W.W.&F. Discussion Forum

The Maine Narrow Gauges (Historic & Preserved) => Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad => Topic started by: Matthew Gustafson on January 07, 2009, 07:21:35 PM

Title: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Matthew Gustafson on January 07, 2009, 07:21:35 PM
Ive learned that the RGS actually made railcars out of automobile bodies on railroad wheels! Are the SR&RL railcar are based on automobile with railroad wheels attach to the body?  ??? ;) :)
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodys based on?
Post by: Steve Klare on January 07, 2009, 08:18:10 PM
SR&RL was very good at converting motor vehicles for rail use. As a matter of fact the Phillips shops of the SR&RL did a standard gauge Bus conversion for the Maine Central which still exists today. I recently heard it also did some time on the little standard gauge industrial railway at Starbird Lumber in Strong in years after the SR&RL itself was gone..

A lot of the two foot gauge cars still exist as well, including a Model T track car, Model T Superintendent's inspection car and a REO railbus.

Here is a shot I got of the SR&RL track car at Boothbay Railway Village in 2004.

http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?photo=2004080700225818992.jpg&order=byposter&page=1&key=srnumber9


Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodys based on?
Post by: Ira Schreiber on January 07, 2009, 08:20:51 PM
NONE of the RGS Motors(Geese) were Fords.
They were a mix of Buick, Pierce Arrow, Chevrolet and what ever else was around the Ridgway shops.
Of the seven originally built, six remain and there is a replica of the seventh. Three of them are just 45 minutes from me at the Colorado railroad Museum.
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on January 09, 2009, 01:14:39 PM
Matt, the car body depended on the type of work the car was designed for.  The SR&RL used Model T and later, Model A Fords as the basis for their railcars.  The Superintendents Model T retained it's original open (soft top) touring body mounted on a heavier channel stock frame.  A tool box was added to the back.  The standard track crew cars had the Model T front with a wide open utility body.   This design allowed for seats and room in back for lighter tools.  The track crews usually took these cars out pulling a small railcar for track tools.  The SR&RL liked Model T's because of the Ford planetary transmission which included the service brake.  Also, there was no gas pedal because the spark advance and throttle were on the steering column.  This made the Model T an easy conversion to a two foot railcar.  Hand brakes were applied to the wheels during conversion.  The Phillips shop crew came up with a special rear axle design that allowed the cars to run as fast in reverse as they did going forward.  The only problem with extended backwards running was that the cars ran hot and the radiator would boil over.  The car had to be stopped to let the engine cool.  (Note: That's why the WW&F's Model T was built with it's own turntable)  The last SR&RL track car built was a standard open work body car  with the a Model A engine, transmission and front.  That car had a standard gear shift and clutch.  The car got beat up when the scrappers used it to pull flatcar loads of rail.  The car was sold and dismantled for it's Model A drive train.

Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Steve Klare on January 09, 2009, 01:39:34 PM
I always thought the "A" was a "T" re-engined by the scrappers. Was this a new car built during operations?

I rode on the SR&RL model T track car at both Edaville and Phillips, and something struck me interesting about it.

Obviously they didn't need the steering wheel because the track takes care of all that, but they needed the column itself to mount the spark advance and throttle (as Stewart reminds me).

-So here you are: Mr. Motorman, sitting in a seat without belts of any kind with the butt end of a steering column pointed straight into your chest.

I guess the track workers could have "joined the birds" if they saw a crash coming, but Vose's "T" had the original "T" body, and the driver's side front door didn't even open on a Model T. The outline of it was stamped into the sheet metal, but ol' Henry didn't make it functional to cut costs.

If you really think about it, it was an accident waiting to happen, yet somehow they lived to be old men without worrying about it too much.

Personally I would have left the wheel in place, even if it would only be a good as handgrab. (You just watch out for the guy that turns it when he comes to a switch and disqualify him to ever run a locomotive!)
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on January 09, 2009, 04:43:18 PM
Steve,  The Model A was built in the Phillips shop in 1934.  By that time Model T's had been out of production for 7 years so the Model A drive train was used.  It was numbered 3 and used the frame and open/work body from the old railbus 3 which was a Model T.  The railbus body and frame was shortened because the Model A wound up with 4 uprights (not counting the windshield) when it originally had 6.  The standard Model T track cars also have 6 uprights.  The odd thing about the Model A is that it had Model T headlights, probably left over from the railbus days.  They have indented glass whereas the Model A headlights have the glass flush with the lense rings.  I just looked at my Model A truck to be sure.  The T headlights on the SR&RL's Model A gave it a different look than the front of a regular Model A car or truck.  The Model A also retained it's front (tuck and roll upholstered) bus seat through the end of service.  That must have been a nice ride for the track crew. 

