1 ... 232 233 234 235 236 ... 251
NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/19/22 12:18 p.m.

Some excellent news is that the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad & Logging Museum is going to be reopening after being closed by parent company American Heritage Rails in 2020. The closing was always a little bit murky, since AHR claimed they were just shutting down temporarily due to Covid, but then employees revealed internal memos saying they were being permanently let go, and then AHR walked back the claim of temporary closure and announced the closure was permanent and that they were looking to sell off the MRSR. The sale was then tied up the fact that the Mt. Rainier Railroad and Logging Museum is a for-profit entity but much of the equipment and the railroad itself was owned by a non-profit, the Western Forest Industries Museum. 

The Western Forest Industries Museum, who originally founded the museum in 1980, has reformed and is taking control of operations again, after handing the reins to AHR back in 2016. When AHR took over the Mount Rainier Scenic operations in 2016, they described the entire railroad as being in a state of disrepair, and they put quite a bit of money into getting things into shape. Between that and the wildfire at the Durango & Silverton in 2018, also an AHR operation, I have to wonder if maybe AHR just overextended themselves a little.

Mount Rainier Scenic has a roster of operating locomotives that include the only operational Willamette gear-drive locomotive, a logger Mikado formerly of Polson Logging, a Hammond Lumber Co. 2-8-2T logging tank engine, and a Northern Pacific EMD F9A. Also in their collection is the final standard gauge Climax built, one of five surviving Pacific Coast Shays, a rare 3-truck West Coast Special Heisler, and a 2-8-2 tender engine that is believed to be the largest locomotive built by H.K. Porter. They run over 7 miles of ex-Milawukee Road trackage between Elbe, Washington and Mineral, Washington.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/19/22 12:37 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/19/22 12:37 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/19/22 12:39 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/19/22 12:59 p.m.

Mount Rainier Scenic's ex-Rayonier 3-truck Willamette. If you think it looks like a Shay, that's because it basically is. Willamette Iron and Steel Works took the basic Shay design, made a number of improvements in the design, and then sold it as their own. Lima would actually take the Willamette design changes and apply them to their own Shays, calling the resulting engine a "Pacific Coast Shay". There are only six surviving true Willamettes, and Mount Rainier had the only one that was actually operational.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/19/22 2:44 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/19/22 2:46 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/19/22 3:06 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/20/22 10:26 a.m.

The unique H.K. Porter-built logger Mikado, believed to be the largest locomotive constructed by Porter, which was better known for their small industrial tanks engines and fireless engines. It was built for the fascinating Carlton & Coast Railroad in 1924, first as their #11 and then later renumbered to #55, and ran until 1939, when a massive forest fire destroyed the entire Carlton & Coast Railroad and the logging operations of parent company Flora Logging. The #55 appears to have been one of the few locomotives to be down at the roundhouse in Carlton instead of trapped in the woods, and so escaped the fire.

It was sold in 1940 to the Port of Grays Harbor, who renumbered it to #5, and used it to switch at the docks in Hoquiam, Washington through the Second World War and into the 1950s. Sometime in the 1950s, the #5 was retired and put up for sale, and Carl Schafer purchased the locomotive in 1959.  The Schafer Brothers had had a large logging operation near Montesano, Washington, but sold out to Simpson in 1950 and all of the Schafer steam locomotives including a Porter similar to the #5, were scrapped out within a few years.  Carl Schafer loved his original Porter and wanted another to put on display for his new game farm in Montesano that he purchased for retirement and so #5 was chosen as a display piece, and remained on outdoor display on Schafer property in Montesano into the early 1980s. In 1981, the Schafer family donated the #5 to the newly-formed Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad, who got it up and operating around 1988. It ran until 2003, at which point it was parked indefinitely, due to a defect in the riveted seam between the firebox wrapper sheet and the dome course. After removing the jacket and insulation in 2013, in hopes of possibly returning it to service, other boiler defects became apparent and the running gear and equalizing system were found in very poor condition.

 

If the Vanderbilt tender looks incongruous behind the little Mikado, that's because it's not original. It was built with a regular square-tank tender, but all the years on display at Schafer's farm had rotted out the tender body. Rather than repair it, the Mount Rainier Scenic purchased an ex-Northwestern Pacific tender, sans trucks, from Gus Peterson of Klamath, CA along with the Hammond Lumber Company 2-8-2T #17 and the Kinzua Pine Mills Heisler, and installed the trucks off of the original tender on the Vanderbilt tender.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/20/22 12:29 p.m.

