Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
The first car out was the mail car. The mail car is a small single truck car which has not had motors in it for sometime. The car has been pushed by manpower out of the barn numerous times over the years, and is often manned by the South Elgin Post Office for special events with a special RPO cancellation. Once out of the barn, it was switched to another track out of the way.
Next out was CA&E line car #11. This was a noteable event in and of itself, the line car has not been outdoors or touched by sunlight in some 25 years. Even more exciting than seeing it outside, it operated under it's own power ! The car needed to be stingered as that track of the barn is not currently powered, but it moved under it's own power via stinger to get to live overhead, and then up went the pole, and it motored without problem to the north end of the property.
The AE&FRE #5, and Johnstown #362
An hour was lost getting the car back on track, but things seemed to move smoothly after that.
The Johnstown 362 will remain outdoors until a new home can be found for it, while Fox River 304 is safe and secure within the carbarn. A lot of effort by the folks at FRTM who included Ralph Taylor, Fred Lonnes, Joe Hazinski, and Chuck Galitz, along with several others. These folks will continue to need your support to rehab the 304 (as well as CA&E 458 which should be coming soon). Contact the museum through their website http://www.foxtrolley.org/
Friday, November 27, 2009
Still needs a few finish details, and paint of course. The "lettering" is just a test sample for sizing of some custom decals I made and will print up and apply once we're done. The person this is for , his name is Allodi, hence the Allodi Electric. Numbered #34, because in lieu of any set numbering pattern, as a die hard Chicago Bears fan, what better number to use than that of the late, great Walter Payton ?
Monday, November 23, 2009
(I get back in that mode late January, but that's another post)
So, first challenge up, our local NMRA Division's monthly meets typically feature a modeling contest. The November contest was interior detailing, structure or rolling stock. Now this is something I don't normally do, model interiors. Many people will often comment on my models (especially the 1/2" scale models), wondering why they have no interiors.
It all goes back to my father's modeling when I was young. Now here was a guy that had a beautiful string of the typical Walther's heavyweight coaches, all with full interiors. Yet, after he finished showing it off upon completion, no one ever got to see enough of the interior thru the car windows to appreciate it. And picking it up, removing the roof to see,, that wasn't happening. So, I would see all the effort that went into building the car and I'd see just as much effort going into an interior.. in my mind it became a simple math question, 10 hours to build the car, 10 hours for an interior,,, or 2 cars built in the same amount of time
I have to admit as I become older and more interested in specific prototype modeling that I find myself drawn to fully completing cars and structures with interiors, although the full plunge is still a bit off. So anyways, this was a good excuse to experiment.
I had a number of odd goodies that I've collected over the years, mostly props for model photography, so I started putting them in a pile to see what I had to work with. Seemed pretty obvious pretty early on that a typical MOW/Speeder shed would be good. I had an Ozark Miniatures velocipede which would take the place of a speeder, and that was it.
The structure is all sheet styrene. "Typical" design, roughly 10x20 feet. It's in 1:24 scale, which neccessitated taking the velocipede apart, altering a few details to scale it down to size, and extending the boom arm to proper 4'-8-1/2" track gauge in 1:24.
The interior details are a mix of Ozark Miniatures detail parts, and various odds and ends, some details from other scales, other things modified, some items scratchbuilt. Single biggest challenge was the pile of dirt next to the broom,, it's a pile of black pepper dropped into a few drops of ACC, between the ACC fumes and the pepper, I thought I was literally going to die.
All in all a fun project, definitely something different, at least for me. And for the record, nope, didn't win. We had twenty members at the meeting and I beleive 10 entries, including one Z scale rendition of the famous "Nighthawks" painting. I know I wasn't in the top 3 (heck I didn't even vote myself as one of the top three!), and I don't really know or care where I fell in the 4-10 range. It was the challenge and I enjoyed it. Besides, I was going up against at least one MMR, if you don't push yourself against the best, you'll never have a shot to be the best.
That was this week,, long holiday weekend coming up,, see what we can knock out
in the next couple days !
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I especially want to acknowledge two groups of people.
First is The Metro Milwaukee Z scale group. A very nice group of folks, with some simply fascinating tiny trains. I would have to give up my beer,, no way my hands could ever be steady enough for that stuff. At some point Saturday I thought I saw one of their cars on the floor, turned out to be a piece of lint.
Tiny, Tiny, Tiny. I'm kidding of course. Nice folks and they were gracious enough a couple times to help out this one man band by baby-sitting the IoFV display while I made a quick bathroom run. Many many thanks !
Next, to all the various people that visited, and ESPECIALLY all of the various groups that were also part of the show, and people that I've know only by name/email over the internet, that were gracious and complimentary,, thank you to all, not only for your comments and appreciation, but also because your words are truly from a "jury of my peers", and your "insider" knowledge and experience made your appreciation that much more special.
