The picture that says it all... Classic Trains Summer 2020

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The picture that says it all... Classic Trains Summer 2020
Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 5:24 PM

Page 91, inside back cover of Summer 2020 Classic Trains had me frozen, lost in a place I've never seen or been to but somehow yet very familiar. 

Taken from the interlocking tower, now abandoned, a few scattered remnants of items on a table, windows with paint peeling. It took me a little while to see the panoramic scene that unfolds before you. The Bay Bridge in the background that diminished, then ended, its commuter operations. You see the empty sheds right away, then horrors, all the track is gone. 

The California Zephyr, City of San Francisco, a Daylight and more all were here, ended here, and now even the track is lifted and gone. The ferries no longer dock to continue your journey or start one. All of it is gone ... and it is not coming back ....February, 1961. 

I've seen this in person in several places, not the same, but the same thing. 

Remarkable photo, so much lost. Everywhere.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 7:57 PM

Vince, you said it a while ago, better than I could, or would have thought of saying.

The tracks gone, the stations decaying or destroyed, backshops with roofs caving in, locomotive builders like Baldwin, Alco, Lima gone and their shops demolished.

What the Luftwaffe dreamed  of being able to do to us, we did to ourselves.  

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Posted by Backshop on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 8:30 PM

The difference is that all those things were needed in the 1940s.  Now, they aren't.  Yes, I miss the old backshops (see my username) but I do understand that they are part of yesteryear.  The working conditions weren't the greatest and they'd be mostly inefficient in today's world.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 9:23 PM

Backshop

The difference is that all those things were needed in the 1940s.  Now, they aren't.  Yes, I miss the old backshops (see my username) but I do understand that they are part of yesteryear.  The working conditions weren't the greatest and they'd be mostly inefficient in today's world.

 

Oh I know, I know, but you know what they say, "The mind understands but the heart never will!"

At least they didn't wind up in China.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, May 28, 2020 1:43 AM

But in 1961 did you think you could ride an interurban car from St. Louis to Bellville or San Diego to San Yesidro, Mexican border?  OK, so they are called light rail.

There is no longer any Third Avenue Elevated, but I got much the same sensation when riding Vancouver's Sky Train. 

I truly did not dream when moving to Jersualem that I would be riding streetcars again, in Jerusalem.  With PRR-N&W-like position-light signals!

Enjoy what we have!

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, May 28, 2020 2:48 AM

I do enjoy what we have. I also look at things and see our folly and how we were manipulated and fooled. Too much good was lost, and we need to understand that. I would not exactly say we live in a great world right now, thinking we can do better and pictures like those on page 91 remind of that. 

The area is now a container terminal/port. In order for us to buy defective crap and useless junk from China... but enough.

The resurgence of light rail is heartening... but why lose it in the first place?

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, May 28, 2020 10:29 AM

Flintlock76
At least they didn't wind up in China.

China has a whole backshop, in fact a full locomotive factory, built in the heart of a mountain like SAC in Colorado Springs to protect it against nuclear-level bombardment.  I don't know if it's still in use (it was uneconomical even decades ago) but I suspect it, and much of the steam-centric machinery, would still be there...

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, May 28, 2020 11:56 AM

Overmod
but I suspect it, and much of the steam-centric machinery, would still be there...

If they're like the Russians they never throw anything out!  

Well OK, the Russians don't have underground hangers full of Sturmoviks,  but you know what I mean!

At least I don't think  they do...Hmm

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, May 28, 2020 12:03 PM

Not rail - but starting to rebuild old wheels

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFFjAMyCSis

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, May 29, 2020 10:17 AM

Miningman

The resurgence of light rail is heartening... but why lose it in the first place?

 
Most of the interburbans were abandoned because of the automobile and well-paved roads.  Franchise requirements and low fares also did a number on streetcars as ridership fell.
The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Overmod on Friday, May 29, 2020 11:42 AM

BaltACD
Not rail - but starting to rebuild old wheels

If I had a nickel for every Engels Coach Shop video I've watched, I'd be well off.

Taught me among many other things how these wheels are actually trued - sensible, but not what I was expecting.

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Posted by Penny Trains on Friday, May 29, 2020 7:48 PM

It's the kind of image that makes me want to go to that place and explore it.  I wonder what that book was?  Hmm  Guess we'll never know.

