Rails & Trails Pages

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Kentucky Railway Museum

On Sunday, November 16, 2014, I visited the Kentucky Railway Museum in New Haven, Kentucky.  I had lined up a cab ride in their CF7 engine.  The weather was overcast with imminent rain (snow later that night), so these pictures have been lightened with Photoshop.

You know you are in Kentucky when . . .

This was a small horse farm.  The big ones are near Lexington.

And this is the engine that I came to ride in.

#2546 was originally built in 1948 as an F-7 by EMD and then rebuilt and converted by Santa Fe Railroad in 1973 and given the model designation CF-7. It is a diesel - electric locomotive powered by a single 16 cylinder engine developing 1500 hp. It is the only known CF-7 in the original Santa Fe paint scheme.

It was originally an F7, commonly called a "covered wagon."  Hard to believe, but here's what these engines looked like before they were "remodeled."

The engine crew was a husband and wife who drove down 3 hours from southern Illinois to run this one train on this day.  Husband Mike ran it out, long hood forward, to Boston.  After the run around, wife Cheryl ran it back to New Haven.  Here Mike blows out the test cocks before starting it.

Here was our train of five cars for the day.

I had a lot of free time before the 2 PM departure so I looked over the grounds.  They have LOTS of old equipment but the grounds are inaccessible for viewing.  Here's some of the equipment.

They store coal cars for the CSX Railroad over the winter.  Note one of them on the right.

Note the Soo Line caboose.  They use it for special events.

One of the "stars" of the Museum is Louisville & Nashville (L&N) steam engine #152.  L&N #152 is a 4-6-2 Pacific type locomotive built in 1905 by Rogers Locomotive Works. #152 is the official steam locomotive of the Commonwealth of Kentucky as designated by an act of the Kentucky Legislature. It is also listed on the national registry of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior.  It is currently out-of-service due to required 15-year inspection.  They are raising funds to do this.

I still had free time so I went inside their depot to look at the displays.

They have this model railroad but they have a large building with a large model railroad but it was flooded a few years ago and it hasn't been restored yet.

I then found this computer and discovered it had "Train Simulator" on it and anyone could "play" it.  It is a realistic train operation game with scenery, sidings, etc. on the screen.  Keys are used for train controls.  I had purchased this game when I first retired and it loaded into my computer but the computer gradually slowed down and locked up.  It happened over and over.  The company even sent me a replacement game but it still happened.  They said my computer had enough memory but I don't think it did.  When I get this next book done, I'm going to try it on this computer.  Anyway, I spent 45 minutes at these controls.

Back outside I found this unique L&N station wagon, used for loading/unloading supplies from the baggage car of passenger trains.  In WWII, due to the large number of casualties that were brought back home, an extension or riser was put on top so it was level with the baggage car door, eliminating much heavy lifting of the caskets from the cars.

Here is track side of the depot.

They have 3 working diesels.  The CF7 we will use today.  Also a GP7 high nose that is in the shop for repainting.  They used it most of the summer and I'm glad they weren't using it today as visibility is not good in those engines.  But they have another star.  A MONON BL2.

I was in a BL2 last summer on the Saratoga & North Creek Railroad in New York but it wasn't running due to handrails being ripped off.  So I would like to go back to the KRM when this unit is running (for a cab ride of course).  Due to NO visibility to the rear with this unit, it must be paired with another engine.

Here's some pix on the train ride.  (That's the creek that overflowed part of town a few years ago)

The L&N had unique Milepost markers.

This ride is almost 12 miles one way, out to Boston and there are 14 grade crossings.  Even though some are very seldom used farmer's crossings, they blow the whistle at each of them.  And, they blow the whistle at every bridge to warn anyone on it (even the very short bridges over a gully).  So there was a lot of whistle blowing both directions.  And they announce every milepost, slow order, yard limits, etc.  So there is a lot of railroad chatter.

On the way back it started raining and we had a lot of wheel slip with the engine.  They said this is the worst engine they have for wheel slip.  Apparently the tractive effort isn't good with these engines.  We tried sand (we think sand was dropping) but didn't notice much effect.  The conductor, Willy, who has been with this railroad for years and used to be the engineer, told us to take a 5-lb. set on the independent, or engine brake.  I thought this would retard us but apparently the brake shoe "rubs" moisture off the wheel and maybe warms it a little.  Again, I didn't notice any difference in the result but maybe it helped.  We were down to 3 MPH and gradually made it to the top of the hill where gravity took over and we were fine.  Passing under the Bluegrass Parkway.

