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Saturday, April 4. 2015
End of March 2015 in the Coach ... Posted by Pauline Trabert in Passenger Car Department at 13:35
Michael McCraren Reporting: On Saturday, March 28th, Buzz Morisette and Kevin Kriebs assembled the second cabinet for the lantern display.
The opening of the 1st Exhibit Car with the china display is scheduled for May 2. Previews maybe held in April depending on staffing. Work has begun on adding displays to the 2nd Exhibit Car.
Work has started in Exhibit Car 2 laying out a photo history of Grand Central - Photo by Michael McCraren
On Sunday, March 29th, Michael Baksic and Ray Mormann continued their work in the Birmingham.
Brian LaKemper Reporting: The 556's brakes are completely reassembled and ready for an air test.
On Sunday, March 29th, I cut the final pipe to the correct length, threaded and installed it with the help of Cody Z. from the steam shop. The needed fittings to assemble it all were procured and installed. Thanks to the Steam Department and the Electric Car Department for all their help on this part of the project.
Mark Hoffman finished priming the cleaned ceiling panels. Still a lot of work in the interior of the car.
On Wednesday, April 1st, Brian Patterson and myself applied air to test the brakes. After receiving a replacement gasket from Rod Turner (Thanks Rod!), everything was leak free and the brakes worked as intended. Once the interior is finished, the car will be ready for operation.
Elsewhere on the property: the clutch was removed from the Joy #2, so it can be repaired. The L car team has mounted poles on the 2400s and are rapidly finishing them up. In steam land, work is progressing on machining 428's axle boxes, 1630's winter repairs, and clearing tell-tales on the Shay.
Monday, March 30. 2015
This is a follow up to a post by Brian La Kemper a couple of weeks ago. We have been focusing on this coach the entire winter. Its finally showing results. "Busy" is the word of the month while talking about our Erie Lackawanna coach 556. It will be that way until we get her interior painting complete and placed back in service. Already the two Brian's have reinstalled the repaired brake beam, located missing pins and bushings, installed the brake valve and related piping. Next on their work sheet is to complete an air test to make sure everything is working correctly.
Friday, March 27. 2015
March 21st and 22nd Passenger Car Update Posted by Pauline Trabert in Passenger Car Department at 13:11
Michael McCraren Reporting: On Saturday, Michael McCraren, Paul Machette, Mark Gellman, Mark Hoffman and Brian LaKemper attended a train show in Davenport, IA. On the way back, Michael, Paul and Mark did some "research" on current passenger trains by taking some action shots of the California Zephyr and Southwest Chief passing through Mendota, IL. After all, someday these cars will be at IRM. They also visited the depot museum there.
On Sunday, more graphics and a few pictures were added to the china exhibit. The big news is that we have added 2 rare service plates to the display for opening and a third that will arrive in the summer. The two new plates that will be there at the opening are an Illinois Central service plate used on the Panama Limited and the Daylight Limited (the fore runner of the City of New Orleans) in the 1920's, and another service plate from the Golden Rocket. After World War 2, the Southern Pacific and Rock Island were planning a replacement for the Golden State called the Golden Rocket. The Rock Island had ordered the china and cars but before the train could be started the Southern Pacific backed out. The china and cars were using on the Golden State. We have obtained a service plate from that still born train. A third service plate will be coming this summer. A hint is that the plate is from a well known, upscale, private dining room that was best ever on the rails.
Other work inside the 1st Exhibit car includes the picture history of Union Station Chicago where progress continues with the hand built sign going up along with the pictures and the cabinet for the upcoming lantern display was completed. Buzz M. and Kevin K. did a nice job building the cabinet.
Brian LaKemper reporting: On March 22nd, Mark Hoffman, Brian Patterson, and Brian LaKemper worked on the 556 again. Mark did more interior sanding, followed by priming some of the ceiling panels.
