Saturday, February 23, 2013

319 Progress

No new railroad cars showed up at the interchange this week, so Nick must be dozing off.  I suppose everybody needs to take a break once in a while.  Be that as it may, many of the rest of us are keeping busy with various projects.

Henry Vincent continues to work on repairing a train door from the 36.  He has taken the new pieces home for trimming, and plans to have them installed soon.

I did more stripping in the #2 vestibule of the 319, as seen here.  You have to use your imagination, but the car was built with a door to close off the motorman's part of the vestibule, although that didn't last long.  All of the paint in the vestibule is badly alligatored, so I'm stripping it down to bare wood for repainting.  What may look like black paint in these pictures is actually the original Pullman Green with which the car was delivered in 1914.  The CA&E never bothered to strip the vestibules, which may be why the 1953 paint job hasn't held up for 60 years.  But the underlying green is in remarkably good condition after 99 years.  They just don't make 'em like they used to.

The final section of the ceiling in the main compartment got a first coat of finish color, and looks pretty good.  This is where the panel had come loose and was sagging down.  I also did some touch-up on various places, so the entire ceiling is now painted.  I'll want to do a second coat, but that will wait until later this year when I can pull the car outside for natural lighting and warmer conditions. I'll also want to see if any of the repairs I made to the ceiling come loose when the car starts to move.  We've noticed that these Jewett cars seem to flex quite noticeably when in operation!

And here's some first primer in the vestibule.  I also cleaned some of the hardware down to bare metal, and it will be painted next time.

And of course there were many other people out today, working on various things.  Be sure to read the department blogs to keep up to date.

Friday, February 22, 2013

I Want To Be Loved By You

I want to be loved by you, but here I am, stuck outside without even a roof to my name.  You say you love me, but I get clobbered by the sun, the rain, the snow, and you don't seem to care, you never come to visit me, so what am I to think?  Most of my friends get to live indoors like civilized people.  But I have my own unique value as an historic artifact, so I'd really appreciate it if you'd consider donating to Barn 14 construction.  They say we're almost there!

It's easy.  We strongly suggest you donate to the Indoor Storage funds for the department of your choice: Electric Car, Freight Car, Passenger Car, Internal Combustion, or Steam.  You can send a check to this address:

Illinois Railway Museum
Box 427
Union, IL   60180

or donate online through our secure website at this link.

It would be so nice to feel loved and appreciated once again!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Operating Schedule for 2013

The 2013 operating schedule for the CA&E wood cars has been finalized.  Fairly consistently, the consist will consist of two of the three cars in rotation for regular operation (308, 309 and 319).  All operations are dependent upon weather and mechanical considerations, of course, but we expect that the cars will operate on most, if not all, of these days: May 27th (Memorial Day/Founders Day), June 8th-9th (RPO Days), June 22nd-23rd (Chicago Day), July 4th (Independence Day), July 7th (Trolley Parade only - not in revenue service), August 4th (Vintage Transport Extravaganza), August 31st-September 1st-September 2nd (Labor Day Weekend), September 14th (Museum Showcase Weekend).

If you're rules-qualified, please sign up for a couple of days - we're always in need of motormen, conductors and trainmen.  Thanks!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Henrietta Hippo

 Sixty years ago, IRM began its collection with the purchase of a car from the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway (CRANDIC), as you probably know.  We just acquired a second one!

 This is our newest acquisition, the sumptuous business car Henrietta,  seen here on our interchange track.  Don't let its uncanny resemblance to a Rock Island commuter car fool you.  Notice the classy curtains in the windows?  Without the tireless machinations of our favorite Greek philosopher, Nick Kallas, this car would still be sitting somewhere in Iowa.  So that's our exciting news for today!

Meanwhile, we're always glad to acknowledge the otherwise unsung efforts of others, especially if we don't have to walk too far to photograph them.  Joe Stupar, Greg Kepka, and perhaps others are working on the smoker of the 757, hoping to put the car back into revenue service this year. 

The floor had to be replaced, so this was the best time to remove the seats and repaint the compartment.  Here we see Joe sanding down the wall.

Some of the wood needed to be stripped, but most of the surfaces are in good condition.  Because this car has relatively modern heaters, Joe is able to use the built-in heating system to make it nice and comfortable.  I'm unwilling to try using the heaters on any of the wood cars, so I must admit to being a little jealous of the working conditions here!

