Monday, October 31, 2016

Lake Shore Electric 150

More photos of cars in the IRM collection sent to us by Art Peterson.

All Images Copyright by the Krambles-Peterson Archive

Pictures of Lake Shore Electric car 150 in service.   The first photo, by R. V. Mehlenbeck, is dated April 2, 1938, and I think it's at Eagle Avenue; the other two are unidentified.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Our Tax Dollars at Work

On our recent trip to Denver, we took a ride on the new electric line to the airport.   I couldn't help but notice that at every grade crossing there are nice new four-quadrant gates, but there are also at least two flagmen, one on each side, to flag the crossing.  As the train passes, the flagman is standing there in front of the gates, holding a stop sign or a red flag, although there's no way you could drive around the gates.  What a waste of time and money!  Unfortunately, I couldn't get a good picture because of the screens in the windows.

But wait, it gets better.

The same thing is true on the line to Arvada, even though it isn't open yet and no trains are running.   There are flagmen (or women) stationed at every grade crossing, waiting to flag non-existent trains.  So they just sit in their lawn chairs all day.  And our cousins who live there say they are there 24 hours a day!  Nice work if you can get it.  Who ever thought this was a good idea?!?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

It Actually Lights!

Today's big news is the lighting ceremony for the Santa Fe sign.   That will appear later.   I started by working on air leaks on the 319, and caulking holes in the roof of the barn.   But then, I got to help on something else.

Henry Vincent needed help picking up a model railroad layout that was donated to IRM, which will be installed in our model railroad building when it gets built.  The layout was built by an Explorer Scout group in Elgin that has evidently folded due to lack of interest, and the building, seen below, has a large number of HO modules of various sorts.  There was a lot more we could have taken, but we have only so much room to store all this stuff until the building gets built.

 One interesting thing is that this building was built along the right-of-way of the E&B, at the point where it crossed the creek on a trestle.  Unfortunately, there are no remnants left.

When we got it back to the Museum, it was stored in a baggage car with the help of Roger Kramer and Jeff Button.  Eventually, you'll see it on display and in operation.

The B&G and Track Dept. guys spent all day cleaning up the west part of the material yard.   By the end of the day, you'd hardly recognize it.   

And at the end of the day, we had the big Santa Fe sign lighting.   There was a good crowd of people there. 

Our Executive Director's idea of dressing up:

There were several good speeches, explaining the history of the sign, how it came to be saved, and thanking all the people who contributed to this project.   First, Nick Kallas:

Norm Krentel:

Dave Diamond:

Andy Williams, from BNSF:

And Jack Barriger IV, who worked for the Santa Fe in the Railway Exchange building.  

Finally, the sign was lit.  It's magnificent.

I didn't stay around until it actually got dark, because I had other things to do at home, such as watch the World Series.   But in a week or two, after the time change, I'll post a picture of it after dark.  Stay tuned!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Our Fort Wayne Cars

More photos of cars in the IRM collection sent to us by Art Peterson.

All Images Copyright by the Krambles-Peterson Archive

For today, we have pictures of cars in the IRM collection that ran on lines out of Fort Wayne, Ind.

Fort Wayne Van Wert and Lima car 91 at Lima in 1932

And at Spy Run (Fort Wayne) on Oct. 17, 1935, after service was abandoned.

And then, a picture of the brand-new Fort Wayne and Wabash Valley 504, at the Indianapolis terminal.

And just to change the subject, Bill Wall sends us a picture from New York City, of all places:

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Base Ball Today

An anonymous reader sent in the following picture.  Feel free to submit your own caption, unless you're from Cleveland.

Wednesday Report

It was raining all day today, most of the time.   That doesn't stop us from most of the things we want to do.  However, it makes it clear that there are several leaks in the roof of Barn 8.   Most of them, for whatever reason, are over the sidewalk, but it appeared that there is one over the 319 and one over the 150.   Luckily, the 319 has a nice new roof job, so there's no damage being done to the car (yet).  I put a piece of plastic over it, and by Saturday, I hope the wood will be dried out and I can patch the leaks with caulk.   This has been done before.  As for the 150, it still has tar paper in good condition, so water isn't leaking into the car, what there is of it.

I wanted to continue with the same things we did last week.  Frank had needle-chipped several parts of the 36's underbody, and they needed wire-wheeling.   I couldn't pull the cars outside, so the work had to be done inside.  Artificial lighting is not as good, but it will do.   Here I am working along on the truss rod.

And next, this is the last pilot that hasn't been painted yet, after being cleaned off.  

By the way, the photo gives a good idea of the way the pilots on the wood cars were modified during WWII.  Below, we have an artist's impression of what it looked like originally.  The vertical bar has been moved inward, and the third horizontal bar was cut off.  The reason for this appears to be that the North Shore needed extra equipment on weekends to handle heavy traffic on weekends for swabs on liberty, and the CA&E had surplus cars on weekends because of no commuter runs.  In order to move trains between the two lines, they had to negotiate some sharp curves on the Met L lines never used before by CA&E cars, and the pilots were liable to short out on the third rail.   