The two Brians worked to replace the last missing components of the brake system; however, a minor setback meant that we had to fabricate two pipes instead of just one, as during the process of pulling off a fitting to use as a guide, an adjacent pipe was found to have severe corrosion issues. Many thanks to the steam shop for help, encouragement, and use of tools to make both replacements. One of the replacement pipes was installed under the car, the other will be installed once we acquire the remaining fitting to attach it. Slow but steady progress overall.
Elsewhere on the property, Joy #2 was over the electric car pit for removal of the torque converter and clutch assembly. By the end of work, the torque converter was out of the pit and on a cart; but the clutch was stubborn and could not be removed.
Work was being done on Michigan Electric 28, UP 428 was having an axlebox set up for machining, and other projects were ongoing.
Wednesday, March 18. 2015
Railroad China Display Update from ... Posted by Pauline Trabert in Passenger Car Department at 17:52
This update from the Passenger Car Department was provided by Michael McCraren...
Mark Gellman and Michael McCraren have taken over the task of preparing the graphics for the railroad china display in the 1st Exhibit Car. On Sunday, March 15th, Michael's niece, Patrice Connelly, joined them to help with the mounting of the graphics.
The finished pattern labels up for the Milwaukee Road Traveler artifacts - Photo by Michael McCraren
Work continued on a photo history of Union Station and Kevin Kriebs painted the north wall in the front of the 1st Exhibit Car. He also worked with Buzz Morrisette on the lantern display which will also go up in the 1st Exhibit Car.
In other news, Ray Mormann and Michael Baksic have been working on the Birmingham diner. Shelly Vanderschaegen and Michael B. are refinishing a window for the Ely.
Wednesday, March 18. 2015
556 Coach Update and Other News Posted by Pauline Trabert in Passenger Car Department at 17:23
This update from the Passenger Car Department was provided by Brian LaKemper...
On Wednesday, March 11th, Brian Patterson and Brian LaKemper were at IRM. They managed to wire wheel two of the three needle-chipped panels of the ceiling of the 556; as well as some progress on Dover Strait.
Brian LaKemper wire-wheeling a ceiling panel that was needle-chipped late last fall - Photo courtesy of Brian LaKemper
A closer view with a little more progress - still over 50 linear feet of ceiling to go - Photo courtesy of Brian LaKemper
Unfaded paint was found underneath a car sign warning of extra fees for buying tickets on the train - a chip was used to source the correct color needed to repaint the lower portions of the car - Photo courtesy of Brian LaKemper
This is a Pullman ashtray that was disassembled a while ago, Brian L. reassembled it for display in the Dover Strait - Photo courtesy of Brian LaKemper
On Saturday, March 14th, Mark Hoffman, Brian Patterson, and Brian LaKemper were working on 556. Mark wire wheeled the third cleaned ceiling panel, and he and Brian P. worked on sanding the sections of the ceiling that were wire wheeled in preparation for primer. Mark planned to prime it on Sunday.
Brian L. worked on finishing up the incomplete repairs to the 556's brake system. The repaired brake beam that was installed last fall received brake shoes and was connected to the brake rigging. Phil from the steam shop is owed a HUGE thank-you from all of us in Barn 3 for managing to wiggle himself and tools underneath the car to connect the rigging. After all the rigging was connected, Phil and Brian L. wound down the handbrake to check that the rigging was working again. All was in order, so with help from Greg Kepka, Phil hung the 556's brake valve under the car.
Once the valve was attached, air was applied from the Barn 4 supply using a single car air tester to charge the car's reservoir and test the brakes. After 10 minutes of charging, Brian L. opened the tester's brake valve and made a reduction. With a little noise of protest, the cylinder extended for the first time in over 5 years. Due to the dirt and grease involved, no photos of the brake work were taken.
