Saturday, July 2, 2016

Traction Weekend, Day One

Our Traction Weekend celebration started off in fine style, with great weather, a good crowd, and lots of interesting activity to see and photograph.  Our staff photographer, Chuck Amstein, is on vacation, so I had to spend much of the day taking pictures.  But I'm willing to make this sacrifice for the sake of all you out there in internet land.  

Today featured several practical jokes, so to speak.  First, we have two IT passenger cars, coach 518 and business car 234, being pulled by a TM locomotive.  Not much has changed in the IT cars since I stopped working on them about five years ago.

Then, out by the station, dumbfounded visitors look on as the 1630 is coupled onto the Train of the Goddesses.  But no bolts fall from the empyrean; the gods must be asleep.

Be that as it may, the steam-powered Zephyr works well, running several trips, and everybody has a good time.  Lots of people want to get pictures of these unusual consists.

For the conductor, Jim West, it's apparently business as usual.

And then we have the Com Ed locomotive, built for hauling coal cars to a power plant, pulling the caboose train.  The caboose train, of course, is always popular.

Besides all the operating equipment, work continues in the shops.  Another fourth of the Electroliner has been moved elsewhere, and the 972 is now stored just beyond the inspection pit.   That's a good sign of things to come.

The Freight Car guys continue to work on the B&O wagon-top boxcar.  

The new Seattle trolleybus was running in service.

On the streetcar line, the Matchbox was in service today.

Followed by the Green Hornet.

Back in Barn 4, Tim has been putting final paint on the distinctive roof-mounted hardware...

and varnishing the newly-repainted sides.  This car will be absolutely stunning.

The Milwaukee Road dynamometer was on its way to permanent storage inside.

I believe this is the tender for the Burlington 4-6-0 #637.  It obviously needs work, but that will happen as time and money become available.  

Over in the Electroliner, Ed Oslowski goes to great lengths to sand down the heater covers.  Inch by inch, step by step, they're doing what needs to be done to finish this Herculean project.

Eric Lorenz is installing light fixtures in the Cleveland PCC.

And the Vera Cruz open car was pulled out later in the afternoon for service.  It's always a big hit.

While all this was going on, I spent some time checking oil in the compressors and main journals for the CA&E cars, arranging flags, cleaning, and so on.  And then working on various parts, and planning for reinstalling air tanks on the 36.  I also saw several old friends who aren't always around: Lynne Fleming from McKinney Avenue in Dallas, Randy Anderson, and Steve Iversen.

Tomorrow will be completely different.  We're all set for the CA&E re-enactment, and many other trains will be operating, so you won't want to miss it.  (Maybe I should promise that the CA&E cars will be pulled by the Joy locomotive, but no.....)   If you can't be there in person, be sure to tune in to this same station!


Nick Gawriluk said...

Im curious about the boxcar mated with 1630. I know very little about steam, but my understanding is this car is used for water? I would love to learn a little bit about how this system works if anyone has the time. Thanks!

Randall Hicks said...

Well, I can try. The car in question is a steel milk car, built in 1947, and insulated so that milk could be transported for limited distances without refrigeration. There are two large tanks, separated by a center space accessed by the boxcar-like doors. With a little additional piping, it is used for carrying water for the steam locomotive, since we don't have a convenient water tower. Running out of water could be extremely serious. And this car has been in use as long as I can remember.

One interesting side note: the two tanks have baffles to reduce the sloshing around of the liquid inside. If the water level is different, the two ends slosh back and forth at different rates. Ordinarily when you're switching cars, you sort of assume that once a car comes to a stop and sits there, it won't start moving again. But with the "water bottle", I can remember bringing it to a stop, having it sit there for a few seconds, and then start moving under its own power, because the two ends were sloshing at different speeds. Yikes!

Jim Dyer said...

Years ago I worked for the C&NW in Proviso. We used to have to be very careful how we switched tank cars. If we didn't tie them down with three or four good handbrakes and a skate or two, they would continue to slosh and push themselves right out the end of the track, out onto the lead, and into the side or end of anything in their way. True story. I thought it was BS until I saw it for myself. Good idea to tie that sucker down tight when you set it out.
Jim Dyer

Nick Gawriluk said...

Thanks guys for that info. Again a little railroad knowledge I didn't have and now do thanks to the Hicks Car Works blog.

Anonymous said...

I see the 518 has a single trolley pole, but I believe it's an unpowered trailer. Is the pole used to draw power for lighting or braking? Are any of the other IT cars that IRM has equipped this way? Is the only "fully powered" car the 277?

Cliff McKay

Randall Hicks said...

Cliff: Some of the IT trailers had poles to draw power for lights and heat, so they weren't increasing the load on the motor car's pole. Since the trains never ran backwards, the trailer should have its pole pointing to the rear, and there are some pictures in my IT album that show this. We have always had the trailer turned around, however, so that it can supply power for the 277 when backing up. It's our only car like that. And the 277 is the only powered mainline car, since the 233 is missing its traction motors.