Saturday, August 31, 2013

Chuck Amstein Photos from Friday

As usual, we have a great selection of photos from our staff photographer, Chuck Amstein, taken on Friday.  And of course, these are copyright by the photographer and may not be reproduced or copied without permission, etc.  Enjoy!

Here is a video of the 803 in operation.

Chuck says: The small steam switcher had mechanical trouble, so this small orange switcher was brought out instead.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Day One

The Friday before the Labor Day weekend was expected to be relatively light.  But we had a reasonably sized crowd, and there were many interesting things going on.  I had classes in the morning, so didn't arrive until almost noon.  I was expecting to to be in train service, but for various reasons we had enough trainmen available, so I changed clothes and did car work instead.

Frank spent all morning painting the 205, and I think he'll have a more detailed post about that.  I helped him with the 205 a little, he helped me with the 36, and then it was time for him to leave, so I got to do some railfanning.  Maybe these pictures aren't the greatest (where's Chuck Amstein when you need him?) but you will see that this is the start of an exciting weekend.

Correction: Chuck Amstein was there, I just didn't run into him!  He took some great photos, but I won't have time to post them until later.  They will be worth the wait.

The South Shore 803 was pulling the caboose train, and I took a cab ride.  Of course, we have better photographers than myself taking pictures of the action.  And we see the Zephyr passing the 803.  Only at IRM!

While we're waiting to depart, a steam locomotive from the 1860's passes by.  That's funny, I don't remember anything like that when we were chasing the 800's back in the old days.

Jamie was the engineer, and also in the cab were several of the younger crowd: Scott, Wes, and Jeron.   It didn't occur to me at the time, but I was probably the only one who saw these locomotives in service on the South Shore.

  On the other hand, I don't think I'd ever gotten a cab ride before.  What a blast!

The Zephyr and the Leviathan were also providing passenger service.  The saddletanker developed a mechanical problem, but the owners are doing everything they can to get it fixed tomorrow.

The only CA&E car running today was the 308.  I kid you not -- that's actually what this thing is numbered.  I suppose imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  So I'm flattered -- Frank, how about you?
Here's what the overall toy train layout looks like.

Finally, among other things, the turbine was moved onto the west wye.  Taking a picture of this locomotive from the side is basically impossible, it's just too darn long.  But the UP herald over Barn 3 makes a nice accent to the picture on the left.  Now you just have to imagine the jet engine in the second unit sounding like an airliner taking off!

See what you're missing?  Come out sometime in the next three days, you'll be glad you did!!!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

We're On Fire!

Smoke was rising over the Museum today, as two steam locomotives were fired up in preparation for the weekend extravaganza!  We haven't seen such a sight for a long time.  This is really going to be a great display of operating equipment.  Say, did I mention this is something you shouldn't miss?

The Leviathan arrived and was unloaded by Dave Kloke and his crew, with the expert help of our own Rod Turner.  In this picture it is awaiting the installation of its pilot, smokestack, and headlight.  I should have worn my sunglasses, the sunlight reflected off the polished surfaces can be blinding!

Meanwhile the saddletanker was also prepped.  Water lines were attached from the water treatment car, and the tanks get to fulfill their purpose in life.  Later it was also fired up, as seen above.

OK, you can relax.  Nothing else was on fire, although it was quite hot and muggy.  I did some more work on the 36, and needing something to do inside our nice air-conditioned shop, I repaired a loose seat arm.  It's probably not evident, but several of the screw holes had stripped their threads, so to speak.  The arm is held on with short flat head screws (white circle), and I suppose it's amazing most of the arm rests are still solidly attached.

I've been doing this sort of repair for a long time.  The holes were drilled out, and 1/2" or so lengths of hardwood dowel were epoxied in place.

Then new holes are marked and drilled, and when it's all assembled, it looks like this.  Nice and solid.  Please don't let the passengers put their weight on it, though!

I also made up one of our "you are there" signs for the end bulkhead and had it laminated.  

Used Furniture Dept.

This once-attractive easy chair came from a CA&E parlor car, and was part of the Johnson Collection.  For some reason it was stored inside the 810, where the cat(s) seemed to amuse themselves by ripping the covering, etc.  And it was no longer welcome inside an active project, so it was unceremoniously moved to the aisle of Barn 4, which is even worse.  We do not have any CA&E parlor cars, of course, but I got stuck with the job of storing it in a cat-free zone anyway.  It's sturdy enough, and maybe with some cleaning I'll be able to relax after a hard day with a nice cold can of root beer....