Friday, March 6. 2015
The Old Bag and the Silver Beaver Posted by Roger Kramer in Passenger Car Department at 15:20
After all these years of waiting the coach dept is finalizing plans to move CB&Q 1309 located in Denver, Colorado and the CB&Q Silver Beaver located in Madison, Illinois to our museum campus. As some of you might remember, both pieces are complete and are "Q" baggage cars. "What is the big hold up," you ask? It's the usually answer: $ MONEY! Where as, moving lighter weight equipment is less expensive, these two pieces will cost much more than the usuall 3 to 4 thousand dollars each. Yes, acquiring new equipment these days is very, very expensive.
Sunday, March 1. 2015
Steam Department Update February 2015 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 16:54
Unfortunately not the update that I was hoping to be able to write 24 hours ago!.
The steam team has worked steadily thru a record cold February and made good progress, primarily on the Winter work on 1630. The work on the boiler was completed and the objective is to carry out an initial hydro test as soon as possible to ensure that nothing leaks on the backhead where it would be hidden by the refitting of the stoker and footplate. We really need some above freezing temperatures to safely run the heater that brings the water up to a suitable temperature for the pressure test. This has held us up for a week or so but the forecast suggests a “warm” day Tuesday so everything was planned. The tender was filled last weekend to allow the water to reach at least shop temperature. On Saturday the pipework was set up and a start made on filling the boiler.
Unfortunately this revealed that one stay seems to have broken during the process of clearing the tell-tale hole. A steady stream of water was apparent as we filled the boiler. With this stay plugged, we were able to fill the boiler and prove that this is the only stay in this condition. However, we now have a stay to replace. This was something that was not in the plan.
By end of day, Dennis had cut out the cab floor under the engineer’s area, the end of the stay in the firebox was ground flush and the stay cap had been removed. This proved rather reluctant and took a couple of attempts, otherwise we might have got the stay out. Anyway, we are now ready to remove it next week.
Replacing a flexible stay is something we did several times during the overhaul and can be done in a couple of weeks, provided we do not hit anything abnormal. However, it is additional work and means that the target of running Memorial weekend is now in some danger.
In parallel with the boiler work a lot of other work has progressed.
Dennis has put in many hours of work building up the yolk and other parts of the tender draw gear support mechanism. We should be receiving a rebuilt draw gear unit shortly and then the work can begin on making any modifications required to fit this under the tender.
A new pin has been machined for the front coupler pocket. The original was heavily worn. Once new bushes are machined and the support plate, that Dennis has rebuilt, is in place we should have a coupler that sits horizontal rather than sagging as it has in recent years!.
The air tanks are now refitted. This has been a big job as we have fitted new Teflon seals to the ball joints of the tanks. It sounds simple but replacing the very worn seals that have been there for many years can slightly alter the fit of the pipes. There is very little flexibility in large diameter steel pipes!. So in some cases we have had to cut and rethread the pipes to make the correct fit.
The new bush for the connecting rod is now complete and in place in the rod.
Dennis built up the brass on the securing disk. (My mistake. I said last month that the odd one came from a Mikado. Actually it is from a consolidation). Once that is machined we will have all the parts to reassemble the running gear.
However, the first steps at refitting suggest that, with the new bearing in place, clearance will be very tight and it may be necessary to remove and adjust the axle box shoes. Measurements that Jason has made indicate that the shoes are marginally thick and will need to be adjusted at some point. It may be that point is now!.
Work has been proceeding on the replacement of the gland packing on the air operated power reverser mechanism.
After a lot of effort the broken bolt in the smokebox front ring was successfully removed and a new one is in process of being fitted. John Heid joined us and was rapidly at work on this.
When the work on 1630 has relied more on welding and machining, people have been able to do some work in other areas.
Progress has accelerated on the Shay.
The big determinant of how quickly the Shay can be brought into service is whether we can clear the tell-tale holes on all stays behind the frames and motor brackets from inside the firebox. If all the tell-tales can be cleared to the required depth, we then need just to replace a number of stays in other areas that have been identified as bad and can then move quickly to re-tubing the boiler. If any stays need to be replaced behind the motor bracket, then we have a substantial project to remove and refit the motor in order to replace them.
