Visitors to the M.177 these days finally have something to see. The operator's (or engineer's) cab station is nearly complete, with the controller, brake stand, gauges, and throttle reinstalled. The brakes were tested and perform most satisfactorily.
As many of you know, on April 30, we lost our good friend Chell Hurdle (see Gordon's memorial below), and I think it only appropriate that I mention that it is my feeling that Chell was not just one of my good friends, but one of the best friends that M.177 ever had. Chell's last visit to Travel Town on April 13 was poignant and emotional. He and Mary Jo came down to see the things that I had been telling him on the phone, and he actually looked to be improving from his recent health problems. I put air on the car from the Baldwin, and Chell had the opportunity to operate the brakes. It is a deep personal regret that he won't be around to see the fruition of our work.
On a happier note, the painting of the car body has actually begun (that's me applying the yellow on the car front). As I write this, the roof is finished. It received a sealer coat of coal tar epoxy, which should provide decades of protection (unlike the roofing cement that the city applied to the roofs of the equipment years ago). This was finished up with a coat of gloss black polyurethane enamel, and the whole roof came out very well. By the time you read this, the painting should be nearly done. Those who cheerfully assisted with this nasty job (I hate painting!!) included Joe Barilari, Greg Brewer, Chris Gladysz, Danny Price, Charles Forsher, Thomas Seal, Scott Muir, Doug Stephens, Tom Graham, Steve DeVorkin, and Gordon Bachlund.
With the brakes functional, I felt comfortable with allowing M.177 to be used for rides the night of the annual Associate's Dinner, and the car -- pulled by the Charley Atkins locomotive -- performed admirably. At times it was standing room only.
Greg Smith is rebuilding the battery boxes and showed up at the dinner with one of the new doors. We will soon be able to put the batteries, which are presently in storage, into the repaired boxes.
Tom Johnson of Globe Bearing reports that he is having a lot of trouble with his subcontractor who is fabricating the bearing shells. After a lot of delaying and hemming and hawing and dancing around, it finally became clear that the original sub that Tom had selected to make the shells really wasn't capable of the work. He was forced to drop them from the job and find another fabricator. What this all boils down to is still more delay in the assembly of the Winton engine. As of this writing, Tom was waiting for the delivery (still!) of the bearing shells. I'm sure that everyone is just as impatient as I am. Steve DeVorkin has told me that he wants to make a "media event" out of the arrival of the engine, but so far, I still don't know precisely how soon this will be.
I have been gratified at how nearly every Saturday people trickle in, one by one, and each gets some tiny little job accomplished on M.177, and have thus assured slow, steady, measurable progress on the project. Our regular work days on M.177 are the second and fourth Saturdays of each month, but there is something going on every Saturday. I hope to see you there.
After years beset by health problems, which he never let stand in the way of his volunteer efforts for the SCSRA and the Travel Town Museum, Chell Hurdle passed away on April 30, 1996.
Chell was born in Illinois. In the 1950s he moved to Montebello, California, where he met Mary Jo Mason in 1954. They were married in 1956. He attended the University of Redlands where he became active in a campus theatrical troupe which toured nationally. In time his career path led him to the financial auditing field where he toiled for 20 years while raising two sons and becoming actively involved with the Boy Scouts of America.
I first met Chell in 1978 when we both served as volunteers at another railway museum. During that museum's struggle to overcome internal growth problems, more than a few members became discouraged to the point of leaving. Some of these folks incorporated the SCSRA in January 1984. When the SCSRA found a home at the Travel Town Museum in January 1986 and we began working on the M.177, Chell joined as Associate No. 16, followed by Mary Jo as Associate No. 17. Chell, in addition to getting his hands dirty from the first, assumed responsibility for public relations and fund raising. When a need for administrative changes was identified, Chell assumed the Presidency, quickly followed by Mary Jo as General Superintendent and soon also as Treasurer. As more hats were identified that needed filling, Chell quietly filled them since by then he was unable to work due to health reasons, and was thus able to devote the required time. Under Chell's leadership the Association grew and ! became the recipient of several generous grants from foundations and businesses totalling over $40,000.
These years of corporate growth took their toll on Chell as his many hats increasingly weighed on him. Ultimately, he resigned his administrative positions and focused himself entirely on two areas of special interest, the M.177 restoration project and research about M.177's routes and the people who interacted, as crew and passengers, with the car. In this sense, Chell was a visionary, since present day museum philosophy emphasizes the interpretive aspect, as well as the physical being of artifacts.
We began work on M.177 on the first Saturday of February, 1986, when the writer and founding President Hal Hoadley opened up the car and swept it out. Within a few months Chell had found a restoration task area that suited his physical limitations and that, quite frankly, no one else wanted to do: sandblasting. Beginning in the engine compartment, he diligently blasted his way through multiple coats of paint and primer down to bright metal, which was quickly primed to inhibit flash rust. The engine compartment took three years to complete, working with a small, easily controlled portable sandblaster. Interspersed with surface preparation on the M.177, Chell blasted parts from other equipment on an as-needed basis, and quickly earned the nickname, "the Sandman." This work continued through 1993 when he announced that he would complete the job by sandblasting the roof of the car. Bryan Reese designed and constructed a work platform that conformed to the contour of the roof,! and Chell mounted the car most every Saturday, ascending the steps of an adjacent scaffold. He completed the roof in late 1995, by which time his health was declining badly. On April 13, Chell and Mary Jo visited the car and Chell sat in the engineer's seat and operated the independent and automatic airbrakes, a foretaste o f exciting things to come. As the car body moved ever so slightly with each application and release, one could sense the spirits of crew members long gone rejoicing at the progress. Chell has now joined those spirits.
A memorial service was held on Saturday, May 4, with Mary Jo's sister, Nancy Riddle, officiating. It was good to see many SCSRA faces along with his family and many friends in the chapel. An opportunity was provided for those wishing to share anecdotes or personal remembrances, and several did so, bringing us to the realization that Chell was a much more complex and diversified person than his participation at the Travel Town Museum would suggest. A professional auditor, a died-in-the-wool train buff who "railroaded" his wife into this charming eccentricity, an actor who, in his later life, amused his children and friends with impressions and characterizations, a beloved husband, father, and grandfather, an inveterate curmudgeon, all these and so much more made up the persona of Chell Hurdle.
We of the SCSRA are grateful for the time he shared with us, ten magnificent years of struggling and achievement, of metamorphosis and growth and, of course, of maturation into what we are today, a people-oriented, proactive, and forward-looking support group on the leading edge of the renaissance of the Travel Town Museum. May we honor his memory by continuing in growth and public service.
In lieu of flowers, Chell's wife Mary Jo has requested that donations instead be made
to the M.177 restoration, c/o the SCSRA, P.O. Box 11216, Glendale, CA 91226
"Having a wonderful time. Wish you were here!" As my 16-hour production days continue, I increasingly feel like I am on the outside looking in as the Association continues growing and progressing. At least, I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sure hope it isn't the headlight of an oncoming train!
At the request of Linda Barth, we have begun scheduling a series of quarterly management meetings in order to coordinate efforts between Travel Town volunteers and the Department of Recreation and Parks. The first meeting was held on Saturday, May 18. The main purpose of these meetings is to maintain a sense of focus as we go about our various projects and to coordinate our activities into a "team effort."
Our organization was deeply saddened by the passing of Chell Hurdle, after a long battle with various heath problems. Gordon Bachlund has written a most fitting memorial to Chell (see above). I would add that I also became acquainted with Chell during my tenure as the chief instructor at another railway museum. He was a most bright and eager student, and quickly acquired both the skills and mannerisms of an archetypical rail transit operator. In an entertaining style filled with anecdotes and characterizations, Chell would explain the history and role the railroads and transit companies played in the everyday lives of people living in the first half of our century. It is perhaps with this same perspective that he undertook the prodigious effort of gathering every scrap of historical and anecdotal information pertaining to the operations of Motor Car M.177 and her siblings. Anyone who has read the astounding replies to Chell's letters of inquiry gets a real feeling of what! life was like back in those "simpler times." It is earnestly hoped that this information can be gathered and published. Chell, we will miss you!
