Sunday, April 23, 2017

Meeting day

Frank writes...

Saturday was a day of meetings. Things started with the Rules Review meeting in the morning, which I missed, and continued with the Safety Meeting in the afternoon and Annual Membership Meeting in the evening, both of which I attended. In between some actual car work got done. But let's put the last things (i.e. the annual meeting) first and congratulate Nigel Bennett on his reelection to the board and Marcus Ruef and Frank DeVries to their election to the board. Nigel is, of course, museum treasurer and works in the Steam Department; Frank and Marcus both work in the Track Department and the latter also moonlights as editor of Rail & Wire.

Earlier in the day was the safety meeting, which went off without a hitch under the able direction of Harold Krewer, after which I adjourned to the property. Joel, Thomas, and Jeron had been doing some switching in Yard 13 in the morning to get a boxcar in position to have its contents unloaded into another boxcar (these things always outwardly appear to be "recreational switching" but there's typically a purpose, even if it seems esoteric or invisible). They finished with that in the afternoon and then I was able to help them with finishing some inspection items on the 308, seen below.

We were able to finish almost all of the remaining items on the inspection list except for oiling the motor armature bearings; there is also one side door which will need some repair work as well as a union over the #2 axle which is leaking and will need a bit of work. Joel and Jeron spent some time draining the oil out of the compressor, something which hadn't been done in a few years and was well overdue. We may want to drop the compressor at some point so that we can open the top access hatch and really clean it out, but for now it's been refilled with clean oil and we'll keep an eye on it. Below, Joel uses a makeshift funnel to empty the old oil into a can.
After this, Thomas and I ran the car back over to Barn 8 and called it a day. Thank you to everyone who helped with this! There were plenty of people around, as is typical on annual meeting day, and a few Car Department projects were being worked on. Tim Peters was working on parts for the 1754, Kirk Warner from visiting from the sunny south and giving Jeff Brady a hand with the 28, Zach Ehlers was painting trim pieces for North Shore 757, and Jon and Dan Fenlaciki were doing some air brake work on the Cornwall steeplecab.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Inspection #3

Today was the start of inspection on car 308.  Here it is before being moved into the barn.  Everything so far seems to be fine, and no inspection issues were discovered.

Fifteen years ago, I was doing the woodwork to put this end of the car back together.  It's held up well ever since, although at the time I was a little worried about the long-term stability of the body.

Speaking of inspection, did we ever talk about brake adjustment?  This is one of those jobs that is just so much fun, and yet I almost never have to share it with anybody else.  Usually I get to do it all by myself.  Let's see:

At the top is part of the truck suspension system, and below that is the turnbuckle that forms part of the brake rigging.  Below it are two hooks as a safety feature in case a pin broke, to keep the truck from pole-vaulting itself off the track.  On either side of the turnbuckle are two large lock nuts.

First you make sure the air brakes are in release, and loosen the lock nuts.  This requires a large wrench, and usually a long pipe for added leverage.  Then both turnbuckles are tightened until the shoes are against the wheels on both sides of the truck.  

Then the turnbuckle is turned to loosen each end 1 1/2 threads, or 9 flats.  And then the lock nuts are tightened onto the turnbuckles, which usually requires the use of both wrenches at a time.  It's a blast! 

Luckily I was able to complete all the work on the #2 truck before it started to rain, so that the car was already safely inside the barn.

Here's one of the DB-131 contactor boxes.  Some but not all of the arc chutes have been restored and repainted in past years.

And the standard DB-20 reverser.

Tim was working on various details on the 24.  Here's the motorman's compartment:

And the gold pinstriping is done:

And then, we have news of a couple of new projects.  I happened to run into my old friend Jack Biesterfeld.  He's pretty much done with the interior of the B&M diner, so he's started cleaning up Green Bay & Western coach 110, one of our few wooden passenger cars.  There is no decision yet on exactly what will be done with it.  This car has had a rough life, but at least some thought will be given as to long-term restoration prospects.

First, he had to remove all the gore.  The car was full of blood, severed limbs and human heads, and so on.  Pretty disgusting, but somebody's got to do it.  (These were left over from the Train of Terror, of course....)  Now, at least, it has some interior lights.

