Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Tuesday Report

 Lots of interesting things to report from Tuesday, so pull up a chair.

The 453 roof project went rolling along.  Here we see the third, and perhaps final, coat of canvas paint being rolled onto the center of the roof.  You can easily see the outlines of the roof boards, which is what we want.

I then went around the sides and finished putting a second coat on the lower sections of the roof, with the exception of small areas at each end.  But those can wait until later.

I also finished painting the running boards, but didn't take a picture.  And I put some more Bondo on the rusted-out section of the #1 end.

Then, one of the added layers of canvas was tacked in place, where trainmen gain access to the roof:

And this was then painted.

John Sheldon continued work on the 306.  We looked at these little brackets, which he found attached to some of the old window frames.  He finally figured out that these are essentially nuts, which were screwed onto bolts from the inside of the structure.  He spent much of the day sandblasting various parts.  Gerry was working on the car also, but I didn't get any pictures of him.

And turning to the 1754, here's the truck frame which Frank K. has sandblasted.

Jon F. was working on the roof of the 65, and finished installing the ventilators.

Photo by Jon Fenlaciki

Finally, let's pay another visit to the 50th Avenue station.  Please watch your step.

Tim was trying to get the doors at the north end of the building to work properly, but it's frustrating because the building itself is not quite square.  The floor is level, but the posts are not exactly vertical, so the doors have to be trimmed at odd angles -- as you might be able to see here.

But this work has its rewards.  While working on the station, Tim found a 1901 silver half-dollar and a 1925 penny.  The silver half-dollar is rather beat up, but still quite a find.  I don't know anything about coin collecting, but as Tim says it's at least worth its weight in silver.

And then there's this label from the original flooring lumber, which is pretty funny.
Our second-grade lumber is the world's finest!

Monday, March 29, 2021

Sunday update

Frank writes...

Sunday was another productive day, though there were slightly fewer people in the shop than usual. A couple of the regulars were out of town, while Nick, Greg, and Jack spent the entire day out on the railroad, moving line hardware from the old line poles to the recently-installed replacement poles.
As for me, my first job was to finish tracing the lettering on the 453. I ordered another roll of Mylar during the week and this allowed me to trace AURORA, AND, and two separate instances of the car number off of the sides of the car. I still want to lay out all of my tracings in the wood shop and make sure that there aren't any characters we're missing parts from - if so, it will be time to break out the sandpaper to recover the missing sections - but we're in pretty good shape.
After that, it was time to work a bit more on that 3D printed latch for the 309 that showed up in the mail a couple of weeks ago. After confirming that these use a 5/16-18 thread, Richard located the bottoming taps and we cut threads into the thing. It seems that the material is strong enough to hold, but our plan when we order a couple more of these is to have the 3D hole printed (er, not printed?) hexagonal so that we can epoxy a nut into the hole. That way we won't have to worry about the threads collapsing.
Richard also found some special "plastic primer" designed for bonding to plastic products. So here's the latch, all ready for Washington blue.
From Wheaton to Kinsbury Run - it's time to head over to Shaker Heights 18. Many thanks to Bill Wulfert, who on Saturday finished spray-painting the inside of the front end sign box. A little bit of touch-up may be needed but this is a big improvement. Once I'm done with the touch-up, the sign can go back in and this little project will be done. Thanks, Bill!
Mainly I wanted to work on removing the glass from the side sign box over the car's exit door. The glass in this box was broken before we got the car, as shown, so that's not very presentable. The only way to get the glass out is to remove the metal frame on the outside of the car. It appeared that the screws holding the frame in were a mixture of threaded in and bolted, so Bill and I had been putting Kroil on the nuts visible from inside the box.
Once in a blue moon a job turns out to be easier than expected, and this was just such a case: it turned out that the screws holding the frame in were brass, hence not rusted solid. So with just a little bit of persuasion it came out nicely. There was a lot of glazing putty around this thing, so I'll clean up the frame (and, while it's vented to the outdoors, the inside of the sign box) and prime and paint it. As you can see, the steel around the doors will also need to be needle-chipped at some point, and the letterboard will need to be stripped. All in good time.
Here's our sign box window frame. I took it back to the shop, wire-wheeled it clean, and primed it. I'll need to cut a 29-3/8"x5-3/4" piece of 1/8" glass which will hopefully be straightforward.
Just before dinnertime I also sprayed the inside of the second "tin can" tail light housing silver, and painted the two cast rings from that same tail light Bankers Grey. So the spray booth in the lean-three is now festooned with CA&E and Shaker Heights stuff.
As mentioned previously, Nick, Greg, and Jack were out on the railroad all day working on DC Line Department stuff. Richard (when he wasn't being pestered by me for help with the 18) was working on repairing switches for CTA trolley buses and diagnosing a suspension issue with our new Janesville bus. Jeron was around but I'm not sure what he was working on. A few people from the steam, diesel, passenger car, and track departments made brief appearances. And Tim stopped by to show off some of what he found cleaning out behind the old baseboards in the 50th Avenue station. A business card from Adolph Bloch at Lake and Halsted, a Borden's Milk sticker, and a Union Workman Smoke Chew label. I wonder exactly how old some of these are.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Saturday Roof Progress

