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Tuesday, December 29. 2015
Holiday lights, Holiday trains, ... Posted by Roger Kramer in Passenger Car Department at 19:05
Here is a pictorial about the Holiday Train event. IRM had a very successful Holiday Train event this year using for the first time, a diesel powered three CNW bilevel consist. This two weekend event was under the leadership of Paul Cronin, Coach department curator. It was so successful that we are increasing it to three December weekends in 2016. More planning is needed but already we are looking for volunteers to help expand our campus decorations. Anyone who likes to put up a Christmas tree and decorate it with all the lights and ornaments is invited to talk to Paul. We have a great opportunity to make Irm a beautiful 2016 Christmas wonderland! The possibilities are boundless! HO! HO! HO!
Looking West towards barn 9 as the Holiday Train moves out of the yard and onto the main line with the children and Santa Claus
An interior view with a young family enjoying the train underneath the Christmas tree. Henry, you did a great job setting up the train. Now if we only had a building to house all those model trains.
The new trolley buses were operating on the loop bring our guests from the parking lot to the Holiday train. This worked out real well. This gave our customers another ride while providing a warm environment.
Sunday, December 27. 2015
Another year draws to a close and there is a lot of activity in the steam shop. I had expected the day after Christmas to be fairly quiet but there was a good turnout and work proceeded on many fronts.
On #1630 we are progressing along what is now the standard plan for the Winter with the normal annual inspection work, which is substantially boiler focused, running in parallel with “catch up” work to improve the overall mechanical condition of the locomotive.
Aside from some smaller items, the major focus this Winter is on the valves. It has been apparent for some time that there is wear in the valves leading to lower efficiency and leakage that can be demonstrated when the valves are set in specific positions with steam applied. As with most backlog work, the initial hope that we could get away with a quicker and simpler repair has proved sadly misplaced!. Guess we should not be too surprised. When doing the initial stripping we found some tags set behind the valve chest nuts that indicate when last stripped for overhaul – SLSF Springfield shops 1947!. You really have to question the quality of the work when we have to do it again after only 68 years!!.
The findings so far are a mixture of good and bad news.
In parallel with the valve work, a lot of other tasks have been progressed.
On the Shay, work proceeds steadily.
On shop services, the large compressor is now fully plumbed in. As soon as we can get the power connected to it we can test and adjust it ready for the state inspection. With luck this will be ready when we want to rivet the smokebox of the Shay.
So a lot of activity but a whole lot more to be done if we are to be ready for running at the start of the season. So, Happy New Year to all and watch this space!.
Thursday, December 24. 2015
Diesel Shop update from 12/19 and 12/23 Posted by James Kolanowski in Diesel Department at 14:32
While the 504 and 1848 were still in the heated shop to keep them from freezing, Jeron and I decided to work on a few little things that have needed attention. On the 19th, Jeron removed, cleaned, and reassembled the automatic air drains on the main reservoirs, and along the way found out that one of them to have a small crack in the housing near the manual part of the valve. It will be replaced later this winter. He also tracked some some other small air leaks, repairing some and noting some others for future repairs. There was a copper pipe on the drain side of an auto drain that had a split to it, that was soldered shut and put it back in place.
Meanwhile, I started working on the air brakes. An issue started to occur where the independent brake would not stay bailed off. The fix here was to replace the 26-F quick release valve and the control valve which had a slight leak to it. At the same time a couple of filters on the air system were replaced. There is one more issue where we are waiting for a valve to ship from PABCO.
Last night we spent a couple hours at the shop doing a little more TLC work on 504 and 1848. On 504, the platform crosswalk lights never had the lenses put in from when the restoration was completed years ago. They were just blanked over for the painting. I used one of the old fogged lexan windows from the bilevels and cut out a couple squares with the sawzall for the front and rear. Screwed and sealed it with some clear silicone so water won't get into it, let it dry and screwed the plates, with lenses, back in right before leaving for the night. The radio had quit working earlier this year, but we never had the time to troubleshoot why. A little bit of looking this time found no voltage at the radio rack and nothing at the radio breaker. Traced the wires back further into the cabinet only to find a broken one near the knife switch. Placed a butt splice on that and the radio works again. Jeron replaced a bulb on the transmit indicator as well.
On the 1848, Jeron rebuilt one of the rear sander magnet valves that was sticking and leaking a bit. There is still more to do on these after some rebuild kits are ordered. We also straitened out one of the rear break away stanchions for the crosswalk safety chains that was not exactly straight.
