Tuesday, January 2, 2018


Frank writes...

I headed out to IRM on New Years Day to ring in 2018 with a visit to the Trans-Siberian Railway Museum. The high for the day was somewhere in the single digits, as I believe it has been for much of the last week and is supposed to remain for at least the next few days too. Because of the dangerously frigid temperatures not much was happening around the property. But a few hardy souls still found their way to the Electric Car Shop.

Other than Mr. Socks, Joel was the first person I saw. This was a good weekend to work on his big shop rearranging project and I helped a bit with this, moving benches, cleaning and sorting old wire and boxes of miscellaneous stuff, that kind of thing. One of the projects was cleaning off the steel bench pictured above, which for decades has lived along the north wall of the car shop. A pile of stuff under the bench had been excavated Saturday.
And after a fair amount of work, here's the bench in its new home, on the south wall of the car shop next to the surface grinder. It's the new home for the shop guillotine and a small oven, perfect for small-batch artisanal cookie making. But enough of Better Homes and Workshops. After a little while Tim Peters dropped by and spent a while in the wood shop generating sawdust. Bob Olson also stopped in to chat and before long Jeron, Richard, and Greg showed up. Richard spent some time working on diagnosing an air gauge tester that wasn't holding pressure but other than that, and a little more shop cleanup work, it was a pretty easygoing afternoon.
Joel did have some items of interest to show me, though. The first is above: an original guide to the North Shore's maintenance record-keeping methods (update: Zach Ehlers informs us that this sign was originally located at Edison Court). If you've ever looked closely at the retrievers on the museum's North Shore cars you may have noticed a dot right in the middle. That was done by Highwood to track which retrievers had been tested and when. Apparently they did this quarterly (and to other things too, like MU jumpers). The North Shore was known for its high level of maintenance, as opposed to the CA&E, which I suppose waited until things broke to fix them. I tried to persuade Joel that the CA&E didn't do as much maintenance as the North Shore because they didn't have to, as Type M control inherently works better with less rigorous maintenance due to a more rugged and generally superior design. He didn't seem convinced.

And then there was the list of which cars racked up how many miles this year at IRM. Here are the top contenders, ranked by mileage:

2,730 - IT 415
1,208 - NSL 749
1,006 - CTA 3142
806 - NSL 714
764 - CA&E 409
580- CTA 4290
564 - CA&E 460
500 - CTA 4412
436 - CTA 22
436 - CTA 41
371 - CA&E 319
370 - CRT 1268
370 - CRT 1797
300 - CA&E 431
335 - CTA 4391
260 - CA&E 36
150 - CA&E 308
130 - NSL 251
121 - CA&E 309
116 - CTA 2200s
105 - CSL 144
100 - IT 101

Those are followed by (in order) TM 972, NWERR 24, VC 19, CE 4, CTA 2000s, CTA 6600s, CSL 1374, CTA 4410, CCW 300, TM M15, TM D13, and IT 277/518/234. It's no big surprise that the 415 racked up the most miles, but the margin by which it beat the second most-used car is impressive - particularly given the fact that the 415 has likely chalked up margins like this consistently for decades. Also impressive is the that the car with the third-highest mileage is CTA 3142 which notched virtually all of its miles one at a time circling the grounds. Of the CA&E woods, the 319 saw the most use at 371 miles.

I needed to leave at dinnertime, but not before discovering that one of my tires had gone flat due to the cold. This resulted in quite the operation to bring the car into the lean-three, jack it up, pull the tire, inflate it, test it, and put it back on the car so that I could make it home in time for dinner. A huge thanks to the car shop guys for some "car work" of a different sort!


Anonymous said...

I noticed the absence of West Towns 141 on the mileage list. Does that car not run very often anymore?

-Jack Burton

Anonymous said...

141 has never run "often." For various reasons, it didn't see revenue service last year, but it did make a few special runs. You may expect to see it more in the future.
R. W. Schauer

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. I look forward to seeing it in service more this year. Especially after missing last last due to medical issues.