happy independence day from midwest!

The Trustees of Midwest Railway Preservation Society wish all of our members and friends a safe and happy Independence Day!
MRPS will observe the legal holiday and the roundhouse will be closed on Monday July 5th.

4070 Progress

Although it may seem that progress on 4070 has stalled because of the focus on “America”, volunteer draftsman Tom Wiatrak is busy working on cad drawings of the interior structure of the tender that will be used for the new construction. Modeling the interior structure will allow us to determine sheet steel sizes and finalize exterior details as well. New drawings will also be needed for the auger assembly so we can construct a new steel framework and integrate it into the tender.

The photos of the interior shown above give a pretty good indication of just why the tender is being replaced with an entirely new structure above the tender frame.

Two of Tom’s tender drawings (above) are a good example of the approach being taken for the new construction. Some areas detailed in the drawings may be reused from the existing tender if they prove to be structurally sound, such as the coal bin doors and door frame and the curved areas on the top and the four corners. Those pieces will be cut off, sand blasted and inspected to determine their structural integrity.

Construction will begin in late summer or early fall if everything on the schedule falls into place as anticipated.

The project that tied up stall 4 for the last few months has been completed and we are beginning pit work before bringing 4070 in for frame repair. After a thorough cleaning, the drain will be flushed and the sump checked and repaired or replaced if necessary. The wooden timbers that cover the wheel drop access pits on both sides will be removed and inspected and when everything is finished the cylinder will be positioned and the real work will begin. The wheel drop pit hasn’t been used since one of 4070’s drivers was removed many years ago but it is about to become a very busy area.

Midwest Safety Class

Any members that wish to volunteer at the roundhouse but were unable to attend the annual safety class held on March 27th can comply with the MRPS and CSX mandated requirement by viewing the class on video at the roundhouse or online via Zoom. To schedule your viewing contact the office by phone at (216) 781-3629 or by email at midwestrailway@gmail.com. Leave your name and phone number along with your request to view the safety video and someone will get back to you to schedule your viewing. The video can also be viewed any Saturday morning at the roundhouse prior to joining a work crew, but advance notice is recommended.

Donations Needed To Restore Power

Recently the roundhouse experienced a drop in electrical power in areas of the building and the problem was traced back to the step-down transformer mounted outside on the north wall. Power is fed to the transformer from those on the pole alongside the building that are the responsibility of the electric company. The one that is beginning to fail is the responsibility of Midwest.

Looking to be pro-active, we are in the process of searching for a replacement so one can be ordered and on-site for installation before it fails. Losing power in the roundhouse will greatly hamper progress on our current projects. To avoid that happening we are once again asking for donations to assist in financing this project. Every donation in any amount will be gratefully accepted and all donations are tax deductible.

The transformer that needs to be replaced is housed in the box (above left) with the specifications as listed on the Square D tag mounted on the front (above right). Once again MRPS is asking our members and friends to respond to our plea for donations and is hoping for a result that matches the one previous; for the Kalmar forklift replacement tires.

“America” Update – Crunch Time

With less than a month to go before America is scheduled to leave for an extended journey on Amtrak, a lot of progress has been made but there is still much more to do. The kitchen is taking shape with installation of stainless steel walls, cabinets and appliances while window replacement has begun with new exterior plexiglass, seals and bakelite spacers. The new AC compressor has been installed and exterior painting is well underway.

Although some of our other projects have taken a back seat recently, progress will again resume on those once America is completed and on the rails.

Foam insulation has been sprayed in the kitchen and covered by the stainless steel walls (upper left). One side of the car needed extensive work prior to repainting (upper right). New rubber tubing has been installed around the door (lower left). Volunteers Pete Stojsavljevic and Mark Billey are hard at work (lower right) on the kitchen window that will be remounted in the opening seen in the photo upper left.

America was raised up to perform truck inspections and maintenance along with other tasks made easier with the added space such as installation of the new AC compressor (above left). Among new items on site for installation are hi-definition televisions to replace those in the lounge, dining room and bedrooms (above right and below left). Installation of the stainless steel walls was begun in the utility room (below right).

