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How to acquire a number board from a scrapped locomotive?

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  • Member since
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  • From: Orlando, Florida
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How to acquire a number board from a scrapped locomotive?
Posted by The Railwolf on Friday, July 22, 2011 11:21 PM

(All of this is assuming that there are parts of said locomotive that haven't been destroyed, and that I could somehow get to where I needed to go.)

 

I often hear of railfans offering cash for locomotive parts at scrapyards and succeeding in their endeavors. My question is how one actually goes about doing this? (Just driving up and finding someone, writing a letter or email, etc.) The particular locomotive in question is CSX's GE B40-8 number 5947, that was involved in a head-on collision in October of last year. 5947 is special to me because she was the very first locomotive I caught on film after becoming a railfan. I'd jump at the opportunity to collect one of her number boards as a keepsake and remembrance. I'm almost certain what's left of her is up in Waycross, and I hear that place is locked up tighter than a drum. Is there any hope at all?

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Posted by M636C on Saturday, July 23, 2011 11:42 PM

First, assuming that CSX still own the unit and it is on their property at Waycross, write to them asking if they would sell you the number, and offering to pay them to remove it for you...

I have two locomotive numbers purchased from the owning railway. One was cheap and one was expensive since it came with the brass builder's plate. But that wasn't in the USA.

But asking for it would have to be the place to start.

M636C

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Posted by The Railwolf on Sunday, July 24, 2011 12:02 AM

Thank you for the info, M636C. I'll see if I can find an address to write to CSX.

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Posted by Bryan Jones on Sunday, July 24, 2011 3:37 AM

CSX #5947 was sold for scrap last year and was cutup late last year. Its long gone, nothing left.

Just contacting a Class 1 offering to purchase a number board or other item isn't going to do any good either. About the only chance you will have of getting any number board would be by acquiring it from a scrapper/dealer and chances of that are slim.

 

Bryan Jones

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Posted by The Railwolf on Monday, July 25, 2011 7:55 PM

Bryan Jones

CSX #5947 was sold for scrap last year and was cutup late last year. Its long gone, nothing left.

Just contacting a Class 1 offering to purchase a number board or other item isn't going to do any good either. About the only chance you will have of getting any number board would be by acquiring it from a scrapper/dealer and chances of that are slim.

 

Bryan Jones

 

I was afraid of that...how sad. Well, I tried. :'( Thank you for letting me know, though.

 

Now I wonder what happens to all of the small individual pieces, like number boards. Do they just end up in a landfill somewhere?

 

Depressing topic.

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Posted by Big Bend Ken on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 11:39 AM

This reminds me of the diesel engine number board (just the plastic panel insert) I saw at one of our local antique stores.  The tag only said it is a plastic sign with numbers and had no info as to what kind of diesel or road it was from.  With the price the owner was asking, he/she obviously knew it was collectable, but didn't know collectors want to know where it came from.  It was too expensive for me and I would have to make a frame to mount and light it.

 

Ken Rimmel

Des Peres, MO

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Posted by The Railwolf on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 2:03 PM

Big Bend Ken

This reminds me of the diesel engine number board (just the plastic panel insert) I saw at one of our local antique stores.  The tag only said it is a plastic sign with numbers and had no info as to what kind of diesel or road it was from.  With the price the owner was asking, he/she obviously knew it was collectable, but didn't know collectors want to know where it came from.  It was too expensive for me and I would have to make a frame to mount and light it.

 

Ken Rimmel

Des Peres, MO

That is interesting. I wish I'd seen what numbers; I may have been able to make a hackneyed guess on the RR by looking at the number itself and the style. Railroads do different things with their number boards; some are black with white numbers, some white with black numbers; some are even clear with solid digits.

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Posted by Big Bend Ken on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 2:53 PM

They were black plastic numbers(4) glued on a white plastic (translucent) sheet and rounded corners on the sheet and numbers.  I think the numbers were something like 6336 or 3693 or something like that.  Since I did not recognize the numbers from anything I was familiar with, I didn't write them down or try to remember them.  I looked over the sheet to see if anything may have been etched on an edge with a road name or anything else, but they were clean.  It was something I could easily make from $20 worth of plastic and since there was no information as to where it came from . . . . . .

