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And Now For Something Completely Different - Vintage Railway Inspection Cars

Discussion in 'The Antiquated' started by '51 Roadmaster, Oct 31, 2017.

  1. ken bogren
    Joined: Jul 6, 2010
    Posts: 638

    ken bogren
    Member

    Here's one I saw at the MSRA some years ago

    railcar-1.jpg

    railcar-2.jpg
     
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  2. tb33anda3rd
    Joined: Oct 8, 2010
    Posts: 15,392

    tb33anda3rd
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Connecticut HAMB'ers

    ok, someone has to explain what's going on here. shiny buick.JPG
     
  3. '51 Roadmaster
    Joined: Aug 13, 2017
    Posts: 227

    '51 Roadmaster

    It's a pic of two guys showing off their super strength by pushing a stalled car out of the way, just in time....

    Cough....(crickets...)

    Seriously though, that's a pic of how they turned these things around. There was a plate attached to the underside in the balance point of the car (note the blocks of wood underneath in the pic). You simply lowered the jack, raised the car, spun it around, lined it up with the rails, dropped it back down and PRESTO, you're off and running in the opposite direction.

    '51 Roadmaster
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  4. tb33anda3rd
    Joined: Oct 8, 2010
    Posts: 15,392

    tb33anda3rd
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Connecticut HAMB'ers

    that makes sense. so that car could not drive on the road without removing all that undercarriage stuff.
     
  5. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 26,406

    The37Kid
    Member

    Is that a Buick Railroad Master?
     
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  6. '51 Roadmaster
    Joined: Aug 13, 2017
    Posts: 227

    '51 Roadmaster

    Exactly. Once the early ones were converted, there was no going back. Somewhere in my files I have an article from a few years ago where a fellow up here in Canada 'restored' an ex Canadian Pacific '39 Buick inspection car back to stock. I think it was a shame, but it's his car and he didn't ask me... Anyhow, the fellow had a pic of a pile of 'railway junk' he took off the car and scrapped. He even had to find a donor frame to swap out the one the railway had 'butchered'.
     
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  7. martz5038
    Joined: May 4, 2010
    Posts: 10

    martz5038
    Member

    Nice pictures would of been nice to ride one of those cars down the track, only drove the motor car and pickup trucks.

    Sent from my XT1635-01 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  8. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,605

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    This railcar has a turntable built into the frame. You jack up the car on the turntable and then spin it 180 to get back home if a return loop or engine house turntable isn't available. Gary
     
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  9. Fedcospeed
    Joined: Aug 17, 2008
    Posts: 2,011

    Fedcospeed
    Member

    That big blue sedan(Buick?) reminds me of the Bomb Shell Betty off the salt flats



     
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  10. low budget
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 5,542

    low budget
    Member
    from Central Ky

    That actually looks pretty cool. First Detroit Steel wheels?
     
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  11. Fedcospeed
    Joined: Aug 17, 2008
    Posts: 2,011

    Fedcospeed
    Member

  12. Was at Strasburg in Pa. earlier this year and didn't see any there at their museum.
     
  13. Fireball Five
    Joined: Oct 5, 2018
    Posts: 55

    Fireball Five
    Member

    Great Pictures! Even some Buicks. Some autos would follow rails perfectly with slightly lowered tire pressure. My [dads] 49 chevy front wheels would not. I missed out on a whole summer and fall of high adventure as they had just abandoned 28 miles of track from our town to the Mississippi River. It was quite the local sport. About 20 yrs. later, they abandoned 40 miles up the Wisconsin River and as luck would have it a local hombre showed up with a couple semi loads of obsolete gas engined section cars for sale cheap. Most Saturdays there would be 8 or 10 Trainin up the river. There was room for about 4 in a car but one guy had a 16 ft. wagon to pull with 10 folding chairs and a few coolers.
    The "engines" were extremely noisy,big 2 cycle singles with not much for mufflers besides the constant Ringing of the steel wheels. Reverse was simple.Youswung a lever on the engine , wound the starting rope backwards and fired the big banger up. The drive system was a 2" flat belt with a tightener.
    They started good and went like hell. Probably had to outrun a locomotive.
    I s'pose this was way off topicbutthepictures were real interesting. I'd guess those section cars were from the 40's. One would look good on a trailerbehind a Roadmaster
    .
     