Good point about the danger of running a railcar.  I've thought about the missing steering wheel too, that would hurt!  Some railroads left the wheel in place, maybe for that reason.  Those Model T's can really move.  I rode in both SR&RL cars 1 & 2 when they were at Sheepscot for the picnic in 2000.  Car 2 had been there in previous years and Harry liked running her, he would really have her in the wind.  I remember that Car 1, (Vose's car) was very comfortable.  Must be those over stuffed seats.  The car has four operating doors.  It's true that earlier Model T's were 3 door cars with the stamped "fake" drivers door but Vose's car is a 1925 and has 4 working doors.  At some point Ford offered the opening drivers door, not sure what year it started. 
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Bernie Perch on January 09, 2009, 04:59:51 PM
Guys,

How far along is the WW&FRR railcar?  Did the tires come in and if so, have they been shrunk on?

Bernie
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Keith Taylor on January 09, 2009, 05:11:49 PM
Steve and Stewart,
The only Model T's that I know of that had an opening left hand door, were the English (and some Canadian) T's that had right hand drive, and in that case the right hand door was fake. There were two reasons for this and neither was cost. Number one was the car wasn't stiff enough if there were four doors, and number two was your path was blocked by the Hand Brake/ Neutral / High Speed lever. You would get hurt trying to enter the car with the lever in the way.
Keith
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Steve Klare on January 09, 2009, 05:33:29 PM
Somewhere (probably in "Two Feet Between the Rails") there is a picture of Mr. Vose standing next to his "T" in front of Phillips station. I'll have to check this out!

I remember SR&RL #3: that was the prototype railbus that was opened bodied, then closed bodied and then retired when REO #5 went into service.

I would imagine a car on steel wheels really could get a move-on! That's a substantial reduction in rolling resistance. Of course the traction wouldn't be that great, but you wouldn't need as much either (then again, they did haul a coach with one at least once...)



Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Steve Klare on January 09, 2009, 06:20:00 PM
Page 307 of Two Feet Between the Rails vol. 2 shows the Vose railcar on the table at Phillips with the driver's door open.

(Must be a nice ride with the top down!)
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on January 09, 2009, 06:26:21 PM
Quote
How far along is the WW&FRR railcar?  Did the tires come in and if so, have they been shrunk on?

I think Jason finished one of the axles last week. The tires have not arrived yet. They also have to complete the transmission.
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Mike Fox on January 09, 2009, 06:42:55 PM
As of last Saturday, Jason was working on the drive Axle. He had a keyway cut into the shaft, and was boring out the inside of the ring gear so it would fit the shaft. Original axle was something like 1 to 1 1/4 inch. The new one is 2 inches if I remember what he said. I got a quick lesson on lathe set up while finding someplace warm to hang out Saturday afternoon.
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on January 09, 2009, 07:33:33 PM
Ed and Mike,  Thanks for the update on the new WW&F railcar, I'm looking forward to seeing it completed and getting qualified on it.  The car is built to the SR&RL open/work type body which will hold 6 adults, but in true WW&F style it will have a turntable for safer operation.

Steve, I found my photos from the 2000 picnic and it shows Vose's car running about 100 feet south of car 2.  That was the first time the two cars had operated on the same Maine railroad since 1936. Many visitors rode the cars, it was a great weekend!  A bit more on Model T's.  I'm no expert but I know that some improvements were made in the last few years of production.  The body was made wider and the ignition and brakes were improved.  The changes got the assembly line ready for the introduction of the Model A in 1928. 

As noted, the SR&RL and WW&F used Model T's.  The Monson and B&SR did too.  The KC was the only Maine two-footer that didn't get into Model T railcars.  It may be because on the railroad's length or because they ceased operations in 1929.  It's possible that if the SR&RL and WW&F had lasted longer they may have used other brands of cars or trucks as crew railcars.  The B&SR/B&HR which lasted until 1941 had a Chevrolet railcar which started it's flanged wheel life as railbus 2.  That was the exception to crew railcars.  The nice thing about the old Fords is that many parts will fit all of them, that's handy in the shop.  I've always liked their looks as railcars too.
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Mike the Choochoo Nix on January 09, 2009, 10:50:43 PM


-So here you are: Mr. Motorman, sitting in a seat without belts of any kind with the butt end of a steering column pointed straight into your chest.

