Illinois Railway Museum Home Page
 BLOG | DIRECTIONS | SCHEDULE | STORE |
     
 
Rail and Wire - Official Publication of the IRM

Issue 152, March 1995

PDF Download (2.68 Mb)


Burlington Power - Old and New
Part 1, Burlington Northern Donates U30C by John Howell
Part 2, Burlington Route 637 by John Humiston

Pullman Historical Notes, Part 2
The Streamline Cars by Jim Becker and Roger Kramer

Electric Car Department Report by Bob Kutella

Rail & Wire is issued as a benifit of the membership in the Illinois Railway Museum, a not for profit, educational organization. Membership information and application forms are available here.


IRM's Latest Diesel

Burlington Northern Donates U30C

by John Howell

A highlight of the 1994 Member's Weekend was
the official acceptance of U30C type diesel 
locomotive 5383 which was donated to IRM by the
Burlington Northern Railroad. Making the presen-
tation were Jim Schwinkendorf and Wayne Hatton.
Accepting for the Museum were Jim Johnson and 
Dave Dote.            Photo by John Howell

On Saturday September 24, 1994, the first day of Members' Weekend 1994, recently retired Wayne Hatton, former vice president of transportation at Burlington Northern, and Jim Schwinkendorf, contract administrator at BN, officially presented the papers transferring ownership of BN 5383, a U30C type diesel locomotive, to the Museum. On hand on behalf of the Museum to receive the papers were president Jim Johnson and assistant internal combustion department officer Dave Dote. Wayne Hatton took the opportunity to describe how 5383 came to be donated to the Museum and wished the Museum well with their new acquisition.

The 5383 pulled a 13-car demonstration freight train on Saturday on a main line trip from Schmidt Siding to Kishwaukee Grove, thrilling those watching from the station platforms. On Sunday, September 25th, 5383 teamed up with former roster mate SD-24 6244 for several runs with one of the heavyweight passenger trains in operation that day, as well as a second run with the demonstration freight train. Although 6244 was not operating, the sight of both 5383 and 6244, resplendent in their Cascade green and black color scheme, double-heading down the mainline was an excellent recreation of 1970's mainline railroading in the Midwest.

U30C 5383 and SD-24 6244 team up on a short freight train during
Member's Weekend 1994. The versatility of the diesel locomotive is
demonstrated by the ability for locomotives by different manufacturers
to operate together in multiple unit through the standardization of
control interfaces. General Electric built the 5383 and General Motors
Electro-Motive Division built the 6244.         Photo by John Howell

The 5383 was built in November of 1974, at General Electric's Erie, Pennsylvania shops. Weighing in at 410,000 pounds, the 67 foot 3 inch, 3000 horsepower locomotive was ideally suited for moving heavily loaded coal trains out of the Powder River Basin in eastern Wyoming, where 5383 spent most of its service life. The BN was the largest operator of the U30C, having 181 units on its roster at one time. The 1974 order BN placed was for fifty units, numbered in the 5365-5394, 5824-5833, and 5929-5938 series. BN ordered an additional thirty units the following year but began to purchase the C30-7 model, the U30C replacement, in 1976.

The U30C was introduced in 1966 as an upgrade of the U28C model which had a production span of only ten months. While the carbody went through a series of evolutionary changes, all of the U30C models utilized GE's 7FDL-16E6 engine, the GTA-II alternator, and GE's model 752 traction motor. The first four units of BN' s fleet were acquired in 1968 by Chicago, Burlington & Quincy subsidiary Colorado & Southern. When GE introduced the higher horsepower U33C and U36C models in 1970, production of the U30C model waned. However, in 1972, BN, looking for the best combination of horsepower, tractive effort, fuel economy, and lugging ability for their newly developing Powder River Basin coal business, selected the U30C model and purchased 65 units that year.

Numbered 5300-5334, the first group of 35 units had 6 units (5300-5305) equipped as radio control master units and 12 units (5353-5364) equipped as slave units. Later that year, BN placed a second order for 30 units, 5335-5364. Shortly after delivery of the first group of units, BN decided to renumber master units into the 5800-series and slave units to the 5900-series. All of the units by 1973 had been assigned to Lincoln Nebraska for maintenance; 30 additional units joined the roster that year.

Demand for Powder River Basin coal continued in 1974, spurred by the extraordinary increase in crude oil costs resulting from the oil embargo that year. BN ordered fifty additional units of the 102 built, assigning the numbers 5929-5938, 5821-5833, and 5365-5394 to the newly acquired units. Our unit, 5383, was among the last to arrive on the property having been built in November 1974. BN's last order for the U30C model was placed in 1975 and totaled thirty units. These units were also numbered into the 5300 series, replacing other U30C units which had been renumbered into the 5800 and 5900 series as radio control slave and master units. Production of the model ended in October 1976, after some 596 U30C units had been constructed.

