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NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/5/24 12:22 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

Some searching of Gulfport on RRpicturearchives shows them having an NW2R and a GP15-1 there at various times.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/5/24 12:42 p.m.

Robert Riley, owner of Rock Island Rail, is also the Chief Operating Officer of Louisiana Steam Train Association, which is based out of New Orleans and operates Southern Pacific/Texas & New Orleans 2-8-2 #745. The #745 has been out of service for it's 1472 since 2019 and Riley was brought on last year. The #745 used to run over Kansas City Southern tracks, and the CPKC merger may have put that arrangement on ice, but Riley owns his own fleet of passenger cars, and 81 miles of track up on the Mississippi Delta Railroad, so there's some belief that the #745 may go run up there eventually.

In reply to NickD :

I'd definitely make the trek up to the delta for that. 

VolvoHeretic
VolvoHeretic GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/5/24 11:32 p.m.

I have a rail road claim to fame... Maybe 45 years ago I built the first ever plywood positive buck molds for fiberglass switch covers built by these guys when they where owned by the founding owner for the Burlington Northern Railway. I only made $8/hr but made the guy pretty rich. smiley They where pretty similar to these current versions.

 

FiberGlassSpecialtiesND.Com: Railroad Switch Covers

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/6/24 1:16 p.m.

The John Emery Rail Heritage Trust grants for 2024 were announced this week. A lot of them are just "$xx,xxx to restore a coach" but there are some neat ones in there.

  • Adirondack Railway Preservation Society: $ 10,000.00 to help repair and restore their railroad coach 5320 Old Forge to a parlor car configuration. Yeah, this is one of those "restore a coach ones" but it's the local guys, and it'll be neat to see the Adirondack add some more premium car options to go with the dome car and diner.
  • Austin Steam Train Association: $ 11,000.00 for traction motor rebuild and restoration of their ALCO RSD-15 locomotive #442.
  • Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society: $ 15,000.00 to help with the restoration of their ex-New York Central Railroad Empire State Express cars.
  • Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation: $ 23,000.00 to help with the oil burning conversion for ex-Chesapeake and Ohio 2-8-4 “Kanawha” #2716 steam locomotive.
  • Railroad Museum of New England: $ 18,500.00 for help wih the restoration of ex-New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad ALCO RS-3 locomotive #529.
  • San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society: $ 15,000.00 to help provide Positive Train Control (PTC) for ex-Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe #3751 4-8-4 steam locomotive.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/6/24 4:12 p.m.

I'm glad to see the New Haven #529 restoration at the RMNE really starting to take off. It seemed like that one was on the back burner for a long time, but they did a bunch of engine work to it last fall, replaced a couple cylinder liners and pistons and rebuilt some cylinder heads. The money from the John Emery Trust grant will be used exclusively for the purchase of parts and materials that are necessary to perform repairs and restoration work to the locomotive’s truck assemblies to return them to serviceable and operating condition. In the next several weeks, they hope to be finalizing theirr plans for purchasing these parts and materials with the objective to begin repair and restoration work to the first truck assembly in early summer of this year.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/7/24 9:55 a.m.

With this year being Strasburg Railroad #90's 100th birthday, I'm curious if there are any plans for a special event to celebrate the occasion. I know right now that it's out of service for it's 1472, but Strasburg can turn them around pretty quick and has said they plan to have it back in service in late summer. Being a large (for them) engine that runs at fairly low speed on short runs, they said they usually don't need much on overhauls. I'm not expecting them to put the smokebox extension or the second sand dome back on, but it'd be neat to see it with silvered smokebox, the Great Western lettering on the tender and the diamond number plate on the cab, maybe even a sheetmetal cover over the boiler tube pilot, for a charter.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/7/24 12:29 p.m.

