Thursday, June 29, 2017

Not the End of the World

IRM got a lot of rain over the past day or two, and there is some standing water here and there, but it isn't the end of the world.  We've seen worse, that's for sure.  There was no real damage to the railroad or structures, and it appears our drainage system is generally doing an excellent job of draining the standing water.   When I arrived about 9 in the morning, there were some unexpected ponds, but these had shrunk quite a bit by the time I left.  I would think that there should be little impact on the planned activities for this weekend.

None of the barns flooded except a little at the east end of Barn 3, which is certainly the lowest point.  But it was a lot worse back in 1978, and a few times since. 

But let's get to work.  I checked the brakes and control system on the three-car blue train, in preparation for this weekend, and everything seems to be fine.  

Another project that has been put off for the last 15 years or so is finishing the circuit for the headlight at the #2 end of the 308, the end which was rebuilt.  I finally got a piece of copper tubing of the right size, and cut two pieces that run through a hole in the door posts; on the inside the copper is bent into a flange for the electrical connection.

That took a while, but the result is that it works!  

And around the hole in the door post I needed another circular pad.  I'm really not sure why they're necessary, but it wouldn't look right without them.  The letter B should probably be moved down, but not today.  And the primer will turn red on Saturday.

And I painted Frank's primer on the 319 black.  I guess we'll need another coat, but it looks fine in person.

And I checked the oil in the compressors, straightened up the seats, etc. etc.

Jon Fenlaciki was working on the roof of the 65:

And Thomas will be here in little more than a week.   Tents are springing up all over the property.

 And finally, here's a better picture of the plans for Union Station: 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Big Picture

Many of you have noticed that some of the older photo albums no longer show an enlarged image when you click on the thumbnail.  This is an issue with Lightbox, the system that has been collecting all the images in a post, showing you a set of thumbnails at the bottom, etc.  But it doesn't work on images posted before about 2010.  Blogger is aware of this issue and should be coming up with a fix.  Until then, I've turned Lightbox off.  For any photo, click on the thumbnail, then back arrow to return to the post, as we used to do.  Let me know if you notice any problems.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Close to the finish line

Frank writes...

Significant restoration work on the 319 is getting towards the finish line. At this point it mostly consists of paint: interior paint, which is my father's department, and underbody paint, which is more my cup of tea. So to keep the ball rolling on this I brought the 319 over to the inspection pit lead on Sunday to do some more needle-chipping in preparation for converting more of the underbody from alligatored paint and rust into nice shiny black.

First, I had a moment to grab a nice portrait on the ladder track.
Three out of the car's four step wells had already been needle-chipped and repainted but one, at the #1R corner, still remained. So I spent the afternoon cleaning that up with the needle-chipper. Above is a work-in-progress shot of one of the step risers. It's not as obvious in the photo as it was in real life, but under the black paint (which likely dates back to Wheaton) was quite a bit of the light blue/grey used on the top half of the car sides. We already knew that during the 1950s the edges of the steps were painted with this blue/grey color, and my guess is that the steps themselves - which consist of a grating of sheet metal strips - were sprayed with this color and then the risers were brushed black. It's an interesting tidbit; during the 1940s, in the "Early American" color scheme, the steps and step edges were painted silver rather than grey.
I also chipped the alligatored paint off of the bottom of the trap. The Jewetts were the only CA&E wood cars to have these modern sprung traps; the older cars just have wooden trap doors on barn hinges. The Jewetts are also the only wood cars, I believe, to have had "Watch Your Step" painted on the trap undersides at some point. I think this had been painted over by the end of service but photos of the cars with the traps up are not terribly common.
And I ended up running out of time but I did get a chance to wire-wheel and prime the outside of the step well. Hopefully my father can paint this black during the week; the rest of the equipment under the end of the car (pilot, braces, the other step well) is nice shiny black so this will make the car more photogenic at least. At the moment the 319 is scheduled to run solo as the 50th Avenue-Jefferson Street shuttle car on July 2nd so people won't be seeing the step well "interior" anyway.
And here's some interesting news: new wheels for Sand Springs 68 have come back from the wheel shop. The rebuilt wheel-and-axle sets are shown here with the truck frame and journal boxes in the background.