Trains, trains, wonderful trains.  The more you get, the more you toot!  Big Smile

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Posted by gmpullman on Saturday, May 30, 2020 12:41 AM

I watched an old friend die a slow death here in Cleveland. At one time a vital link in the efficient movement of scores of trains a day, reduced to this:

 CT Tower, Cleveland by Edmund, on Flickr

In the early '70s the CT operator would see me on the ground outside with my camera and invite me up. What a thrill to see the G-R-S machine and stare in wonderment at how anyone could learn all those levers.

 CUT_GRS by Edmund, on Flickr

Here is CT tower nearing completion in 1929:

 C.U.T. Coach_Yard by Edmund, on Flickr

It really is disappointing that so many signal towers have been closed and demolished. I can recall dozens in my area where sometimes a bored operator would invite you in for a while. Pity.

Regards, Ed

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Saturday, May 30, 2020 10:17 AM

The same can be said for the watchman's towers at manned grade crossings.  I can remember about a dozen manned grade crossings within ten miles of where I was raised, almost all of which were closed or became unmanned by the time I was 16.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, May 30, 2020 10:43 AM

As to watch towers at street crossings, I well remember the one on State Street in Bristol, Tennessee. The station was just north of State, and when the northbound Tennessean and Pelican were in town the switch engine was busy working Pullmans on the rear of the trains. The southbound trains were not as bothersome for street traffic, for there was only an engine change for them--N&W engine off and across the street, SOU engine across the street and on, and N&W engine back across. Many a time I waited there for the bus that took me out to the college. And, of course, Southern freights crossed there, also.

Johnny

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, May 30, 2020 11:35 AM

576 levers! Hollee Mackinaw! .. and gmpullman got to go inside and see this incredible marvel and at the best age, must have been a sight to behold. Shows you how important the railroads were in the day. 

Great post, thank you! 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, May 30, 2020 12:27 PM

gmpullman
It really is disappointing that so many signal towers have been closed and demolished. I can recall dozens in my area where sometimes a bored operator would invite you in for a while. Pity.

It's sad about those old towers that outlive their usefulness.  In the old days railroads would have just locked the door and left them to nature, but in this day and age they'll knock them down so they don't become a magnet for vagrants, dopers, vandals, or who knows what else.

But occasionally one "beats the hangman."  Here's the story of Waldwick Tower, on the old Erie Main Line in Waldwick NJ.

Waldwick Signal Tower 1 Bohnert Place Waldwick, NJ 07463 ...visitingamuseum.com › 2018-04-30 › waldwick-signal-tower-1-bohne..-

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Posted by Backshop on Saturday, May 30, 2020 1:28 PM

Wasn't there a change in property tax laws awhile ago?  I seem to remember reading somewhere that was the reason for railroads demolishing all unused buildings and structures.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, May 30, 2020 1:35 PM

Backshop

Wasn't there a change in property tax laws awhile ago?  I seem to remember reading somewhere that was the reason for railroads demolishing all unused buildings and structures.

 

It's possible.  One of the reasons railroads left old, unused buildings standing was it cost money to demolish them that could be better spent on other things.   It was easier just to lock it and let nature take it's course. 

There were exceptions of course.  There's always exceptions.

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Posted by Backshop on Sunday, May 31, 2020 9:04 AM

I remember years ago when I went on a roadtrip to New England. On the way home, I decided to go via NY Rte 17 across the Southern Tier. I'd never been to Sayre before, so decided to stop and see the remains of the old LV shops.  I'm driving through town and didn't see anything. I'm thinking "Sayre is too small to hide something that big".  Then I saw the big open space with the leftover pile of bricks and knew that I was too late...it was a sad day.  I did see Hornell later on, though.

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, May 31, 2020 11:56 AM

Great story Backshop. " and there it was...gone".  Think we all have experienced something of the sort. It certainly gives you pause and gets you to thinking. 

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Posted by rcdrye on Sunday, May 31, 2020 12:29 PM

The picture of SP Alcos elsewhere in the issue shows an SP PA with 255 in its indicators.  255 and partner 250 were the Oakland section of the Daylight, carrying mail and express in addition to a streamlined coach or two.  It ran to Oakland Mole where mail and express were transferred to other SP trains.  After the Mole closed it ran to 16th Street until discontinued.

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, May 31, 2020 1:59 PM

Thanks! Found on page 12, titled 'True Color .. Flashy or formal'. Nice information otherwise I would not have known. Nice to put a 'face' to a another picture! 

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