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 Post subject: AC trains at IRM. (Visitor comfort)
PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:57 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:50 pm
Posts: 113
Location: www.easttroyrr.org
We visited the Illinois Railway Museum today for the Trolley Pageant. It was rather warm and humid outside, so we first headed for the diner building, which is air-conditioned, to relax a bit before train riding. We then rode the steam train which moved just fast enough to push a warm breeze through the open windows while we stuck to the vinyl seats.

Then, to our surprise and pleasure, IRM trotted out a pair of its 2200 series Chicago L cars for a trip down the main line. These were air-conditioned and comfortable to be on. None of the crowd of predominantly families with small children seemed to mind the switch to less funky RR equipment. There was always the opportunity to ride on other non-AC trains for the purists.

Visitor comfort can be a simple thing, ranging from cool (or warm) equipment and buildings, to clean, modern bathrooms. It makes for a pleasurable experience and keeps 'em coming back.


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 Post subject: Re: AC trains at IRM. (Visitor comfort)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:46 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 442
Location: Illinois
There actually a few air conditioned trains in service at IRM:
CTA 2200's
CTA 2000's
Nebraska Zephyr
CNW Bilevels

And more to come:
Electroliner (hopefully in service within the next few years)
CTA 2400's (due to arrive this year)
and possibly others.

Jeff

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 Post subject: Re: AC trains at IRM. (Visitor comfort)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:54 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 10:58 am
Posts: 371
Location: Reston, VA
For a real challenge, try to get the air conditioning on IT 277 (used on Sunday) running. My recollection is that 277 has an ice activated AC system. Tons of ice!


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 Post subject: Re: AC trains at IRM. (Visitor comfort)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:22 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 9:44 am
Posts: 142
Art: Getting tons of ice would be easy. The challenge is that the 277 has a very early mechanical air conditioning system driven by a separate air compressor and I don't know what else. It's extremely complicated, and just figuring out how it's all supposed to work would be a big challenge. Since the car still has windows that open, we go with the path of least resistance.

Randall

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 Post subject: Re: AC trains at IRM. (Visitor comfort)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:18 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 10:58 am
Posts: 371
Location: Reston, VA
Thanks for the correct information on 277. A wise choice not to tinker with the A/C, especially as the car is run so infrequently.


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 Post subject: Re: AC trains at IRM. (Visitor comfort)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:24 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
Posts: 2438
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
I believe the 277's air conditioning used ammonia, which was compressed using the third, traction-type air compressor under the 277. Like a lot of things on the IT, it was homebuilt.

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 Post subject: Re: AC trains at IRM. (Visitor comfort)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:14 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 12:58 pm
Posts: 1195
Location: Chicago USA
I would love to see a car with steam ejector A/C running either in the steam train consist or if there is a diesel with a working steam generator.

Likewise, one with a operating Waukesha Ice Engine.

The more common electromechanical system would probably not work well given the low speeds and short trips unless the power is supplemented. But steam or Ice Engine is probably not too far fetched, the latter from what has been gleaned from the similar Enginator generator system on the MILW dyno car.

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: AC trains at IRM. (Visitor comfort)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:25 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 7:19 pm
Posts: 47
For air conditioned service behind steam and diesel locomotives, there is an historic alternative – a Rock Island 2700 commuter coach. This series of coaches were designed with self contained HVAC to facilitate their operation by the wide variety of locomotives that the Rock Island used to haul their commuter trains.

The 2700 series coach, built by Pullman-Standard in their Worcester, MA plant and first delivered in 1949. These high-capacity cars were built to a revolutionary design that pioneered centrally controlled platform level doors, an open floor plan, and other design attributes used in rapid transit cars that wouldn't become widely adopted in railroad commuter cars in until the 1970s. There were only 20 coaches produced to this design and they were all sold to a scrapper in the late 1970s.

Some additional history about these cars can be found at: http://www.twinstarcars.com/2700coach.htm

One car is known to survive because it was purchased by an entrepreneur who repurposed the car as a video game arcade. This individual came from a Rock Island family and he kept modifications to a minimum and restored the car to its green paint and lettering from Henry Crown red and yellow. The trucks were also saved and there are even a few of the original seats remaining in the car along with original lighting fixtures and window shades. A 1981 article about the conversion of these cars is at: http://www.newspapers.com/newspage/1474334/

Photos of the car as it currently exists are at:
http://www.ozarkmountainrailcar.com/detail.asp?id=1369&n=Rock-Island-Commuter-Coach-2702--NEW

I believe that this car could be a good contribution to IRM’s “Green Train” which is comprised primarily of Rock Island 2500 and 2600 open window coaches. With its high seating capacity, large doors, and self contained HVAC system it would be well suited for special operating events. Could the power from this car's generators provide enough current to power the assisted ventilation system that was retrofitted by the Rock Island to coach 2524, that is currently in IRM’s collection? http://www.irm.org/gallery/CRIP2524

Besides these practical operating benefits, as a historical piece it would show the Rock Island's pursuit of innovative technologies after WWII (including containerized freight) and the evolution of commuter car design.

