Monday, September 25, 2017

News from Lake Veronica

Not exactly IRM-related, but Della Street in the town of Lake Veronica has recently been repaved, and now features an abandoned interurban line with rails still in the pavement.  And that looks like Veronica herself in front of the depot.

This was inspired by the real-life remnants of Scioto Valley Traction in Groveport, Ohio.

And of course IRM has what appear to be abandoned tracks in the pavement  of Central Ave., but they will eventually be connected and put into service.

Monday, September 18, 2017

More Showcase

And now for a little more about Showcase Weekend.  It was a blast.

Now if you read Frank's post carefully enough, you should be able to answer the following question:
What do these two pieces of equipment have in common?

As part of Showcase Weekend we showcase our spiffy operating crews: here we have Henry Vincent, Andy Sunderland, and me.  I should take more of these pictures.  The Zephyr crews, in particular, are always impeccably dressed, but they're usually spread out along the train and not all in one place.

And here, making its operational debut at IRM, is the Charles City Western 300 on a caboose hop.  Pete Galayda has a lot to be proud of.  It's sad that John Nelligan did not live to see this.

The North Western bay window caboose does not operate often, if at all.  Victor finished the restoration back in 2002 and had never gotten a chance to ride it before.  He said he was surprised at how squeaky the car was running down the main line.  We told him you need to get out more and ride the CA&E wood cars.  We've got all the creaking and squeaking anybody could want!

As mentioned, the Electroliner team had both end units open for visitors on Saturday.  

Here Ed Oslowski is talking to several visitors about the project and the history of the Liners.

And a little store is set up with various North Shore items of interest on sale.

The other end of the train is in Barn 7.  Here John Arroyo proudly shows off his authentic Electroliner waiter's jacket.  

Meanwhile, at 50th Avenue two elevated trains of widely different types are loading.

On Members' Day we often meet old-timers we haven't seen for a while.  Here Bob Heinlein is talking to Steve Jirsa.  I also got to talk to Charlie King.  And Al Reinschmidt was out, although I missed seeing him.

Here Bill Wulfert demonstrates the Bill McGregor Pencil Test on the 1754.  If you can stick a pencil into the wood, it's probably no good.   That indicates Tim still has more work to do.

The three-car wood L train in service on Station 1.

Frank was the afternoon conductor.

I was busy during the evening operations and didn't try to take any pictures.  Your submissions would be most welcome.

Finally, let's go for a ride on the CA&E steel cars.

Zach Ehlers is the conductor.  Fred Zimmerman is the motorman, with Mike Blackwell in training.

Changing the subject, we have an update to our Deaccession List.  Ted Miles, IRM member, sends us a report about Godchaux Sugar #1, a narrow-gauge engine that was temporarily on the property.  He says: 

This locomotive was once owned by IRM and later until 2006 was part of an auto collection owned by Los Angeles publisher Otis Chandler. 

She has now turned up in the hands of the Gazsi family of Los Angeles; she is on loan to the Grizzly Flats Railroad at Orange Empire Railway Museum. She is taking the place of the Chloe (plantation locomotive) in the Engine House, while she is off getting overhauled at the Hillcrest Shops at Reedley, California.. 

The article is on the front page of the OERM Gazette for July 2017.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Showcase '17

Frank writes...

The Saturday of Museum Showcase Weekend seemed to be a great success. As I was arriving, at about 9am, Tim Peters and Joel Ahrendt were pulling Chicago "L" car 1754 out of its spot on track 42. This car is Tim's current project and he has largely rebuilt one end already. The end shown below is the other end of the car. This end of the car had its windows shortened in height later in its service life, as was done with most Chicago Rapid Transit cars.

