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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Locomotive cooking


Date: 02/01/20 09:51
Locomotive cooking
Author: RGTower

Ok chefs. When warming up a can of Dinty Moore, cooking a baked potato, or reheating dinner, what is your preferred method of operation?

Me personally, On the older EMD’s, I would wrap my food in tin foil and place it on the water manifold from the engine to the radiator to get things to 165-180 degrees. This was primarily for reheating food.

For cooking, (again, on older model locomotives), I’ll cook my food in a tin can or on aluminum foil on the sidewall heater. Some of those electric sidewall heaters get hot enough to melt the rubber on your boot soles. Perfect for cooking baked potatos or hotdogs (wrapped in tin foil).

If the cab has a funky odor or the bathroom is rancid, putting orange peels or grapefruit peels on the sidewall heater in low heat will kill the smell.

And who could forget washing it down with a plastic bottle of railroad supplied Tyler Mountain Spring Water. The only water I’ve ever had that MUST be served cold. When it was warm, it tasted worse than swimming pool water.


Cooking on the sidewall has become a dying art with newer locomotive HVAC systems. I’m interested in hearing other methods or recipes.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/20 10:00 by RGTower.



Date: 02/01/20 14:17
Re: Locomotive cooking
Author: tehachcond

   If the caboose had an odoriferous toilet, we'd use the orange peel trick on the stove also.  Worked real good.

Brian Black
Castle Rock, CO.



Date: 02/01/20 15:16
Re: Locomotive cooking
Author: PHall

Don't most Canadian units have a hot plate in the cab?



Date: 02/01/20 16:14
Re: Locomotive cooking
Author: 3rdswitch

MY preferred choice was also the water pump. Using the sideway heater in summer would not work.
JB



Date: 02/01/20 16:39
Re: Locomotive cooking
Author: LarryDoyle

Well, some steam crew have been known to use the shovel.

But, only use YOUR OWN shovel. You never know what else it might have been used for.

-LD



Date: 02/01/20 16:56
Re: Locomotive cooking
Author: engineerinvirginia

On CW44's I'd put things on top of the water tank, good for warming up, and I never had anything that needed actual cooking.....On EMD's I'd tuck them behind and between a couple PA's the exhaust pipe was quite nearby and that would get stuff nice and warm....Now I carry stuff that doesn't need to be warmed, since as the engineer I'd don't have much opportunity to do any food prep....just open my lunch bucket and pull something out...that's all I can so. 



Date: 02/01/20 17:16
Re: Locomotive cooking
Author: wa4umr

Several years ago someone published a PDF called "Manifold Menus."  It was a cookbook for the engineer or conductor with information on where to cook in different types of locomotives.  It also had quite a few recipes.  I did a search and found there is a second issue, but it's just recipes.   The first volume is no longer available on the web, however, I have a copy somewhere on my laptop.  It's PDF so I can't post it here on TO.com but if anyone is interested, drop me a PM with your e-mail address and I'll see if I can find it and forward it to you.  You too can become a locomotive chef.

John



Date: 02/01/20 17:44
Re: Locomotive cooking
Author: Railbaron

I had a conductor put a can of Pork & Beans on the block of a GE unit one time to "cook". After a while he went out to get his lunch but came back empty handed but laughing. Evidently he made a slight tachical error - he failed to poke a vent hole in the top of the can and when it got hot enough it blew up throwing his Pork & Beans all over the engine compartment.



Date: 02/01/20 17:46
Re: Locomotive cooking
Author: ln844south

On EMD's such as a SD-40, you could cook a nice steak and baked potato on the water tank. IT was 161 miles Pensacola to Chattahoochee. Fl. On a through freight, go turn it over at Defuniak Springs which was half way, and by the time you put off, the steak was slow cooked and tender with a steaming hot potato. 

Steve Panzik
Chiloquin, OR



Date: 02/01/20 19:33
Re: Locomotive cooking
Author: PHall

Railbaron Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I had a conductor put a can of Pork & Beans on the
> block of a GE unit one time to "cook". After a
> while he went out to get his lunch but came back
> empty handed but laughing. Evidently he made a
> slight tachical error - he failed to poke a vent
> hole in the top of the can and when it got hot
> enough it blew up throwing his Pork & Beans all
> over the engine compartment.

One of those little cans of Beanie Wienees will cover an entire 8 x 8 room! (Or a GP Small tent.)



Date: 02/01/20 22:27
Re: Locomotive cooking
Author: roustabout

3rdswitch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> MY preferred choice was also the water pump. Using
> the sideway heater in summer would not work.
> JB

I have put canned foods on the water pump, too.  It won't overheat (usually) although takes a couple of hours to warm unless you're pulling a grade or heavy train.