Tim was showing me some of the castings he has recently received from a foundry in Chicago.  It's near the home of Frank Kehoe, so he does all the leg work in dealing with the foundry, and also making patterns when necessary.  Here we see two complicated door thresholds for the 24, with one of the well-worn originals to the right.  They seem to do excellent work, so I'm going to try getting some of the parts I need this way. 

Finally, I had to switch all four of my cars around to get ready for operations this Saturday and Monday.

Here's the 36 sitting by itself.  It looks ready for service, but of course we need to replace the compressor before it can operate on its own.  If you look closely, you can see smoke rising from the Leviathan in the background. 

For regular service this weekend, we'll be running the 308 and 319.  Aren't they pretty?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Piloting the 36 or Wire Away Your Time

Al writes...

 Found the 36's pilot in barn 4, Frank having needle chipped it last Sunday. I took the opportunity to take a wire wheel to it and cleaned off most of the front. There are a few nooks and crannies that could use some attention.  Wasn't able to turn it over but at least this side is ready for primer.

There was the usual level of activity in barn 4 that Bob K will be reporting in the IRM blog.

A few unusual sights around the campus were this rent a rain water storage tank that will supplement our own portable tank (the milk tank car) to support the steam operation this weekend.

Some preparations for the upcoming steam operations and night photo shoot were also visible.
Here's Lehigh Valley Coal 126, but the Leviathan had not yet arrived.

The 3007 was outside of barn 9 as it will be used in one of the night photo sessions.

Meanwhile the 504 was sitting on station 2 with this rather authentic looking train (except for the last car).

There is a story that a group of students were so upset at leaving the Thomas event that they rioted and turned their school bus over. Actually this was a training scenario for local police departments on Tuesday evening.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

DOWT days 4 & 5 or See You Next Year

Al writes...

I'll make this fairly brief as it fits into the more of the same category. And actually that's a good thing, as the weather was perfect, the crowds were present and the Thomas train operated flawlessly. So more of the same is good news in this case.

Both days were roughly repeats of last Saturday and Sunday, except that we had enough customers that we added a 4:30 train on Saturday. I finally figured out how to get responses from the kids I was interviewing in the "Man on the Street" role other than a yes or no.  We'll see how that goes next time if i can remember it.

 As usual we had 4 cars operating on the streetcar loop and 3 trains on the main line. There were reports of queues for the mainline trains during the mid afternoon.  On Sunday the CA&E steel set was used rather the the North Shore cars.In general we had very few issues with the riding public however it did seem that the folks who were itching for a fight were concentrated on Saturday. Nothing serious but just a few of those incidents that make you shake your head. For example, a car arrived in the parking lot around 5:15 with Michigan license plates asking if this was the place for the Thomas ride. Seems they were a little late but!

One incident produced a very pleasant surprise. After a ride one woman came up to me and told me she was very upset with what she heard in her car. I thought oh boy a complaint to deal with! She then proceeded to tell me that the man in the next seat was complaining about what a rip off the price for the Thomas tickets is , and how the museum was just robbing people for this event. She then told me how she told the man that everything he could see, the barns, equipment, the diesel fuel in the locomotive etc. was all paid for with donated funds and receipts from the event etc. Nice to have some members of the public recognizing that fact.

 Last week I forgot to thank our very useful shunting engine 9255 for providing a view down the tracks for Thomas when he has to back up (that;s my story and I'm sticking to it!) So another Thomas event successfully concluded without any major incident.  By 4 on Saturday we had our routine down to the point where we just might do it again next year.

As you may have seen reported else where 2 significant milestones were achieved at IRM on Sunday. First as Frank reported the 803 was running on its own power, and secondly the 1630 passed its static hydro test.  Thus the steam crew can begin returning the 1630 to looking like an operational steam locomotive.

Restaurant Reviews

The restaurants for days 4 & 5 were old standards.  Sat. night we visited the Red Ox in Hampshire, the food was good, relatively fast and reasonably priced.  They were quite busy, but the service was still excellent.

Sunday we made the usual stop at Donley's.  The 2 weekends of Thomas have to go a long way to making their year profitable, but no special thank yous this time around.  But the food was good and a nice cold Blue Moon hit the spot.

Now if I can just get this sound out of my head. Chugga Chugga Wheesh!