The most fascinating logging engine, in my opinion, is Sugar Pine Lumber/Minarets & Western Railway #5. In 1921, Sugar Pine Lumber built a Class III railroad that ran from the logging operations near Minarets, California to their sawmills in Pinedale. After purchasing some conventional 2-8-2 tender engines, they then purchased four big 2-8-2 saddle tanks from Alco in 1925. Satisfied with the performance of the big 2-8-2Ts, Sugar Pine Lumber then returned to Alco with a request for an even larger engine built on the same principles. Alco responded in 1927 with a single saddle tank 2-10-2, the only 2-10-2T ever built for US usage.

It was a pretty chunky machine, weighing 267,500lbs with 213,000lbs of that carried by the drivers. It ran on 48" drivers, with 22"x28" cylinders actuated by Walschaerts valve gear and pressurized by a 220psi superheated boiler. It generated 52,796 lbs of tractive effort, a full 18,000lbs more than the earlier 2-8-2Ts. Contrary to what is frequently said, only the 2-10-2T was referred to as a "Minarets-type",  the 2-8-2Ts were not included in that nickname.

Although a successful machine on the M&W, it's delivery was poorly timed. Two years after delivery, the Great Depression hit and the bottom fell out of the California logging industry. By 1933, Sugar Pine Lumber had gone out of business, taking almost all of the M&W's traffic with it. The Minarets & Western missed its bond payments and taxes in 1932, then entered into trusteeship in 1934.  The same year, the Interstate Commerce Commission allowed the line from Wishon to Friant to be abandoned, and in 1935, the assets of the M&W were put up for sale. Scrapping started in 1936 with the last rails taken up at Friant in 1939. The four and a half miles from Pinedale to Pinedale Junction became Southern Pacific's Pinedale Spur of the Clovis Branch. It was abandoned in the 1990s and became the Fresno-Clovis Rail Trail.

The 2-10-2T was sold off at auction and bounced around between a couple construction companies. One of those was Mason-Walsh-Atkinson-Kier & Co. of Mason City, WA, who renumbered it to #800 and added an auxiliary tender behind it, using it in the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam. It was then sold to Consolidated Builders, keeping the number #800, also of Mason City, WA in '38. And then it ultimately ended up at H.J. Kaiser Steel, where it was renumbered to #1119, and ran until 1947, before it was uncermoniously scrapped.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/20/22 1:46 p.m.

One of the stranger offshoots of logging locomotive technology was the Lima rotary plows that were built between 1949-1950. Watching the steam locomotive market evaporate, and only hesitantly dipping their toes into the diesel market, Lima was delighted when Union Pacific approached them about new rotary snowplow construction. The last new rotary plows had been built by Alco in 1937, and UP had contacted Alco and Baldwin, but neither of them had been interested. Lima undertook design of an entirely new rotary, dusting off the designs for the Pacific Coast Shay engine assemblies and mounting two of the 3-cylinder engines side-by-side ahead of the boiler, with the smokebox facing the rear of the plow, driving the rotary cutter via a geardrive assembly. Since the last Pacific Coast Shay had been built a decade earlier,  Lima is rumored to have had to call in some retired employees to help set up the boilers, cylinders and gearing prior to delivery.

Union Pacific took ownership of two, pairing them up with the tenders taken from ex-C&O 2-8-8-2s that UP had purchased during WWII and then retired shortly afterwards. The Rock Island bought one as well, and used it with the tender of a 5000-series Northern, while Soo bought another and also used a Rock Island tender, one of the odd "haystack" tenders from a Rock Island Mike that the Soo had bought secondhand during WWII. A fifth snow blower was under construction when the order was cancelled and the unfinished blower was scrapped.

