Tuesday, June 29, 2010

319 Inspection

Frank and I did the first annual inspection on CA&E 319 today, and we also installed the trolley poles so it can run under its own power, as seen below. This project was made somewhat harder by the lack of power due to the recent lightning strike.

To get the three wood cars out of the barn, we used a stinger, as shown here. It's a heavy wooden pole with a cable running to a hook, which I placed over the trolley harp in the shadows. After some work, we were able to run the train over to the Barn 4 inspection pit.

No real problems were found, and the brakes work much better now than they did before adjustment. We then lifted the trolley poles to the roof and adjusted them. I was too busy to take many pictures, but Frank snapped the one on the left of trolley pole installation. Then my favorite activity, lubrication. Yuck. Anyhow, everything is nearly ready for revenue service on the Fourth. You won't want to miss it!

For variety, Frank Sirinek and I took a trip over to 7 to help Gerry Dettloff figure out why the pump on the TM dump motor D13 wouldn't run. I was stumped, but Frank was later able to reconnect the correct wires, so the D13 too can appear in the World's Greatest Trolley Pageant.

Finally, here is the 319 operating as a single car for the first time at IRM. I must say that as time goes on it seems to get harder and harder to keep these things running. Either I'm getting older, or the equipment is getting older, or probably both!

Trip Report - Connecticut Trolley Museum

We spent most of our time while we were at the Connecticut Trolley Museum (aka Warehouse Point) working on the truck swap - as it turned out we didn't even get a chance to take a ride down the line - but we did get to wander around a bit and see the museum. CTM was the first incorporated trolley museum in the nation, dating their founding to 1940, and is one of the big three trolley museums in New England. Its original collection was largely centered around the Connecticut Company but its collection has expanded and now includes a variety of equipment; over 20% of their collection is from the Midwest, in fact!The centerpiece of the museum is their visitor's center, an enormous and attractive brick building housing a four-track display hall, entry hall, gift shop, movie theater, library and member's meeting room. The building surpasses anything built at IRM - it's of the quality of our diner annex but many times as large. Below, Randy Hicks sits in the display hall contemplating two of the gems of the CTM collection: the oldest existing two-truck steeplecab, an 1894 GE, and Springfield Terminal 10, a combine dating to 1901 that has been owned by CTM for over 60 years.Below are a couple of the Midwestern cars in the CTM collection: at left, one of two surviving PCC cars from the Illinois Terminal (this car is operational and is due to receive cosmetic work soon); at right, the single-truck line car from Southern Iowa Utilities that was acquired by CTM from Trolleyville last year.

And then there's the object of our attention, CA&E 303. This car was acquired by CTM from Trolleyville as a representative of the type. It was partially backdated while at Trolleyville; the interior woodwork was beautifully restored to original appearance and a few other things were backdated, but by and large the car remains in modernized form with blocked-off upper sash windows and its toilet compartment removed. CTM has expressed an interest in authentically backdating the car over time. The 303 was built as part of the same order as our 308, so the photo at below right gives one an idea of what the 308 would have looked like inside as-built.

There are many other historic cars at CTM; like the other New England museums, they have a larger number of pre-1900 cars than IRM or the west coast museums have. Below left is an 1894 product of St. Louis Car Company, Brooklyn Rapid Transit 169. Below right is Springfield Terminal 16, a 1926 lightweight combine which is operational.

CTM has a great collection and a terrific volunteer corps, many of whom we met on our trip, who are working hard to preserve and restore the cars in their collection. Equipment like Springfield Terminal 16 and the Northern Ohio Traction & Light interurban parlor car "Northern" have received restorative attention, among many others, and while we were they were in the process of building track under a roofed section behind their visitor's center to protect more equipment from the weather. Warehouse Point is a museum not to be missed if you're in Connecticut!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tarpin' Time

I ended up working on several different projects at IRM on Sunday. First, under the direction of Frank Sirinek I touched up the paint on the sign box at the west end of the 409. The next job after that was moving the Baldwin MCB truck that we procured from Connecticut Trolley Museum a week ago into one of the barns. The truck has been tarped since it arrived but we want it indoors so that we can inspect the truck and motors before they go under the 36. Warren Lloyd and Joe Stupar helped with this switch move. Then, after a bit of time looking over the 409's contactor box and reverser, it was off to Yard 5 for a tarp installation party.

At left, the Rio de Janeiro open car has been towed to the road crossing at the throat of Yard 5 and (L-R) Mike Stauber, Dan Fenlaciki, Joe Stupar, Andy Sunderland and Frank Sirinek get together for a job briefing. And at right, the finished product - the car has been tarped for continued outdoor storage and is being shoved back onto track 54.

A nice finale to the day was a ride on the museum's newest restoration, North Shore 749, below seen passing the depot.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

First Run of Car 1268

I almost forgot! Yesterday was the first revenue service for car 1268. Chris Buck sent along some pictures he took. Since the 1268 is a trailer, it's operating with two 4000's. Tim Peters appears to be very proud of his accomplishment! And thanks, Chris.

