out the 100 candles on its birthday cake, as seen in Chuck's album.  And as it got dark, Frank and I took the Matchbox for several trips around the car line.  It was a lot of fun.

There were lots of photographers around all day and into the night.  Many of them were equipped with tripods so their night-time photos are undoubtedly better than mine.  Sorry, I can do only so many things at once.  Often a maximum of one.

Showcase Saturday Photos from Chuck Amstein

I haven't even downloaded my own photos yet, but Chuck is always on the job.  Here are some of the highlights from yesterday, including the famous 100th birthday cake: