Thursday, August 31, 2017

Don't Take No for an Answer

But please, honey, they still need trainmen for this weekend!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Riveting News

You just won't be able to tear yourself away from what we have to report.  You'll see.  

First of all, I did some switching in preparation for Labor Day weekend.  I wanted to put the 308 and 309 at the door, and they will be running Saturday.  The 36 and 319 will operate on Sunday and Monday, or at least that's the plan.  At one point in this process they appeared to be a four-car train.

One reason for doing this was to check operation of both trains.  And indeed, I found a problem: a control jumper had worked partway loose.  When I started up, it seemed awfully sluggish.  Why isn't the 319 motoring?  The problem was resolved soon enough, though.  When you only have two traction motors powering a two-car train, acceleration is just pitiful.   Like L cars or something.

And since I had all four cars out, here's a photo essay on the threshold castings which serve as builder's plates on these cars.  The trick is to find the missing letters.

Also to identify which builder didn't have cast letters on the thresholds.

Obviously the builders didn't plan on having these things stepped on for more than a hundred years.

And then I did some cleaning and straightening, making sure we have enough flags, etc.

Down by the station Max was loading up line poles that he had replaced.

Then I went to examine the (12)18, our Cleveland streetcar and one of the next projects.  In case you've forgotten what it looks like, here's the rear of the car.  On the whole, it's in good shape. 

I took home a couple of windows for rebuilding, and put spare CA&E windows in their place.

And looking towards the front:

And we have some new car cards to look at.  Here's a radio personality on KYW, presumably when it was in Cleveland.  

Several cards in the 18 seem to have been stolen from the CA&E:

And this might just as well be an advertisement for IRM.  You choose when you want to work.  However, we don't have any branch offices in the Cleveland area, and you won't get a $25 signing bonus.  Sorry.

Lots of people were choosing to work today.  Ed and John were taking a lunch break in the Electroliner when I stopped in:

They've made a lot of progress on stripping down the metal surfaces in the front section:

John Faulhaber and Buzz (not shown) continued working on the 68.  Here Jonn is installing the tracks for the window latches.

And finally, as promised, the new steel on the front of the 28 is being riveted together.  Here you can see the head of the first rivet to be installed in this plate.

Here Jeff is heating up the rivet to red hot, while Norm waits to buck for the riveter, Dan Fenlaciki, whom you can barely see.  It's hard to get good pictures of this process without getting in the way, which would be bad.  I wouldn't want to make enemies of men armed with tools like this.

Finally, Norm points out the next installed rivet.  There's lots more to do, but it will go quicker.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sunday report

Frank writes...

Sunday was something of a slow day at the museum. Rain was in the forecast, and while the sky looked threatening all day (and the crowd was commensurately small) we never got more than a few drops. I spent part of the afternoon in meetings and then did some work on Shaker Heights 18, doing more fitting work on the steel plate. Unfortunately, yet again I forgot to take any photos. Oops. But there was plenty of other stuff going on.

Here, Norm, Jeff B, and Dan drive a couple of test rivets. Soon they'll rivet together all of the new steel in the frame at the front end of the Michigan car.
Richard, Greg, and Thomas were working on the CTA spam cans. One of the 6600s had an MG set that had failed and they dropped it out of the car. It sounds like it will need some components replaced but I didn't catch exactly what was wrong with it.
The step wells for CA&E 451, which I believe Fred and Jeff O. have been working on, were out in Barn 4 in primer.
And then there's the progress that's been made recently on Illinois Terminal Class B 1565. Above, the new control resistors that were specially modified to specifications developed by Bob Sundelin have arrived. Installation of these should make the locomotive operational again.
And in the meantime, windows for the 1565 are being refurbished and are in the "lean-three" in fresh Tile Red.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Saturday Report

Another busy Saturday was spent out at the Museum, and I'm sure most of us were wondering where the summer went.  Be that as it may, we had a numerous crowd of visitors, and everybody seemed to be having a great time.  As usual.

I started out by installing the ersatz tack molding on the 150.  If I may say so myself, it makes the car look more like it would if it had a real canvas roof, although who knows how many people might actually notice.  But it's obvious to me, and that's enough to get the job done.  Next up, phony tack molding around the ends.  Stay tuned!

Down by the station, the 1630 was pulling the coach train, and as always was the center of attention.  The Steam Dept. guys always put on a great show.

Then we have a couple of L cars, operated by Dennis and Randy.  I didn't hang around long enough to get a crew picture, though.  Sorry, I'm sure you're crushed.

Over in the "Back of the Yards" neighborhood, Gerry is hard at work regrading the ground between 6 and 7.  Whenever we get a hard rain, a large pond would appear here, and Gerry kept complaining about it, so Dave started calling it "Lake Dettloff".  With some extra dirt and the appropriate grading, the water should drain off to the storm sewers, and this won't be so much of a problem.

And while I was wandering around, I happened to notice that the Hicks Chair of Mathematics is still in use, in a corner of Barn 7.  Did we ever tell you about this?

The chair itself was found in one of the car bodies we recovered from Lake Shafer back in 1996.  Frank was in high school at the time, and he repainted it and lettered it with various mathematical formulas and gave it as a present to his math teacher. (Frank writes: it wasn't a gift, it was a class project I was assigned!) I had mentioned that I thought it was amusing that at a university you'll have a "Chair of Philosophy" or "Chair of Physics" and so on, so this became the "Hicks Chair of Mathematics".  When the teacher retired, it came back to Frank and has been at the Museum ever since. (Frank: its recovery was actually more random: it ended up dumped in the high school's storage room and when the school was torn down and rebuilt, a manager for the school district - who was also my sister's godmother - happened upon it and saw my name. It was returned to me whether I wanted it or not.) I'm sure Pythagoras would be proud of us.

And then I spent some time checking and refilling the lubrication for the axle bearings on the 309 and the compressors on all four cars, in preparation for Labor Day Weekend.  Oil is well.

I went over to Barn 11 to look in the 321 for brake hoses, which I'm collecting for a planned swap with another museum.  We'll let you know when that happens, but in the meantime, switching was going on in the new Milwaukee Road Freight house.

First out is the 760, the first F-M locomotive built.

Next, the Milwaukee Road dynamometer.  This car is in very good shape, apart from the exterior paint, which should be attacked soon now that it's stored inside.

The Steam Dept. guys wanted to extract some machine tools from the Milwaukee Road baggage car.  Here Jeff Calendine is running the forklift.  This is car 2050, not to be confused with locomotive 2050.  Only slightly different.

And then I decided to spend some time removing carpet pieces from the roof of the 321.  These were put there back in 2009 to keep the tarp from ripping, and they worked very well.  But now they're just another eyesore.  I didn't have a ladder or a platform, and being alone I wouldn't want to use them anyhow, but with a long pole I was able to remove about half of the remaining pieces.  It was rather fun, I must say, as well as good exercise.

I also spent some time cleaning and straightening parts in the 150.

And finally, if you need a ride home, take the Boulevard Route.

Next weekend will be Labor Day, of course, and as we've mentioned before the CA&E cars are scheduled to run all three days, so come out and see us.  If the creek don't rise.

Update:  I always try to encourage visitors to ask questions, but today they had me stumped a couple of times.  Where's the 9911A?  Beats me.  What happened to the little 2-6-0 from Monee?  It turns out it was sold to the Gramlings and left the property yesterday.  You can see the proud new owners at this link.   We can only wish them luck.  And by the way, you can be sure that WE care what you think about Facebook or anything else.  More or less.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Help Wanted

We need a complete crew for the CA&E wood cars on Saturday, Sept. 2nd.  I'll be available to take whatever position is needed, but we need two other people to sign up.  Thanks!

The wood cars will be running all three days over the Labor Day weekend, and on Sunday we will be running night operations until about 9pm.  Nick recently handed me a box full of old CA&E ticket stubs and told me to hand them out to our riders as souvenirs, which we will do on request.   So remember the magic word "blog" and ask for a free ticket stub.  See you there!

Us and Them....

David writes .....

I didn't have to walk far to see the eclipse, just out the lobby entrance to the Heber Wells Building (named for Utah's first Governor). No bluegrass band at our viewing location in downtown Salt Lake City. 

There was quite a crowd from the state office building complex watching. 

Now that the hoopla is over, back to trains. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Hole in the Sky

My wife and I also went down to Missouri to see the eclipse.  We were at a state park, and everything went very well, no clouds, no traffic problems, and while we were waiting, we were treated to some live music, which seems to be plentiful out in the country there:

And right on schedule, the sky grew dark, and the sun looked something like this:

Now I would love to start talking about diffraction patterns, but don't worry, we'll stick to trains.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Elevate your mind

Frank writes...