Along with many of EMD' s popular SD40-2 model, BN's fleet of U30Cs spent much of their life in coal service, lugging heavily loaded trains out of the Powder River Basin in hot summers and cold winters. While maintenance was transferred to the newly upgraded Alliance, Nebraska shops, this demanding service took its toll and many of the series were retired upon expiration of their leases.

First to go, in 1986, were the four ex C&S units. In 1987,27 units were removed from the roster. In 1988 and 1989, significant numbers of the U30C fleet were retired such that, by 1990, only members of the last group of units ordered, 5365-5394, were left on the roster. In and out of storage their final years, BN's fleet of U30Cs was reduced to a mere handful by 1994.

Our unit, 5383, made its final revenue run during April 1994. IRM has obtained a copy of BN's computerized locomotive history report which details the locomotive's last days in active service. 5383 departed Interbay, Washington (BN's large locomotive servicing facility in the Seattle-Tacoma area) at 0308 on April 16. After departing Wenatche, Washington at 0900, 5383 headed east, arriving in Spokane, Washington at 1246. A little less than eight hours later, 5383 departed eastward on Montana Rail Link at 2026.

Passing through Missoula, Montana early in the morning of April 17, 5383 arrived at Laurel, Montana at 1500, where it was discovered that 5383 had a wheel slip problem. Side-lined at Laurel and bad ordered for repairs, 5383 left Laurel later that afternoon for the Alliance, Nebraska repair facility. On the journey, 5383 passed through Sheridan, Wyoming later on during the evening of the 17th and traveled through Gillette, Wyoming and Edgemont, South Dakota early in the morning of April 18, finally arriving at Alliance at 10:26 am. Repairs were promptly made and 5383 was listed as "stored serviceable" on April 23, at 0500 hours. Alas, 5383's return to active service never came and the locomotive was listed as "stored unserviceable pending retirement" on June 7, 1994.

Nick Kallas, Museum general manager, described the circumstances which led to the donation of 5383 to the Museum. In a conversation with BN officials, Nick inquired about the availability of a U30C. This model was picked due to its historical significance in that it represents the first generation of modern GE power and was the most representative six axle Universal series locomotive built entirely by GE. "As popular as this locomotive was, there are less than two dozen still in regular service in the United States," said Nick, describing the reason for IRM's request.

5383 began her journey eastward from Alliance, Nebraska to Union, Illinois, on July 6, departing eastward at 12:15 am. Passing through Ravenna, Nebraska 5383 arrived at Lincoln, Nebraska later that afternoon. Departing Lincoln the next day, 5383 arrived in Galesburg, Illinois on July 8, and after being moved to Chicago on July 9, finally arrived at Eola (just east of Aurora, Illinois) on July 10, in the early afternoon. 5383 waited patiently for the trip to her new home at Union.

5383's journey to Union was not an ordinary dead-in-tow movement for the decision had been made to move 5383 behind E-5 9911A on the Nebraska Zephyr's return trip from the Mendota Sweet Corn Festival on August 15. Because of the lack of turning facilities at Mendota, 9911A and the Zephyr trainset were hauled backwards from Mendota, departing at 8:00am. Upon arrival at Eola and the subsequent arrival to Eola of the needed switching crew, 9911A was cut off from her train and moved through the yard and engine service facility to where 5383 had been stored. After a slight delay due to the difficulty of MU'ing the brake systems of 5383 and 9911A, the E-5 moved the U30C back to the Nebraska Zephyr train set and coupled on. 5383 was finally ready to begin the last segment of her journey to her new home.

Making the sharp turn to the north after passing through the suburban train coach yard, 9911 A and 5383 headed up the Fox River valley to West Chicago for interchange to the Chicago & North Western. After a change of crews, 9911A and 5383 were backed across the C&NW-EJ&E crossing and then headed up the west leg of the wye at West Chicago for the final portion of the journey on C&NW's Belvidere Sub to Union where the train arrived at about 4:00 pm. IRM volunteers immediately began to inspect the new acquisition and fired up the 7FDL engine later that evening. Actual operation of the locomotive needed to wait until an pre-service inspection was made. That inspection, which had been scheduled to be made at Alliance on May 3, (but never done), is an important part of diesel locomotive maintenance and safety. As a result, on August 20th, a team of volunteers lead by Dave Dote inspected 5383, checking brakes, trucks, motors, lights, oil and water levels, electrical equipment, and cleaning filter elements (what else?). The team of volunteers included Dan Currens, Jeff Delhaye, Jim Jones, Jamie Kolanowski, Dave Karcher, Harold Krewer, Ted Raye, Laddie Vitek, Mike Sweers, Arnold Horn, and John Howell.

Inspection of 5383 showed no major mechanical defects except for thin wheels and discharged batteries. That former problem could become a major issue later on as repairs to replace one or more wheel sets would be costly. Given that situation, 5383 is likely to be operated only on special occasions so that wheel life can be extended to the maximum extent possible.

The Museum is indeed grateful to the Burlington Northern for their generosity in donating 5383. With few locomotives of its class left, 5383 may soon be the only operating example of General Electric's U30C model and certainly the only one in North America which can be found hauling passengers.

