Friday, December 7, 2018

Unloading the 172

North Shore car 172 has arrived at IRM and has been unloaded.  It's now safely inside Barn 4, and while restoration is probably a few years away, the car is assured of a good home.   What more could anyone want?  

It arrived on the property early this morning, so get out the popcorn while we watch the process of unloading an electric car like this.  It's more complicated than you might think.  Moving was handled by the Schlatter family of Francesville, Ind. (name rhymes with "later") who have the equipment and skills to do this work.

To start with, the car's trucks were unloaded at the south end of Barn 9, using this nifty tilting platform with rails that they use just for this purpose.  Since both of the trucks were pointing the same way on the trailer, one of them had to be turned around.   This was accomplished by moving them over to the loading site via two different routes: one along the connector track, the other around the car line in normal rotation.   Problem solved.

We can also point out that barn space for the 172 was provided by selling South Shore car 37 to a private owner who will be storing it in Michigan City, with the intention of restoring it to operation.   The 37 was never accessioned, as it has no traction motors, and was considered surplus to our collection.  It will be well cared for in its new home.

Motive power for all this switching was provided by the Army Diesel, with Gerry at the controls.  Other IRM people helping with this project included Zach Ehlers, of course, Gregg, Jeron, Nick Day, Paul, and myself.

Here we are with the handy towing bar for moving one of the trucks:

And when the trucks are staged at the unloading site, the car is moved into position.  The place where the Barn 6 lead crosses Central Ave. is the best place for this operation, and it's exactly where we did the same thing with all of the Trolleyville cars, for instance.

The car had already been partially detarped.

One of the Schlatters is using a remote control on the rear dolly to steer the car into position.

Then jacks are put into position:

And the car is slowly raised.  One of the sons is checking the height with a tape measure.

And the truck is pushed into position with a skidder:

After a few adjustments, the car is let down onto the truck, and everything meshes.

Then the tractor pushes it back until the other end of the car is in position.

The jacks now raise the front end, and the tractor can pull the front dolly out from under the 172.

The locomotive now pushes the other truck under the car:

And when the operation is complete, it's sitting on its trucks again.  Whew!!!

Now it looks like an interurban car again.  Missing a few details, of course.

The car is moved up to the next crossing to attach one of the couplers, so we can switch it around.

A portrait:

And here it is on its way into Barn 4.

And in a scene from Highwood, the 172 is now in the shop, with parts of the Electroliner behind it.

Zach couldn't be happier!

In other news, while all this was going on, a contractor hired by B&G was rebuilding the west end of Barn 3.

One of the big challenges of assembling a kit is keeping track of all the parts.

You know, it seems like only yesterday we had finished grading Yard 3 for the Lester Barn to be built.  The first car to go inside was the 65, which was temporarily disabled, so it was pushed down the track by the Big Pig.  Those were the days.

Back at the loading site, the movers are using our big fork lift to remove the pans from the roof of the 37.

And here are a couple of pictures of the car before it leaves.  On this side, all of the windows were broken out while it stored in Michigan City many years ago.

 And at this point, the Schlatters were able to finish the project of loading the car themselves, so we turned to other things.  I spent a couple of hours sorting and storing parts in the 306.  And Zach was getting ready to start cleaning up the interior of the newest member of our storied North Shore fleet.

In Memoriam

And in less happy news, we must extend our sympathies to the friends and admirers of Mr. Socks, who was laid to rest today.   He will be missed.


Brad Taylor said...

172 makes a wonderful Holiday story & gift for all of us indeed.
Thanks to all involved with it’s rescue.
Brad Taylor

Anonymous said...

Does the 172 have the usual vestibule salt rot thus needing major rebuilding? Looks like it needs a roof but fortunately it was decaying slowly inside for all those years.

Will there be a memorial for Mr. Socks? Perhaps a memorial litter box would be appropriate....

C Kronenwetter

Randall Hicks said...

Yes, I'm afraid there's some significant rust along a couple parts of the sides, as well as the ends. I would not describe it though as a major rebuilding; we've dealt with worse before. And we have a few roof jobs that need to get done, so the 172 will be in the queue.

Anonymous said...


What happened to the remains of CNSMRR line car 606 located at Noblesville? Thank You.

Ken MacLeod

Josh Sutherland said...

What was "The Big Pig" you mentioned?

Ken MacLeod, the frame, trucks, and body remains of CNS&M 606 went to a private owner in Michigan City, who intends to restore it.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I got to see 37 on the way to its new home! I passed the Schlatter convoy on I-294 near Stickney IL this morning. I even managed to shoot some video of it rolling along, it was awesome.

Joe Jorn

Randall Hicks said...

The Big Pig was a large steel-hauling flatbed truck with a narrow cab, so that long steel beams or rails could be loaded onto the truck and extend forward past the cab. Then, of course, you can't open the doors, so you have to crawl in and out through the window. We were all younger then. It had a transmission with about 10 forward speeds, as I recall, plus a transfer case. That was a fun challenge to drive.

And glad to hear about the 37.

Anonymous said...

The Big Pig has been pictured in Rail and Wire on a couple of occasions. Refer to issue 83 (December 1976), page 13, where it is hauling the Pullman Davenport engine, and to issue 161 (September 1996), page 4, for an old picture of it hauling the generator. It was introduced to the membership in issue 29 (April-August 1964), pages 4-5, with a good description and a line drawing (publishing pictures was expensive then). If these Rail and Wire issues aren't in your library, you can read them online at > Learn > Rail & Wire.
R. W. Schauer

Anonymous said...

How long did the "Big Pig" stick around? I imagine it's been gone for several decades now.

Cliff McKay

Brad Taylor said...

I remember driving the Big Pig loaded with line poles for the East end extension. Julie Johnson & crew headed East in her old powder blue Blazer while I went to the material yard and crawled in thru the window & started the truck which ran on maybe 4 or 5 cylinders. I pumped up the air brakes and noted they leaked down about as fast as the pump could pump. Undaunted I shifted and double clutched thru 900 gears down the backroads and managed to back her down the ROW from Seeman Rd to a point West of what became Johnson Siding. Julie wanted me to back down into the ditch between the C&NW & IRM but I was certain the Pig would tip over. She said I”ll do it and if it does nobody will yell at me. So she took over and gingerly eased the Pig down and we proceeded to pull the poles off heading West down the ditch. This all must have been happening in the late 70s early 80s. Good times back then.
Brad Taylor

Anonymous said...

I think the Pig might have been sold in the second auction that IRM held around 1986 or 7?? I recall it was not running, but we still had the TM Line Truck, which was also an experience in using in 1986. I helped set a pole with it and moved lots of stuff around the material yard that became Yard 5. All the time with hydraulic fluid flowing down my arms after it dripped off the crane. The engine ran basically good, but you had to make sure you had a fresh load of water in the radiator. The clutch was pretty worn out, so minimizing your grinding the gears was part of the experience of running it. I think that was the last old orange TM truck that we had running around. That one was a 1940s International - a big truck for the era.
O. Anderson