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July-September 2000--Report From The Car Shop
From Rail & Wire Issue 185, September 2000

Compiled by Frank Hicks

You know a railroad's busy when it has to haul passengers in a gravel car! Actually, the passengers are members taking a rare ride in The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Transport Co. D13, a Differential Car Company side-dump ballast car, during Members' Weekend 2000. Photo by Greg Heier.

Side-dump ballast car D13 of The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Transport Company came out of the shops on September 16, 2000, to run for Members' Day. It was immediately pressed into "passenger service"--members got to ride in the dump section. The ride wasn't glamorous, but was a lot of fun. A few people asked why the word "the" was made part of the road's initials, and they were told of the "TM's" unique reporting mark, TMER&T.

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin wood interurban car 309 has received some much-needed electrical work with the replacement of worn resistance grids. Here, the car has a standing-room-only crowd on Members' Weekend 2000. Photo by Greg Heier.
This wooden car has recently been partially-sidelined due to a short-circuit in one motor, but the good news is that one particularly generous donor agreed to pay for two of our spare motors to be rebuilt! In the meantime, though, some other work has been done on 309. The car ran in the Trolley Pageant Parade on the 4th of July, but blew out a resistance grid backing into the barn afterwards. This was repaired in time for Members' Day, when the car operated again without a hitch. A complete set of all-new flags has been fashioned for the car consisting of two white flags (for extra movements), two red flags (rear of train markers) and two green flags (following section markers).

Work continues on the visual restoration of this operational wooden interurban with several parts of the belt rail being patched up and painted in July. Work was also done on the toilet-side tongue-and-groove siding putting Bondo on rough patches and priming it in preparation for a finish coat of maroon paint. The last section's worth of tongue-and- groove siding for the toilet side has been cut to fit, and is being trimmed to fit. This will cover the "hole" under the smoking compartment windows, which is now filled only by the under-siding.

Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee 714 reentered service in 2000 after extensive truck work. One of the 714's trucks had been reassembled improperly, probably by the North Shore Line's own shop forces, so that it was slightly out of "tram" resulting in uneven wheel and bearing wear. It was necessary to completely rebuild the 70-year-old truck. Oh yes, look at that line pole in the middle of the new track. No, it's not a mistake, but merely the result of the new track being installed before the line poles were relocated. Photo by Greg Heier.

North Shore Line (CNS&M) 160 and 714 are normally "trained" or "MU'd"--run in multiple-unit--together to make a green train typical of the 1950's. Photo by Greg Heier.
This steel, Cincinnati-built coach has rejoined the operating fleet at IRM after a hiatus of five years. The car was retired due to excessive wheel wear on one truck, a problem too hefty for most people to try solving. However, in 1999 the Electric Car Department's resident Master Mechanic Bruce Lampson (aka "Pit Rat") decided to undertake the project. Like many such projects, the repair proved to be more work than anticipated; not only were the wheel flanges on the faulty truck worn away by years of use, but some components of the truck itself were also damaged. Bruce concluded that the cause of the damage was an incorrect repair done by the North Shore itself! What would Henry Cordell say?

Anyway, Bruce completely disassembled the truck, rebuilt several components, had the wheels reprofiled, and put the whole thing together again. He even went as far as completely rebuilding the step wells at one end of the car since the originals were somewhat weak. On July 3rd, the car was cleared for Revenue Operation and ran with 160. Ever since then the two cars have been running regularly, as former "standard service car" North Shore 757 has gone into semi-retirement.

Work continues on this car, which is shaping up to be the most complete restoration of a North Shore car to date. Some of the recent work has been on the 749's doors, six of which have been rebuilt. Ray Bellock and Roger Hewitt repainted the doors in September, and started work to remount them back on the car. Metalwork has also been on-going, mainly under the platform at the #1 end of the car. Large portions of the floor, step wells and traps had rusted away and been replaced with body filler by the North Shore; Scott Greg has been welding new pieces of steel into these holes. Work is also being done on the controllers at this end of the car. It is hoped that the car may be operable within a year or two.

With the completion of work on North Shore 714 (see page 5 "Major Work On 763"), the ever-industrious Bruce Lampson has begun working on one of IRM's other North Shore cars--763. This car, which is identical to 757, was acquired from The Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society in 1988, and has not run at IRM. Some damage was done to the car before its acquisition by IRM, including excessive wheel wear and a cracked coupler tail piece casting. Although smaller abnormalities are present in various parts of 763, many of the car's problems reside in one of the trucks-- just like 714.

Bruce spent weeks modifying an old, rusty North Shore truck IRM had in storage for use as a shop truck before it could be placed under 763 and the car's original truck pulled out for work, but he got it done. The wheel flanges were too worn down to be salvageable, and new wheel sets are now being obtained. Bruce has completely torn down the truck, and is working on replacing heavily worn parts of the brake rigging.