Trick Question

A few days ago I asked people to guess what this was used for:

That was a trick question.  It was never used for anything, it's a piece of modern art.  While visiting my daughter, we went to a modern art museum.  This is just a small sampling of the stuff on display.

My favorite piece of "art" is a pit with huge stacks of old newspapers, left there to rot for years:

Then there were random piles of bricks, odd slabs of concrete, rusty iron....

It struck me that several parts of IRM's material yard could be modern art if only we had the right signage.  And if we charged as much for admission as they do, we could make a lot of money on the side.   Now if we just knew somebody with time on his hands and a natural gift for BS....

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sixty Years Later

Frank recently posted a picture of a young man standing on the Charles City Western 300 back about 1957, and asked for people to identify him.  Nobody has done so yet, I'm sorry to say, so here's a clue.  We reshot the picture with the same individual.  The 300 is inside Barn 6 and blocked by three North Shore cars, one of which is currently disabled, so the lighting and available angles are far from ideal.   When the locomotive can get outside again, we'll stage a better version of this.  But once again, it's interesting to see the same person, same equipment, so many years apart.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Getting Ready

Today was another busy day at the Museum, but most of the effort seemed to be directed towards preparations for next weekend, which will be a four-day weekend this year, and include all sorts of interesting activity.  You won't want to miss it (as we've said many times before, I admit!)

My main intention was to start repainting the interior of the 319.  It's not bad, but in several places it needs at least another coat of paint on the walls.  Working with the available lighting inside the barn, it looked fine, but when the car is outside in direct sunlight, it's obvious the paint coverage isn't uniform.  So I moved the car out of the barn and went to work.

It's hard to see in this picture, and I didn't even take any pictures of the finished product.

By lunchtime I had done about half of the smoker.  Then I noticed that another big switch move was underway over in Barn 7.  They were getting ready for the L car pageant next week.

Saturday, July 1st, will present the history of the Chicago L, starting with car 24, the first generation of elevated cars, through the present day.  We have an unparalleled collection of equipment, and it needed some shuffling to get it in position.

Track 72 was completely switched out.  This provided a nice view of the unrestored side of the 205.

This was left untouched to preserve all of the previous paint schemes in the car's long history.

So I decided it was a good time to do my own switching.  Sunday, July 2nd, will observe the end of CA&E passenger service 60 years ago.  The 319 will be running shuttle service from 50th Avenue, and the three blue cars will be running main line service, unless we get permission to abandon.  And there will be the usual trolley pageant; there will also be extra service on Monday and Tuesday.

Here's something you don't see every day:

Or this:

The 52 and several other cars will be on display at 50th:

A lot of other things were going on, as usual, which I didn't have time to photograph.  Dave has put up a nice new sign previewing the construction of the visitors' center:

Among other things, work is progressing on CA&E 451.  Here the guys are prepping two stepwells for painting.   (L to R)  Jeff Obarek, Fred Zimmerman, and a new member, Andrew Ossler.  It's great to see that the Museum is continuing to attract younger members, although of course people of all ages are welcomed. 

The B&G department has a lot of ongoing maintenance to do.  Dave Diamond and Jerry Lynn spent most of the day rebuilding a door on track 62.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Quick Stop in Utica

Utica, NY has several interesting pieces of equipment on static display, besides a large and successful scenic railroad.  I'm not sure whether all of these display pieces belong to the Adirondack or the NRHS.  
An Alco road switcher:

A Santa Fe diner is rather far from home:

And a Pennsy cabin car:

Finally, the real jewel of the fleet has not yet recovered from a bad accident.

This nice little NYC switcher was sitting on display on a stub-end siding near the station, minding its own business about two years ago, when a vandal released the hand brake on a loaded hopper.  The car rolled downhill, over the derail, and smashed into the locomotive.  It's still on display, but there's obvious frame damage to both loco and tender, as well as other parts.  

And across the tracks from the Amtrak platform is the southern terminal of the Adirondack Scenic.

They seem to have a variety of paint schemes in use.  Some day we'll have to find time to ride.

Finally, let's have another contest.  Identify what this was used for and win a prize.  (Hint: this is not in Utica, it's elsewhere.)  Only one entry per person, please.