My wife and I just got back from the St. Louis area, where we went to see the eclipse. But more on that later. On the way down on Sunday, we stopped at the J.H. Hawes Elevator Museum in Atlanta, Illinois. I'm not certain how many grain elevators are preserved as museums but it's not very many. This one is very nicely done but unfortunately it's only open two hours a week, 1pm-3pm on Sundays. Lucky for us we finagled our schedule to make it work! Admittedly, this is only tangentially related to trains, but you may find it interesting anyway. If not, you'll get a full refund.

Here it is in all its glory. Left to right are the scale house, engine house, and elevator, though the scale house and engine house are replicas built on the original foundations. There's also a recently-built pavilion behind the scale house and a carriage house that was moved from another location just last year located off-camera to the left. The elevator is a classic small-town wood-cribbed design built  around 1904, which interests me because it's a contemporary of the ones located along the Macomb Industry & Littleton, a favorite railroad of mine. The Hawes elevator was abandoned in 1976 but in 1988, when the town was about to burn it as a fire department exercise, a local group banded together to fix it up and preserve it as a museum. It opened in 1999.
It's located along the abandoned ROW of the Pennsy (Vandalia Railroad) Terre Haute-to-Peoria line and a 40' outside-braced radial-roof boxcar dating to 1927, 47194, is on display adjacent to the structure. The boxcar was just recently repainted and hadn't yet been lettered when we were there.
The engine house has a contemporary gas engine installed in it. To reduce the risk of explosions, always a serious concern in grain elevators, engines were placed in separate buildings. This engine is still fully operational, as is the elevator itself.
The grain leg inside the elevator is driven through a shaft that goes from the engine house into the basement of the elevator itself. The first floor of the elevator is probably 5' off the ground, give or take.
Looking into the carriage bay (?) of the elevator from the doorway visible in the first photo, you can see how grain was brought in. A cart, such as the one shown, would be driven in after being weighed and would be spotted in a tilting bed. The cart would then be tilted, the grain would be poured through a trapdoor (foreground) into a bin in the basement of the elevator, and then would be hoisted up the leg (through one of those doorways to the left of the cart) to the distributor at the top where it would be deposited into one of nine bins located in the elevator's interior.
A slightly better view of the cart tilting mechanism. There's very little steel in the elevator structure itself (other than the leg and distributor mechanisms) with the exception of tie rods through the structure to keep the weight of the grain from bowing the walls outwards; these can be seen on the wall to the right as well as on the exterior of the elevator.
Here we are standing next to the cart looking through one of those doorways from the carriage bay into the interior of the elevator; through the doorway straight ahead is the door of the Wabash boxcar. In the right foreground are the two sides of the grain leg, with some of the wooden panels replaced by Plexiglas to show the steel buckets that are attached to the leather strap to make up the hoist. Beyond it is an open area just inside from where they would spot boxcars; overhead in this spot is a bin fitted with a scale where grain to be shipped out would be weighed. The grain would be poured from its bin into the basement; lifted up the leg to the top of the elevator; routed via the distributor to the weighing bin; weighed; poured back into the basement; lifted up the leg again; and routed via the distributor to a chute into the boxcar. The entire thing functions through gravity and a single grain leg.
Here's the view looking straight up the elevator. At upper right are the ropes that drive the leg at top and bottom; the pulley visible nearest the camera just hangs, with a weight suspended, and acts as the tensioning device. To the left is the weighing bin and at the bottom of the photo are the stairs to the top, unfortunately but understandably off-limits to visitors.

So now that grain elevator class is concluded, it's on to the eclipse. We had planned to view it from the vicinity of Marthasville, Missouri, some 50 miles west of St. Louis along the north side of the Missouri River. Little did I know that Marthasville was along the MKT, now abandoned and known as the Katy Trail. I did snap the below photo of a shelter built along the trail; unfortunately I neglected to get a picture of the depot, fixed up and standing nearby as the chamber of commerce! What would Dave's Depots say?
Oh well, the eclipse was still awfully cool. The photo below was taken at 1:16pm, about an hour after the above photo, during the brief period of total eclipse.