Thursday, June 30, 2011

Paving the Way for Progress

This post will cover two days - at no extra charge! Can't beat that!


Wednesday was rather monotonous: I spent nearly the whole day painting the floor of the 319 with a first coat of finish brown. First I had to remove all the seat cushions and vacuum the floor. It looks great, although this backlit photograph doesn't do much for it. You need to see it in person.

This shows much better what the floor looks like with wet paint. The device in the corner is the motor cutout switch, which I hope I never have to use.

Some switching was done to prepare for the World's Greatest Trolley Pageant on Monday, July 4th. Here we see the 1268 trained with three 4000's. There will be several multi-car trains operating, of course.

I'm afraid the 1754 will not be in the pageant, but it was being switched out anyway.

Painting the floor took its toll on my aging knees and back. So after supper it was time for a relaxing stroll to view the scenery.

The rocky rapids.


Tim Peters and I spent most of the morning turning out tack molding for the 1797 and 319. This job goes much faster when you have two people. There's jointing, planing, ripping, rabbeting, and routing to be done. Tim needs his molding soon; I'm hoping to be able to replace the roof on the 319 this winter, so there's not so much of a hurry.

In the afternoon, I put the seats back in the 319, cleaned some windows, sorted parts, and drank lots of lemonade.

Meanwhile, there are some contractors replacing part of the roof on Barn 9. These guys started work at 6:00 this morning!

The big news, however, is that paving started on the big Depot St. project. Here are a few progress photos I took during the day.

The first load of asphalt is dumped, as Dave Diamond looks on.

This took weeks of site preparation, and the first layer, at least, was poured and rolled in a day.

This weekend promises to be full of interesting action and plenty of new accomplishments to see, so be sure to come on out to IRM if you possibly can!

All three of us should be out there Sunday and Monday, so look us up and say hello. We're always glad to meet our audience!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dave's Depots - Illinois Terminal, Peoria, IL

Business took me to lovely Peoria, Illinois recently. Since I stayed downtown, I drove over to the former Illinois Terminal station. After the IT abandoned the Illinois River bridge and trackage into the station, it was sold to the city of Peoria. It was used for many years as the central police station for the city. Now it is used by the Peoria County Board of Elections. The building appears to be in good shape and well cared for.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hot Dog!

The famous Oscar Meyer Weinermobile made an unexpected visit to IRM today, so that gave us the opportunity for some unique pictures.

Hope this makes you hungry for a delicious hot dog at Nick's, otherwise known as the Central Avenue Diner, the Salem Diner, or various other names, not all of them appropriate. But the food alone makes the drive out to IRM worthwhile!

And there's no cover charge here at Hicks Car Works for viewing our newly-installed manhole covers from the Chicago City Railway!

Most of the day I spent stripping paint from the 36. The North Shore cars in Barn 6 were switched around; the main purpose of all that work can only have been to provide better lighting for working on the 36 and photographing it when done. Thanks, guys!

Highwood West

I started out my Sunday at the museum with some sanding work on the 205 followed by new primer applied to the angled dasher at the east end as well as some of the end window sills. I neglected to take any photos of this work, but it wasn't that photogenic anyway. Neither was the paint matching I did with the help of Rod Turner. We now have a sample of Indiana Railroad orange to take to the paint shop in Crystal Lake to have a test gallon mixed. Within a few weeks I hope to see the car turning from brown to orange!

I spent most of my time, though, helping with the North Shore cars being readied for the Trolley Pageant on the Fourth of July. Most work concentrated on the 251 and 757, our two Silverliners. The latter car has been stored in Barn 4 for several years now so this will be its first public operation in four or five years. Joe Stupar, Greg Kepka and Rod were able to repair a control resistor issue with the 757 (below left) so that it is again fully operational. Joel Ahrendt also worked on the car including locating a replacement air hose. Meanwhile Dan Mulvihill (below right) did motor inspection and lubrication on the 251 while I helped out by looking over the car's switch group and reverser.

The 757 isn't quite ready for revenue service, but a crew of people is working on the interior and there are plans to have it repainted at some point as well. Joe and Gwyn Stupar have been working on replacing some of the car's flooring and John McKelvey (below left) has been diligently going through and reupholstering all of the car's seats with specially-ordered material obtained several years ago. Below right, motorman Joel Ahrendt stands in the doorway of the three-car train after completion of work at the end of the day.