The Grand Unveiling of Conrail 7544

Although volunteers at the roundhouse were privy to the new paint scheme being applied to the Cincinnati Scenic Railroad GP10 that has occupied various stalls since last fall, the secret was well guarded until the grand unveiling through Trains magazine yesterday. The full history of the locomotive can be read in the magazine article which gave kudos to MRPS for the paint job. The GP10 will be running tourist trains over the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad in southwestern Ohio and also rail excursions in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan using track rights on the Indiana & Ohio Railroad through the Ohio Rail Experience.

The GP10 is the latest in a long line of railroad cars and equipment painted by Midwest for itself and private rail car owners. Once the locomotive sized EPA approved paint booth is installed in the roundhouse during restoration, it is expected that business in that area will increase.

A History of CTVX 62

The third in our matching set of passenger cars following CTVX 90 and Mt. Baxter is CTVX 62. More commonly known as “The Ghost Car”, the story of how that came about will be detailed in a future issue of Marker Lights.

Coach 62 was built by the Pullman Company in September 1934 for the Nickel Plate Railroad from which it was retired in Cleveland in 1960 and subsequently purchased by Midwest for $500. It has the distinction of being one in the first set of cars to be mechanically air conditioned, with installation in 1936. The car seats 58 passengers in the main compartment, 14 in the smoker, six in the ladies lounge and is 83′ 3″ in length. The car contains elegant beveled glass window partitions (photo at right) and has been restored and maintained by Midwest in its’ original condition.

CTVX 62 was one of the fleet of passenger cars along with 4070 that went to New York to appear in the motion picture “The Natural”, starring Robert Redford. 62 was mechanically upgraded during its’ restoration in 1993 and is unique in that it has all of its’ original appointments.

Due for some major maintenance, the car is scheduled to come out of excursion service in the near future and will return to Cleveland for truck work along with interior and exterior restoration. It is anticipated that the work will take a year or more to complete.

Before and After

The Kalmar forklift is sporting a new complete set of tires thanks to the generous donations of those who answered our plea via a Facebook post in May. The tires were mounted on site at the roundhouse in mid-June by Ben Pexilch of Burns Industrial Equipment of Macedonia. Once again the Trustees (and forklift operators) wish to thank all donors to the cause.

Corporate Rate Available for Area Stays

Midwest has reached an agreement with the Holiday Inn on Rockside Road in Independence, Ohio to offer a corporate rate for any travelers coming to Cleveland to volunteer at the roundhouse or conduct business with MRPS. The Holiday Inn will be the home base for the RPCA Conference that Midwest is hosting in January 2022 and has reserved a block of rooms for that event. To reserve a room with our corporate rate for any other visit, just ask for the Midwest Railway Preservation Society rate when calling to make your reservation.

4070 Memories

Mike Kole provides this month’s 4070 memory, an interesting story with an unpredictable twist.

Sometimes a bad situation changes into a positive situation just due to circumstances. The situation referred to took place on one of the 32 weekend excursions on the Cuyahoga Valley Line in 1988. The standard operating procedure was for the train crew to assemble at Clark Yard where the train was parked awaiting departure for the day’s run to Akron and back. During this time, various chores were performed, such as opening windows, turning seats to face forward, making coffee in the concession car, restocking items in the on board gift shop, etc.

As Mike was in charge of the car attendants that year, his duties consisted of insuring that the necessary chores in the nine coaches were completed by departure time. On this particular day, Mike brought his 15 year old daughter and her girl friend to ride the train, but because of a CSX rule that only train crew were permitted on the train between Clark Yard and the passenger boarding site at Rockside Road, the girls would need to get off the train prior to departure. To this end, he had informed the Trainmaster of the girls onboard presence and he agreed to inform him just prior to departure so that the girls along with Mike could get off the train, drive to Rockside and again board the train, thus complying with the CSX rule.

At this point the bad situation developed. The train started moving with the girls and Mike still on board. Franticly, he called for the Trainmaster on the radio, but there was no answer. He then ran through several coaches looking for him but could not find him as the train picked up speed. The girls were told to stay on the train and that he would meet them at the Rockside Rd station. Mike then left the train which by now was moving at near Yard speed. Fortunately, having worked as a Brakeman in prior years he got off ok, walked back to his car and drove to Rockside to meet the train.