And below is the end that is largely rebuilt. Note the taller windows and tongue-and-groove siding. While the car has quite the split personality, with all of the significant rebuilding work, it's still fully operable at the moment and moved itself over to the 50th Avenue "L" station under power.
For most of the day, the 1754 and Northwestern Elevated Railroad 24 were spotted next to each other on the 50th Avenue west track as a "before and after" example of what Tim and his assistants are capable of. Car 1754 is currently in need of funding to continue restoration work so hopefully additional interest in the project was raised. Below are the two cars on display. In the middle of the afternoon the two CRT cars, 1268 and 1797, were run over to 50th and coupled to the 24, after which the three-car wood "L" train made a couple of main line runs.
And after the 1754 left its customary berth the front of Barn 4 looked like this. On the left is an Electroliner "A" car, which was opened for tours on Saturday, with WEPCO L4 behind it; straight ahead is Michigan Electric 28 with its end largely disassembled; and to the right is Veracruz 19, with Illinois Terminal 1565 behind it and Cleveland PCC 4223 behind that.
Over at Barn 8, before the CA&E wood train left to go into service, I got a shot of the 308 alongside the newest member of the "GE Type M club" to enter service, Charles City Western steeplecab 300. The 300 made its public debut on Saturday, pulling the C&NW wood caboose on a few revenue trips on the main line.
And here's the CA&E service train: the 308 and 319. Andy Sunderland was the motorman and my father was the morning shift conductor, working from 10am to 2pm. During part of that time I was working with a cameraman to film scenes for a planned IRM TV commercial. Stay tuned to see how it turns out! And many thanks to Joe and Jill, who came out along with their daughters to volunteer as "models." They were tremendously patient and helpful. A number of IRM volunteers were instrumental in making it all work including Zach, Joel, and Rob S. When filming was done I signed in as the afternoon shift conductor while my father took an "interim rest" break until after dinner.
After a few trips in the afternoon, mostly well patronized given how many trains were on the railroad, we stowed the train on the inspection pit lead during the members cookout dinner. Afterwards the marker lanterns and headlights were retrieved from storage. Below the markers, as well as the bulls-eye marker lantern in the foreground, are arrayed ready to be lit.
There were four trains out at night, including the steam train, Zephyr, and the North Shore cars as well as the 308-319 (there were also three streetcars on the car line including open car 19). But we were able to run a couple of nighttime trips which were well received.
We've got night operations with these cars down to a science. The train runs with four markers, one at each corner, and we can use the flip-up red gels built into the lanterns to change them from red to white and back again when we change ends rather than carrying the lanterns through the train. We also run with a headlight at each end ready to go. True, the bulls-eye light (shown below) does need to be carried end to end, but it weighs less than the markers or headlights.
As usual we saw a lot of friends during the day, both from the area and from further away, including our good friend and fellow blogger Al, who was able to make it out for a little while around lunchtime. A good time was had by all. We should do this again next year!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tuesday Report

Today's first activity was putting a coat of blue on the side doors of the 36 -- a second coat on the two at the #1 end, a first coat at the #2 end.  

And then, in the major repairs department, I replaced the whistle cord that had broken at the #2 end.  It was still usable, but it should be attached at both ends.  Anyway, that's now fixed.  And let me say that the next motorman who breaks a whistle cord will face immediate disqualification.  Unless it's me.

Let's see what's going on in the shop.  First, Frank Sirinek wanted to show off the new motorman's window shade for the Kansas City car.  The shade box has a couple of brackets that were surplus for our needs, so I let him have them.

And then I looked at what Pete Galayda has been doing on the Class B.  Here's one of the new windows that he has installed. 

And here are the new control resistor tubes that have recently been installed.  Bob Sundelin developed the specifications and ordered them.

And the MD car door is still being worked on.

 On a more serious note, I also opened up the boxes and inspected the contactors on the 36.  #3 does indeed look in bad shape; the tips are badly pitted.  Notice also that there's a large spot on the bottom cover directly below the arc chute, where it is when the cover is closed.  That indicates that this contactor is indeed breaking most of the current when power is shut off.

 On the other hand, contactor 11 appears to be OK; I had thought it might have welded itself closed again.

Notice that underneath the two trolley contactors, #1 and #2, the cover was patched long ago, but no longer appears to be getting flashed.  Perhaps we need to reconsider how we operate the controllers.

I also checked and topped off the oil on the 308 and 319.

Next, we turn to the 1218.  The temporary lights that had been in the 205 were moved to the 1218 on Sunday, so today I took some time to string them up.  It's an improvement.

And while we're here, here is the conductor's station.  Ignore the trolley base on the floor.  We see the movable seat, two brass handles for operating the sliding doors, and the fare register.

I put in another spare window so a good window from the 1218 could be removed.  I noticed that inside each pocket for the drop windows is a removable frame, which keeps the windows from being dropped down all the way.  In this picture, you can see it in the middle of the pocket, with a piece of rubber hose to act as a bumper on top.  On the left is some old newspaper a long-ago rider must have stuffed down inside.

 And then I worked on stripping various parts of one of the windows removed earlier.  I think pretty much all of the lower rails will have to be replaced.

I wire-wheeled the brass channels for each side.

At least the car comes with a good supply of chocks.

Finally, let's see what's happening in the 1754.   Progress continues.

You have probably heard of the proverbial one-armed paper hanger; here we have the one-armed paint stripper.  He's continuing to work on the interior, and hopes to have the car on display this weekend.