TheMagicRatchet
TheMagicRatchet New Reader
5/19/22 8:01 p.m.

Is any of the Sandy River and Rangley Lakes left? I was there in the 70's (I think) and found bits and pieces but I really didn't know where to look. 

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/19/22 9:05 p.m.

In reply to TheMagicRatchet :

There's not much left of the original. The rails were all pulled up in '36 after abandonment. One of the 2-6-2s, the #24, escaped immediate scrapping after being purchased by a doctor and moved to his house, but was scrapped a year later when the city wanted to start taxing him on it. WW&F #9 had been purchased from the Kennebec Central, who had originally bought it from SR&RL. One of the SR&RL's railbuses, based on a REO, still exists after having been sold to the Bridgton & Saco River. There are 3 or 4 passenger cars, including the Rangely parlor car, and an equal amount of cabooses. The new Sandy River & Rangely Lakes Railroad operates a very small segment of rail on the original roadbed out of Phillips, Maine. I'm sure there are still some structures, like depots and freight houses but they can't find a definitive list.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/20/22 12:38 p.m.

Last night I went over to the Canastota Public Library for a presentation by my author friend John Taibi on the subject of his newest book, the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad. John Taibi is probably the most knowledgeable person on the New York, Ontario & Western, having written many, many books on the subject, including Rails Along The OriskanyWhen The Railroads Went To The BeachRemembering The New York Ontario & Western: Oswego to Sydney, and The Ontario & Western Railway Northern Division. Having exhausted that topic, he has since moved on to other local railroading topics, including Oneida's Third Rail about the Oneida Railway Company's third-rail electric interurban service between Oneida and Syracuse, and Silver Rails Through The Heart of the Park about the New York Central Adirondack Division. His newest book is titled HOJACK: Remembering the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad Railroad and Division and covers the RW&O as its own entity and its later years as a division of the New York Central. The RW&O has only been extensively covered in book form once before, in a book written in 1922, so it's a subject that isn't well-discussed. I wish I could have gotten a copy of this book or Silver Rails Through The Heart of the Park, but both have been limited to 600 printings, which have sold out in under 2 weeks, and have cost $120.

It was a pretty interesting presentation though. It's amazing that the RW&O is pretty much unheard of these days, but operated 670+ miles of track in the state of New York, from as far west as Buffalo and Suspension Bridge to the east and north of Massena Springs, with connections to many of the major cities like Utica, Rome, Syracuse, Cape Vincent, and Watertown. The reason is, it was purchased by the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad (early name of New York Central) in 1891 and was formally integrated into New York Central Systems by 1912. New York Central largely desired it for the connection to Canada at Massena Springs, but also didn't want anybody else buying it and moving in on their territory. It then became the RW&O Division, and the NYC also merged a few other railroads into it as well as constructed a few extensions to bring mileage up to over 700 miles. Most importantly was the extension east to Newton Falls and Benson Mines, which, according to Taibi, remained the most profitable part of the New York Central until the very end., with 10,000 ton iron ore trains out of Benson Mines being a commonplace occurence. In the later New York Central era though, the Central began chopping up sections of the old RW&O. They learned that thru routes were taxed differently than branch lines, and so by cutting the section out of the middle between Richland and Camden or Lyons Falls and Lowville, they were able to be taxed differently.

The RW&O was commonly known as the Hojack Line. Why? No one really knows. There are a bunch of theories published, but it could be a combination of all of them, or none of them could be true. After NYC took over the RW&O, people still continued to refer to it as the Hojack, much to the chagrin on NYC management. In fact, in 1906, the NYC published an official memo banning the use of the phrase Hojack to refer to the RW&O Division. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/20/22 3:33 p.m.

The gents at Reading & Northern continue to impress. As one last test run before her big passenger-hauling debut next weekend, they actually put #2102 in revenue freight service today, hauling 100(!) empty hoppers from Reading up to Tamaqua, then uncoupled from those, grabbed 50 loaded hoppers and towed them tender first back to Reading. Had to have been something watching #2102 running with 2200 tons of hopper cars straining the drawbar just like the old days.

Also, word is that they have the Reading 6-chime passenger whistle installed on a manifold along with the single-chime freight whistle.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/20/22 4:36 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/20/22 4:37 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/20/22 4:38 p.m.

