Saturday, April 30, 2011

Illinois Traction Society Meet

The eagerly-awaited IT Society Meet was held at IRM today, and was a great success. A good time was had by all. I was working as a trainman on the orange cars, and so did not have many opportunities to take pictures. I'm counting on friends such as Chuck Amstein to fill in the gaps.

From front to back: business car 233, locomotive 1565, line car 1702.

The orange train made several main-line trips. We had a seven man crew most of the time.

Combine 277

Coach 518

Business parlor car 234

Only IT equipment operated today; besides the three-car train, there were the 101, 1565 both with and without a nine-car freight train, and the old reliable 415.

ITC caboose 988 carried the markers on the freight.

Charlie King gave us the actual piece of bunting which was applied to car 284 when it ran the last revenue trip on the IT. Here it is mounted on the 277.

Bob Heinlein did most of the organizational work and deserves a lot of credit for making this event run smoothly. In the evening, he gave an excellent IT slide show. He also prepared a very professional employee timetable for us to use, part of which is reproduced below. We wound up cancelling a couple of trips due to technical difficulties, but the timetable was very useful, and fun to use, too!

And here I am, trying to figure out whether we're on the advertised.
Photo by Gwyn Stupar.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Just About Ready

Ed Oslowski has been working like mad to get the 277 ready for service, and here are the results of his efforts. The ceiling of the front compartment (R) looks much better. The compartment itself is in the middle of the restoration process, but we'll leave it that way to show what progress is being made.

Meanwhile, the main compartment has been cleaned up, and I attached all of the new antimacassars, which were made by my daughter Esther. It looks great, I think, just like it was in service. They have not been lettered yet, but I'm working on it.

Ed already has a reserved seat. Do you?

When not helping on the 277, I made some wooden frames to hold the new "Kevin signs" for the 36 and 319.

And I worked more on stripping paint in the 319's vestibule, and then painted most of the piping and other control parts.

And I also painted the flag box and tray, which Frank had stripped a couple of weeks ago. And cleaned and straightened, etc.

Here Henry is working on the new door to the attic over the wood shop, where long pieces of lumber and other spare items can be stored. And there were several other members at work today: Tim, Max, Fred Ash, Frank and Mike.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More Fan Mail!

Admist all of the mail in the Hicks Car Works inbox, including spam, junk e-mail, and compalints (especially about two of our recent posts), arrived this little gem. Our friend Zach Ehlers recently completed a drawing of CA&E 431. The scene is at the platform of the East Union depot. Thanks Zach!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Don't Miss the IT Meet

Ed Oslowski
has been working hard on the interior of the 277, mostly the front compartment, and here he is, Mr. North Shore, planning what to do next. He wants to keep working on the car after the IT extravaganza this Saturday, which is great! I helped him a little with sorting parts and figuring out the window numbering system.

Locks on some of the cars are being changed, so at first I was unable to unlock the 319. Norm Krentel and I are planning to work on the control system for the 36 this summer, so I spent a couple of hours sorting parts and then started meggering the contactors. Of the six (out of 13) I did, one coil appears to be open, but the others are fine. All of them have good insulation between the coil and the frame. And they are heavy -- about 100 lbs apiece.

One interesting aspect of the DB-15 contactor is that the frame itself is part of the motor circuit, and may be live whenever the main power is on, even if the control circuit is off. That's why they're always mounted in wooden contactor boxes. DO NOT open a box when a pole is up on the train!

Later I got a new key and was able to do some more paint stripping in the vestibule of the 319. I hope to start painting it soon.

Jack Biesterfeld continues his thorough restoration of the B&M wooden diner in Barn 3. He is working along the side of the car, stripping off the outer layer of the old paint, and applying a new coat of Pullman Green. The dim lighting makes it difficult to see it very well.

