Saturday, December 31, 2016

The End is Near

At least that's what the calendar says.  But maybe I've got another one around here somewhere... ah, here it is.  Wow, what a nice picture.  An open-platform Chicago L car -- I wonder when this picture was taken?   Looks like it's from about 1913.   They sure did a nice job of colorizing it.

Be that as it may, you still have until midnight, Central Standard Time, to make a donation to IRM that will be applicable to your 2016 taxes.   Don't delay!

It's never too late to keep working on all of the various IRM projects, of course.  I spent an hour or so sorting parts and rearranging storage in the 150, and then did more sanding and surface prep in the 319, followed by some white primer.

This car is being restored to its appearance at the end of service.  The vestibule was painted red twice, and the second time they just painted around the previous lettering to save time and money.   So that's what I plan to do for the restoration.   Thus the letter L is not covered over.

Having stolen some of my paint, Tim was glad to make up for it by cutting out a piece of glass for me for one of the clerestory windows in the 150.  This is a skill which I tried to learn many years ago without success.

And the finished product matches the template very closely.   Thanks!

Tim's new doors for the 1754 are progressing nicely.

Victor and Bill continue to work on the Pennsy bobber.   They also built this nice new work table with a varnished top, built entirely of reclaimed scrap wood, Vic says.  Pretty spiffy!

Well, that's about it for this year.   Best wishes for the next!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Year in Review: Highlights of 2016

Whatever else might have been going on, 2016 was a great year at IRM.  So let's celebrate!  Be sure to chime in with comments on anything we've missed!
  • Barns 13 and 14 were completed and occupied, putting another 4000' of track under cover.
  • Track construction: Yard 15, part of the new car line, and most dramatically, double-track girder rail in a paved street.
  • The Santa Fe sign
  • Completion and dedication of NWERR 24
  • First operation of CCW 300, LSE 810, and the Metra Highliners
  • First operation in many years of Milwaukee 972
  • Operating crossing gates
  • Acquisition of the B-71 box-cab Diesel
  • In the various department shops, many projects made significant progress during the year, too many to list.
  • Under new management, Rail and Wire is bigger and better than ever.
  • And in operational news, the 1630 pulled the longest steam-hauled freight train in the country in (probably) at least 50 years: 135 hoppers!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Wednesday Report

Because the CA&E wood cars are stored in Barn 8, and have been there for a long time, it's convenient to have a nearby workshop and parts storehouse available.   LSE car 150 serves this purpose well.  I got myself a new set of shelves that were on sale to help organize all the stuff that somehow keeps accumulating, and today I set it up and spent a couple of hours sorting parts and throwing out trash.

Before I cover it up, here's what a typical post looks like: it's full of screw and nail holes, from the days misspent as a flower shop.   Restoring the interior woodwork would be a hopeless task.

Anyway, it helps to have parts sorted and labeled.

Gerry Dettloff and John Faulhaber came over to look inside the 213, one of the MD cars for which they want to rebuild or replace the doors.   They needed to take some measurements and look for parts, so I had a chance to see inside.

I'm pretty sure this very historic bulkhead part is not from LSE 150, but North Shore 150, the first steel car on the North Shore Line.   It promises to be an extremely challenging restoration project, since the rest of the car is missing, but parts is parts.

But let's look at a restoration project that actually has some hope of completion, since Frank Sirinek, Steve Iversen, and Mike Stauber are hard at work on Kansas City PCC 755.   The car now has this nice herald applied.

The door over the front controls in the ceiling has been installed.

The motorman's control panel.

The car has been modified several times over the years.  There are several sets of holes in the ceiling, for instance, and part of the challenge is to determine what configuration of stanchions and so on is correct for a particular time period.

Let's take a ride to the country club!

The car currently has the wrong doors, since they were replaced by SEPTA.  Steve spent most of the day working on rebuilding correct doors from other Kansas City PCC's.   Over the years, Frank and he have collected doors of the correct type from various KC carbodies, a couple in Missouri, and one Kansas City PCC which was stored at a chemical waste dump in New Jersey.   Frank found that one somehow and got the doors from it.  He will go to any lengths to acquire the correct parts!

Tim Peters was not around today, but he has not been idle, of course.  It looks like all four doors for the 1754 have been assembled.

I think I see some sort of pattern here.

Jon Fenlaciki and Norm Krentel were working on the backup switch for the 65.  This box has a piece broken out of it and needs to be replaced.

Also, as usual there were several people from the Coach Dept. working in the shop on their projects, mostly the Rock Island cars, I believe.   But I don't want to step on Roger's toes, so I'll let him report what they are doing on the IRM blog.

Most of the day I spent stripping paint, sanding, and repainting in the 319.

It's nice and warm in here.

Finally, Henry was making nice new wooden plugs for the electrical connectors on the Rock Island coaches.   The blocks protect the contacts from the weather, and also keep people from sticking their fingers inside, much like the plugs you may have in your home to keep small children from inserting objects into them.  Not sold in stores, so we have to make our own.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Let's Have a Parade

Our local newspaper, the Naperville Sun, printed this picture from the Aurora Historical Society.   The date is said to be December 25, 1941.  What I notice immediately, apart from the marching bells, are the tracks in the street and the overhead wire.

The location is easy to determine: we're looking south on Broadway, from a point just south of Fox.  In the distance is the Burlington overpass across Broadway; above the overpass is the Firestone sign, etc.  But the date seems wrong.  The CA&E had stopped running down the middle of Broadway on Dec. 31st, 1939, two years (minus a week) before, and it seems unlikely that the track and especially the wire would still be in place.  (City service stopped in 1934.)  It would be nice to have a more definite year, but in any case, as the bells are saying, Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Greetings

Paolo de Matteis, 1662-1728

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

News from the Trans-Siberian Railroad

Is cold here, comrades.  Earth is covered with ice.  Not enough of New Soviet Man show up to keep trains running.   But still, few lunatics with nothing better to do turn on lights and act busy.  Mostly in shop, where is still heat.

Notice the heat gun.  That has its attractions on a day like this, and there were a few more loose parts from the 319 to be stripped.

And after that, the parts from last time could be sanded down and given a second coat of the finish red.   Looks good to me.

And I spent more time stripping paint in the vestibule, where it gets warm enough quickly.  It appears some of my pictures didn't turn out, but you're not missing much.

Gerry Dettloff was at work welding up the side bearings on the 810.  Here's one he had finished; I think you can see where the pedestal has been welded to the frame at the bottom, and the plate on top.

And here he is welding the next one, on the other side of the car.

 I know that at a minimum Dave Diamond, Rich Schauer, and Bob Olson were there.   A delivery truck or two arrived to drop off new parts of some sort, but I didn't wander out across the frozen tundra to see for myself.  If you want service like that, you'll have to pay for it.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Holiday Shop Report

Today we have pictures of several different projects that people were working on, mostly in the shop.

Victor is painting the stand for his chop saw for working on the Pennsy bobber.  He points out that this yellow is actually an official PRR color called "Camp Car Yellow".  

I painted the 319 vestibule parts that were in primer.  This is a nice festive red, isn't it?

Tim is making good progress on assembling new L car doors.

Inside the 319, I did some more stripping and sanding.

And this door got a first coat of finish red.

Jeff is drilling holes in a replacement beam for the Michigan car.   Behind it you can see the rusted out parts that were removed.  

In the morning, I attended a department meeting to discuss plans for next year.  And one of those plans seems to be a renewed emphasis on cleanliness.  Buzz is in charge of the shop, and he would like the "Lean-2" area cleaned out for tools only, so I emptied our shelf and took everything out to the 150.   Frank and I had been storing various tools and parts here from back when we were doing shop projects on a regular basis.  

Chris and Dan are working on parts for L car third rail beams.

And the Happy Holiday operation was in full swing.  We have several trolley buses available for service on this, the only operating trolley bus line in any museum.   This is the last trolley coach to operate in Chicago.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Outside It's Frightful

OK, maybe that's an exaggeration.  It was certainly cold today, and we can tend to forget what winter can be like around here.  But the driving was OK, so there were lots of people out at IRM today working in the nice heated shop, where it's just delightful.

 I continued work on stripping and repainting vestibule parts for the 319.

Buzz is making new doors for the depot.

And Tim is making new doors for CRT 1754.  In this picture, of course, new framing pieces are holding the old quarter panels.

These doors form a 3-D jigsaw puzzle.

Here's the first of the new window frames for the 150, in the open position.  The front of this single-ended car is to the left in this view.  Also, Tim gave me some surplus pieces of glass so I can teach myself how to etch glass.  As you can see, if the glass isn't etched you'd never know it's there.

And I spent a lot of time stripping and sanding various surfaces in the 319, but not many pictures.

 And then Henry was working on disassembling a deteriorated door for one of the North Shore MD cars. 

Various other projects were in progress, but we always have room for more helpers.

And you can be sure that if you help out, Santa Kallaus will take note.  He's making a list.