Saturday, February 7, 2015

I've Got a Secret

 ... but it's being saved for last.  Meanwhile, Larry Stone was out to help again today, so we concentrated on projects for which a second person is a definite asset.  In the morning, we worked on the new wooden beams to support the grid boxes. Photography here is difficult, to say the least.  One beam was easier to replace, so it was installed and the new bolts have all been put in place with their washers and nuts.  The nuts have not been tightened, of course, but at least now the boxes can't just be accidentally knocked off the platform.

The second beam is much harder to remove, due to the bolts sticking out of it, so I'll have to cut it in half.  The new one should then be easy enough to install.  So this project is going well.

In the afternoon we worked on the last two third rail beams for the 36.   All of the major holes were drilled.

None of our drill presses have a sufficient range to enable the vertical holes through the beam to be drilled in one pass, so we have to start from both ends and hope they meet in the middle with minimal offset, in the same way that the Moffat Tunnel was dug, for instance.   As they say, two heads are better than one, so the holes we drilled all met with an imperceptible error. 

 The castings need to be wire brushed before they are painted, but we'll save that for next week.  Here you can see that the bolts at least line up for attaching the sleet scraper cylinder.   Man, these parts are heavy!  I cannot explain how they can have gotten heavier over the past twenty years or so, but it's true.  

And of course many other projects were progressing.  Buzz Morrisette is working on making new roll signs for the 24, and in the process he also graciously agreed to make a single panel for our Lake Shore Electric car 150, since we don't have all of the roll sign mechanism.  I made a tentative drawing of a destination based on the available photographs. Buzz improved the artwork considerably, and it will look like this, though with white (transparent) letters on a black background.  And the sign box itself is backlit.  So that will be nice.  Then the sign box can be mounted on the front of the 150. 

Explanation: An LSE car running west from Cleveland in the early days could run through Toledo, and then over the Detroit United Railway to Detroit, taking about six hours to make the trip.  Between Ceylon Junction and Fremont on the LSE there were two routes: a northern route through Sandusky and a southern route through Norwalk.  So this sign tells you what you need to know to reach your destination. 

And Bill was working on light fixtures for the ceiling of the 24, so they look as good as new, if not better.  Lots of other stuff was going on, but I didn't get a picture.  So you'll just have to take my word for it.

Anyway, a significant milestone has been reached on one of our Car Dept. projects, but for reasons which I am not allowed to explain, we are forbidden to reveal it until Tuesday.  So you will just have to wait until then for pictures and details.  Ha ha!


JG said...

Whether it's related to the secret or not, the Illinois Central was chartered by the Illinois General Assembly on February 10, 1851 (164 years ago).

Randall Hicks said...

No, but thanks for playing.

And since Abraham Lincoln's birthday is coming up, we could mention that he worked on some important legal matters for the IC during its early days.

Anonymous said...

My grandfather worked for the Illinois Central down in Kentucky Happy birthday to a great railroad!

Glad to hear that some work is going on with the Lake Shore Interurbad! That sign will certainly brighten things up!

Ted Miles
IRM Member

Randy said...

Are the sleet scraper air cylinders going to be made functional?

Randall Hicks said...

Probably not, although for the sake of appearances I would like to eventually get some air hoses and connect them to the pipes on the car, which are still there. A more serious problem is that the third rail cables and conduit were removed from the trucks on the 36, so there's no way to make it look like the shoes are connected to anything. Installing new conduit and cables seems like a lot of work for something non-functional.

Joe S. said...

We have so many spare trucks (North Shore, CTA, ect.) I would think you could borrow some "close" conduits and cables to make them look more authentic. Perhaps a stroll through the material yard on a warm summers day.

Chris said...

The Lincoln discussion is also quite relevant during this year that California has "officially" committed to its own rail plan.

Before the Illinois Central (1851), as a legislator, Lincoln was also involved in a prior attempt at railroad (and road and canal) construction, in 1837, that was supposed to be a "model" for further development. Lets just say that certain states ended up feeling the need to take certain measures with their constitutions in response to their preceding experiences with Whig mercantilism.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that it has something to do with the 972. Perhaps its first move in 30 plus years?

Randy Stahl

David Wilkins said...

For some reason I thought the scrapers on the 308 were operational? Are they? Not that we have any third rail at IRM to scrape, yet.


Where in Kentucky did your grandfather work for the IC?

KY Native.

Randall Hicks said...

The scrapers on the 309 work well, but the ones on the 308 have too many leaks in the system that haven't been fixed. And the leaks haven't been fixed because our Car Dept. inspection form doesn't include checking the sleet scrapers. See, it's always somebody else's fault.

Chris said...

How do those work? Do they just blow air on the rail as they scrape, or does the air actually move the scraper somehow?

David Wilkins said...

The air (actuated by a reused old motorman's brake valve up in the control position), moves a cylinder that pushes the scraper blade down. If I remember correctly, it's an cast iron shoe that has ridges in it that make contact with the third rail and clear any obstruction ahead of the contact shoe.

At MOT in St. Louis, we had a Brooklyn EL car that had third rail scrapers that looked like giant wire brushes.

Randall Hicks said...

David is correct, except that the control valve is not a brake valve, it's really just on or off. The cast iron shoe also has a shunt to the electrical connection, so the scrapers would act as current collectors while scraping the ice off.

If you search the blog for "sleet scraper" you'll find some older posts with a couple of pictures of the mechanism, but I can take better ones of how the whole thing operates. Seeing as how there's so much popular demand.

And actually, I'd like to see those Brooklyn third rail scrapers. How much good could a wire brush possibly do?

Anonymous said...

The Boston Blue Line rapid transit 0500 cars built in 1924 by Pullman had those wire brush scrapers until they were retired. They looked so simple compared to what the CRT/CTA used in Chicago. Bill Wulfert

Anonymous said...

Keith Letsche did most of the work on 1024's chandeliers (light fixtures). I helped him out over several Saturdays. Bill Wulfert

David Wilkins said...

The BRT wire brush scrapers on the car at MOT were also hand actuated, meaning you had to get down on the ground to drop them. I think I have a photo of them somewhere.

Anonymous said...

my father and grandfather were from Russellville, KY; where my grandfather worked on the IC in the Railway Postal Service all the way down to New Orleans.
He also worked on the Louisville & nashville Railroad.

Ted Miles
IRM Member