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Thursday, December 13. 2012
For several of the last few years, we have had a tradition of a pot luck volunteer Christmas Party. If has grown from a handful of folks to a larger and larger group every year, many departments attending, and sharing good cheer. I bet there were over 45 attending this year. So without further ado
Just as the party grows larger, so does the work of setting up the wood shop, putting away the projects, and a substantial cleanup. A big thanks goes out to all the committee members and helpers, especially Pete Galayda (shown here) and his wife Jan.
"Go to the dust collector and take a left." There were ample food dishes and deserts to sample and no one went hungry. It was set up buffet style and a long line quickly formed.
But that does not mean no work was done. Before the serving started, Jim Leonard and Dave Rogan were prime painting the three new windows for our CGW X 38 snowplow. We finished the woodworking on them last week and they gathered little dust. After lunch, they were dry enough to flip over and the other side is also prime painted.
The wood shop serves all and any department and all types of work. John Faulhaber is leading the way to make a lot of new material for the Lake Shore Electric 810 traction freight trailer. We selected and purchased the lumber a few weeks ago and here John is doing the layout work on a large plank, destined to become new tack molding. There is enough stock to also make almost 350 linear feet of specially profiled tongue and groove pieces for the roof.
Dave Rogan and John Faulhaber start the process by creating a straight and true edge on each piece, running them through our jointer. Jeff Brady is in the background working on new sheet metal window post caps for Michigan Electric 28.
After jointing and ripping several pieces, the crew here is doing the profile work for a drip lip. Jim Leonard, Dave Rogan, and john Faulhaber have set up the saw and are guiding the twelve foot long pieces through the process. That is longer stock than we usually process, but we want to minimize the number of joints on this stock when installed on the car. We made 96 feet of material, sanded it and Jim got primer on one side before leaving for the day. Not bad production for an afternoon when everyone had a full belly and wanted a siesta more than anything else!
Henry Vincent is far enough along restoring separate parts for the new table saw, that he was able to apply some shop green finish paint.
Jon Fenlaciki has been working to restore a window for Indiana Railroad 65. Now in the final stages of glazing, I am confident it will soon resume to its rightful place on the car.
Tuesday, December 11. 2012
Trolley wire has been installed on the connector track. This allows electric operation from barns/yards 6, 7 and 8 directly to South Junction and the carline. The zig zag moves using the tail track and crossing the Carline at the diamond with the movement against normal traffic flow can all be avoided.
I know it may appear that nothing is getting done in D/C line, that is because often the work being done is invisible to the visitor. Parts need to be reconditioned. Budgets are better than what they were 30 years ago but these projects are expensive. I am running out of some parts. Projects like this one take several budget-years to accumulate materials before anything tangeble can be seen. The volunteers are spread so thin now days that I am usually working alone. I hope this "bloging" will encourage some new volunteers to A/C-D/C line. I am proud of what I get done here. Come join me. You don't need an appointment... just show up.
New anchors, down guys and frog pulloffs at Central Ave. This is the main anchorage for wire in yards 7,8 and connector track.
I began work on this project over two years ago when poles were set and guy anchors installed. Completion of the connector track overhead directly effects improvements to the mess of loose overhead in yards 6,7 and 8. It's all a big spiderweb of span wire, most of it not properly served. The yards 6,7,8 project is another story. Those yards are already much improved by the replacement of rotten poles and installation of several new tight cross spans. Several of these cross spans support wire on the connector track and all three yards. New anchors, down guys and several frog pulloffs were installed North of Central Ave allowing the wire in all three yards and connector track to be pulled up tight. This also straightened the "groink" in the trolley bus line at the crossing.
