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Todays "Photo O' The Day"

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 10:20 AM

Pielet's contract with EMD required that all of the trade-ins had to be turned into razor blades.  It eliminated a lot of locomotives from the secondhand market.

     Today's picture of the "Georgian" shows why some trains lasted as long as they did.  The consist has more head-end than passenger-carrying cars.

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Posted by rcdrye on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 10:30 AM

The loss of US Mail after 1965 doomed a lot of trains.  Even trains with a heavy express volume like the Georgian couldn't survive the revenue loss.

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 4:49 PM

rcdrye
The loss of US Mail after 1965 doomed a lot of trains.  Even trains with a heavy express volume like the Georgian couldn't survive the revenue loss.

The loss of US Mail was later than 1965.  I worked the B&O Night Agent/Operators job at Salem, IL in 1966 and 1967.  The duties beyond Train Orders were to handle mail onto and from trains #11 & 12 - the Metropolitan Special.  There was a monthly hunting magazine the was mailed out from the Salem PO - when it was sent out and you checked the freight house - there were several hundred mail bags - 70 pounds each the needed sorting between East and West before #12 arrived shortly after Midnight to haul the Eastbound mail.

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Posted by rcdrye on Thursday, January 7, 2021 6:19 AM

The big "mail-off" started in 1965 with the cancellation of hundreds of RPO runs. 1967 was the year almost all remaining first-class mail contracts were cancelled.  Some trains (PRR's Manhattan Limited, MILW's Fast Mail) carried plenty of mail right up to 1971, including some RPOs. The last RPO run (by Conrail!) was in 1977 between New York and Washington.

REA was hit during this period as many agency stations were closed and trains discontinued, further reducing the head-end revenue on remaining passenger trains.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, January 7, 2021 11:55 AM

rcdrye
1967 was the year almost all remaining first-class mail contracts were cancelled.

It's important to distinguish RPO operation from first-class carriage contracts -- they are different.

The situation involved a change in Post Office procedure to go to a regional organization (that, by 1970, explicitly favored road and air transportation).  This was the reason for the wholesale cancellation of contracts in October 1967 which so accelerated train-off petitions.  This is mail in bags, including bulk mail (which was a major component of what the railroads carried).

A contemporary reference from just before October 1967 indicated that the whole volume of business then carried in RPO operation was under $20 million annually.  I believe the last few runs were those that had a natural advantage over any other mode, even with automated sorting (as at Harrison) -- there are similar logistics for express packages sent between closely-located city pairs.  There was enough mail between Washington, Philadelphia and New York to justify continuing onboard sorting through 1977 -- but by comparison look at the length of some of the mail trains operating in that lane in those years, a decade after the general contracts were cancelled.  Some of the fastest trains I observed behind GG1s in that era were very long mail trains in the 'wee hours' when no passenger or commuter traffic interfered with the timekeeping; I have to wonder if the speed might have increased when postal workers didn't have to stand and sort... Whistling

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Posted by pennytrains on Thursday, January 7, 2021 7:06 PM

A friend of my mother's worked for RPO.  I have his I.D. card around here somewhere.

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, January 8, 2021 9:08 AM

OOOOOO, "The Overland!"  What a show that must have been!

Presumably that 2-8-0 cut off before they got to a tunnel or snowshed.

"Cough!  Ack!"  Wheeze!"

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Posted by rcdrye on Friday, January 8, 2021 11:01 AM

SP used some fairly small helpers on passenger trains on Donner Pass.  There are photos and movies from the 1930s showing the "City of San Francisco" with a small engine (I think it was a T-class 4-6-0) assisting the "City's" E2s.  They didn't seem to think that non-articulated steam created as much of a smoke problem for the crews.  Probably have to turn down the oil firing valve before entering a tunnel or snowshed...

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, January 8, 2021 11:12 AM

Or chances are IF the train had a good bit of momentum on it when they reached a tunnel or snowshed the lead engine could drift while the following engine (s) would only need to push. Drifting would alleviate the smoke and exhaust problem, at least a bit.

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Posted by M636C on Friday, January 8, 2021 6:37 PM

My first thought was "could this be the late 1940s?"

Then I looked at the train. The second vehicle is a US Army Hospital car. These were well known as the basis for the Monon's streamliner fleet, having been sold off pretty much new in 1946. (They had to build a new batch for the Korean War, but they could use the same drawings and jigs).

So is this a real Hospital car in use? Or has it already been converted to use as a baggage or mail car?

It appears to still be in US Army bronze green, but the windows look odd. the windows could be reflecting the light, or they may have been blanked out as part of a conversion.

Any comments?

Peter

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Saturday, January 9, 2021 10:25 AM

A closer look shows that the car is lettered for Southern Pacific.  Wayner's "Car Names, Numbers and Consists" indicates that SP purchased three hosptial cars for service as baggage-dorm cars.

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 timz on Saturday, January 9, 2021 11:15 AM

Train 28 was overnight over Donner until June 1946. Plenty of pics of non-cab-forward engines pulling freight and passenger trains over Donner. Wonder if one could run west thru Tunnel 41, the eastward-track summit tunnel, now used by all trains. Probably not? 10000 feet of 1.47% ascending westward.

No doubt the train in the pic is approaching Dutch Flat.

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Posted by pennytrains on Saturday, January 9, 2021 6:16 PM

M636C
US Army bronze green

Is that what they call that shade?

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, January 9, 2021 6:37 PM

pennytrains

 

 
M636C
US Army bronze green

 

Is that what they call that shade?

 

The official name is / was "olive drab."  Believe it or not it was in use back during the Civil War for US Army vehicles and artillery, and stayed in use up to the 1980's.  It's also a dead-ringer for "Pullman Green." 