I'm headed down to PA at the end of the month for the R&N charter trip up to Mt. Carmel on the RDCs, and like in previous trips, I'm going to go to Strasburg on Friday to hopefully catch Strasburg #89 in operation. That one continues to elude me, and with #90 out of service, that does bump my odds to 50/50 that they'll be running the #89, which has eluded me for years. Any day trackside watching steam is a good day, but I'd still be pretty frustrated if they're running #475, since I've seen that one a ton.

 

I considered going elsewhere, rather than going to the same places over and over again, but after Easter and before Memorial Day, a lot of operations down in that area aren't running on Fridays. Or aren't even running altogether.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/7/24 1:57 p.m.

I did look into maybe chasing some R&N freight on Friday, but they almost all went on-duty at like 5-8am, and with a four and a half hour drive down, I'd be having to leave home at midnight to get there on time. The only one I could leave at a fairly reasonable hour and catch is the North Reading Fast Freight (Reading-Pittson), which is called at 1:30pm. 

I am thinking of chasing PIME (Pittston-Mehoopany) on Sunday though. One of the few R&N freight moves on Sunday, and I haven't ever gone up on that leg of the line. I also think that jobs rates some really weird power. The GP39RN (GP30 body rebuilds) seem to be up there a lot.

I just stumbled across Iowa Traction this evening. I had no idea anyone was using 100-year old interurban power in revenue freight almost 1/4-way through the 21st century!

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/8/24 8:20 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

Iowa Traction is such an odd little operation. You'd expect the last electric interurban freight operation to be somewhere like Illinois or Wisconsin or California or Oregon, all strongholds of the electric railroad in their days. Not Iowa. 

Of course, maybe they're just ahead of the curve. In theory, we should start seeing more of them, especially in California. Too bad the Pacific Electric and Sacramento Northern are all gone.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/8/24 11:08 a.m.

On the Pacific Electric, and some other electric interurban freight lines like the Bamberger, you ended up with the odd sight of diesels equipped with trolley poles.

Pacific Electric ended up under the control of Southern Pacific as a subsidiary. A lot of the steeple cab electric freight motors owned by the PE were pretty low-powered, sub-1000hp. Not bad when hauling a small cut of cars, but during traffic surges they would be overwhelmed. So, SP would send over equipment to help out, Moguls and Ten-Wheelers in the steam era and end-cab switchers in the diesel era. 

On your typical railroad line, the two rails are electrically isolated from each other. When a crossing needs to be triggered, the rails are energized on one side and grounded on the other, and as a locomotive and cars enter that energized segment, the power is transmitted into one wheel, through the axle and out the wheel and completes the circuit, energizing the crossing for as long as there are cars in the energized area. That doesn't work with electrified equipment though; the overhead wire is energized and you need both rails as the ground circuit. So, they instead have contact hung overhead, a set distance from the crossing on either side, that are next to, but electrically isolated from the catenary. The trolley shoe or wheel completes the circuit between the trolley wire and the contact plate at the first plate and kicks the crossing on, and then hits the one at the other side and turns the crossing off.

To work the crossings, diesels assigned to the PE were equipped with trolley poles that would simply be used to trip the crossing guards, and that was it. These weren't dual-mode locomotives that could run the traction motors off of the catenary. During the steam era, they simply tucked a PE electric in behind the tender, and stuff that was too briefly assigned to PE for traffic surges also had an electric freight motor, or a trolley pole-equipped diesel, paired up with it. The big issue with this system was that, it worked fine with short freight trains or two or three interurban cars, but once you were moving longer trains, the locomotive would hit the switch to turn off the crossing guards and still have a bunch of cars going through the crossing. Not an issue in the daytime, but at night, especially with reflective tape on the car sills not being mandated yet, there were accounts of people running into the side of a train at night.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/8/24 11:09 a.m.

A Baldwin DRS-6-6-1500 decked out in PE lettering at the State Street Yard just east of downtown Los Angeles in the early 1950s. These were the largest diesel locomotives lettered for PE. They soon reverted to SP lettering. Since it's not in use, the poles are down.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/8/24 11:11 a.m.