Good tight overhead wire starts with solid anchorage. That, has been a problem. In the early days of IRM we had to "make do" with whatever materials we could procure. This often meant not too rusty second hand parts, old but still sound poles and crossarms. Occasionally, our friends at the local electric utility would "lose hardware" in the field or "clean" the storeroom and we would get some good stuff. Often we had to make do with smaller or less hefty material than what was preferred Materials we couldn't get for free we had to buy with the little money we had. We bought cheaper materials, the smallest that would do the job. Combined that with a lack of experience and you get guy anchors creeping out of the ground over time, down guys getting loose, used poles rotting. Those practices in the past resulted in loose sagging overhead today. Fortunately, thanks to our visitors and supporters IRM has grown to the point where we can afford to buy the right materials and with our dedicated volunteer we can begin fixing the problem areas.
The first part of the project involved providing a good anchorage. Over a couple of years new 30 and 35 foot class 4 wood poles were purchased and installed. Some were replacing rotted poles along the South side of yard 8. Wherever poles were replaced that required guying, new anchors and down guys were also installed. The typical guy installation consists of a 4" square curved washer, 3/4" machine bolt, a guy hook (hog ear) with lag, 5/16" EHS galvanized guy wire, 1 porcelain strain insulator(johnney ball), 5/8"x7' anchor rod with thimbleye nut and a single 8" anchor helix. Attachment to the anchor is made with 2 three bolt clamps( this allows future adjustment). Attachment to the hog ear and johnney ball are made with preformed deadends. Normally, guy and span wire attachments to insulators and hardware,here at IRM, are made by the serving method using softer Siemens Martin grade wire. This is in keeping with our desire to maintain a historical motife. Experience has shown that down guys here at IRM are subject to such abuse that the strength of EHS wire is necessary. EHS wire is too stiff to be served so, preformed deadends or guy clamps are used. A fullround steel guy guard is attached at the ground end to both protect the guy from damage and make the guy wire more visible to pedestrians.
At the South end of the track was a slight curve. Span wire was installed between three poles on the outside of the curve this is the "backbone" for pulloffs which guide the trolley wire around the curve. Four bracket arms were installed on the new 35 foot poles. 4/0 grooved hard drawn copper trolley wire was pulled in and tied off.
A new trolley frog and section insulator were cut in on the carline at the South end of the first "S" curve. The new trolley wire was deadended on the section insulator. Now the new trolley wire could be pulled up close to sag and tied off at the North end. Before the wire could be brought up to full tension, the pulloffs on the curve had to be installed and pulled up to near final position. Also, the track 83 trolley frog had to be removed so that a section of the track 84 wire could be unspliced and swung over to the connector track. Doing this would avoid having to make several splices.
With the former track 84 wire over the connector track, the new wire could be sucked up to final sag and spliced together thus energizing the new wire. Next the pulloffs on the curve were adjusted to their final position and all spans were served up permanent. The last thing to do was clip the tangent poles allowing the track to be put into service.
Sunday, December 9. 2012
Covered space for steam collection Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 16:12
In parallel with bringing #1630 back into operation we urgently need to improve the storage of our non operating steam locomotives. Many of our locomotives are currently stored outside where they are deteriorating.
As detailed on the Illinois Railway Museum main website, the museum is currently planning an additional covered storage area. Space in this building will be provided based upon the cost of the building, which works out at about $215 per foot length. This is a substantial cost for a large steam locomotive which can be about 100 feet in length.
Some of our best examples, notably the Burlington Hudson #3007, do not have dedicated covered track space. (While it is currently under cover it is occupying general department space and would potentially have to be put outside again when we have locomotives in operation). Other items that we would dearly like to get under cover, where they could be cosmetically restored for better display, are the Rock Island 4-6-2 #938 and C&O 2-8-4 #2707.
Please consider donating to the fund raising for barn #14 nominating the steam department.
As an added incentive, we have a number of the "Burlington Bulletin" books on the S-4 Hudsons including #3007, which we will provide to anyone who can donate $25 or more to the steam department for covered space.
Sunday, December 9. 2012
Steam Department Update 12-08-2012 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 15:17
There were two very separate activities at the steam shop this weekend.
Outside, the Kansas City Southern tender from Galt arrived and had to be unloaded and put back on its trucks (which had arrived separately during the week). Here the rather unusual trucks of this tender await the arrival of the tender itself.
