Saturday, May 28, 2016

Nice and Clean

Memorial Day weekend started off well at IRM, with lots of activity and a good crowd of visitors.

First of all, the big turntable was successfully unloaded on Thursday, and here it is set on concrete.  How long it sits here depends, to some extent, on you.

A lot of cleaning up got done.  The Track Department were out in force, helping B&G by cleaning up OTM from the material yard, sorting out what can be used, and dumping a lot of scrap iron into a gondola.  I meant to get a picture of the gondola but didn't -- sorry!

That helped inspire me to do a couple of hours' cleaning inside the barn.  When I had all four cars pulled out last Wednesday, the area looked like the aftermath of a tornado -- rather embarrassing.  I cleaned up a lot of stuff, but more needs to be done.  It's the thought that counts.

Nothing I did today was worth taking a picture of, but I cleaned up the two service cars, 308 and 319, and made sure they had everything needed for operation, such as flags, and checked the oil, and sorted parts, and retrieved some things from the 321, and so on.

But perhaps the most dramatic event is the return of steam this year.  The 1630 was fired up and used on the coach train, to everyone's delight.

Down by the station, it was a lot like Wheaton back in the 40's.  The CA&E cars are loading for a trip east, while just to the north the steam train is waiting for its departure.  And then two CSL cars were providing streetcar service, within walking distance this time.

And two of the newer CTA cars were running a shuttle service from 50th Avenue to Union.  As a result, the new crossing gates were operating on a regular basis, keeping our visitors safe.  Just like downtown!

Among other things, I spent some time talking to a couple of visiting railfans from Ireland.  They were quite impressed with the size and scope of the collection, as who wouldn't be?  So all in all, quite a good day

The 308 and 319 will be operating on Monday, weather permitting.  Don't miss it!


Anonymous said...

So much for keeping the kid from crossing the tracks until the gates went up. Should give the kid a $500.00 ticket, a new source of income for IRM.

Randall Hicks said...

I noticed that too, of course, but I don't think there's much we can do about it. Anyone want to volunteer to be a full-time crossing guard? In any case the gates are definitely an improvement.

Anonymous said...

A question regarding the shuttle to Union. How does that exactly work? Is there overflow parking in Union?

Randall Hicks said...

No, it's just a relatively short trip we can take in a different direction. In fact, running the so-called shuttle to Union with L cars is especially useless, because there's no safe way for visitors to get off or on the train at the west end.

Anonymous said...

Well, we love you too, Randy. Town shuttles are popular with families with small children who want a shorter ride. 10-15 minutes seems to be a good length of time for those with shorter attention spans and small bladders. Also, it's something different. Variety seems to be a draw for a fair number of the riders. And sitting down for a few minutes in air conditioning, even on a pleasant weekend like this one, is always refreshing in the middle of a busy day.

R. W. Schauer
(Monday's town shuttle motorman)

Randall Hicks said...

Sorry, Rich, maybe I chose my words poorly. Stranger things have happened. The shuttle is indeed a good way to provide a shorter trip without interfering with regular mainline trains, and it is no more "useless" than carrying people out to Kishwaukee Grove. I didn't mean to imply it was a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

If only it didn't interfere with mainline trains, it would be nice to have a little high-level platform down there, but it seems that the few folks who want to visit Union on the day they come to IRM generally don't think of interrupting their IRM visit to do it. (Which only makes sense, of course; we've got so much for them to do....)

R. W. Schauer

Anonymous said...

Rich has one point not to be overlooked. Variety !! Its never been important where a railroad museum train ride actually goes. The museums were created expressly for the equipment. The ride was created for 2 reasons, one is to provide entertainment for the members that restore and finance equipment, the other reason is to provide an income to pay the mundane bills by giving rides to the public.
Running the maximum number of cars and equipment is obligatory in my opinion. It is after all, why a museum like IRM exists to preserve and showcase the equipment. I support the idea od using the West end just to showcase more equipment.

Since the focus needs to be the rolling stock I think the shuttle service could be expanded to showcase more of IRMs iconic equipment. It is to the museums benefit to operate the cars as often as possible. Even though the equipment is stored in buildings the cars can get pretty crusty and sometimes render themselves inoperable. I would LOVE to see IRM install turning loops or wye's so that an even larger variety of equipment can be used more often. IRM has some of the most iconic electric railway equipment in the world like the IRR 65, why not use it? I promise it will stay and better shape if you do.

Randy Stahl

Chris said...

With the long term possibility of extending the mainline EAST, I would hope that plan would involve running some short trips that reverse somewhere around the passing siding. Because I like to ride a few trains when I visit IRM, but I don't necessarily want to spend all day on one thing. The mainline trip is pretty long as it is.

Anonymous said...

To be a contrarian...More equipment running shorter also runs means more crews to run them. More equipment running means more cars to check out every Spring. More equipment running means more dispatching headaches. Having a loop or wye at each end of the line infers that we have the land on which to build them. Now on the other hand.... Most patrons, especially those with kids probably wouldn't notice if a run turned back early, especially if it resulted in more frequent departures on busy days. There are some cars like the Indiana 65 which are a bit more of a challenge to operate on the mainline due to having a single trolley pole. Perhaps a car like that could be run more often on the streetcar loop where you wouldn't have to back or change ends. I don't don't think it is the length of the ride so much as the variety of rides that would appeal to the large majority of IRM's customer base. Just my 2 cents.
C Kronenwetter

Joel Ahrendt said...

A few points. One, is that we have adopted a year round inspection schedule. Which means that every car does get inspected every year, but not all in the spring. Two, a variety of lengths is actually a thought. Kids only have so long they can sit in a train and not become fidgety. That's why I have always thought that more work on the property is better then the bridge over the Kish. I do think that having a variety of equipment in the recent years has made it more exciting for people when they come out. Not always seeing the same cars. Three, we could ALWAYS use more volunteers who wish to work in the shops, or operate cars. Become an Associate, sign the waver and come help us. :)