Friday, October 21, 2016

Division of Labor

Frank and I don't always agree on everything, you may be surprised to hear.  He doesn't like to do wire-wheeling, and I really dislike needle chipping.  But that's good.  When it comes to underbody prep, such as on the 319, he does the needle chipping and I do the wire-wheeling.  It's called division of labor.  The job gets done and, just as Adam Smith predicted, everybody is happy.

Frank recently finished most of the needle chipping on the north side of the 319, seen here from the south, so I pulled the car outside today to wire-wheel all those surfaces and give them a first coat of primer.

 If the car's outside there's better light, and I'm not depositing grit inside the barn.

I was going to trace the stencil for this ominous date, 5-57, but it'll have to be next time.

It would be hard to see the difference between before and after.   But this truss rod is ready for primer.   Behind it is the cover for the field tap control.   I'm thinking several of these covers, such as for the reverser, the motor cutout, and maybe even the contactor box can be taken to the shop and done there over the winter.

After painting, it looks like this.  Ready for gloss black.

Meanwhile, in our favorite urban improvement project, the B&G department are making real progress on the paver blocks going into this one section of the street scene.

Later in the day, I found Dave himself doing the work, helped by Andy Choutka.  Dave explained the complications involved in trying to recreate a lost art.   He's carefully looked at pictures and read books, and one of the best sources was Frank Sirinek, who remembered watching men install these blocks in Chicago about 1942.  It takes careful alignment, and just watching him started to make my back hurt.  But Dave wants to make sure the end result lasts a long time, so he's taking great care to get everything right.

Among other things, Tim is working on recreating the correct period third-rail beams for the 24, using photographs as a guide, since none from this era have survived.  The one shown here is incomplete.  There's more to come, such as the spring-loaded sleet scraper.

 And it was back to work in the vestibule of the 36.   This window sill, for instance, had very badly cracking paint, so it's down to Pullman Green or bare wood, whichever comes first.

And several parts of the vestibule pocket door have the same problem, so it's being carefully stripped with a heat gun.  It takes a while, but I'll have all winter.   When I'm not on vacation.  

There weren't that many people out today, but nearly every one I talked to commented or complained that there were so few blog posts while I was away in Colorado.   It's like withdrawal symptoms.  If that's happening to you, maybe it's time to see a doctor.  Or you can always try the over-the-counter medicine that comes in 1.75L bottles.  Tell them Dr. Hicks sent you.


Anonymous said...

What is the timeline for building and completing/operating on the extended trolley loop? - and the used of the tracks in front of the former Schroder Building - I have received conflicting reports lately.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the pictures of the Belgian blocks being installed. Not many museums outside of Colonial Williamsburg do this.

They came to the United States a ballast in ships. The City of New York loaned 250 tons of them to the South Street Seaport in the 1980s. Now that they have gone to a different ballast system; they returned them. The city still uses them in parks and historic districts.

Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip to Colorado!

Ted Miles

lee wells said...

As always, I am amazed at the restoration work and attention to detail on bringing these cars back to life.
Most of the CA&E rolling stock suffered quite a bit of deterioration in the five or six years that the cars sat outside in the "orchard". The pictures of those cars as they were delivered to IRM or other museums showed more damage than just a coat of paint. The work that has had to be done to get these cars back into shape is amazing.
So it begs the question (for me)what about the 50 years or so before 1957. Obviously, the cars were repainted periodically (thus the changes in color schemes), But what else was done to maintain these cars so that they didn't need total rebuilding every five or six years? Even if many of them were in service every weekday, they would have been exposed to outside precipitation and temperatures.

Randall Hicks said...

Lee: That's an interesting question, which we have wondered about over the years. As for why they didn't rot out as fast as you would expect, the best guess we have, endorsed by Bob Bruneau, is that in regular service whenever the cars got wet in the rain they were out on the road the next day, travelling along at 60 MPH to dry out. Wooden cars just sitting there, closed up and never moving, will suffer from rot much faster. Secondly, the cars did get a complete rebuilding at least twice. Once in the period 1912-1915, to add steel reinforcements to the frame, and the other about 1940 when they were resided and the streamer sash were removed.

Thirdly, by the end of service most of the earlier wooden cars were beyond economic repair and were scrapped, or on the rip track. On the final day only three shorties were in use: 20, 30, and 36. And why the 30 didn't get preserved I don't know. If service had gone on much longer almost all of the wooden cars would have been withdrawn also, I'm sure.

That's the best answer I can give.

Frank Hicks said...

Was the 105 still in service at the end? For a time in the 1950s it was in the "Cannon Ball set" of 319-105-320-205-321 (variable order of course) but I don't know if it ran until the last day. Of course it was a trailer but it was from the original order.

Randall Hicks said...

Yes it was. Sorry, my mistake. Make that four shorties.