Monday, April 11, 2016

Museum miscellany

Frank writes...

I made it out to IRM for the first time in some five months on Sunday afternoon.  I thought that I might end up helping with switching, but the weather was pretty crummy so there was a break in the action on that front.  But I did get a pretty good series of tours of progress being made on multiple fronts at the museum.

Norm and Jeff were hard at work, as usual, on the Michigan car.  Last week the new steel framing members at the front left corner of the car were welded into place, as shown here.  It's pretty impressive to see so much of the frame having been replaced.  The next step is riveting, but while they're waiting for the rivets to show up the "work site" is already being transferred over to the front right corner of the car, which will need generally the same amount of rebuilding.
And right across the aisle, Tim was working on the gate car, fitting some fixtures recently overhauled by Bill Wulfert and later painting more truck parts.  What we see here are the newly-turned motor truck axles that will be used on the car.  These axles, along with needed motor components, were acquired last year from the Museum of Transport in St. Louis.  Word also has it that motor work for this car's GE 55 motors is moving along steadily at the motor shop.
This is not a very good photo, but it shows the end of CTA "single" car 30 with newly-mounted saddles and roof boards.  (The white ends of the roof boards are in primer will be painted green.)  And if you look closely, you can see a pantograph shoe, albeit upside down with the horns pointing upwards.  Richard, Greg, Joel and others have been working on this car over the winter to outfit it with prototypical Skokie Swift rooftop equipment.  For the first 25-odd years of service on the Skokie line, the CTA used a fairly unique bow trolley system for current collection.  The plan is to restore all of this apparatus to car 30 as a representative example.
And Richard and Greg had some other parts of the system in the shop for overhaul.  This is a motorized trolley catcher; the motorman on the car would push a button in the cab to raise or lower the bow trolley.
And here are the latches, which were homebuilt in the CTA shops when this system was adopted.  There's a solenoid for latching down the bow trolley as well as a limit switch that tells the motorman when it's latched down.  The motorman won't get a "clear" signal from the car unless the front trolley is locked down as a way to prevent back-poling (though this can be overridden in an emergency).
I also toured barns 13 and 14.  The latter is largely full, though a fair amount of rearranging is yet to do.  The former, shown here, is largely empty at the moment, though that certainly won't last long.  We're standing at the northwest corner in the company of a few electric cars that have been switched into their proper assigned spots, including IT 1702 to the left and South Shore 504 and CSL 1467 to the right.  The cabooses in the distance have just been spotted in that location for the time being to facilitate switching.  What a blimp hangar!

As always, there are plenty of other projects going on.  Joel showed me windows he recently installed in Milwaukee Electric steeplecab L3, currently spotted at 50th Avenue.  I tagged along on a fact-finding mission to CSL 144, which will soon have its rebuilt air compressor re-hung.  Annual inspection work has also started, with the 3142 currently on the pit.


Anonymous said...

Frank, I am glad to hear that you made it out to the museum!

i have a question about turning wheel sets. I know that both ends of an axel need to be the same; down to several thousands of an inch. But do both pairs in a truck also want to be the same size? Unless of course they are maximum traction trucks with small and large wheels.

Great to see all the progress as the museum comes to life for another season!

Ted Miles, IRM Member

Don Bosan said...

Excellent news on the Skokie car! I hope the 52 is kept in the same configuration. Do you happen to know the dimensions of the wood for the roofboards on that PCC? I'm building a model of a 1-50 in that configuration and I'm trying to get some of the detail parts.

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. Bosan- Thank you for your encouragement on car 30. Car 52 is not undergoing any roof work at this time and none is immediately planned; about 18 years ago the trolley boards and saddles were replaced due to deterioration and they are still in excellent shape. As for the wood on car 30, the 8 boards are 2x12" dimensional lumber and the 23 saddles are 2"x3" actual. The spacing between boards is not uniform; the middle gap is about 1.5" and the outer gaps are about .75". The raised portion of the saddle brackets is 50" long. The boards were 24' which we cut to end about 6.5" from the end of the carbody. Incidentally, cars 1-4 are different and use 5 boards across, the middle one being narrow. R. W. Schauer