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Wednesday, November 19. 2014
Sunday November 16th Coach ... Posted by Pauline Trabert in Passenger Car Department at 19:49
Michael McCraren arrived before 9:00 AM and captured an image of the first snowfall at IRM.
Michael Baksic and Shelly Vanderschaegne arrived about 9:30 AM. They spent the morning gathering display items to put into storage for the winter.
A crew was at work in the 1st Exhibit Car including Michael McCraren, Mark Gellman, Jon Habegger, Jim Windmeier and guest Patrice Connelly. Patrice has a major in museum studies and design and was asked to come and lend a hand with design elements in the current railroad china display preparation. Mark Gellman and Jon Habegger worked on installing a shelf.
The LaSalle Street Station display had to be moved for the china display - Photo by Michael McCraren
Patrice brought paper plates and cups to make a mock up of the china exhibit - Photo by Michael McCraren
John McKelvey came out and Shelly took pictures with him in the Santa Fe Lounge Car. In the photo below, John sits on a completed seat juxtaposed with the obviously soiled appearance of the current seats. The new upholstery material is a close match to the fabric used in the last upholstery work done in the 1534, which was possibly in 1938 when the lounge cars were further remodeled by Santa Fe. At that time, all interior furnishings were removed. Seven Pullman sections complete with upper and lower berths with tables, berth curtains, hangers and etc., were installed. The Pullman berths were used for Dining Car overflow seating, passenger lounging, games, and etc. At night the upper and lower berths were made up and used by the Dining Car crew as a dormitory area to sleep.
Shelly cleaned up the kitchen and eating area in the Birmingham just before the crew came in for lunch. Visitors included Jim West, Buzz Morisette, and Patrice Connelly.
After lunch, items to be used in upcoming displays in the 1st Exhibit Car were collected. And the creation of the paper plate "china" continued. A big Thank You to Patrice Connelly for lending her expertise to the display project underway!
Thursday, November 13. 2014
Mid-November Update for the Coach ... Posted by Pauline Trabert in Passenger Car Department at 21:15
Here's a sneak peek at next year's railroad china display! On Sunday, November 2, 2014, Jim Windmeier sorted and photographed all the china we have so far collected.
On the morning of Sunday, November 2nd, Shelly Vanderschaegen, Michael Baksic, and Michael McCraren 'winterized' the Birmingham. They moved the stairs to the preferred winter door and distributed electric heaters. There was a small turnout on Sunday for lunch but good company.
After lunch, Michael McCraren and Mark Gellman went to work inside the 1st Exhibit Car. John McKelvey and Shelly worked together on Santa Fe Lounge Car berth seats. They removed five seats from one section of the 1534 and took them to their work area inside the Barn 4 shop for reupholstery. Fabric purchased recently is nearly identical to the original upholstery.
Saturday, November 8, 2014: Ray Mormann and Mark Gellman removed bad steps from the 2nd Exhibit Car and began planning how to secure the trap as they worked.
Michael McCraren stained three boards that would become the lower shelf of the china display in the 1st Exhibit Car.
These stained boards are to be used in the new railroad china display currently under construction - Photo by Michael McCraren
Inside the 1st Exhibit Car on Sunday, November 9th, Jon Habegger, Jim Windmeier, Mike McCraren and Mark Gellman installed the bottom shelves for the railroad china display. The LaSalle Street Staion display was restyled. Work began in the Pacific Peak to lay carpet protection for winter removal of more wall carpet leftover from Amtrak service. Brian LaKemper also spent part of his afternoon in the 1st Exhibit Car working on the new railroad china display.
Starting to recreate the gate board from Union Station in the late 1960s - Photo by Michael McCraren
John McKelvey continued working on the Santa Fe Lounge Car seats inside the Barn 4 shop.
John McKelvey pinned new material to a previously stripped Santa Fe Lounge Car seat - Photo by Michael McCraren
Outside Barn 3 on Sunday, Brian LaKemper and Chuck Trabert worked together on the Milwaukee Road Dynamometer, finishing up winterization, packing away tools, and removing the jammed safety bars for the side doors. The bars had slid up on their hinges, shearing off the tapered pins that hold them which prevented lowering the safety bars. The bars were freed from the hinges and the hinges removed from the carbody. No photos were taken of this process.