 

Ken

Des Peres, MO

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Posted by The Railwolf on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 3:06 PM

Big Bend Ken

They were black plastic numbers(4) glued on a white plastic (translucent) sheet and rounded corners on the sheet and numbers.  I think the numbers were something like 6336 or 3693 or something like that.  Since I did not recognize the numbers from anything I was familiar with, I didn't write them down or try to remember them.  I looked over the sheet to see if anything may have been etched on an edge with a road name or anything else, but they were clean.  It was something I could easily make from $20 worth of plastic and since there was no information as to where it came from . . . . . .

 

Ken

Des Peres, MO

 

I hope it wasn't something between 6900-6946. It could have been from a Union Pacific 'Centennial' DDA40X!Surprise

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Posted by Thomas 9011 on Thursday, August 11, 2011 2:43 AM

 I am also a number board collector,a former locomotive mechanic and scrap yard worker. There is many ways of going about this and they all seem to have good results. Calling the railroad is a waste of time and will not get you anywhere. They will likely not even know what a number board is and why you would want it. Equally useless is talking to someone in the mechanical department who will probably yell at you for calling them.

The best way is to locate the locomotive once it is sold for scrap and no longer the property of the railroad. Hopefully it will be sitting on a siding near the scrap yard and not actually on the property yet. What you want to do next is find out when the place closes and ask someone who is leaving who the supervisor is. Once you find him ask him if that locomotive on the siding is going to scrap or what they are going to do with it. He will tell you more than likely they will cut it up for scrap. Ask him if you could have one of the number boards as a souvenir and tell him you will be fast about removing it. Nearly always they say "go ahead" as they don't care about it. If he says no you might want to give him a twenty and say "if that number board disappears tonight it's no big deal right"? Then he will probably say "that's right".

Another way is to watch the locomotive getting cut up and when the number boards are on the ground ask one of the workers if you can have it. It is just garbage to them so they don't care and will be happy to give it to you. If you can't get close to them catch them when they are leaving and say you will give them 10 or 20 bucks if they can get you that number board. He will simply go back and pick it up and give it to you or throw it over the fence.

Your best bet is to hopefully catch someone after hours(like on a Sunday) when nobody is there. If you are lucky enough to make good with the person who is there he might just let you take what ever you want from any locomotive they have there.

Your last hope if all else fails would be to scrounge around in the garbage container on a day they are not working and hopefully it will be not locked up inside the property. Chances are the number board is probably in pieces at this stage. We used to use a hammer to break them out so they would not catch on fire when we were cutting the locomotive up.

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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, August 11, 2011 8:43 AM

Double post.  See below.

"Dude, please stop.  You're giving me second-hand shame."

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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, August 11, 2011 8:43 AM

Thomas 9011

 

Your last hope if all else fails would be to scrounge around in the garbage container on a day they are not working and hopefully it will be not locked up inside the property. Chances are the number board is probably in pieces at this stage. We used to use a hammer to break them out so they would not catch on fire when we were cutting the locomotive up.

In this day and age of scrap metal prices, thieves, cameras and dogs - I wouldn't recommend the above.  If you get caught rummaging through their dumpsters off hours, you will have some explaining to do.  And I don't think "railfan collector" will be a good excuse.

 

Maybe scrapyards around you are more open, but they are pretty locked down around here.

"Dude, please stop.  You're giving me second-hand shame."

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Posted by IRB Souther Engineer on Thursday, August 11, 2011 9:27 AM

Thomas 9011

 Ask him if you could have one of the number boards as a souvenir and tell him you will be fast about removing it.

Just wondering, how do you actually remove it?

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Posted by The Railwolf on Thursday, August 11, 2011 4:04 PM

Thank you for the very informative post, Thomas. I will remember this info!

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Posted by Georgia Railroader on Thursday, August 11, 2011 5:27 PM

IRB Souther Engineer

 Thomas 9011:

 Ask him if you could have one of the number boards as a souvenir and tell him you will be fast about removing it.

 

Just wondering, how do you actually remove it?

The boards are held in place with a rubber gasket. Once the gasket is fitted and everything is in place, there is a skinny piece of rubber that goes inside the gasket to lock everything in place. I installed a pair of these once, huge pain in the$1***$2 Taking em out is a little easier though.

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