Sunday, June 5, 2016

Song of the Interurban

Frank writes...

Sunday was a gorgeous day; predictions of possible rain didn't come to pass and it turned out to be mostly sunny and mid-70s with a nice breeze. Fortunately for me, I had signed up to run the 308 and 319, so I got to spend my day out of the railroad. Also fortunately for me, nothing went wrong and the cars ran quite nicely for four trips. David Streeter was my conductor and my wife Bevin also tagged along to ride trains and get in some reading, not necessarily in that order of priority. Also out were the diesel coach train and IT 415, which ran on the streetcar line and made a couple of rare (for a weekend) mainline trips.

The highlight for me was bringing out my Brunswick Parisian portable phonograph. My who-what, you ask? Well, a side hobby of mine is old (think pre-1930) phonographs and records.  Recently I was looking to acquire a portable phonograph to play 78s on the go when I came across a Brunswick Parisian for sale on eBay.  The Parisian was a super-compact model made in the 1920s that used an "oscillator," basically a folding paper cone, instead of an internal wooden horn to save space.
Weird, eh?  Anyway, the one on eBay wouldn't have caught my eye except for a note that had been written on the back of the original instruction card:
"I bought this in 1930 when I was conductor on the Aurora and Elgin R.R. Used to take it to work with me and play records on the trains. -Dad Nickerson."  Well I couldn't pass that up! So here's Nickerson's original phonograph, back on the 308 and reunited with a CA&E car for the first time in probably 80 years.
The original paper cone is pretty tattered so I used a quickie homemade replacement made out of a manila envelope. But it still sounded loud and clear (albeit a little warbly due to a finicky speed governor) when we played a few records on Station Track 1 between trips.  I can only hope Conductor Nickerson would be pleased!
And there was some exciting streetcar-related news.  First, what you're looking at above is Greg Kepka using a "car mover" lever to move the 205. Greg, Joel, Dan and Richard spaced out the cars on track 73 a bit to ease access to the ends of the car because the same sign painter who lettered the CA&E Trolleyville cars in 2010 is scheduled to come out to IRM next Saturday and apply the silver pin-striping to the 205. After that, and a couple of small items, the car's cosmetic restoration will be complete.

And in addition, the Car Department has returned not one but two streetcars to operation within the past week. First was the 144, whose rebuilt air compressor (see last week's post) works like a charm. Second is the 415, about which our intrepid on-the-spot reporter Joel Ahrendt filed a report:

Saturday, June 4th marked another car returning to service. After a rough start to the day because of rains and charters, a large group of Car Shop workers (Joel A., Richard S., Nick E., and Zach E.) and regular member applicant Kevin wrestled a new air tank onto the 415.  There was much grunting and adjusting but the tank was mounted under the car and tested out.  The old tank had developed a "second drain hole" which was not appreciated! Fortunately for us, we were able to find a company willing to make the tank we needed.

The curious thing about the car is the way the air pipes are run.  Normally, the air comes out of the compressor, runs through pipes to cool it down, then into the first tank (known as the wet tank), and from there to the second tank which is where the air is drawn from to use.  This one has the air coming out of the compressor directly into the first tank, out of that to the cooling pipes, then into the second tank.  We think this was changed to this arrangement when the IT rebuilt the car.


Anonymous said...

Please post a picture of the completed work after the painter is finished
on the IRR # 205!

Ted Miles, IRM Member

Tony Gura said...

I believe Indiana Railroad 205's sister car Portland Traction 4001 (ex-IR 202) is about ready to enter service at the Western Railway Museum.

I found this article from a few months ago regarding the restoration:

Tony Gura