Saturday, May 31, 2014

Track Inspection Car

Today I had a chance to visit our Milwaukee Road track inspection car in its temporary location.  It's being stored off-site until acquisition is approved and we can arrange for proper storage at IRM.  In the meantime, YOU need to donate to the Milwaukee Road 30 fund to help pay for track space and eventual restoration.  Thanks!

First, let's look at the wheels.  Behind the tire is a steel flange, which might be easy to miss.  Of course, where the rubber meets the rail, it compresses so the flange should be more than adequate. 

We also noticed that these are Firestone "Rail Type" tires!  Who's ever heard of that?  We're sure they're  no longer made, but these particular tires are still holding air!  Perhaps we should make Firestone the official tire of Hicks Car Works.  (I'm no expert on tires, to be sure, but I would say that TV has been a vast wasteland ever since "Voice of Firestone" went off the air.  That was a wonderful program.  If I could tell you....)

Under the middle of the car is the turntable, a hydraulic foot that comes down to lift the car so it can be rotated.  The hydraulic jack is mounted on the front bumper.  


Under the front bumper is one of the beams to support the car if it were to come off the rails.

Here's the back seat, with the jump seats folded out. 

If my calculations are correct, this car should actually seat eight people.  But two of them must have freakishly small legs.

Here's the engine compartment, with its flat-head six.  It doesn't look like a very hefty engine for such a big car.  In the foreground is the 6V battery, or what's left of it.

And here's the horn, in front of the radiator.  I can't wait to get this operating, at least!

And in the trunk we have a spare tire, complete with steel flange.

This is going to be a wonderful display piece, and our friends in the Track Dept. will do their best to take care of it, when they're not busy with all of the essential tasks they perform on a regular basis.  But of course money will be needed to make this car presentable, so your help will be greatly appreciated.


Anonymous said...

All hi-rail vehicles require special tires

Anonymous said...

The off-site storage appears to be someone's driveway - and hopefully garage.

Anonymous said...

This is really quite a gem of an artifact. Any idea which building it will eventually be stored in? It obviously does not need the high clearance of a car barn, but I suppose that is the only dry storage option available at the moment. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

This isn't a Hyrail vehicle. There is no way to operate it on the highway. I'm guessing that the tires are pretty rare however if the rubber is in good shape the inner tubes might be available.

I wanna see this machine on "pimp my ride" !!!

Randy Stahl

Anonymous said...

Regarding those rubber wheels- dig out your copy of Geoffrey Doughty's "The Early Zephyrs" and look at pages 10-12. It seems that Budd tried putting them on their earliest streamlined cars and trainsets, between about 1931 and 1933. For example, the Texas & Pacific's "Silver Slipper" has something that looks more like an airplane landing gear bogie than a truck, with flanged pneumatic wheels with "Goodyear" visible.
Quoting from the caption, "The passenger coach was supported and carried by trucks composed of stainless steel frames with eight Budd pneumatic-tired wheels in each truck, fitted with Timken bearings. The Goodyear tires, designed by Michelin, were intended to provide a quieter and smoother ride, but the train suffered problems in their use."
So even though these things were a bust (or a bang, or a flap-flap-flap) on full-size trains, maybe they sought out the MOW market afterward. I can't imagine these things having been made in the last 50 years though.
R. W. Schauer

Anonymous said...

Some photos of the early Michelin Budd units.

A good writeup on the "Michelines"

Down at the bottom of the post there are links to pre hi-rail automobile conversions, including a '55 GN Buick and beauty Pierce-Arrow limo.

Bonus random internet find:

The Besler steam Budd tram.