5383, while one of the most modern locomotives in the Illinois Railway Museum collection, is still in need of your financial support as repairs to replace batteries and wheel sets begin to be planned. Please consider making a special contribution to the 5383 restricted fund so that this locomotive, a fine example of modern diesel locomotive technology, can continue to be in service at the Museum for many years to come.

Note: The author wishes to thank the staff of Diesel Era, for their article in Volume 5. No. 2, pp. 6-22, 38-45, March/April, 1994, which provided much of the history of The U30C and the chronology of the many years of service these locomotives provided to the Burlington Northern.


A Gem in the Collection

Burlington Route 637

by John Humiston

On stage in the pageant at the Chicago Railroad Fair, CB&Q engine
no. 637 lettered for the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad in Nebraska
cast its silhouette on the stage back drop in the late afternoon sun on
Saturday, August 7, 1948.  It was shown as a mixed train serving the
prairie towns of Nebraska.  Museum class rolling stock had been rounded
up for the occasion, and the Burlington Route emblem had been liberally
applied.  The engineer had the cab as opened up as possible account the
August weather.  The man on the ground and the legs hanging from the
baggage door were part of the action in the pageant.
                               Photos and captions by John Humiston

Mile Post 10 on the Chicago and Aurora Divisions of the Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Railroad was only about 300 feet from the backyard of my boyhood home in Berwyn, Illinois. The suburban station at Harlem Avenue was about 500 feet distant. I had a ringside seat at what for me was "The Greatest Show on Earth."

It was not long after my arrival in 1913 that I started cashing in on my good for tune. The commuter trains in those days were handled by the class K ten-wheel type engines numbered in a 600 series and had cars which I believe were of wooden construction that had open platforms. Gates about three feet high could be swung across the platforms and were used to prevent passengers from getting off on the side opposite the stations. In fact the last of the steel cars used before the double deckers originally had the open platforms.

The class K-2 was apparently the predominant suburban service engine at that time with possibly some of the Class K- I. There is a photograph in Corbin and Kerka's book, Steam Locomotives of the Burlington, of five K-2 engines with their trains in the Downers Grove Yard ready for the morning rush hour circa 1910.

On the class K-2 the locomotive boiler extended through the cab so that the backhead and fire door were flush with the rear of the cab. The engineer's position was a narrow one between the boiler and the cab side. While the fireman had a place on the left side of the cab, he did his work of firing standing in the front of the tender. A gate similar to the ones on the coach platforms was used to close the gangway and prevent his falling off. Between firings he frequently sat on the gate on warm days to enjoy the passing breeze. It looked like a fun Job.

Watching the engine as the passengers boarded the train at the station, the engineer could be seen pushing his reverse lever forward on its quadrant, then at the conductor's "All aboard" he tugged on the throttle and with some loud puffs away they went. Watching from trackside perhaps two hundred feet farther along, he could be seen tugging the reverse lever back toward center and the engine changed its puffing to a more quiet tone.

Harlem Avenue was a great place as the Chicago & West Town's street railway went to single track and crossed the three-track Burlington at grade, the crossing being controlled by a manual interlocking from a tower in the northwest quadrant of the crossing. Derails and lower quadrant semaphore signals operated with bell cranks and rods were provided in both directions on each track. Westbound freight trains opened their throttles wide as their caboose cleared the yard throat at LaVergne Tower a mile to the east. The thunder of the exhausting steam was accompanied by noticeable acceleration. It was all quite exciting.

Eventually the class K-2 were superseded by the larger class S-l, S-la, S-2, and S-2a Pacific type locomotives as well as an occasianal class P Atlantic as they were displaced in main line service by newer and heavier power such as the class B-l and B-la Mountain type of 1922 to 1925 and the class S-4 Hudson type that came in 1930. In fact in the final days of steam, even the class S-4 could be seen on suburban trains.

Class K-2 engines numbers 630-654 were built in 1892 and 1893 by the Rogers Locomotive Works of Paterson, New Jersey for the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad in Nebraska and were originally numbered 302-326. With the consolidation of the Burlington System in 1904, they received their 600 series numbers. Their specifications were:
Wheel arrangement: 4-6-0
Cylinders: 19" x 24"
Drivers: 64"
Steam pressure: 180 psi
Tractive effort: 20,700 Ibs.
Weight on drivers: 100,700 Ibs.
Total weight: 128,500 Ibs.

By the time I became a Burlington commuter in 1931, the class K had disappeared from the suburban service. As the class K were phased out in suburban service, retirement dates indicate that many were scrapped while a few were placed in branch line service. The June 1935, assignment sheet lists only class K-2 nos. 630, 646, and 666 and class K-10 nos. 953 and 956 on the Chicago Division and in their photos at that time they are spotted in freight yards or fitted with footboards indicating switching service. Our locomotive no. 637 was photographed by Bernard Corbin on the turntable at Red Oak, lowa, in 1936 at which time she had a different headlight, a straight stack, the bell between the stack and the sand dome, and apparently still carried the base for the suburban train lighting generator between the domes. The last K-l disappeared from the roster in 1937, but seven K-2s were still on the roster in 1948. After I obtained my first good camera in 1936, occasionally a class K could be seen at the Clyde Engine Terminal in Cicero, Illinois which was the headquarters for freight and switching power.

Ralph Budd, one of the outstanding railway engineers of all time, was President of the Burlington from January 1, 1932, until August 21, 1949. His administration was a progressive one highlighted by the coming of the Zephyrs, the first Vista Dome cars, and diesel-electric locomotives. By getting the Rio Grande to build the Dotsero Cutoff, he quadrupled the Burlington's transcontinental freight traffic on the Denver line. He was also aware of the Burlington's place in history, and placed Richard C. Overton, a talented professional historian on his staff. Overton's history, Burlington Route, was published by Knopf in 1965.

Budd was also a showman. Perhaps the best example of this was the "Dawn to Dusk Zephyr" trip on May 26,1934. Announced in advance so that everyone would be watching, the Pioneer Zephyr left Denver at sun rise, raced non-stop to Chicago, took the St. Charles Air Line to the Il linois Central on the lakefront, and rolled across the stage that evening in the grand finale of the "Wings of A Century" pageant at the Century of Progress World's Fair. The timing was perfect. Throngs lined both sides of the tracks as the Zephyr shot through Riverside and Berwyn.

Quoting Overton, "When a group of Chicago businessmen gathered to plan some sort of a lake front fair in 1948, Budd found himself at the first meeting and pounced upon the suggestion that it be made a railroad celebration centering around a historical pageant. As a member of the committee in charge he devoted long hours to planning and building the Railroad Fair. The two-year show (held over by popular demand) not only introduced several million people to modern railroading, but was successful financially."

The historical pageant at The Chicago Railroad Fair of 1948-49 covered transportation from horses and carts to streamlined trains and required a variety of equipment. CB&Q engine 637, Rogers no. 4788 in November 1892, originally B&MR no.309, was chosen from among the company's older engines and restored to perhaps earlier than its own days to provide a sequence in travel on the Nebraska prairies. Brass strapping was added to its boiler sheathing, a wood burner smoke stack was installed, and a primitive wooden cowcatcher and link-and-pin front coupler replaced the regular items. Lettered for the B&MR, but carrying its CB&Q number 637, chugged across the stage pulling a truss-rodded wooden box car and an ancient combination car. Not noted by the pageant's spectators, the latter was placarded "Handle on rear of train only."

The 1935 assignment sheet showed 637 working on the Ottumwa Division and apparently it was returned to Iowa after its stage experience for in 1956 it handled an lowa Chapter NRHS excursion pulling three 6100 series coaches from Ottumwa to Indianola and back. The 1961 sheet showed it assigned to the Creston Division.

Thus CB&Q 637 survived on the steam roster long into the diesel era. Harry C. Murphy, with already 35 years of Burlington service, succeeded Budd in the presidency in 1949 and continued the Budd traditions. It was he who authorized the publication of the completed Overton history. The Burlington had long offered their surplus engines for sale or donated them for public display, a practice that has benefited groups like IRM which were not active at the time many of the engines were being retired. In June, 1963, engine no. 637 was donated to the city of Aurora, Illinois, the town where the Burlington was born, and placed in Lincoln Park at South Russell Avenue and West Lakewood Place.

By the time of Murphy's retirement in 1965, steam locomotive operation on a com pletely dieselized railroad had become difficult and costly. The low excursion fares being charged fell far short of meeting expenses, and it is doubtful if management even dreamed of ever charging the high fares we find being charged for excursions today. So when engine 4966 became due for repairs, the Burlington's steam operations ended on August 1, 1966, concluding 116 years of continuous steam operation.

CB&Q no. 637 rusted quietly in the Aurora park until the spring of 1990 when Museum members asked the city for the locomotive so that it could be properly preserved. The Aurora City Council, in June 1990, agreed to sell the locomotive to IRM for $1. In July the engine and tender were brought to Union by highway truck.

The 637 is an especially priceless addition to IRM's collection because of its long association with one of the great railways of our territory and that November 1994, marked its 102nd birthday. It has ob viously enjoyed a lucky streak these many years, and with our donations of labor and money could be operated under steam again.

References:
1. Locomotives of the Chicago, Burlington and Ouincy Railroad, Part 1
   1904 - 1935, and Locomotives of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy
   Railroad, Part 2, 1855 - 1904, the Railway & Locomotive Historical
   Society, Inc., Boston, September, 1936, and July, 1937.
2. Steam Locomotives of the Burlington Route, by Bernard G. Corbin and
   William F. Kerka. Published by the Authors, February, 1960.
3. "Ralph Budd: Railroad Entrepreneur" by Richard C. Overton. The
   Palimpsest, Vol. 36, No. 11, November 1 955, The State Historical
   Society of lowa, lowa City, lowa.
4. The Steam Locomotive Directory of North America, Vol. 1, EasteM
   United States and Canada by J. David Conrad. Transportation Trails,
   Polo, Illinois, 1988.
5. "Burlington Route Steam Locomotives 637 and 4963 Arrive" by Dan
   Paulissen. Rail & Wire No. 135, May 1991, Illinois Railway Museum,
   Union, Illinois.