The unimitable Mr Andy Muller at the throttle

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/21/22 7:59 a.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/21/22 9:39 a.m.

In reply to NickD :

I can't imagine there are too many occurrences of steam being used in revenue freight in the 21st century. There's the mine in Eastern Europe I posted a while back, and I think Nevada Northern might use steam - but I'm not sure how much revenue freight they have?

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/21/22 11:41 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

Strasburg is known to do it on occasions. Usually when it's more freight than their SW8 can handle or it is broken, then they will send #90 down to grab cars from interchange.

Interestingly, this is not the largest move of freight cars by a steam engine in the 21st century. That honor goes Frisco #1630, the Russian Decapod at IRM, when it moved 135 empty hopper cars off of IRM. property.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/21/22 6:13 p.m.

Frisco #1630 with that 135 car train. IRM stored them for UP over the winter to generate revenue and then used #1630 to remove them.

 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/21/22 7:03 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

Oh yeah! I'd forgotten about it, but I I watched it (most likely) when you posted it here. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/21/22 9:07 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

Famously, N&W #1218 also hauled 100 loaded coal cars during the 1987 NRHS convention, running alongside N&W #611 with a passenger on the double-tracked main for miles on end. Not really a revenue move though 

UP #3985 used to be run on the occasional revenue freight when UP needed to make a ferry move, and as a promotional stunt hauled a 134-car container train. But that sort of thing seems to have ended under Ed Dickens. Too bad because I'd like to see #4014 move freight over Sherman Hill like the old days

Both of those were pre-2000 though, so that's why #2102 holds the 21st century record

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/21/22 10:02 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

It would be awesome to see 4014 doing what it was built to do once again. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/23/22 10:14 a.m.

I just realized that there still hasn't been any announced events for N&W #611 this year. By this time last year, it had run several excursions down at North Carolina Transportation Museum and had made the ferry move up to Strasburg. But, so far, there hasn't even been a schedule released for its 2022 season. Very strange.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/24/22 11:27 a.m.

Reading & Northern's passenger department made this post yesterday: "After testing Steam Locomotive 2102, we found that running back-to-back days is not practical. Autumn Leaf Excursions on October 2, 9, & 30 will now be powered by our streamlined F-Unit diesels. Steam Locomotive 2102 will still be running on October 1, 8, & 29. Please see the updated schedule below." Basically there is a lot more logistical work to running the #2102, since it doesn't fit any of R&N's turntables. #425 can be run from Reading to Jim Thorpe, then either turned on the Jim Thorpe turntable or wyed on the bridge above Jim Thorpe, then run back to Reading and run tender-first back to Port Clinton, ride the turntable there and be ready for the next day. #2102, on the other hand, has to be wyed at Jim Thorpe and then, after returning to Reading, has to run tender-first all the way back to above Tamaqua to Nesquehoning Junction to be wyed there, then return tender-first to Port Clinton to spend the night at the engine shop. That's also on top of it burning more coal, and having more parts to service and maintain.

There are also already people complaining that R&N plans to have diesels tucked in between #2102 and the passenger cars, with them saying that #2102 doesn't need the assist since it hauled the hopper train to Jim Thorpe and back unassisted. But it isn't that #2102 needs the added tractive effort, it's that the R&N crews don't want to chew up the brakes on the passenger cars. The diesels are mostly just there for dynamic braking, and can be called on to help if it's absolutely needed. That's also the reason they don't run the F-units as diesel backup behind #425 or #2102, because the F-Units are not equipped with dynamic brakes.

LS_BC8
LS_BC8 New Reader
5/24/22 11:57 a.m.

A friend of mine that used to work at EMD sent me these sad photos.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/24/22 6:01 p.m.

In reply to LS_BC8 :

Was that the original La Grange facility?

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/25/22 9:54 a.m.