However, these equipment trades only happened a few times, and it appears only steel cars ever appeared on the North Shore.   Nearly all wood cars had this modification made; the 303 at Warehouse Point is the only preserved car with the original pilot.

And after painting, it looks like this.

One of the stepwells.

And later, I painted black all of the parts on the 319 that were painted with primer last week.

Say, did we tell you about the lighting ceremony for the big Santa Fe sign this Saturday?   You'll want to be there.  Two big Santa Fe locomotives will be on display, and they've been staged in front of Barn 9 in preparation.

This is your chance to get some pictures of the 2903, which hasn't been outside for a long time.

I don't know how far down the wye this engine will be moved.  I well remember watching it being moved up the west wye after it arrived back in 1995.  It has the longest rigid wheelbase of anything we own, and it barely made it around the wye.   The ties were moving back and forth several inches, as the big Northern tried to straighten out the track.   They had people watching all the wheels, and several times the movement had to be stopped as the wheels started to rise up on the flanges.  It was pretty amazing.  

And next, it appears all of the paving blocks have been installed over on the street scene, the concrete has been poured, and gravel is over the blocks and just needs to be cleaned off.   That's just my amateur opinion, of course.

While finishing up several parts of the 24, Tim has also started working on some doors and windows for the 1754.

Rich Witt is still working on blueprints for new parts for the Dover Strait.

Gerry showed me some welding he's done on the Michigan car.

And there were other things going on, too many to list.   

Electric Train to the Airport

Denver now has an electrified railroad route from Union Station to the international airport.  As a result, the station is now a very busy place, and surrounded by new buildings being built around it.  The cars are similar to ones built for SEPTA, running on 25kV 60-cycle AC.   

This train is built for speed.  It says so right on the side.

We took a ride out to the airport and back, which was pretty interesting.  It takes about 40 minutes, although that could be reduced if they ran express trains making no intermediate stops. They are currently running on a 15-minute headway.   The interior of the car looks like this.   I couldn't take any pictures out the window because the windows have metal screens built into them.  I had guessed these were to protect us from rocks and small arms fire, but after reading up on it, the screens are probably there to reduce interference with electronic devices inside the car from the high voltage AC traction power.

And the TV screen runs ads and helpful public service announcements.  Sorry for the blur.

Five years ago I took this picture of Union Station from the west.   You won't ever get this view again; the entire area between here and the station has been filled in with high-rise buildings and ugly modern platform canopies over the tracks.  

And today it looks like this.

Further extensions to this system are planned.  In the town of Arvada, where we were staying with relatives, a new line has been built on the ROW of an old freight branch.  It's almost complete, but not yet in operation.   You will notice that there's wire over only one track so far.

As usual, in my opinion these systems are way over-engineered.  All the grade crossings have gates, including small pedestrian gates on each side, which is fine.  But here there are also fences to make sure nobody can walk around the pedestrian gate, but would have to duck under.   What happens if the gate comes down and you're stuck on the wrong side?   There is a small door that you can push one way to get away from the track, along with extra fences and barbed wire.  I've never seen anything so complicated for a ground-level installation.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Santa Fe Sign Lighting

Historic Michigan Avenue Sign to Light Up Again at the Illinois Railway Museum in McHenry County

Union, IL - A giant piece of Chicago history is coming back to life at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, McHenry County. On October 29, 2016 at 5:00pm the 70-foot long illuminated SANTA FE sign which for decades sat atop the Railway Exchange Building at 224 South Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago will be re-lit following an extensive restoration effort. The sign was acquired by the museum in 2012, when it was removed from the building and donated by the building's owners, Hamilton Partners. Restoration of the sign, which was constructed in 1982 to replace an earlier 1962 version, took place in 2016 courtesy of a grant from the BNSF Foundation.

Restoration of the enormous sign was conducted by MK Signs Chicago. "Over 260 man-hours went into this project," said Dave Diamond, head of the museum's Buildings & Grounds Department. "The work included cleaning and repairing polycarbonate surfaces, wiring replacement, and installation of over 1400 energy-efficient LED modules to illuminate the letters." Steel supports were installed near the museum entrance, where the SANTA FE letters will be easily visible from passing cars. The sign joins other restored railroad signs at the museum including examples from the North Shore Line, South Shore Line, Illinois Central Railroad, and Chicago Transit Authority.

The Santa Fe Railroad was founded in 1854 and began construction of a railroad west from Atchison, Kansas in 1859. It became the nation's second transcontinental railroad in 1881 and built an extension to Chicago in 1888. This installation complements other artifacts of the Santa Fe preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum including locomotive 2903, which was moved from the Museum of Science & Industry in 1995 using temporary tracks set up alongside Lake Shore Drive, and FP45 "Warbonnet" diesel locomotive 92.

The Illinois Railway Museum was founded in 1953 and is located 65 miles northwest of Chicago in Union. The nation's largest railway preservation museum, it encompasses all aspects of railway history including steam and diesel locomotives, electric streetcars and elevated cars, and historic passenger and freight cars which are operated on the museum's 150-acre site and 4.5-mile long railroad. The museum will be open in November and December for its Happy Holiday Railway event, during which the SANTA FE sign will be on public display.