It's the day before Christmas, Friday, December 24, 1937,
and CB&Q class K-2 engine 630 was hustling an "Extra West" at
Wenonah Avenue in Berwyn, Illinois. Its two express cars were
doubtless full of last minute gifts and pouch mail for distri-
bution through the main line suburbs. This is I think the last
time I saw a class K engine working in the suburban territory.


The Lightweight Era

Pullman Historical Developments, Part 2

by Jim Becker and Roger Kramer

Our overview of the last days of the Pullman sleeper era began in the previous issue with a discussion of the Glen Alta.
The large and financially secure railroads were not content to reequip their top trains just once. In the period from 1951 to 1956 many roads plunged into the new streamlined car market once more. Some, like the Great Northern Railway, completely replaced all the cars on their premier train the Chicago to Seattle Empire Builder, in 1951. The new streamline cars replaced streamline equipment built just four years earlier in 1947. In 1955 the GN bought new dome coaches pushing the single-level coaches of 1951 onto secondary trains. The GN transferred the 1947 cars to their secondary Chicago to Seattle train, the Western Star, pushing the heavyweight equipment out of service.

Massive new car purchases were not the only thing that was relegating many fine heavyweight cars to storage. In the mid to late 1950s airline travel and the automobile were driving many secondary trains into the history books. The passenger trains decline was summed up in an interview, appearing in the Winter 1994 issue of the Mainstreeter, published by the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Society. Mr. Norman M. Lorentzen, a corporate officer with the NP and later CEO of Burlington Northern Railroad, stated "Even with new equipment and faster schedules after World War II, it was not a segment of the rail operation that provided a return on the investment."

By the late 1950s, the new interstate highway system was luring more and more families away from rail travel and into their cars. Airlines likewise offered the business traveller faster travel times. The railroads were also beginning to see a shift in traffic patterns. There was now a growing need for increased coach space and decline in first class sleeping car bookings. The Budd Company not Pullman-Standard came up with an idea to help save the sleeper.

Budd's idea was called a "Slumbercoach" and was first introduced in 1956. The cars were built between 1958 and 1959 when the last slumbercoach was constructed. These cars became the last sleepers to be built in the United States, until Amtrak's Superliners in the mid-1970s. A slumbercoach was based on the same concept as the duplex roomette. The duplex roomette was first incorporated into some of the early streamline cars built by Pullman-Standard just before World War II. This space saving innovation continued to be used after the war. The duplex roomette used a series of uppers and lowers that ran along the car sides. giving the car an up-and-down window pattern. The duplex roomette was a room accommodation with its own toilet, sink, and chilled drinking water faucet. It had a door for maximum privacy and heavy zippered curtains that could be closed if the patron wanted some privacy, but also wanted more air flow. In the upper, the berth would fold down from the rear wall and occupy almost every inch of the room's space when lowered. In the lower, the berth slid out from under the floor of the upper, again occupying most the space. The floor of the upper is around two feet higher than the cars floor, necessitating a step up for the traveler to gain entry to his or her room.

The slurnbercoach uses some of same ideas, but in a smaller space. There is also a double-slumbercoach room that utilizes many of same principles as Pullman's section berths. Unlike a section, it is a room accommodation with its own sink, toilet, etcetera. In comparison most standard streamline sleepers had a revenue capacity of twenty-two people, in a slumbercoach the number that could be put up for the night totalled forty people. Both types of cars are constructed to Association of American Railroads standards for lightweight (streamline) equipment, this includes such standards as length, height, width and roof line contour.

The positive impact the slumbercoach had is best illustrated by the experience of the Northern Pacific Railway. NP had originally purchased slumbercoaches to form a pool with Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy, who also purchased them. NP had purchased four Slumbercoaches for their premier train the North Coast Limited and CB&Q picked up two for their Denver Zephyr. The cars were identical, except the Burlington cars which had full-side skirting. Since CB&Q operated NP' s through passenger trains between St. Paul, Minnesota and Chicago, the idea was to be able to place either a CB&Q or NP-owned slumbercoach on either the North Coast Limited or Denver Zephyr. The North Coast Limited needed five sets of equipment to cover its schedule, the Denver Zephyr needed two sets to cover its schedule. It doesn't take much to see that you have seven sets of equipment and only six cars.

The plan was that since both trains had different arrival and departure times, with some fast servicing in Chicago, the two railroads could get by with only six cars. The reason for this rather frugal arrangement was purely dollars and cents. By December 1959 the cost of new cars com pared to the revenue the train generated, was simply a money losing proposition. However, most railroads still believed that their top passenger train was their best rolling public relation tool. They continued to operate the trains with pride, even though the passenger train's future was darkening with each passing year.

