Friday, November 30, 2018

Doodlebug Report

When he's not busy with several other tasks, Gregg Wolfersheim continues to work on the UP doodlebug.   He writes:

The past couple of weeks have seen more progress on M-35. Along the top of the walls (plate) there are some wood blocks that fit in between the carlines. Most are about 31 inches long. However, as usual when dealing with old trains, not all of these spaces are the same length! A few were as short as 28 inches,  and several were 29-30 inches. So, each one had to be custom measured and fitted. In the picture, the left one is the top. On the right, is one upside down showing the relief needed to fit over rivet heads. then each one was marked so two holes could be bored thru for the bolts that hold the pieces to the car.

 Now we have one bolted to the wall between the carlines. The purpose of these blocks is so there is something for the tack molding to attach to when the roof boards are applied. Tack molding is needed for a place for the canvas to get secured with carpet tacks.

This view shows one block installed and the plate beyond ready for more blocks. Soon we hope to purchase the roofing. It's an inch and a half wide by 5/16's of an inch, with a special form of tongue and groove. Once we have that, it will be nailed to the carlines.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Happy Holiday Railway Report

Is everybody happy?  It certainly appears so, judging from the reactions of those who came out for our Happy Holiday Railway trains yesterday, in spite of the frightening weather.  

It takes a lot of people to make this operation a success.  Santa and the elves do most of the public relations sort of things, because they're the professionals, but there are lots of IRM members who were there shoveling snow, running the train, and so on.  I didn't even get a crew picture this time.   Jamie was the engineer, with Sam Polonetzky the conductor and Larry Stone and myself as trainmen.   You've seen us all before.  And I'm not sure who does all the decorating, but they certainly do an excellent job.

The diner annex is nicely decorated.  This is used by visitors waiting for their train.

And non-stop humor and song were being provided by the Oscar Levant of IRM, Bob Opal.

Ticket sales are going very well this year, and we all need to make sure we continue to provide a rewarding experience for our visitors, both young and old.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Pullman National Monument

Since I'm signed up to be a trainman tomorrow, we decided to visit the Pullman National Monument area today.  As you may be aware, there's very little of the manufacturing facilities left on the site, and what remains is not open to the public, but it is still interesting to visit.  Above, the clock tower and Administration building are being restored.

The modern visitor's center contains a number of displays, exhibits, and videos.

Mural on the rear side of the building:

This, of course, is the Hotel Florence.  It's also being refurbished and is not open to the public.

What's left of the erecting shops was set on fire by an arsonist in 1998.  It's been stabilized, but is closed off for safety.

But you can at least walk through the neighborhood and see the large number of original houses still occupied and well kept up by the residents.  They say that many families have lived here for three or four generations.

This apartment building even has a unit for rent:

And we had a nice guided tour which was very informative.  Here the tour guide is explaining various aspects of the hotel.  By the way, many if not all of the tour guides and docents are volunteers.  They take pride in publicizing their historic neighborhood.

I took more pictures, but that's enough for now.  The visit was certainly worthwhile, and we would recommend it to anybody who's interested in history, and especially architecture.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Fall Cleaning

Today, we'll start with some progress on the Fox River 306.  This will certainly be a major project, and it will take quite a long time to complete, but at least we're starting to analyze what needs to be done.  Fred and Gerry and I spent some time sorting out parts and supplies stored inside the car.  We found a large number of steel channels of various sorts, for instance, which will be more than enough to replace parts that are rusted out.

One side of the smoker was cleared out, more or less, so that work on the windows can proceed.

Then we removed the ceiling panels that had been stored in the aisle, the steel channels, and other parts.  It's now possible to see much better what's still stored inside.

Fred and I worked on removing rusted out sheet metal from around the arched windows at the #1 end.  It's now ready for Gerry to do some welding.

And we also removed the rubber mats down the center of the aisle.  These must have been installed at Shaker along with the Mastapave on the floor.  The Mastapave comes up easily enough, and the wood floor underneath still looks pretty good, so we're left scratching our heads as to why it was ever paved over.  And we think the center aisle should have a strip of linoleum.

In other news, here's Pete Galayda working on a baggage rack.  In the foreground is the stove for the 300, which is pretty much done.   So Pete is planning to work on refurbishing the interior of North Shore 160.  We need to determine exactly what color the racks should be painted.  He and I went over to the car to scope out what needs to be done.  The mahogany needs to be stripped, stained, and varnished.  And the baggage racks need to be painted.

Jon Fenlaciki continues to work on the 65, and sends us a photo.  This shows the tongue and groove installed on 65’s roof today.  Pulling nails and replacing screws that have popped up continues.  

And lucky Buzz.   He got to spend much of the day on a Nick project -- making new trays to hold all the hot chocolate cups.  

At least the boss is happy.  Later they were painted a bright red.

