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!

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