Nonetheless, I spent the day in stripping paint in the vestibule, then filling in the one remaining seam where the ceiling had separated, and then painting.  Except for the one seam, which may take some more work, the entire ceiling now has a first finish coat. So it's going along well.  And there were a few miscellaneous tasks to work on.  Henry Vincent continues to make progress on the train door in the shop.  So what's not to like?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

319 Report

Another productive day at IRM means we have new photos to look at.  First, let's see what other people are doing.

Henry Vincent is making good progress on the train door for the 36.  The new rail and stile patches have been fitted and glued in place.  They will need to be trimmed to size at the bottom, and this is presumably a job for multiple hands.  Anyhow, it's always nice to see that progress has been made while I've been busy with other things.  

And this is what it will look like when the kickplate is attached.  There is also a wooden drip rail below the kickplate to be made, but that's not a major task. 

And of course Tim Peters is still hard at work on the 1024.  He needs to replace the ends of the roof, and discovered something interesting.  I hadn't seen this before and neither had he.  The curved ends of a railroad roof are typically constructed with two layers of thin (~ 1/4") boards; anything thicker is hard to bend.  On the 1024 this problem is brilliantly made easier by taking a thicker board, about 5/8" thick, and resawing it in two for most of its length.  Here are some of the new boards Tim has made.

 Here's what it looks like when installed.

 The roof will take a lot of work, of course, and Tim is making good progress on this daunting task.

Now it's back to the 319.  The only real structural problem in the main compartment is that part of the ceiling had come loose and bowed down.  I must have a picture of what it used to look like somewhere.  I inserted a couple more screws and then removed the clamp, and it seems to be holding its shape just fine.  There is a noticeable gap between the panels, which I started filling with glue and caulk. 

And since the old clamp was now free, I used it to attach the original patch plate at this location under the hip.  It's at a larger angle than I would have chosen, because it was designed for clamping vertically from wall to wall across the car, but it works fine.

It takes awhile, but after filling the joint now looks like this.  I need to let it set up for a day or two, and on Saturday I should be able to make a final fill, sand it down, and start painting.

I then painted any parts of the ceiling still unpainted with first primer.

On the subject of diners, Nick was driving through Texas yesterday and happened to pass "Trolly373" (sic) along I20, so he called up Frank and asked him about it.  I had it listed as "probably doomed" which it probably still is, but it's nice to know the body is in existence.  We're always glad to get updates on the status of any diners we have listed, and particularly information on new actual-railroad-car diners you may come across. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Pony On Wheels

 Probably the most interesting news is that our new dome car, the Silver Pony, was put back onto its trucks yesterday.  The department blog has pictures of it being unloaded.

Of course, the car still needs a lot of work, but this is a big step forward.  We have pictures of the interior in an earlier post here.

Later in the day, the car was pushed back farther south on the steam lead, and the TTX flatcar was moved out to the interchange.  I'm just sad that Phil wasn't around to see this.

And now back to Car Dept. happenings.  Henry has been making good progress on rebuilding the train door for the 36, as seen here.  Bob has been helping him with the mortise and tenon work.  Thanks, guys!!!

The door will also need a metal kick plate, which seems to have disappeared when it was rebuilt at North Olmsted.  Eric Lorenz selected a piece of steel plate left over from rebuilding the Cleveland PCC, and I cut it to size. 

And the rest of the day was spent painting in the 319.  I finished putting a first coat of tan on the last four sectors of the wall.  It should get another coat while it's still inside, and sometime later this year I need to be able to run the car outside for a finish coat in natural lighting.  

And then there was some more painting of the ceiling with a first finish coat, until I ran out of time.  I won't have summer school this year, so I hope to spend more time at the Museum painting.  And what not.

Have you forgotten about Barn 14?  I hope not!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Differing Styles, Same Goal

There are often different ways of reaching a particular goal.  We on this blog have our own style of asking for money, as you have no doubt noticed.  But it's certainly possible to be much more forceful and direct.  So in contrast, here's what our friend Max Tyms has to say (I'm assuming he won't mind if I repost this in its entirety from the Yahoo list):


You probably give lots to charities that "feed the hungry" or "cancer
research" or "help the ....." where most of the money goes in the pockets of
administrators or is spent on raising more money. Do you think those tear
jerking TV/radio ads and billboards are free? The mass mailings are free?