When General Motors bought Electro-Motive Corporation and renamed it to Electro-Motive Division, there was a big press event, and at the time they displayed models of a corporate EMD museum that was planned. There were scale models of rather intricate displays and EMD planned to set aside one example of every major model and have it on display. It would have been really impressive, but pretty much immediately those plans were tossed in the trashcan. I mean, of the original four-unit EMD FT demonstrator set, the diesel that broke the steam locomotive's back, only a single unit was saved and not by EMD. Of the E7, the most populous passenger cab unit produced, only one is preserved, and again not by EMD, but by intrepid PRR employees. Even the dioramas of said proposed museum were destroyed some time not long after. And the original La Grange factory, where diesels marched out at a rate that would shock steam locomotive manufacturers, is completely leveled, with just the sign saved by IRM.

Not to say that EMD was completely uninvolved in preservation efforts. I can think of two major instances: One is B&O EA #51, the very first mass-produced diesel locomotive, and the other is CB&Q E5A #9911-A, the last surviving EMD E5. In the case of B&O #51, B&O sent all of their EA/EBs back to EMD later in life to have them rebuilt with E8 bodywork and to replace the old Winton 201A engines with EMD 567s (ATSF did the same with their E1As/E1Bs) and when EMD received the #51 for rebuild, they realized just how historically important it was and convinced B&O not to irrevocably alter it, and instead put it in the B&O's corporate museum. As for CB&Q #9911-A, at the time EMD had a contract with Pielet Brothers scrapyard where every diesel traded in to EMD went directly to Pielet Brothers for scrapping, and in the contract was a stipulation from EMD that not a single unit was to be resold. CB&Q retired the #9911-A in 1968, the last EMD E5 still in service with the Q and traded it into EMD, who sent it to Pielet Brothers. Illinois Railway Museum had purchased the entire stainless-steel Nebraska Zephyr set of passenger cars, and wanted to complete the set with a stainless-steel EMD E-unit. They caught wind of E5A #9911-A Silver Pilot at Pielet Brothers and reached out to EMD and EMD, just that one time, contacted Pielet Brothers and asked them to spare the #9911-A and send it to IRM, making it the only diesel to ever exit the gates of Pielet Brothers still assembled and operational, which could only be done with EMD's permission.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/25/22 11:13 a.m.

Slightly concerned about this weekend. The city of Jim Thorpe made a post on Facebook saying that due to Memorial Day weekend and Reading & Northern debuting the #2102 this weekend, expect high congestion and difficulty finding parking. Even on a normal day, Jim Thorpe is a nightmare to navigate and find parking. If you haven't been there, it's kinda hard to explain, but Google Maps can kind of show it. But the city is crammed down in a valley, along the Lehigh River, and there's only one major road through the city, and there's only one big parking lot. All the other roads are these tiny little two lane affairs up into the hills, and because no one has a garage or driveway, the parking along the street, what little there is, is usually occupied with resident's vehicles and to get to it, you still have to fight the congestion in the city center near the train station. Cool city, but dear god is it difficult to navigate and I would never want to live there.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/25/22 11:37 a.m.

I will say that those Autumn Foliage Excursions with #2102 would be neat to do because I could ride behind #2102 on Saturday and then chase the F-units on Sunday. I've seen the F-units on display, but not in operation and they are mighty pretty.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/25/22 1:42 p.m.

Also, on the subject of F-units, I was looking at other railroads along my route from Reading to Rome to visit, since I plan to leave Reading on Sunday morning and have no real plans for the day. I originally was considering the Delaware & Ulster, which is in Arkville, NY, since they operate some D&H-painted Alcos, but that added over 2 hours to my return trip. So then I remembered the Delaware, Lackawaxen & Stourbridge, which operates out of Honesdale, PA. I distinctly remember seeing their station on the time I was in Honesdale with Wally while we were crewing for a stage rally team at Empire State Performance Rally (I also distinctly remember Wally, myself, Rob Russo, and Chris Greenhouse terrorizing a waitress at a wood-fired pizza place with an inane conversation involving "decorative water"). Honesdale only adds an hour to my trip and the DL&S, usually referred to as The Stourbridge Line, operates a PRR-painted F7 and coaches, which is pretty cool. But even cooler, they have a Bangor & Aroostook EMD BL2. So I bought a ticket for Sunday's noon trip aboard

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/25/22 3:52 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/25/22 5:11 p.m.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/25/22 7:46 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

As a kid I always thought BL2's were so ugly, but they've really grown on me over the years. 

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