Would the cost of transporting this car, paying the indoor track space fee, and restoring the car to operation be justified in order to provide an historic air conditioned experience to passengers using IRM’s steam and diesel powered trains? The costs are significant, but so are the potential benefits.


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 Post subject: Re: AC trains at IRM. (Visitor comfort)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:36 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 537
Location: St. Louis, MO
I remember riding on a train of those cars on one of Dick Jensen's ill fated steam excursions on the Grand Trunk Western. They had Waukesha Ice Engines under each car to power the air conditioning system which ran on propane. When we had the inevitable hot bearing problem coming home (always on Valparaiso hill) and were delayed for hours they ran out of fuel one by one and the result was a lot of hot and unhappy riders. The Rock Island was depending on the return of the cars in time for the weekday rush hour use and was very unhappy to get them back in the middle of the night with empty propane tanks under all of them. Needless to say they never let him use their equipment again.

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 Post subject: Re: AC trains at IRM. (Visitor comfort)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:42 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 4996
I have to agree with Tom Cornillie, that the 2702 should end up at IRM in Union. With the fact that the Rock did, on occasion, mix the 2700's in consists with the 2500 series open window cars, the fit seems obvious. Hopefully IRM will step up and find its way to secure the car.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: AC trains at IRM. (Visitor comfort)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:14 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2431
The whole "Visitor Experience" theme is a good subject.

I think that tourist railroads should have some "secret shoppers" partake in the experience and report back.

Start with the reservation system. Find somebody's grandma, tell her to make reservations for her and the grandkids for a train ride. Give her the URL for the website, and then sit back and watch. Duct tape your mouth and hands if needed, and don't help her. You want to know where the problems are.

Then have a non train fan do the entire experience. Are your "priceless artifacts" perceived as "junk train cars"? Are the coaches too hot or too cold? Is your parking area safe and not full of weeds and mud puddles? How are your guests greeted? What's the whole experience like? How do you compare to other local attractions? Sure, a true railfan will come and ride #82 even if it leaves from a shack next to the sewage plant in the bad part of town, but you can't pay the bills on railfans. You have to compete with your local theme park and other attractions.

Don't like being compared to Disney, Universal Studios, Knott's Berry Farm and SeaWorld? Well, too bad, that's exactly what happens when parents decide where to take the kids on vacation.

Speaking of which, check out the new Harry Potter Train at Universal. From a railfan point of view, it's heavily a themed horizontal elevator ride. From a public point of view, it's a very authentic looking steam train ride in a truly amazing setting. Good luck competing with that...


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 Post subject: Re: AC trains at IRM. (Visitor comfort)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
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Location: southeastern USA
In my first career, I worked with a very practical director who had little patience with method actors. His philosophy was that "the play was what the audience saw." Whatever the actors did in rehearsal to produce their performance and whatever backstage techniques I was responsible for providing, it was the result as experienced by the audience that mattered.

So, the place to start is with the script.......find and develop the story you are in business to tell, and then the rest will work itself out according to the depth and breadth of the vision of your people and their ability to find ways to implement it.

dave

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 Post subject: Re: AC trains at IRM. (Visitor comfort)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:51 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2431
Dave wrote:
In my first career, I worked with a very practical director who had little patience with method actors. His philosophy was that "the play was what the audience saw." Whatever the actors did in rehearsal to produce their performance and whatever backstage techniques I was responsible for providing, it was the result as experienced by the audience that mattered.

So, the place to start is with the script.......find and develop the story you are in business to tell, and then the rest will work itself out according to the depth and breadth of the vision of your people and their ability to find ways to implement it.

dave



If the audience experience is all that matters, maybe we should all find out who built the "Hogwarts Express" for Universal and go buy one? Just think, no pesky boiler work, and the view out the windows can be whatever you want it to be... They might just be on to something.

For those of you who haven't seen this yet, here's a video from one of the theme park blogs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyfC1G-cDwQ


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 Post subject: Re: AC trains at IRM. (Visitor comfort)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:46 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:52 am
Posts: 21
That Rock Island car is something that has to be preserved at IRM, or somewhere. The owners should know that for its condition and being land locked, it is not worth much. I would contribute something to moving it.


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 Post subject: Re: AC trains at IRM. (Visitor comfort)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:09 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:20 pm
Posts: 448
Thomas Cornillie wrote:
For air conditioned service behind steam and diesel locomotives, there is an historic alternative – a Rock Island 2700 commuter coach.
...
I believe that this car could be a good contribution to IRM’s “Green Train” which is comprised primarily of Rock Island 2500 and 2600 open window coaches.


