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Discussion Boards => General Discussion => Topic started by: Trainman203 on December 26, 2017, 11:43:46 PM

Title: maintenance of way (MOW) models
Post by: Trainman203 on December 26, 2017, 11:43:46 PM
Anyone here ever done a complete maintenance train model? On the prototype, they are just about gone, replaced by a host of hi-rail type vehicles and cranes.  But 50 years ago , every railroad had collections of older cast off cars relegated to maintenance service.

You almost never saw MOW cars and trains actually move.  If they werenít  in storage at some division point, theyíd be on a siding somewhere while some kind of nearby track or embankment work or bridge repair went on.  There would be boxcars  or old baggage cars for storage, flat cars for rail, frogs, switchstands and such, hoppers and gons for fill and ballast, and kitchen cars and bunk cars made from old passenger cars.  There would be tank cars for water  and fuel, and there would often be old steam engine tenders serving such a purpose.  These cars were usually painted a distinctive color to differentiate from revenue cars, such as grey or silver like the T&NO did, but some were boxcar red like the MP did.  And sometimes a superintendentís office car might appear at a really big job site.

There were other assorted items like ballast spreaders, and snowplows, and weed sprayers that would have their own support trains.

In the 60ís when I was really looking at these trains, the equipment seemed to largely date from 30 to 40 years before.  The last time I remember seeing MOW cars around, in the late 80ís, the boxcars still had friction bearing trucks and full height ladders with roof walks.  Around the same time, in Mobile AL, I saw a dozen or more MOW heavyweight former passenger cars on 6 wheel friction bearing buckeye trucks going to scrap, and cried for the loss of these museum worthy pieces.

Lots of models of large big hook type cranes have been made, but they would be part of a wreck cleanup train rather than an actual ďmaintenanceĒ  train.

Iím getting ready to create an MOW train.  Has anyone else ever done it?  Or thought about it?

Title: Re: maintenance of way (MOW) models
Post by: Len on December 27, 2017, 10:56:06 AM
From an operations point of view, I found this in a PRR rulebook from the late 50's. It sounds like there were instances, although probably rare, when MOW equipment was moved in revenue trains. I wonder where they put the removed water and coal?

Machinery of Rotating or Swinging Type
4155-A.   Machinery of rotary or swinging type such as cranes, derricks, steam shovels, etc., whether loaded on cars or moving on own wheels, must not be moved in revenue trains unless form CT-310 covering the specific movement is attached, one to each side of the car on which it is loaded or one to each side of the machine when moving on own wheels, and form CT-310-A is attached to the billing.

When such shipments are set off for repairs that may affect the requirements of the A.A.R. Loading Rules, they must not again be moved except upon authority of the Superintendent Transportation, and not until proper inspection has been made and billing endorsed by agent or yard master "Reinspected at ................ and loaded as per A.A.R. Loading Rules." Conductors when setting off such shipments for repairs must notify the proper officer that it is rotary type machinery.

In all movements of such rotary or swinging type machinery on own wheels in revenue trains the boom end must trail, except that when necessary the Superintendent Transportation may authorize movement with boom end forward, in which event the authority will include any additional speed restrictions that may be required.

When cranes are shipped on their own wheels, all coal must be removed from the coal bunkers, and all water removed from the boilers and reservoirs. When boom is removed the light end of crane should trail. Where trucks are secured to body with keyed or nutted CENTER pin, key or nut should be removed from pin on trailing end. All locking pins and hold-downs must be in secured position.

When pivoted machinery, equipped with swinging booms of which a part may swing or extend outward, is moved from one service point to another in work trains, boom anchors and cables must be in place and locking devices fastened. When such equipment is moved during the progress of work on or about main tracks, stops must be in use to prevent fouling adjacent tracks, and crane operator must be in cab.

Boom must be securely anchored, with CENTER lock in place, and crane operator must be in cab while train movements are being made on adjacent tracks.


Title: Re: maintenance of way (MOW) models
Post by: Len on December 27, 2017, 12:28:57 PM
Found a page with lots of MOW equipment history and info:


Title: Re: maintenance of way (MOW) models
Post by: Len on December 27, 2017, 12:35:44 PM
Here's a New Haven maintenance crew replacing ties. Note the crane is just a tracked crawler loaded on a flat car:


Title: Re: maintenance of way (MOW) models
Post by: jward on December 27, 2017, 08:04:27 PM
M of W trains haven't disappeared. They've become more specialized. Each train serves one particular function. For example, Norfolk Southern runs solid ballast trains, there are also trains dedicated to welded rail, with old flatcars equipped with racks to hold the rail sections, and a threader car on the end that pulls the rail strands off the racks and lays them on the ground beside the tracks. This same car can also be used to pick up used rail and load the racks. There is also the "jimbo" train, which consists of gondolas loaded with ties. The jimbo is a straddle crabe that walks over the tops of the gondolas, picking up or dropping off ties. The former conrail lines also have "CAMP" cars, which are an old flatcar equipped with a modular bunkhouse similar to an office trailer at a construction site.

privately owned rail grinder trains are also around. These are quipped with numerous stone grinders that are used to restore worn rail ro the proper contours. They are spectacular to see at night, with sparks flying off the grinders. This train usually has at least one tank car filled with water that is sprayed on the track to prevent fires.

Title: Re: maintenance of way (MOW) models
Post by: Trainman203 on December 27, 2017, 10:55:16 PM
After reading your report, Jeffrey , you are very correct and I realized that what I was really describing was a more old fashioned MOW train, really meant to supporting crews in remote locations for several days. Ive seen all the operations and equipment you describe and didnít correlate properly .  The MOW trains I find the greatest interest in were the ones with the hand me down rail equipment.

