Thursday, June 20, 2013

Training Day

Frank writes...

On Wednesday, David and I headed out to IRM for some streetcar training.  Though we've both been qualified on Chicago Transit Authority 3142, which is the basic straight-air car that is the museum's regular service streetcar, that doesn't mean we're certified to operate other equipment.  To operate any equipment at IRM you need to be qualified on that specific car (or, in the case of similar types like CA&E wood cars or North Shore steel cars, on that specific type).
Henry Vincent acted as trainer for the day.  First we took out Veracruz 19, which I was qualified on a couple of years ago but which David hadn't yet been qualified on.  We ran that for a few trips.  After a lunch break we brought out Chicago Surface Lines 144, which is one of our more historic streetcars.  Built in 1908, it's the archetypal Chicago streetcar.  The CSL had 600 cars of this series, nicknamed "Old Pullmans," and another 350 very similar cars built two years later that were nicknamed "New Pullmans."  Car 144 was the first Chicago streetcar acquired by IRM and has operated for many years, but it's never been put through a full restoration and it's kind of tired.  Even so, it is a reliable runner and is used several times a year including during the Thomas event, when its high capacity and fast loading comes in handy.
So we took the 144 for several training and line training trips, with David and I trading off as trainee motorman and conductor (David shown above as conductor on the typically large Chicago back platform).  Late in the day we went for qualifying trips and then put the cars back into the barn.  An enjoyable time was had by all.
One other thing we did late in the afternoon was help put Charles City Western 300 back in the barn.  It emerged from Barn 4 for the first time in quite a while to have trolley poles attached.  What a neat piece of equipment!  Though it's not quite operational, Pete and John are hard at work getting it to where it can once again motor.  In the meantime, it will be making its public operations debut at IRM as part of the "Trolleypalooza" super-pageant on July 6th, towed by another locomotive.


patentable said...

Good to see the 144 in operation. Sometime ago I thought there was a push to restore 460 to operable condition to spell the 144? What's the status of the 460?


Randall Hicks said...

Some work has been done on CSL 460 (not to be confused with CA&E 460) but I believe it has essentially been decided not to convert any more CSL cars to railroad style wheels. At some point, and this is probably way in the future, we would like to have some CSL-type track for the remaining cars to operate on. So until that becomes reality, the 460 will probably not operate. That's my understanding.

As always, gigantic donations would help speed things up. :)