The tender is a fairly substantial items as can be seen from comparison to the B&G building as it enters IRM for the first time.
A good deal of careful back and fore was required to position the tender (still on the trailer) centrally over the track so that the mounting points would be in the correct position to fit into the trucks.
Once in place steel beams were located under the body. The trailer had then to be raised, blocks placed under the beams, and then lowered a number of times until there was sufficient height to set jacks under the beams.
Finally the jacks were all placed and the tender could be raised off the trailer.
The trailer is free and starts to move out from under the tender.
The trucks are chained to the trailer and each other so that they are pulled under the tender, at the correct spacing, as the trailer pulls out.
The job of lowering the tender back onto its trucks so that the pins aligned and the pivot points located into the sockets in the trucks proved to be a long and tricky exercise. It was well past dark by the time this was completed so pictures of the completed tender are for next week !.
On 1630, things looked bleak in the morning. We are absolutely dependent for tube loading on those of the team who can fit into the boiler. Having arranged a morning and afternoon shift, as it is more than one person can do to work in these conditions all day, Collin's car failed and he was not able to get to Union in the morning. However, while we lost the morning shift, Jason did sterling work in the afternoon. Here we see him "relaxing" between loading tubes. It is not a environment in which you can work for more than a few hours at a time.
We have now completed loading of the tubes down both sides of the super heaters. The fireman's side, looking forward, now looks pretty full compared to earlier views when we were sand blasting.
Looking toward the firebox on the engineer's side also shows the boiler filling rapidly. This also shows the positioning of the copper ferrules, which are set slightly below the surface of the tube sheet in the firebox, where the end of the tube will be beaded, but projecting into the boiler barrel, where the copper can be seen around each of the new tubes.
Mike continued work on drilling the rivet holes in the patch. The accurate alignment of these holes is proving to be a significant challenge.
Sunday, December 9. 2012
News and Views - December 8, 2012 Posted by Robert Kutella in General Blog Entries at 05:30
There was a lot of activity yesterday in spite of cold blustery weather. This could probably go into several categories, but I will lump all together under this heading. First, our NEWEST ARRIVAL.
Here is the Vanderbilt tender from Kansas City Southern 759. Newly arrived and now placed on its trucks, south of Barn 9. I believe this was acquired decades ago and owned by IRM - stored offsite at Galt, IL. If not mistaken it was plucked from the scrap line at Northwest Steel and Wire in Sterling, IL before they shut down.
Here is your first view of three newly completed windows for the CGW X 38 snowplow. We processed these last week and they are now ready for paint. Buzz Morisette graciously volunteered to check dimensions.
Working on his own project Buzz had made several new carlines or roof ribs for our private car ELY. Any such repair project inevitably turns out to be much more work and requires more effort than first thought.
Victor Humphreys is on 'the threshold of a new discovery' as he grinds weld on new steel for this threshold for our B&O wagon top boxcar. I say threshold guardedly since it is a heavy steel plate which get fastened to the wood floorboards just at the doorway.
Tom Bernacki volunteered to help document lettering on our MILW 97054 airslide covered hopper. It was very cold and blustery, windy, but dry most of the day. He made several trips to the car's storage location in the South End Yard 14, coming into the shop for lunch and some breaks to warm up. Here is part of his work, half of the reporting marks and car number.
Joel Ahrendt is working on a new window for the cab of our Milwaukee Electric L 4 steeplecab locomotive. Now painted and finished, he is glazing and putting the finishing touches on it before installing it in its rightful place.
New shelving and racks were assembled and installed just this week in the latest addition to the Barn 4 shop space. Volunteers wasted no time in putting them to work and doing some housecleaning in that room. Eric Lorenz is the antithesis of a hoarder, yet manages to survive in the world of IRM packrats. Behind him is an entire shelf of windows and other parts for our Cleveland Transit System 4223 PCC car.
