Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wednesday Report

Another busy Wednesday means that we probably have more pictures to attach than ever before, thanks to popular demand.  Got your bag of popcorn ready?  If so, let's go!

John the pharmacist is getting the MD car door ready.  This is not quite the right shade of orange, but will do for a first coat.  That way we're not wasting good paint.   I do the same thing on occasion.

Pete continues work on doors for the Illinois Terminal Class B.

I varnished the arm rests that had been stained last time.

The two on the top in this picture are varnished (first coat); the two below are only stained.

Lorne continues work on the Cleveland PCC.  This is a side sign box.

Another arm rest from the 300 was stripped and stained.

Parts of the bunks for Pennsy bobber are being assembled.   (L-R)  Dave, Victor, and Rich Witt.

The next arm rest was then stained.

 While the varnish was drying, I took the golf cart to move another couple of spare seat frames from the 150 to the 321.  Here they are slowly making their way into the car, sitting in the vestibule.

And meanwhile, a big switch move was taking place today, so I have several pictures of that.   Paul Cronin was running the Army engine.   Tracks 103 and 104 were partly switched out.

The recently repainted IC coach was pulled out of 103; it was headed to Barn 14.

That gives us a better vantage point to admire the rebuilt side of Victor's cabin car.

And then here's the other 308.  Those reflective stripes do their job.

And then, let's check in on the Electroliner.  We haven't been there for weeks.

A lot of work has been done on the interior of the end car.

Ed Oslowski and John Arroyo are having a board meeting; several exciting new fund-raising ideas are on the agenda.

North Shore coffee will soon be available at Schroeder's!  Sounds delicious, doesn't it?  And then they also plan to make reproduction Electroliner china, and things like that.   So stay tuned, this should be quite interesting.

Stripping of the motorman's compartment is essentially complete, and painting should start soon.

Another view of this rather cramped space.

New seals around the windows will be coming soon.

Sample material for making new window shades.  And the biggest part of the project, putting the train back together on the rebuilt trucks should be happening on schedule later in the spring.

Next door, John Faulhaber continues work on windows for the 68.

In more new member news, I met a new member of the Steam Team.  He wanted a brief tour of the Car Dept. wood shop, which was busy, of course.  Then Rich Thomas caught up with him, and it was back to the steam shop for whatever they were working on.  It's always encouraging to meet new people who want to contribute time and effort!

The big switch move continued while our attention was directed elsewhere.

The IC car is now parked alongside Barn 9.

And while I was watching the switching, Mark Secco drove by with this trailer.   He has proudly acquired a couple of spools of new 1 1/4" steel cable for the wrecking train.  

The orange Milwaukee car will go into the barn on 103, where the IC car was.

New wood for the cabin car...

And work continues on refinishing the interior.

The bunks are essentially wooden chests along the wall, on which sleeping bags may be placed.

A short section of one side was badly rotted and needs replacing.

Then I spent some time in the 309, removing the arm rests that don't fit the replacement seat frames.   This picture isn't very good, but should show vaguely what the problem is.

And in a couple of weeks the newly-varnished arm rests can be installed.   The old arm rests were put into storage.

Gerry Dettloff was painting stepwells for the 451.

Henry progresses along the upper wall, installing air piping.

Jon Fenlaciki was working on parts for the 65's roof.

John Faulhaber was also painting underbody parts for the 451.

A third coat of red on the 36 door; it looks ready for installation, after the other side is touched up.

New primer on the 65 roof parts.

Finally, some more switching pictures.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Looking for Details

Here's a great picture from the files of the Water Reclamation District, posted to FB showing an AE&C car crossing the South Branch on the famous Scherzer rolling lift bridge, into Wells.  And luckily we have an exact date: Sept. 23, 1908.  It would be nice to have a higher resolution scan, but we can make do with this.  So taking out the magnifying glass...

I'm going to guess the number is 18, but in any case this is one of the shorties, still with four motors.  It has the original upper sash windows, and window guards on all windows.  I don't think the window guards were compatible with removable storm windows, which came later.  And we can see that it has had a toilet compartment installed, as evidenced by the little ventilator over the fifth window from the left.  We're not sure when they started installing compartments in the shorties, but it was evidently very early.  As noted in a previous post, there's no roof-mounted fuse box.

