Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dodge Inspection Car

Want to see another antique Dodge?  I know you do!  Our friend Bill Buhrmaster sent us this photo of our Milwaukee Road inspection car from the Mid-Continent archives.  The photo was taken by Ron Jones in August 1963.  The person in the driver's seat is unknown.  In any case, the car is now safely stored in Barn 2.  Thanks, Bill!

Something seems fishy about this picture, but please don't badger me about it.

Anyway, back to the inspection car, I started to wonder: do the turn signals still work?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Inspection #1

Since some help was available, I decided to get a jump on the inspection process and start on car 36 today.  Greg Ceurvorst was willing and able to help, and that made a huge difference.  It's greatly appreciated, you may be sure.

I was too busy to take many pictures, although we've published several pictures of the inspection process before.  But Greg had his smart phone along, and provided several good ones.

The 36 at the door of the barn, before being brought out for its trip to the pit:

 The motor truck over the pit:

Looking west along the track towards the 300:

I can pretend I'm enjoying this, if I don't have to keep it up for very long.

And looking out the door along the pit lead.  In the distance is our blue flag.

The inspection process went well, and there were no major problems that couldn't be fixed.  The feed valve was stuck open, but as usual a little disassembly and cleaning corrected that.  One thing that I had not seen before was that we found a contactor that had welded itself shut:

Just touching the tips with a screwdriver was enough to free them, although of course that's not much help when the car is running.  I have several replacement tips on hand, so it didn't take long to replace them.   But this is something we should keep an eye on.  Fortunately, it doesn't take long to open the box and check all the contactors if there's any question.  I might point out that having one contactor welded closed is generally not a serious problem, as long as it's discovered in time; you would have to have at least three closed to get to the point where you cannot shut off power, other than by pulling the pole.  

Although I didn't take any pictures of the car itself, I did get a snap of Greg's nifty truck:

And as usual on a Wednesday, there were lots of people working on their various projects, but as I mentioned I didn't get much of a chance to photograph them.  Later, while talking to Norm and Jeff about the contactor problem, they proudly showed me the progress being made on the front end of the 28, with the help of the welders from Belvidere:

There are a few things to finish up on the 36's inspection, all of which are easily done in Barn 8.  And I will repeat that we can always use more help on inspections.  It's always good to have another pair or two of eyes to look for possible issues. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spring Cleaning

Today's report will be mercifully brief.  The weather was dank, dark, dreary, well, you get the idea.  Not many people showed up for the car cleaning party, but I went ahead and worked on a couple of my cars.  And taking pictures of glass before and after cleaning seems particularly pointless, so I don't even have many pictures to share.  Sorry.

But to start, here's something interesting: a complete set of new castings for the window guards on the Indiana Railroad 65 have been made.  Here are a couple of them:

Jon is naturally very proud of these.  This will make a significant difference to the car's appearance when they're installed.
Anyway, I spent most of the day cleaning windows and sweeping the floors in the 36 and 308.  There were also a few minor other tasks that needed to be done: for instance, I needed to reconnect the buzzer cord and install the window shades inside the #2 vestibule of the 36, as these had been removed for painting.  Here are some interior photos of the two cars.

It's an interesting trivia question as to how many panes of glass there are in any of these cars.  For the 308 (above), I believe the answer is 110, but I could be wrong.  For the 36, it's more.  And for the 309, it's a lot more.  And each pane has two sides.  Of course, we don't bother to clean the clerestory windows, for instance, but it's still a good deal of work.  And for relief, I installed the cover on the junction box that had been wired up last time.  Whew!

Anyway, public operation will be starting soon, and that's the reason for all this labor.  Be sure to invite your family, friends, neighbors, and random strangers to come out to IRM this summer to ride.  There's no place else quite like it!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

NOTICE: Car Cleaning!

A car cleaning session will be held this Saturday.
Please help out if at all possible!
   Meet at the west end of Barn 7 at 10AM!   Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Gun Is Not the Answer

Although the 36 has been in service for two or three years now, there was still one part of the electrical system that needed to be fixed.  I had to replace all of the wiring to the control jumper receptacles, and one receptacle at one end wasn't completely connected.   Due to a miscalculation, several of the wires were too short.  Since there are two receptacles at each end, that isn't a fatal defect, but I wanted to complete the job.  So this morning I got to work.

Things went well until it was time to solder the connections.  I was planning to use my old soldering gun (originally my father's) but it just didn't get the connections with these heavy wires quite hot enough.  So it's time to drop the gun and move slowly away.  Luckily the Museum has some nice big soldering irons that can do the job nicely.

And after some work, all the connections are in.   It looks like this when completed; we're looking up at the bottom of the floor of the vestibule.

And with the ringer, seen sitting in front of the train door, I test that all connections are made, from one side to the other.  Because this end of the car is at the door, I wasn't able to completely test the new wiring in operation, but I did run the control system through its paces to check for shorts.  And we'll have to remember to check it out before using the car in service.

