Thomas the Tank Engine is at IRM again this year, and the first day went off without a hitch. By now everybody knows what to do, it seems. I wasn't signed up for anything, but on call, so I had some time to walk around and take pictures.
As usual, Thomas has a long train to pull, in order to hold all his friends and their families:
That's a hard job, so this year the IT Diesel was helping out at the other end.
This is the main part of our fantastic sound system, which broadcasts announcements and music over most of the property. The announcers' tent is located behind it. I hadn't realized it, but our old friend Andy Chmura supplies all of the PA equipment for the DOWT festivities each year. You can't get away from it. It can only be considered a good thing that my tastes in music are ignored, I guess.
Al Reinschmidt just can't stay away. He does a great job as an announcer. Behind him, Harold Krewer is giving instructions to Kevin Brown, part of the train crew, while Andy looks on. Harold and Al sit there all day and keep the festivities going -- I can't imagine how they do it.
Up at the station, this is Percy, an 0-4-0, who is new this year.
And just yesterday, the Santa Fe sign was installed. Isn't it impressive?
The 1630 passes by on its way to couple onto the Percy train on Station 1.
Here it is coming east on the main.
And here's a video:
Meanwhile, there are huge crowds clustered around Thomas. He's still the main attraction.
On the streetcar line, we have the usual four cars, mostly CSL. First, the 4391, with Dan Buck as motorman, whom you probably can't see.
The conductor at this point was his brother Chris; they probably take turns, as usual.
Frank Sirinek is the motorman on the 3142, a one-man car.
Motorman on the 144 is Bill Thiel.
With Randy Allegrezza as conductor.
Finally, Bob Opal on the 415.
And there's lots of Thomas-related activities going on. The Fat Controller is wandering around ,when he's not posing for pictures with the children.
There's a big G-scale layout on display.
There are several battery-powered Thomas engines you can ride.
The Union police and volunteer firemen were out in force, with a portable fire hydrant to play with. At least I think it's portable, it wasn't there before.
And the store we looked at last week was busy, and there was a big pile of sand to play in, and bouncing tents, and I don't know what all else. Who could ask for anything more?
Some of the guys, however, don't let anything stop them from their appointed tasks. Eric Lorenz was painting newly fabricated parts to finish the interior of the Cleveland PCC.
Victor H. and Bill Peterson have finished painting the B&O wagontop boxcar, at least with a first finish coat, and are justly proud of their work. The final finish coat will be sprayed by a contractor, and then it can be lettered.
Vic pointed out the slack adjusters on this car at each end. This is mounted alongside the coupler. It's amazing how easy and convenient this device is. (The slack adjuster keeps the brake system working properly as the brake shoes wear down over time.) Keep this in mind, we'll get back to this subject in a minute.
Since I had some free time, I decided to take on the task of rebuilding another GE control jumper. We had one that had been accidentally damaged. This is the end casting, which had been bent out of round.
Richard helped by setting up our 20-ton hydraulic jack and forcing it back into a circle, or close enough. I've taken all the parts home for reassembly.
Tim would continue working on the 24 if Godzilla were approaching. The seat backs are in place, and he is cleaning up the inside of the car.
Later, I noticed him painting the metal parts on the east end of the platform.
Joel and Richard spent most of the day inspecting the 749, then used it to pull the 972 over the pit.
Here is one of the automatic slack adjusters for the 972. It's too complicated to explain in detail, but the experts came to the ineluctable conclusion that it wasn't well designed for the task at hand. It turns out that not all EIB (Elliptical Integral Bolster) trucks are alike, and the 972's slack adjusters needed to be modified.
With the car over the pit, Joel, Richard, and Thomas went to work to install the slack adjusters. This car is getting close to operation. Here's Joel working on the installation...
and when done, it looks like this.
And of course, there was a lot more going on, but the clock on the wall tells me it's time to go. Thomas will be back tomorrow, and then next weekend, so be sure to show up!