Over the next couple weeks, some other items will be done on both units before they get moved out of the shop and other equipment comes in for work.
Wednesday, December 9. 2015
Here is the latest pictorial news concerning barns 13 and 14. The last two weeks a contractor has been working to install all eight new roll-up doors on the eastern end both barns. His work should be completed by the time you read this blog. Next on the schedule is the installation of power and lights to both barns.
Max Timms is constructing the main electrical panel here in barn 14. What a professional job. Thanks Max!
Want to help make the next barn 15, a reality? Please send your year end donation in and mark it NEW BARN 15 CONSTRUCTION! Thanks Roger
Wednesday, November 25. 2015
At 10:15am on Wednesday 11/25/2015, Seattle Gillig Trolley Bus 4123 rolled off the truck trailer under its own power! The bus was loaded in Seattle on Saturday afternoon. Thanks to the guys at Extreme Trucking, it safely made the cross-country trip in about 3½ days. As usual, the guys at MEHVA (Metro Employees Historic Vehicle Association) out in Seattle took care of us. They chose a coach that was in great shape and mechanically sound. They also sent along ever critical extra parts.
Our coach has a build date of February 13, 2002. It is exactly 13 years, 9 months and 12 days old. It may very well be the youngest piece of equipment ever to join the museum's historic collection.
We were able to make two test trips and it performed wonderfully. As this is such a new bus, there are a couple things that we are figuring out as we go and we have a couple outstanding questions for the MEHVA guys, but it was great running a bus that could easily still be in service. We are immediately getting busy emptying, cleaning, inspecting and testing the bus and will hopefully have it in service for the Christmas event in a week and a half.
In this season of giving thanks, those involved with this acquisition come to mind. First, thanks to all the guys out in Seattle for arranging this and taking care of the loading. Thanks to the Board of Directors for having the foresight to approve such an exciting new acquisition. As always, a HUGE thank you goes to Richard Schauer. He arranged the trucking and took care of all that was necessary to "de-shippify" the bus once it arrived - putting back all the things that had to be done/undone in order to ship it. Finally, THANK YOU to everyone who has supported the Trolley Bus Department over the years. With the previous acquisitions from MOT in St. Louis and this one, our trucking costs are in the $15,000 range. Even though vehicles are either donated or made available at scrap value, it still costs a considerable amount to transport them to the museum. Your past and continued support allows us to keep working and (hopefully) keep acquiring as exciting opportunities (like this one) arise.
We in the Trolley Bus & Motor Bus Departments wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!!
Sunday, November 22. 2015
You don't have to be mad .... but ! Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 19:32
What a difference a few days makes in Illinois!!. In the last few weeks we have been working steadily thru the jobs needed to winterize #1630 and the support equipment while enjoying a long warm Fall. Then this weekend Winter arrived with a vengeance. Small problem, this was the weekend we had a rather critical activity scheduled!!. So, neither rain nor snow etc. (Also you don’t have to be mad to work in the steam shop but it sure helps at times.
The critical activity was the FRA observed hydro test of Shay #5 which was scheduled for Sunday. Clearly large quantities of water do not mix well with temperatures falling into single digits. However we managed.
On Friday Phil managed to fill the boiler and a reserve container in the shop before draining the bottle car that provides our supply of treated water. (Just ahead of the night when temperatures plummeted).
On Saturday I managed to get to the shop between the two bands of snow. Conditions on site were “interesting” and the work team was small.
Difficult to imagine that this was just 7 days after the shot of removing the dome cover from #1630!!. Congratulations to Chris and Jon who made it in. On the Shay the objective was to get the water circulating from the boiler thru the pool heater and then get this fired up so that boiler could be brought up to around 100F and allowed to equilibrate for the test. This was subject to some significant concern as the heater is outside and, should it not operate reliably, there would be a risk of it freezing and damaging the exchanger. Much to my relief, despite digging it out of the snow and having to shield it from further driving snow during the day, it started and ran reliably so the warm up worked well.
Actually, having been used to #1630, it is startling how much quicker #5 warms up and it seems to even the heat out much more effectively because of the relatively short barrel. In the shot above you can see the inlet from the heater feeding into the dome and the return running from the blow down back along the shop to the North.
Sunday was a very pretty day, even if it was 8F when I got back to the shop, and the team could get to the site without problems. The heater restarted without issue and the boiler was ready for testing by mid-morning when the FRA inspector was scheduled. The pressure was raised slowly to 240 psi (125% of the 190 psi at which she will operate). Jason, Phil and Collin worked with the inspector to check parts of the boiler for any sign of leakage but she proved extremely tight. One small area of a seam and the head of one stay will need minor peening but we have an acceptable pressure vessel!!.
This opens up a whole lot more work for the Winter (which is why we were so desperate to get this done before it became impossible to work with water!). The boiler can now be lagged and the various accessories and their pipework fitted. The smokebox riveting should be done soon and then the smokebox can be completed and the truck refitted.
Technically there is no reason that she should not be operational next season. The biggest barrier is MONEY!. The response to the Summer appear was disappointing ($600 plus $600 in matching). Funds for #5 are now low and her operation in 2016 is going to depend heavily on donations in the next few weeks.
So, aside from this weekend, what has been happening in the last few weeks?.
Work progressed as planned.
#5 – Shay
I am sure that Brian will provide a more detailed update however a lot of progress is apparent leading up to the test today.
Phil and his team completed the Summer work by painting all the wheel and lower areas that have been stripped and primed. She looks a great deal more presentable and will hopefully be able to go under cover once the new barns come into service.
With the cab now riveted, Jon has been working on painting the interior and planning the woodwork that can now be fitted.
Jeff and Jerry have made huge progress on the pipe work for the new compressors. Max has set up most of the wiring. The smaller of the two compressors is linked in and workable. All the main pipe work for the large compressor, including the cooling loop has been installed. The one remaining item is the flanges to connect the large compressor to the pipework. Once these are made the whole set up should be in a state to test.
Before it can be commissioned a state inspection is required so we cannot put either into operation until the whole set up is complete.
So a busy and successful couple of weeks. Now we head into a busy Winter with the objective of completing two locomotives for next season.
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Jamie K about The Black Tie Event
Fri, 02-05-2016 13:21
Matt, We already own the RoW to and just east of Coin Station Road in Huntley. The bridge is the biggest hurdle at this point, and we don't see a need [...]
Matt Maloy about The Black Tie Event
Fri, 02-05-2016 09:26
I know this would be very costly and almost impossible to do, but would the museum ever consider trying to expand their "mainline" all the way to [...]
Raphael about Diesel Shop update 1/27/2016 and 1/30/2016
Thu, 02-04-2016 23:11
just general, but would the museum have enough room for a working AEM-7?
Roger Kramer about More Barn Juice
Thu, 02-04-2016 18:40
Jamie I figured it will be a long time before it all gets completed.
Jamie K about More Barn Juice
Thu, 02-04-2016 00:24
Honestly, I think you both are off. I fully expect it to take nearly a couple of months to make all the moves for these barns and the others. There is [...]
Roger Kramer about More Barn Juice
Wed, 02-03-2016 19:34
Hi Cody I hope your right, but remembering past switch moves I still have my doubts. Good luck to you and your crew! Switch SAFE! Roger
CL Hogger about More Barn Juice
Wed, 02-03-2016 10:30
Its great to see all this progress, but to be honest Roger, switching equipment into the barns should only several days, not several weeks, [...]
Brian J. Patterson about Dover Strait Restoration Resumes
Wed, 02-03-2016 06:34
Thanks for the timely and important detail correction for the exact composition of this material. "Mastipave" is the name I've heard used most, [...]
Marvin Bult Rose Cartage about More Increditable Pictures of the Mt. Harvard Move
Tue, 02-02-2016 20:47
Hi Roger, Need hauling pictures, for Illinois State Permit Seminar. Please email me ASAP! Thank you Marv
Ted Miles, IRM Member about Excitement On and Around the Rails
Mon, 02-01-2016 21:07
I just got my copy of the new Rail & Wire and it is great! The layout and photography is superior to the last few issues. The article on the #1024 is [...]
Bill Wulfert about Dover Strait Restoration Resumes
Mon, 02-01-2016 18:54
The Baldy flooring is NOT Portland Cement. It is a magnesium oxychloride cement that can be troweled to form a hard seamless floor over wood, concrete [...]
SteveC about Excitement On and Around the Rails
Mon, 02-01-2016 11:02
I looks like the Captain is making a cast with his hook. Hook and line ishing season is not open yet.
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