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Steam & Excursion > When the Steam Train Is Not Fast Enough, You Need One Of These!


Date: 09/25/20 04:02
When the Steam Train Is Not Fast Enough, You Need One Of These!
Author: LoggerHogger

Let's face it, logging in the age of steam was a very dangerous industry.  During the highball days of logging, there were more deaths and injuries in this industry than in any other in the U.S..  This required logging companies to develop some innovations, not to make the work place safer, but simply to try and treat the injuries that were bound to occur.  Here we see one such contraption developed to help the injured loggers.

The Pickering Lumber Company of Standard, California decided that it was too slow to haul and injured logger back to town using the geared steam locomotives in their fleet.  For that reason, they developed their own rail car ambulance that we see her parked in Standard in 1940.  This ambulance was usually kept in the woods near the dangerous cutting areas where the most injuries occurred.  When the whistles blew declaring there to be an accident, it was dispatched to the scene and called upon to "hightail it" back to town with the injured logger.

Merely seeing one of these parked in your logging camp every morning must have been a sobering reminder of how dangerous a profession you have chosen.

Martin



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/20 04:11 by LoggerHogger.




Date: 09/25/20 06:46
Re: When the Steam Train Is Not Fast Enough, You Need One Of Thes
Author: randgust

Martin - my grandmother related a story to me - which cannot be proven - but still smacks of logging railroad reality in the early 1900's.

Wheeler & Dusenbury in Pennsylvania was one of the top five largest logging operations in the state, employed both sides of my family at various times.  Endeavor, PA was a true mill town, the millsite is still active today, and the town still looks like a company town.   Wheeler was paternalistic and kept the operation going four years after the depression hit, which says a lot about the possible validity of this.  They had their own common-carrier connection to the PRR, the Hickory Valley Railroad, along with about 100 miles of logging rail.

My grandmothers neighbor wife who's husband worked for Wheeler apparently suffered a major mental breakdown and became violent and uncontrollable.   In this era - which was probably before 1920 from her story, no paved roads, only the railroad connection out.   Wheeler reportedly commandeered an empty PRR boxcar, covered the inside with mattresses nailed to the inside, nailed the car shut, and literally shipped her to the regional insane assuylum at North Warren, PA by rail, which woujld have been about a 30 mile move by rail, via Wheeler's logging railroad, PRR and NYC - so it was an interchange carload. 

I'd love to find the waybill or any proof of the story, which I don't have, but this fits in with some other stories she's told that seemed absolutely impossible until proven by evidence.  



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/20 06:51 by randgust.



Date: 09/25/20 08:02
Re: When the Steam Train Is Not Fast Enough, You Need One Of Thes
Author: EMDSW-1

That would have been cool for someone to restore and use on a NARCOA speeder run!

Dick Samuels



Date: 09/25/20 08:03
Re: When the Steam Train Is Not Fast Enough, You Need One Of Thes
Author: zephyrus

What a fascinating piece of equipment.  Would have been amazing if it had survived (or does it?) to tell the tale.

Z



Date: 09/25/20 08:34
Re: When the Steam Train Is Not Fast Enough, You Need One Of Thes
Author: LarryDoyle

If the tree falling on ya didn't kill ya, the bone shattering ride might make you wish it did.

-LD



Date: 09/25/20 10:38
Re: When the Steam Train Is Not Fast Enough, You Need One Of Thes
Author: Elesco

Regarding the ride, it shouldn't have been too bad.  You can see a leaf spring over the rear wheel of the ambulance, and for a Model T, the front springing would be a single transverse leaf spring above the axle.

Model T conversions to rail were popular for use as inspection cars.  All that was needed were special wheels (which Ford may have manufactured) and a means to lock the steering in the center position.  The track width matched standard gauge almost perfectly.  

The car conversion shown below is typical.  The ambulance is based on a truck chassis, which is very similar but heavier duty.

 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/20 14:58 by Elesco.




Date: 09/25/20 10:43
Re: When the Steam Train Is Not Fast Enough, You Need One Of Thes
Author: up833

Modified truck but what brand?
RB



Date: 09/25/20 11:33
Re: When the Steam Train Is Not Fast Enough, You Need One Of Thes
Author: Elesco

up833 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Modified truck but what brand?
> RB

Ford Model T truck.  Sorry I didn't make that clear.

Edit:  adding picture. 

 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/20 11:51 by Elesco.




Date: 09/25/20 19:11
Re: When the Steam Train Is Not Fast Enough, You Need One Of Thes
Author: E25

The Espee once used a cab-forward and a caboose as an "ambulance" to evacuate a railroad employee with a life-threatening health issue (...maybe appendicitis) from the high Cascades in the dead of winter with heavy snow on the ground (... maybe Crescent Lake or Cascade Summit), to Eugene, setting a new speed record at the time.

I believe that the engineer's last name was "Ogden" and he was told by the dispatcher, "The railroad is yours!"  All trains running between Crescent Lake and Eugene were halted in locations where the "ambulance special" could fly around them.

The fast trip enabled the stricken employee to have emergency surgery in time to save his life.

An account of the event was retold in a 1950's newspaper article in the Salem, Oregon "Statesman."

Greg Stadter
Phoenix, AZ



Date: 09/29/20 14:19
Re: When the Steam Train Is Not Fast Enough, You Need One Of Thes
Author: wingomann

A real life event mimicing the one in the movie "Danger Lights".



Date: 10/04/20 15:41
Re: When the Steam Train Is Not Fast Enough, You Need One Of Thes
Author: BaltoJoey

wingomann Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A real life event mimicing the one in the movie
> "Danger Lights".

I hought of the same thing. ;-)



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