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 Post subject: Hidden Gems at RR Museums
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:44 am 
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I am well familiar with four RR museums that each have a hidden gem that the public never sees, or if they do, have no idea it's a gem.

I bet every museum has at least one such gem. Maybe as a New Years resolution we should work to make those gems a learning experience. In the museums with which you are familiar, what gem could be exposed?

At the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry in Wasilla there is a section house that contains an amazing large Lionel O Gauge layout with much rolling stock. In the three months I volunteered there two summers ago I don't remember it being shown to anyone or being run.

In Campo, CA at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum the gem was not only hidden from the visitors, but from members. Two years ago when the large baggage in their 100-year-old depot was renovated and the gift shop could move out of cramped space in the waiting room the opportunity to remove the sheet rock, false ceiling, and several non-original internal walls in the waiting room presented itself. What was uncovered is truly a gem (gobs of original wood) and it will be made to look as it did in the 1950s when passenger trains ran on the line and the gem will become public (I hope).

Those who have visited the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie, WA know they have a blowout 120-year-old Northern Pacific depot. I'll bet you have seen only pictures of the outside. The inside is even more special. The gift shop was the men's waiting room but because of all the merchandise shelving you really can't see it. The next room east was the ticket office and the next the women's waiting room. To me the really special room is the ticket office which is used as a staff office and the staff mail room. The original wood walls are curved (not wood paneling). The wood runs diagonally. I have never seen anything like that. The rooms are not labeled for their original use and thus not explaining why women would not wait with the men. I think it's a missed history lesson.

The gem I want to present in more detail may be totally unique. It's at the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, CA. Just south of Car Barn 2 is a floating point double slip switch (aka, a puzzle switch). It's a Pacific Electric streetcar switch from PE's 6th and Main Terminal. It is in regular use whenever cars are moved in and out of Barn 2. The second picture shows the switch and the first picture two of the four points. The point to the left is wedged immobile with a hard piece of removable rubber for the normal route the cars use. The right point is floating about half way thrown on a seldom used route to a siding on which that orange electric steeple cab critter seen in the second picture is sitting. She is used a few times a year for switching freight cars around.

Visitor walk relative near the switch all the time. It is not marked. While I have seen many puzzle switches in heavy-rail terminal throats, never have I seen a floating point one. To me it's a gem. I'm sure it would be to other railfans and a curiosity to other museum visitors. Everybody loves a puzzle.

There must be reason why hidden gems are hidden. Maybe they are just taken for granted. But in my mind every asset a museum has should be used for teaching. My resolution is to get a few signs on interesting pieces, probably all non-rolling stock here, at OERM in the next few months before the late spring heat drives me away again.

Marty Bernard


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Marty Bernard
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 Post subject: Re: Hidden Gems at RR Museums
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:19 pm 

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A wonderful post, Marty. Well stated, fine examples.

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 Post subject: Re: Hidden Gems at RR Museums
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:20 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2005 11:22 pm
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Seashore Trolley Museum, in Kennebunkport, ME, has a floating point slip switch in general use at the Visitors Center loop.


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 Post subject: Re: Hidden Gems at RR Museums
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:48 pm 
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
Wow. I need to get down to Perris someday. You could just stare at that swtich for a long trying to understand it...

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 Post subject: Re: Hidden Gems at RR Museums
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:50 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 12:58 pm
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Location: Chicago USA
Illinois Railway Museum kept their DL&W (later Ingersoll-Rand plant switcher) IR/Alco/GE boxcab tucked back out of the way in the diesel shop for many years. That's only a bit younger than the famed CNJ 1000 in Baltimore. Thankfully it is now in a more accessible place and was even out in the sun during Diesel Days in 2009. (I don't know if my calling it one of the "Crown Jewels" on the Yahoo group inspired anyone to dig it out; I'm just glad it has gotten better visibility.)

Hidden in plain sight would be the way I would describe the Winton 201 engine that sits at the back of the steam barn. If you've read anything about the history of EMC & Winton and GM buying them and rushing to develop a suitable diesel prime mover you know about the developmental pair that powered the demonstration Chevy assembly line at the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair and the selection to power the Zephyr. The engine at IRM is one of those Fair engines and it's not a typo to call it model 201. 201A of Zephyr, early E & early switcher fame was the production version. IRM's is just 201.

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Hidden Gems at RR Museums
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:03 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:51 pm
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Location: Southern California
railfan44 wrote:
The gem I want to present in more detail may be totally unique. It's at the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, CA. Just south of Car Barn 2 is a floating point double slip switch (aka, a puzzle switch). It's a Pacific Electric streetcar switch from PE's 6th and Main Terminal. It is in regular use whenever cars are moved in and out of Barn 2. The second picture shows the switch and the first picture two of the four points. The point to the left is wedged immobile with a hard piece of removable rubber for the normal route the cars use. The right point is floating about half way thrown on a seldom used route to a siding on which that orange electric steeple cab critter seen in the second picture is sitting. She is used a few times a year for switching freight cars around.
Well, it should not be a floating point switch. If you notice there are head ties and there are cut-outs in the webs for the throw rods. These were -- for some now unknown reason -- never installed with the switch and never addressed since. Maybe because it was a powered switch at 6th and Main and it needed manual throws at the Museum.

There should be a rubber wedge for each point. These began being used after a car that I was operating split the switch. We also have a bulletin that all equipment is to have a groundman watching the wheels and points when cars move through the switch.