The Steam Department kindly straightened the safety bar that had been bent at some point, and punched out the broken pins that were supposed to hold the safety bars in place on the hinge. Next time out, Brian's plans include sandblasting the hinges to remove accumulated build-up, and then to prime and remount them to the carbody. Once they are remounted, the latch mechanism for the bars can be removed, as one is damaged and requires repair.
A Call For Volunteers: Need something to do this winter and you're itching to work on railroad coaches? The Passenger Car Department at IRM is in need of more volunteers to work in the Silver Cars removing old paint and carpets. Come on out and get involved!
Friday, October 31. 2014
Last Weekend of October 2014 - Coach ... Posted by Pauline Trabert in Passenger Car Department at 17:43
Another thank you to Jim Windmeier for painting the entrance to the 1st Exhibit Car - it is looking great!
Friday was Terror on the Railroad as usual. Michael McCraren, Mark Gellman, Paul Matchette, and Brian LaKemper were there from the Coach Department. Mike Blackwell was conductor, Randy Allegrezza was a trainman, and Joel Ahrendt was the engineer.
Part of the last Friday night Terror Train crew. From L to R Jim West, Brian LaKemper, Paul Matchett and Mike Blackwell - Photo by Michael McCraren
On Saturday, Paul M. and Brian L. did some organizing in the uniform closet. Paul also fueled all the generators under the Birmingham in preparation for the last night of Terror on the Railroad.
On Saturday night the usual crew was working the last night of the Terror Train, along with help from Warren Newhauser and Fred, and Jeff Calendine from the Steam Department was also on hand. There was a generator failure but Mark G. came through with a solution to keep the affected car lit.
Mark Gellman, Warren Newhauser and his helper Fred lift a faulty generator from the vestibule for repair - Photo by Pauline Trabert
On Sunday, Warren N., Chuck Trabert and Brian L. gathered to work on the Milwaukee Road Dynamometer, X-5000. Brian retrieved an air hose that had been jammed behind the X-5000's heating boiler for an unknown length of time. Later he poured anti-freeze into the car's hot-water heating system. Mark G. provided the crew with a possible replacement for one of the car's missing door latches.
Chuck hung the rebuilt boiler motor as Warren wants to check the heating system. Later Chuck hung exterior drip caps on the two side doors of the Dynamometer.
Chuck Trabert fitting a drip cap manufactured by Buzz Morisette for the X-5000 - Photo by Pauline Trabert
The Birmingham and Silver Cars were still sitting on the station track but coach volunteers in attendance gathered there for lunch. Guests included Kevin Brown and Nick Kallas.
At 5:50 PM on the way out, a hot air balloon was seen heading toward the Steam Barn. You never know what you are going to see at IRM and this was pretty interesting.
Sunday night found Jim West and Brian L. returning the Silver Cars train back to Yard 5 in a four-hour switch move. Many thanks to Jim West for staying late to help get the cars put away.
Thursday, October 23. 2014
October Activities in the Passenger ... Posted by Pauline Trabert in Passenger Car Department at 11:34
This is the eighth year of the Terror on the Railroad event at IRM and the Passenger Car Department was prepared for action. Team members Mark Gellman, Michael McCraren, Paul Matchett, and Brian LaKemper have been active on the Terror Train all month and will continue for the last two nights coming up fast. The last weekend for Terror on the Railroad in 2014 is upon us folks, don't miss out!
On Sunday, October 11th, Jon Habegger, Jim Windmeier, and Mark Gellman met to discuss upcoming exhibit changes in the 1st Exhibit car. There are some exciting new displays on the horizon we can all look forward to viewing in 2015.
Michael McCraren took sevearl photos over the last two weekends. He said, "Who would think that in 2014 you would find an F9 engine coupled to classic lightweight passenger cars running at night? On this night (October 11th) Jim West was the engineer and Bob Opal was the conductor."
BN-1 is coupled up to the train followed by a RI coach and the Loch Sloy - Photo by Michael McCraren
The back half the the train - Birmingham, Pacific Peak, Silver Ridge and 9933 - Photo by Michael McCraren
Michael Mcraren: "Since we are doing night operations, reflective vests, jackets and even pants are the fashion of the day. We found three lost cell phones last night. All were found this time. Please put your cell phone away in the safe place when on the train.
On the weekend of October 17th and 18th, in addition to the Terror Train crew as mentioned above, Jeff Caldine helped on Terror Saturday night. In other work, Brian LaKemper checked the underfloor water tanks on the X-5000 to make sure they were drained with the assistance of Austin Harvey. Brian also spent some time looking at the Silver Pony's underfloor equipment to figure out exactly what we have and what we need to make the car's systems functional on their own. Mark G. and Brian took a brief look at the open car project (ex-CB&Q 7128).
On Sunday, 10/19/14, Kevin Kriebs, Mark Gellman, Michael McCraren, and Jim Windmeier discussed how to display china; the working name for this project is "Movable Feast". Around mid-day Buzz Morrisette and Kevin discussed building a display cabinet for the 1st Exhibit Car. Shelly Vanderschaegen spackled holes in the 1st Exhibit Car while Michael Baksic and Ray Mormann cut open a wall by the vestibule steps on the 2nd Exhibit Car to repair corrosion. John McKelvey repaired a berth seat in the Santa Fe Lounge Car and later he and Shelly discussed seat repairs and material to be purchased for reupholstering the lounge car.
Pizza made by Michael McCraren for the entire crew on Saturday night - 10/18/14 - Photo by Michael McCraren
Lunch visitors on Sunday, October 19th included Sam Polonetzky, Kevin Brown, and Nick Kallas.
Shelly Vanderschaegen and Michael Baksic at lunch in the Birmingham on 10/19/14 - Photo by Michael McCraren
Wednesday, October 1. 2014
September 27-28-29 Passenger Car ... Posted by Pauline Trabert in Passenger Car Department at 20:16
Saturday, 9/27/14: Michael McCraren had Brian LaKemper line-training; basically training him to be a conductor. Jim West and Jamie Kolanowski got the streamliner cars out on Saturday,
Sunday 9/28/14: It was a beautiful day. The annual Woodworkers Convention guests were greeted in the Ely by Kevin Kriebs, in the Lake City by Ken Kosen, in the Santa Fe Lounge Car by Lee Evans, Jr., and in the L&N diner "Galt House" by Shelly Vanderschaegen. Thanks to the visitors for attending.
Special thanks to Kevin Brown for bringing nice treats and soda.
Brian LaKemper continued his conductor training on board the "Denver Zephyr", named by Michael McCraren for the day as the car ID numbers for the Silver Ridge and Loch Sloy are both currently marked for the Denver Zephyr, and they had a BN locomotive so it seemed to fit.
Lunch on the rails: There was a special lunch for Coach Department volunteers on the Birmingham while the cars were being tested. Everyone having lunch in the Birmingham enjoyed the name and Brian's announcement as they returned: "Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for riding the Denver Zephyr, now arriving at scenic East Union Depot, please exit to the rear"
Lunch on the Birmingham with Mike Baksic, Mike Abernathy, John McKelvey, Jon Habegger, and Kevin Kriebs - Photo by Shelly Vanderschaegen
The 2612 was wyed, along with X-5000. Mark Gellman, Brian LaKemper, and Jim West handled the switching, with help from Jamie Kolanowski and Mark H. The Milwaukee Road Dynamometer, X-5000 is now in place to begin prep work for getting a new coat of paint.
Thanks to Jim West, Mike Baksic and General Manager Jamie Kolanowski for getting the cars out for a ride down the IRM mainline. The cars were being tested for the upcoming Terror on the Railroad Haunted Event.
Looking east as the Denver Zephyr approaches Karstens crossing - Photo by Kevin Brown using Brian Ls camera
Michael McCraren in charge of the westbound Denver Zephyr (note the red glow from the functioning marker lights) - Photo by Kevin Brown using Brian Ls camera
The Denver Zephyr is about to take the switch into the station, note Mike Blackwell in the distance ready to realign the switches once we get through shop - Photo by Kevin Brown using Brian Ls camera
Back in the station, note the reflection of the RDCs headlight on CRIP 2571 - Photo by Kevin Brown using Brian Ls camera
Monday, 9/29/14: Jim Windmeier came out and painted the entire 1st Exhibit Car forward vestibule with the gray paint.
