Saturday, June 29, 2013
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Don't miss the pageant on July 6th. You'll never forgive yourself.
Posted by David Wilkins at 7:00 AM
Tonight I picked up a new donation to the museum - a neon sign that was once hung on the platform gates at Chicago Union Station indicating where the Burlington Zephyrs were boarding. The sign is a bit deteriorated and has a broken neon tube, but the IRM Buildings & Grounds Department has certainly repaired worse and this may someday make a neat addition to the depot or to Barn 9.
Posted by Frank Hicks at 6:00 AM
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Posted by Randall Hicks at 4:32 PM
Below this post is an article detailing the history of one of the museum's streetcars, Illinois Terminal 170. This car is our only Birney and is one of only a couple of surviving cars from the many small-town street railway systems that once dotted Illinois. Although acquired as a stripped car body, most of the parts needed for the car's restoration have been acquired and are currently on hand.
The single large exception is the car's Brill 79E truck. Though several major components of this truck are on hand, the museum still needs to procure several other parts. Fortunately a consortium of trolley museums is currently working together to cast new replacement 79E truck parts, and IRM is trying to raise money to procure parts for car 170 as part of this project. This is a unique opportunity to assemble all of the remaining components needed to restore car 170 and add it to the museum's fleet of restored and operating streetcars. If we do not obtain the truck parts for car 170 as part of the current consortium effort, it will be much more expensive to do so in the future.
We are asking for your help. Please consider donating to the Illinois Terminal 170 car fund. The truck components currently being manufactured will cost around $1,400 so even small donations will help immensely in reaching that goal. With your help, the last Illinois Birney will once again take to the rails. Thank you for your support.
Posted by Frank Hicks at 9:49 AM
Development of the Birney
Appendix A: Mechanical Specifications
Appendix B: Rail & Wire Accounts
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Posted by Randall Hicks at 9:22 PM
Monday, June 24, 2013
Here's the obligatory 3/4 shot with the 309 in the background. I had wanted to do this switch job yesterday, but a thunderstorm was approaching fast so we had to put the 308-319 back into the barn as quickly as possible.
Sunday was an "all hands on deck" day for the Hicks blog team; as mentioned previously, my father was a trainman on the CA&E wood train while David and Al were running the streetcar. I spent most of the day working on the replacement grid box for the 309 with the assistance of Dan Fenlaciki (shown below). The components of the grid box had been previously assembled with the exception of the taps, which I procured from the electrical parts car and sand-blasted. Then Dan and I painstakingly assembled the new grid box. The old grid box came off pretty easily, but mounting the new one was a pain due mainly to a couple of the mounting bolts being ever-so-slightly bent. With the use of the jack out of my automobile and a few choice phrases uttered when not in earshot of the public, we finally got it in place. Dan works for Metra doing car maintenance, so his help was invaluable!
In other news, you've read before on this blog about canvas, but what about a canvass? I've recently started working on compiling a public survey of the museum's visitors. This survey is not meant to be a customer satisfaction survey but rather is compiling information on how effective our advertising is as well as collecting e-mail addresses so that we can stay in touch with our visitors after they leave. Dave Diamond has been tremendously helpful with this and procured a pair of survey collection boxes which I outfitted with signage - and, in the case of the one in the diner annex, a gently used stool. As shown below, these boxes are being placed in the diner annex and in the main station; visitors will be handed a yellow survey form when they purchase their ticket and can fill them out at their leisure. Attention operating crews: if you could remind your riders to fill out their surveys it would be much appreciated; mentioning this just before the train returns to the station from Jefferson Street is probably ideal when possible. Thanks!!
And now for our Quiz of the Day. The below photo was taken in which of the following:
a) IRM's new 1940s-themed cocktail lounge
b) one of United's new Boeing 787 airliners
c) Nick's living room
d) the Electro-Cafe
If you guessed (d) you were right! Late in the afternoon I briefly helped a crew including Joe and Gwyn Stupar, Greg Kepka, Dan Fenlaciki and Warren Lloyd with moving some parts in our North Shore Electroliner. The cafe car, shown here, and one of the end cars will be open for public viewing on North Shore Day, July 7th, one day after the "Trolleypalooza" super-pageant. Don't miss it!
And finally, in keeping with the recent poetry theme on the Hicks Blog, David employs one of the new survey boxes to reenact Casey at the Bat. Who says we're not erudite?
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Posted by David Wilkins at 8:48 PM
Friday, June 21, 2013
New Haven MU cars.
This wrecker from Grand Central Terminal is quite impressive.
Their one steam locomotive is this B&M 2-6-0, nicely displayed.
And there's lots more. The museum's website has more information. There is currently no inside storage for any of the equipment, but they are conducting a capital campaign to raise $1,000,000 to build and equip a six-stall roundhouse.
Finally, there's this whimsical "Insulator Garden." I guess they only grow in rocky soil.