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Railroaders' Nostalgia > The Weed Sprayer Train


Date: 10/09/16 10:43
The Weed Sprayer Train
Author: Fredo

Over on the Eastern Board there is a thread with a mention about weed spraying. Back around 2006 or so I was on the Union Pacific West Colton to Yermo Pool.There were a number of former Southern Pacific Engineers on the pool. I was working with one of them when we went by a weed spraying truck on the BNSF.My engineer then told me a story about being called for a weed sprayig train on the SP. He was talking to the foreman about his next door neighbor's front lawn. The lawn was a mess with lots of weeds that the wind would blow the seeds onto his lawn making it look like his neighbor's lawn. He asked the foreman if he could help him out and the foreman said he would before they tied up.As he was tieing up his power the forman came into the cab with one of those little 4 ounce watter bottles filled with weed killer and set it onto the control stand.The engineer said,"Is that all I get? You have 3 tank cars full of that stuff and you give me that tiny bottle." The foreman then told him," If you follow the manufactures directions that bottle diluted down will take out a golf corse." The engineer said "Perfect,Thanks" He took it home and dumped the whole bottle into his garden sprayer and filled the rest with water and when it was good and late sprayed his neighbors lawn.The next day he got called to work and while backing out of his drive way noticed that his neighbor's lawn was now yellow. He made a round trip to Yuma and when he came home his neighbor was out wattering the crap out of his lawn and it looked worse than it did before he went to Yuma and back.It wasn't long before it looked like the landscape between Bertram and Rogoza on the Yuma Sub. About a month later the neighbor put a new sod lawn in and after watering it it turned yellow, and suffered the same fate.



Date: 10/09/16 11:41
Re: The Weed Sprayer Train
Author: justalurker66

I have used a chemical similar to that stuff (I cannot remember the name) but it was labeled as a ground sterilizer. Where I used it (sparingly) it created bare dirt and nothing grew for several years. One had to be really careful about runoff as it also sterilized the ground where the chemical ran off.



Date: 10/09/16 15:06
Re: The Weed Sprayer Train
Author: Lone Star

Hyvar, Spike, etc. Killing stuff is easy. At a long ago point in my life, I was able to ride a spray train on the SP down Alameda St. from the Bullring, finally tying up in Long Beach. Hyvar was the entre that day back in '72. I'm still here! Power for the train was a U28C and a U25B. Rolf Azmuz was the SP man in charge. Rolf was an HO collector of note back then. He suffered a heart attack in the '80's and passed away.

John Ford

Posted from iPhone



Date: 10/09/16 17:41
Re: The Weed Sprayer Train
Author: SLOCONDR

Lone Star Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hyvar, Spike, etc. Killing stuff is easy. At a
> long ago point in my life, I was able to ride a
> spray train on the SP down Alameda St. from the
> Bullring, finally tying up in Long Beach. Hyvar
> was the entre that day back in '72. I'm still
> here! Power for the train was a U28C and a U25B.
> Rolf Azmuz was the SP man in charge. Rolf was an
> HO collector of note back then. He suffered a
> heart attack in the '80's and passed away.
>
> John Ford
>
> Posted from iPhone

Wow! That's a name out of the past. Rolf was a 100% company man on the Sp. I worked the weed sprayer with Rolf quite a few times over the PE property in the mid 60s and early 70s. He knew his job probably better than anyone on the division. I think you probably enjoyed that ride down Alameda to Long Beach very much. I know I really enjoyed working the job.


V

SLOCONR



Date: 10/09/16 19:49
Re: The Weed Sprayer Train
Author: Westbound

For all you weed haters, I think I may have posted this before, but...

Just buy a gallon jug of the cheapest vinegar you can find in your grocery store. Don't dilute. Put it in any spray bottle and it will kill most weeds it touches. Do not spray your lawn, just the weeds. Your yard will smell like salad dressing for maybe 30 minutes and your pets & children won't be harmed.

As to the weed sprayer, looks just like the one I saw around 1967 passing through Oakdale, CA on the SP. 