Several people have been working on this as time permits but Phil is now working on the stays 3 days each week and making good progress. A lot of stays have been cleared so far. We all wait with bated breath to see if any prove beyond clearance in the critical areas. We should know within weeks now if we can avoid removing the motor.
Various work has been progressed to allow reassembly to move forward if the stay work is successful.
JD has been locating and preparing the various parts of the running boards.
Brian removed the equalizer air tank and cleaned it in preparation for hammer and hydro testing.
(Brian’s comment on this photograph was very fair!. “You could at least have taken a before shot to show just how much muck I had to remove”). Located under the cab floor, behind the engineer’s footstep this tank gets buried is everything thrown up by the wheels. Good job Brian!.
The riveting team, led by Stu, has put in several days on the cab. There are a LARGE number of small rivets to be placed but they are progressing and the number of temporary bolts showing on the cab is steadily reducing.
Once it is at temperature the rivet is struck on the anvil to dislodge any scale and then put into the hole.
The bucker holds the head of the rivet in position as Stu uses the air hammer to form the other end of the rivet inside the cab.
Although the basic method is the same, these are far smaller rivets than we had to use on 1630. Rather than fighting to ensure that the rivet is formed while still malleable, the risk with these is more that they can easily be over hammered and have unsightly deformed heads.
The process of Dennis building up with weld and Eric then machining to final dimensions has proceeded steadily thru the many components of the spring rigging. With this now largely complete, work has now started on machining the valve rods.
Mike returned this week after being out of state for some weeks and work restarted on the planer in preparation for the axle box work.
So March looks to be a busy and critical month. Wish us luck!. And if you fancy getting your hands dirty ………!!
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Nigel Bennett about 1630 in service
Sun, 05-24-2015 10:53
Tim, Good idea. I will talk to our store manager about this. Nigel
Tim about 1630 in service
Sat, 05-23-2015 22:32
Awesome train, my son loved his first ride today. I just wish you guys sold some nice photos or artwork of this great train. I would love to buy [...]
C Kronenwetter about 1630 in service
Sat, 05-23-2015 18:13
Very nicely done, Nigel. Thanks to the steam team for all of their hard work!
Mark Poynter about 1630 in service
Fri, 05-22-2015 09:53
Well done and many congratulations to the entire steam crew! I'll be coming to IL from MT this summer and will see 1630 on July 4th.
Zach Kaye about 1630 in service
Thu, 05-21-2015 22:51
Awesome!!! Coming down for the event this Monday. Can hardly wait to see her in action!!!
Roger Kramer about A Major Announcement
Wed, 05-20-2015 21:47
Hello Warren The Mt. Harvard has the Pullman Mechanical system. Basically two Spicer drives one off each axle One runs the generator and the other [...]
Charles Dahle about A Major Announcement
Wed, 05-20-2015 17:17
Many thanks to Mark and Jon for all their efforts toward the RPO weekend. I was able to attend and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Vince about Steam Department - Fingers crossed!
Wed, 05-20-2015 07:53
Good luck to all the folks who have worked to get 1630 back in action!
Nigel Bennett about Steam Department Update April 2015
Tue, 05-19-2015 22:21
Dave, A long day today but #1630 is complete and ready to be coaled and watered tomorrow. Unless anything unexpected shows up in the steam [...]
W Newhauser about A Major Announcement
Tue, 05-19-2015 19:14
Nice car! Can't wait to see it. I'm wondering what type of electrical/mechanical systems does it have?
Brian J. Patterson about A Major Announcement
Mon, 05-18-2015 23:05
Hello, Roger, Raphael, and all. 1. Roger, thank you for your efforts to get this car for IRM. It will make a great addition to our [...]
Raphael about A Major Announcement
Mon, 05-18-2015 20:05
so what/where did it serve?
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