Railway Preservation News

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Author:  JTKovach [ Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:51 am ]
Post subject:  Taber's RAIL RODS


We’re seeking technical information, instruction manuals and related material for “RAIL ROD” light weight railway motorcars produced by Tabers, Inc of Perry, Oklahoma in the 1970s.

Built from square steel channel tubing, these vehicles provided ready access for signal maintainers and related craft. We understand early models were powered by a three-horsepower, Briggs & Stratton engine, had a top speed of 12 mph and could move roughly 600 pounds. Priced about $1000, they provided an affordable alternative to hoofing signal batteries or other heavy gear to remote locations.

Restoration of our unit is pretty straight forward, but we’d like to see detail for the engine, engine mount and power linkage – all missing from our car. Should anyone care to share info for these little cars, kindly contact drop a line.

Many thanks for the help!

JT Kovach, Preserving
American Railway Signaling Technology

Author:  scwillis51 [ Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Taber's RAIL RODS

Can you post a photo? I've never seen one.

Author:  JTKovach [ Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Taber's RAIL RODS

Here's a shot from the project file...

Taber RAIL ROD.jpg
Taber RAIL ROD.jpg [ 47.55 KiB | Viewed 3069 times ]

Author:  EWrice [ Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Taber's RAIL RODS

These are interesting because they break down into 4 light weight pieces.

Pm me with your contact info. I have a complete rail rod that may help. I also have some literature that i could scan and email to you. Mine was sold by Rails Company of maplewood, NJ, but looks almost identical to your picture.

Author:  PMC [ Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Taber's RAIL RODS

Someone in Georgia was selling a slightly different one on craigslist for $650 about a month ago:

https://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/atq/ ... 48395.html

Apparently the Texas Transportation Museum in San Antonio has one plus some information on their website, but it isn't working right now, it just came up in a search: "...called a rail rod. It was built for only two years in the late 1960s by a company called Tabers based in Perry...":

http://www.txtransportationmuseum.org/c ... r-cars.php

Author:  Joe Nugent [ Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Taber's RAIL RODS

We have a fully restored Rail Rod at the R&GV railroad museum in Rochester, NY. I'd be happy to take photos/measurements of anything you need. Just let me know!

http://www.rgvrrm.org/museum-receives-d ... nspection/


Author:  JTKovach [ Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Taber's RAIL RODS

We are grateful for the response.

Beating bushes, we found some information about the manufacturer and an overview of their products. One article is published in the Fall, 1998 issue of “Speeder” magazine (volume 7, no. 2), while the other appears in the March /April 2012 issue of “The SETOFF” – both publications focus on motor car restoration and maintenance. Neither contain mechanical details or drawings.

In the 1950s, the parent company “Tabors Welding” was located near the junction of two major railroads in Perry, Oklahoma – the Frisco and the Santa Fe. By the late 1960s, Tabor manufactured oil field equipment and completed small jobs for local railroads. Becoming acquainted with local signal maintainers, track gangs and their work, Tabers recognized a niche he could fill as Hi-Rail equipment began replacing the crew’s smaller motorcars.

He subsequently offered two designs, the simple box-like model depicted above and a later model marketed as the “Rail Rod II” (see the Craig’s list model), to help crews move tools and bulky supplies (e.g., signal batteries) to remote locations. Each car could be set-off is short order and transported in a pick-up.

Based on our member’s response, a few have survived in various collections.

Once again, thanks for the help on these little known cars.
JT Kovach

Author:  Kimball [ Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Taber's RAIL RODS

Rubber treads on the wheels?

Author:  JTKovach [ Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Taber's RAIL RODS

Yes - ours has rubber tires over flanged metal wheels.

Author:  googanelli [ Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Taber's RAIL RODS

A friend and I purchased two M19's and a railrod two years ago. His railrod is in decent shape but does need restored. It is for sale and from the N&W.


Author:  Dennis Storzek [ Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Taber's RAIL RODS

Wow! Does that thing look scary! Having participated in some illicit "speeder speed trials" in my misspent youth, I'd want nothing to do with it. I can't believe there isn't even a foot rest beneath the brake pedal.

Author:  EBTRRM1 [ Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Taber's RAIL RODS

Run one for any length of time and you'll find out why there are few left, not that many where produced to begin with.

Your off the track more than on.

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