Another Baldwin VO-1000, actually the first one purchased by PE, working a freight train through San Marino, CA, in March 1951

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/8/24 11:12 a.m.

Not just limited to Baldwin equipment, that's an EMD SW1 on Santa Monica Boulevard west of downtown Los Angeles. Check out the CNJ boxcar, with the Statue Of Liberty icon, directly behind the locomotive, a long way from home.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/8/24 11:59 a.m.

An SP TR6A under the wires at near Butte St. Yard just south of Los Angeles in March 1954. The TR6 was a pair of SW8s, one with a cab and one without a cab, that were paired together for transfer switching. Apparently this cow has lost her calf at some point (the A-units were called cows, the cabless B-units were called calves).

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/8/24 12:05 p.m.

A particularly bizarre piece of Pacific Electric equipment. That is an old gasoline doodlebug that PE shortened down to get rid of the passenger compartment and, of course, installed a trolley pole on the roof to trigger the crossing guards. This, and a similarly-modified sister, were used on runs at the city of San Fernando in the northern part of the San Fernando Valley. A switcher assigned here was kept busy with the myriad online citrus packing houses. Apparently no one liked running these "locomotives"

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/8/24 12:12 p.m.

And on the other end of the spectrum, we have a Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee electric freight motor working a spur without any overhead wire. What gives? Well, the North Shore had a batch of these steeple-cab electrics that had big banks of batteries on either ends. They charged the batteries while running under the catenary, and then could run on the batteries to service customer spurs or grab cars from interchange from other railroads. Again, another neat idea that I could see making a comeback in the future.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/8/24 12:17 p.m.

The Norht Shore dual-power electric spotting refrigerated boxcars at some sort of industry in Skokie, Illinois. Cannery or a brewery, maybe, considering those are North Western Refrigerator Line Company "Dri-Protecto" cars. Edit: Some more digging shows I was way off. This was a Wyeth Co. plant which made veterinary pharmaceuticals.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/8/24 12:19 p.m.

Heading over to the C&NW interchange on battery power at Skokie, Illinois.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/8/24 12:26 p.m.

An interesting photo showing a CNS&M electric helping interurban cars bridge a gap in the electric wire. According to North Shore folks, the railroad experimented with some "Bates expanded metal" poles for holding up the catenary, which were found to be weaker than conventional wooden poles when several of them blew down in a windstorm. To keep services active, the interurban cars were running up to the last active section, and then the battery motors would move them through the work zone.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/8/24 3:08 p.m.

Crews look over a newly-arrived, and even more newly-painted, B-B+B-B box-cab electric that the Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee has purchased secondhand from the Oregon Electric Railway, where they had been built in the OER's own shops. You can see how the body rides on an articulated two-piece frame with two two-axle trucks under each frame. OER had built two of these with the same frame and running gear design, but while this one had a box-shaped body with two short noses and a cab at either end, the other one had a center cab with two very long hoods. From what has been said, CNS&M crews preferred this one, because being closer to the end made it easier to see the brakemen on the ground. Both units ran on the CNS&M right up until the end of service in '63 and they were offered for preservation. The issue was, while an interurban car was hollow and maybe 60% metal, tops, these had all sorts of components inside them and were 100% metal, and the prices to buy them reflected the higher scrap prices. Add to that the fact that the Illinois Electric Railway Museum (now Illinois Railway Museum) was both strapped for cash and tight on space and they let both the big OER freight motors, and all the other North Shore freight motors, go to scrap instead.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/8/24 3:19 p.m.

End of the road for the #458. And the North Shore as a whole

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/8/24 3:21 p.m.

Both the ex-Oregon Electric motors outside the shops. You can see the #459, with the steeple-cab body behind it.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/8/24 3:22 p.m.

The #458 and an Electroliner at Mundelein with a 1961 Illini Railroad Club excursion

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