And all the comforts of home. 

This is one of the bay windows from when it was used as a caboose.

The one remaining washroom, now a closet.

I hadn't focused on this before, but I suppose this false ceiling also has to do with its use as a caboose on the GB&W, or perhaps M&HM.

Metal plates in the ceiling mark the locations of the original Pintsch gas light fixtures.

These baggage racks have castings that are similar, if not identical, to those in CA&E 36.  Here, the original wire rope netting has been replaced with perforated metal plates.

 And then, Henry Vincent has started cleaning up the interior of the North Shore caboose in Barn 6.  Many years ago it was open for visitors to walk through, and they're hoping to make that possible again.  Once the car is cleaned up and modern light fixtures and so on are removed, that may become a reality.

Norm shows the latest pieces on the Michigan car being installed.

And several of the usual projects, such as the Cleveland PCC, were in progress.

And I put another coat of paint on the 319's controller cover.  I noticed while working on the 308 that it's missing the motorman's window shades at each end, something I'd sort of forgotten about.  We have several spares for the numerous side windows, but the motorman's shades are rare.  I have a couple of spares, but they're too wide for the 308, which seems to be a different size from the other cars.  So I sorted through the available parts, and took home a kit so that I can put at least one usable shade together.   More on that when it happens.  Don't touch that mouse!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Interurban News

Our friend Ted Miles was nice enough to send us a copy of this Interurban News Letter.  You can tell from the "Season's Greetings" at the top that it's a little out of date, but better late than never.  And there's a lot of interesting information inside.  It isn't just interurban news, though, but covers all types of electric railroads.

It was published for several years by Ira Swett, and after this issue was renamed "Interurbans".

We even get some humor:

Thanks, Ted!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Saturday Report

Today was another busy Saturday, as usual, and a lot got done.  I certainly kept busy.  I must admit that today's pictures are few, and far below our normal fine arts standards.  But that's the way things go.  Your money back if not completely satisfied.

Inspection on the 319 was completed, with the energetic help of Joel Ahrendt and Mike Blackwell.  We worked on the compressor and got it working well.  Also, we modified the brake system somewhat.

When the 319 was acquired from Cleveland, we knew there were motor and/or truck problems, so the car was put onto the 321's trucks.  Unfortunately, the trucks aren't quite as identical as you might expect, so we've had some problems with the 319 ever since.  There's too much lost motion in the car's brake levers, and as a result, it tended to set up slower than the other cars.  As a single car, that wouldn't be a serious problem, but in a train, it leads to excessive slack action.  

Last fall I measured the brake rods on the 319 and 321, and found that that the #2 top rod on the 321 was about 2" shorter than the one on the 319.  This ought to be enough to correct for the lost motion at the cylinder.  The rod is about 14' long and quite heavy, but with Joel and Mike to help, we were able to quickly remove the rod from the 321, bring it back to Barn 4 on the golf cart without spearing anybody on the way, and install it on the 319.  The results seem to be better brake response.  We won't know for sure until we have a chance to operate a multi-car train, but this can only be an improvement.  Joel and Mike also helped with lubrication and roof inspection.  Thanks!!!

And since the weather was nice, I did the necessary switching to put the 308 at the door.  It will be next up for inspection, starting on Wednesday or so.

Back in Barn 8, there was more exciting news while I was away.   Tim and Bill are working on getting the 1754 running again.  If you've been following the comment stream, we've been talking about commutators and so on.  The D3-EG compressor on the 1754 was very dirty and sparked badly when first tested, so I volunteered the use of my comm stone, as seen below, and with some cleaning it works pretty well.  It probably needs an overhaul, but for now it will be quite serviceable.

At least the car can be pumped up.  The brakes seem to work OK, and we started trying to get the control system to work.  This is not a very flattering picture, I admit, but Bill is looking at part of the control group under the car.  An automatic acceleration system is always going to be a complicated thing to debug.  But progress is being made.

 And I went back to the shop and put a first coat of finish red on the 319's controller cover, and installed the window shades and so forth in the car itself.

