Monday, March 13, 2017

An occurrence on Track 43

Frank writes...

Sunday was another day of "switching the world," as Greg Kepka aptly put it. I didn't get out until late, after 3pm, and the multiple switch moves were two-thirds done when I arrived. But I still got a pretty good gander at what was going on.

Most of what was being moved around concerned Track 43, the south track in the main electric car shop building, Barn 4. The lineup on this track (from the front, or west, end) had been Veracruz 19, Charles City Western 300, Cleveland 4223, Lake Shore Electric 810, and Fox River Electric 306. But within the past six months both the 300 and the 810 have seen completion of restoration work so the time was here to move them out of the shop. This in turn necessitated the rearranging of some of the tracks in Barns 6 and 7. Above is Milwaukee 972, which had actually been on track 41. Shown at the east end of 41, it was moved over to Barn 7 with the regular service streetcars.
Here's the spot on track 43 where Lake Shore Electric 810 has "lived" for the past 18 years, give or take. We're standing next to the 306 looking west in this shot. And what's that coming towards us? Why, it's none other than Indiana Railroad 65, the museum's first car. Jon and Dan Fenlaciki ran the car over to be put into Barn 4 for replacement of the car's roof canvas and installation of the "lobster trap" roof guards. This will be a significant project but will return the car to its correct in-service Indiana Railroad appearance. The car had stopped where shown, the second berth in from the west, because that's the end of the wire. The rest of the way it had to be pushed by the 44-tonner. So here's a trivia question: what else is missing in the above photo?
With the 810 gone (it, and the 300, had already been switched to their new homes in Barns 7 and 6 respectively when I arrived) I managed to get a good shot of CTA 4146, the "baldy," which is in the berth next door on track 42. This car is getting towards the end of major rebuilding work but still needs some repainting and cleanup work before it's ready for prime time.
In the meantime, I got this shot of Cleveland PCC 4223 outdoors on the east leg of the wye. It's looking better and better due to the work of Eric, Lorne, and others. And lurking in the background is Illinois Terminal "Class B" 1565. While the 65 replaces the 810 on track 43, the Class B will be replacing the 300. The 1565 has been out of service the last couple of years with contactor problems but it is hoped that these - and possibly some other nagging long-term issues - can be repaired.
Once the 65 was moved back to its new home at the 810's old spot, I was able to get a photo of this unusual artifact alongside where the Cleveland PCC normally sits. Behind the spare plywood is an entire spare car end for Illinois Terminal 233! For whatever reason, the IT had thought it prudent at some point to construct a new end for this car - I suppose in case it got into an accident. The car end was stored at Decatur Shop, if memory serves, for decades until IRM volunteers discovered it and offered to give it a new home. We don't plan on having to replace the end of the 233 anytime soon but this could make a very neat display at some point.

And remember that trivia question earlier about what else was missing in the photo of track 43?
Well here you go. The switch move that will probably throw more people for a loop than anything else done Sunday was this, the moving of the pop machine from its former home along the wall next to track 43 into the "lean-three" section of the shop. Despite its performance being unaffected by the altitude, the plan is to take it down off of the pallet jack and put it in the corner next to the door here.

So that was it: the new lineup on track 43 is VC 19, IT 1565, CTS 4223, IRR 65 and AE&FRE 306. Other than switching, Joel finished up some inspection work on car 19, Mike was working on doors for the Kansas City PCC, and Norm, Jeff, and one other guy were hard at work on Michigan 28. Helpers with the switch move included Joel, Greg, Richard, Nick E., and diesel department volunteer Jeron running the 44-tonner. Jon and Dan Fenlaciki were also there to get the 65 positioned.


Anonymous said...

I almost cannot remember when the Baldy was not in Barn 4, but maybe I have selective memory. It may be the longest resident there, but the Fox River car has a pretty long run as well.

Anonymous said...

I've ridden on the 4146 under its own power within the past 20 years during a switch move. 306 has been in its spot for something like 30 years, give or take.

R. W. Schauer

Frank Hicks said...

That's an interesting question. I'd definitely agree that the 306 wins the longevity prize for Barn 4. The 4146 may have last operated under power (via stinger) in 2004, which is when one photo in the car's photo gallery was taken. I'm guessing it was last moved around 2010, because that's about when the 972 was moved from the eastern spot on barn track 42 and replaced with TE 1. For a while prior to 2010 I think the 757 was on track 42 and the 4146 was on 41. But I have no idea when the 4146 initially arrived in Barn 4. Calling Bill Wulfert...

Anonymous said...

Ok, now that you mention the 4146: When it enters service, will it be only as a control trailer or will it get traction power somehow? From what I have read, the Baldies had no jumpers and thus were restricted (the motor cars anyway) to third rail lines.

I saw it being moved with a jury-rigged trolley pole outside Barn 4 once maybe in the early 2000s.

Mike M.

Anonymous said...

The 4146 will operate as a motor car via a bus jumper from a Plushie. All Chicago 'L' cars had bus jumper sockets, so that a motor car could provide power to the many trailer cars, usually referred to as "coaches". The trailers only needed enough current to power the heat and lights, plus battery charging later on, on 4000 trailers.

However, in the early 1960's the CTA had excess Baldy motor cars in storage, while still using trailers with Plushies, because there weren't enough Plushies to fully equip both Lake St. and Evanston. The solution was to rewire some Baldy motors to get a feed from the bus jumpers to power the heat, lights and air compressor on the Baldy. When the train left Forest Park on the Lake St. line, the Baldy was dragged along as a trailer. Once the train hit the 3rd rail, the motors would operate from the feed via the third rail shoes. Only one Baldy was permitted in a 6 car train. This worked well, as the speed on the Lake St. ground level operation was never all that speedy.

IRM upgraded the bus wiring on the Baldy and several Plushies to permit a higher current draw. The CTA did a similar change on the Evanston 4000's by connecting 2 Plushies together via a roof cable to power both cars from one trolley pole.

As to the previous question about how long the Baldy has been in barn 4...I haven't had a chance to look up dates. I may have some details in the future.

Bill Wulfert