Thursday, December 31, 2009

Steel Car Update

We got an update from our good friend Tim O'Donnell in Cleveland, whose help has been absolutely invaluable in the process of getting the CA&E cars prepped for movement to IRM. The first transfer of the steel CA&E cars to Brookpark was to take place in the early hours of Thursday, but due to several uncontrollable events had to be postponed. The two 450-series cars being acquired by IRM are being used to move the three non-operational cars (409, 453 and 458) to Brookpark. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Home At Last

The hopes and dreams of many years finally became reality today as the two CA&E wood cars were unloaded and safely stored in Barn 8.

They arrived at IRM about 1 PM on Tuesday, as seen here. We took the two drivers from Silk Road out to lunch. Don and Brian did a great job and can be very proud of their contributions to this project. We then spent another four or five hours until almost 8 PM switching trucks into the proper positions for the two cars. Due to various delays along the way, Nick had already decided to put off unloading the cars until 8 AM on Wednesday. Many of us stayed over at the Museum Tuesday night.

You have probably asked yourself: What's the best way to unload a fragile piece of furniture 50 feet long and weighing 30 tons?

Well, you're not alone. Here we are discussing the proper procedures with Nick. We hired a large forklift from White Bros. in Wasco, and Nick ran our forklift. First, we lift one end off the dolly. Stan gives the signals to the operators.

Gerry, driving the Bobcat, pulls the dolly out of the way, then the truck is pushed under the car.

Finally, after some pushing and shoving, the car sits down onto the truck properly, and we're halfway there. For this car.

Then we do the same thing at the other end, and the 36 is once again a railroad car. I was busy working and wasn't able to take as many pictures as I'd like. Many others were taking pictures, so we welcome any submissions to fill out the sequence!

Next, the 319 is up. Here we have lifted it off one truck, and the dolly has been rolled out of the way.

Actually, after wasting all this time and money, we realized that the easiest way was just to have two strong young men lift the car by brute force. It's not as heavy as it looks. You should try this at home, kids!

Hey, something's missing!

Finally, the cars were stored safely in Barn 8. Here we see the 36 on 83, later joined by the 319.

I can't express enough appreciation for all the help provided by many members of the Car Dept. (This is always dangerous because I'll probably miss somebody, but...) The guys in charge were Nick and Stan, and we had Greg, Gerry, Dan, Joe, Joel, Steve O, Frank, Mike, Tim, Charlie, Scott, Henry and yours truly helping. This was the worst possible time of year to do this, but everybody performed magnificently. Next week: three cars instead of two. You won't want to miss it!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Change of Plans

Well it would seem there was some delay in the transportation of the 36 and 319 to Union; they headed west via I-70 due to clearances and spent last night near Indianapolis. The current expectation is that they will arrive in Union sometime on the afternoon of the 29th and will be unloaded early on the 30th. Stay tuned for more info!

Update: They're Home!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Trucks and Motors

Update: the 36 and 319 left Brookpark at 9:10 AM Eastern.

First of all, here are the latest rumors about what's happening with the Trolleyville CA&E cars. We believe the two wood cars will depart Cleveland tomorrow (Monday) and arrive at the Museum some time Tuesday. I'll be going out there again to help unload them, and they will be placed in Barn 8 for storage. We're hoping the three steel cars will be moved to Brookpark later this week, and we'll go out to Cleveland to prepare them for shipment next weekend. This will be on short notice again; I'll try to post as much info as I can as soon as possible. You have to get up pretty early in the morning to be ahead of Hicks Car Works!

Today we worked on removing motors from the 319's trucks. The two pairs of trucks from the wood cars arrived on Tuesday, and here they are before we started. The GE 254's from the 319 are spares for the 409, 431, and 319. The two trucks from the 36 have no motors, yet.

Wintertime railroading is such fun!

The Joy kept getting stuck due to its light weight. Here Stan and Greg look on in frustration as Warren spins the wheels trying to get off the crossing.

After spending an hour or so accomplishing less than we hoped, it was decided only a real locomotive would do.
Here we are watching the Com Ed Diesel being hooked up to one of the 319 trucks.

These are the newly rebuilt motors (GE 66B) for car 36, now in storage in the barn. They will be going into the 36's motor truck sometime later this year, we hope.

After removing a lot of nuts, bolts, cotter pins, and so forth, here is the first motor being lifted out of the truck.