Between his departure at Clark Yard and the train arriving at Rockside, the bad situation turned good. The Trainmaster found the girls sitting in one of the coaches. They told him what happened and he became somewhat angry at the situation, but not the girls. After some quick thinking, he took the girls to the concession car, put aprons on them and had them help the ladies getting the concession counter and gift shop ready for the passengers. He was thus in compliance with the CSX rule.

Mike boarded the train at Rockside and found the Trainmaster. They both were unhappy campers, until the Trainmaster realized that he was supposed to have notified Mike prior to departure and apologized. Mike then went looking for the girls and when he found them, they were busy helping in the gift shop and having a great time interacting with the passengers. Looking back, had this situation not occurred, they would merely have had a train ride. But instead they had a great time being volunteers.

Jenny Kole and Jenny Wotowiec, train riders unexpectedly turned volunteers on a weekend excursion in the Valley in 1988.

Not really related to Midwest but interesting nonetheless, is this photo of C&O locomotive 2707 taken while in storage at Clark Yard in 1992. Donated to the City of Cleveland in 1958, and on exhibit at Brookside Park for 30 years years, it was vandalized and ultimately sold to a private individual. Not being able to raise money for the restoration, the owner traded it to the Illinois Railroad Museum where it is on display today. Many area residents (this writer included) remember the locomotive as it sat on display in the park in much better condition than the above photo depicts.

More Photos From the Midwest Archives

The year was 1975 when 4070 was paired with 2102 for a momentous excursion to Horseshoe Curve in Pennsylvania. During the trip the locomotive suffered a bent connecting rod. The ensuing repair will be the subject of a future 4070 Memories article. The photo above was taken during that trip.

An unidentified crew member shovels coal down to the auger during a Valley run in 1988.

Midwest started restoration of the Falls Junction Depot when the sign was hung during the winter of 1993. This summer Phase 3 of the current restoration will take place completing the project that was contracted by Glenwillow.

After highlighting CTVX 90 in last month’s edition of Marker Lights, this photo was found in the archives. One of her truck frames is shown during sandblasting as part of its’ 40 year inspection. The photo was taken in 1992.

New Gift Shop Items Now Available at the Roundhouse

Soon to be available at our new online gift shop are a variety of tee shirts, sweat shirts and caps featuring the MRPS Diamond Logo and our GTW 4070 steam locomotive. Tee shirts are available in grey or safety green in short sleeve and long sleeve styles. Sweat shirt hoodies are available in pullover and full zip styles. Along with the baseball cap shown, two styles of winter ski caps are available in grey and yellow. These items can be purchased now at the roundhouse in limited sizes but please call or email the office in advance to make arrangements for your visit. All of our MRPS merchandise will be for sale on line shortly with delivery available anywhere in the United States.

Happenings “aROUND the HOUSE”

Looking out through the stall 3 door toward the turntable on Saturday June 12th one could observe volunteers removing the sand dome on 2100 which was pulled out of its’ home in stall 2 by our Alco 123. 2100 was pushed back into its’ stall that same afternoon. All volunteers working up on the locomotive were properly trained in the use of, and wore fall protection.

While walking the yard on a recent Saturday in June, the writer stumbled across a few Vipers Bugloss in full bloom. Written about last summer in Marker Lights, these flowers are highly attractive to honey bees and their pollen produces a very high quality honey. On the same walk, coming back between the fence and the storage track a few bird nests were found sheltered in various pieces of rolling stock that have not been moved recently. The one above was built on the Illinois Central passenger car.

Once numerous in the Cleveland area, Sinclair gas stations are no longer found here, the nearest one being located in Greendale, Indiana. There are however still a few containers that contained Sinclair products in various places around the facility.

Donations received in excess of the amount needed to replace the tires on the Kalmar forklift were used to purchase replacement parts for the Drott. After replacing a number of parts including the starter, the engine did turn over, which was a very good sign and marked major progress in our restoration of this piece of equipment. As stated earlier, the Drott will be a workhorse on 4070 as well as elsewhere around the yard.

Interesting objects found during a recent tour of the roundhouse include the Pullman Porter hat (above) and the B&O signal lever (left). Both are items of historic significance that link Midwest to our mission of preservation and education.