Oddball motive power

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by BDC, Jul 18, 2002.

  1. BDC

    BDC Member

    I was driving through Vernon, TX on Monday when I saw a fellow using a farm tractor (regular John Deere-ish tractor) to move covered hoppers around a grain silo. He had a cable running to a tie-down point on the hopper and was pulling it down the tracks towards some other hoppers in the distance. The tractor was riding alongside the tracks, so the cable was at an angle, but it seemed to be working.
    I've never seen anything like this before and I was wondering if anyone else has. The guy driving the tractor didn't have on anything that showed he worked for the railroad (BNSF owns those tracks) so I think he worked for the silo. I guess you can use whatever works.
  2. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi BDC, Years and Years ago when I got out of high school I took a job as a yard foreman at a local hardwood flooring sawmill.

    We used an old 1951 Chevy dump truck to push and pull boxcars around as the railroad could never seem to spot them in the right place. Needless to say we de-railed quite a few of them. :D The railroad finally took pity on us and gave us our own re-railer block so they wouldn't have to send the switch engine out to re-rail the cars:D :D
  3. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    I think they call the process "poleing", (my spelling is shot, I know!).
    If you look under the tender of steamers you usually find a pole which locates in the dimples on the corners of cars and loco pilot beams for just that purpose.

    Here in UK in my home town it was common practice in the 50's to move cars using farm tractors (operated by the RR Co) on our harbour sidings. Much cheaper than using the then steam locos.


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  4. triman

    triman Member

    The Victorian Railways had several series of modified tractors, mounted on rail wheels, used for shunting wagons around the smaller yards
    I'll append a photo of 1 to this message and another shortly.
    The first is a modified Massey Ferguson tractor.

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  5. triman

    triman Member

    This is another rail tractor, this time a Fordson.

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  6. BillD53A

    BillD53A Member

    I used to work for a lumber products company that was served by rail. Our spur was on a slight grade, and had room for 2 cars. We only had a loading dock large enough to spot 1 car at a time, so when the railroad would deliver the cars they would spot one past the dock, and the other at the dock. When we had the first car unloaded we would release the brakes and push the cars with a forklift. It saved the cost of having the railroad re-spot the cars. Another local company used a front-end loader, with a coupler mounted on the rear, to move its cars. Many large plants use 'Trackmobiles'...a specially built tractor that looks like something that would land on the moon. Bill
  7. BDC

    BDC Member

    I had heard of 'poleing' cars around, but I had never seen it down with farm equipment. Thanks for all the answers!
  8. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Triman, and all.

    Another V/Line shunter from Victoria. At Kerang. If you look closely, it's actually chain driven (like a bicylce) from the tractor motor.

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  9. pcentral

    pcentral Member

    Hi All,
    If you drive down freeway 99 here in the central valley of California you pass by many grain silos. Several of these have their own S-2 (or similair) switchers, but those who don't use skiploaders with a coupler mounted onto a steel plate that hooks onto the bucket. This works much the same as Bobcat implements. This way the coupler can be set down and the loader used to push grain around or whatever.
  10. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Now you've gone and done it! Tomorrow Catt will have one of those in On30!:D :D :D
  11. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    While riding through central MN I once saw a front loader that took of its bucket to simply push cars, and use some chains to pull cars at a grain silo. Very interesting to watch
  12. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    i know of a place that used a tractor. one day when it was pushing a boxcar , it pushed to far and the car started down a grade............... well it stoped 3 and 1/2 miles away. the railroad was pissed! they had to go out and bring it back. and do it before the next train came through later on that day..
  13. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    Just a minor nit. Poling is using the "dimple" on the locomotive and a pole to push a car, usually on an adjacent track. I have heard of moving cars around with tractors, etc., but I don't think that is called poling. I don't know if there is a name for it, however.

    Anyway, whatever gets the job done, I guess.
  14. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think "poling" has been outlawed in the U.S. It is just too dangerous. The poles were made of wood and there are so many ways for a failure to kill or injure someone that the practice has been illegal for many years. When I worked for a shipping terminal company in the Los Angeles harbor that handled both container ships and break bulk ships, we occasionally transferred loads from boxcars to break bulk ships or from the ships to boxcars. We used a front loader type tractor that had a coupler permanently mounted on one end to shuttle the cars around the loading dock.
  15. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    I use to use my forklift to move boxcars as I unloaded them so I could get to the next loaded boxcar.

    BTW..Most industries own their siding to the property line or gate not the serving railroads.

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