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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Toolboxes

Date: 10/18/19 12:04
Author: eminence_grise

A friend passed away in his nineties recently. His career as a locomotive engineer for CP spanned from the late steam era. However, before working for the railroad, he had hung around the roundhouse since childhood.

He collected steam locomotive photos going back to the construction days.

I was intrigued by a photograph of a 1900's era steam engine on the turntable with a bunch of toolboxes stored beside the turntable controls.

He told me that in those days, engineers carried a tool box on the locomotive with them. The box contained various tools and some spare parts. These boxes were of steel construction, were large enough to hold pipe wrenches and various spanners, plus washers and gaskets.

When not in use, these were stored inside the roundhouse. He told me the roundhouse staff placed them on the footplate, unless the engineer had done something to make them not like him.

The pile of toolboxes on the end of the turntable related to the order of the locomotives coming out of the roundhouse to the ready track.

I understand the engineers owned the toolboxes, and typically they would pay a shop machinist to make the boxes for them, including stamping their names on a brass plate attached to the box.

Occasionally, these toolboxes have survived to be preserved, but often people assume they were mechanics tool boxes.

Another piece of steel luggage which locomotive engineers carried was a "lunch box", I'm going to say a 24 inch by 12 by 12. galvanized metal box with a steel lid, and a canvas carrying strap. Inside there was a metal shelf for carrying the timetables, rule books and so forth. Again, they were put together by shop machinists and often were painted with paint available in the shop, with the engineers name stencilled or embossed on brass on the outside of the box.

These survived into the diesel era.  

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/18/19 15:14 by eminence_grise.

Date: 10/19/19 08:42
Re: Toolboxes
Author: engineerinvirginia

Cool idea....the nearest thing we get to a tool box now is bolted into the nose of the cab.....what with mainline fuel facilities these days no one is going to take care of personal boxes unless it is you yourself....and we do carry a ton of stuff.....

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