Monday, July 8, 2013

A Really Big Show

Frank writes...

As mentioned previously, the 60-car 60th Anniversary Trolley Pageant seemed to be a tremendous success. Things generally went smoothly, thanks largely to Joe, Joel, Greg, Rod and many other Car Department workers who did a tremendous amount of work to plan and execute the event.

My wife Bevin agreed to come out to the museum with me for the day, so it was great to have a fireman on my train!  I'd been assigned North Shore 229 towing line car 604, which was terrific because the 229 doesn't see much use.  It's a freight motor, called an "MD car" on the North Shore, and can be interesting to run because it has "suicide cabs" with no door back into the body of the car.  To go from one cab to another you need to climb down, walk alongside the car and climb into the other cab.

Anyway, the day started with a meeting in the car shop; pictured above are just a few of the participants, including our own Al Reinschmidt.  There must have been over 50 volunteers, maybe closer to 75, engaged in train operations of one sort or another to pull off this event.  Many of the trains, including mine, had been staged at the west end of the museum's main line the previous evening, so I followed my father over to Barn 8 to help him get the CA&E wood cars out of the barn.  Below is the interior of Barn 8 after the train pulled out... only seven of the 25+ electric cars normally kept here were not in the parade!
And here's the payoff: the four-car train on the connector track, waiting to proceed onto the streetcar line at the S-curve and thence to the west wye.  As my father mentioned, there was a time when his biggest wish was to get just one car - the 309 - operating.  What a sight!
When we got to the west leg of the wye, we waited there for a couple of revenue service trains to return from their trips, then we loaded 15-20 volunteers into the 319 for a trip out to the west end of the railroad where they would board their trains, like mine already staged.  The photo below was taken after we arrived at Schmidt Siding, which was full of mostly freight and non-revenue equipment, while the main was mostly occupied by passenger cars.  Here Dave Fullarton leans out of the CTA 2000s while Adam Robillard, who was also the morning dispatcher, climbs aboard steeplecab L7.
West of Schmidt, at the end of the line, were more interurban trains.  A five-car North Shore set is followed by a three-car Illinois Terminal train, the IT center-door car, South Shore 1100 in its public operating debut, a two-car South Shore train and the IC MU set.
Other neat equipment seen in the staging area: Municipality of East Troy Railroad (formerly Milwaukee Electric) M15, which hasn't run at IRM in at least 20 years, and South Shore package express trailer (formerly Indiana Service Corp, later Indiana Railroad, interurban car) 504, which has never been operated at IRM.

And that thousand-watt smile is from my father, at the head of the four-car wood train just before departing for the reviewing stand.

Running the 229 and 604 through the station was a bit anticlimactic; Marcus Ruef was car line dispatcher and with help from Joel Ahrendt, who was running around frantically lining switches, we got back into the yards in no time at all.  Below is my train, with Bevin waving from the cab.
Dan Mulvihill helped me with some switching; we dropped the 604 in the barn and picked up the 213, which is an older-type North Shore freight motor that doesn't motor, putting the two-car MD set back into Barn 8. It was a great day and I was glad to be able to be a part of it.  Many thanks to all of the people who did the behind-the-scenes work to make it happen!


Joel Ahrendt said...

I don't know that running around franticly was the right word, but still. I'm glad you had a good time.

Frank Hicks said...

Joel, you're right, "indefatigably" would have been more accurate... you and all the other switch crews did an absolutely enormous amount of work that made it possible for the whole event to go as smoothly as it did!