I guess the track workers could have "joined the birds" if they saw a crash coming, but Vose's "T" had the original "T" body, and the driver's side front door didn't even open on a Model T. The outline of it was stamped into the sheet metal, but ol' Henry didn't make it functional to cut costs.

If you really think about it, it was an accident waiting to happen, yet somehow they lived to be old men without worrying about it too much.

Personally I would have left the wheel in place, even if it would only be a good as handgrab. (You just watch out for the guy that turns it when he comes to a switch and disqualify him to ever run a locomotive!)


On the 3 foot gauge "Casey Jones" railbus in Silverton CO they left the steering wheel in place and connected a cable to the arm at the bottom end. The cable ran through some pulleys to a brake beam at the rear axel. The steering wheel become a brake wheel!

Mike Nix
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Steve Klare on January 09, 2009, 11:13:51 PM
Hmmmm...

Kinda dangerous the next time the motorman drives a regular car!
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Steve Zuppa on January 10, 2009, 06:42:22 AM
The tires for the railcar and #11 arrived yesterday. They are bright and shiny and very heavy.
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Bernie Perch on January 10, 2009, 07:41:35 AM
Guys,

Even though I know what tires look like, when someone has a chance, I would like to see someone post a photo of them.  Thanx in advance.

Bernie
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Bill Sample on January 10, 2009, 11:46:57 AM
A note on preserved SR&RL REO railbus #4 - the car currently has a Ford Model A nose and also - I think - a Model A engine.  This was a result of a road crossing collision during its Edaville residence - the car was rebuilt with the Ford front end.  I would think Model A parts are far easier to come by than REO. 
I had the pleasure of riding on this car up at Philips back about 10 years or so when it returned for a visit at Philips Old Home Days.
Maybe someone better acquainted with this railbus could correct or expand on this info.
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Steve Klare on January 10, 2009, 01:24:29 PM
Bill,

What's the interior of SR&RL 4 like? I've never been closer than standing outside when she was sitting on a flatbed trailer. They wanted to run her at Old Home Days when I was there, but they had no way of getting her off the truck.

Does she feature the Stinchfield Patent Harpoon Steering Column (TM)?

(Might not need it, she probably has gas, brake and clutch on the floor.)
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Steve Zuppa on January 10, 2009, 05:18:47 PM
Bernie,
Mike Fox took some photos today and said he'd post them when he got home.
S
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Mike Fox on January 10, 2009, 08:04:12 PM
Go to this thread to see the pics.
http://forum.wwfry.org/index.php?topic=198.0 (http://forum.wwfry.org/index.php?topic=198.0)
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Bernie Perch on January 10, 2009, 09:19:18 PM
Mike,

Again thanx for posting the pictures of the tires.  Somehow I wish I was born in Maine where I could be closer to the action and do more grunt work on this equipment.

Bernie
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Bill Sample on January 11, 2009, 04:15:18 PM
Bill,

What's the interior of SR&RL 4 like? I've never been closer than standing outside when she was sitting on a flatbed trailer. They wanted to run her at Old Home Days when I was there, but they had no way of getting her off the truck.

Does she feature the Stinchfield Patent Harpoon Steering Column (TM)?

(Might not need it, she probably has gas, brake and clutch on the floor.)
Steve, I can't really say for sure but I don't think there was a steering column in #4.  I just
seem to remember a wood dash with a few gauges and switches.  Maybe there were some
changes to the interior during the "Fordification" of the vehicle from its original state.   
Maybe Hans or someone from the MNG could give some better details on the present layout.
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on January 13, 2009, 11:40:51 AM
Bill,  SR&RL 4 did get the Model A engine when the railbus was rebuilt at Edaville.  You are right about Model A parts, they are easy to get with a number of companies, including Ford still supplying them.   

