Saturday, April 29, 2017

Four of a Kind

 The first priority today was to shuffle the deck to put the 309 on the top of the pile, as it will be in line for inspection this week.  And it seemed like a good opportunity to line up all four restored cars for a photo shoot, something I've been thinking about for a while.  The cars are arranged in order of their arrival at IRM: the 309 in 1962, the 308 in 1996, and the 36 and 319 in 2009.  (The 36 was unloaded onto our rails first, by about an hour.)

These pictures represent a little over forty years of part-time labor.

From the back -- hey, something's missing!

Photo by Marcus Ruef

Photo by Marcus Ruef

(Photo by Frank D.)

(Photo by Frank D.)

Just as I was setting up my tripod to put myself into the picture, Frank de Vries and Marcus Ruef happened along, to save me the trouble.  They're much better than tripods.  And it's rather flattering to have newly-elected bigwigs offer to help.  They also helped with switching the cars back into the barn, which was much appreciated. 

After all the switching was done, let's see what everybody else is doing.  Wow, here's a brilliant idea:

Over the pit is the Cornwall 14.  Dan Fenlaciki gave me a detailed explanation of the major problem with the locomotive: worn or broken truck parts.  

It may not be obvious from this photo, but there is a lot of wear in the journal boxes and slides in the truck.  This allows them to tilt and yaw, so they don't tram properly.  Dan thinks that if the trucks can be pulled, he should be able to weld in new slides and fix the problem.  He has already fixed most of the brake issues that have kept this locomotive out of service for many years.

A more serious problem is that several of the leaf springs are beyond condemnation.  Here you can see that three leaves in a row are broken.  It may be possible to have new leaves made if we can get the detailed specs to a manufacturer.  I used to enjoy running this locomotive, and it would certainly be good to have it available again.

Jon Fenlaciki has been stripping parts off the roof of the 65, and as time allows it will get a new roof.  The roof was replaced at North Chicago, probably IRM's first roof job.  All things considered, it's held up very well.

Eric Lorenz is grinding away at the floor of the Cleveland PCC.   They're getting ready to start welding the new floor in place.

All of the new heating ducts are in place, as you can see here.   As good as new!

And here are the plates for the wiring ducts, which Lorne has been hard at work producing:

Inside the 1754:

Another big project today was sorting, cutting, and moving a huge supply of lumber for the Freight Car Dept. (and others) over in Barn 13.  Some of the wood has become rotten over the years, and Buzz is heading up the effort to sort it all out, discard any parts that are unusable, and sort the rest into a different car.

It's being put into the wooden boxcar that got scalped on its way to IRM.  That's a long story for another day.  

We've got lots of wood, and a lot of cars that could use it.

The cars were spotted across the aisle from each other in 13, so this handy chute makes it easy to slide boards from one car to the next.

Buzz (center) runs the saw to remove rotted ends, and make pieces the right length for our future projects, helped by Henry, Victor, Bill, and others.  I offered to help, but they had enough people for the moment.  Here's a pile of cutoffs, most of which are just firewood:

This is an interesting neighborhood.  Nearby, the sad case of CSL 1467.

The end of the car is hanging by a thread: 

And then there's the McKeen car.  Now if only we had some McKeen fans around, this would be a good project.

 It was a cold, dreary day, raining all afternoon.  There were a couple of things to fix on the 308: a folding step for roof access needed to be reattached, and an outside door handle had come loose, so I took care of those.  I also went around the barn to check for leaking onto the cars.  Luckily, it appears that there are no leaks, certainly not onto my cars:

And I also climbed onto the roof of the 277 for the first time in several years, but it and the other IT cars seem to be fine.  There are still a few drips onto the sidewalks, but the asphalt won't rot out.

For a cold, dreary day, what could be better than going over to do some cleaning in the 321?  First, let's stop in and see what Jack Biesterfeld is doing in the 110.  It's kind of cheery in here, now that all the dead bodies and bloody limbs have been removed:

Jack points out one of the original arched upper sash windows, covered by paint, sheet metal, and other windows, but it appears they're all still there.   This car has had a rough life.

The inner sash originally could be raised in the usual fashion, but later they were fastened shut and hinged windows were installed, which is pretty bizarre:

The two interior ends of the car were originally mirror images of each other, it appears, with a washroom in one corner and a stove in the other.  The east end was stripped; this is where the washroom used to be.

And Jack pointed out that the one remaining washroom has curved glass in its ceiling (later covered by a sloppy paint job.)  

This picture didn't turn out too well, but up along the ceiling there are match strikers so that a trainman could come along with a step ladder and light the Pintsch gas fixtures with which it was originally equipped.  I'd noticed the same thing in the Hicks car at Green Bay.  The gas lights are long gone, but the match strikers are still there.

A false ceiling was installed at one end of the car, which was the crew quarters, but above it the original ceiling is still complete and in good shape.  Jack was sanding down paint and evaluating the condition of the car, so the Coach Dept. guys can decide how they want to proceed.  This should be a very interesting project.

 And then I spent some time in the 321, cleaning up, throwing out things that have become rusty or rotten over the years, and so on.  The workbench is actually much better than when I started:

And I also returned the file on Central Illinois Traction to the Scalzo Library, and took out a file for another fascinating Illinois interurban.  This file is bigger and better, so stay tuned! 


Kirk Warner said...

Wonderful photos of your fou wood CA&E woodies. You should be very proud of your work as they look superb. Do yo know if the 1754 was moved not the shop under its' own power. I saw Norm and Tim working on the control system, trying to figure out the wiring when I was there on 7/22. Did they get it figured out?

Joshua Sutherland said...

I recall reading on our blog elsewhere that CSL 1467 was stripped when it was first preserved, any idea or knowledge why?

Brian L. said...

The switch crew towed it dead.

Anonymous said...

My understanding was that the 1467 was getting some minor work done by Bill McGregor, and each step of the way he determined there were more problems underneath that needed addressing, so that in the end he had the car stripped apart and hanging from the ceiling of the barn in Downers Grove to replace sills and beams underneath. I would gather that he learned alot about streetcars in this first restoration attempt, like taking apart a toaster. The car was shipped to IRM in this condition, and sat out in the weather for many years, tarped for some of them. Bill started doing the same to one of the North Shore cabeese but did not get as far.

Randall Hicks said...

Yes, that's essentially what I had always heard. Once the body was stripped down to a frame, he wanted to raise it off the trucks to replace the bolsters. He did this without any power tools or special equipment. Two crosspieces were suspended under the top rails from four threaded rods attached to the ceiling beams, and the body was slowly raised by turning the nuts on the the threaded rods. (Bill's barn was built much stronger than your average pole barn!) And there it hung, known as the "mobile", until the collection had to move.

This was perhaps the first, but certainly not the last, car at IRM to be disassembled for a restoration that was never completed.

Anonymous said...

The 1754 had a shorted control resistor. It seemed to be good, but was shorted to the shell. These are the long flat type which are difficult to get out of the frame. In addition, it is right next to some brake rigging which was in the way. It was changed out on Saturday by Tim and Dan Fenlaciki. The control group now works, and the car took power.
Bill Wulfert

Richard Penn said...

Hello Randall thank you for another very informative post. If it isn't too much of a hassle would it be possible for you to take a picture of the information sign on the GBW 110 and the Mckeen rpo/baggage car. Thanks for everything that you do for the museum.

Dan Buck said...

Hi Randy,
I've been negligent in not submitting this comment sooner, but I have to tell you that your photos of the wood car foursome are spectacular! A possible future calendar photo? I hope so.
Dan Buck