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Posted by M636C on Sunday, January 10, 2021 5:52 PM

Flintlock76

 

pennytrains

 

M636C
US Army bronze green

Is that what they call that shade?

 

The official name is / was "olive drab."  Believe it or not it was in use back during the Civil War for US Army vehicles and artillery, and stayed in use up to the 1980's.  It's also a dead-ringer for "Pullman Green." 

 
At a managent conference in 1983 I was taken aside by an Australian Army Lieutenant Colonel and told that the official name for the colour of Army vehicles was "dark Bronze Green" and he knew because he was in charge of purchasing them. That colour is not significantly different to that I've seen on US Army vehicles. The Royal Australian Navy painted its ships "French Grey" which was significanly different to US Navy "Haze Grey" but about two years ago the RAN adopted the USN colour. This was not accepted happily by some traditionalists.
One RAN ship HMAS Choules, (an amphibious support ship named after a sailor who served in both World Wars) was purchased from the Royal Navy and went from the RN light grey directly to Haze Grey.
 
One thing that amused me about the CP locomotives that were intended to honour the services was that the Navy locomotive followed the Canadian colour which was basically RN light grey and the numbers match Canadian ships, even on the USA side. And painting the trucks red-brown to represent marine anti fouling paint is just odd. But there was a dark green locomotive and a "desert scheme" unit. The "desert" scheme is known as "Khaki" in Australia, which is the hindi word for Dust, making its origin clear.
 
Peter
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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, January 10, 2021 9:30 PM

Here's one for you Peter.  I worked with a man who was a US Navy veteran, WW2, and who served on the USS Lexington. (The new Lexington, not the old Lex that was lost during the Battle Of The Coral Sea.)

Anyway, he told me the Lexington was painted a bluish-gray, different from the Navy's standard "Battleship Gray."  It tended toward the "bluish" side, so much so the crew called her "The Blue Ghost." 

"Lady Lex" was another nickname for the ship.  Her radio callsign? "Flintlock." 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, January 11, 2021 9:26 AM

Today's shot?  Oh my, the Man himself, Casey Jones!

A childhood hero of mine, and nothing, nothing, I've read about him since those days has caused me to change my opinion.  A fine engineer, and a fine human being as well.  

What a loss.  At least one of the people he treated so well, Wallace Saunders, made an American icon of him.  There's a lesson there, be nice to people, follow "The Golden Rule," because you never know, do you?

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Posted by pennytrains on Monday, January 11, 2021 7:52 PM

My favorite loco at the Warther museum:

https://thewarthermuseum.com/

This one was Mooney's favorite model:

Also magnificent.  Bow

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, January 11, 2021 9:31 PM

Those models are absolutely astonishing!

The man's craftsmanship and incredible patience in making them are just unbelieveable!  

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 10:20 AM

Note one quirk in today's photo that continues to the present:  The flatcars are owned and lettered for Trailer Train while the racks are owned by the various railroads.

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 Flintlock76 on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 4:08 PM

Hmmm, no fun-fun-fun 'till WP takes the T-Birds away, can't get at 'em anyway.

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 4:15 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH
Note one quirk in today's photo that continues to the present:  The flatcars are owned and lettered for Trailer Train while the racks are owned by the various railroads.

Not all the carriers that participated in the ownership of Trailer Train wanted to participate in the ownership of auto racks placed on Trailer Train cars, in most cases they did not have either automobile assembly plants or automotive distribution centers located on their routes. 

Of course that was before we evolved into a system that consists of nominally 7 major that I suspect all have one, the other or both types of facilities on their property.

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Posted by pennytrains on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 6:40 PM

Flintlock76

Those models are absolutely astonishing!

The man's craftsmanship and incredible patience in making them are just unbelieveable!  

 

An often unknown item about Mooney's work is that's not painted on lettering.  It's all individual inlay including the script on the bases.  I for one know I couldn't even come close.  Big Smile  I think I like Casey's loco the best because it's ivory and so smooth it looks like a toy!  Wink

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 9:42 AM

Today's shot, wow, those B&O Geeps look serious.  A utilitarian no-frills paint scheme, no embellishments, they really broadcast the old colorful diesel days are over.  

And the RF&P's Potomac Yard?  Now it's gone like it was never there at all.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 12:46 PM

Flintlock76
Hmmm, no fun-fun-fun 'till WP takes the T-Birds away, can't get at 'em anyway.

Those are '61s, and I think they were all assembled at Wixom which might help identify where this loading scene was.

No convertibles, though.  The way they did the convertible made all the difference...

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 12:47 PM

FE motor with factory double-pumper, 6 mufflers, loudest sound with the top down at 80mph is the patter of the tires on the road and you can distinguish all four -- put the girl in the middle of the back seat and her long hair will stream straight forward.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, January 15, 2021 3:56 PM

"Tanglefoot Curve" today!

You know, I looked at the photo quickly and thought it was a BIG turning wye.  "Wow!  If that train was any longer the caboose crew would be starting to sweat!"

Then I looked again.  "OK, it's going downhill.  Never mind!"

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Posted by pennytrains on Friday, January 22, 2021 6:58 PM

K2 in the lubritorium.  Big SmileThumbs Up  Precision transportation at it's best!

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, January 22, 2021 9:25 PM

So it was!  Typically a 45 minute turnaround and then back on the road!

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Posted by rcdrye on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 6:13 AM

It's hard to appreciate 85 years later just how gutsy a move EMC's boxcabs were.  B&O was doing cutting edge work on steam locomotives.  Santa Fe's best steam was still to come.  Not exactly the time to push a glorified gas-electric for premier trains...

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