I would name names, but I'm afraid to accidently forget anyone. All of you, you know where to find me, please keep in touch ! And again,, Thank you all.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Let's see,, four 1/2" scale cars, and a total of nine O scale, two sceniced O scale dioramas, lot of photos and memorabilia,, I just can't wait to pack all this S**tuff back up again,, geezus
Show starts in just 12 hours and 16 minutes, so perhaps I should get some sleep.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
The 304, was one of 7 double truck, lightweight interurban cars built by St Louis Car Company in 1923 for the Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric. The cars are unique in many ways, one of the more obvious is the arch window design, a design feature that was definitely outdated by 1923.
The cars served in Cleveland until 1950 when they were retired. Two cars, the 300 and 301 came back to the midwest in 1950 being sold to Milwaukee's Speedrail operation. They only lasted a year (not long enough to lose their Shaker Hts blue/grey paint scheme) and were scrapped in 1951. Car 305 was destroyed, but in 1954the remaining 4 cars were acquired by Gerald Brookins and formed part of the foundation for what became the Trolleyville museum.
Ultimately the economic downturn of the past couple years doomed the LSE. Cleveland, part of the so-called "Rust Belt", an area that relied heavily on steel production and the auto industry has seen hard times, harder than some of the rest of the US. Certainly no extra money (personal or government dollars) for "luxuries" like trolley museums. Facing a mounting debt and no chance for any relief in the immediate/near term future, LSE made the difficult decision to close their operations and auction off all assets, including their collection of 30 trolleys, streetcars and interurbans.
One man's mis-fortune is often another man's gain. Such is the case here in Illinois. Both FRTM and IRM (Illinois Rwy Museum) successfully bid on several Chicago area interurbans which will be returning to their home state. IRM was successful in getting a Vera Cruz Mexico single truck open car, 5 CA&E interurbans, and in late breaking news, an ex-Twin Cities Rapid Transit PCC car (More on these acquisitions in later postings as the cars are delivered, currently only the Vera Cruz car is at IRM, having arrived 11/1/09)
The demise of the LSE operation was a chance for FRTM to finally realize a long held dream, to return a Fox River car to home rails. The Fox River Trolley Museum operates the majority of it's mainline over former AE&FRE right-of-way.
FRTM 304 loaded and passing the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame/Museum, heading west back to Chicago (Photo courtesy of Steven Heister, Northern Ohio Railway Museum)
Local ABC News station Channel 7 in Chicago was on-hand when the car was off-loaded, and the emotion in the voice of lorignal ong-time FRTM member Ralph Taylor is very evident. This is a special event, many people don't realize just how rare an event it is to have a museum operation where a "home" car returns to home rails.
Of special interest is the fact that the car was unloaded using AE&FRE #5, a GE center cab diesel locomotive that was bought by the Fox River Line in 1945, long after the passenger cars were gone. This unit served the line until the early 1970's, and when the Fox River Line's freight service ultimately went away like the passenger operations, it was sold to a local quarry operation. After roughly 30 years of service there, FRTM managed to get the diesel back to home rails as well, and it was only fitting that AE&FRE 5 helped to unload AE&FRE 304.
Fox River 5 and Fox River 304 pose together,
something that was never possible until this week
While the car looks to be in relatively good shape, there is still much to be done to preserve this car and keep in in good condition for future generations. A later report will detail some of the restoration efforts. In the interim, the Fox River Trolley Museum needs our support to pay for this car, transport back to South Elgin, storage, restoration, and ongoing maintenance
You can contact FRTM directly through their website http://www.foxtrolley.org/
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Now in it's 38th year, Trainfest, billed as the largest model railroad show in the United States, typically hosts 20,000+ visitors each November over a two-day weekend.
200,000 square feet of displays, over 50 layouts of all shapes, sizes, scales, etc, over 130 manufacturers, distributors and retailers.
This year, Interurbans of The Fox Valley makes it's debut at Trainfest. I was tentatively set to do this last year, but work schedules interfered, the good news is that I was so irritated that it hardened my resolve that such a situation would NEVER occur again, so here we are.
Anyone who's seen the display this year, don't miss it this time. One of the commitments I've made to myself is that the display will continue to change and grow with every showing, and the current version is nearly double what the last public showing was. We will be occupying roughly a 10x16 square foot space and I promise to fill it.
For anyone that hasn't seen it yet, scroll through some of the other postings to get a flavor of what I'm talking about. I've combined my personal collection of memorabilia and railroadiana with models in O scale and 1/2" scale of the CA&E, AE&FRE, and several connecting lines, all telling the story of interurban service in the Fox Valley area.
Over and above the display, anyone interested in the CA&E and Fox River Line will have plenty to talk about these days with the Trolleyville cars already making their way back to Illinois.
Lots of pictures of Fox River 304 back on home rails for the first time in 74 years is one tease I will offer !
Assuming I'm reading the map correctly (A large leap of faith), our display will be roughly dead center up the middle of the display hall from where you enter, approximately 1/3 of the way in.
Trainfest is Sat and Sun, November 14, 15th, 2009
Trainfest is presented by the WISE division of the National Model Railroad Association and the Model Railroad Industry Division HMA.
Hope to see you there.