Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Thomas for the "L" of it

Frank writes...

I was out at the museum on Sunday only, working in train service.  This year I found myself on the crew of the museum's CTA 4000 series "L" cars, which I had not worked before, at least not that I can remember.  They're a bit tired but are rugged, dependable cars and they look rather nice inside.  One of the cars, 4412, got a new roof about two years ago courtesy of Tim Peters.  It was done to the exemplary standards that are typical of Tim's work but I noticed that he didn't quite finish the job: there's still a little laminated card in the cab that says "Do not run in the rain - roof leaks - W. Wulfert 9-93"!  I worked as conductor; our motorman for the day was Jim West and the trainman was Dave Hammer.
The crowd seemed good; as can be seen of this photo looking down Depot Street, the property was fairly mobbed with people.  That's always encouraging to see!  It was hard for me to gauge exactly how good the crowd was but it seemed strong.  One or two of our eight (!) mainline trips we had to turn people away, and generally our train was pretty full.  The 4000s carried something like 500 people during the day, I figured.  As usual the visitors seemed to be in good spirits and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  The 1630 was a big attraction, as usual; for those visitors who only make it out to Union for this event it was their first real steam engine experience in a while.
The day didn't go as smoothly for everyone, though.  CSL 144, the first Chicago streetcar acquired by IRM and a longtime member of the operating fleet, suffered an air compressor failure midway through the day.  The silver lining was that CSL 1374 (the "Matchbox"), which was beautifully restored by Frank Sirinek and crew during the 1980s, was brought out to replace it on the streetcar line.  It's always nice to see something different in operation and I'm sure that the visitors who rode on the 1374 were impressed with the quality of the restoration job and the attractiveness of the interior.

No comments: