Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Happy Holidays!

Today was another productive and enjoyable day out at the Museum.  Everybody seemed to be in a festive holiday mood, and why not?  Among other good news, Happy Holiday Railway continues to be a big success for the Museum, and we could still use another trainman or two this weekend.   But let's turn to activities in the Car Department.

First of all, I got a chance to see the new bearings for the 309, which Bob Sundelin has milled so that the two halves fit together perfectly.  I measured the inside diameters both in the plane of the split and transverse, and it looks like we will not need shims.  It should be possible to start machining the inside surface as soon as the two halves are soldered together.

So naturally I'm very happy about that.  What a nice present!
Photo by Jon Fenlaciki
And today was the Wednesday group's annual holiday luncheon, always a high point of the year.  Thanks to everyone who contributed time and talent to make this a success!

Who could ask for a more elegant ambiance?

 Several projects were active, so here's just a sample.   John Sheldon is making new windows for the 306.  And here he is, trying not to get too much sawdust on the food.

And some of the wood stacked up.  Part of this is for the 1754.

Chuck Meter is doing heavy rebuilding work on a truck for the Cleveland PCC.

The 141 was over the pit.  It needs a few adjustments, and we plan to have it in regular operation on the car line this year.  And in other exciting news, the L car contingent are working to get the Baldy operational.   Here we see Thomas Slater and Nick Day testing out the control system.   There are some air leaks which need to be fixed, but the electrical system on the whole is in good condition.  Now that the floor has been fixed, the car is close to completion. 

But don't just take my word for it.  Here, you can watch the control system in operation:

Finally, I spent some time helping Gerry on the 972.   He authorized me to say the following:

The 972 has serious structural problems, and will not be operational again for a long time.  For the time being, we want to stabilize the car and make it possible to move it if necessary.  One bolster has partly collapsed, and the other is on the point of collapse.  But it doesn't make sense to replace either bolster if the entire substructure is weak, due to serious rust over the years.  The only solution would be to remove the floor, replace basically all the structural parts underneath, and put it back together.   That is not going to happen anytime soon.   I hope that's clear enough.  So please don't start pestering us about when it's going to run again.

Anyway, here are some pictures of what we did today.   Gerry came up with a plan to force the broken bolster more or less back together with a couple of steel plates held together with large threaded rods.  Before we start, you can see that the top chord of the bolster is sticking up way above the floor.   Essentially the car body on this side has sunk down, and is barely above the wheels.

Now we need to bring the two plates together, using a car jack and chain.  

Meanwhile, we also jack up on the lower plate from below.  In this picture, you may be able to see how far apart the two halves of the bolster are.  The two of us working together were able to jack up the body and get it more or less level again, tighten up the bolts, and so on.  Several steps are omitted here because I can't do everything at once.

And I hope this final picture shows that the bolster is much close to the plane of the floor.  We'll let the car relax for a few days, then keep working.  The root cause of this problem is that the car was designed with the smallest possible structural support, which then was exposed to heavy salt on the streets of Milwaukee, causing much of it to rust to the point of failure.  So for the foreseeable future the car will be displayed inoperable.  It still looks nice, though.

Finally, our old friend Thomas Cornillie sends along a scan you'll want to read:

Oops, did you miss this trip?   So did I, although I don't remember exactly why.  But in any case, we have another Snowflake Special scheduled this year, and tickets are still available.  Don't let another fantastic opportunity like this get away!


Anonymous said...

Randy, you look like a little kid that just got his first Lionel train under the Christmas tree. Did you find an oven big and hot enough to solder the bearing halves together? Really sad news about the 972, particularly after all the restoration work that went into it. Road salt did the same to it as it did to all the NS car vestibules. Too bad it can't be fixed with a little Bondo. :(
C Kronenwetter

Anonymous said...

Two additional questions: did you mean to post a video of your new milling machine or was that supposed to be the NS car controls happily stepping? Did you ever get the oil pump on the mill pumping oil?

C Kronenwetter

Anonymous said...

...Come to think of it, does anyone know the date of the last run of the
Illinois Central electric Pullman cars?

Spence Ziegler

Randall Hicks said...

You have questions, we have answers.
1. The oven is the next problem we need to solve. I also need to check on what specific type of solder we should use. We'll get on that right away.
2. That's the control system on the Baldy, CTA 4146, that you're watching. Pneumatic cam with automatic acceleration.
3. I wasn't around, so I don't know about the oil pump. Bob said he had an oil mister that could be used instead.
4. As for the IC cars, gotta look that up sometime. I'm too busy right now.

Ted Miles said...

The IC commuter cars came to IRM in 1972 according to the 2010 roster; so they were retired by the Inninois Central not long before. The IC scrapped those cars rapidly and the pair at IRM are the only ones left.

Ted Miles, IRM Member

Lucas McKay said...

It should be noted that besides the two cars at Union, there are actually at least 2 other MU trailers in existence. One in use as a diner, and the other in use as a store at a mall. However, both are gutted inside and missing trucks, of course.

Frank Hicks said...

There are the two in the mall in Barrington that Lucas mentioned. There are also four IC MU trailers that are in train service, two at the St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern and two at the Nevada Northern. I'm not positive but I think one of the cars at SLIM&S is an air-door car, delivered prior to electrification and hauled briefly by steam engines like IRM's 201.

Anonymous said...

My apologies, I've should have been more specific, I meant to ask
when was the last run of the IC electric cars in regular service.
I'm aware of the issue of Rail & Wire that states that 1198 & 1380
made their last run on March 3, 1972, and came to IRM that Summer.

Thank you Ted for your reply.


Randall Hicks said...

The notice we posted is dated March 1978 and says these cars would be retired by summer. That seems about right. As for the preserved cars, they're all still on trucks, although the two at Barrington are encased in a building.

Bill Wulfert said...

Two corrections.

CTA Baldy 4146 has Westinghouse Unit Switch control, specifically a 264-S group. There is no cam in the switch group.

The Illinois Central had to keep a group of the old MU cars in service for a while, as there weren't enough St. Louis Car Co. built Highliners to replace all of the old cars. A second order from Bombardier replaced the last of the old cars. According to R&W #158 (March 1996) the last of the old MU cars ran on January 22, 1979.

Randall Hicks said...

And about the IC Snowflake Special, Jon Fenlaciki writes:

I sure remember that as I’m the one that organized it. Notice the address, Lake Zurich, my old address!