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 Post subject: Re: Hidden Gems at RR Museums
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:39 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 9:55 pm
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Location: San Diego area
Marty: While not complete, the waiting room at Campo was actually used as a waiting room for our North Pole Ltd. trains last month. The ceiling and three of the four walls are done. Ceiling light fixtures are installed. I'm guessing it will be again off limits to the public for the next several months as work continues.

I'm not sure what exactly is planned for the interior, but there are still the control levers for the functional train order board. Also, last year I was given an old ATSF "standard clock." It has ATSF calibration stickers from 1893 and 1894 in it. I'll donate it to hang in the waiting room, when they are done with all the dirty work. (I know, some might call it sacrilege to hang an ATSF clock in an SP depot).

Jim Baker, PSRM


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 Post subject: Re: Hidden Gems at RR Museums
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:34 pm 
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I'll bet the Seashore switch isn't labeled. I don't remember a sign on that gem.

Marty

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 Post subject: Re: Hidden Gems at RR Museums
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:57 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:51 pm
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Location: Southern California
Hidden out of sight or in the back corners at Orange Empire

A Santa Fe passenger combine body rebuilt from a coach built by Ohio Falls in 1879. Retired in 1915 and later used as part of a residence.

A wooden box car once used by the Tonopah & Tidewater that originated with the Delaware & Lackawanna Western. D&LW numbers observed on car sides or under framing are 32474 and 20450. Believed built sometime in the 1880s.

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 Post subject: Re: Hidden Gems at RR Museums
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:48 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 3:25 am
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I remember when the "puzzle switch" arrived at what was then Orange Empire Trolley Museum in 1964; I believe it was Jim Walker who wrote about its arrival in the Gazette and provided a diagram with a caption inviting readers to figure out all the possible routings. "See why it's called a puzzle switch?"

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 Post subject: Re: Hidden Gems at RR Museums
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:05 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:21 am
Posts: 536
Location: Yardley, PA (near Phila)
filmteknik wrote:
Hidden in plain sight...


Two that fit that criteria are both located at the Museum of Transportation in Saint Louis, MO.

#1) The infamous DL&W #952 - the only surviving steam engine from this railroad.
I was at the Museum 3 times and never saw it. Follow the link for a picture. I beleive it is burried pretty well in the dark amongst the equipment, outdoors tightly packed under one of the sheds with little to note it's significance. Not sure of the date of this image - looks in remarkedly good shape here.

http://transportmuseumassociation.org/delaware952.html

#2) Here's a rare Reading Steam survivor which I probably DID see but didn't even know it at the time. Again, burried, under shadow, towards the rear of the more prominent displays, the Reading Black Diamond steam powered inspection car.
Ha - this one is so hidden, there is not even a current photo from the Museum!

http://transportmuseumassociation.org/i ... iamond.jpg


Let me add yet a third - after becoming a fan of the B&O, recently, I was surprised to learn how few engines remain - most, if not all at the B&O RR Museum, yet here's a real gem in St. Louis sitting quietly burried in the shadows. Again, not a current photo to view from the Museum.

#3) http://transportmuseumassociation.org/i ... ore173.jpg

/Mitch


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 Post subject: Re: Hidden Gems at RR Museums
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:59 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:38 pm
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Location: New Jersey, Central
Mitch, 952 is not the only survivor! 565 is at Steamtown and under active restoration!


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 Post subject: Re: Hidden Gems at RR Museums
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:34 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:21 am
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Location: Yardley, PA (near Phila)
Afboone wrote:
Mitch, 952 is not the only survivor! 565 is at Steamtown and under active restoration!


I know that! I meant to say only "other" surviving steam engine. Doh!!

DL&W #565 (2007)

And thanks to the efforts of you and your dedicated staff, she'll be a gem no longer hidden at Steamtown.

/Mitch


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 Post subject: Re: Hidden Gems at RR Museums
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:46 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Mgoldman wrote:
filmteknik wrote:
Hidden in plain sight...


Two that fit that criteria are both located at the Museum of Transportation in Saint Louis, MO.
/Mitch


Mitch and all,

There are a lot of hidden treasures at MOT. Part of the issue is that there is a lot of equipment that needs protection, and as such, equipment is jammed up. All three of the pieces you mentioned are under cover. Maximum protection, yes, but not always the best display environment.

Besides that, MOT has several other hidden Gems, such as:

1. The first GE electric locomotive.
2. An Illinois Traction System combine, number 241. It didn't get the modernization the other ITS/ITC cars got.
3. An Eddy Clock locomotive, parked on the same track as the Davis Camel and the Reading engine.
4. A IR boxcab from the B&O.

The "problem" with places like MOT, IRM, NRM and B&O is that even the most hardened preservation enthusiast/visitor can succumb to "sensory overload." There's just so much stuff!

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 Post subject: Re: Hidden Gems at RR Museums
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:08 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2007 6:29 pm
Posts: 37
Location: Cumberland, Maryland
[/quote]A wooden box car once used by the Tonopah & Tidewater that originated with the Delaware & Lackawanna Western. D&LW numbers observed on car sides or under framing are 32474 and 20450. Believed built sometime in the 1880s.[/quote]

Delaware and Lackawanna Western? We'll let this one go Brian since your from the left coast. I'm sure Delaware, Lackawanna and Western fans will see fit to excuse the error. Ha Ha.

Just kidding, I always enjoy your post.

Dave Wilson


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