Tuesday, September 5, 2017

First shift, second shift

Frank writes...

I realize I'm just piling on with the written and photographic accounts of a great Labor Day Weekend but I figured I'd put my two cents in anyway, even if I can't claim to rival my father's verbal prowess or Chuck's photographic talent. Anyway, Saturday found me running the 308 and 309 from 10am to 3pm for the first shift, of which I captured a pretty nice photo on Station Track 1 in the morning. On Saturday my father was working as conductor.

It's always nice to see these two cars out; they're the "old reliables" of the CA&E fleet. For a number of years, from 2003 until the Trolleyville cars started to come on line in 2010, this was the only usable two-car train that IRM was capable of fielding. They saw a lot of service during those years and it's gratifying to see them out on the railroad now.
And then Sunday I was conductor (Greg Ceurvorst was motorman, my father trainman) on the newcomers of our CA&E wood fleet, the 36 and 319 acquired in 2009, for the 3pm-9pm second shift. They're shown above on Station Track 2, which is pretty rare mileage for electric cars at IRM. But for Sunday evening operations there were four trains out of which three were railroad trains - the Zephyr, the steam coach train, and the C&NW bi-levels - so platform space was at a premium.
 We also ended up on Station Track 2 just as it was getting dark, so we were all the way at the east end of the track when it came time to put out the marker lanterns. We electric guys forget how long track 2 is - when you're down at the east end you're a lot closer to the diesel shop than you are to the depot! Anyway, I happened to be snapping a photo when the pump on the 319 started up and caught the flash of sparks shown above. With so few electrics operating on this track, and what with all of the diesel and steam engine exhaust being shot into the trolley wire, the wire gets pretty dirty and results in quite the light show when an electric car does finally make it down the track.
It's always fun to run at night, and for the last few years we've had four CA&E marker lanterns, meaning we can put a marker at each corner of the train and just switch them from red to white when changing ends rather than hauling markers the length of the train twice each trip. The gentleman shown above, talking to my father from the ground, was a visitor who came up to chat after our last night trip. He was pretty surprised when told that the flickering lanterns were not cleverly disguised LED's but were, in fact, kerosene-fired lanterns. I like to think it's those little authentic touches that make the difference.


Art said...

It's equally as much fun for us to read about day's activities from your perspective. The father-son railfan relationship is a special one and is very evident in the writing from both of you. The lanters are genuine. So are you!


Randall Hicks said...

Thanks, Art. I'd sort of forgotten about that LED question. I also had someone ask me if this was the only train museum in the US. That was surprising, but I politely answered that there are many others, though this is the largest. But of course I keep coming up with smart-aleck answers that I sort of wish I had made with a little more time to think about it.

Anonymous said...

At a guess there are about 250 steam/Diesel museums and about 35 electric museums.

then there are a very small number of both like Orange Empire and IRM that are both.

And just to add to the fun there are some with trains that do not consider themselves railroad museums; like the henry Ford Museum.

Great Job guys! The pictures are wonderful.

Ted Miles, IRM Member

Anonymous said...

As dispatcher on Sunday, I had to shuffle the track assignments when 1630 needed to skip a slot or two in the rotation. Then I had to skip you once or twice to get back in sync. I'm glad you got some good photos out of it. You put on a good light show from the tower. Did you happen to see the distant fireworks late Sunday night?

David Streeter

Randall Hicks said...

That's fine, David, we're certainly not complaining. Everything seemed to go well. But I didn't see any distant fireworks -- maybe it was us!