Wednesday, April 21, 2021

New Store in Town

There's a new store in town, and the proprietor asked us for some free publicity.  We don't do this for just anybody, but he's an old friend, and we want to keep it that way, so....

Your model train dollars will go farther at Union Hobby Shop!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Tuesday Progress

 Another day, another several steps forward:

On the 453, I did some more work on fastening down the running boards.  And then, we're ready to start attaching drip rails and ventilators, with a good supply of new screws, as well as caulk.  On these cars, they used a lot more screws than I would have thought necessary, so it takes a while to install these parts.  Here's a drip rail:

And one of the ventilators:

Then it was time to see how the track guys are doing on replacing the south wye switch.  It's going quite well:

Workers included Bob Olson, Larry Stone, Marcus, and a couple of others whose names I didn't get.  Behind those masks they're hard to recognize!

Marcus has the IRM logo on his.  Here he is, running the locomotive:

I cleaned up the other ventilator and prepared to install it.

Joel supplied me with the correct die for threading the metal rods we saw last time, so I prepared them for installation.

Meanwhile, John, Gerry, and Fred were hard at work on the 306.  They pulled the tarp off and went up on roof to examine it.

It needs some patching, and some more trolley boards, but for now the current roof is probably usable.

Both handrails have been threaded and installed.  Of course, we still need to find the right material to cover them, but as a practical safety matter, for now they're perfectly functional.

Later in the day, we can see how the switch is going together.  

John examines his work on the sides of the 306.

Gerry has one of the windows clamped up for welding.

And the second ventilator is now installed.

And then, as I think about it, Pete Galayda was working on the 160, and Tim Peters was working on 50th Avenue, and Gregg Wolfersheim was working on the M-35, but I didn't get any pictures of them.  One can't be everywhere at once.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Sunday update

Frank writes...

I got out to IRM later than usual Sunday. When I arrived, Joel, Richard, and Jeron were working on inspecting Veracruz 19 on the pit. They ended up completing this car's annual inspection late in the afternoon, at which point the Matchbox was brought over for its turn.
I spent my afternoon working on Shaker 18. The first priority, having obtained some Bondo, was to fill some small rusted-out spots in the side sheets of the car. This is pretty familiar given all of the Bondon that went into the 205.
After this, while the Bondo was curing I went back to the shop and assembled both of the rear end marker lights. This project took a few months but we're finally done and they're ready to go back on the car. The center panel of the car's rear end is spot-primed and ready for paint.
The the next item on the to-do list was to put a coat of hardware-store cream paint on the area around the side sign box. I also put a coat of paint on the metal frame that will go over this spot and will hold in place the new glass we cut last week. During the week I'll pick up some glazier's putty and hopefully, before long, this sign box will have the new piece of glass installed.
Late in the day, with the Bondo set up, I went at the side sheets forward of the doors with the pad sander. All of the Bondo applications were sanded down and the old paint was given a quick roughing-up. White primer was then applied to any bare metal or Bondo. If it's warm enough next week, the right side of the car forward of the doors will get painted in a fresh coat of Bankers Grey.
One subject that has come up recently is seat upholstery. Zach is working on potentially ordering reproduction seat material for some of our North Shore cars and suggested that I give him a sample of the material needed for the 450s. Greg and I did a quick tour of the 451, 453, and 460, and found that all three cars have the same seat material. It started out as a fairly bright red color, not tremendously different than what the North Shore Silverliners used. A lot of it discolored badly, though, and apparently not from light because the sections hidden by the head rests seem discolored too. You can see the original color down in the cracks between adjoining sections and also in spots where the fabric has ripped. Maybe Wheaton used some kind of cleaning solution that discolored this stuff. Anyway, the material looks striped but that's just how it's woven. At some point we'll send a sample off and get a quote. All three of our 450s could eventually use their seats re-covered; even the 460, which is in revenue service, has several seats with rips in the fabric. Stay tuned for the inevitable fundraiser!
Nick E was in train service during the day while Greg was working with our indefatigable Track Department on a complete replacement of the south wye switch, the one right in front of the Central Avenue platform. I failed to get a photo of this work, but never fear, our intrepid unpaid staff photographer Bill Wulfert has sent in a picture of the progress.
Greg reported that the old switch was pretty badly worn so this will be a greatly appreciated improvement. As always, a huge THANK YOU to our Track & Signal volunteers for making sure the trains have somewhere to keep running!

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Vacation News

Somebody asked about the Utica battery substation recently, so on a brief vacation in the Illinois Valley I got a couple of up-to-date pictures of it.  Not much has changed.

And another object of interest in the area is this old car body in the yard at Lasalle-Peru.

Experts say it cannot be restored.  :)

And speaking of volunteers, if you think restoring railroad cars is hard, I suspect keeping an old wooden boat afloat with volunteer labor must really be tough.

But otherwise, we had a good time!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The 308 Needs Your Help

 This is Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 308, one of the jewels of our fleet, in my opinion....

It's been nicely restored and maintained over the years, but right now it's out of service due to a shorted traction motor.  These motors are big and heavy, and we estimate that one motor will cost about $30,000 to rebuild -- money the Museum doesn't have available at this time.  So it's time for another donation campaign.  YOU can help!

For a limited time we are able to offer a matching grant, so your money will do double duty.  Send us an email if you have any questions.

To donate safely online, go to this link.

Or you can always mail a check to the office.  Our address:

Illinois Railway Museum
P.O. Box 427
Union, IL    60180

  Be sure to designate your donation for the CA&E Wood Cars restricted fund with the magic word:


That should be easy enough to remember - the R stands for Restricted Fund.  Thanks!!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Another Busy Tuesday

 Once again, we bring you today's news today, instead of weeks from now.  And as usual, we have a goodly number of items to report.

Ed Oslowski stopped by Barn 4 for an inspection visit, before returning to his usual job supervising the Electroliner.

Gerry and John were both hard at work on the 306; here John is applying filler as he continues to fix up the sides of the car.  Only a few more acres to go!

I was mostly working on installing more roof parts.  Both horns are now in place, and the piping has been hooked up.  However, they require wood shims as a base, and these need some more adjustment.

Frank Kehoe was working on putting together his motor truck kit.  I even got to help him a little.

You may remember that a while back, Gerry helped with removing the bent handrails on the #1 end of the 453.  They were damaged in a collision at Trolleyville.  Today I spent some time finding the correct steel rods that we'll need as a replacement, and cutting them to length with Frank's help.  Next they just need to be threaded.  Here's a before-and-after sort of picture:

We also need to come up with some replacement material for the phenolic tubes covering the rods.  If we can find the right material, that'll be phenolical!

I did some more canvas painting, and at the #2 end cut a hole and brought out the cable.  At this end the insulation is just fine.  And the bushing has been installed.

Tim Peters continued work on 50th Avenue.

Finally, I noticed that B&G today were installing some support rods for hanging signs, as I suppose, to identify the future occupants of the MPB.  Just like downtown!

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Opening Day 2021

Frank writes...

Sunday was opening day, and it turned out to be a day with rather pleasant weather. There seemed to be a very good crowd, by April standards anyway. It was nice that opening day was in April - last year it was in July! The CA&E steel train and the 3142 were in operation.
I didn't get photos of the service cars, but here we see the 4410, which was one of two 4000's that spent time on the pit being inspected by Joel and Jack.
I spent my afternoon working on the 18. Here is the frame around the left / rear / exit door destination sign box. The steel around the edge is fairly deteriorated but that will all be hidden behind the window frame, which was removed last week.
Here's a "before" shot of the side sheet of the car near the front corner. You can see some "spots" where the paint has popped off, so those needed to be sanded and primed. The front of the car was repainted at the end of last year.
Car 18's split personality revealed: a bit of sanding revealed that underneath the "1218," which was applied by Trolleyville in the 1960s, was the number "18" that the car wore in its later Shaker Heights days.
After some sanding and wire-wheeling, the primer came out. Here's the destination sign frame.
Here's the rear end of the car. I only cleaned up the center panel, but sometime soon I can put Bankers Grey on this panel and then we will be able to reinstall the rear end marker lights.
This is the "after" view of the side sheet of the car, with bare metal spots sanded and primed. There's one area here that will need some Bondo and I will need to buy some of that.
After this it was back to the shop, where Richard showed me how to use the glass cutting machine in the wood shop. The whole reason for removing that destination sign frame was because the glass was broken when we got the car. The old piece is at bottom, the new piece at top. Thanks, Richard!

Besides that, I put a coat of paint on the back of the metal destination sign frame to help seal it up and put more grey paint on the marker light castings due to some unforeseen issues with the first coat. In other news, Zach was working on planing wood for doors for the 757, Richard spent a chunk of the afternoon repairing a mill over in the Steam Shop, Greg and Nick E were out on the railroad doing line work, and Jeron and Nick D were hanging around as well. A good time was had by all.