Monday, September 30, 2019

Paint and Lettering

Jeff Wien sent us a scan of this slide and says: "Hopefully you'll be able to recreate this photo!"

Photo by permission from Dan Pantera.   All rights reserved.
Well, we'll do our best.  The three cars shown are 453, 457, and 451.  Two out of three ain't bad.  The 453 will have to wait until the 451 is ready, but we hope that won't be long.  The 453 is the last car in existence that still has paint and lettering from Wheaton, so on Saturday we were looking at it and discussing what we want to do.  The first thing you notice is that the "grey" color is very blue, much bluer than the paint on the Trolleyville cars.  How we'll handle that remains to be seen.  The red, what's left of it, has faded to pink, as it did on all the cars while they were in service.   That's not a problem -- it's pretty clear what the red color should be.  We also noticed that the lettering seems to have been done by expert hands with little if any help from stencils.  Good luck with that.

Another mysterious thing is that there appears to be a stripe of lighter red color just under the belt rail, where the red meets the grey.  I can find no photographic evidence of any such thing in service, but it shows up clearly enough on this picture I took last Friday.  So that remains a puzzle.

In any case, thanks again to all those who have helped with this project so far.

Update: I just remembered I have a photo of the 453 from forty years ago.  Here we are in the shop at North Olmsted, in May 1979.  Back behind the late Jeff Brady is the hangar queen with that same stupid stripe.  What gives?

The most likely explanation so far seems to be that we know some of the cars were repainted in the years after service ended in 1957, and it's probable that they weren't nearly as careful.  The stripe perhaps indicates masking tape that was carelessly applied, and Zach pointed out another picture of 455 on the scrap line with a similar stripe.  The nice thing about this explanation is that there's no need to try and replicate it.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Bus Day Video

Enjoy the good, the bus, and the ugly, from Chuck Amstein.   Video at this link.

Action Photos from Chuck Amstein

Revenue service during Bus Day was being provided by a selection of our operating buses, both electric and internal combustion, as well as the Diesel coach train and the 4000's.  Chuck was there as usual to capture the action for us.  Usual warnings apply.  Enjoy!

The 453 on track 63 in the morning.

Joel prepares to pull it out of the barn.

It winds up on 62, just east of the South Shore cars.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Happy Bus Day

Today was our annual Bus Day, and a good number of buses of various sorts were in operation.  The weather was bad in the morning, which probably depressed the attendance, but a good time was had by all.  Luckily for me, our staff photographer Chuck Amstein was on hand to take plenty of pictures.  And we'll post them when they arrive.  Meanwhile, news from the Car Department.

A lot of things were going on, as usual.  But mainly there was switching to put various cars in more permanent locations.  Among other things, the 451 was moved from Barn 6 to Barn 4 to facilitate getting it ready for service.  You may need to use your imagination, but here we have all three of the CA&E St. Louis cars together (briefly) as the 460 pulls the 451 past the 453 on its way out of Barn 6.  Zach Ehlers, motorman. 

The 451 is now at the west end of track 41, next to the 1754.  If all goes well, work on the roof will commence soon.  And of course there are several other items that need to be addressed.

The 453 was then moved onto track 62, about where the 451 used to be.  As you might have noticed, the car arrived with an almost complete set of storm windows in place.  While restoration of the 453 will have to wait until the 451 is finished, it needs to be maintained.  And having the storm windows in place traps moisture that tends to rot out the window sills.  So I spent most of the afternoon removing all of the storm windows, and then transporting them, with the help of Joel and Dan, to our storage facility.  We have a huge stockpile of storm windows, mostly as a supply of glass.  And when the glass is used, the brass frames should bring in some money as scrap.

You will have noticed that the paint on the 453 is bad.  Really bad.  But underneath the paint, the car itself is in very good condition.  There is no structural rust or weakness, all of the electrical and mechanical parts are in place, and beneath the rotted or missing canvas the roof is sound.  So it's readily restorable even by people with limited skills such as myself.  I keep telling people it's no worse than the 308 was when it arrived, and it's certainly much better than the 309 was when I started.

In any case, stay tuned for further developments.  You'll hear all about them here first!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Car 453 Has Arrived!

Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 453 arrived at IRM today, was unloaded, and moved into one of our carbarns for storage.  Everything went well, in spite of the dreary weather, and while a lot of work remains to be done before it can be used, I believe the most worrisome parts of this whole project are behind us.

A lot of people helped make this a success.  First, of course, we must thank all of you who contributed to the 453 fund, especially the two major donors, Jeff Wien and anonymous.  Mike Trosino and the other people at Electric City made the car available at a very reasonable price and helped get it ready for shipment.  Silk Road did the transportation and Whitey's provided the rented crane and its expert operator.  And several IRM members turned out to help with the unloading: Joel Ahrendt, Paul Cronin, Nick Kallas, Bob Olson, Mark Secco, Gregg Wolfersheim, and a visitor from Orange Empire, Phil Palmieri.   Without all of them it wouldn't have been possible.

The off-and-on rain and thick clouds made photography difficult.  This operation was much like the Electroliner project, only simpler.  So I hope a blow-by-blow explanation won't be necessary.  Enjoy!

And we should have more tomorrow!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Wednesday Report

Yesterday was a typically busy Wednesday.  I was working on a couple of different projects, but perhaps the most interesting was cleaning up and arranging parts in the 1218, now that it's in Barn 7 and easy to access.  Anyway, let's look at all the equipment in the cab, including things like the contactors and reverser that are usually under the car.  The cab is not very big, so it's hard to get a good picture of some of these items.

On the front headlining above the motorman, the main motor switch and the control switch, with its little air-powered plunger to shut off power in an emergency.

Next to that, the roll sign seems to be in good condition.  But there was no easy way to hold the big metal flap open and take a picture.

Three unlabeled snap switches, presumably lights and compressor.  Plus some unusual fuses. 

The big Westinghouse electro-pneumatic contactors are in a cabinet.  In a center-entrance car with a low-level center section, there is little room beneath the floor.

The bottom of the cabinet includes the reverser drum, the overload relay at lower left, and the cutout switches at lower right.

Controller and brake stand.

Hand brake:

Overhead, the choke coil at top, and then the buzzer interrupter and fuse.

And a wattmeter.

Getting this car to operate should be a fun project!

And I noticed that Bob Sundelin has mounted and aligned the guide inside the bearing, so that's an important step forward.