For these reasons (and many more) I selected Chell to be the posthumous recipient of this year's Clarence Ridenour award. My only regret is that I could not be at the Annual Dinner in June to personally present the award to Mary Jo.
Speaking of M.177, work has progressed to the point where the old girl can occasionally come "on stage" and take a bow. Now, THAT'S progress!
As for me, I hope that I can soon come "out of retirement" (as my former boss used to put it) and actually make it to Travel Town!
"It is possible that we are coming to the end of this project," Chell mused in what was to be his last Prairie Echoes article. While editing the last Headlight, I had an eerie feeling about this opening of his 13th installment. And his closing lines, "It is sad to note in passing that fewer and fewer of the people who worked, rode on, or were in some other way served by M.177, are still with us. Preservation of this important segment, which is an integral part of the restoration of this car, is largely going to be left to folks like us."
Chell always used the "royal we" in his articles, and I used to wonder why he did that, when so much of what he garnered was by his own very persistent efforts. As I am now bringing together this issue and read his words again (the way publishing is these days, you load up the last issue on the computer and fill in the new articles as you delete the old), I felt it important to bring them to everyone's attention one last time, since they underline something we need to remember and appreciate. Folks like us are now left to continue on with the restoration of this car, which is more than a fun project or daunting challenge: we are restoring a past that was much beloved by many people, and we all know who these people are, because of Chell's research.
I have wonderful memories of my childhood and adolescence in Pennsylvania and of the physical markers of that past which are now gone. I can appreciate how the people we have read about in Prairie Echoes have been truly touched by discovering that a group such as ours is making their past live again, to be enjoyed and treasured again by future generations. It makes me proud to be a part of such a worthwhile effort.
Chell's wife Mary Jo is now taking over the work that Chell began. I think I speak for all of us, Mary Jo, when I say that while we mourn Chell's passing, we admire and celebrate his achievement in making the M.177's past as real as our own, in fact, a part of our own. And it's a past that we alone can make live again.
I was asked to take over the duties of the Public Relations Manager in May, and I am very happy to serve the SCSRA in this capacity.
In the beginning of the year we had some PR success through one of our associate's dogged persistence. Doug Stephens repeatedly contacted the local media and finally got KABC news to cover our activities here at Travel Town by playing up the angle of "Boys getting to play with Full-Sized Trains." This got us some very valuable time during the afternoon news and was also, I think, the reason the KABC cameras showed up at our February operations.
I also had some success getting the local newspapers to list our monthly caboose operations. The Los Angeles Times covered us in their prestigious "54 hours" section, and we were listed in the community listings of the Daily News. I also contact the Pasadena Star News and the Glendale paper, but I haven't had any reports back. Anybody read those papers?
Getting the Word Out Department -- If you can get to the Internet, please check out the SCSRA webpage. This is a terrific public relations tool. I cannot take any credit for this fantastic piece of work, my various hats go off to Kevin Tam for creating and maintaining an award-winning World Wide Web page, as well as to Greg Ramsey, Joe Barilari, and Dale Brown for their assistance to Kevin. Joe got us the donated server space from IntertainNet, and paid for the domain name "scsra.org." I hope Kevin will grace these pages with his report about the activity at the website. And now you can even join the SCSRA through cyberspace -- Kevin has a section for feedback and can receive names and addresses via E-mail to send out associate applications. And finally, this Headlight will join three others already available on line, thanks to Sue Kientz, who E-mails the final version to K! evin even before we have the printed version back from Minuteman Press (who are also credited in the electronic version for their donation of the paper version). This means that we are literally available to the world now! In fact, you 'Net surfers out there, type in "Scenic Railway" in your favorite WWW search engine, and you'll find the SCSRA appears as the third choice available!
Future Plans Department -- I've talked informally to Greg Gneier about helping build a kiosk that will advertise both SCSRA and ASRA activities on our various Saturday workdays. This kiosk will be placed at the entrance to Travel Town to inform the general public as to our activities that day.
The M.177 Winton Engine should be done sometime before the end of the year (as per Bryan Reese). I hope to celebrate this by either setting up a press event (small), or making it a gala fund-raising dinner (big) hosted by some well-known celebrity and getting a lot of press coverage (not to mention donations). This would also be the plan when we start work past the gates to the Zoo. Everything we do here at Travel Town should be used to make the public aware of what we are accomplishing. Please let me know what is going on that I might be able to let the whole world know. We need to keep our activities in the public eye and hopefully get the attention of the city officials who need to understand we are doing great things here at Travel Town.
I also need to talk to the Operating Department about the possibility of doing operations during the year for school groups. We could make Travel Town an interesting stop for area school children as a field trip destination for tours and a ride in the cabeese.
Well, that's it for now. Keep those eyes and ears open for opportunities to get the word out!
The Great Cleanup Ends --The old airplane ring, bereft of its curb, was bladed flat. Now the trick will be to keep it clear of immoveable equipment, since it remains, in part, the site of a coming maintenance facility. Soda can collection boxes were placed at many locations within the yard to discourage littering the area with used soda cans. The "A" frame was moved to a back corner, and other items were rearranged to reduce impediments to mobility. Track construction materials were re-stacked to eliminate tripping hazards alongside the connecting track. Hearty thanks are due to Dan Price, Bruce Henrie, Jesse Navarro, Thomas Seal, Scott Muir, and especially to Charles Forsher, the very dedicated and industrious fellow who organized most phases of the cleanup, and who collects soda cans from the aforementioned collection boxes. As for those who continue to litter, there's a plan afoot to adopt a very hungry Rottweiler...
Cabeese -- Both way cars had their brake cylinders cleaned and lubed and packing cups replaced, which improved the brakes' performance noticeably, and the AT&SF 999110 received some replacement composition shoes. We are grateful to Tom Graham for becoming interested in airbrake matters and taking the initiative to get up to speed. Next on the hit list are a leaking conductor's valve and a leaking angle cock. The center aisle linoleum in the 999100 was slated to be replaced with a new runner using surplus linoleum from the M.177. The removal of the tattered old linoleum required the application of heat to defeat the tenacious mastic adhesive. Removal was completed by Thomas Seal and his father, as well as Bruce Henrie, Pat Pendergest, and Scott Muir, and Tom Graham cut the replacement material to the required width, so it now awaits installation. Finally, the longdrooping "A" end coupler was replaced with a better one with considerably fewer miles on it. In this hea! vy met al endeavor, Tom Graham was assisted by Thomas Seal and Dan Price.
Buildings and Equipment -- With the recent relocation of the M.177 and the Hunters Point, the wooden access stairs needed to be relocated and reinstalled. Relocation is complete, and reinstallation is anticipated soon. Anyone care to help Tom Graham on this project? Meanwhile, to prepare for a special operations evening for our neighbors at LALS on May 26, temporary wooden platforms were installed at the east end of the connecting track to afford easy boarding of the cabooses. These will remain in place for the convenience of operating crews. The project manager for this task was Dan Price, who was assisted by Charles Forsher, Chris Gladysz, Greg Brewer, Doug Stephens, and the writer. In addition to the platforms, ballast was placed and graded to afford a safe walkway from the east connecting track gate to the platforms. Finally, Ed Sikora and Tom Graham installed innards in the block signal at the end of track so that it showed an illuminated red aspect during the! LALS operations and the Annual Dinner. We are contemplating keeping it lit, like a little votive candle, until one day it can display an amber aspect when the miniature train crossing is completed and eastward track construction is underway.
M/W News -A planning meeting with the City was held on June 29, 1996, with Ed Sikora, Jeff Pippenger, and Tom Graham attending for the Association. A memo of understanding was prepared documenting the discussions. In summary, they include
The wig-wag will be wired to activate automatically on operating days, and as a demonstration piece with an interpretive sign and push-button that will enable the public to activate it on other days. The semaphores will interlock the switch from Track 5 to the Connecting Track and the crossing gates, providing a w! orking interpretive display on operating days.
We are grateful to Charles Forsher, Tom Graham, Brian Moore, Jeff Pippenger, Dan Price, and Ed Sikora for keeping things moving, and to Joe Barilari for leading the charge.
From the World of Steam -- Work continued on the SP 0-6-0 No. 1273 and is now complete with the exception of a couple of tender truck journal bearings. Expect to see her roll, tethered to a large yellow articulated loader quite soon. With the completion of No. 1273, Al and his immaculately attired assistants will have lubed every locomotive residing on Track 7 East, an impressive record! And, with the mobility of these locomotives assured, they may now be repositioned when required to enable the rebuilding of Track 7 East.
Miscellenea -- Tony Comundoiwilla, the museum's master of maintenance and repairs, installed a beautiful steel fence with gates along the north and south sides of the Track 5 boarding area used during our monthly operations. On April 14 we used this arrangement for the first time, boarding the cabeese from the south side and exiting on the north side, thereby avoid queues of waiting passengers interfering with access to the "party cars." Operationally, this arrangement works very well, and aesthetically it represents a whopping improvement over our previous stanchions and ropes, and it is better in that it deters inquisitive little persons from tresspassing trackward. Tony also installed similar fencing from the crossing gate mast around the museum operating hours sign and thence back to the snack bar building. All of this enhances the safety of our operations and we are very grateful to Tony and to Linda for facilitating the financing and scheduling of t! he wor k.
Parts Department -- A fresh supply of gladhand gaskets and some needed brake cylinder packing cups were added to inventory, paid for by the Association, and the City provided a five-gallon pail of AAR spec brake cylinder lubricant. Happy recipients include the M.177 and the cabeese. Thanks, Linda.
Saturday, June 1st, dawned bright and warm. In the restoration yard volunteers were working feverishly to apply the final black topcoat to the roof of the M.177, whi1e others were testing the air brakes and sweeping her out. Just as 6 p.m. rolled around, as Roundhouse Catering was setting up the buffet lines and charbroilers, a crew switched CWR No. 56 over to Track 5 East so that CS&CV No. l, the Charley Atkins, could couple into M.l77 and charge the brake pipe. After brake tests, M.177 was pulled up to the boarding area where chairs were loaded aboard, followed by happy Associates and guests. There followed several trips to the end of the connecting track, during which M.177 rode like the fine lady she is, and Bryan Reese beamed happily as we saw the rust wear off her wheel treads. Our thoughts were of Chell Hurdle and of his monumental devotion to the project.
But, stomachs beckoned, and we enjoyed a hearty and delicious dinner, after which our jovial emcee, Steve DeVorkin, regaled us with his pithy wit and bon mots. Greg Ramsey presented service awards for 300 hours (or more) as follows: Alan Weeks, 389 hours; Dale Brown, 445 hours; Darren Shiflett, 308 hours; and Thomas Seal, 384 hours. Gordon Bachlund was then called on to present Greg's award for 3,560 hours of unstinting service, and to present, on behalf of President Jim Hoffmann who was unable to attend due to work constraints, the Clarence Ridenour Award for 1996 to Chell Hurdle. Mary Jo Hurdle accepted the award on behalf of Chell, a very moving experience for us all.
This was followed by drawings for door prizes.
We encourage our Associates to patronize the donors of these fine prizes as our way of saying thanks for their generosity.
The evening ended with more rides on M.l77, and with handcar practice on the new Harbor Department display spur. Did we have fun? You bet we did! If you weren't there, you missed a great evening with great food and fun. So, plan now to watch The Headlight and The Green Eye for news of succeeding events, and join us. You'll be glad you did.
The pilot house of Travel Town's yacht aka the cab on Charley Atkins has continued to get face lifting attention from our cosmetic surgeons Bob Bennett, Kevin Tam, and Alan Weeks. About all that is left is to refinish the hardwood floor and to replace some of the missing trim pieces around the edges of the floor. Alan Weeks is going to tackle the floor so be sure to coordinate any cab work with him.
For some reason, when I opened the electrical cabinet one day to secure the locomotive, one of the battery charger leads shorted against the knife switch. The resultant electrical surge blew out the 32v to 12v power supply and burned out the radio connector. Jim Vicars replaced the converter and repaired the radio, putting us back on the air.
Additional attention was given to the Charley's sanders, which are still clogging, by Chris and Isabel Rippy. Engineers are reminded that these are to be tested during the daily inspection. Expect to see sand discharged when the valve is operated and when an emergency application is taken.
The CWR No. 56 Baldwin RS-12 received the majority of the attention this quarter. The camshaft cover leaks mentioned last quarter we repaired with the fabrication of new rubber gaskets. The sanders which have been clogged solid on this locomotive for years have finally been receiving attention thanks to Chris Rippy and Doug Stephens. Because of rust and the internal erosion of the pipes due to the abrasive action of blowing sand, we have found that almost all of the pipes below the sand tanks themselves will have to be replaced.
An inspection of the bearings on the radiator fan shaft pedestal bearings found that at least one of them was so badly worn that we have disconnected the drive belts. Because the cooling water pump is driven independently of the fan, water is still circulating through the radiator allowing us to continue to operate the locomotive on a light load for up to several hours a day. Since we have never really loaded this locomotive this hasn't proved to be a problem. The fix for this is going to be difficult as it will probably require the complete removal of the shaft from the locomotive for machining and installation of a new sleeve.
The major Baldwin evolution I told you about at the end of last quarter was the replacement of the combination auxiliary/exciter generator. It has been now been fully tested and is operating satisfactorily. Thanks are owed to Frank Thomasian and Larry Patrich of Caudill Electric for the fine overhaul of the generator. Engineers and hostlers are reminded to ensure that they are checked out on the operation of the generator disconnect before they move the locomotive or operate the generator under load. Staffing the Diesel Shop this quarter in addition to the above included Gordon Bachlund and David Smith.
As always, I can be reached at home (805) 483-1552, work (805) 982-9720, or via E-mail
Last issue I asked, "Who can tell me a major locomotive manufacturer who used a diesel with NO valves? The answer offered by several correspondents is, of course, Fairbanks-Morse. Fairbanks is famous for its line of OP or opposed piston engines. Their design used two pistons installed head-to-head in the same cylinder. Each piston was connected to it own crankshaft mounted above and below the block which in turn combined their output via a vertical shaft which was geared to the two cranks via bevel gears. Intake air and exhaust gases were admitted to and from the cylinders via ports similar to a Detroit Diesel. The FM was also a 2-cycle engine which required a gear driven supercharger that allowed the fresh combustion air which was blown into ports at one extreme of the cylinder to force out the exhaust gases at the other.
Now for this quarter's homework, I want everyone to go look in the hood of the Baldwin. If you look on the Engineer's side, you'll find a valve with a threaded connection mounted on each of the pistons heads. Who can tell me what these are called and what they are used for?
On July l3, 1996, our ASRA friends, as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebration of UP Dining Car 3669, threw a wonderful fund raising Dinner in the Diner. Several SCSRA volunteers helped clean and ready the car for this event, our Roundhouse Catering gang, the Ramseys, were chefs du jour, and our Steve DeVorkin presided over the bar in the "Little Nugget."
