It is currently Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:45 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 22 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: The Latest from Outside the Strasburg Rail Road Shops...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:09 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1462
Location: Strasburg, PA
...or How I Almost Went Completely Bonkers Trying to Move a Steam Engine a Lousy Forty Miles

I almost forgot to mention that the Timber Heritage Association’s Pacific Lumber #37 has finally arrived at Strasburg from the Wilmington & Western Railroad.

After an interminable length of time wrangling with Class I’s, trucking firms, various bureaucratic functionaries and interfering “experts”, the move was made without incident late last month.

Initially the plan (in 2006) was to load the engine on a flat car for the trip up. Simple enough. It was an education to learn that neither of the two Class I’s involved wanted to be bothered since the move was going to be such a short haul. Months drug out trying to get answers to pretty basic questions like, “What is the minimum clearance height along this route?” I loved the answer extracted at great length from one Class I, “13' 3" from the rail.” Huh?? I pulled out the 1997 Locomotive Cyclopedia, looked up and pointed out to the person on the phone that an SD-40 is 15' 5" tall (Did they have a McDonald’s drive through on that line?). “Oh, that does sound wrong, I’ll get back to you.” Sigh. No wonder people ship by truck. In the end, the cost of two cranes on each end, plus the Class I’s freight charges, extracted after several more month’s delay, “What? No, this is just for our portion of the move. You’ll have to contact the other Class I to see what they charge.”, put the kibosh on the moving by flat car plan.

How about moving #37 up by truck? Great idea, but God awful expensive, and where to load? Mike Venezia, who works in conjunction with Daily Express, and has done all of our heavy hauling for many years, and I drove the entire length of the W&W in early 2008 looking for a location that was accessible to the truck needed to haul this locomotive. The W&W shops were out, too tight. The W&W station was out, too tight and a light bridge to go over. The rest of the length of the W&W was out for having roads too small and winding to hope to maneuver the truck over. The W&W passing track at the end of the line at Hockessin had possibilities for loading by crane, until we looked up at all of the power lines overhead. Sigh.

Moving #37 on its own wheels had always been out of the question since the obvious route would require slow speeds for great distances on the Class I’s. That is until Linn suggested bringing the engine up the East Penn Railroad. East Penn Railroad? I admit, I’d never heard of it. East Penn is a shortline that runs from Wilmington to Coatesville, PA. I drove the line, and sure enough, it interchanges with a Class I in the same yard as the W&W. Its rails were polished at every crossing, it comes into Coatesville near the steel plant. From Coatesville, it was a short twenty mile hop on Amtrak to our interchange at Leaman Place. We have a long history of working with Amtrak... this could work! We could prep #37, and David Ludlow of the W&W was willing to tow it several times over his main line to test its ability to run cool. Once we were assured of its reliability, we could set it up between two empties for brakes and we would be off. Time to make phone calls.

The East Penn was completely cooperative. Special train? No problem. 10 MPH? No problem. He advised me to get permission from the Class I’s before he spent too much time setting anything up. Wise man. I called the Class I Yardmaster in Wilmington. Is was fine with him, the two interchanges were only about one mile apart on one side of the yard, East Penn had trackage rights within the yard, so they could pick it up themselves. Great.

A call to Amtrak signaled the first snag, and not from them, they were completely cooperative, as usual. Since Amtrak uses NS engines and crews for the freight work on this line, and the East Penn ends about 1/4 mile short of Amtrak’s mainline, the interchange to the East Penn is with that 1/4 mile of NS rail, not Amtrak, so Amtrak couldn’t make the move, NS had to. I called the NS Trainmaster in Lancaster about the possibility of chartering a special move at 10 MPH. He was very cooperative, but would have to ask his supervisor. It went up the chain through the summer and into the fall of 2008 until the answer came down from on high that yes, NS would make the move, pending approval from the mechanical department. More calls. The person I got was the first person who wasn’t local. He’d never heard of the Strasburg Rail Road, Coatesville, or Leaman Place. Understandable, since none of them are on the NS. He was concerned about tying up the line, which wouldn’t be a problem since the move would be scheduled late on a Saturday night, when traffic density on the double track line would be zero for about ten hours. He assured me that without roller bearings it couldn’t possibly happen. I explained that it would be a special move, under supervision, at ten MPH, and by the time it reached Coatesville, it would have already successfully run over 25 miles. He said he would check with the VP. I did get a call back, but too late since fate took a turn from another direction.

Since it looked like we might be getting close, I called the Class I Yardmaster in Wilmington to remind him of our conversation of several months back about having the East Penn move #37 through his yard. He said yes, that would be fine, as long as the Mechanical Department said it was ok (that sound was my head hitting the desk).

