Wednesday, December 26, 2012
High speed is what's needed today, too: there are only a few days remaining in 2012 for you to send in a donation to help fund Barn 14! Your donation is fully tax-deductible and will help preserve indefinitely some of the priceless artifacts at IRM, including wooden interurban cars as well as other historic equipment currently sitting outside. Put Barn 14 on the memo line or, to donate specifically to preserve members of our traction collection, put "RISWEC" on the memo line. Only with your help can IRM preserve more of our rail history now. Please consider sending in a donation to IRM at PO Box 427, Union IL 60180 today - and thank you.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
The car was purchased by the Rock Island in July 1972 for conversion to maintenance of way service. In this usage, it became RIMW 196695, but continued to wear its IC orange and brown paint. The car was in the Biddle (Little Rock) yard when the Rock Island shut down, and was sold at auction in 1981. Moved to Russellville, it was incorporated into Stoby's restaurant, attached to a building designed to be architecturally similar to Missouri Pacific stations. The restaurant sits across the mainline from the actual MP station in Russellville (now a community center and museum).
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Posted by Randall Hicks at 5:03 PM
Monday, December 17, 2012
Update: That didn't take long! Bill Wall has the answers:
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Friday, December 14, 2012
I received a fascinating series of e-mails recently from Fred Cassel, a Captain and 25-year veteran of the Linden Fire Department of Linden, New Jersey. He had read my blog post (click here) from two years ago on the John Stephenson Car Company plant in Elizabeth, which borders Linden. He had quite a bit of information on the plant that I didn't have - not least of which was the fact that the plant isn't actually in Elizabeth! Though Stephenson billed themselves as being an Elizabeth company, their plant was always just over the city line in Linden.
But that's not all. Captain Cassel has been researching the Stephenson plant for a book he plans to write on the history of the facility and sent me information on its history. Built in 1896, the plant in Linden replaced Stephenson's earlier facility on 27th Street in New York City that the company - not to mention the cars themselves - had outgrown. For over two decades, until Stephenson closed down in 1917, the plant turned out streetcars and interurban cars like our own car 36.
When electric car production shut down, the Standard Aircraft Company took over the large complex and virtually overnight converted it into one of the world's largest aircraft manufacturing facilities. Handley-Page O/400 bombers, among the largest in the world at the time with a 100' wingspan, were produced here during the Great War. After the war ended, Standard Aircraft shut down and the factory was sold to the Simmons Mattress Company. Simmons owned it for decades, until within the past 20 years or so, until it was sold. Currently there are a few different companies occupying various parts of the old plant.
How can you help, you ask? Contact me at fullparallel at wideopenwest dot com if you've got any photos, maps, diagrams, paperwork or information on the Stephenson facility. It would go a long way towards fleshing out the Linden plant's first two decades of history. Any information is appreciated!
Captain Cassel also sent me a number of interesting photos of the plant that were taken within the past year or two. All photos are by Fred Cassel and may not be reproduced without permission. The first looks down an alley behind the original varnish shop (near left) with a building called the "print shop" further down on the left. To the right is a large structure built during the plant's aircraft days.
Inside one of the other original buildings, possibly the "print shop" building. Note the bricked-over windows; originally there were open spaces and/or transfer tables between the different buildings, but these have largely been filled in with other structures since Stephenson quit.
And a shot of the outside of the old mill shop, presumably where much of the woodworking for the interurban cars built by Stephenson was done. Just south of the mill shop was a large yard for outdoor storage of wood.
Below is the erecting shop, again, likely the brief home to our own car 36. Those dormers have seen better days!
And finally, a shot of some old electrical panel in the building. Captain Cassel reports that there is virtually nothing recognizable left over from its days as an electric car production facility.
The feature most commonly associated with the facility by people in the area is the large structure below, partly because of its height and partly because it's just off the on-ramp for the Goethels Bridge to Staten Island. This building was built in 1917 for assembling O/400 bombers, which were too big to be assembled anywhere else in the plant, and was an open-air roofed structure until Simmons enclosed it and put in a second floor.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
I have to say I guess I'm getting slow in my old age because it took me a while to get that national sound check day idea. But 12 1212 turned out to be a very good day as it was the annual Wednesday crowd Christmas party. We had more than 40 people participating and once again demonstrated one of the nice aspects volunteering at IRM.
Besides the sense of accomplishment that one achieves in helping to restore a piece of equipment you also get the benefit of fellowship with other volunteers. For us retirees it's nice to get out of the house and to work with some real people and not have to sit and watch that wasteland that is daytime television.
|Even as the food is available some continue to discuss their projects|
|Discussions on 1024's progress|
We here at the Hicks car works want to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season. And if you have the ability, please remember IRM and the barn 14 fund in your year-end "dodge the taxman"giving.