Wheaton - 1958

Dick Lukin gave me these pictures taken at Wheaton c. 1958. He had to wait quite a while, but these two cars are now safely stored at IRM. Thanks!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

More Switching

The newly repainted 409 operating under its own power.

Most of today was spent switching, and we got done what we needed to do. In the morning, Gerry Dettloff ran the Joy, and with Dave Fullarton and myself we moved the 36 motor truck over to track 42, where at least it's out of the way, and also we pulled the three CA&E wood cars up to the door, so we can use a stinger to pull them out of the barn. Since there's no power in the barn right now, it's a real inconvenience.

(L) Here Bob Kutella is lettering the Com Ed 4. He's filling in the gaps left by the stencils. (R) I replaced some windows in the 319 and took others to the shop for stripping. Also, there used to be a stationary seat at this location, but it was replaced with a walkover, of a different type from the rest. It doesn't work very well. You can see from the marks on the wall that it has been a problem for a long time. I started trying to adjust it, but am not done yet.

In the afternoon, we switched out Barn 2 again. The 409 has been painted, and appeared as shown here. We used the stinger to pull the 460 out of Barn 8, and it was then switched into the paint shop. Jim Followell says he'll have it done by Friday.

More views of the 409 and 460.

I had to leave early because my daughter is playing in the West Suburban Symphony and we wanted to go to her concert. But we got a lot done today, and there were several other things happening. You'll want to read the department blogs for more exciting news.

Update: Speaking of which, the Steam Dept. was doing a big switch move over at Barn 9. Dan Gura sent me a couple of pictures. At one point the 428 had one driver riding high; it had to be greased to get through the curve. Thanks, Dan!

Friday, June 25, 2010

319 Preparation

There are still several things that need to be done to prepare the 319 for service, apart from inspection. First, I went to our storage container and did some sorting, and picked out four good seat cushions which were then installed in the smoker. Notice that part of the wall is in white primer.

There is no AC or DC power in Barn 8, so I swept out the car as best I could in the ambient light. I also removed all of my tools, paint, and other supplies and put them in storage.

Next I painted some more windows -- two with a first finish coat on the inside, and two with white primer.

I then went back to the car and painted the sections of the wall in the smoker that were still in primer. Several random surfaces were chosen for test stripping while the car was at Trolleyville, and these needed to be repainted. Painting by flashlight is not ideal, but here's the result. It's an improvement, at least.

Finally, I spent some time putting together a control pipe hose using available parts, as seen here. These control pipe hoses use a non-standard size glad hand. The car now has two hoses at each end, although I still need a small dummy coupling at this end.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lightning Strike

Lightning struck Barn 8 on Tuesday evening, causing severe damage to the electrical systems and burning a hole through the skin of the barn, as seen here, but otherwise we were very lucky. Fire did not start, although parts of the wood frame around the junction box were charred, and there was no damage to the equipment. I was glad to see that the damage was not as great as I had feared.

I won't presume to speculate on what changes, if any, should be made to the electrical system. But we were thinking that if might be better to have the CA&E collection more widely dispersed.

Frank and I were planning to do inspection on the 319 today, but we were unable to come up with a way to get the cars out of the barn, so we left, and Frank went back to work. Maybe sometime next week we'll be able to do it.

Dave's Depots -Illinois Central Depot - Belleville, Illinois

This edition of Dave's Depots takes us literally down the street from my office. The Illinois Central depot in Belleville is a large structure. that sits just south of the square and St. Clair County Courthouse. I did not know this building still existed until I passed by it one day on my way to a local BBQ eatery.

This depot is typical of the "county seat" depots the IC and other railroads built in county seats. The L&N depot in Belleville, now long-gone was equally large and impressive. This structure only handled passengers and their baggage. The freight depot was and still is across the street. Now painted, and with an addition, the former freight depot serves a local moving company.

While snapping these photos, the owner came by and opened up the station for me. As you can see, there has been some modification to the inside, mainly the removal of the wall separating the ticket office from the rest of the building. Otherwise, the station had an open floor plan, with wooden benches for passengers.

If you are interested, the station is for sale. It comes with a 1.1 acre lot, with parking space for 220 cars. I can put you in touch with the owner.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Tale of Two Trucks

For those interested in "the rest of the story" on the truck swap, below is something of a photo essay. I managed to take quite a few pictures during the process (at the expense of the work I was supposed to be doing!) and these are just some highlights.

Friday's activities for the IRM group commenced when we arrived at Warehouse Point at about 2pm, followed shortly by Jim Lillie's truck bearing the Pullman MCB truck destined for the 303 and a crate that held the body-bolster center bearing, some center bearing shims, and some abrasive brake shoes to take care of flat spots on the wheels of this truck. Unloading took place in the Connecticut Trolley Museum (CTM) parking lot.

At right, some of the crew goes over the game plan in the CTM parking lot. L-R: Jeff B
rady (IRM), Norm Krentel (IRM), and Chris Chestnut (CTM), who was the de facto project manager for the entire operation.

At left, the beginning of the truck unloading project. The nose of the trailer has been detached and a front-end loader is being used to lift one end of the
Pullman truck off of the flatbed.