As I mentioned in a previous post, SR&RL railcar 3, was built in 1934.  It started with the frame of the old railbus 3 which was a Model T.  The frame was shortened to be the same length as railcar #2 but the new #3 was built using Model A parts.  The parts included the solid (slide out) windshield, arched visor, cowl, hood and radiator shell.  The engine and transmission was changed to a Model A drive train but the car kept the original axles.  The other equipment kept from the railbus was the Model T headlights.  This was probably done because most Model T headlights are designed with a long mount/bolt to fasten the light onto the front plate so they sit down near the bottom of the radiator.  The first SR&RL Model T, railcar 1 was an inside frame car that only lasted for 2 years.  The rest of the fleet was built with an outside frame which made the cars track better.  The outside frame extended past the radiator, giving a platform where the Model T lights were mounted.  Model A headlights do not have the long bolt because they are mounted on a bar that goes between the fenders.  There are no fenders on an outside frame car so there's no place to mount the headlight bar.   The original frame would have had the headlights still intact, waiting to be hooked to the Model A wiring harness.  If the SR&RL bought a complete Model A and parted it out to build the railcar, management probably sold everything that was left to recover some of the railroad's expense.  The Model A headlights would have been sold since they were newer and more valuable.  Selling all the un-need parts would have been common practice during the Great Depression. 
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Mark Edry on January 14, 2009, 11:32:21 PM
For what it's worth, here's the interior of the standard gauge railbus the Sandy River shops built from an REO bus, now restored and in residence at Clark's in NH:

(http://www.markedry.com/etc/wmcbus1.jpg)

Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: James Patten on January 15, 2009, 11:03:36 AM
It's amazing how roomy those standard gauge things are...
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on January 15, 2009, 01:10:56 PM
Thanks for the photo Mark. The interior sure looks nice, definitely more room than a Model T.  I've seen the railbus but it was inside the enginehouse and there was no room for photos.  I see they kept the steering wheel.  It also looks like there are two brake levers.  The Phillips shop must have added the extra brake lever for the railroad style hand brake.  The other brake lever would be for the original REO emergency brake that contacts the rear wheel's brake drums.   I hope to get back to Clark's sometime when the bus is running.
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on January 15, 2009, 01:18:18 PM
Quote
I hope to get back to Clark's sometime when the bus is running.

Try to go during their railfan weekend - usually mid-September. They typically have all 4 (operational) steamers under steam, plus the railbus. And there's no extra charge for admission and unlimited rides. It's one of the best-kept secrets in New England railroading.
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Stephen Hussar on January 15, 2009, 07:14:28 PM
Another distant memory, but think I remember seeing the "Kennebago bus" (this is the same railbus, isn't it?) sitting in someone's side yard (in Strong?) back in the early 70's, all rusty with faded paint. My jaw about hit the floor the first time I saw the restoration the Clarks had done -- I do wish it was painted differently though.  It's strange how some of the Clarks collection looks authentic, while other items are (in my opinion) "too colorful."  Also, I believe the Heisler needs work and won't be operating anytime soon...
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Steve Klare on January 15, 2009, 10:28:26 PM
You must have seen the bus in Strong after it worked the line at Starbird's:

http://www.whitemountaincentralrr.com/RailBusB1

(Still wrapping my head around a standard gauge ROW in Strong!)
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Mike Fox on January 16, 2009, 03:25:59 PM
Surely they are mistaken about that Steve. Farmington maybe but not Strong. How would they have gotten the cars up there. The line was never Standard gauged.
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Allan Fisher on January 16, 2009, 04:17:26 PM
Starbird Lumber Co just north of Strong had a short stretch of standard gauge track for moving lumber around the yard. It was right next to where the 6 SR&RL boxcar bodies were. I have a picture of the critter that used to move log cars around and remember it well when I worked for Virgil Starbird in late 1965.
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Steve Klare on January 16, 2009, 05:32:28 PM
Allan,

Do you have any idea when the Standard Gauge line was built? Did it ever have any interaction with two foot gauge track in the same yard either before or after the SR&RL was scrapped? From what I've heard there were local pockets of two foot gauge operating in Franklin County long after 1936, mostly in lumber yards. That's where SR&RL bus #5 spent her finals days.

From what I've been able to dig up about it the line was about half a mile long and ran between two mill complexes. The reason that it was Wide Gauge and not "Franklin County Standard Gauge" is the cars were about 16 feet wide to allow lumber to be loaded crosswise.

As standard gauge lines go, it was not exactly the Union Pacific, but it was 4' 8.5" right in the heart of Sandy River country.

-strange but true!
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on January 16, 2009, 05:44:14 PM
Quote
it was not exactly the Union Pacific, but it was 4' 8.5" right in the heart of Sandy River country

Reminds me of the old railroader's joke...
My railroad may not be as long as yours, but it's just as wide.
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Allan Fisher on January 16, 2009, 08:52:55 PM
Virgil Starbird's dad built the standard gauge yard tracks some time in the early 40's. It was still there in 1965 when I worked at the mill, but was not used. Lumber was stacked on most of it - I have a picture of it with the junked truck chassis they used to move the cars on it.

The mill just north of the Route 4 crossing at Farmington used the 2 foot-gauge siding for a couple of years after the SR&RL was pulled up.

Sonny Fairbanks also had about 1/4 miles of track with ties (sic) every 36-40 inches apart for the hand cars and velocipedes he saved. It was next to his house in Phillips on what is now the Route 4 bypass. - I have  a picture of it in 1956. It was called the "Backyard and back" or some such name. It is also in the Gus Pratt DVD.
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Mike Fox on January 17, 2009, 06:57:29 PM
That is interesting Allan. I love hearing or in this case reading of stories like that.
Title: Re: What is the SR&RL railcar bodies based on?
Post by: Mark Edry on January 21, 2009, 12:18:05 AM
What's the interior of SR&RL 4 like?

Back to SR&RL 4.. I found this picture of the engineer's seat that I took during the convention in 2007:
(http://www.markedry.com/etc/srrlbus4int.jpg)

Looks like maybe there's filler in the "dashboard" where a steering column used to go through? But I'll leave it to those more knowledgeable than I on these subjects to interpret.
-- Mark E
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Stephen Hussar on January 21, 2009, 09:33:50 AM
Here's a shot Allan took in 1965 at Starbirds, showing the track, partial log frames and dinky. This was located very close to the remaining 2-foot gauge tracks and 5 of the 6 remaining SR&RL boxcars. The lumber is on top of some of the narrow gauge track. Allan, thanks for sending this!

(http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2003-8/342468/StandardgaugeatStarbirdsA.jpg)
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on January 21, 2009, 10:01:05 AM
Steve, Thanks for posting the photo.  Real interesting shot.  Allan, I wonder where the rail truck came from.  It was probably built at the Starbird Mill.  There may have been some former SR&RL men working there who adapted the truck for rail use.
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Steve Klare on January 21, 2009, 12:18:11 PM
That's excellent: I've never seen a photo of this little line before!

My gut is telling me that the rail on this line was old SR&RL stuff.

The photo of Bus 4 is interesting: OK, I understand the tach and the ammeter are part of the Sport Package, but how about a speedometer? (No rear view mirror: where do you hang the fuzzy dice?)

Linwood Moody mentioned Bus 5 having a speedometer because he saw it on 60 MPH a few times.
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on January 26, 2009, 11:14:48 PM
I spoke to Noah McAdam from the SR&RL at the Big E show and he told me that the replica railcar he's building will be the Model A #3.  He showed me a real nice book of plans including the special reversing rear axle.  He's already built the frame and has the engine, transmission and radiator.  He's working on the journal boxes and springs right now.  He says it will look just like the original with the Model A front.
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Pete "Cosmo" Barrington on January 26, 2009, 11:43:50 PM
Virgil Starbird's dad built the standard gauge yard tracks some time in the early 40's. It was still there in 1965 when I worked at the mill, but was not used. Lumber was stacked on most of it - I have a picture of it with the junked truck chassis they used to move the cars on it.

The mill just north of the Route 4 crossing at Farmington used the 2 foot-gauge siding for a couple of years after the SR&RL was pulled up.

Sonny Fairbanks also had about 1/4 miles of track with ties (sic) every 36-40 inches apart for the hand cars and velocipedes he saved. It was next to his house in Phillips on what is now the Route 4 bypass. - I have  a picture of it in 1956. It was called the "Backyard and back" or some such name. It is also in the Gus Pratt DVD.

Allan,
You might remember my uncle Craig Starbird, Virgil's son. He still lives up in Strong not far from the mill that bears his name.
His driveway is now off the old Kingfield mainline just a short ways out of town, (which I belive is now called "Flagg Rd." or something similar.)

Pete
Title: Re: What are the SR&RL railcars based on?
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on February 03, 2009, 03:56:11 PM
To answer an email question.  The Model T railcar #2 was originally built with a center tool box that ran the length of the car.  The gas tank was under the front section and the rest was left open for track tools.  There were doors so tools could be unloaded from the back or sides.  The toolbox doors were removed a year or two after the car was put in service.  The track crew sat on the box with their feet towards the side of the car.  The toolbox was removed at Edaville and three seats were installed.