Think about supporting a charity that spends every penny of donated money on
something tangible. Doing some real good! Accomplishing something you can see,
feel and ride!

The Illinois Railway Museum is a charitable educational organization. For 60
years we have been collecting and restoring railroad history and teaching that
history to the interested public. We don't spend money to raise more money.

Over 400 examples of railroad history have been acquired. Most await
restoration. Too many are deteriorating due to lack of indoor storage. Some
will be lost forever if money is not found to preserve them indoors.

In 60 years our volunteers have built a huge multi-building museum on a 100+
acre campus and a 5 mile demonstration railroad. The board of directors,
managers, department heads, curators and most workers are uncompensated
volunteers. They work at IRM in their spare time. Many, myself included (33
years of service), volunteer for decades.

$42,000 is needed to complete substation work
$400,000 for a storage/display building
$3,000,000 for a visitor center
The list goes on......

Consider doing some real good with your money. Support the Illinois Railway
Museum. A 501.C3 educational corporation. Visit us at

Max Tyms

Monday, February 4, 2013

Wake-Up Call

Sorry, I must have been dozing off when Bob Kutella came along and poked me in the ribs.

We at IRM are still trying to complete our fundraising goals for Barn 14.  It's getting closer, but your help is still greatly needed.  Remember that 100% of all money received is used for construction, there's no percentage diverted to other uses.  We strongly suggest you donate to the Indoor Storage funds for the department of your choice: Electric Car, Freight Car, Passenger Car, Internal Combustion, or Steam.  As always, you can send a check to this address:

Illinois Railway Museum
Box 427
Union, IL   60180

or donate online through our secure website at this link.

Your donations will be greatly appreciated, I assure you!

Super Sunday

Game?  What game?  On Sunday I was able to make it out to IRM for the first time this year due to a break in my work schedule and, sure enough, there was a group of hardy souls working in the shop notwithstanding the big event on TV.  Norm Krentel and Jeff Brady were working on roof pieces for the Michigan Electric car, the indefatigable Tim Peters was working on windows for the 1024 and Jon Fenlaciki was making repairs to the swing-out rear window for Indiana Railroad 65.  There was also a flurry of activity around the West Towns car, where Dan Fenlaciki (below) was working with Joel Ahrendt and Frank Sirinek on assembling the new brake rigging.

As for me, I got some more done on the 205.  Years ago we had scrapped the body of an Indiana Service Corp lightweight interurban car from the 320-series that was identical to our Fort Wayne-Lima 91, and among the parts salvaged had been the letterboard from one side of the car with the old Indiana Railroad lettering still showing through.  A while back I had determined that the lettering on these panels was the same size and spacing as what the 205 had in service, so on Sunday I dragged the two letterboard panels (one for "Indiana" and one for "Railroad") from their home between the gauge on Track 51 over to the shop for tracing.

Many thanks to Dan and Joel for helping drag these over; boy, they were heavy!  They were also rusty, but fortunately there are plenty of repeated letters in "Indiana Railroad" so we were able to use duplicate letters to fill in gaps where the original paint was rusted off.  Now all we need to do is transfer the tracings to mylar and cut that out for stencils, plus I also need to trace the 205's numbers off of the side of the car that wasn't needle-chipped.  It's coming along!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Groundhog Day

You could be excused for thinking that it's usually Groundhog Day around here.  I could probably post the same pictures of the 319's interior every week and nobody would notice.  Except me and Frank, but we're too honest to pull tricks like that.

But seriously, progress is being made.  While the main compartment is warming up, I start by stripping a little more of the badly alligatored red paint from the #2 vestibule.

 And then it's on to surface prep and painting in the passenger compartment.  First, I finished putting white primer on all of the walls.  The faded old paint is essentially gone.

And then there was a first coat of the finish tan on the end surfaces.  (I'll do the compartment door separately.)

On the right, I have removed the metal frame for the advertising sign, but the original paint will still be underneath for posterity.
I removed one of the corner seat backs to take home and recover, since it had a bad rip.  On the back there are two messages in chalk: "Main #1" and "S. E. Pass".  The second is a little puzzling: this seat could be at the southeast corner of the car only if it was oriented north-south, but the shop tracks at Wheaton were all east-west, of course.  So your guess is as good as mine.