Union Pacific #900075, which was based out of Kansas, was retired in 1979, and is preserved at Illinois Railway Museum. Union Pacific #900076, based out of Oregon, was retired in 1985, the last steam-powered rotary plow to operate, and is on display in Hermiston, Oregon. . Soo Line X-19 was retired in scrapped in 1966, although after the X-19 went to scrap, the ex-RI tender sat in front of the roundhouse at Schiller Park until the roundhouse was destroyed by a tornado in the late sixties. Rock Island 95377 scrapped was also scrapped in 1966, although the smokebox front may still exist. Dick Jensen scavenged the smokebox front off of it to swap onto CB&Q #4963, since he hated the flat front end of older CB&Q power. Somehow, Cass Scenic Railroad eventually ended up with the pair of Pacific Coast Shay engines that were intended for use on the fifth rotary snow blower, perhaps having been sold to UP or one of the other customers as replacement parts.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/21/22 4:49 p.m.

Logging locomotives make a lot of sense for a tourist operation, due to the nature of their original operation. They were designed for traversing tightly-curved, lightly-railed track with steep grades and non-existent ballast, which means you have a locomotive that can run on less-than-optimal track and has good pulling power. The downside was that they were absolutely run into the ground, between lackluster maintenance, frequent derailments and wrecks, and repairs that rarely had to meet ICC scrutiny. A lot of Shays and Heislers hide frightening old damage and shoddy repairs under the surface. Take Intermountain Lumber #1 here, with it's water cistern obviously rotted out along the bottom edge, slapdash cab roof and side repairs, and generally run-down appearance. Then note the smoke coming out of the stack. Yes, this 1904 Lima product was still in service in Kentucky in 1960.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/21/22 4:53 p.m.

An Elk River Coal & Lumber Company Shay fords a creek at Avoco, WV on Nov. 24, 1961. The ERC&L tended to not build bridges, they just forded the creeks. A watchman is riding the running boards on the fireman's side, the boring side of a Shay, watching for large debris.

Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
9/21/22 9:00 p.m.

On September 21, 2022 Purple Frog was driving through downtown Tifton Georgia and noticed they had a small Railroad Museum built into an old freight terminal.  Out back, on a siding next to an active line was this very large hunk of metal.  Noticing the blue sky and the very good bakery on the far side, the Frog stopped, Mrs Frog bought fresh donuts, the Frog took a picture for Nick.  Frog knew not what he was photographing, but it looked appropriate for this thread.  It dawned on the Frog that some people when restoring huge RR iron spend way more than the build out of the average autocross Miata.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/21/22 9:52 p.m.

In reply to Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) :

It's another castoff from the Iowa Pacific Holdings implosion. Its one of the former Burlington Northern E9Am commuter fleet. I assume it will eventually be repainted to match the E8A that CaterParrot already has

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/21/22 10:26 p.m.
NickD said:

An Elk River Coal & Lumber Company Shay fords a creek at Avoco, WV on Nov. 24, 1961. The ERC&L tended to not build bridges, they just forded the creeks. A watchman is riding the running boards on the fireman's side, the boring side of a Shay, watching for large debris.

That may be the most bizarre railroad photograph I've ever seen. 

Recon1342
Recon1342 SuperDork
9/21/22 11:50 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

That makes two of us...

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/22/22 6:36 a.m.

Apparently yesterday wasn’t a good day for NS and the Kankakee, Beaverville & Southern..

It sounds like NS was interchanging some cars with the KB&S when at least one fell off the bridge into the Wabash River. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/22/22 7:46 a.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:
NickD said:

An Elk River Coal & Lumber Company Shay fords a creek at Avoco, WV on Nov. 24, 1961. The ERC&L tended to not build bridges, they just forded the creeks. A watchman is riding the running boards on the fireman's side, the boring side of a Shay, watching for large debris.

That may be the most bizarre railroad photograph I've ever seen. 

That's how you make a photo of the boring side of a Shay interesting.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/22/22 8:02 a.m.

West Side Lumber Co. #10 headed toward Tuolumne with one of the last trains of logs in October of 1960. In a few days the railroad would routinely shut down for the winter, but never reopen.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/22/22 8:23 a.m.

Looking almost abandoned amidst the woods, Twin Seams Mining Co. Shay #5 sits on weed-riddled tracks waiting for the crew to rerail cars behind her inside the railroad's unlined tunnel. Operating over a long-neglected ex-GM&O branch, the many wooden trestles were so neglected that some crews refused to ride over the bridges. Thanks to a Shay's extremely low speeds, they would put the reverser all the way forward, crack the throttle and let the train head out over the bridge, then walk behind the train, increase their pace once they cleared the bridge and hop aboard the engine. Their fears were well-founded, since the whole operation was closed down in the 1960s when one of the wooden trestles collapsed while a train was going over it, leading to the abandonment of the whole operation and scrapping of the Shays.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/22/22 11:03 a.m.