There was some interest expressed in this RI coach (#2702) by a few IRM volunteers back in February of this year. I haven't heard anything since then.

I definitely think someone should start a KickStarter campaign for the car on behalf of IRM. If the purchase price can be raised, I bet the museum will handle the rest (transportation, loading, etc).

Following is a message posted in February to a Rock Island list:

Feb 11, 2014, Re: Rock Island Commuter Coach #2702, RITSlist wrote:
Hello, all.

1. Another reader cross-posted the original message in this thread to the Illinois Railway Museum Yahoo Group. So, IRM definitely "knows" about 2702 being on the market.

2. If acquired, and if sufficient additional donations come in, the IRM has the talent and skils to fully restore the 2702 and make it available for public viewing and riding in all of its air-conditioned glory. Between our Pullman Library for builder information, our in-house volunteer craftsmen, and experience with various companies, we can acquire or replicate any needed parts, and do so "correctly," such that when we're finished restoring the car, it would appear as if it had only been in service for a year or two.

3. The problem, of course, is MONEY. The Illinois Railway Museum currently has three high-capital projects raising funds apart from the "day to day" fundraising any non-profit non-government museum has to deal with. Thus, preserving the 2702 via the IRM could be challenging.

4. If you want to preserve the 2702 through the IRM, you will need to DONATE MONEY. The IRM IS a 501(c)(3) tax deductable charity, and all donations are tax deductable to the fullest extent of the law. While there is no Rock Island 2702 restricted fund, and won't be unless and until the car is purchased, there IS a Rock Island Commuter Cars Restricted Fund that funds ALL Rock Island Commuter Cars owned by the IRM, and this fund can NOT be spent on anything other than Rock Island Commuter Cars. Thus, even if the 2702 is NOT purchased by the IRM, the money donated will at least go to preserving Rock Island Equipment. And, with four restored 2500 series commuter coaches, and two additional 2500 series commuter coaches in restoration, your money WILL preserve Rock Island Commuter Passenger equipment.

5. The Rock Island Commuter Cars restricted funds are not listed in the online store, so donations must be made telephonically or via USPS. To donate via telephone, using Visa or Mastercard, call (815)923-4391 during normal "business" hours. Specify that your primary donation purpose is for the acquisition of the 2702, and that your alternate purpose for donation is the funding of the other Rock Island Commuter Coaches. By USPS mail, mail your check or money order, payable to Illinois Railway Museum to:

Illinois Railway Museum
7000 Olson Road
Post Office Box 427
Union, IL 60180

In the memo field of the check or money order, write "CRI&P 2702 or other CRI&P Coach." Note that if you ONLY specify the 2702, unless and until the 2702 is actually purchased, your donation will be REFUSED. The IRM takes restricted funds, and honesty to our donors VERY SERIOUSLY, and we won't accept a donation where we know it won't be spent how the donor expects. However, if we get donations we CAN spend, we will make every effort to spend them wisely and as close to the desire of our donor as we can. Thus, a "sudden" inflow of money targeted primarily to fund the purchase of CRI&P 2702 will be that much more of an inducement for us to purchase the 2702. Failing that, your money WILL help preserve the six commuter coaches we already have.

6. Keep in mind that in addition to purchase and transporting the car to Union, the car will cost the IRM around $8000 for the track space it occupies, and and additional $20,000 to get the car dedicated indoor storage. While the departments of the museum have discretionary money they can budget to "help out" a car, each piece of equipment is encouraged to "pay its own way." The 2702 will be a more expensive than average passenger coach to restore as well, due to its prime mover powered air conditioning. And since the windows are non-openable, the air conditioning will have to be restored and fully operational to enable us to run the car for the general public. However, since the air conditioning IS powered, and not driven off of axle generators, the car CAN be used on our mainline once restored.

7. Other railway museums in the area might also be interested in preserving the 2702. However, in all cases, they will do so in part on how much "donor $upport" and "visitor $upport" the car will generate. The Mid-Continent Railway Museum and Monticello Railway Museum both come to mind, and both museums could "handle" the required restoration. However, like the IRM, these museums are supported by donations and ticket sales, and will tend to be more "enthusiastic" in preserving equipment where there is greater donor and visitor enthusiasm. And, their "internal" costs are quite similar to ours, if not higher due to their smaller "campus areas" and volunteer pools.

8. If each reader of this group were to make a $50 targeted donation, which is about the price of a nice but not fancy dinner for two, that would be around $35,000. With that kind of support, the 2702 could be purchased, and restoration could be started in earnest. And, that $50 is tax deductable to the fullest extent of the law.

Thanks.

Brian


Last edited by rock island lines on Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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