What a delightful evening this was! After cocktails and hors d'oeuvres in the lounge, Nancy Gneier escorted guests to the diner to be seated, while uniformed waiters attended to our gustatorial needs and Greg Gneier, in a tuxedo, served as steward and kept wine glasses filled. Menu choices included filet mignon and roast turkey, with such trimmings and served in such style as would justly honor the evening's special guest, Mr. L.A. Falsetti, retired UP Dining Car Superintendent. Thirty-three guests enjoyed this event in air conditioned comfort, among them two from the SCSRA and three from the ASRA, and helped raise over $1,000 toward the diner's restoration.
These thirty-three dinners required a total volunteer staff investment of nearly 500 person-hours over six weeks, and ten volunteers worked various positions ranging from dishwasher to chef, from waiter to steward, all appropriately garbed. This was a feat, within the rail preservation community, only exceeded by our friends at BAERA whose Western Railway Museum culinary events are nationally famous! Was it worth the effort? From my perspective as a well satisfied guest, it most certainly was. And, the volunteers appeared pleased with the results of their labors. But, more importantly, it helped the Travel Town Museum and the artifact itself: the museum by wonderful publicity and the artifact by an infusion of preservation dollars. Who could ask for anything more?
At its June meeting, the SCSRA Board of Directors voted to establish a new functional work area, a Bridge and Building Department, to look after "vertical construction" such as the new maintenance shop facility you've read about, and named Tom Graham as superintendent. Also, Steve DeVorkin was named new Public Relations Manager, succeeding Joe Barilari. In his capacity, Steve will coordinate our joint SCSRA/ASRA PR efforts with the City, so that the partners in Travel Town's progress speak "with one voice."
At that same meeting, the Directors adjourned to Executive Session to discuss matters relative to the Zoo Railroad. The minutes of this portion of the meeting will be posted for all to read. Most of the discussion centered on the sensitivities of the issues and ways to ensure that our Associates continue to see this as a City project with the City providing leadership and engineering expertise, and the Association following that lead with its construction expertise.
For all intents and purposes, the SP 1273 is done being lubricated and is ready to be moved. We did have a slight problem as when I checked the journal boxes that were repacked, I noticed that one of them had sand poured in it again. Darn those kids!
The weekends of July 13th and July 20th were busy celebrating the 75th anniversary of the UP diner and the above mentioned locomotive. I spent the Saturdays of the aforementioned weekends answering questions and "interpreting" the switcher to our visiting public. I had a lot of fun and even met a gentleman who said he worked for the U.P. when in his early twenties. He said he worked at their L.A. roundhouse as a machinist and he remembered working on the 4439 (one of our three 0-6-0 swicthers). Unfortunately, he couldn't remember any stories to tell, but I did get his son to consider joining our organization.
Working on the engines at Travel Town is always a pleasure because each locomotive tells a different story. I sometimes take for granted that a lot of the "stories" that I see seem obvious to most eyes but my experiences are proving otherwise. I guess a lot of the visitors and my comrade volunteers can relate more closely to modern railroading with its latest diesels and ever-present doublestack trains. What I'm getting at is that the SP 1273 is chock full of SP"isms" that I thought everybody knew about but I'm finding out differently. So, sit back and I'll fill you in some of the more prominent features:
I have mentioned in the past that the SP equipped most of their engines with alemite fittings on almost every part of the running gear. I've also talked about the side access doors on the driving box cellars. And, I've discussed the painting of stars on the wheel centers in relation to the type of lubrication the driving boxes got. The above features don't exactly stand out to the untrained eye but there are other features that definitely stand out and can be seen on most SP engines. One detail is the flange oil reservoir. This is usually found on the fireman's side of the boiler just aft of the smokebox. It consists of a piece of pipe about 4-5 inches in diameter that curves up from underneath the boiler and ends just above the boiler centerline. At its bottom end there is a pipe tee that goes out to both sides of the engine and carries oil to the flange oilers. These oilers consisted of a pipe fitting just above the wheel to be lubricated that had a steel rod ! about 3/8" in diameter that came in contact with the wheel. The oil would drip down the rod onto the flange. There is usually a valve just above the fitting to control the amount of oil. Most SP engines I've seen have this although the 1273 is the first I've seen to have them on the engineer's side. It's also the first I've seen to have two of these device, the second being above the rear drivers (it makes sense since it is a switcher and spent a lot of time running in reverse).
