Sunday, November 1, 2015

Buses and Tarps

Frank writes...

Sunday was my last day out at the museum for a while; my job has me on the road for much of the winter so I tend to be a "sunny day" volunteer despite my best intentions.  But I tried to make the most of the day.  The first job was to test the grid box I installed last week, which I did with the help of Joel Ahrendt.  The good news was that it tested fine; not even any sparks!  The bad news was that when Joel went under the car to drain the air tanks he noted that one is leaking at the end of the tank.  So that tank, the inboard main reservoir tank, will need to be replaced.  Rats.

I didn't get any photos of the 36, since nothing visibly new happened, but after that I went over to the Hoffman garage and got another "bus tour."  Since last weekend IRM has acquired two more buses from the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis; this is the last of our last bus acquisition from MOT.  The first is pictured above and below.  All bus photo are by Richard Schauer and were taken earlier in the week when the buses arrived, so all rights reserved, don't republish, etc etc.
It's a Yellow model 716 bus from Connecticut Company, ConnCo's number 590, built c1937 if I remember right.  It's a diminutive little thing that seats only 23 people.  Chicago didn't have any buses exactly like this but the CSL did have a number of similar models from other builders, some this size and some even smaller that looked like bread trucks with windows.  In the above rear view note that the back of the bus is sloped, like a sedan of the era, and would have a spare tire mounted under the rear window.
Of the four buses acquired from MOT this one is in the best shape.  The seats probably don't even need to be reupholstered, though it needs new windows and some woodwork on the roof among other things.  Note that the engine sits in the front of the bus to the right of the driver, meaning the door is set back a few feet to make room.  Weird.
And the final one is this trolley bus from Indianapolis Railways, which was in the roughest shape of the new acquisitions.  This is a Brill built in 1934 and fills in a gap between IRM's Brill trolley buses CSL 84, built in 1931, and CSL 192 and 193, built in 1936.  Is that the low tire pressure alarm I hear?
This is one of only two survivors from Indianapolis Railways and the only trolley bus.  The other survivor is actually of the same vintage and heritage: a Brill Master Unit streetcar shell owned by an outfit near Indianapolis.
This trolley bus needs a lot of work but it's complete and it's our only piece of equipment from the Indianapolis street railway system.
But let's get back to work.  There were a bunch of us gathered in the Hoffman garage gawking at buses, and the gang agreed to help out with tarping the 321.  We'd been talking about this for a couple of months but it was always too windy.  With no wind we headed out to Yard 11 to get to work.  The above photo was taken by Gwyn Stupar and shows what a 30'x70' tarp looks like when it's rolled out.
There was a big crew that helped out: Joel Ahrendt, Greg Kepka, Ray Piesciuk, Richard Schauer, Joe and Gwyn Stupar, and Bob Sundelin.  A big thank you to everyone!  Above Joe, Ray, Gwyn, Bob and Joel (back to camera) are seen as we start to rig the tarp up to haul it over the roof of the car.  Yes, the 321 already had a tarp on it, but the tarp had become porous due to UV radiation so it needed to be supplemented.
This morning's Daylight Savings Time switch didn't do us any favors and it started to get dark around 5pm as work progressed.  Here's the tarp in place but not yet tied down.
And it's dark but the work is just about done.  Cargo straps are used to keep the tarp in place.  Joel did some final clean-up, tying up the ends of the tarp.
And here Joel is tying up the tarp corners while Bob conducts a visual inspection of the shop truck journal.  The hope is that this tarp will only be needed for a few months, as the 321 is one of the cars that will go into indoor storage once Barns 13 and 14 are approved for occupancy.  Once that happens we can remove the tarps and examine fully the effects of six years of outdoor storage.
So what else was happening on the property?  Ed Oslowski was working on repainting the smoker/baggage compartment of IT 277.  And Norm, Jeff and a new volunteer were hard at work on the Michigan Electric car; above Jeff is seen cutting some new steel plate.  Work at the moment is focused on the front left corner of the car.
And then there's the Electroliner, seen in the background with three of its motors in the foreground.  These are from the end trucks, both of which have now been removed and replaced with shop trucks.  The center (idler) truck is also out, leaving only the second and fourth trucks to be pulled and replaced with shop trucks.

Which reminds me: the mystery item from a week ago?  It's a "Liner Lifter" - a fixture that was fabricated in the IRM car shop last week to make it possible to lift an end car of the Electroliner without screwing up the pilot.  Just put the forks of a forklift under the pilot, put the Liner Lifter in place so that you're lifting the center sill (the pin on the tow bar pocket keeps the fixture from shifting), and raise the forks.  Voila!


Randall Hicks said...

I would like to add my personal thanks to everyone who helped with tarping the 321. It's greatly appreciated!

David Church said...

Looks like Yellow 716 would be really neat for a new bus route around the grounds and carry folks out to those new barns.

Joel Ahrendt said...

Just keep an eye on the straps and let the Wheaton Shop know if you need replacements. And despite the pictures of the busses.. They really aren't that bad, just some glass, paint and tires and they would look like a million dollars. And the best news, they are saved. Kudos to the Bus Department for their foresight in picking busses that complete our collection.

Brian L. said...

Out of curiosity, is a replacement for the 36's bad air tank something we have or will one have to be made?

Randall Hicks said...

We have a good number of spare tanks on hand, and I would hope we can find an exact replacement.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the North Shore Line's Waukegan bus service have a few of those Yellow buses?