The engineer aboard Twin Seams Mining Co. #5 looks back and watches for hand signals from the brakemen atop the hopper car as they attempt to rerail a car.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/22/22 12:53 p.m.

Graham County Railroad was another one of those railroads where Shays toiled away in relative obscurity until a late date, 1970 in this case. Construction on the 15 mile line between an interchange with Southern at Topton, NC and Bemis Lumber Co. in Robbinsville, NC began in 1905, with the railroad purchasing a used steam locomotive that was sent to Asheville for repairs before operations began. A flood washed away most of the completed line and also swept away the locomotive, never to be found, and it wasn't until 1925 when Graham County Railroad began operations. Their first engine was a Shay purchased in 1925, and so it was #1925. In #1940, they purchased a second Shay and, indicative of the haphazard nature of the GCRR, was #1926. Also, it wore a number plate that said #3229, taken from a narrow gauge Shay that was used to repair the #1926 after a runaway boxcar smashed up the front end. 

The Graham County was prime Shay territory, with a winding line up through the forest that had grades of up to 6%, laid with light rail over the most wretched roadbed you've ever seen. Ron Ziel wrote about visiting the Graham County and remarked how as they climbed up through the trees, there was an opening in the forest. The engineer explained that they had a Southern box car derail and tumble down through the woods, wiping out all the trees in the way. Rather than retrieve the car, it was just left down at the bottom of the hillside. He also described how they broke and overturned a rail, derailing several cars. Attempts were made to rerail the car, resulting in them dragging the car some 20-plus feet, damaging more rail and breaking several ties, at which point they uncoupled from the derailed car and carried on. The engineer remarked that "it'd been a while since they'd had a derailment" and when Ziel pressed him for info on how long was "a while" the engineer shrugged and clarified that that meant 2 or 3 days.

The #1926/#3229 is shown here towing one of Southern's homegrown wood chip cars, south of Robbinsville in 1961. Originally built as Tallassee Power Company #10 of Calderwood, Tennessee, it was later sold to the Knoxville Power Company as their #10 before coming to the Graham County. In 1966, the #1925 was on a mixed train and lost its air brakes, turning onto her engineer's side at Nantahala Gorge and damaging the cab and water tank. The #1926 had it's cab and tender cistern swapped onto the #1925, and the #1926 was eventually sold off in 1988. In 2010, it was moved to Cass where it sits in a state of severe dismantlement, unlikely to ever be returned to service due to it's many missing parts and severe state of disrepair.

In 1967, the Bemis Lumber Company mill had burned to the ground and when it was rebuilt, the mill began using trucks. The railroad continued on with local freight, but had lost it's main source of income. It continued limping along, with the Bear Creek Scenic Railroad also running over the same rails using a two-truck Shay, but on August 14, 1970, with freight traffic dwindling and the carpet mill closing, the railroad ceased all operations. In 1973, the railroad reopened when Burlington Industries bought the line. #1925 took over the excursion runs of the Bear Creek Scenic Railroad and a General Electric diesel handled most of the freight operations,but also ceased operations in March 1975 when a flood washed out a bridge. On May 1975, #1925 ran the last steam-powered revenue freight train. In 1982, the railroad re-opened operations with an ex-ACL EMD SW8, but the line finally shut down for good in 1983, with tracks taken up in 1987.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/22/22 1:54 p.m.

Graham County #1926 at the Southern interchange point at Topton. You have to wonder if Southern Pacific would have allowed their boxcar to be interchanged onto the Graham County if they knew the quality of the rails it would be traveling over.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
9/22/22 2:21 p.m.

Graham County #1925 leaving Robbinsville with empties. GCRR #1925 actually holds the record for the fastest Shay locomotive, being clocked at a speed of 18(!) mph during "The Great Shay Race" at Railfair '99. It ran at the North Carolina Transportation Museum from 1997 to 2005, but was taken out of service indefinitely when the engine needed more boiler work

1 ... 232 233 234 235 236 ... 251
Our Preferred Partners
A169YRffK5tjivqfxihpLwbyxHz4tqliOGJuWSuTy29yxVmlWixLv4Ytw0oeHeOd