My educated guess about your wood species is that it is American Chestnut. It was a common and good species used from many eastern forested areas 70-80+ years ago. Now it is very rare due to Chestnut Blight. I assume you have ruled out red and white oak since you have practice seeing these common lumber species. A good source to ID it is here: http://web.utk.edu/~mtaylo29/pages/Identifying%20Chestnut.htm
I was out to the museum for Saturday's events with my son and daughter. I would like to offer my thanks to all of the great museum staff and volunteers who have made this such a special place for visitors. It was fantastic to see the IT 1605 and the GB&W 2407 running after all these years. Great success story on the Alco. Boy, she really smokes when throttled up! I have a question, last year, the BN 9908 and the Milwaukee 118 were running, now they seem like they are cast asside over on the spurr over by electric park. Is there something wrong with them that they are not running this year or just giving them a rest this year. Last year someone told me that the plan was to repaint the 9908 into Burlington passenger silver and use it as a pilot engine for the Nebraska Zeypher when the train is used off site. This sounds like a great idea and would be great to see it come to frution. Also, everytime I see the SD-24 #504, I can't say enough for the fine work that the IC department guys did on this locomotive! She is stunning! It would be nice to bring that along to Rock Island to show off the real fine work that has been performed in Union. Also, I want to add a thanks to the guys in the steam shop for showing us around and giving us an update on what is going on.
It would be great to get a chance to look into the new barns. I know that there are some real hulks that needed to be saved from the weather in them, but I think some of the other diesels are in them as well. It would be great to have a barn set up for Diesel storage like barn 9 is slated for Steam. It is great to see so many more items indoors where they are protected, but units like D&R 14,(EMC with a winton engine) and the Milwaukee F-units inside until they can await their turn. That would allow more of the steam indoors and into barn 9 when 10 & 11 become available. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.
I will reply more as a spectator rather than any official plan or policy. Access on foot to Barns 10 and 11 is very limited right now so they are not opened for visitors. Plans exist to finish off more of those areas, and I suspect the opening of them will become more regular after those improvements are complete.
Diesel Department plans and project priorities will have to be left to them. They have made HUGE milestone improvements this year, and in many recent years. I do not know how they do it!
As funding can be accumulated, another Barn is in the plans. When that happens there is a 'subscription' process to determine which pieces get shelter. That does not necessarily mean in the single new barn as things can be rearranged to make best use of space. But the real point here is to make a donation to the department of your choice for INDOOR BARN SPACE.
There are so many different reasons why certain equipment does or doesn't run on any given day. First, with the repairs and preparation on the Zephyr and the available volunteers, left much less time to ready even those engines that did run. Second is volunteers. There can't be any more trains run than volunteers to occupy them. With everything going on in the Diesel Department they did another excellent job this year.
You are correct that the number of volunteers to run the trains is often a very limiting factor. We have an active volunteer program and are always looking for more help, including TRAIN SERVICE. But before you think it is as simple as running an electric train around the Christmas tree, understand that SAFETY is number one and there are several steps in your training before you are in the engineer's seat.
I disagree with American Chestnut. The endgrain rays mentioned in the linked page are quite apparent in the sample photo of the wood. --Due to the coloration of the wood I would believe it to be White Oak rather than Red Oak, which has a pinkish coloration.
REPLY: Thank you for the input - we are working on it.
I sure hope that nobody took my comments on Diesel Days as anything but a great success and I was offering my thanks to all who have worked so hard to make events like this a success. The rest of my comments were just that, ideas off the top of my head on what I would like to see and providing feedback to let folks at the museum know that there is interest in seeing the items in the new barns. Every time I come to Union, I find that the progress that I see is very encouraging! That includes the B&G folks who have made so many improvements in recent years that they are too numerous to mention for fear of missing some of them.