Thanks to Shelly, Mark, and Brian for contributing information and photos for this update.
Saturday, September 27. 2014
Milwaukee Road Dynamometer - ... Posted by Pauline Trabert in Passenger Car Department at 16:34
This Dynamometer update is courtesy of Warren Newhauser and Brian LaKemper who crewed the X-5000 for Showcase Weekend, September 20-21, 2014, and wrote this report:
On Friday night, Brian LaKemper and the Steam Department crew got the coach train put together. Totaling 10 cars, the train fit with a car length to spare on Station Track 2. Jamie K. provided assistance and advice. Brian also procured a set of stairs for riders to board without using the stirrups.
Saturday Morning dawned bright and early, with the train already assembled, it didn't take long for the crew to get ready, journals checked, stepboxes procured, and markers hung. After a successful air test, the coach train made 3 trips behind UP 1848. Brian's records show that 1848 put on an impressive show, with upwards of 30,000lbs of drawbar pull with no brakes applied, and a momentary peak of 100,000 lbs of buff while shoving upgrade and slowing for Seeman Road. 1848 never got above run 6 during these trips. After 1848 in the morning, 1630 arrived, bringing her auxiliary tender (former express milk car) to make the grand total 11 cars in a coach train that barely fit on Station Track 2 and in Johnson Siding.
Warren Newhauser arrived Saturday mid-afternoon just as 1630 was being coupled to the coach train consisting of the Dynamometer and 9 other cars. After the stairs were positioned, long lines of people formed to get on the Dyno.
Just before the first rain storm of the weekend (sending the wooden electric cars racing for the barns), the guys from the Steam Dept took over the office, sleeping areas and kitchen as they wanted to ride. Warren and Brian made a mad dash in the rain to get the Waukesha Enginator running, as the batteries were getting low.
The train made another 3 trips during the afternoon carrying a lot of people. Over two days, a lot of the conversation by museum guests overheard was, “IRM really puts on a nice show”, “There’s something about a train” as well as discussion the dismal state of Illinois politics.
After the annual Showcase Weekend barbecue, Brian L, Brian P, Cody from the Steam crew, and Warren began to figure out how to light the coach train. A large part of the problem was a lack of the historically correct trainline jumpers, and the fact that one car lacked trainline connections. We should have begun work on this earlier, admittedly. This required we find personnel with CB&Q keys, crawling through RPO's baggage compartment with volt meters tracing the wiring circuits. Among the “it’s funny afterwards” category, Shelly Vanderschaegen was inadvertently locked in the RPO during this time. She called Pauline Trabert who notified Chuck Trabert on the Dyno. On the positive side Shelly discovered some stored furniture on the RPO she can use for future exhibits. Cody and Brian (Warren and others assisting) used welding cables, train line jumpers and misc. cables to bypass the car lacking trainline connections. Using the jumpers we had, and Cody's bypass, we lit DMIR 84 and DL&W 561 from the 32V trainline on the Dyno. Brian Patterson replaced some 120V bulbs on the 561 with 32V bulbs to provide more light. The scheduled 8:00pm departure turned to 8:30 or later.
Looking forward from the kitchen end of the car with the cars 32v DC lights lit up - Photo by Brian LaKemper
This is the second year lighting the coach train and what we have found is the passengers really like dimly lit cars while the Operating Department would prefer functional lighting for safety when boarding and disembarking. Brian L. is already planning a revised operational plan for next year's coach train.
The Dyno’s original Waukesha Enginator and batteries are more than capable of proving enough HEP for the coach train, requiring only around 10A at 32V.
After the lights were rigged, we made one more run in the evening where the lightning was clearly visible even though the skies were clear at the time. Unfortunately the skies really let loose as we made our arrival back to Union at about 11:40pm, forcing people in the rain to hurry to get to their cars.
The crew on the Dyno for Saturday of Showcase Weekend was Chuck Trabert, Dick Melzer, Brian La Kemper and Warren Newhauser (our core team).