And so it's back to painting.  First, the usual projects are active in the shop.   Tim continues on making windows for the 1754.  Notice the nice new hinges.

And John Faulhaber was working on fitting the new bottom rail to the replacement door for the 213.  By the end of the day it was fitted in place.   Many other people were working also.

In the #2 vestibule, I masked off various parts for spraying white primer from a rattle can.

And in the #1 vestibule, more finish painting.  In the first picture, the ceiling and upper panel have been painted with a first coat of the final red, but the side door is untouched.

After painting, it looks like this.  Getting good pictures in this confined space with the available lighting is difficult.  I admit these pictures are not up to Rail & Wire standards.

And here's the vestibule door after painting.  

And that was it for today.  But don't go away, we have more feature articles coming up.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Doodlebug Report

Another quick update on the UP doodlebug from Gregg Wolfersheim, who writes:

The water tank in M-35 was painted on Wednesday. Still a little fill-in work to go, and then put the glasses back in. This is NOT a fun place to work in!   Also, another carline was installed. Hopefully two more will be added soon, with pictures to follow.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Inspection Season

Spring is here, and that means inspection season is in full swing, and that means it's time for the annual sermon, O brethren.  We always need more help with the inspection process, and on any Saturday or Sunday you can show up and talk to Joel or Gerry or whoever is on duty, and find useful things to do.  It's interesting: nearly every car is different from every other, and I believe it's very important for motormen to have a good hands-on understanding of how all the various parts of a car's mechanism work.

When I arrived yesterday, on the other side of the walkway Tim Peters was already at work inside the 1754, sorting and collecting parts, particularly parts from the old doors and windows to be installed on all the new ones he's made.  The inside looks a little grim, but much better than the 309 was when I started.  For what that's worth.

Here are stacks of old windows, for instance. 

In the shop, here's a new door.   Of particular interest are the wooden channels on either side of the window opening, which serve as window shade tracks.   They are rather complicated.

And Tim continues to harvest parts from old windows.

Frank Sirinek and Mike Stauber are working on new doors for the Kansas City PCC.

The 277 and its train are over the inspection pit.  Say, did I mention anything about inspection?  The panels are to keep the pit a little warmer.  There were several people helping on this car, including some of the new guys.  The train is planned for service on the Sunday before Memorial Day as a tribute to Bob Bruneau.

Back in the 319, I more or less finished cleaning up the #2 controller cover.

Last week Greg and I started on the #1 vestibule, and here's part of the ceiling with a new coat of paint.

And this is meant as a before (R) and after (L) comparison:

And back at the #2 end, here's the train door.  Backlighting through the window makes the photograph have poor contrast.

On the other hand, this picture of the motorman's window turned out better.

And I cleaned up the controller handle and part of the clock over at the shop.   It seems the handle should be entirely red, including the throttle button parts, unfortunately.

I had to leave early because I wanted to go to the visitation for Roger Smessaert in Woodstock.  There were many, many IRM people there, most of whom had known Roger for 40 or 50 years.  He will certainly be missed.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday Report

SOOTHSAYER.  Beware the Ides of March.
CÆSAR.  He is a dreamer; let us leave him; -- pass.

It was nice to get back out to IRM today, defying any prognostications of doom, and a lot got done.  Greg Ceurvorst came out to help and worked hard all day, with excellent results.  I put him to work on the #1 vestibule of the 319, which needs a final coat or two of the correct shade of red.  This vestibule was repainted four or five years ago.  

Greg managed to sand down all of the red paint in the vestibule for recoating, which is a lot of work.  

Under the metal plate warning you of the dire consequences of tampering with the car is the earlier lettering of yellow on blue.  Usually they're in nearly the same location.  Not only is every car lettered differently, often the two vestibules of a single car are different.

He also went to the trouble of cleaning up the builder's plate on the controller, although it will have to be repainted.  But before that happens, you can read a fascinating list of patent dates.  Thanks, Greg!

I was working on more sanding, scraping, priming, and painting in the #2 vestibule.

Greg then started on a first finish coat.

It looks great.  Somehow I forgot to take any more pictures of my own work.

So now let's see what the other guys are doing.   Here we have a rather worm-eaten piece of sheet metal from the 18, which Frank removed last week.  Tim has some new metal left over from his door project, and he said he'd be glad to let us use some of it to replace this piece.  It appears to be the correct thickness.

And Tim himself is hard at work painting the new doors and windows for the 1754.

He says he decided to paint them green to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  I'll drink to that!

 Jeff and Norm were working on the Michigan car again.  Progress is steadily being made.

And here's a picture from the Anderson Car House.

In the Cleveland PCC, the new floor has started to go in.   Pieces are being welded in place.

Lorne shows off the next piece that needs to be checked and then welded.

John and Gerry look at the replacement door that they are rebuilding in the shop for use on the 213.

This is what the door will replace: the one there now is rotted out and missing its glass.

Pete was out too, but the 300 is now over in Barn 7 so I didn't get a picture.  And there were several other people working on various things.  So all in all, a very good day.