I called the Class I car inspector to explain the situation. He said he would check into it. By complete coincidence, I happened to be working on #37, doing some initial preparation, when the Class I car inspector happened to show up with his friend, the “expert”. I explained the plan, explained the test running on the W&W, explained the two empties for brakes. The “expert” then took the car inspector aside and passed on to him every worst case scenario having to do with towing a dead steam locomotive possible to recount, disregarding everything I had said, that I had earned a living for thirty years overhauling steam locomotive driving boxes, as well as the fact that I was only after a measly one mile move through a yard. The car inspector’s last words to me? “I would be crucified if I let you make this move.” Thank you so very much.

Meanwhile, I had been talking to David Ludlow of the W&W to ask if he had any other possible idea. Yes he did. There is an industrial plant along the W&W that we might be able to load from. Mike and I had seen the tracks disappear into the plant, but were dissuaded by the chain link fence and the large “NO TRESPASSING” sign. Mike, Dave, and I met there to check out the site. At first, I wasn’t to hopeful. There was a 100 degree corner from the two lane road into the one lane driveway, with what looked like and impossibly low steam line over it, and a 90 degree corner to line up with the track. Mike thought it might work, but the site would require ballast brought in to level the loading area, and he would have to bring in the truck driver to make the final call on whether he could get in and out of the plant.

The next problem? Daily Express has only one rear steering truck that can handle this amount of weight and one driver for it, and they are both semi-permanently assigned to moving windmill nacelles in the Midwest. The only down time in that business is in the dead of winter, so another two month wait ensued before the driver could make a special trip out to scope out the route. He thought it could be done, so a date was penciled in, permits were sought, W&W started on site prep, and we lubricated the engine, removed the main rods, stack, and pilot in preparation for loading.

W&W then moved #37 the entire length of their line to the loading area, and every bearing ran cool, by the way. The trailer arrived in Strasburg, and we had to build track on it since it is deck-less design (just having I-beams across from side to side). After a couple more scheduling delays, the driver and tractor arrived, and took the empty trailer to the loading area. After some impressive maneuvering, the trailer was lined up on the track behind #37, the tractor and gooseneck was removed, and #37 pulled up the ramp for steam Thomas onto the trailer without incident.

Once loaded, the truck was shifted to the side off of the W&W mainline, and the very cooperative plant manager outdid himself in allowing us to leave it parked there until moving day, delayed of course, while the PA highway department demanded that new requests for permits be submitted.

Moving day went smoothly, other than the corner from the plant driveway onto the road, which took over an hour to negotiate, requiring disassembly of the chainlink fence, after a backup move at a sharp angle caused a rear set of wheels to slide sideways, winding up with a fencepost in between two wheels. A couple hours later, #37 was lined up with our unloading track in Strasburg. Nothing to it, piece of cake.

At this point, the Timber Heritage Association, which has been raising funding for #37's restoration all along, is shifting fund raising efforts into high gear. I expect that after some other projects have been cleared from our shop, we will be getting the green light from THA to commence work on returning #37 to service. She appears to be in fairly good condition, having been in service on the W&W prior to THA’s purchase.

I owe many thanks to the plant manager for letting us use his land for loading, without that cooperation, we would certainly have had to remove the boiler from the frame to move the engine. Also the patience and cooperation of the staff of the W&W was indispensable. Mike Venezia went many extra miles working to bring this move to fruition. Most of all, my thanks go to the Timber Heritage Association for hiring us for this work, and for being very patient through one false start after another in getting #37 moved to Strasburg.

Image
147' long. Mike Venezia photo.

Image
The first corner onto the driveway.

Image
The second corner onto the road.

Image
Hanging out in space. David Ludlow photo.

Image
Stuck.

Image
Outside the Strasburg Rail Road’s shop... finally.

_________________
"It was not easy to convince Allnutt. All his shop training had given him a profound prejudice against inexact work, experimental work, hit-or-miss work."
C. S. Forester

Strasburg Rail Road Mechanical Department


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Latest from Outside the Strasburg Rail Road Shops...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:17 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2228
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
NICE flippin' trailer!!!!!

And, the usual par-for-the-course from "the Class 1". Any thought of dealing with the car knocker's supervisor? Or simply, why bother?

One more question-- what was the cost difference between the proposed EPRY rail move, and the monster truck move?

Howard P.

_________________
"I'm a railroad man, not a prophet."


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Latest from Outside the Strasburg Rail Road Shops...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 2:05 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1462
Location: Strasburg, PA
Howard P. wrote:
NICE flippin' trailer!!!!!

One more question-- what was the cost difference between the proposed EPRY rail move, and the monster truck move?

Howard P.


None of the railroads would give me a price until after the mechanical departments had signed off, so I don't have a figure. Regardless, their rates could have been many, many hundreds of dollars per mile, and it still would have been less expensive than trucking it.