  And I'm struck by the way the motorman is sitting on a stool with the side door open, as the car operates over the structure and across the river.  That doesn't look very safe.  He's wearing the standard motorman's uniform for that period, white or off-white coveralls and jacket, with a railroad-style cap rather than a Kromer.  A picture from the Johnson Collection gives a good example of what I mean:

Joe Hazinski points out that the Kromer cap had not yet been developed when these pictures were taken.   That's as good a reason as any!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Bearings While You Wait

Another productive Saturday out at the old Museum was marked by a variety of interesting events, as usual.  I didn't arrive until noon, as I had a rehearsal in the morning, so here's only a sampling of what was going on.  When I got there, Frank Sirinek was sitting in the shop talking to Mike and some others, but he got up and left before I had a chance to take my coat off.  Coincidence?  You be the judge!

Anyway, let's see what other people are doing:

Lorne continues work on the Cleveland PCC; here he is drilling holes in another piece of the interior.  He and his wife recently went out to California to visit their daughter, and stayed in Death Valley for a couple of days, which he said was quite interesting.   So we'll have to keep that in mind.

Buzz was making some new windows for the 1003.  This North Shore caboose has been on display in Barn 6 for many years; the side away from the public has been disassembled, and the car itself until recently was used for storing miscellaneous parts, but it's thought it could be opened to the public for displays of various sorts.  So work is being done to make it accessible.

Bob Olsen was working all day on windows for the Mt. Harvard

And here we have another new member:  Vaughn Ehrhardt worked on the 1003, and then did some more work on the MD car door.

Not a new member, Bill something or other was doing his usual magic on the cover for the motor cutout switch on the 1797.  He explained to me that even though it's only a two-motor car to begin with, if there was a motor problem you could run the car on one motor.  That could be a life-saver if you were on a one-car train late at night out on the road.  

Be that as it may, I'll stick with GE.

And then of course there were other projects going on that I didn't snap.  Jack Biesterfeld continues to work on windows for the Green Bay car.   Keith was working on parts for the 1754, since Tim (knee) is on the DL.  And so on.

As for me, I put a second coat of red on the 36 door.  It's probably not obvious from this picture, but it's better though not perfect.  Another coat should do it.

And I stained the two arm rests that had been stripped of paint last time, stripped two more, and stained them also.  They look like this.  Next time they'll get some varnish, and sooner or later they will be ready for installation in the 309.  Unfortunately, the other cars have entirely painted interiors, so it's nice to be able to work on a varnished interior again.  For me, the 309 will always be the pride of the fleet.

Finally, we have another typical Car Department project to keep one of our cars in operation.  The 251 had developed a hotbox last year, and this was traced to a defective bearing.  In order to work on it, it had to be switched out, and this leads to a photo that could only be taken at Highwood.  I think.

Photo by Zach Ehlers
There's something suspicious about that pup on the left, but I can't put my finger on it.  Anyway, the 251 was moved over to the pit lead.

The defective bearing had been babbitted, but the babbit was pealing off, and probably scratching the axle surface.  We have other replacement bearings that should be reliable, but the axle needs to be smoothed first.  The solution is to replace the bearing with a piece of wood of the right shape, place sandpaper between it and the axle, and run the car back and forth to remove any scratches.  We've done this before, but the wood blocks could not be found, so it's time to make a new one or two.

Buzz helped Joel make a new block safely and efficiently on the table saw.  Here it is part way through the process.  You had to be there.

And it looks like this when finished, with the sandpaper attached. 

Rich and Zach jack up the journal to remove the bearing.

Greg uses a packing hook to get the bearing out.

When the sanding block is installed, it looks like this.

Then we run the car back and forth on the lead; Rich walks alongside to check the progress.  Zach is the motorman, and Vaughn gets some prelimary motorman training.

Richard then checks the condition of the paper; it's amazing anything's left.  But it looks like the axle should be fine.

Well, I had to leave before the operation was through.  But they will be reporting on the final result, I hope.  So don't touch that dial!