He is also being kept busy finding all of the other problems with the car, among which is the previously-mentioned cracked coupler tail piece casting. The coupler tail piece casting is the component that keeps the coupler attached the car; 763's is cracked, and will have to be fixed before the car can be safely operated. Once the truck and couplers are repaired, work will commence on the rest of the car. Overall 763 seems to be in fair shape; however, the roof will require extensive work. The car will have to be repainted in the difficult-to-paint Silverliner color scheme; 763 is painted in the 1940's-era Greenliner livery, but the car is physically a Silverliner. Other problems may crop up; nonetheless, this car is well on its way to eventual operation.

The most-recently acquired of IRM's three 6000-type single cars, CTA 22 was sidelined with a bad motor. Pete Vesic and Bob Heinlein have been able to replace the motor, and the car is operable again.CLEVELAND TRANSIT SYSTEM 4223
IRM's sole example of a Pullman-Standard-built PCC streetcar, CTS 4223, is getting closer and closer to being repainted. Work is underway to replace all of the car's skirting; and the rooftop "monitor" clerestory has also been jacked up for cleaning and replacement of rusted sections. It is hoped that Spring 2001 will see this car resplendent in CTS's beautiful, Raymond Loewy-designed, yellow, tan and cream livery.

A member of IRM's impressive collection of electric locomotives, this General Electric steeplecab has been stored outside much of its life. Because of this, its appearance is less than pristine and work has begun on a complete repainting. One side of the cab has already been needlechipped and primed. In addition, new wooden cab windows have been manufactured in IRM's Electric Car Shop, painted, and installed. The locomotive will eventually be painted black overall with white lettering. Once 4 is repainted, a very visible part of IRM will look much better.

Pat Harbauer drills rivet holes for new end platforms on Michigan Electric combine 28. Car 28 served as a private residence for many years after the Michigan Electric was abandoned, and much of its lower steelwork needed to be replaced. Photo by Greg Heier.

This heavy interurban combine car has been seeing extensive work by Norman Krental and Pat Harbauer. Recent work has concentrated on the rear-end observation compartment, and in particular on the rear platform. The tall end windows were taken out for rebuilding, and the dash of the car, which was rusted beyond hope of saving, was also removed.

The floor, which during 28's days as a cottage had been reinforced by concrete, had to be removed as well. Work is now being done on replacing these components, along with the interior walls that were due for replacement also. Brand new steel floor sections have been cut and are being fitted into place. Work patching the bottoms of the door posts is also in progress, and an all-new steel step well has been built and installed using the original St. Louis Car Company drawings.

This year's Trolley Pageant was larger than it has been for years, with 26 pieces of equipment participating. They were, in order of appearance: CTA 3142; CSL 1374; CSL 144; CTA 4391; IT 415; CNS&M 354; CRT 1808 - CER 1754; CTA 4290 - CTA 4412; CTA 41 - CTA 6656/6655; IRR 65; CA&E 309; CA&E 431; CNS&M 714 - CNS&M 160; CNS&M 251 - CNS&M 757; WEPCO L7; CSRL&P 14; IT 1565; TMER&T D13; CNS&M 229; and CNS&M 604. [Cars joined by a hyphen were trained together.]

Unusual equipment displayed this year included CTA streetcar 3142, which is undergoing major restorative work; Chicago Surface Lines 144; North Shore streetcar 354; IRM's pair of operating wooden rapid transit cars, Chicago Rapid Transit 1808 and Chicago Elevated Railways 1754; Indiana Railroad 65, the first car owned by IRM; CA&E 431, which is undergoing restoration work; Wisconsin Electric Power L7, a steeplecab locomotive which was built by the Milwaukee Electric; Illinois Terminal 1565, a Class B boxcab locomotive; Milwaukee Electric D13, IRM's dump motor; and North Shore 229, now the only operating freight motor to proverbially show the North Shore Line flag.

Saturday, September 16th was Members' Day, and this year saw a number of cars operate which are rarely in service. Among them was Milwaukee Electric Railway & Transport D13, a Differential dump motor, which consists of a small cab at each end and a large hopper in between. Despite the fact that the car has no seats, a little ingenuity allowed it to carry small loads of IRM members. The passengers had to sit in the dump section, and hope that Motorman George Clark was in a good enough mood not to dump them over onto the right-of-way!

North Shore Line box motor 229 ran a trip carrying a load of passengers in the small cabs, and CTA "Single cars" 30 and 41 operated. Locomotives didn't miss out--Cornwall Street Railway 14, a Baldwin-Westinghouse type B-1 steeplecab, pulled a hefty 10-car freight train over the line.

Another unusual car was Chicago, Aurora & Elgin 309, which also ran at night complete with kerosene-fueled marker lanterns. Other cars operating at night included a two-car train of CTA single 6000's, a two-car train of CTA 4000's (4290 and 4412), a two-car train of North Shore cars (160 and 714), and rarely seen Wisconsin Electric Power steeplecab L7, which showed off its hood-mounted bell and barrel headlight. Overall, it was an extremely impressive event.

From the Rail & Wire Issue 185, September 2000

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