_________________
"It was not easy to convince Allnutt. All his shop training had given him a profound prejudice against inexact work, experimental work, hit-or-miss work."
C. S. Forester

Strasburg Rail Road Mechanical Department


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Latest from Outside the Strasburg Rail Road Shops...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:35 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:19 am
Posts: 48
Mr. Anderson: My compliments. Your patience is truly amazing.
But it's also amazing that the railroads apparently have no person, procedure, or process to deal with such requests in a reasonable and timely manner, even if the answer is an automatic 'We can't do that.', at least you'll know sooner rather than later.
I have a Dilbert mug from my big company days. On one side it says, "Company without a strategy" and Dilbert thinking, as the phone rings, "Uh-oh, What should I do?"
On the other side it says "Company with a Strategy".
Dilbert answers the phone and says "We don't do that!"

_________________
G. Cook


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Latest from Outside the Strasburg Rail Road Shops...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:38 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:21 am
Posts: 399
This is a reminder that the demise of railroads doesn't just come from outside sources, but from within.

There have been many shortlines survive simply because they were pieces of track that the class I management didn't want and were slated for scrap, but ended up in someone who cared's hands.

Class I management needs to learn that money can be made if effort is made.

Mark


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Latest from Outside the Strasburg Rail Road Shops...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:03 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 999
This kind of thing is not confined to the movement of exotic rolling stock. About 10 years ago, a shortline for which I was working wanted to move a diesel locomotive dead-in-train from one division to another. Our mechanical folks set the locomotive up for tow and wired the handles for the automatic and independent brakes into the proper positions. The big road's mechanical guy came and looked things over, complimenting our guy for setting everything up properly, etc. Away the loco went. About 10 days later, it suddenly dropped out of sight. It took us several days to locate it, set out on an obscure siding, and eventually the big railroad reported that it had been set off with flat wheels since the brakes had been incorrectly set up. Inspection revealed 8-inch flat spots from dragging brakes.

The fact was that it had crossed two divisions of the big railroad, including the worst grades and curves on the entire system, and at its last overnight stop, someone had obviously fooled with the brakes. They wanted to blame it on us, however. We had to take our case to the very upper levels of management before anything happened. In the end, they wound up changing out the four combos in the field, while at the same time lending us a locomotive until ours finally made it to its destination without further mishap. Most amazing, no heads rolled due to this very expensive screwup on their part.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Latest from Outside the Strasburg Rail Road Shops...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:39 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:21 am
Posts: 399
I know we're derailing this thread....sorry.

The whole class I thing infuriates me. Here's a picture of one of our cars when I worked for Queen Anne's RR in Delaware. We leased it to the Maryland & Delaware RR for an event, and it was interchanged back via Conrail. The CR guys told me to come "deal with" my car, as it was tying up their yard. The coupler was bent, the draft gear housing blown out, and the car derailed/pushed sidways and sideswiped a tank car on an adjacent track. They said they only coupled to it a 2mph with a conductor making the coupling, and the antique junk failed. I later found out from my Conrail employee buddies that they had made a blind shoving move at night putting two sections of a loaded unit coal train together. My buddies weren't involved. Only problem was the 3 vintage passenger cars between the two coal train sections that nobody knew about. Yes, three SD40's in run 7 and 56 loads pushing to a standing 78 loads until they "feel" it couple.......


Attachments:
000_4483.JPG
000_4483.JPG [ 135.66 KiB | Viewed 4438 times ]
File comment: QARR damaged car ex-WWRR, ex-PRR MP54. Date approximately 1993.
000_4482.JPG
000_4482.JPG [ 196.06 KiB | Viewed 4438 times ]
Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Latest from Outside the Strasburg Rail Road Shops...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:53 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 9:19 am
Posts: 560
Location: Scottsboro, AL
Kelly,

You have my sympathies.

As engine size and weight increases arithmetically, the grief in trying to move them increases exponentially. Number 37 looks like a husky little horse.

I've had plenty of experiences both good and bad moving antique equipment by road and rail. The ones that look easy seem to evolve into major headaches, but I've also had my share of dreaded moves that went like a breeze.

Alan Maples
Everett Railroad


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Latest from Outside the Strasburg Rail Road Shops...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:55 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 3:11 am
Posts: 129
Location: Missoula, MT
Yeah, we're gonna build a new steam locomotive and run it on a Class I.

_________________
James Maxwell
Missoula, MT
Steam Traction Engineer


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Latest from Outside the Strasburg Rail Road Shops...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:06 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2336
Location: Northern Illinois
OldColony wrote:
Mr. Anderson: My compliments. Your patience is truly amazing.
But it's also amazing that the railroads apparently have no person, procedure, or process to deal with such requests in a reasonable and timely manner, even if the answer is an automatic 'We can't do that.', at least you'll know sooner rather than later.