And in coming attractions, I borrowed the file on the Central Illinois Traction system from the Scalzo Collection, which was mentioned recently.  As time permits, we should be able to post a more complete account of this Illinois interurban line than has every appeared.

All in all, a very productive day.  Next week we'll start on the 308.  Stay tuned! 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tri City Railway Company

IRM recently acquired a trove of historical materials from the collection of the late Steve Scalzo, a museum supporter and noted traction historian who focused a great deal of attention and research work on the smaller interurban and street railway systems of Illinois. One of these companies was the Tri City Railway Company of Rock Island, a system which at one time  had well over 100 streetcars yet is practically unknown today. Relatively few photos of the line have been published and never, to my knowledge, has a company rolling stock roster been published.

Until now!

Sure enough, in Mr Scalzo's files there is are copies of an original TCR company roster dated April 1918. Photos (albeit not great quality photos) of the six pages of this roster are at the bottom of this post, following a condensed summary roster. This is not an all-time roster, in that any cars retired before 1918 or acquired after that date are not included. That's a sizable group: some 90 cars were destroyed in a 1913 car barn fire and don't appear on this roster. Even so it does have an incredible amount of information on the cars TCR owned as of 1918 and a bit of information has been added from other sources to fill in a few of the gaps. Photos are from except where noted.

Single truck (closed)
2, 11, 25, 56, #? (5 cars) - St Louis Car (year?), L=26'7", McGuire truck, 2xGE 57 motors, K-11 control, ? seats, hand brake (a)

23 (10 cars including this number) - Cincinnati 1909 ord#1080, L=33' (b)

35 - St Louis Car (year?), L=26'7", 2xGE 52 motors, K-11 control, ? seats, hand brake

83 - Tri-City Railway (year?), L=26'11", 2xGE 52 motors, K-10 control, ? seats, hand brake

247 - St Louis Car (year?), L=26'7", 2xGE 52 motors, K-10 control, ? seats, hand brake

253-258, 266, 268, 269 (9 cars) - Tri-City Railway 1907, L=33'0", Peckham 11 truck, 2xGE 80 motors, 28 seats, hand brake

Double truck (closed)
6, 8, 10 - Stephenson (year?), L=41'0", McGuire trucks, 4xGE 67 motors, K-6 control, 44 seats, Christianson AA1 pump (c)

12,14 - Cincinnati c1903? ord#145, L=43'5", McGuire trucks, 4 x GE 67 motors, K-6 control, 44 seats, Christianson AA1 pump

53 - builder/year?, L=38'10", Std O-50 trucks, 4xGE 80 motors, K-28B control, 40 seats, Christianson AB1 pump

79, 81 - builder/year?, L=36'0", McGuire trucks, 2xGE 67 motors, K-10 control, 36 seats, Christianson AA1 pump (d)

200-207, 209-210, 212-213, 216-217, 219, 222, 227, 230-232, 237 (21 cars) - Tri-City Railway 1900-1903, L=40'7", Brill 27G trucks, 4xGE 52 motors, K-12 control, 40 seats, Christianson AA1 pump (e)

211, 214-215, 218, 220-221, 223-226, 234, 236 (12 cars) - Tri-City Railway 1901-1903, L=40'7", Brill 27G trucks, 4xGE 52 motors, K-12 control, 44 seats, Christianson AA1 pump (f)

Period postcard; may show car 241 but not certain

238-241 (4 cars) - St Louis Car 1904 ord#463A, L=41'2", St Louis O-O trucks, 4xGE 70 motors, K-28B control, 36 seats, GE CP27 pump (g)

242-243 - St Louis Car 1904 ord#463A, L=41'2", Standard O-50 trucks, 4xGE 80 motors, K-28B control, ? seats, GE CP27 pump (h)

244 - Tri-City Railway 1917, L=42'2", Brill 27G trucks, 4xGE 52 motors, K-12 control, 44 seats, GE CP27 pump

280-285 (6 cars) - Chicago Surface Lines 1917, L=39'8", Curtis trucks, 4xGE 52 motors, K-12 control, 40 seats, Christianson AA1 pump (i)

303-306 (4 cars) - St Louis Car 1917, L=37'10", Brill 39E1 trucks, 2xGE 80 motors, K-10 control, 40 seats, Christianson AA1 pump (j)

