Monday, June 22, 2015

Set Up Running

Frank writes...

I headed out to IRM on Sunday planning on doing some needle-chipping on the 36, but as it happened that didn't happen for a couple of different reasons.

This was the first: the inspection pit lead, where I had planned to spot the 36 to work on needle-chipping, was ocupado.  The "Highliners" have arrived!  A four-car set of ex-Metra, ex-Illinois Central double-deck MU cars was delivered to the museum on Thursday.  Cars 1534 and 1630 (I feel like I've seen that number somewhere before but I can't put my finger on it), built by St. Louis Car Company, and cars 1637 and 1645, built by Bombardier, are the four cars chosen for acquisition.
A crew consisting of Richard Schauer, Greg Kepka and others has already started working on the cars, beginning with the 1534, at the west end of the string.  Above, Greg, "Doodlebug Dan" Mulvihill and Joel Ahrendt (in the red hat) are contemplating the motorman's position on the 1534.  Richard and Greg started charging the car's batteries, which were dead, and were able to get the motor-alternator set running - at least until I stopped by, at which point the MA set promptly died for reasons unknown.  I'm going on the theory that my arrival was not a causative factor in this, but who knows?
Early evening found Greg scraping some blue spray paint off of the Metra emblems on the cars which had, for some reason, been covered over.  This seemed to be going pretty well until someone reminded him that he has seven more to go after this if he's going to do all four cars!  I believe that the intention is to keep two of the four cars (one from each builder) in the permanent collection and to eventually dispose of the other two, but the decision as to which cars will be saved has not yet been made.  Richard said that last year a comprehensive survey of the condition of the 70 or so of the 84 "Highliners" then in service was made, along with input from Metra shop personnel, and we picked four of the cars in the best shape.  So we've got a good starting point.
And the second reason that I didn't get around to doing needle-chipping was that when I arrived on the property at about 1pm the wood cars, which were scheduled to operate, were still in the barn.  A misunderstanding had led to the North Shore cars being taken out instead.  I enlisted Joel's help and we brought the 319 and 308 out of Barn 8, down the connector track and around the car line to the west wye.  When we brought the cars into Station Track 1 the plan was to simply hand them over to Jeff Obarek, the revenue motorman, but there was actually a big crowd at the museum Sunday so instead we were enlisted to run a revenue trip.  I fear Joel and I made for a sorry sight in our work clothes, but the trip was packed and the passengers seemed happy.
After our return the train was handed over to Jeff and his crew, who made two more trips.  It was a beautiful day and between the steam coach train and the interurbans all of the trains seemed rather full.
By this time it was late afternoon and I still had a switch move to do, so I pulled the 36 out of Barn 8 and set it out on the connector track - taking a few minutes to snap a portrait.  Unfortunately this side of the car has neither been lettered nor had a second coat of blue applied, but it still looks pretty sharp, especially with the newly-painted roof.

When the revenue train was done for the day, Jeff brought it onto the ladder track where we uncoupled the 319 and 308 and put the latter car over on track 83 (again, after a quick portrait).  Then I ran the 36 into 84 on top of the 319 and coupled them up; the two Brookins cars will form our revenue service train for July 3rd, which is "CA&E Day" (the anniversary of suspension of passenger service).  Right now the plan is also to have two separate two-car trains running for the Trolley Pageant on the 4th, the "black roof train" of the 36 and 319 and the "grey roof train" of the 308 and 309.
So I ended up operating all day instead of needle-chipping.  Oh, the horror!  How will I ever get over my disappointment?


Joel Ahrendt said...

The Wheaton Shop staff is always ready to fill in, in a pinch when operations requires them.

Josh Jodlowski said...

Out of curiosity, why not keep all four cars and have a nice sized train? Track space costs?

Kinda cool to see Highliners on the property. There's a good chance I've ridden on at least one of those cars!

Joel Ahrendt said...

We actually need spare parts for the cars, and by scrapping two of them, we'll have the neccessary parts without paying for the track space (remember you can always donate to the Highliner fund) for that much car.

Chris said...

Hope you get enough of the older colored seats to fill up a car or two.

Kirk Warner said...

I see in the photo of 319 and 308 that there is red paint overspray on the side of the steps and below the end walkway . Are you going to paint that over with black?

Kirk Warner

Frank Hicks said...

Yes, the plan is to needle-chip and repaint the entire underbody of both the 36 and 319 eventually, which will include getting rid of all of the remaining red overspray on the 319.

Brian L. said...

Will a schedule be posted for Trolley Pageant either here or on the official IRM website?