Another prominent feature is the manifold found above the cylinders on the fireman's side. This manifold consisted of three valves arranged in the blower line. It was through this manifold that either external compressed air or steam was hooked up to light the fire when the engine was cold. The manifold was so arranged so that you could send steam to either the blower only, the firing manifold only, or both at the same time.
The SP also had a very distinctive blowdown muffler but our engines don't seem to have them. They may have been removed when they came to Travel Town or just never had them to begin with. Only photos can tell.
Well, the above stuff is just a few of the "spotting features" of an SP steam locomotive. I encourage everyone to look at the 1273 and the 3025 for these items. I think you'll find the same items on the SP engines scattered throughout the west. Some of the closer engines can be found at the L.A. County fairgrounds, The San Bernardino County Museum, The Lomita Railroad Museum, and the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society.
If anyone has any other features, please feel free to contact me as I would love to compare notes!
This quarter started with the construction (by the City) of new passenger loading barricades. These handsome wrought-iron fences and gates add a nice professional touch to our operations, although the close clearances keep the crews alert! We can now load passengers on the south side (nearest the display building) and unload on the north side. This reduces congestion around the birthday party cars and separates entering and exiting passengers. In addition, we can use the same platforms for entering and exiting passengers, relieving the mileage on the car attendants' shoes, and reducing congestion around the cupola ladder of the ATSF caboose.
Due to my job requirements, I have been unable to create the second Operating Department newsletter. I will put it out as soon as I'm able to come up for air.
Special operations were held on May 26 for the Los Angeles Live Steamers. About 40 delighted people rode the cabooses, handcar, and the cabs of both locomotives. Our public operations were held March 3, April 14, and May 5.
Passengers Donations Sunday, March 3 908 $ 351.01 Sunday, April 14 692 300.27 Sunday, May 5 737 $ 488.75 ______________________________________ Total: 2,337 $ 1,140.02 ______________________________________ Total to date: 51,746 $19,390.73 Operating Days: 77
A big THANK YOU to everybody who participates in keeping the trains running! Those with recorded time included Gordon Bachlund, Jeff Barrow, Dale Brown, Steve DeVorkin, Jack Finn, Mike Flaharty, Tom Graham, Jonathan Hathaway, Ted McConville, Brian Moore, Scott Muir, Dan Price, Yvonne and Greg Ramsey, Bryan Reese, Isabel and Christian Rippy, Thomas Seal, Ed Sikora, Doug Stephens, Moses Trevino, Jim Vicars, and Alan Weeks.
When the ninety six passes under the Interstate 5, headed west on Riverside Drive,
I cannot seem to help but look south and up behind hillside cottages, trying illogically to see them.
To see events of forty years ago,
A knee-jerk reaction with religious overtones.
I can almost hear them; I know what they should sound like.
And then the 96 bus reaches the intersection of Riverside Drive and Fletcher
Like a phantom limb, feeling deeply for that which no longer is there.
Aged hillsides on Fletcher festooned with concrete blocks, as if positioned for an invading army
Graffiti-scarred walls and ramparts, long abandoned by the defenders and their generals; patrons and the motormen -- brave to the last in that post-World War Two/Cold War era, and the cries of outrage by one and all that this state-of-the-art, not at all in conflict with automobile traffic, rapid transit rail line be pulled up...
Seen, like some sort of hieroglyph, through the memory of a photograph from a book long forgotten...
Majestic PCCs of the 5000 class frozen at speed rumbling across the spidery steel bridge at Fletcher Drive, framed by the surviving pepper trees.
NOTE: All SCSRA caboose train operations and ASRA passenger car tours take place at Travel Town during regular park hours, which are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. standard time and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. during daylight savings time.
A California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation, Incorporated January 4, 1984
IRS Tax Exemption No. 95-3947766
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Questions and comments to Sue Kientz, SCSRA Publications Manager