At right, Jeff Hak
ner (Branford Electric Railway Association/IRM) on the left guides a CTM volunteer running a gigantic backhoe in picking up the other end of the Pullman truck to lift it off of the flatbed.

Following this, the Pullman MCB truck was towed over to the CTM shop where we packed the motor armature bearings with waste and oiled them. The motors in the Pullman truck were rebuilt 4-5 years ago in Cleveland but had not been run except in brief tests, so had not had their armature bearings packed. I don't have any photos of this phase because my forearms were covered in oil for most of the time. This work lasted until maybe 7pm, when we quite and headed for a terrific dinner at a local restaurant suggested by Chris.

The next morning, Randy Hicks (IRM) stands in front of the 303 before the commencement of activities. This photo was taken at 8am; little did we know we'd still be here 14 hours later!

The 303 was towed to a road crossing near the CTM shop where jacking commenced. Since we were using dissimilar jacks, a plumb bob was used to keep the car level. At left a coworker of Jim Lillie (both truckers were from the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton) watches the plumb bob as jacking commences.

At right, the car starts to go u
p. Chris Chestnut (back to camera) watches the plumb bob with a CTM volunteer inside the 303 while two more CTM volunteers (left) and Randy Hicks (right) work the jacks.

At left, Chris Chestnut (L) and Norm Krentel keep a close e
ye on the 303 as it is jacked clear of the Baldwin truck. In the left foreground is the car's center bearing, which had been unbolted from the car's body bolster before jacking commenced.

Following a lunch at the CTM food stand, the crew got back to work. With the car jack
ed up clear of the Baldwin truck, the truck was rolled partway out from under the car and the new center bearing (the one brought from IRM in the crate) was installed. At right, L-R, Norm Krentel, Randy Hicks and Chris Chestnut, with Jeff Hakner behind Chris, use a jack to hold the center bearing tentatively in place while it is bolted to the 303's bolster.

And with that, the truck was rolled free of the car!

M had a variety of heavy equipment on hand to do a variety of tasks. A combination front-end loader/backhoe was used for switching the trucks through the shop yard. At right, the Baldwin MCB truck destined for IRM and the 36 (left) is pulled away from the 303 while the Pullman MCB truck brought from Illinois (right) stands ready to be rolled underneath the 303.

Lowering the 303 onto the original Pullman truck it had been paired with for most of its service career went faster than jacking the car up but was not boring; at one point the carbody had to be steadied by a hand winch or come-along chained to a Caterpillar bulldozer. At left, Chris Chestnut (R) and another CTM volunteer work the jacks with the bulldozer blade in the foreground.

But finally, at about 5:30pm, the 303 was set down on the Pullman MCB truck and the jacks were pulled away. Seeing a car body weighing perhaps 50,000 lbs up on jacks is always a slightly unnerving site and it's always nice to see it back on trucks where it belongs!

Below, part of the group takes a breather and enjoys some of the cupcakes brought by Ray Bellock's daughter in honor of the 749 dedication being held back in Illinois that day. L-R in foreground: Jeff Brady, No
rm Krentel, Randy Hicks and Chris Chestnut.
After this phase of the project was done, the 303 was towed over to the CTM pit where work started on making it operational - understandably a requirement of the truck swap, since it had been operational at CTM prior to the truck swap. Meanwhile the Baldwin MCB truck headed for IRM was towed to a spot near the CTM entrance where Jim Lillie's trailer could be lined up with the track, and the truck was towed up onto the trailer.

At right, Randy Hicks, Jeff Brady and Jim Lillie (back to camera) work on tying down the Baldwin truck before it heads to IRM.

Shortly after this work was done, the 303
was ready to test. The brake rods were reattached by Jeff Brady and Norm Krentel and Jeff Hakner reattached the motor leads. However after moving a few feet, the 303 wouldn't move any more. The motors worked but the car wouldn't budge. It took quite a bit of time but the problem was diagnosed to be one of the axle cap bearings, which had not seated properly and had become jammed in between the motor case and the axle.

This necessitated removal of the axle cap (not an easy job) and realignment of the bearing, which in turn meant jacking up the motor itself to free up the bearing. At left, Norm Krentel, Jeff
Hakner, Chris Chestnut and a CTM volunteer work on removing the bearing following removal of the axle cap.

After a lot of hard work on the part of Norm, Jeff and Chris, the axle cap bearing was correctly seated, the axle cap replaced and power put to the car once again. This time it rolled! After a couple of brief test trips, Chris ran it back into the CTM shop building under power at about 10:45pm as seen below.
The successful completion of this project means that both the 36 and the 303 will have the trucks correct to those cars. We can't thank Chris Chestnut and all of the CTM volunteers who helped on the project enough; they did nearly all of the heavy lifting and Chris himself coordinated every stage of the project, as well as having a hand in some of the toughest parts of the job. People from four museums - IRM, CTM, Branford and Electric City - had a part in this job and it was a tremendous example of the benefits of cooperation. Thanks to CTM and to everyone who worked on this project!