Actually, they are handling it exactly according to plan. The request gets kicked around like a football until it reaches the "Vice-President-In-Charge-of-Making-Pests-Go-Away", and then he does.

If they really were going to charge what their extra administrative costs were for making sure these screw-ups didn't happen, or the correct value for assuming the risk if they do, we wouldn't want to pay the price anyway. Gone is the day when the can-do atitude would get someone noticed; now the bean counters don't care, and CYA is the order of the day.

_________________
Dennis Storzek


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Latest from Outside the Strasburg Rail Road Shops...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:30 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:46 am
Posts: 203
Location: here, there, wherever
The photos above show why the class-1s may not want to risk moving historic items. That and the corporate mentality that exists today (NO decisions are local anymore).

Freight equipment is pretty forgiving. And even if you do bash a modern car (like a hopper) up, it can be easily repaired at the shops, and the claim agents can cut a check if need be for any loss contents. But what happens when you bash up that rare coach or locomotive? Not like you can tow it to the shops and fix it up. Then you get into a legal battle between multiple agencies, all for one little lousy move.

It's a lousy situation, but it is what it is. It's not going to get any better as we are quickly losing the old heads in all departments on the railroad. There was that huge gap in the 70s-90s where very few were hired. So the old engineers that know how that GP-7 or S2 need to be set up to trail are gone, replaced by engineers used to hiting a few keys on the computer monitor. The old car knockers used to dealing with friction bearings are going, replaced by young guys scared to death of their own shadow (just how corporate wants them).


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Latest from Outside the Strasburg Rail Road Shops...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:53 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:38 pm
Posts: 527
Location: New Jersey, Central
Kelly,
Another heavy hauling company that can move something that big is Supor Trucking here in Jersey. They moved SR 385 from Kearny to Whippany last year. They have a trailer that the can lower itself and has wheels all along the trailer. Just remember you are dealing with a bunch of guys from Jersey. ;) They moved the jet that landed in the Hudson a few weeks back.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Latest from Outside the Strasburg Rail Road Shops...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 9:46 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:50 am
Posts: 195
Location: Lakewood, CA
Let me say Mike Venezia is truly one of the best professionals I have run across. He moved the Disneyland #5 from our shop in Carson, CA to Anaheim without a scratch, and his legacy moving big things is legendary.

All this begs another question, which may have been asked here before, and if it was forgive me. Why are the Eureka boys restoring an engine way out on the east coast when the PLCo. #29, a perfectly capable Baldwin 2-6-2 double-ender is sitting right there in their collection? It ran back in the '80s when they got it from the lumber company, I've even run it myself and it seemed like it had a lot of life in it. Just curious.

I'm sure when Kelly and Lynn are done with the 37 it will be factory fresh. I hope the funding can be raised.

Chris Allan

_________________
J. Chris Allan
WP 165 Restoration Blog:
http://wprrsteam.blogspot.com


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Latest from Outside the Strasburg Rail Road Shops...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 9:48 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8911
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
With regards to 37/Strasburg: Congratulations. And now y'all have some sense of why British mainline steamers are getting transported from excursion line to excursion line by highway on occasion.

Brother Jordan's post is Exhibit A (actually, more like #745) in why I've been hired to "escort" passenger equipment moving over Class Ones. Now imagine what has to be done to prevent this kind of stuff: Screaming matches with crew members at 5 AM in a snowstorm back in the part of the yard that time and the railroad forgot about...... Arguing pointedly with the senior official of the yard way back in his "ivory tower" while watching the screw-ups the yard crews are making on the CCTV monitors..... Having to drive to the interchange track in the middle of nowhere to be sure the danged local crew actually picks up your shipment after four days in a row of "accidentally" forgetting to pick it up...........

One final note: Show this to all those folks that want to "just roll" the "Lost Engines of Roanoke" to the Va. Museum of Transportation. Remind them that. for all practical intents and purposes, #37 was/is operable during all that ruckus. It needs basic boiler updating, but had that been attended to in Delaware, 37 could have basically made the whole run under its own power. The Roanoke locos are not in this condition.

Somebody remind me again: why the *^&$%$&$#%$$ are we doing this (*&^%%$!@?!?!?!?!? (I guess I'm way overdue for a long-haul train ride or a mainline steamer....)


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Latest from Outside the Strasburg Rail Road Shops...
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:10 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:19 pm
Posts: 425
Location: Bowie, MD
Sad that the class 1 cost the short line a job. One would assume from reading the trades the class 1s sometimes thinks as the short lines as partners. Apparently that isn't the case here.


Offline
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 22 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


 Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 51 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: