Monday, August 19, 2013

Waukegan Local via DOWT

Sunday I was back out at IRM for Thomas Day Three.  This time I was conductor on the North Shore train with Ron Seavers as the motorman.  It's been a number of years since I worked on the North Shore cars, so it was interesting to reacquaint myself with the differences between them and the CA&E woods.  For much of the day I was the only conductor, but Keith Letsche joined the crew for the last few runs and manned the 749 while I took the 714.

One object of note in the above photograph is the yellow thing peeking out from behind the 714.  I forgot to get a photo of it, but the "Henrietta," IRM's newest CRANDIC (ex-Rock Island) car, was in public operation following quite a bit of cleanup work by the Coach Department.  This car just arrived on the property earlier this year and, while work certainly remains to be done, it was impressive to see it made available for service so quickly.

The crowd seemed good; it's certainly encouraging to see the parking lot so full.  As with most Thomas days, people seemed to be enjoying themselves and many aspects of the museum's normal operation were revelations.  You mean the train rides are included with my ticket?  You guys are open other times of year too?  All of the people working on the trains are volunteers?  It's always fun to talk with people who have never been to IRM before, and it's encouraging to see the equipment and the operations exposed to people who have never even seen an interurban car before.  I tried to talk up some of the museum's other events, like Labor Day Weekend and the Happy Holiday Railway.  More than a few families seemed very interested in these, particularly the December event.

8 comments:

Randall Hicks said...

We would not normally use equipment painted in completely bogus paint schemes like the "Henrietta" for revenue service, but for Thomas days it seems just right!

Anonymous said...

That bogus paint scheme is authentic CRANDIC. They painted it that way and ran it in service. Not that I'm suggesting that we keep it that way, but it is authentic. Bill Wulfert

Anonymous said...

Hello, Randy and all.

1. The current paint scheme, though faded, IS a proper and authentic paint job for a "special" car of the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway. Mind you, the car was for transporting Santa Claus, not the president of the CRandIC.

2. Just the same, rest assured that we are already tuning up the needle chippers and sanders, and soon the CRI&P 2612, the newest surviving car of its class in the United States, will return to her 1929 Pullman Green and black finery.

Thanks.

Brian J. Patterson
IRM Volunteer
CRI&P 2612 Restoration.

Nicholaus Gawriluk said...

"Henrietta" being in operation brought up something I was thinking about the other day. With days like Thomas, where there are very large crowds, why don't the CNW Bilevels come out? Seems like they would be perfect air conditioned cars that could hold large amounts of folks. Throw BN3 on the head and you're all set. Or are the Bilevels difficult from a logistics standpoint? Thanks!

Nick

Randall Hicks said...

I realized after I posted my comment that we might get into a philosophical argument here. Generally, I believe, we would not consider paint schemes only used in museum or tourist train service to be "authentic", such as those on cars we got from Trolleyville or the Grand Canyon Railway. When the dome car is restored, I'm sure it won't be lettered for GCRY.

I would put the Crandic's use of the 2612 as a party car in the same class, as an example of tourist train service. Perhaps that's something about which reasonable people can disagree. But as Brian says, the decision has already been taken.

Jeron G. said...

Nick, part of the reason for the bi-levels not operating is not being able to secure enough people to crew them. On days like Thomas, you need an engineer, conductor, and 1 trainman at minimum. The a/c systems on the cars received some work last year before the UP family day, but could definitely use some more tuning up to make them more reliable. It's too bad there aren't more people interested in sprucing up the cars a bit and fixing a lot of the little things that would help make a big impact on the appearance and operation of the cars.

Jeron G

Nicholaus Gawriluk said...

Thanks for the reply Jeron. I figured they probably required a large crew. I agree, they are gorgeous cars. Is there a donation fund set up for them?

Nick

Jeron G. said...

Nick, it isn't so much an issue that the train needs a large crew. Typically, the coach train takes any available crew members first, followed by the caboose train if we're running one.

As far as the question about a donation fund set up for the cars, the answer is absolutely! There will be continuing window replacement and rehab work as time and manpower allows, however the main goal first and foremost is to raise money for indoor storage space for all three cars so that gorgeous paint job doesn't suffer from the elements (mainly the sun) any further by sitting outside year round.

Jeron