Author Topic: Coupler Capers in Mt. Union  (Read 3114 times)

Wayne Laepple

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Coupler Capers in Mt. Union
« on: October 23, 2017, 08:16:34 PM »
The Great Coupler Snatch of 2017 is on! The WW&F has purchased five pairs of 3/4 size couplers from the East Broad Top Railroad in Mount Union, Pa. It's now our challenge to remove the couplers from the selected cars and get them to Maine. Today I went to Mount Union and met with a representative of the railroad to select the cars and to get a better handle on how this can all be accomplished.

For this to happen, I will need some help. The plan at this time is to spend one day actually dropping the couplers from the selected cars. For this to happen, I'll need at least two volunteers to assist me in moving the torches and tools from car to car and standing fire watch during and after each cutting operation.

The EBT folks have volunteered to use their backhoe to pick up the individual couplers and move them to an assembly point for loading into a rental truck. This would probably happen a week or so after the initial visit. Help would be needed to move the couplers into the truck and tie them down for the trip to Maine. I'm hoping to coordinate this operation with the pick up of the castings for the Jackson & Sharp trucks so that all this heavy stuff can go to Maine in one trip.

The dates I have in mind for the first phase are as follows: Nov. 3 (Friday), Nov. 11 (Saturday), Nov. 17 (Friday), Nov. 24 and 25 (Friday/Saturday).

Dates for the second phase have not been set, since the EBT guys will have to let me know when they are available to move the couplers and load the truck, but I'm hoping it will be in early December (before snow flies!).

I do not think that either of the operations at Mount Union will take more than one day, so there would be no need for an overnight stay.

If interested in assisting, send me a PM and I'll try to coordinate and accommodate.

Wayne Laepple

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Re: Coupler Capers in Mt. Union
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2017, 11:39:50 PM »
For those in the above-mentioned states, as well as you folks in the peanut gallery, here's a photo of what we're discussing. This car is tipped on its side, but it's way too difficult to get to with a torch outfit. The three bolts visible here on each side of the draft gear, plus the two on the carrier iron at the far right, are what support the coupler. Once they are removed, the entire draft assembly should (it says here in the fine print) drop to the ground. Of course, it may take a bit of persuasion, since it's been sitting in place since at least 1956. I'm planning to bring along a 20-pound sledge. 

Ken Fleming

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Re: Coupler Capers in Mt. Union
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2017, 12:34:16 AM »
If this deal a once in  lifetime  buy, why only 5 pair?  We need 2 pair for current projects and several for RIP track forever.  They don't rot!

Ira Schreiber

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Re: Coupler Capers in Mt. Union
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2017, 01:00:42 AM »
I may also have good lead on three more pairs. at little or no cost.
Note to Jason:
These are the couplers I told you about a week ago.
Also they are EBT couplers.

John Kokas

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Re: Coupler Capers in Mt. Union
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2017, 10:38:40 AM »
Wayne,  I'm looking at my schedule presently and should be able to help out.  I will PM you when I have a better idea.

On a side note, EBT had several different types of hoppers with the smallest around 30T capacity.  I would suggest that if one was available that we get the whole car and convert it to a MOW ballast car.

Rick Rowlands

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Re: Coupler Capers in Mt. Union
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2017, 01:01:34 PM »
I have to go to Strasburg again on the 15th and 16th to work on the 757.  I also have that set of 20" wheelsets that need to hitch a ride with your coupler shipment to Maine.  So how can I incorporate the delivery of the wheelsets, assist with coupler removal and the 757 work into one big round trip with the hirail truck?  If we could do it on the 13th or 14th I could spend all day out there dropping couplers then continue east to Strasburg.  I would have one person with me so between the three of us we could get it all done at that time. 

Rick Rowlands
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Bruce Mohn

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Re: Coupler Capers in Mt. Union
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2017, 12:07:06 AM »
Hi John Kovacs:

Saw your note about the different types of EBT hoppers.  Currently there are only three types extant on the property; a very small number of two bay hoppers (only one I can think of was converted to a ballast car and is unique, so not something the EBT folks would want to part with), a couple hundred three bay hoppers (the EBT has sold them in the past and probably would be fine to sell another one or two) and a four bay hopper (recently restored).

As far as using one on the WW&F, I'm not sure how that would work.  Even the smallest EBT hopper was big, even for three foot gauge.  Putting one on two foot trucks I think would result in a very precariously balanced car.

Best,

Bruce Mohn

Wayne Laepple

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Re: Coupler Capers in Mt. Union
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2017, 11:42:04 PM »
Coupler Snatch Update. The team has been assembled for the first phase, which will take place on November 17. Thanks to Phillip Marshall, Rick Rowlands, and (hopefully) John Kokas, this part of the project is covered. Watch this space for an update.

Ed Lecuyer

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Re: Coupler Capers in Mt. Union
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2017, 12:42:22 AM »
A capable cast for the coupler caper.
Ed Lecuyer
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Bill Baskerville

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Re: Coupler Capers in Mt. Union
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2017, 12:50:03 AM »
Perhaps we should send down some snatch blocks to help with the coupler lifting during the great coupler snatch.
Wascally Wabbit

Philip Marshall

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Re: Coupler Capers in Mt. Union
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2017, 03:53:19 AM »
I'm looking forward to it! (It's not everyday you get permission to remove heavy pieces of metal from EBT property, so this will be an adventure.)

Jeff Schumaker

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Re: Coupler Capers in Mt. Union
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2017, 01:30:51 PM »
Coupler Snatch Update. The team has been assembled for the first phase, which will take place on November 17. Thanks to Phillip Marshall, Rick Rowlands, and (hopefully) John Kokas, this part of the project is covered. Watch this space for an update.

Will there be photos :o???

Jeff S.
Hey Rocky, watch me pull a moose trout out of my hat.

Wayne Laepple

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Re: Coupler Capers in Mt. Union
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2017, 04:38:25 PM »
Patience, Grasshopper (Jeff). Good things come to he who waits!

John Kokas

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Re: Coupler Capers in Mt. Union
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2017, 09:21:47 PM »
Just a quick FYI that the combined PA, OH, NY team successfully dropped 5 sets of couplers in Mt. Union EBT yard.  Pictures and more details forthcoming from Wayne shortly but to note is went much more smoothly and quickly than we expected.

Bill Reidy

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Re: Coupler Capers in Mt. Union
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2017, 09:48:14 PM »
Very nice, John.  Kudos to you, Wayne and the rest of the PA/OH/NY team!