Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Memories

Our Memorial Day operations went very well this year, the weather was perfect, and a good time was had by all.  For once, there were no open slots for operating positions, so I spent most of the day taking pictures and otherwise goofing off.  Why not?

The 36 and 319 were in operation, and everything went well.  I must say it's very rewarding to be able to stand back and watch these cars in operation.

Signal department members John Wells and John Naglich are hard at work repainting signals while the trains go by.

The Zephyr passes by on its way into Station 1.  John Wells, on the ladder above, could have reached out and painted the engineer's face as he went by.  

And we don't often see the 1374 in operation.  The motorman is Steve Jirsa and the conductor is Tom Slater.

And later, here's the interior:

Then the three-car IT train pulls out of the barn.

This doesn't look much like downtown Chicago, but it's quite pleasant nonetheless.

Oh, and here's our operating crew.  (L to R) Chris Buck, Dan Buck, Pete Pederson.   Pete is a long-time member, but I hadn't seen him for several years and didn't recognize him at first.  They did an excellent job of operating the train.

One of the most intellectually challenging aspects of operating the wood cars is that locking and unlocking them is different for each car, for various historical reasons.  So I hopefully made these new laminated instruction sheets to make the process easier.

We had a dedication ceremony for the Robert Bruneau Electric Car Shop.

Speakers were Joel, Norm, and Gerry.

Then everybody boarded the IT 101 for a trip.

Meanwhile, the 1630 was another center of attention, as usual.

Since I wasn't in an operating position, I had some time to check on the displays in the old Art Train cars.  The people who have organized this over the past several years have done a wonderful job.

There's an interesting set of displays about George Pullman and his company:

And then lots of railroad china:

The china display is stunning.  If you know what to look for, you could probably spend an hour studying the details.   Then there are hand lanterns:

And extensive displays about Chicago's various railroad terminals, most of which are no longer in existence.

And then builder's plates!

 I actually did do a little real work.  The bent coupler from the 309 was taken over to the Steam Shop, as explained earlier, and I went over to talk to our friends there.  Of course, they have much more important things to do most of the time.  However, after looking over our collection of Van Dorn couplers in the material yard, I realized that this is what's left of a coupler from the 318:

The end casting was destroyed in the wreck at Indianapolis in 1971, but the shaft itself is not bent.  If the shaft could be removed from the hanger casting and the springs, it could perhaps be a better solution than trying to straighten out the bent coupler shaft.  I was unable to remove the cotter pin or nut at the end of the shaft, but I showed Gerry what needs to be done, and he will try to get to it next week.   Thanks!!!

Gerry also pointed out some of the current Car Dept. projects.  The side doors for the 451 were received from the painter, and we're hoping to organize the restoration for that car.

And then, these are the Electroliner motors.  These are due to be moved soon to Avalon Railcar in West Allis, where the trucks have been rebuilt.  Avalon will install the motors in the trucks for us, and then they will be returned to IRM to be placed under the various sections of the train.  That's very encouraging.

Finally, I stopped off at Seeman Road on the way home.  The Zephyr is passing by.

Here at Johnson Siding we have Lake Johnson, I guess:

And then the CA&E train meets the Zephyr.  What a great day!!!

And in addition, our friend Chuck Amstein has posted a great many excellent photos here. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

More Pictures from Saturday

Chris Buck, who was one of the operators on the 409-431 yesterday, sends us these photos he took during the day.  Thanks!

Crew of the 101:  Joel Ahrendt and Zach Ehlers.

And on the Belt Line caboose, that's Henry Vincent.

By the way, are you looking for a good place to have lunch tomorrow?  The Zephyr will serving lunch in the diner Ceres.  Space is limited, so don't delay!  Our unbiased panel of culinary experts have placed this among the top tier of dinner trains in the state.  And the hard-working crew of the Zephyr will appreciate your patronage!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Down By the Station

Another busy and productive day at the Museum.  Most of the activity centered around revenue service, so most of these pictures were taken down by the station.   First of all, Illinois Terminal car 101 was running.  This doesn't operate very often, partly because this is the only one of its type.  It's flying black flags in memory of the late Bob Bruneau, who purchased this car for the Museum back in 1956 and guided its preservation and restoration.

I did some work cleaning up and checking various parts of the CA&E train that will be operating on Monday, but not a lot to take a picture of.  At least the car has its classification sign and its 48-star flags. 

And the electric bus from Seattle was in operation.

Work continues rapidly on the 1754.

The CA&E steel cars are waiting on Station 1.

More Chicago transit:

The Decapod is steaming up on the turntable leads.

Meanwhile, out in the fields south of Barn 8, the Track Dept. and B&G crews are cleaning up the material yard.  There are two crews at work, arranging parts to be saved and filling up a gon with scrap iron.  This will make a big improvement to the property.

Once the locomotive starts to move, people are lining up to take pictures.

The caboose train now has five cabooses, and is very popular.

And as the 1630 pulls into the station with its train for the first run, everybody wants to take pictures.

Finally, views of the interior of the 101.

Tune in again on Monday for more colorful and informative news from IRM!