Hey--never saw this before (Real Thing, not model)

Hanging 'round the tracks today, I saw a piece of equipment I'd never seen before: actually two. There was a short train of gondolas filled
with bundles of ties, obviously for a tie-replacement project, pulled by a hi-rail big-rig tractor. I'd seen hi-rail pickups, but not big ones like this. With the fore and aft "training wheels", this thing was essentially a 2-6-2 locomotive, with 3 big ol' tires on each side riding on the rails.
The other interesting thing was the tie picker-upper. Not sure exactly what to call it: it straddled a gondola (or more than one--read on), and was otherwise a standard maneuverable loader with a claw to pick up the tie bundles. But the really kewl thing was that this thing could actually "walk" itself from one car to the next, using a cleverly-designed double frame; the two sections of the frame could be independently attached to the side of the car or not, and they slid past each other as well as riding up or down. (The outside anchors on one frame were labeled "W" and the inside ones labeled "C".) When I first saw it it was halfway on one car and halfway on another, and I got to see the guy move it, kind of like a crab, onto one car.
I was going to say that this could be an interesting modeling project, but it sounds more like something you'd expect to find readymade from Kibri or similar. Although maybe you could adapt a Cat?
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Hello
Any photos ?:
Sounds like an interesting machine. :)
On Sat, 07 Jan 2006 00:22:34 -0800, David Nebenzahl

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Did it look something like this?
http://roadrail.brandt.ca /
Dale Gloer
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Dale Gloer spake thus:

Yes, exactly; the power unit was a Brandt.

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Interesting. Basically a Western Star with locomotive equipment, even a horn and sander. Could really have fun at the local truck stop in one of those.... Bill
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Although I can see the benefits to the railroads, I'm still surprised the FRA allows that to operate on rails.
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Mark Mathu spake thus:

Why? The thing looked perfectly safe to me; I think it goes something like 20 mph max. Now, we know the FRA is terminally anally retentive and waaaaay behind the rest of the world when it comes to railroad operations, but come on now ...
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Because of crash protection (or lack thereof) for the crew. Operating speed didn't factor into my comment.
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On 1/10/06 1:18 AM, in article QkIwf.34128$ snipped-for-privacy@tornado.rdc-kc.rr.com,

You might be surprised to see what the FRA will allow if the railroads want it. Safety is the buzzword but not always the reality, i.e. Remote Control of trains. This work equipment will not be run by a trained engineer but perhaps someone from the track crew if railroad owned or by anyone if contractor owned.
Steve
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Steven Kay spake thus:

So maybe you can answer a question of mine, unanswered from another thread here: how do those remote-control locos work anyhow? I've seen signs in a yard around here (UP) warning of their presence. Who controls them, and from where and how far away? I assume they must be within visual range, right? I keep imagining some kid with a Radio Shack RC control working one of these things.
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I saw some pictures once. Don't remember where, but the engineer had a console, for lack of a better word that he wore almost like an apron with a strap around his neck or maybe over his shoulders and a belt around his waist. The controls were around waist level and he would work the switch, radio control the loco and cut the car. It is truly a one man band.

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On 1/13/06 12:43 PM, in article 43c7e5eb$0$8280$ snipped-for-privacy@news.adtechcomputers.com, "David Nebenzahl"

Remote Control of locomotives is where one man controls a locomotive and train via radio control. The controlling employee is usually a trainman (if on a railroad or any employee if within an industrial center like a steel mill) with minimum seniority who is given a two week course and then sent out to a classification yard to control multiple engines pushing and shoving cuts of cars that may weight 10s of thousands of tons. Many times the controlling employee cannot see either end of the cut they are working with.
The controlling device looks like a model airplane controller in that it has wobble sticks to control the movement of the engines. It is worn by the controlling employee at waist level and has thus earned the nickname "bellypack". The engines have a radio receiver installed that receives the signals from the controlling employee. The radio system for each locomotive costs somewhere around $150,000.
The purpose of remote control is to save the company money by eliminating the number of employees require to drill cars. Safety or efficiency was never a consideration.
In my opinion it is not a good thing.
For more information read: http://www.ble272.org/RCL.htm http://www.ble.org/remotecontrol /
While these two site give you the employee's side of the story the companies' side has little merit if it states that remote control of locomotives is anything more than a money saving device.
Steve
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Steven Kay wrote:

Sounds similar to the system for controlling overhead traveling cranes that I have seen in use in a number of factories.
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David,
Had one at a power station I worked at. They had an SW1200 at the far end of a cut of coal hoppers. The guy running the engine stood inside a heater shed that would warm the cars and coal in winter, if they were frozen. At the end of the shed was a mule. He would advance the cut, uncouple the front car, and then stop the cut. The loose car would roll forward until it cleared the mule, which was operated by the dumper operator. The mule would take the car up the incline into the rotary dumper. While the mule would take one up the ground engineer would advance another car to be positioned in front of the mule.
When the car was dumped, the car was released and allowed to roll out the other side of the dumper, down an incline, through a spring switch, up another incline that would put the car at about an eighty degree angle, then back down, taking the siding, and into a string of empties.
Two guys could empty 60 cars in about 1 hour.
I remember one guy running the dumper, Shaky-Bake is what we called him, he forgot to retard/stop a full load in the dumper and it rolled out the other side, meeting an empty rolling back down. They both fell over, took a couple hours to clean up the mess (we had a few D9's not busy).
I know they ran the loco remotely even when they didn't need to, just so they could stand on the platforms at the front or such. When they were moving cars though, they had two people, engineer and brakemen as normal.
Tim.
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Timothy Lange spake thus:

Thanks much for that. Nobody else bothered to describe where the operator was during remote operation, which was one of the things I was curious about.
By the way, maybe others have noticed how rife with modeling possibilities the scene you just described is.

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David,
It probably would make for a good diorama. I believe Walthers has a rotary dumper. Don't know if it has a mule though. The mule was interesting, cable operated. It rode on two sets of tracks, one narrow and sunken between the railroad tracks, about four feet down. When it was lowered and reached the end of the pit it was in, its wheels would go through a spreader and the wheels were forced out five inches. Then when pulled forward these outside rails (still inside the railroad track), would go up an incline so the mule (with pusher pad), would come up behind the car to be pulled from the back up the incline into the dumper. At the top of the incline the mule would go back down into the pit and have its wheels forced inward for the trip back down and under. The dumper guy could see far enough into the shed to see if the car was spotted for the mule.
The place is still there and operating, Bailey power station operated by Nipsco (Northern Indiana Power Station Company), on Lake Michigan by Portage. If you want latitude and longitude to see it via Google Earth, let me know.
Tim.
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On 1/17/06 8:39 PM, in article 43cd9b81$0$8295$ snipped-for-privacy@news.adtechcomputers.com, "David Nebenzahl"

The operator in a yard usually stood on the ground or rode on the steps or platform of the engine.
In industrial uses the operator would ride on the side of the lead car.
Steve
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

I saw a really oddball homemade MOW on the UP in Pomona, CA one time. I wish I had been able to get a picture of it. Basically, a truck cab-over cab had been mounted on one end of a flatcar. There was a diesel generator unit mounted on the flatcar behind it. I don't recall now if there was a crane at the back end of the flatcar or something else. There had to be one or more traction motors because the thing moved slowly on its own and was pulling some other MOW flats or gons with ties and/or rail. It looked like the sort of thing some shortline might build in their shops.
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I saw a similar thing a few years ago - the back hoe looked like it rode on the top of the gondola sides. Didn't see any motive power. Sure wish I had the camera with me that day!
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