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 Post subject: Film of a CRI&P track gang
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:45 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:20 pm
Posts: 448
Below is a very interesting piece of amateur film footage (shot in the late 1940's to mid 1950's, I think) that shows a Rock Island track gang replacing rail. It is not my film. I think this film would be wonderful material for a museum kiosk or exhibit as it is educational and shows the sort of tough, manual labor that went into track maintenance prior to the current era of total mechanization.

Volland, KS, Rock Island track gang: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zq0oFTSon0U

Can someone please tell us what every piece of equipment is, and what every operation is that we witness here?

I think maintenance of way is a fascinating subject, and I hope at least one North American rail museum has made an effort to preserve and interpret it. Does anyone else agree that an important aspect of railroad history is people and labor?

Screen shots from the film below:

1. (Possibly an adzing machine?)
Attachment:
view1.jpg


2. Sore backs all around.
Attachment:
view2.jpg


3.
Attachment:
view3.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: Film of a CRI&P track gang
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:46 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:20 pm
Posts: 448
4. Same equipment as view above.
Attachment:
view4.jpg


5.
Attachment:
view5.jpg


6. (More sore backs).
Attachment:
view6.jpg


Last edited by rock island lines on Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Film of a CRI&P track gang
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:48 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:20 pm
Posts: 448
7. This looks like a power wrench. And a noisy machine, I am sure.
Attachment:
view7.jpg


8.
Attachment:
view8.jpg


9. The track gang en route. Can anyone guess the number of people in this gang?
Attachment:
view9.jpg


Thanks for reading.


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 Post subject: Re: Film of a CRI&P track gang
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:40 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:12 pm
Posts: 27
It is an interesting film, but its actually pretty well mechanized. Most folks in the short line or preservation community would love to have that much gear.
I can state from personal experience that the practice of changing out rail by hand still continues into the so called modern era. Ive changed out plenty of rail with nothing more than a couple guys with lining bar, crow foot, track wrench, and spike maul.


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 Post subject: Re: Film of a CRI&P track gang
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:56 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:45 pm
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rock island lines wrote:
Can someone please tell us what every piece of equipment is, and what every operation is that we witness here?

I think maintenance of way is a fascinating subject, and I hope at least one North American rail museum has made an effort to preserve and interpret it. Does anyone else agree that an important aspect of railroad history is people and labor?


Kent Walker of the West Virginia Railroad Maintenance-of-Way Museum posts here, hopefully he will see this and respond. Hopefully he can explain what all is going on.

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 Post subject: Re: Film of a CRI&P track gang
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:05 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
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Location: Thomaston & White Plains
First 2-3 machines are adzers; note the fellow brushing hot creosote onto the adzed plate seats on the ties.

The #4 machine looks like a gager, it sets the loose plate to proper track gage in advance of the rail-laying crane.

#7 is indeed a power wrench, bolting up the joints. Note that there is a trackman brushing black oil onto the fishing surfaces of the rail and joint bars before the joints are made up; this black oil helped prevent corrosion from dripping salt brine coming from ice-cooled reefers. Another part of railroading that went away, due to welded rail and mechanical reefers.

#8 is a Nordberg "wood pecker" mechanical spike driver. These are very effective machines, though a bit heavy.

Very interesting clip. Did anyone catch the RDC in the passing passenger train?

Howard P.

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 Post subject: Re: Film of a CRI&P track gang
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:43 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:20 pm
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You're a careful observer, Howard. I didn't see half of what you saw in the film.

Howard wrote: "The #4 machine looks like a gager, it sets the loose plate to proper track gage in advance of the rail-laying crane."

Yes, I think you're right! I just found this 1956 Nordberg gaging machine advertisement on Ebay. It looks to be the same machine in the film.


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 Post subject: Re: Film of a CRI&P track gang
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:23 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Baltimore, MD
Not too long ago, one of the commercial video producers (I'm thinking Pentrex) did a similar video of a contemporary track rehab crew on Norfolk Southern. Almost a clone of this, in the 2000s.


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 Post subject: Re: Film of a CRI&P track gang
PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:30 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:20 pm
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As a dessert item for this thread: The same photographer shot this train led by a Rock Island DL-109. The movie clip is only 20 seconds long. I need to study an Official Guide to see what train this may have been.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFq8WfeKwjU


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