 Saturday saw some more progress on the 453's roof, among other projects.  First, Frank Kehoe helped me move the four painted running boards from the shop onto the roof booth platform, and I appreciated the help.  That left room for painting one side of the remaining two boards.

Frank was hard at work on various truck parts for the 1754.  Here is a picture of a brake lever with a broken bushing that he had to press out.  We should mention that the Steam Dept. guys have been very helpful with rebuilding various parts of the truck.  We're very grateful for their expert assistance.

I cleaned up some more parts of the roof, such as grab irons, and then started on applying Bondo to the holes in the end of the carbody at the #1 end, which we had seen before.  This seems to be going well, but I need to find my pad sander to finish it off.

And in recycling news, it turns out that last year's calendars make an excellent base on which to mix the Bondo.  We have a large stack of them available, since of course the 2020 calendars, which were printed in late 2019, quickly became irrelevant.  But we can often find a reuse for almost anything.

And by mid-day it was warm enough for more painting on the canvas.  I went around the car with a brush and put a coat on the bottom edge, where it's tacked to the molding and where the roller just doesn't cover.

The rest of the remaining gallon went onto lower part of the roof.  We have some more paint on order so work can continue this week.

And that's it for now.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Doodlebug Report

Gregg Wolfersheim reports:

Some interesting things have come to light on the doodlebug project. Sometime in M35's career  there was a side swipe incident. Starting near the second window of the smoking section and proceeding at least 20 feet, there is evidence of a gash. In this photo one can see a vertical stiffener applied with a piece of 1 inch angle iron.

In the next opening below the window, the skin was probably ripped open. A piece of plate was welded in place. Note the horizontal line of weld.

Looking straight down in the wall pocket, you can see a row of nuts and washers. These replaced the rivets. Round head bolts were used from the outside with the slot filled in before painting to make them look like rivets.

Today the wall pockets were painted the standard Tile Red color. This is the one with the vertical stiffener.

And of course the one with the welded patch. In a few days the insulation will be applied along with a new plywood panel to hide all this.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Let's Get This Straight

I spent most of Thursday working on the running boards for the 453 again, in our nice warm woodshop.

Four of the six boards now have a coat of black on all surfaces, and will be moved onto the roof booth's scaffold next time I'm out, if not before.

Of the remaining two, however, one was too badly twisted to be usable.  This sometimes happens with long pieces of softwood such as these.  I'd spent some time over the past week or two trying to unbend it, without success.  Luckily, I had a spare plank left over from the 451 roof project, and it was nice and straight so I took the time to cut it to length, drill the holes, etc.  And after that was done, the final two boards got a coat of primer.

