Saturday, January 23, 2016

Looking Ahead

Our new source of rental income is being put to good use.  Several truckloads of ties arrived and were being unloaded by the Track Dept., and more are on the way.  These will be put to use building the next two tracks in Yard 15 and the southern car line extension, followed by the streetcar track down the middle of Main Street.  That's really exciting!  

Tim is making good use of the new pit heater.  Now that the 24 is over the pit, and won't be moving any time soon, it can be sealed up so the underbody will be warm enough to work on for the next couple of months.  The control system will require a lot of work.

Since most of the tracks are blocked by stored hoppers, which are earning us good money, it may be a while before anything can be moved into the new barns in any case.   I walked over to see how the electrical installation is progressing.  The recent cold snap has undoubtedly hampered the contractor's efforts.

In Barn 13, the south wall appears to be pretty much complete, and the north wall is in progress.

In Barn 14, materials have been set out, but not much has been done since Max finished installing the drop and the main junction box.

As for car 36, I first painted the remaining window shade tracks with a first coat of finish color in the shop, but forgot to get a picture of it.  After the car warmed up, I finished putting a finish coat on the rest of the ceiling.   This will probably be enough for most of it.

And I painted three of the remaining six arm rests before running out of time.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Arizona Railway Museum

The Arizona Railway Museum is a non-profit volunteer organization with a basically static collection in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler.  It's open on weekends, but due to the climate the museum is closed from June to August or the middle of September (our busy season!!).  They moved to the current location seven or eight years ago.  The storage yard is nicely laid out, and there is an interchange switch with an active freight spur.  Some of the cars are privately owned and are Amtrak certified, so excursion trips can be run.

This building houses the visitor's center, gift shop, offices, and crew facilities.  The visitor's center is fairly small but has some nice displays.

And now, out into the yard.  Most of the collection consists of relatively modern passenger cars, largely from the Santa Fe and SP.  Some are open for visitors; others are privately owned and not part of the collection.

Here's a good example of making a virture of necessity.  This old heavyweight was presumably gutted for work train service.  Along one side, there are seats from many different railroads and eras, all labeled.  It makes an interesting display.  And I was told that Jerry McGonigle had worked on this car.   It looks nice!

At the far end, there are a couple of streetcar seats, and a wooden bench from a Hawaiian narrow-gauge car.

The signal display.

This Toronto PCC was on display in downtown Phoenix for several years, advertising the coming of a new light-rail system.  After the LRV's started running, it was no longer needed and sold for $1 to the museum.

This is an E8 originally from the North Western, then Metra.   As the sign says, it passed through several hands before winding up here.

The museum's standard signs hook onto the rail, as you can see here.  The signage on the whole is very good.

This Pullman car, currently the Federal, was once the Lackawanna business car Anthracite.

This is the only steam locomotive.  You can walk up into the cab; all the controls are labeled, and you can ring the bell

I talked to a couple of volunteers who were working on this box car, which will serve for additional parts storage and a workshop.  They have about 50-75 active volunteers, many of whom work in the gift shop or as docents, for school and charter groups.  There's always more maintenance to be done, of course, and several things have been repainted.  In this climate, though, indoor storage is not a priority.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Visit to Tucson

Last week Frank and I and our family were in Arizona for my daughter's wedding, and I had a chance to visit Tucson.  The Old Pueblo Trolley group used to run cars down the middle of the street in a heritage trolley operation.  Part of the line used original streetcar tracks with the paving removed.   Unfortunately, this was stopped when a modern light rail line was constructed along the same route, and the old tracks were removed.  The Old Pueblo is now in a state of suspended animation, at best.

The operating cars are still stored at the old carbarn; there is no longer any connection onto the street.  The shops for the new light rail line are a block away.

These are all foreign cars, so they don't appear in Frank's database.  They are from Belgium, Japan, and Portugal.  Some other equipment is either stored elsewhere or has been scrapped.

 The single trucker appears to be in very good condition, as it's under a roof.

I can remember riding this Japanese car (above) with Frank many years ago.  I think we were sitting on folding chairs.

And this is what the modern cars look like.  Unlike most modern LRV installations, such as Dallas and Phoenix where the cars are almost entirely on a dedicated ROW, the Tucson line is mostly in the middle of the street among unrestricted traffic.   And parts of it are single track.