Thursday, September 12, 2013

Finishing the Pilot or Tours, We Give Tours

Al writes...

I was out to IRM twice this week.

Yesterday I did spend some time painting the pilot on the 36  that Randy and John had mounted on the car last Saturday. The day started out warm and partly cloudy but by one o'clock we did have some fairly heavy rain. Fearing that I would melt I was stuck in barn eight  after  finishing the pilot until the rain ceased.

Then I went over to help with activities in the shop and to see how I could help Rich Witt with his plans to assemble the third rail beams which requires a tricky bevel cut for the beams. These are required to clear the leaf springs on the trucks. Rich is still designing a system to do this but had not yet started on the task. So I decided to help out with the CTS PCC by priming several of the car card racks.

One significant advancement noted in barn 4 is that the Lake Shore Electric 180 is now wearing new headgear. Canvas is being stretched to finish the roof installation. This will complete the outside restoration of this box trailer.

On Sunday I had the opportunity to provide a tour for several guests.

The primary guest was Mr. Jun Kobayashi of JR East, which is the privatized part of the former Japanese National Railways consisting of the routes around and north of Tokyo. It is been reported that JR East is the most profitable railway in the world with an operating ratio of around 40%.  All those commuter trains you see running side by side in the videos and simulations of Tokyo are JR East operations. But there are some bucolic lines as well, even within the Tokyo suburban network.

Typical Tokyo Commuter Line
Suburban Branch Line in Tokyo
Accompanying Mr. Kobayashi, Was Bob Kollmar and his wife.  Bob is is director of Engineering, Communications and Train Control for the Association of American Railroads.  In that role he is the AAR's primary contact on technical issues on those topics with the FRA and the FCC (no don't blame him for your radio or scanner being obsolete due to narrow banding, that far predates him).

I pointed out to Mr. Kobayashi that JR personnel studied the Electroliner when developing the Shinkansen concept and that a donation from JR might be appropriate.  We'll see where that goes.

One unfortunate thing was a result of the filming at IRM on Friday.  As noted in other posts some of the steam locomotives from barn 9 were parked on the streetcar loop.  Mr. Koboayashi is a bit of a tram fan but we were unable to give him a streetcar ride.

BTW JR East has one of the nicest museums around, sort of modeled after York in the UK.

  I could post a few more photos from the museum if there is interest.

1 comment:

Randall Hicks said...

An operating ratio of 40% is amazing! Are you sure they're not cooking the books? I started to wonder what IRM's operating ratio might be, but with a setup like ours it's probably impossible to define.

Anyway, I'd like to see more pictures of the museum, and also that narrow-gauge interurban line. Japan looks like a great place for railranning. Now if I could only concoct a reason for the university to send me to Tokyo!