Friday, May 16, 2014

Milwaukee Road Inspection Car

This is Milwaukee Road inspection car #30, a 1947 Dodge Custom sedan.  It was modified by the railroad shops for use by company officials inspecting the line, and was used until 1961.  For the past 40 years or more it's been sitting in front of the depot at North Freedom, but MCRM decided it no longer fit in with their collection policy, and so it's been sold to us!

 Car 30 on the Milwaukee  (photo by Don Ross)

Unlike modern hi-rail equipment, the car cannot operate on the street.  Steel flanges were attached to the hubs, and the narrow rubber tires ride on the rails.  The steering was disconnected.  Also, an underframe of steel channels was installed so that if the car were to come off the rails, it couldn't drop down far enough to be damaged by landing on the rails.  Also, there is a hydraulic jack under the car so it can be raised up and rotated.  Since it hasn't been exposed to salt, it's in pretty good condition for a car that's been stored outside all this time.
(The car in 1976 at North Freedom, from the MCRM website)

The Dodge Custom sedan was the top of the line model for 1947.  It's 19' long and seats 7, using jump seats in back.   It has a three-speed column mounted manual shift.  You can see the pump for the hydraulic jack mounted on the front bumper:

Bob Olson, Nick Kallas, and I have put up the money to buy the car, but we still need to pay for transportation and track space.  So we're soliciting donations for this unique piece of railroad equipment.  Final plans for how it will be stored and displayed, and perhaps even made operational, depend on the level of enthusiasm we can generate.  Nick and Rod will be in charge of arranging the move, and we'll let you know when it arrives.

You can help by donating to the restricted fund for Milwaukee Road #30.   As always, donations are tax-deductible to the maximum extent allowed by law.


Anonymous said...

What an awesome beast! It would be fun to include it in the trolley parade as a surprise item. Or perhaps we can have an MOW parade.
O. Anderson

Anonymous said...

Cool, new wheels for the IRM Superintendent and roadmaster. Yes, please get this vehicle restored and operating. I hope the rust under the chrome strips is not significant.

Ira Schreiber said...

The easiest way to transport this, (I had one similar, a 1948 DeSoto) is to rent a 24'-28' U-Haul truck and put it inside.
This works well and is the lowest cost option to move.
Ira Schreiber
Been there, done that.

Anonymous said...

And If you get caught by U-Haul doing that you will have a NOT SO LOW COST PROBLEM! Let alone the The Fines from what ever Law enforcment they call in!

Randall Hicks said...

We should point out that U-Haul trucks are not intended for transporting motor vehicles, and this use is definitely against their rules. They're intended only for household goods and such.

We (IRM) already have a low-boy trailer and a truck to pull it that should be just what is needed for hauling the car.

Brian J. Patterson said...

Please donate to MILW 30 Rest. Fund

Hello, Randy.

What's the latest news on getting this car brought to Union?

This car when new came with either a conventional manual transmission, or "Fluid Drive." Fluid Drive used a torque converter and also used a clutch mostly to start, stop, and change gear ranges. One "unadvertised" feature of Fluid Drive was that reverse used the same gear set as the low gear range. So, if you were backing a Fluid Drive car, got above 15 mph, released the gas, and got on the gas again, you would be in "high reverse," and you could go up to 45mph. That is, if you could keep a large car backing up that fast without wrecking it.


Brian J. Patterson.

Randall Hicks said...

Before the Board approves acquisition of the car, we need to raise the track space money, about $1400. So please donate to the MILW 30 fund. Then we can start planning on a permanent storage/display facility.

I'm pretty sure it has a standard three-on-the-tree transmission. 45 MPH in reverse would be nuts.

Anonymous said...

As a member of the Track Dept. I will report that the car has made its safe journey to Illinois and is in safe keeping until which time the Board approves its acquisition. The car is a 1947 Dodge 6 D24 Limo with the 230 ci L-6 motor. Further inspection has shown that the rust is only surface rust and will not be a major issue. The only major issue found so far is an 8" hole in the trunk where the stock spare tire would sit. The only other items missing seem to be the cigarette tray from the dash, and both short trim pieces between the front fenders and the doors. We in the Track Dept. fully intend to completely restore this car and most definitely hope to have it running around the property. Suit, tie, and fedora required.
- Mark

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the car was in fresh maroon and orange paint in the old 1976 photo. I wonder if the car ever wore those colors when in service on the railroad?