Meanwhile, we should see what the others were doing on the 306.  Here Fred Zimmerman continues to strip paint off the siding, down to bare metal.  This requires a combination of needle chipping and wire wheeling, and it's a very arduous and unpleasant task.

Gerry continues his metal work on the structure; here we see new arched trim pieces in place, ready for welding.

And John was doing Bondo on the side panels most of the day.  It's really going to look good.

Steve Sanderson was painting parts for the Electroliner in the little paint booth, and since he had the black paint out, he agreed to paint one of Frank's "cans" for the 18 while he was at it.  Thanks!!!

Finally, Tim and Bob were working inside 50th Avenue later in the day.  As you can see, the old floor is being removed.

It looked a little dangerous to me, so I didn't go in.  But Tim assured me that it's perfectly safe, except where it's extremely hazardous.   That's always good to know!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

In Memoriam Gordon Geddes

Dick Lukin sent us this notice of the death of a very early IRM member:

Just  three days short of his 87th birthday, Gordon H. Geddes passed away on January 21st, 2021.  An early member of IERM, he joined us at North Chicago while on active duty with the U. S. Army as the executive officer of a Nike missile installation located in the Forest Preserve in Northfield.  The headquarters for the site was located in a narrow strip of land along the main line of the North Shore's Skokie route in Northfield.

Gordon joined the museum in 1956 and worked on various projects when it was located in North Chicago.  He had continued as a member since then and was a contributor to IRM.  He was later an executive with the Greenley Tool Company located in Rockford, and lived in Poplar Grove.  He is survived by his wife Nada, sons Leslie and  Duncan, two grandchildren, and a brother.  He wrote a history of the Rockford and Interurban system, and was a member of CERA and other railfan organizations.

Dick adds that he was a groomsman at Gordon's wedding in 1959, and Gordon attended Dick's wedding in 1960.  They had been close friends all these years.  

 A service to celebrate Gordon Geddes' life will be held in June in Rockford.   He will certainly be  missed.


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Chicago Surface Lines photos

Many thanks to Bill Wulfert, who has sent along a pair of snapshots of Chicago Surface Lines cars similar to the "green cars" in our own collection. These photos are copyright Bill Wulfert and may not be copied or reproduced.

First up, a photo of CSL 2842, which was identical to our own CSL 2843 (history here). This photo shows 2842 while it was still in passenger configuration, but it also looks pretty worn, so I'd guess this is the late 1930s or early 1940s when the car had been in storage for a while but (obviously) hadn't yet been rebuilt as a salt spreader:

And this next photo shows CSL 2848, which was identical to our own CSL 2846 (history here). This photo was likely also taken in the 1930s or 1940s. EDIT: Dick Lukin writes to say that this is definitely 77th Street car house. It looks like they may have been using the 2848 as a shop switcher given that it is shoving what I think is a work flat with a tow bar.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Monday Report

Today we just have a brief report of yesterday's activities, since I've been busy with other things.

Frank Kehoe continued working on the 1754's motor truck.  The truck frame was removed from the shop using the small forklift and taken around to the back.  Here he is on a return visit to pick up various other parts.

And here he is power-washing the frame.  It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it.

Tim continued working on the metal grills for the ticket office.  He fabricated frames for them which had to be welded together by Gerry.

Pete Galayda has been instrumental in getting the new canvas paint delivered and mixed.  But he continues to spend most of his time on the 160.  

Gerry and John continued working on the 306, but I didn't get any pictures this time.

On the 453, I put a first coat of nice shiny black on the top and sides of four running boards.

And then did some more canvas painting along the sides, since the weather was favorable.

Doodlebug News

 Gregg Wolfersheim sends us another snapshot of progress on the M-35:

Ventilator frame mounted on roof. The last one is being reworked and will get mounted soon. Then, all the vents will be done over the smoker compartment.

The other two ceiling lights are now in place.

The paper cup holder was installed, too!