307-326 (20 cars) - Chicago Surface Lines 1918, L=40'8", Peckham CUT trucks, 2xGE 57 motors, K-35 control, 44 seats, Christianson AA1 pump (k)

408-415 (8 cars) - Cincinnati 1910 ord#1310,  L=44'8" (m)

414-415 - Cincinnati 1910 ord#1290, L=44'9", Standard O-50 trucks, 4xGE 67 motors, K-28B control, 42 seats, GE CP27 pump (n)

Otto Vondrak Collection

416-425 (10 cars) - St Louis Car 1912 ord#918, L=45'0", Standard O-50 trucks, 4xWH 323 motors, K-35G control, 40 seats, GE CP27 pump (p)

426-450 (25 cars) - St Louis Car 1913 ord#998, L=45'0", Bay State 12 trucks, 4xWH 323 motors, K-35G control, 40 seats, GE CP27 pump

David Sebben Collection

451-485 (35 cars) - American Car 1913, L=43'1", Brill 51E1 trucks, 4 x WH 323 motors, K-35G control, 40 seats, GE CP27 pump (q)

486-495 (10 cars) - St Louis Car 1913 ord#998, Bay State 12 trucks, 4xGE 200 motors, K-35G control, 40 seats, GE CP27 pump (r)

David Sebben Collection

505-507 (3 cars) - St Louis Car 1916 ord#1107, L=30'1", Standard O-50 trucks, 4xGE 80 motors, K-28U control, 44 seats, GE CP27 pump (s)

601-606 (6 cars) - American Car 1923 ord#1329, L=38'6", Brill 77E1 trucks (t)

1450, 1486 - Chicago Surface Lines 1917, L=39'8", Curtis trucks, 4xGE 52 motors, K-12 control, 40 seats, Christianson AA1 pump (u)

Single truck (open)
64-69, 74, 77, 79, 80-84 (14 cars) - Pullman (year?), L=26'11", McGuire truck, 2xGE 57 motors, K-10 control, 45 seats, hand brake (v)

90 - St Louis Car 1900 ord#108, L=30'11", McGuire truck, 2xGE 52 motors, K-10 control, 60 seats, hand brake (w)

Davenport Public Library

Double truck (open)
3, 5 - American Car (year?), L=35'0", McGuire trucks, 2 x GE 80 motors, K-10 control, National A3 pump (x)

Period postcard view

7, 9, 11, 13 - St Louis Car (year?), L=37'5", McGuire trucks, 2 x GE 67 motors, K-10 control, Christianson AA1 pump (y)

Work cars
2-8 (7 cars) - ST snow sweepers - McGuire 1913, L=28'2", McGuire truck, 2xGE 52 motors, K-10 control, hand brake (z)

299 - DT sprinkler - Brill 1910 ord#17268, L=32'6", Brill 27G2 trucks, 4 x WH 101B2 motors, K-28B control, National pump

R1 - ST flat motor - Tri-City Railway (year?), L=25'0", McGuire trucks, 2 x GE 54 motors, K-10 control, hand brake

"Moline" - DT flat car - Tri-City Railway (year?), L=28'0", McGuire trucks, no motors

"City of Davenport" -ST -  L=18'0", McGuire 211 truck, 2xGE 67 motors, K-11 control, National pump (aa)

"Jumbo" - DT - 4 x GE 80 motors (bb)