These will be used, of course, for the Happy Holiday Railway trains.  I've heard rumors that this first Saturday is completely sold out.   So if you want to get some delicious hot chocolate on the train, you'll have to buy tickets soon.  

Saturday, November 17, 2018

New Bearings Arrive

It was snowing steadily this morning, which is perhaps why there were fewer than usual people at work today.   But it was rather pretty, as shown here by the snow-covered trees on the property.

If this doesn't make you think about Happy Holiday Railway, nothing will.

But the major news in my corner is that we have the first set of axle bearings for the 309.   Frank Kehoe picked them up yesterday and then delivered them to the car shop.   They look good, and we greatly appreciate Frank's help, as well as all those who contributed to make these castings possible.

Here are the new castings in front, and behind them the patterns, still covered with mold release agent.  That was later washed off.  

I naturally want to do this as scientifically as possible, so I started by taking careful measurements of both the new castings and the patterns.  I find that the shrinkage factor is generally just about what was predicted, about 1.5%.  I think there will be some slight adjustments to the patterns needed for the next casting, but first I'll want to have Bob Sundelin check them over.  I also checked them against the spare axle cap, and they seem to fit perfectly.   Little machining on the outer surface should be needed.

They were then placed in the machine shop next to the milling machine.

There was nobody else from the 306 project, so I didn't do too much.  I studied the arrangement of the wiring, what's left of it, and tried ringing out some of the circuits from end to end of the car, just for practice.   It would certainly be nice if we had a wiring diagram for the original lighting system.  The lights, among other things, were completely changed while the car was on Shaker Heights, and exactly how we'll deal with this needs to be determined.

Work continues on the 1754.  Bill shows off a repainted cab heater. 

Tim, Bill, and Keith were all working on the interior.  Bill is repairing the ceiling.

Notice the nice new floor at this end.

Keith carefully applies paint stripper to the light fixtures and other parts.

Tim continues to install flooring.

Also, our old friend Steve Iversen was visiting from Oklahoma, and was helping Frank Sirinek on the Kansas City car, as usual.   Here he's making a test installation of new marker lights.

Finally, I had some time to do some more cosmetic work on the 150.  I got around to installing some Masonite on the front of the car.  This is somewhat of an improvement, but the next step will be to put some sheet metal around it, and then attach it with round-head wood screws, and fill the slots with putty to make them look like rivets.  And maybe we'll have something that looks like a real bumper, but weighs very little.  The car's structure is weak, and I don't want to add too much extra weight.   Or spend much money, for that matter.

But for the important bearing project, I'm hoping we'll have some progress to report on a regular basis.  So stay tuned!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Grinding Away

To begin with, the big news is that the first pair of new bearings for the 309 should be ready today.   Frank Kehoe, who lives near the foundry, will pick them up and bring them out to the Museum.  Then we can start on the machining process.  I can hardly wait!

But since waiting is necessary, most of yesterday was spent working on the 306.  There's still a lot of parts to be sorted out, and among other things we found a number of window shades and parts from other cars, such as the 972 and 354.  These were set out so that they can actually be used one of these days.

And we were greatly helped by a new member, Chuck Meter.  He's been out for a couple of Saturdays, and since he's recently retired he has weekdays free, so Wednesday is a good time to come out and help.   Here he is placing new tongue and groove floorboards found in the car in temporary storage.

I used the lift to store several parts from the 306 on one of the top shelves.

Meanwhile, Chuck did some more vacuuming inside the car. 

And the end got washed, a little.  It actually used to be worse.  Note that the car has the all-important can crusher mounted again.

And here's a view of the roof from the scaffold.  Most of it looks pretty good, at least from a distance.

Except that the #2 end needs to be patched.

The #1 end is still complete.

Speaking of roofs, next door Jon Fenlaciki is working on the 65.

He writes:  Attached photo shows work being done to the roof boards. After nearly 85 years, many nails and screws have rusted to  a point where they can easily be pulled out with your fingers. As a result, many boards are popping up. So new screws are replacing the rusted screws to secure the boards. 

At Gerry's request, Chuck and I then started removing rivets so rusted-out metal can be removed and new pieces installed, with welding being done as needed by Gerry.   We started on one of the arched windows at the end of the car.   This took a while, but we're making good progress.

Here Chuck is running the grinder.

And in a photo by Jon, I'm taking a turn at it:

And after punching out what's left of the rivets, it looks like this.

Meanwhile, as usual other projects are being worked on in the shop.   Jack has a large pile of window frames from the GB&W car, and Rich Witt is helping him repair them.

Buzz demonstrates the use of a cordless drill.  If you want your picture on this blog, all you have to do is ask.

And so on.  The main take-away from today's lesson is that we can always use more help, and welcome new volunteers who are willing to work.  Any questions?