Date: 10/09/16 21:42
Re: The Weed Sprayer Train
Author: ExSPCondr

Virlon is sure right, Rolf Asmus (the Veed Sprayer, he was German,) is a name out of the past.  I had to accompany him on a hirail truck all over the LA Basin, and we would steal water from fire hydrants.  Then I caught him up the Coast, and they had set out about ten tank cars of water in the various little setout tracks or bad order spurs.  I would get a track car lineup, and then we would figure which way to go, then stop in the siding next to the tank and fill up with water.
 



Date: 10/10/16 12:50
Re: The Weed Sprayer Train
Author: CR3

I never thought I would run across stories of this man for the rest of my life until now.  I was in a model railroad club that Rolf was in back in the 60's.  He allowed us to build a large building on his property to house the future club layout.  That was a big mistake.  We had a falling out with him over what kind of layout to build and in the process lost our interest in the building.  Since it was on private property and we had no written contract with him, we did not have a leg to stand on.  We were forced to move to another location.  Rolf was the most stubborn man I ever met.
CRS



Date: 10/12/16 14:49
Re: The Weed Sprayer Train
Author: Lone Star

CR,

He knew how to run a tight operation and get things done. When I rode the train, I was all of 14 years of age. My dad was employed by one of the companies then in the chemical business and had worked extensively with Rolf on prior test applications on SP property that did not involve the use of an entire train. When Rolf learned from my dad that I was a big SP fan in the making, the doors opened....Yes, Virlon, I enjoyed the adventure immensely. I'm not sure I would want to be 14 again, but 24 sounds fine! Either way, I would never able to relive that day with the "Veed sprayer"....

John

Posted from iPhone



Date: 10/12/16 19:55
Re: The Weed Sprayer Train
Author: SanJoaquinEngr

The standing joke on the SP if you worked the weed sprayer  the train crew would never see the same weed sprayer crew the next year.  Because no one really knew the toxic chemicals that were sprayed upon the right of way . 



Date: 10/14/16 09:39
Re: The Weed Sprayer Train
Author: railstiesballast

"Veed Sprayer" indeed.  Rolf was one of several European immigrants who came to the US after WWII.  "Big Ed" Sadowsky and Roger Stokes were two others.
The hearsay on Rolf was that he was an only partly reformed Nazi.  Also, that Rolf would go to Germany on vacation and make arrangements to mail Marklin HO trains to various SP folks to avoid paying customs duty on what he went over there to buy.
But he did a great job of controlling vegetation, tumbleweeds feared him.
I don't know if he was still alive when I took this photo here on the Burbank Branch on the Los Angeles Division but his spirit is on board.




Date: 10/14/16 09:58
Re: The Weed Sprayer Train
Author: Josiah

Date on the spraying picture?  Thanks,



Date: 10/14/16 17:59
Re: The Weed Sprayer Train
Author: railstiesballast

The weed spray is in 1977, maybe February, so if Rolf died in the 80s he was alive then.
My photo file names have coded dates but I don't have 100% confidnence in my own record keeping.



Date: 10/14/16 18:05
Re: The Weed Sprayer Train
Author: PHall

The sprayer car looks like a Milwaukee Road product.



Date: 10/14/16 22:08
Re: The Weed Sprayer Train
Author: ExSPCondr

Washburn Ag Service right Mike?
G



Date: 10/15/16 10:28
Re: The Weed Sprayer Train
Author: Lone Star

I concur with Washburn being the contractor. The spray car used on the train I rode was built out of a standard lightweight baggage car. Absolutely filthy inside and out!

John

Posted from iPhone



Date: 10/30/16 17:59
Location Info
Author: 567Chant

The apartment buildings depicted are extant.
I identified them by their unique dormer configuration.
16011 Victory Blvd. Van Nuys, California   91406
The photographer would be roughly south of the intersection of Montgomery Ave. and Victory.
https://www.google.com/maps/@34.1866721,-118.4819283,3a,90y,358.54h,90.15t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sb1C_bgdaAwAvgAHHCImo9g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
...Lorenzo



Date: 10/31/16 10:46
Re: Location Info
Author: mapboy

I looked 180 degrees from your Street View link- amazing how big the trees are there now.  Thanks!

mapboy



Date: 11/22/16 19:24
Re: Location Info
Author: rrman6

Just seeing this picture would make ones tomato vine immediately wilt!!



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