Sunday was a late start, but we made several runs with 1630 pulling, and a good time was had by all, despite the occasional rain. Brian got pulled off the Dyno to help man the understaffed coach train. Despite the Dyno being in the coach train, due to the RPO's inclusion, the Dynamometer was effectively isolated from the rest of the coach train. Dick Melzer joined Warren in manning the X-5000.
On the final run Sunday afternoon, 1630 cut off the train to go to the steam shop. The dispatcher told 1630 head end “Thank you for a good day” to which 1630's engineer replied “good day, good year” [signifying the completion of successful Steam operation for this year].
Thursday, September 25. 2014
Showcase Weekend Passenger Car ... Posted by Pauline Trabert in Passenger Car Department at 19:06
Saturday, September 20, 2014: Jim Windmeier power washed the caboose-end vestibule of the 1st Exhibit Car in Yard 5 while Kevin Kriebs continued sanding the exterior of the 1st Exhibit Car. Jon Habegger was at his station inside the Exhibit Car greeting visitors and answering questions.
Shelly Vanderschaegen and Mark Gellman assisted Michael McCraren with his class reunion getogether in the Birmingham. They wrapped up the party around 5:00 PM. Other Saturday visitors included Kevin Brown who stopped by with some cookies.
Michael McCraren (3rd on left) with his class reunion in the Birmingham - Photo by Shelly Vanderschaegen
Sunday, September 21, 2014: Ray Mormann, Mark Gellman, Michael Baksic and Jeff Calendine removed the air conditioners in the streamliner cars which took all day. Shelly cleaned in the Ely and took some photos.
John McKelvey replaced and stitched padding for a chair from the Santa Fe Lounge Car.
Sunday lunch visitors in the Birmingham included Susan Stepek, her son David, and Nick Kallas. After lunch Gwyn Stupar stopped by and David crushed cans and showed off his new Thomas cars.
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Joe Zdenek about Mid-November Update for the Coach Department
Thu, 11-20-2014 13:21
I have been told that the C&NW plate you have marked as "Flambeau" is extremely rare. Only 200 or so, were made. I have seen one in poor condition at [...]
Warren Newhauser about Sunday November 16th Coach Department Update
Thu, 11-20-2014 09:41
Nice pictures. FWIW, MTM has a similar (but bigger) Chicago commuter sign board like the one shown here at their Jackson St. Roundhouse. Maybe they [...]
Roger Kramer about Believe It
Wed, 11-12-2014 16:50
Hello Raffi I was under the assumption that the tender that was shipped last year to Irm was the last piece. Maybe someone else could update us
Raffi about Believe It
Tue, 11-11-2014 22:10
unrelated topic: isn't there still a steam locomotive in Galt? i was thinking you could do some minor maintenance on the engine (with donations) and [...]
Roger Kramer about Believe It
Thu, 11-06-2014 09:35
The interior of the 938 has been inspected in late Sept. All boiler tubes and any debris found in the smokebox has been removed. The firebox has [...]
c kronenwetter about Believe It
Wed, 11-05-2014 23:27
has any inspection been made of the boiler interior to gauge the feasibility of restoration?
Roger Kramer about Believe It
Tue, 11-04-2014 10:27
Yes, the retired members are trying to get a small group together for Weds. I would first suggest you come out on a Sat and coordinate your wed [...]
Tom about Believe It
Tue, 11-04-2014 09:26
Is the steam team still meeting on Wednesdays for work days? If so, I would like to join in.
shelly about Last Weekend of October 2014 - Coach Department Update
Sun, 11-02-2014 18:55
great pictures and work to all thanks
Brian L. about Last Weekend of October 2014 - Coach Department Update
Sat, 11-01-2014 01:43
The switch move took four hours because Jim and I talked through the plan of action and agreed we would take it slow and safe. It was dark, getting [...]
john carpenter about October Activities in the Passenger Car Department
Wed, 10-29-2014 13:46
First went to terror on railroad last week with friends thanks you put on great show we really enjoyed it thank the people who put it on,also will [...]
Roger Kramer about Tender on RI 938.... painted
Fri, 10-24-2014 17:09
Hello John The person you should get in contact w/ is Tom Schneider. He comes out, along with most of the steam team, on Saturdays. Nigel and the [...]
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