For the NP the slumbercoach quickly became one of the North Coast Limited's hottest tickets. Initially the cars were placed in the coach section of the train, later the cars were placed behind the diner in the first class sleeper section. The reason for placing the slumbercoach in the coach section was the way slumbercoach space was sold. The idea of the slumbercoach was to sell the accommodation at coach fare plus a small additional charge. This was still considerably less than the first class fares charged in regular Pullman Company operated sleepers, even though staffing and operation of the slumbercoaches was still contracted to the Pullman Company.

The pool arrangement with the Burlington lasted-for only about four years. At that time NP had been able to acquire an additional eight slumbercoaches form other railroads that had terminated sleeper or passenger service. The new batch of cars allowed the NP to place slumbercoaches not only on the North Coast Limited, but also on their secondary Chicago to Seattle train, the Mainstreeter. The slumbercoach served an important role in the passenger service during this period, providing an intermediate form of accommodation between first class and coach.

It is interesting to note that when Amtrak assumed control of most passenger trains in the United States, the Burlington Northern Railroad, which inherited the cars from two of its predecessors the Burlington and Northern Pacific, owned almost all the slumbercoaches that were built. Today, Amtrak owns and still operates all the slumbercoaches on its eastern trains due to tunnel restrictions which prohibit the use of the Superliners. Space on the slumbercoach is still a very hot ticket, even on Amtrak.

The slumbercoach was a good idea, for the period. But some of the large western railroads with the financial resources to purchase the cars, could not either justify the expenditure or more likely didn't care for the cars design.

As the demand for first class sleeping accommodations diminished, other on board services offered passengers were also trimmed, manly due to skyrocketing crew costs. Lounge, parlor and dining cars were beginning to be removed from the secondary trains. A lounge car, or a car with a lounge section though a nice luxury for passengers, is considered non-revenue seating since it can not be sold. The seating in a diner is a prime example of non-revenue space.

In early 1960, the Dover Strait, a heavyweight six double bedroom-buffet-lounge, owned by the new Pullman Company, was withdrawn from service. The Dover Strait was still a well kept car, but had revenue capacity of only twelve people. With the general decline in ridership the New York Central who had been leasing the car from Pullman had enough streamline cars to cover for the Dover series. Another factor in the removal of the Dover series was that their interior appointments were very dated by this time.

In an effort to reduce expenses dining cars which were very labor intensive began to be removed from certain trains. During the 1 960s, the Burlington Route (CB&Q) in an effort to reduce the crew size on the Nebraska Zephyr closed the kitchen and installed vending machines in the dining area. Because the Nebraska Zephyr is an articulated trainset this is the only reason the dining car was not removed from the train and another car substituted.

By the mid-1960s the railroads were beginning to pay very little attention to the look of even their premier trains. Large western railroads like the Union Pacific and Santa Fe had long since dropped the tail car from their top trains. Northern Pacific no longer operated their sleeper-observation cars through to Chicago. Instead they elected to add and drop the car in St. Paul. In fact, by the this time, finding a classic streamline tear-drop shaped observation tail car in daily operation was a rarity. When the famous California Zephyr drifted into the pages of history in 1970, it was one of the few trains to retain its observation car until its final run.

The employment outlook for even some streamline sleepers by the early 1960s was becoming bleak. The Museum's former CB&Q 481 and its two sister cars numbers 480 and 482 had become surplus in 1963 with the discontinuance of the through sleeper to Chicago on the joint Burlington (CB&Q)-Northern Pacific train the Mainstreeter. Except for occasional use on the North Coast Limited and other Burlington overnight trains, these cars went unused. For this reason it is rather unbelievable that the heavyweight Glen series continued to be retained in Pullman lease when many streamline sleepers which were over twenty years younger were being stored.

In the late 1960s the United States Postal Service cancelled the mail hauling contracts with the railroads. Many trains owed their existence to the moving of mail. The end of mail caused a mass abandonment of many of the nation's passenger trains. The Glen series sleepers were finally withdrawn and put in storage around this time joining the hordes of streamline equipment now deemed surplus and awaiting their disposition.

In the mid to late 1960s the storage lines at Pullman began to fill with sleepers that no longer were needed or offered the accommoda tion the American traveler wanted. Some railroads such as the Union Pacific in an effort to bolster their sagging sleeper service, sent their twelve roomette, four double-bedroom Western series sleepers back to their builder, American Car & Foundry (ACF), to be rebuilt. Emerging in mid- 1965 as eleven double-bedroom cars and renamed in the Sun series, UP was one to the few railroads to make a attempt to draw patrons back to the rails. The railroads made other changes to try to cut the expenses on their passenger trains besides reducing service. In the 1960s many railroads began to combine trains that operated between common points. The Burlington Route (CB&Q), combined their Afternoon Zephyr with the Great Northern's Empire Builder and the Northern Pacific's North Coast Limited between Chicago and St. Paul. The Union Pacific and Milwaukee Road combined the City of Portland, City of San Francisco and City of Los Angeles between Chicago and Omaha, causing many people to nickname the train the City of Everywhere. Even the Santa Fe combined the prestigious all-Pullman Super Chief with the all-coach El Capitan between Chicago and Los Angeles.