The Trolley Pageant will be quite a show - don't miss it!

And finally we have a couple of "around the grounds" photos. Below left, one of the Chicago City Railways manhole covers which were just installed on Central Avenue. Below right, the museum's latest acquisition. Please note that Hicks Car Works does not endorse or recommend bustitution or bussification.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Visit to the Sanfilippo Estate

Yesterday we attended the gala benefit concert for the IRM Steam Department held at the Sanfilippo Estate near Barrington -- it was a tremendous success, and everybody enjoyed themselves immensely. The estate houses an incredible collection of organs, calliopes, mechanical music devices of all sorts, juke boxes, phonographs, chandeliers, slot machines, stationary steam engines, art works, stained glass, posters, and knick-knacks of every sort. And oh yes, railroad equipment. The estate is not open to the general public, but hosts benefit events like this one. So let's go!

There is so much to see that we can only give you an inadequate sampling.

The highlight of the evening was a concert on the world's largest theater organ, presented by Dave Calendine, brother of Jeff Calendine in the steam department.

His talents are unbelievable, and exploited to the fullest the huge array of sounds the organ can produce, including cannon fire, bagpipes, bells and whistles, earthquakes, and steam locomotive exhaust. You had to be there. The five-manual console rotates, raises and lowers. The 32' open rank makes the building shake.

After the concert we were able to visit the carousel building which includes the railroad equipment. There's a steam loco, a wooden caboose, and a parlor car.

#18 was built as a narrow-gauge 2-6-0 by Grant in 1888, and later rebuilt to standard gauge.

Like many similar locomotives, it has been substantially modified over the years.

The three pieces all are now equipped for link-and-pin couplers.

The parlor car was originally a chapel car, but little of the original structure is left. It was heavily rebuilt, and is now wider and taller than any ordinary passenger car.

The hall is so crowded with various things that photography is difficult.

In any case, the event was a great success and they're talking about making it a yearly event. So don't miss out on this unique opportunity!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Routine Maintenance

Today was mostly some cleaning and straightening, nothing too exciting. So not too many pictures. I spent a couple of hours in my storage container, and picked out most of the rest of the good window shades. I believe it's much better to store spare CA&E window shades hanging vertically, rather than rolled up on a shelf.

A control pipe hose on the 309 was badly worn, so I replaced it with one from storage. I then put the three-car train together in preparation for July 3rd and 4th. July 3rd, of course, will be the re-enactment of the abandonment, and the 4th will be the parade. Don't miss it!

And then there was more stripping paint on the 36. Progress is slow but steady.

Work on the street project is continuing. Here Max has finished inspecting one of the new manholes for the electrical system. Some day we'll have working antique stoplights at this intersection!

And this is the 1024 (née 24), our oldest rapid transit car, built in 1898. Keep this car in mind, I may have occasion to refer to it later.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Be Your Own Analyst

A psychiatrist might diagnose this as attention-deficit disorder or some such thing: I have trouble finding just one task and sticking to it all day. Instead, it's much easier to do several things for an hour or two each. If you are afflicted with the same problem, maybe we should organize a support group. I'm sure I can find lots of little tasks to keep several people busy!

First, I wanted to check on the 321's tarps after the big storm passed through last night. Everything seemed OK. I recently acquired a couple of ratchet tie-downs and installed them over the tarp. This should help keep the tarp secure, and I plan on installing several more.

While I was out there, Rod and Gerry and several others were switching freight cars in 13 and 14.

You'll wonder where the yellow went....

For some reason, Gerry Brookins decided to have the various cut-out cocks on all his equipment painted yellow. This had irked me ever since the cars arrived, and today I took care of the 319. Fortunately, I discovered that the yellow was mostly painted over a layer of grease and dirt, so it came off more easily than expected. I cleaned the valves down to bare metal and later painted them with brown primer.

And then there was more paint stripping on the 36.

Finally, the most important project was the floor in the 319's main compartment. I was unable to put on a finish coat before it entered revenue service in May. The primer on the linoleum down the center aisle had gotten dirty, and in some places was worn through. So I cleaned it up with Soilax and put on a second coat, as seen here. The primer on the wood surfaces to either side seems to be fine. Next time, I will start painting the compartment with the finish brown.