Title: Re: maintenance of way (MOW) models
Post by: Trainman203 on December 29, 2017, 11:05:45 AM
Iím still wondering .... has anyone ever modeled a MOW train?

Title: Re: maintenance of way (MOW) models
Post by: Len on December 29, 2017, 11:28:32 AM
Just the usual "wreck train", not really MOW. This page gives me some idea though:

I really like the 'kitchen car' for keeping the crew fed.


Title: Re: maintenance of way (MOW) models
Post by: jonathan on December 29, 2017, 11:38:29 AM
Well... yes, I have modeled MOW equipment.  I usually run all of the cars at trains shows and the club layout.

Typically, it goes like this:

2 modified Bachmann S2 diesels (sound value).

120 ton crane with boom car (modified flat car).

200 ton crane with another modified flat car.

1 unused modified flat car holding tools, pressurized tanks, ladders and the like.

a couple coal hoppers to feed the cranes.

Scratchbuilt scale tool car to support;

2 scale test cars

A modified bobber caboose.

Sometimes I pull these with a small steamer rather than a diesels.

All these have been modeled after prototypical B&O equipment.  However, I pull all these trains together for fun. Realistically, my train would not look like a typical MOW train.  I just happen to model equipment I've found in photos and I like them.



Title: Re: maintenance of way (MOW) models
Post by: Trainman203 on December 29, 2017, 07:41:46 PM
Iím gathering the cars now.  I have a couple of old tank cars getting rehabbed now.  Going to add a storage boxcar and a baggage car and an old sleeper, all painted silver.  Plus a couple of flat cars with rail and wheel sets, 2 or 3 ballast hoppers, and best of all, an old steam engine tender converted to oil and water storage.

Iím going to make my train out of rehabbed $5 cars from train shows as much as I can.

Title: Re: maintenance of way (MOW) models
Post by: jward on December 30, 2017, 07:33:57 AM

The current Mof W trains often use hand me down equipment, Many of the former Conrail rail trains used 40 or 50 foot flatcars from the steam era. A lot of them used the old Pennsylvania Railroad cars which were cast steel instead of fabricated like most other line's cars. Storage boxcars or tool cars are often 40 foot boxcars from the 1950s or earlier. In yards you can still find X29 boxcars from the 1920s used as storage sheds, and in Conway there is even an old NYC/MDT ice reefer used for this.

I've seen old SOuthern gongolas with build dates as early as 1031. And last summer, I saw a CSX ballast train composed almost entirely of 55 ton two bay hoppers that had disappeared from revenue service in the 1980s. Next time you see an Mof W train, pay close attention to the cars. They're a lot older than you think.

Title: Re: maintenance of way (MOW) models
Post by: Trainman203 on December 30, 2017, 12:05:21 PM
The former L&N in the Gulf Coast area of Mississippi has an ongoing problem, with no real permanent solution, of erosion of the embankment in the wetlands west of Waveland all the way to New Orleans, about 50 miles.  

In Bay St Louis MS there is a staging area always piled high with rip rap, to be taken out on the line and dumped down the embankment, which is maybe 10-15í above water level.  The rip rap seems to arrive in really beat up CSX high side gons, I donít recall seeing hoppers.  They appear to be unloaded by some kind of treaded bucket thing that crawls over the top of the cars, doing wonders to the car ends I bet.

The rip rap waits in staging until needed and is then loaded on Difco (is that right?) side dumpers that go out in the marsh to deposit the material where needed.

The power for this action is two old 4-axle Geep- somethings, not used in mainline revenue service any more.  They are almost always there, idling away, but Iíve never seen them or any of the equipment actually move.

This entire section of the CSX, including several long bridges, was completely washed out by hurricane Katrina.  It took over three months to get it open again.  At the end, the rail grinders came through.  I saw them around dark and it was quite the sight.

Title: Re: maintenance of way (MOW) models
Post by: jward on December 30, 2017, 12:46:11 PM
In my area, washouts aren't that common but landslides are. They use the difco's to haul out the fallen rock. Plus, the quarries that the NS gets its ballast from are in Pennsylvania. It's interesting watching them load those cars from an overhead bin.

Title: Re: maintenance of way (MOW) models
Post by: Trainman203 on January 01, 2018, 10:47:20 AM
Len .... the Sacramento Northern MOW equipment in your link..... that is EXACTLY the kind of MOW equipment I am talking about.  Put in a heavyweight baggage car, a converted section sleeper, and an old steam engine tender, and you have it!

Back home the MP used to regularly, every autumn, park two or three boxcar-red section sleepers on a warehouse  spur near their small 3 track yard and close to a large co-op sugar mill.  They had been fitted with wood framed insect screens over several of the windows.  I often wondered how those long heavy cars made it down the 50-mile, 65-lb rail, sharp-curved, freight-only branch from the old NOT&M main.  At the same time I would see a couple of wood bunk cars much like the cars on the link parked near another  sugar mill about 5 miles out.  After a long time it occurred to me that these MOW sleepers were probably not there for MOW reasons but maybe leased for overflow quarters for seasonal sugar mill workers for the 3 or 4 months the mills ran.

Thatís a good alternative use for MOW sleepers on a layout.

Title: Re: maintenance of way (MOW) models
Post by: Deland on January 15, 2018, 10:11:04 PM
 There's a group on fb that does a lot of MOW vehicles. IIRC it's Budget HO scale models. There are other groups for different manufacturers there also. Also a lot of scratch builders and kitbashers.