Friday, October 31, 2014

Shrink Wrap While You Wait

 On Thursday three electric cars were shrink-wrapped for preservation until the next two barns are ready and they can go inside.  We hadn't had this done at IRM before, although the 1218 was received from Cleveland in shrink wrap, and it seems like a good thing to do.

CSL 4001 and two Shafer cars, THI&E 50 and 58, were moved into Barn 6 for the process.  The work was done by local contractors who have experience shrink-wrapping boats and RV's and things like that, so they know what they're doing.  

The 4001 is an aluminum-bodied streetcar, sort of an upside-down boat.  The plastic sheet is spread over the car and fastened down at the bottom.

Then a blow torch is used to shrink the cover onto the body.  If any holes open up, they're patched with plastic tape, sort of like duct tape, that matches the white plastic.

Work went quickly; they were done before 1:30 when I checked in again.   The cars will now go back to the south yards.


I spent the day stripping and painting in the 36's smoker.  Here we see some of the inlay on the interior walls.  It's unfortunate this has to be covered up again, but if I had to strip every last bit of paint from this wood, I'd quit.  Sorry.

I sanded down the back of the electrical cabinet and later painted it with white primer.  The "after" picture mysteriously vanished.  

Three more ventilators from the 102 were stripped and installed, so the smoker has all new ones.  The three new ones will need another coat of primer, as you may observe.

I also started stripping the pocket door.  The color looks weird due to the lighting conditions, but in person, at least, you can see the nice grain patterns in the panels.  Repainting the interior will not be a quick process.

On a walk out to look at the 321, a ballast regulator was sweeping up yard 13, and raising a lot of dust in the process.


It's been quite a while since we talked about Illinois Terminal antimacassars!  A friend who wishes to remain anonymous, I'm sure, recently donated two nice originals to add to the Museum's collection.  He says he "stole them fair and square from the IT back in 1953".   We're always glad to act as receivers of stolen goods if they have historic value, so if your conscience is bothering you, we'll be glad to help you out.  And I can promise you I won't remember where they came from.  As you've probably noticed, with advancing age my memory is fading rapidly....   Now where was I???


Nicholaus Gawriluk said...

Im commenting on a subject that I really know nothing about, so Im not trying to be a wise guy, but the 4001 sure looks like a lost cause. Does this car really warrant the shrink wrap and future barn space?

Randall Hicks said...


That's actually a valid question, so you don't have to apologize. Complete restoration is unlikely, but the 4001 is an interesting and unique experimental model that led to the development of the PCC. Its history can be found in the "Individual Car Histories" section.

The body structure is all aluminum, so it's in better condition than might appear. With a little more surface prep, it could be made ready for painting once it's back inside. With windows replaced, and mounted closer to the ground the way it should be, it could be an effective and informative static display. The main liability in the original design was that the roof was mostly Masonite, actually, so that needs to be covered to prevent further damage to the wiring and other parts of the car.

Frank will no doubt have more to say on this, as he's the project manager. But we think preserving this particular car is still a worthwhile thing to do.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely the 4001 warrants preservation. How many of the pre-PCC developmental cars are left? And this is the only surviving one from Chicago.

Nicholaus Gawriluk said...

Thanks for your answers guys. This diesel fan is slowly learning about the electric side of life.

Randall Hicks said...

I'm sure Nick was not suggesting that the 4001 should be scrapped. But the question of whether shrink-wrapping it was a good investment is one on which reasonable people might disagree. It had been tarped a couple of times and the tarps kept ripping and falling off.