 By the time we got back, it was raining, and cold.  So I thanked the crew and high tailed it out of there.  But Thanks Much to the Kentucky Railway Museum and crew for a great afternoon.

That night we had snow, and record cold temperatures for Kentucky (good thing it didn't happen before the train ride).

And the reason we were visiting Louisville.  Daughter Allison and grandson Christopher (1+)

And granddaughter Catherine, whose 3rd birthday was on Sunday, when I went train riding!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Brushing The North Shore Scenic

On Monday, August 18, 2014, a group of motorcar (speeder) enthusiasts gathered in Duluth to brush the North Shore Scenic Railroad.  Trees and brush were crowding the right-of-way, reducing visibility and hitting the train as it passed by.  A group of 11 men was organized but with a weather prediction of 90% rain and thunderstorms, four people didn't chance the weather considering the long distances they had to drive.  The previous night experienced hard thunderstorms but the rain stopped by 7 AM when we gathered to begin our adventure!!!  Also helping us was NSS brakeman John Peterson until he had to leave and run trains for the day.  This group cut a LOT of brush during the day and when I start my A-1 Tree Service, I am hiring them!!  Here is Bill Ash from northwest Minnesota with his speeder.  Joe Lewis of Bloomer rode with Bill for the day.

Fred Hoeser of Durand, WI brought his spiffy GB&W car.

Brothers Kyle and Paul Johnson of Eau Claire, WI brought their CNW putt-putt which has a turntable to turn it!

Here are Kyle and Paul cutting brush along the run-around track at Lakeside.

We took time to have a delicious breakfast at the New London Cafe at Lakeside.  I heartily recommend their omelets and hashbrowns, some of the best I have ever had.  At the Lester River bridge we cut some brush.  Apparently these "brushers" can't read!!

After we got north of Highway 61, there were stretches where we didn't have to do much brushing so we could speed along!!

The North Shore Scenic Railroad crosses several small rivers which are a long way down.  Here are a few of them.

Nearing Palmer's, the group cuts brush just before the Little Sucker River.

This neat bridge is over old Highway 61 near Knife River and advertises the railroad.

The group pauses on the Knife River bridge.  Left to right, Fred Hoeser, Kyle Johnson, Paul Johnson, Bill Ash, and Joe Lewis.

From the Knife River bridge, looking towards Lake Superior.

And looking upriver.

Ken Buehler, General Manager of the NSS, offered us a free meal at Emily's.  This picture was taken from the Knife River Bridge.

We all enjoyed a walleye meal and it sure hit the spot.  Thanks, Mr. Buehler and the NSS!!!

The speeders wait to be turned around and head back.  We had cut a lot of brush, it was getting late, and more thunderstorms were predicted!!!  It was time to "speed" back on the speeders.

Waiting to cross busy Highway 61.

And crossing Highway 61.

Paul and Kyle load up their motorcar.

AND--just when we finished loading all the speeders, the rain started.  Great timing and a great day of speeder riding and brush cutting.

Fred Hoeser and I stayed overnight in Duluth on Monday night.  After another night of storms, the rain let up and on Tuesday morning we took a speeder ride on the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad and cut a bunch of brush.  A speeder group had brushed this line earlier in the summer but again foliage was causing interference with operations.  Before we headed out, we had breakfast at the Duluth Grille.  I had a smoked salmon omelet and Fred had a wild duck omelet.  Very delicious!!  We set on at the Munger Boat Landing.

A few shots on our ride.

A CN train was on the Oliver Bridge, which we will go under.

The end of the LS&M track.  The engine runs around its cars on the track at the right and pulls the train back to the depot.

There has been lots of rain in Duluth the last couple of days and with the red clay base, the water does not drain well!

Heading back.

We saw deer, eagles, partridge, and this cormorant along the line.

And would you believe, just as we finished loading Fred's speeder onto his trailer, the skies let loose!!

A fun 2 days in Duluth!!!