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  14. rudestude
    Joined: Mar 23, 2016
    Posts: 2,343

    rudestude
    Member

    My dad told about him and his friend doing that in his old late 40's Chevy...they would pull up onto the tracks at a crossing drop the air pressure in the tires and drive down to a fishing hole that was a couple miles down the tracks there was a spot where the rock was heavier and wide that's where they would pull off and drive down a trail to the fishing hole on the return trip once they got back to the crossing they would pull off the tracks go down the road little bit then pull over and air his tires back up using one of them inflation hoses for tractors that screws in a sparkplug hole.....he said it was alot easier to drive on the tracks after a couple beers...........so I don't really know if it was the truth or not or just another fish story......but after hearing some of the stories my grandmother would tell about my dad's adventures I would say it was probably true.....

    Sent from my QTASUN1 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  15. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,605

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    For those who might be wondering... standard gauge track in the US is 4ft, 8-1/2in. And that's conveniently the same as many old cars, or close enough any way, so that special RR wheels with the right back spacing and lug pattern could be directly bolted on - so the former street vehicles could be run on the rails. No need to narrow axles, etc. This was a common practice with railcars that used their driven wheels to drive thru these custom RR wheels. And even some of these gizmos were dual purpose. When running on the rails, the steering was pinned straight ahead when running on the rails. But when stopped at a grade crossing, you could pull the pins and then the vehicle could be used normally, turned and driven off the rails either or for reversing or for parking off-track on RR property. The later, Hy-railer designs used the vehicle's rubber tires for traction and the little "training wheels" used at both ends to keep the car on the track could be raised or lowered automatically. Gary
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018
  16. bundoc bob
    Joined: Dec 31, 2015
    Posts: 105

    bundoc bob

    Some helpful hints for driving stock vehicles on rails:

    Some vehicles, such as 53-6 Ford pickups and 67-9 Mopar A-bodies
    have the correct track width. There are others.
    NO POSITRACTIONS, open diffs only.
    KEEP HANDS OFF STEERING WHEEL AT ALL TIMES
    ...except when going through switches.
    ...difficult to do when going over your first few
    hundred bridges...everything is wide open to view,
    hard to overcome the fear you are going to effing die.
    DO NOT TRY TO BACK UP especially on main line
    track, which is high enough to high center the vehicle.
    Make sure the vehicle has as much positive caster as
    possible.
    Lowering tire pressure a bit can help.
    It's amazing the traction that tires on DRY rails have.
    Let's say you're going about 60MPH and, assuming, say, 350
    HP you can punch kickdown/WOT and not spin a tire.
    At least, that's what gran told me about it.
     
  17. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 7,771

    mgtstumpy
    Member

  18. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 7,771

    mgtstumpy
    Member

  19. I have to admit that this is a whole genre of vehicles that I've never really known about. I guess I always just assumed that all railroad inspection cars were rather generic and made by some vague manufacturer(s) out there. This is a fascinating thread and I'm glad that it continues with some really great photos. These were some real marvels of engineering and I'm quite surprised by the sheer variety of vehicles that were converted for the purpose. Keep the great images coming guys..........Don.
     
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  20. fleetside66
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,467

    fleetside66
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Back in the '70's, when I worked for the now defunct Lehigh Railroad Co., I alway s used to dig the (what we called) Hi-Rail cars. I'm guessing that was one of the later companies that made them. Anyway, I can remember my favorite was the four-door 60-66 Chevy & GMC truck version. And, I always thought that the regular truck manufacturers would have a real hit if they produced four-door trucks for the regular public on a mass scale. Flash forward to today & that's about all you see.
     
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  21. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,822

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    Back in August of 1988, the Chessie pulled up the rails from Belpre, Ohio, to Hamden, and we took advantage of the situation and drove down the track bed. All was good until I came up on a wooden trestle just east of Moonville, that crossed Raccoon Creek about 50 feet in the air and on a gradual curve. That thing seemed extremely narrow, even for an S10, and I thought my heart was gonna jump out of my chest before we got across.
     
  22. Back in 1982 in Claysville Pa when the B&O was taking up their tracks through town my then three year old oldest son rode in the locomotive taking up the tracks. He and I were one of the last to ride the train through that town.
     

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