Thanks to all those who helped today: Stan, Greg, Warren, Frank S., Frank H., Joel, Joe, and myself.

Frank adds: Of the four motors in the 319's trucks, one is reputed to be unserviceable but the other three should be in working condition. One will go into the 409 to replace a bad motor under that car and the remaining two good motors, plus the bad one, will be used as spares. Seen below left are the 319 trucks after being brought into the shop; below right, Greg hauls on the chain hoist to raise the first motor while Stan watches the progress. The motor needs to be rotated up around the axle in order to lift it out of the truck. The red box highlights the brake beam, which is a different design on these cars than on the earlier 300's; on the Jewetts the brake beam was located near the truck bolster right over the inboard motor, meaning it had to be disconnected before the motor could be pulled.

Gone But Not Forgotten

Our friend Bob Kutella says:

Does anyone collect business cards? I suppose somewhere, someone collects business cards with railroad history as part of them. It is (or must be) human nature to be 'collectors'.

I was pushing stuff around on the desk and came across this business card from the now defunct Trolleyville. The front of the card is very attractive with nice graphic design. I have deleted the contact info to respect privacy and since none of it is probably active.

But look at the back of the card! A nice shot of the 19 in service, smiling faces, and sunny skies! Of course that car now resides in our IRM Barn 4, somewhat the worse for wear and in need of a good sprucing up to again be as sparkling and triumphant as in this image.

The only thing that never changes is that EVERYTHING CHANGES.

Bob Kutella

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Trolleyville Update

Our friend Steve Heister reports that our three steel cars left the tower tracks this morning just before noon and were moved to Central shops. The 451 needs its compressor replaced, and then they can be moved to Brookpark. No word yet on exactly when the wood cars can be moved by Silk Road from Brookpark to Union. Thanks for the update!

Tim O'Donnell says they will try to find time to swap the compressor on 451 early in the week, then start to move the 450's to Brookpark. Will try to move 409 last unless he can leave it in Brookpark Shop. He doesn't want to leave it outside unattended too long.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I'm getting ready to hit the road for the holidays. On behalf of myself, as
"Chief Legal Counsel" (Cheap Legal Counsel?) for the Hicks Car Works, I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a joyous holiday season.

The photo to the right was taken in January 2008 at the Museum of Transportation. It was my first year in St. Louis, having arrived the previous August. We're switching the Philly PCC around the museum to take it into the shop. Our shop is not under wire, and our switch lead is beyond the fence, right next to the UP, ex MOPAC mainline. Just as we clear the fence, I napped this photo as a coal train roars by.

518 Report

Now we're waiting for the trucks from the 36 and 319 to arrive sometime soon, but I'm not sure when. Tim Peters was working as usual on the 1268, but there was no one else from the Car Dept. around.

So I did some more work on the 518. I had completed two windows a couple of months ago, but they had not yet been installed. The outer storm windows are generally in good shape, so I just put them down while the inner windows are being repaired. Here's (L) the double window sector with everything removed. And after the new windows were installed and all screws installed, it looks (R) like this:

Then I removed the next two inner windows and took them to my workshop in the baggage compartment of the 277. Both windows were stripped and sanded. Here's one of them. The space heater doesn't get the compartment really warm, but it's certainly comfortable enough for working.

And here's one of the windows after a first coat of brown primer on the outside. I only have room to do one at a time.

Trolleyville Update

Nick, Stan, Joe, and Charlie have returned from Cleveland after prepping the 36 and 319 for movement. Stan has posted a number of pictures on the member's photo gallery here.

And Stan says:

This trip was short notice and that's an understatement. Nick called me at one thirty in the afternoon Friday and said that the cars will be loaded on Monday, then I called Charlie and Joe. Within a few hours of finding out we were on the way to Cleveland. We arrived in Cleveland around 2 am Saturday morning, got a few hours sleep at the Red Roof Inn and unwillingly woke up at 7:30 am Saturday. Grabbed a quick breakfast and headed to Brookpark to meet with Tim and Ken, who already had the 303 pumped up and ready to do some switching. Thankfully Tim is a fan of IRM and allowed us to work in the shop which was heated, well lit and had a full length pit. The plan was made and we quickly got to work knowing that we only had till 2 pm to get this done, and if not finished we were going to work outside in the snow. Charlie and Nick went to the roof and removed bases and poles along with Tim. Joe and I went deep and removed brake rigging and motor leads along with labeling everything. Once this was done Nick, Charlie, Tim and Joe removed pilots and steps from one end of each car. We also took down the globes and secured anything that might break while in transit. We got done around 3 pm and cleaned up, put tools away and washed up, then went to lunch with Tim. After lunch we hit the road and headed west toward Chicago and when I got home I passed out and woke up Sunday afternoon..
This is one of two trips to Cleveland for preparing the cars to ship and the next time will involve much more work. Three cars which are all complete and one even has a pan to remove. This again will be extremely short notice and I hope to get one or two more guys to come and help.

Silk Road will load the carbodies onto dollies today, but they will not be shipped to IRM until Monday, Dec. 28, due to restrictions on getting permits. The trucks, however, should arrive in the next couple of days. Tim hopes to move the 415 and 460 to Central this week for replacing the 451's compressor, then move all of the remaining steel cars to Brookpark next week for prep.

Thanks for all this hard work on short notice!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Evening Update

It's happening! Nick, Stan, Joe, and Charlie are on their way to Cleveland even as we speak. Tim has set it up so they can work all day tomorrow (Saturday) and prep the two wood cars to be shipped either Monday or Tuesday. Meanwhile, others of us will be getting things ready to make sure they can be unloaded toot sweet once they arrive. Merry Christmas, everybody!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Trolleyville Update!!

Latest news is that the three wood cars were moved to Brookpark shops early this morning. Thanks to Tim O'Donnell and all his co-workers for getting this done! Updates will be posted here as we get the information.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Nick's Used Car Lot

Nick is making lots of amazing deals! But don't get too excited. This Dallas double-ender PCC is not part of the IRM collection. We're just storing it temporarily for McKinney Avenue, its eventual permanent home. IRM is doing this as a good-will gesture for our friends in Dallas.

Here it is arriving at the front gate, then negotiating the tight turns at Springfield Ave. and Riverview, and then at Depot and Central.

We had the same driver from Silk Road as before with the Twin City car. He had the hardest job.

Then it had to be unloaded at Central onto the yard 6 leads.

This required chopping out the ice and frozen gravel from several places so the Joy engine could get through. All went well; Gerry was running the locomotive.

And it is now safely back on track.

So I didn't get anything else accomplished today. And man, was it cold! At least this is good training for the next five cars to arrive. Heh.

Today also happened to be the big holiday lunch for the Wednesday crowd. Phyllis Schauer is retiring at the end of the month, so it was also a farewell party. Here she is cutting the cake. I'm sure everyone will miss her!

Update: Our good friend Tom Hunter sent us the below photo of a car from this series in service on Route 8 in Dallas in 1948 (3334 was originally Dallas 612) , about ten years before the cars were sold to Boston.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Trolleyville Update

Latest news is that the 319 and 303 have been moved to the E. 55th shops in Cleveland and joined to the 36, so the three of them can be run down to the Brookpark shops soon. Tim O'Donnell hopes to do that before this weekend, but that is by no means certain. In any case, progress is being made. (The 36 and 319 are ours, the 303 will be going to the Connecticut Trolley Museum.)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Little Toot Railroad

We don't usually deal with live steam or model trains, but a couple of weeks ago I had some free time while visiting in-laws, so I drove down to Flora to see the Little Toot Railroad, 15" gauge, which is located in a large park on the edge of town. It's a pretty impressive operation, and entirely operated by volunteers such as Norm Morgan, who graciously showed me around and told me the history of the trains.

The right-of-way includes three trestles, of which this is the largest.

The engine house, car barn, and turntable.

The dispatcher's tower.

This water tower is functional.

Right now, all three steam locomotives are under repair, but at least one will be running next year. One of them, I can't say which, was the first production model built by Crown, which I guess was a well-known builder of these things.

So holiday service is being run with a "Diesel."

And here it is: an IC streamliner.

And a couple of coaches
and a waycar.
All aboard!

Out back, some bodies await their turn for restoration. Just like a real museum! They're also planning to expand the layout considerably, and track materials are being stored here. Notice the diamonds in the foreground.

More in line with our usual fare is this wooden waycar on display near the station. And the depot in downtown Flora is quite impressive. It was located at a diamond which is no longer there, but the old B&O main line is still quite busy under CSX.