In January 1969, the new Pullman Company ceased operations. Its remaining employees and assets were dispersed to the few railroads who were still offering sleeper service. By this date, the company had been losing money for many years. After this date, some roads began to remove the name "Pullman" from their cars, others left the name on almost as a tribute. The Pullman name will always be synonymous with railway sleeping car service and construction. As long as IRM and other museums like her preserve cars such as the Glen Alta, Dover Strait, Villa Falls, Floyd River, Inglehome and CB&Q 481, future generations may be able to interpret the Pullman legacy for safety and comfort.


A Stroll Down Electric Avenue

Electric Car Department Report

by Bob Kutella

As we went into the cold months of the winter of 1994-95, outdoor, unprotected work may have slowed down, but not the enthusiasm or activities of our working members. Since the last report, here are some of the happenings.

FORT WAYNE & WABASH VALLEY 504
Watching the FtW&WV 504 project move along is a tutorial in interurban car design and construction. The left side of the 504 has been a focus of a lot of the activity as the detailing moves ahead following the application of new siding. They say the layered look is in and this car couldn't provide a better example.

There is almost no end to the many parts that must be fabricated, fitted, and installed. The basic structure begins with the side or window posts. Then a layer of sheathing; ash for trusses, poplar for sub-siding, and yellow pine for nailers. Grooved poplar siding is on the outside. New window sills have been fabricated and a full set of beautiful arched elliptical upper sash windows have been produced, stained, and finished with three coats of tung oil varnish.

Continuing with the "layers," the window posts get hardwood angled jams cov ered with poplar battens, while the upper sash get trimmed with Glen Guerra's "pork chops;" these are curved and grooved pieces of poplar which in turn are covered along the edges with battens. The top edges of these are now lapped by the new letterboard; then new tack molding will go on top of that. And there is an elliptical batten milled with a custom ground router bit. All these layers of structural and trim are just on the exterior of the car!

When you consider the size of the car, even one relatively simple item must be produced 20 or 30 at a time. So, by the middle of November there have literally been several hundred new pieces of woodwork made from scratch and installed, perhaps well over a thousand. As this is written, well in advance of when you get to read it, the 504 is definitely looking less and less like a skeleton, and is taking on the graceful lines of the classic wood interurban that it once was. The interurban car was in very good shape before winter closed in. The front end showed good progress, and the right side is probably 90% done. Of course at this point the car is still just a body and is supported on car stands. Which brings us to the next items.

Behind the scenes, a lot of mechanical and related projects are being done, although they are a lot less visible than the spectacular woodwork on the body. A set of trucks has been located on the property but there will be a fair amount of work needed to make a swap since they are under another one of our carbody treasures. Four motors have been located on site. Although not a matched set, they are adequate to supply a total of 400 horsepower under the floor. New center bearing castings had been made and that meant new patterns and a lot of machining on the castings before installation. We are still looking for a coupler; one was found but it was not available for sale or trade.

In November the weather began to impact the work schedule and on bad days most work was done inside the shop, fabricating parts for installation later. Nevertheless, the number 2 end has been stripped to the bare knees (platform knees, that is). The end posts, sheathing, floor, doors and end bulkhead are gone. New sills and oak flooring have gone in, as well as one of the new corner posts. In this rebuilding, the car is being returned to its unusual two window end. So only one center post is needed and that has been fabricated and installed as well.

We are well along the way toward the initial goal of restoring the carbody exterior and getting it mounted on trucks. At that point it will be a worthy display but the plans don't stop there and the work will continue on the interior, mechanical, electrical and pneumatic systems to make this jewel operational.

? ? MYSTERY CAR ? ?
Yes, our intrepid acquisition team continues to locate good candidates for our collection at this late date in the century. One deal is not final but we could be getting another significant piece of Midwest heritage electric railway equipment. There are good possibilities here with the crew scrambling for parts, motors, etc. looking both on and off the property and trying to evaluate the possibilities of trades with other museum groups. A lot of activity so keep tuned for late developments.

MILWAUKEE 972
Some work slowly continues on Milwaukee streetcar 972. (This stalwart and Illinois Terminal 415 were IRM's first service cars.) Following structural repairs, Frank Sirinek and Mike Stauber have fabricated new traps (hatch covers for motor access openings inside the car). The longitudinal seats near the end platforms have been cleaned of debris and been refurbished and repaired where necessary.