(a) Car 25 had GE 52 motors
(b) This listing not in the 1918 roster but rather sourced from Cincinnati Car Co order list; it's possible that all ten cars of this series were destroyed in the 1913 barn fire*
(c) Car 8 had K-28B control and only 42 seats
(d) Cars 79 and 81 may have been single-truck; note too that the TCR roster includes two different cars numbered 79 and two different cars numbered 81, the duplicates to these being single-truck open cars
(e) Rebuilt as PAYE cars - cars 200-203 built 1900, 204-222 built 1901, 227 built 1902, 230-237 built 1903; cars 201, 210, 212, 217 had Standard O-50 trucks; cars 201 and 217 had 4xGE 67 motors; cars 202, 210, 212 had 4xGE 80 motors; car 210 had K-10 control; car 212 had K-28U control; cars 202-206, 227, and 237 had GE CP27 pumps
(f) Cars 211-221 built 1901, 223-226 built 1902, 234-236 built 1903; car 211 had Brill 39E1 trucks; car 211 had 2xGE 67 motors; car 221 had 2xGE 80 motors; car 234 had 4xGE 54 motors; car 211 had K-10 control; car 214 had a WH pump; car 234 had a GE CP27 pump; judging from gaps in the roster it seems likely that cars 208, 228-229, 233, and 235 were lost at some point, most likely in the 1913 barn fire*
(g) According to Alan Lind's book on SLCC, cars 238-243 were bought in 1907 from Davenport & Suburban, were originally fitted with St Louis 47 trucks (possibly what TCR termed "St L O-O" trucks), and car 240 was later sold to the Rock Island Southern as RIS #2; cars 238-243 may have been similar to the Chicago "Matchboxes," at the time a commonly-offered SLCC design
(h) Car 243 had St Louis O-O trucks and 4xGE 70 motors
(i) PAYE cars; assumed to have been ex-"Bowling Alley" 1429-1505 series cars built c1899 by Chicago Union Traction
(j) PAYE cars; car 306 had Standard O-50 trucks
(k) PAYE cars; Don Ross' website claims these were open cars rebuilt by CSL for resale
(m) This listing not in the 1918 roster but rather sourced from Cincinnati Car Co order list; cars 408-415 were all destroyed in the 1913 barn fire*
(n) Originally cars 401-407 (7 cars) were built on this order but five were burned up in the 1913 barn fire*; cars 403 and 407 were renumbered as 414-415.
(p) PAYE cars; cars 423-425 had Brill 51E1 trucks; cars 416-420 had 4xGE 80 motors; car 428 had 4xGE 200 motors; originally 20 cars numbered 416-435 were built on this order but 10 were destroyed in the 1913 barn fire* and the remaining cars were renumbered 416-425
(q) PAYE cars; one car from this series (number unknown) is preserved at IRM as a car body
(r) PAYE cars; built as Cedar Rapids & Marion City 41-50, purchased by TCR in 1914
(s) PAYE cars; car 505 had Brill 51E1 trucks
(t) This listing not in 1918 roster but rather sourced from American Car Co order list
(u) PAYE cars; bought secondhand from CSL in 1917 (Alan Lind's CSL book says 1486 was sold in 1914 while 1450 was sold in 1917), built c1899 by Chicago Union Traction, apparently these cars were not renumbered or hadn't been renumbered yet at the time the 1918 roster was made
(v) Car 77 had a Brill 21E truck; cars 64, 65, 67, 74, and 81 had GE 52 motors; car 65 was a trailer
(w) Originally cars 85-94 (10 cars) were built by SLCC on order #108 but by 1918 only one appears to have still been in service
(x) Car 5 noted as having no motors
(y) Car 7 had Bemis 40 trucks; cars 7 and 11 had K-6 control; car 7 noted as having no motors
(z) Two of the sweepers were sold in 1936 to Chicago & West Towns #18-19
(aa) "City of Davenport" marked as poor condition
(bb) very little information marked for "Jumbo"

It should also be noted that in 1913 TCR absorbed the Moline, East Moline & Watertown, a suburban line which appears to have rostered a total of seven cars including four 42' closed cars built 1902 by Stephenson (one car # 6), two 12-bench open cars built 1902 by Jackson & Sharp (ord #2215), and a snow plow built by Wason. There's no apparent evidence that any of this equipment was on the TCR roster as of 1918.

*In the June 1, 1913 barn fire, a total of 94 cars were lost. Working from the above roster and builder order lists this total most likely included: 23 series (10 cars), 200-236 series (5 cars), 401-407 series (5 cars), 408-415 series (8 cars), 416-435 series (10 cars), and possibly 85-94 series? (9 cars). That leaves, at minimum, some 47 cars lost in the fire not shown on this roster. Other obvious number series gaps such as 245-246, 248-252, 259-265, and 267 may also have been among the lost cars.

Many thanks to Ray Piesciuk and Richard Schauer for their help in copying these.