Eric and Lorne Tweed exhumed several steel panels from storage and they also are now stowed on the racks. These are curved sections which will be stripped, primed and painted, ready to hold the ad cards originally displayed by them in the 4223.
Seating was also placed high on the new racks with a large crew removing the parts from Chicago Rapid Transit 1024. Some of those seat back 'cushions' must be 20 feet long of rattan, springs, and wood frames. The crew included Scott Greig, Bill Wulfert, Tim Peters, and Eric Lorenz.
Saturday, December 8. 2012
NO! this is not a recipe for Christmas dinner.
The skills and knowledge used to build trolley overhead are being lost to time, especially the historic methods. In an effort to preserve these methods and possibly bring some youthful new volunteers to IRM's Line Department, I present a series of "how It's done" stories. It combines My experience in over 40 years of linework, what I learned from my predecessors at IRM, what I learned from talking to "old timers" that actual built the stuff and from my own research. The methods I describe are NOT the only correct ways to do it. There are many variations. These methods are how I do it at IRM. They are standards that work best at IRM.
Serving is a term given to a method of dead ending or attaching wire to hardware and insulators where the wire is formed in a loop or eye and each strand is then separately wrapped back around the wire. This method can be used on copper or aluminum conductor or steel strand ( span wire). It can also be used to splice wire. The only requirements are that the material is soft and malleable enough to be bent around itself without breaking and you have the time to do all that wrapping. Serving has lost it's preference because newer high strength wires are harder and break when bent sharply. But mainly because clamps, preforms and automatic dead ends are faster. If your paying for time, buying and using those devices are cheaper than labor intensive serving. To complete a served attachment takes about 10 to 20 minutes.
A served attachment works like "chinese fingers". The wire is passed around the attachment and brought back on itself , then each strand is tightly wrapped back around the wire and remaining strands from 4 to7 times( IRM standard is 6 wraps). This is repeated until all the strands are wrapped. When tension is applied the wraps will cock and grip the wire tightly. The harder the pull the tighter the grip. If not done correctly the serve will slip and choke up. If on hardware this will cause the wire to become slack. if on a johnney ball, not only will the wire become slack but the insulator will twist and may break.
You begin the attachment by forming a U in the wire. The tail should be at least 18" long. About 4" down from the U both legs are bent outward slightly.
The wire is now slid into the hardware.
Now you need to secure the assembly. Bolt the hardware to the pole or your helper can hold it. Since I don't have a helper, I use a vise. Unwrap one strand to the center of the slight bend. The best strand to choose is the one that will be on the outside of the loop at the slight bend. With pliers, grasp the wire in the jaws including the strand you just unwrapped. Sharply bend the strand until it is perpendicular to the wire, the base should be in the center of the slight bend.
Grasp the strand with pliers and using the wire as a pivot pull the strand around the wire and remaining strands bringing all tightly together. Go clockwise or with the lay of the strands.
Hold the strand with one hand so it doesn't unwrap. Reposition the pliers so the strand is in the cutting knives with the nose of the pliers against the wire at the base of the strand. Control the "squeeze" on the handles. You want to grip the strand not cut it. The first few times you do this you WILL cut the strand. We all did. You need to practice then you'll get the feel for it. After a hundred or so serves you'll be fine. Push the pliers clockwise controlling the squeeze and cinch up the strand tightly around the wire and remaining strands.
Continue wrapping and cinching untill 6 wraps are done. Do not take the pliers off or release pressure until all 6 wraps are done. When you get to the 6th wrap stop and nick the strand with the pliers. Continue into the 7th wrap. The strand will break off at the nick.
Unrap the next strand. You want the one that butts up to the end of the first one. Bend this one perpendicular to the wire with a sharp bend at the base. Tapping with pliers helps make a sharp bend.
With the second strand positioned in the plier cutting knives, wrap and cinch 6 turns. Remember to control the squeeze. Nick and break after 6 wraps.
Repete the wrapping with the remaining strands.
Your done! This takes lots of practice. Guys that are really good can wrap two strands at once.
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