Saturday, May 25, 2013

Founder's Weekend

 This year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of our Museum in 1953, and this weekend has been designated Founder's Weekend.  A remarkable number of the cars acquired during the first ten years in North Chicago have been restored and are still in use, including our first car, Indiana Railroad #65.  But more about that later.

I had several miscellaneous tasks to perform.  In anticipation of the 60th Anniversary Trolleypaloozza, it would be nice to get the 36 lettered and numbered, so I started by putting a second coat of finish blue on the lower siding where the numbers and lettering will go.

 And since the blue was out, I painted this retriever, which Frank had needle-chipped and primed several months ago.

Every car had to have its own First Aid box, but these tended to disappear into the collection of railfans.  Just before the North Shore ended operations, for instance, Suydam produced new brass models of North Shore cars, and somebody discovered that a North Shore first aid box was perfect for storing three HO models.  So immediately most of the first aid boxes in the North Shore fleet mysteriously vanished.  All of the boxes in the CA&E cars we got from Trolleyville were stolen at Cleveland, so we need some reproductions.

Rich Witt has agreed to make a set of them, and here we see him carefully measuring the one complete original CA&E first aid box in our collection.  They don't need to be functional, since they are stored inside a cabinet with a glass front, but they will look exactly correct.  Thanks to Rich and Bob Kutella for agreeing to take on this project.  And by the end of the day, I was able to put this box back into the 309.

And among other things, the steel line poles we saw earlier along Central Ave. have been installed, using the concrete pipe sections.  This pole will replace the old wooden pole next to it.  Time marches on!

In spite of the dreary weather, attendance today was pretty good, and I met a number of people.  Our old friend Walt Stafa came out from Ohio to help on the Michigan car, and I was able to talk to him.  I met Bob Miller and his wife, a long-time member and supporter from Racine, and several others.

 CA&E steel cars 409 and 431 were operating again today.  The 309 and 431 are two of the cars from North Chicago that have been restored and operate regularly.

And as mentioned, Indiana Railroad 65 was operating.  Here we see Jon Fenlaciki standing proudly in front of it, brandishing his reverse key.

And speaking of proud, Frank Sirinek is very proud of the West Towns car 141, and justly so.  A huge amount of effort went into restoring this car from a mere shell.  The new grids have been installed, as seen here, and Frank said they would probably try running the car later this evening.  It's too bad I had to miss that, but the 141 may be in service soon.  This is indeed a notable accomplishment.

The 308 and 309 should be operating on Monday, weather permitting.  Otherwise we'll run the steel cars again.  But any of you in the area should be sure to come out to IRM for Founder's Weekend.  There's lots of progress to see!


David Wilkins said...


Don't know how to say this, but I didn't realize the kit in the 309 was the only complete CA&E first aid kit in existence. Last year, on Member's Weekend, I accidentally cut myself when in train service, and used the bandages and mercurochrome from that kit.



Thirdrailcookbook said...

Good to see you Randy......... Nice to see old friends..... Blue cars looking good

Ben Rohling

Anonymous said...

Did 141 operate or run this weekend?

David Church

Randall Hicks said...

Yes, on Monday. See pt. 2.

Anonymous said...

David Church