Saturday, January 4, 2014

Lost Weekend

No, this weekend wasn't lost due to alcoholism, as in the famous movie of the same name, but the weather.  When I started out from home the sun was shining and the roads were clear, but west of Elgin it rapidly got worse.  I finally arrived at a nearly deserted museum.  A few other people showed up.  Nigel stopped by to report that the few steam guys on hand had decided to stop work, and went out to rescue somebody who had wound up in a ditch on 20.

Then another member (who probably prefers to remain anonymous) got stuck out by Barn 8, so we picked up shovels and spent some time digging him out.  It was a miniature version of those pictures you've probably seen of an army of men with idiot sticks digging a train out of Donner Pass.  At that point, I decided it was best to go back home.  Sorry, no pictures.  But the Museum will still be there next week.  Keep warm and be safe!


Anonymous said...

I suppose that this is part of the downside of being the ILLINOIS Railway Museum. The big thing is that no one was stuck at Union, everyone made it home, and that at least one non-museum-volunteer was also unstranded on US 20 by the Steam Shop Crew as per Nigel's blog entry on the IRM Blog. Happy New Year, and hopefully the weather improves.


Brian J. Patterson.

Jeron G. said...

The guy who got stuck on 20 was a steam shop volunteer.

Anonymous said...

Would the CGW X38 snowplow have been usable if all this snow had happened during the Christmas Trolley event, and would one electric locomotive have enough weight and power to push it through drifts? That's assuming all the diesels have been drained and winterized, of course.

Mike G.

Randall Hicks said...

I suppose the plow could be used, although I don't know if we'd ever really want to. The Army engine is kept warm with a block heater, so it's available for use, but that's the only one, I believe. And we do not operate the electric equipment when it drops below 25, because the air brake systems are liable to freeze up.

Maybe someone who's been working on the plow can answer whether they ever intend to actually plow snow with it. You have to know what you're doing. I believe those things are easy to derail.

Joel Ahrendt said...

I got out around 1, after taking nearly 2 hours to shovel out my drive. I did clean off the South West sides of 6, 7, and 8 so that people can get into the barns on Sunday.

Anonymous said...

If the snow's deep enough to warrant using the X38, it's more than likely nobody would be able to make it over the roads to the property anyway.

Richard Witt said...

I, Rich Witt, was the one who got stuck in a drift across from barn 8 on Saturday.

IO want to thank Randy and the other guys who managed to get me out.

Thanks guys!

Randall Hicks said...

You're welcome. It's no problem to help our friends out of a problem like that. I've gotten stuck myself a couple of times.

And thanks to Joel and the others for doing the general plowing and shoveling. Such as my old friend Al Choutka, who was driving the big plow on Saturday.

Chris said...

Aside from the block heater being a good idea, I think GE switchers can also use antifreeze coolant since their small engines are different from typical water cooled diesel locomotive engines that have to be warm at all times or drained and winterized. Without the antifreeze capability, failure of the block heater could cause a disaster.