CHICAGO AURORA & ELGIN 431
Jeff Obarek and crew are continuing to focus on completing the east end vestibule and motorman's cab of CA&E 431, including such details as the flag boxes. In fact, this car will surely have some of the finest flag boxes of any in the country. Yes, it's a little joke, but these fellows are going to the Nth degree and spending a lot of time to make sure things are done right.

SAND SPRINGS 68
Work on the Sand Springs 68 moved forward at a fast pace during September and October. The end flooring was completed and prime painted allowing installation of the air piping to the control stands, and setting of the pneumatic door engine. Work shifted to the shop and after several days, two new center posts were completed and ready to install.

Some of the questions which repeatedly come up on this project, as well as all the others, are "How did they ever make this part originally? "Usually it will help you make the replacement if you see or can figure out the original. But then the bigger question comes "How can we ever get it where it belongs?" That is, replacement parts frequently won't simply go right where they belong unless a significant amount of dismantling is done. The sequence of assembly was very important in manufacture of the equipment.

Other work included painting of the bulkhead, end wall panels, piping, handrails, and stanchions and installation of the motorman's seat, which had been restored about a year earlier. In November, the center posts were trimmed out and prime painted and the right post was fit for installation using a hydraulic jack to stretch the opening just slightly. New oak lumber was planed, machined and laminated tor the first of two new corner posts. The blank has been machined to profile and is now being shaped on a jig to recreate the curved surfaces.

CHICAGO AURORA & ELGIN 309
CA&E 309 is one our two "Roarin' Elgin" wood cars and the only car in the Museum built by the Hicks Car Company. The car was moved into Barn 4 for installation of a canvas roof on both of the deck or hip sections. Car foreman Randy Hicks (no relation to the Hicks car building fortune), son Frank Hicks, and the 431 crew including Jeff Obarek, John Houk, and Ben Rohling have been cleaning, stretching, and tacking furiously. With one side of the car done, the 309 was turned on the wye and work is proceeding on the other hip roof. When all the canvas is properly fitted and tacked, the several coats of paint will be applied. Canvas roof expert Frank Sirinek is acting as consultant to this project.

CHICAGO RAPID TRANSIT 4290
Bill Wulfert continues the seeming never- ending quest to restore the third rail beams on steel 'L' car 4290. Work also continues to restore the floors in the vestibule of the car. New steel panels have been fabricated and installed after removal of the old flooring system. The final step will be the concrete topping ap plied over the new steel underfloor.

PUMP SECTION CAR
Dave Diamond is about finished rebuilding the pump car; he will probably be done by the time you get to read this. This little handpumped car was used by section men and inspectors to get around the railroad before motorized speeders and high-rail trucks.

Dave is doing a very thorough job. After completely dismantling the car, rotted wood was replaced with new parts and entire car was reassembled to confirm fit and sizing of all. Then disassembled again and the wood was treated with preservative, primed, finish painted, and then assembled for the final time. All hardware and fasteners received the cleaning, priming, and painting steps as well.

CHICAGO SURFACE LINES 3142
Frank Sirinek and his band of merry men just quietly go about doing their thing and turning out large quantities of first class restoration work on CSL 3142. Right now they are charging ahead on the seat upholstery. A highway truck container body sitting on the ground east of Barn 4 has been converted to a shop annex. On a warm day last November the crew was working inside, complete with Spot and Sidney, Frank's two Jack Russell terriers.

The first steps consist of cutting sheets of rattan from the bolt of new material and then using a contact cement to line the backs with muslin. This fabric backing reinforces the rattan but also acts as a dust liner.

LAKE SHORE ELECTRIC 810
Our Lake Shore Electric freight trailer will soon be back on track, literally. George Clark, Norm Krentel, and Dan Gornstein have been back at the fabrication of the second new bolster for the car. With the return of cooler weather, it made it a little more palatable to stand in front of the forge heating rivets to yellow hot and then sliding them in and peening them over with the rivet guns. All those Barn 4 denizens will really applaud completion of this phase of the project. Not only is it a truly impressive effort, but we cannot wait for the loud rat-a-tat riveting guns to once again fall silent.

* * * LATE FLASH * * *

CINCINNATI & LAKE ERIE CAR ARRIVES
As noted above, our acquisition efforts continue and in this case they have born fruit. The Museum collection now includes American Aggregates 640, originally Cincinnati & Lake Erie 640. This is a steel express motor on Taylor Electric trucks. At American Aggregates the car was painted a dark blue and cream color, now liberally weathered with quarry dirt and rust. The AA operation did not use overhead wire so each box motor was equipped with a diesel engine, small rotary converter or generator, and fuel tank inside the freight compartment. Atter unloading on our prop erty, the car was placed over the pit in Barn 4 for inspection, and removal of the extraneous equipment began.

That's it for this report. There is still lots going on and we are happy to see a few new faces pitching in on the projects. Please try to help on the projects financially or with a visit so we can see your face, too.

Copyright © 1995, 2014, Illinois Railway Museum. All rights reserved. $Id: rw152.html,v 1.3 2010/05/15 02:30:38 jamesk Exp $