When the diner was converted to camp car service, the kitchen was gutted. We probably won't have the money to replace it, so Jack built a beautiful 1" scale model of what the original kitchen looked like, based on the Pullman plans. It's now on display inside the car. He used to build model boats and is quite good at this sort of craftsmanship. This picture isn't very good, since I'm shooting through the window of the car. You will have to see it for yourself!

Finally, here is the progress on the B&G extension. The roof is complete and the north wall was installed today.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Comedy of Labours

Forsooth, good friends all, wis ye not that to-day hath been proclaimed "Talk Like Shakespeare Day" throughout all the fair province of Illinois? Wherefore we shall write as we do speak, and cast scorn upon all that ken not our fair words. (Sorry, folks, I don't have time to put it all into pentameter.) But admit me, then, as Prologue to the comedy.

Scene: Fields near Union-Upon-Kishwaukee

Enter first the burly knight, Sir Rodrigo, the leader of this noble band. Most of his time he doth spend directing his men what worthy tasks they shall perform, and imparting his subtle wisdom as to what is the best way to accomplish any thing. But here we see him as he painteth some window sills on IT 518.

Myself at first did start by removing the remaining masking tape and paper from the windows of the 518, as well ye may see. And then with Joy did we pull the car outside to complete the job.

And, of course, betimes there were many other projects which the merry crew did apply themselves unto. Enter the thrice-renowned Don Francisco and his trusty squire Michael; note how they do valiantly strip the paint from the wooden seats of the Veracruz open car. Verily, the gods do prosper their handiwork.

And here, the noble Sir Henry, the whilom General of our army, hath forsaken arms to take up the implements of peace, and installeth an addition unto the dust collection system in the new shop extension.

And next, the learned Doctor, clothed as a rude workman and disguised as a follower of Rodrigo, doth paint the handrails on the 518 with paint as black as pitch. Not that I really know what "pitch" might be.

And later I did also repaint the side doors on the car, and touch up the paint here and there. And replace a window, and so on.

Enter next Dan Fenlaciki and his worthy sire Jon, the father of this brave young whelp. They labour hard to clean up the windows of CA&E #451.

I then did travel with them on the dusty road over to Barn 2. Here did I grasp the repainted controller cover, which Jim Followell had prepared, and carried it with toil and care unto the 319, whence it came. This ought to keep dust out of the mechanism whilst I prepare to repaint the vestibule, methinks.

And also did behold with amazement as the Fenlacikis did install new windows in the 451.

And then, last but not least, enter the noble Geoffrey, one of my eldest friends, as he doth examine window frames in the Michigan Electric 28. With unflagging zeal goeth he about his wonted tasks on this long-term project.

By the end of the day the 518 looketh like this, which the many did behold with glee. Thereby, next week, shall our honored guests be carried with regal pomp unto Kishwaukee Grove and back.

And to be sure, there were many other players in this fair day, the which I had not time to record. Sorry! Many were the volunteers who were working hither and yon, and indeed we had also a goodly number of visitors, although there was no revenue service. And we were even graced by the occasional presence of the notable Duke Nickolas, who scorneth not (or at least not much) the acquaintance of lowly folk such as we.

Here ends my humble tale. And may this temple,
Which from the Muses Nine doth take its name,
By those same Nine be blest and consecrate,
That they who labour hard within its bounds
Shall prosper, and much thanks be unto them
Who help in any way at IRM.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Grid Repair-Part II

David writes...

We here at the Hicks Car Works recieved a few questions about the grid repair Frank and I effectuated last Saturday. In particular, the questions centered on whether the introduction of a bolt and washer assembly would change the resistance properties of the grid elements.

The short answer is no. In fact, the introduction of the bolt and washer is an improvement, because for a number of years now, work has been proceeding to bring perfection to the crudely conceived idea of a grid element that would not only supply inverse reactive current for use in unilateral phase detractors, but would also be capable of automatically synchronizing cardinal grammeters. Such a grid element is the "turbo-encabulator." Basically, the only new principle involved is that instead of power being generated by the relative motion of conductors and fluxes, it is produced by the medial interaction of magneto-reluctance and capacitive directance.

