Monday, August 5, 2019

Vintage Transport Extravaganza

Frank writes...

Sunday was the 29th Annual Vintage Transport Extravaganza and by all accounts it seemed to go very well. The weather was very nice, though on the warm side in the mid/upper 80s, and the crowd seemed good. I was told we had more people than last year.

I was conductor on the three-car CA&E train (309, 36, and 319) and we certainly kept busy! Dispatcher Dan Buck kept things moving like clockwork. Starting with our first trip at 11am we ran every hour, on the hour for a total of six trips. The other three mainline trains - the coach train, the Zephyr, and a three-car train of 4000s - also ran hourly all day so that there was a train every 15 minutes. The dependability was actually pretty nice: it was gratifying to be able to confidently answer a customer question like "when is the next Zephyr trip?" even when that train wasn't even back in the station yet. There were also 6000s running shuttle service out of 50th and at least three streetcars on the car line; I noticed the Matchbox, 4391, and the open car in service.
The catch was that I didn't have time to go look at the autos because we only had 15-20 minutes between trips, but overall it was nice to stay busy. After all, the air-conditioning on these cars only works when we're moving. I also didn't have many opportunities to take photos but I did grab the above shot of the train. Since we were "opposite" the 4000s we stopped in the east berth of the station each trip and mooched off of the stairs being used by the 'L' cars. That was beneficial because we hardly had to use the traps and the customers had an easier time getting on and off the train. I should say, though, that on a hot day, the east berth of Station 1 with its broad expanse of unshaded gravel is a wonderful little slice of Orange Empire in mid-summer.
Here's the obligatory crew shot in front of the 36 towards the end of the day. Andy Sunderland, motorman; yours truly, conductor; and my father was trainman. That suit is just as warm as it looks.
After putting the train away I briefly helped Nick Espevik with switching some spam cans. Then Joel pointed out that significant progress has been made on the North Shore gateman's shanty shown above. It has now gained a brand new roof, including some new framing, replacing the former roof which was in sorry condition. I'm not sure what the actual plans for this structure are but Joel is determined to fix it up. IRM has two of these shanties; the other one has long been used as our ticket booth and has seen more modification. But this one sat for many years where the west end of track 40 now sits, as the cornerstone of Bob Bruneau's "Hooverville," where it housed oil drums used for journal lubrication. While it was thus a victim of some level of benign neglect, it's also in more original condition.
And finally, our quiz of the week. Tom Schneider and the guys in the Steam Shop have come through for us yet again, producing this very nice... thing. Can you guess what it is?


Anonymous said...

Hi Frank,
Thank you for your kind comment about my dispatching. I wish I had been able to thank all the Vintage Transport crews for their dependable and energetic work. Carefully scheduled operations can only be accomplished with the enthusiastic teamwork of all the operating personnel. Considering the characteristics of our railroad with the location of Johnson siding, a fifteen minute headway between trains seems to be ideal. When a dispatcher is handling four mainline trains, it becomes relatively easy to develop a pattern of consistent departures from East Union station. This makes life more predictable,and thus, easier for both passengers and crews. I also found that it was a simple matter to insert the shuttle train from 50th Avenue to Jefferson Street without adversely impacting the other trains.

I want to commend whoever decided to assign three cars to each of the mainline electric trains. In previous years, when two-car trains were the norm, they were often overwhelmed by the crowds. From my perch in the tower, it appeared that the capacity of the trains was sufficient for the passenger demand.

I echo your comment about being unable to enjoy all the vintage vehicles. When I climbed the tower steps at 9:30 AM, most of the vehicles were still arriving. When I emerged after 6:00 PM, they were almost all gone. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed controlling our full size model railroad.

Dan Buck

KIRK Warner said...

Is the item in the photo a retainer for ball bearings for a body bolster center plate bowl?

Randall Hicks said...

Kirk: Sorry, I'm afraid not, though that's an interesting idea. Actually, we've posted pictures of it before, if that helps.

Anonymous said...

It's either for making very large spaghetti noodles or mounting the bearing of the 309 for milling.

John Sheldon