Sunday, September 21, 2014

Showcase Weekend -- Spare Time Edition

IRM's Showcase Weekend went very well, from all accounts.  Saturday included lots of daytime operation, the usual barbeque dinner for the members, and then lots of nighttime operation.  Sunday was more operation.  There seems to be a pattern here: we all like to run and/or ride trains!  I was mostly busy operating, but had some spare time to take a few shots.

David Wilkins flew in from Utah to participate, and he was running the open car during the day.  Frank and I were running the three-car blue train (36, 308, and 309) with the able assistance of Larry Stone.  The weather provided several opportunities for us to demonstrate our ability to overcome obstacles.

Things went well for the first four trips.  Here are a couple of pictures of both ends of the train, but I was too busy to take any more.

The Museum had a good crowd of visitors, many of whom had never been here before.  This is the 36, of course, and since this is the "solarium" end, you can see that Frank is the guest motorman.

There were a few sprinkles on and off during the day, nothing to worry about, but after our 1:30 trip Larry looked at the weather radar on his phone and told us it looked bad -- soon!  Luckily, we were able to set a new record for getting the train put away into the barn.  The dispatcher gave us immediate permission to go to the tail track, and Joel Ahrendt set up the switches and turned on power in the barn, so we were able to get back inside quickly.  In the past it's often taken a half hour to get through all the obstacles.   Five or ten minutes after the cars were put away, a terrific rain storm blew through.  I can't tell you how relieved I was that the cars were safely inside!  Thanks to Larry, Chris, and Joel for making this possible!

So then we had a few hours to spend as tourists.  Hey, the Electroliner is open, let's see what's inside!

Work is progressing on the interior, in addition to main goal of raising the money to rebuild the motors.   John Arroyo was on duty, explaining to visitors the scope of the project.

And then, I went for a ride on a trolley bus.  Rich Schauer was running the Dayton bus around the new loop to get the feel of the newly-installed wire.  This is a big improvement over the old wye.  And of course this is still the only regular museum trolley bus operation in the country.

John Myhre (above) and Randy and Betty Anderson were visiting, among other long-time members.  It's always great to see old friends.

How late is the zoo open?  Frank Sirinek and Bill Thiel were running the West Towns car 141 ("This Car Direct to Zoo"), which provides a great ride, but I never got to see the gorilla.  Maybe next year.

And besides the electric trains and the Zephyr, the 1630 was pulling an extra-long coach train: eleven cars, including the water car, the dynamometer, CB&Q RPO, combine, and seven coaches.  The dynamometer was even carrying passengers.  This train is just about the maximum length that Johnson siding can handle.  Soon we will all have to learn how to "saw by", just like the old days!

After the supper, nighttime operations started.  The blue train made one trip on the main line and once around the car line, and there were many other trains operating, including the Illinois Terminal 277, 518, and 234.  I didn't take any pictures, and I'm no good at night photography anyway, so I'm hoping we'll get some good submissions.  Anyway, it was a blast!

Sunday required some clean-up work.  And during nighttime operations, I had noticed that the brakes were not always releasing as they should.  This was traced to the feed valve on the 36, which had stuck open again.  That's not a big problem to fix, but we want to run the car next Sunday for the CERA visit, so it was replaced with a recently cleaned valve from stock, and adjusted.

And then another corner of the 319's roof was completed, and I nearly got the last one done before running out of time.   Painting should start soon.


Anonymous said...

We had three generations there to enjoy the first ride on the blue cars, as well as the Zephyr. Watched the steam train being assembled, and visited the new exhibit car, with its excellent displays. The museum volunteers did a great job, as always, and other than the mid-afternoon "end of the world" as someone announced over the radio, no problems were seen by anyone. Great job and thanks. Only suggestion would be to post tentative schedule of operations at the depot or somewhere else, so that major milestones don't get missed (ie people waiting for Steam run, Zephyr, or other electric cars). Volunteers would tell what they knew, but sometimes hard to find someone in the know.


Mark Becker said...

Interesting wall decorations in the Electroliner (elephants and palm trees among others). Were these part of the original decor?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the efforts you guys put into making this a wonderful weekend. You are appreciated.
C Kronenwetter member

Randall Hicks said...

Lee: A tentative schedule would quickly become obsolete, and even trying to promise what equipment will be operating is difficult. We do our best to announce what will be leaving in the next 15 to 30 minutes, and that's about all we can do on a busy day.

Mark: They sure were. Rather bizarre, isn't it? Maybe it was supposed to be a family-friendly bar car.

Brian L. said...

The dynamometer got crowded on the trip that left in the pouring rain, but the rain proved that the roof repairs are holding up.

Anonymous said...

Talking to the guys in the Electroliner got me to thinking, how will they go about removing the motors from the trucks between the articulated cars? Jacking up one end of a streetcar and rolling the truck out I can understand, but this job is a bit more complex. How was this done on the CNS&M and at Philadelphia? Drop table or what? How do we plan to do this?

C Kronenwetter

Randall Hicks said...

The motors on the Electroliner are parallel to the axles but are driven through two right-angle gearboxes instead of being geared directly, as in most older trucks. As a result, a motor can be lowered out of the truck, although it's not easy. And I believe we've done that once or twice already. The main challenge is raising enough money so that all motors can be rebuilt at once, so the train will run reliably.

Anonymous said...

What has been the mechanism of failure of those motors? Will running at the slower museum speeds affect future failures one way or the other?

C Kronenwetter