The original grid elements, as installed by the CA&E, had a base plate of prefabulated amulite, surmounted by a malleable logarithmic casing in such a way that the two spurving bearings were in direct line with the pentametric fan. The latter consisted simply of six hydrocoptic marzelvanes, so fitted to the ambifacient lunar waneshaft that side fumbline was effectively prevented. The main winding was of the normal lotus-0-delta type placed in panendermic semiboiloid slots in the stator, every seventh conductor being connected by a nonreversible tremie pipe to the differential gridlespring on the "up" end of the grammeters.

Forty-one manestically spaced grouting brushes were arranged to feed into the rotor slipstream a mixture of high S-value phenylhydrobenzamine and 5% remanative tetryliodohexamine. Both of these liquids have specific pericosities given by P=2.5Cn6.7 where n is the diathetical evolute of retrograde temperature phase disposition and C is Chlomondeley's annular grillage coefficient. Initially, n was measured with the aid of metaploar refractive pilfrometer (for a description of this ingenious instrument, see Reference 1), but up to the present, nothing has been found to equal the transcendental hopper dadoscope (2).

Electrical engineers will appreciate the difficulty of nubing together a regurgitative purwell and a supramitive wennelsprock. Indeed, this proved to be a stumbling block to further development until, in 1942, it was found that the use of anhydrous nangling pins enabled a kryptonastic boiling shim to the tankered.

The early attempts to construct a sufficiently robust spiral decommutator failed largely because of a lack of appreciation of the large quasi-piestic stresses in the gremlin studs; the latter were specially designed to hold the roffit bars to the spamshaft. When, however, it was discovered that wending could be prevented by a simple addition to the living sockets, almost perfect running was secured.

The operating point is maintained as near as possible to the h.f. rem peak by constantly fromaging the bitumogenous spandrels. This is a distinct advance on the standard nivel-sheave in that no dramcock oil is required after the phase detractors have been remissed.

Undoubtedly, the turbo-encabulator has now reached a very high level of technical development. It has been successfully used for operating nofer trunnions. In addition, whenever a barescent skor motion is required, it may be employed in conjunction with a drawn reciprocating dingle arm to reduce sinusoidal depleneration. therefore, we expect no problems with the grid elements from the introduction of the bolt and washer assembly.

See, that was clear!

Editor's Update: Rockwell furthered this research for the automatic transmission. A video explaining it all is here:

Also in the 1970s Chrysler also experimented with this rare technology:

-Rumpelvestein, L.E., Z. Elektro-technistatisch-Donnerblitz vii.
-Oriceddubg of the Peruvian Academy of Skatological Sciences, June 1914.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Time For a Brake

The whole day was spent working on hand brakes on the three CA&E wood cars, 308, 309, and 321. I was inspired to do this by words of Bob Opal, actually. None of the hand brakes have worked in the past, and I'm positive they weren't functional on the CA&E by the end of service, if they ever were. But I wouldn't want to try to explain that to the FRA. And then there's personal pride -- I don't want to admit there's anything I (or we) can't fix. Nothing mechanical is alien to me.

Be that as it may, the first step was to go to the 321 to get some parts that were missing on the 319 when we received it, and to check how the hand brake rigging was arranged. This (R) was the missing link. I also needed a 3/4" bolt to act as the fulcrum for one of the levers, which I got from stock. On the 321 all of the levers are solidly frozen in place, so getting this link loose was difficult.

The 319's completed rigging looks like this (L). (White) The rod from the #1 end hand brake ends here, and pulls on the big lever to the right. Out of sight, there's a chain which pulls on the live lever to set the brakes. (Red) The rod from the #2 end is attached to the other end of a lever, which is connected via the no-longer-missing link (yellow) to the same brake lever.

And here's another view; the hand brake lever has this chain which will pull on the live lever when taut; at the far right is the end of the piston of the air brake cylinder. All the rest of the brake rigging is fully functional, of course. At the #2 end the lever inside the car is frozen to the shaft, so it can only be rotated less than 180 degrees. I worked to remove it, but so far without success. Maybe when it's over the pit for inspection I can fix it. In the meantime, the hand brake at the #1 end works. The whole mechanism needs lubrication, to be sure.

Now here's the 309 before I started. The chain was cleverly arranged so that if it was ever pulled tight, it would crush the armored cable carrying the 600V control circuits. Oops. I was able to reposition the cable slightly and run the chain between the frame and the cable. I also replaced the bolt holding the chain to the hand brake shaft, since it was badly bent. The hand brake is now functional, although it also needs to be lubricated, of course. The 309 has a hand brake only at the #1 end, so the mechanism is much simpler than on the other cars.

On the 308 one end also needed its chain repositioned, which I did. But there are still problems. At one end, the brake lever doesn't work; it won't turn the shaft. At the other end, the pawl on the floor is the wrong design and will not engage the gear. It needs to be replaced. How did that happen?!? And then, the chain to the live lever, similar to the one above, is way too long and needs to be shortened by at least one link. As it stands now, it could never pull the live lever. So there are still a few issues to fix.

Well, I hope that was boring enough. Meanwhile, some of the masking paper has been removed from the 518, as seen here, and it looks great. It's now over the pit, so it could be pulled outside for painting, I suppose.

And work is progressing on the new addition to the B&G palace. In the morning, the contractors had just started raising the roof trusses into place (L).

By afternoon, roof framing was complete, and they were busy finishing up the various stringers and other details.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Illinois Terminal 518 Progress

Thanks to IRM member Pete Pedersen, we have some photos of the ongoing painting of one side of Illinois Terminal coach trailer #518. As many of you know, the 518 spent many years as a "one sided car" as the side typically away from public view was in primer. That has now changed. As Randy pointed out earlier, the IT meet is coming up at the end of the month, and work is ongoing at a feverish pace to get everything ready.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Grids!

This past Saturday, Frank and I accomplished several tasks out at the Museum. The main goal of the day was to attend the annual Safety Meeting, which Harold Krewer officiated. In addition, Frank helped me take extensive interior photos of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad dining car, Galt House. The photos are for the Kentucky Railway Museum, which owns a similar L&N diner, that was later converted into work train service. The conversion left the dinning compartment intact, but gutted the kitchen and pantry areas. KRM has a long-term plan to return the interior to an in-service appearance, with a more modern kitchen. Here, we see an interior photo of the diner. The next item we tackled was grid repair. On Members' Day in 2010, as we were putting the 3-car CA&E train into Barn 8 at the end of the day, a grid in 308 "opened up." Due to age, a portion of the grid element for notch 1 failed, and literally melted from the rest of the element. Of course, this broke the circuit, and rendered the car inoperable for the time being. Here is Frank under the 308, assessing the situation.
Frank and I fixed the grid element with a temporary repair. On the CA&E wood cars, the grid boxes are located in the middle of the underframe. Of course, the preferred repair would entail removing the box from the car tearing it apart and replacing the mica washers and tubes, cleaning up the grid elements and replacing the broken element. However, that is a labor intensive project, and is best left to next winter.
As you can see above, the simple repair entailed a short bolt, two washers and a nut. In the above photo, you can also see the portion of the grid element that failed. The bolt and washer set is used to bridge the gap. After Frank installed the bolt, we powered up the car, very briefly applying power to notch 1, with the brakes set. This brief application of power "welded" the repair in place. Now, the 308 is ready for inspection and for potential service this year.

In other news, it looks like Bob Kutella and the freight car department may start working on the B&O "wagon top" boxcar soon, as it was parked near the car shop. What a neat car!