Someone I worked with put a can of chili on the sidewall of a UP locomotive and let it go a bit too long as it exploded and covered the cab and the engineer.  No ax claim, though, from what I heard



Date: 02/02/20 05:11
Re: Locomotive cooking
Author: Notch7

Much of my early career was spent in passenger service working on E's and F's with steam generarators.  Me and another fireman wondered if we could cook something on the top firepot dome of a steam boiler.  It got plenty hot - sometimes cherry red if the sprayhead was out of adjustment. The dome had a downward curve to it too.  I decided to try anyway since I had a north run that got in my AFHT at breakfest time.  Still being a teenager, I opted to try a frozen sausage pizza.  I wound up on top of a OK-4625 already being used.  The pizza was wrapped in aluminum foil and secured by wire and aluminum tape. I checked on it each time I went back to blow down the separators.  It turned out decent. It was hot, but the crust was not hard like it would have been in an oven.  I offered some to my old steam engineer, but he declined.  He lived at the AFHT, and his wife always had a hot homecooked breakfast waiting for him.  He remembered too many coal scoop meals from his early days.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/20 05:13 by Notch7.



Date: 02/02/20 08:57
Re: Locomotive cooking
Author: PCCRNSEngr

Being a Tea-aholic I carried a hot pot all the time and with an extention cord and socket outlet I made out most of the time. On the extention cord I put an on-off switch so I didn't have to keep unpluging the cord from the bottom of the pot. There is another side story to that reason.
Most of the EMD you had a 74 volt outlet either in the electrical cabinet or on desktops along the lower front of the control stand where you could plug in. On GE's I would unscrew a bulb and screw in my socket. On the B23-7 there was an outlet in the toilet compartment. When you have boiling water just bring the dried products like soup, mashed potatoes or pasta and enjoy something hot. I also carried instant Hot chocolate mix for other crew members.

Here is that side story.  One bitter cold night my Head Brakeman wanted some hot chocolate and I happen to have one packet left. He dumped the mix in his cup and went for the pot which was steaming. As he went for the pot I asked him to pull the plug. He had not poured any water yet as he started to unplug the pot still with the mug in the other hand he did not realize as he pulled the plug he dumped the dry mix right into my grip. It was months that I was still cleaning out the chocolate.  That is when I put the on/off switch on the extention cord.

When I worked the Buffalo Line between Williamsport and Harrisburg my regular Conductor smoked and drank coffee so he always rode the second unit. On the southbound run when we had to slow down for the 25mph curve restrictions for the Susquehanna River Bridge at Montgomery he would come forward to fix his coffee as he knew by then the water was hot.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/20 10:26 by PCCRNSEngr.



Date: 02/02/20 15:16
Re: Locomotive cooking
Author: trainjunkie




Date: 02/02/20 15:42
Re: Locomotive cooking
Author: retcsxcfm

ln844south Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> On EMD's such as a SD-40, you could cook a nice
> steak and baked potato on the water tank. IT was
> 161 miles Pensacola to Chattahoochee. Fl. On a
> through freight, go turn it over at Defuniak
> Springs which was half way, and by the time you
> put off, the steak was slow cooked and tender with
> a steaming hot potato. 
>
> Steve Panzik
> Chiloquin, OR

Evently,you were a L&N man.

Uncle Joe
Seffner,Fl.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/20 15:46 by retcsxcfm.



Date: 02/02/20 22:18
Re: Locomotive cooking
Author: SP4360

Many moons ago the conductor on the KI Blitz did that with a can of stewed tomatoes on an SD39 placed up in the exhaust manifold area.. What a mess. 

Railbaron Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I had a conductor put a can of Pork & Beans on the
> block of a GE unit one time to "cook". After a
> while he went out to get his lunch but came back
> empty handed but laughing. Evidently he made a
> slight tachical error - he failed to poke a vent
> hole in the top of the can and when it got hot
> enough it blew up throwing his Pork & Beans all
> over the engine compartment.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/20 22:21 by SP4360.



Date: 02/05/20 21:04
Re: Locomotive cooking
Author: 57A26

A few years ago, one of UP's service units put out a Supernintendent's bulletin that forbade cooking on the sidewall heaters.  Evidently a crewmember was cooking soup without venting it.  When he opened it, it exploded hot soup (enough that he got burned) all over him.

On the current crop of modern engines, GE sidewalls are still pretty good to cook/warm things up on.  EMD sidewalls are hit and miss.



Date: 02/07/20 16:59
Re: Locomotive cooking
Author: swingnose

Now a days most of us (on my class 1) carry little hot plate pouches called mini hot logics and use a adapter cord to split power from the fridge outlet that gives you full power vs the 74 off the control stand. We usually don’t have to use the adapter on EMDs though since most of them have two regular outlets down in the nose where all the electronic garbage is.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 02/07/20 17:32
Re: Locomotive cooking
Author: SanJoaquinEngr

I use to have mostly SD60s on my hauler run from Lo s Angeles to WestColton. The headlight box inside the front door was a great place to cook or reheat anything. My conductor and crew would cook raw chicken or Fri too wrapped in double foil. Had many scrumptious meals!

One time caught a trip on 375 to Bakersfield. I bought a Jumbo Jack and placed it on the water expansion tank. I forgot all about the burger and away it went to Portland. 14 days later was in San Luis Obispo and was called for an eastbound trip. The engine number was the same as the one on 375. Once aboard I checked the expansion tank and the burger was still there!! I opened up the foil wrapper the burger 🍔 had shrunken to the size of a half dollar. So much for preservatives.

Posted from Android



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