Power-Sharing in the Past?

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by RobertInOntario, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Andrew, I believe that the East Broad Top (my favourite narrow-gauge road) did this at their interchange with the Pennsylvania Railroad.

  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    The original Erie RR - 6ft gauge IIRC - used this technique. I think the East Broad Top, a coal hauling 3ft gauge also tried it. The D&RG used special idler flat cars to allow standard gauge engines to switch narrow gauge cars on thier dual gauge track yards and vice versa. Most narrow gauge lines (including EBT again) that hauled coal or other minerals in some form of bottom-unloading car ended up building trestles to unload these cars into standard gauge versions - a prototype for the famous Lionel coal trestle accessory!

    Once interchange traffic became common, the non-isolated narrow gauge lines had to invent ways to more efficiently transfer freight then hand loading and unloading to survive. Swapping trucks was reasonably practical until the size of standard gauge cars became too big to ride safely on narrow gauge trucks or fit through the tight portals, bridges, and loading platforms. Your Newfoundland example had an advantage of being a closer fit to standard gauge practices than the US 3 ft lines orginally built in the 1870s and 1880s. And isolation always helped a non-standard gauge survive - the White Pass and Yukon being the best example.

    The U.S. was a mess of gauges until the late 1860s. Everything from 2ft to 6ft gauge was commonly used. The Acts (1860s) authorizing and funding the transcontinental railroad(s) forced standardizing on 4ft 8.5in for all future construction receiving federal land or money grants. It also forced a maximum main line ruling grade of 2.2%, IIRC, to qualify for the fed $$. In 1869 (I believe), most all of the southern railroads which were predominantly 5ft gauge were converted to standard gauge on a single day. The Southern Pacific pulled a similar stunt in 1906 with the 3ft gauge NWP/NPC in coastal Northern California.

    Fascinating stuff
  3. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    They also had some engines fitted with off-center couplers, to switch the other gauge without an idler car.
  4. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    Up until 1870, there were two main gauges in Canada, provincial gauge at 5'6" and a few standard gauge lines at 4'8½". While the interchange of cars was very limited, on some lines, such as the Brockville & Ottawa (today's CP Rail's Brockville and Chalk River subs - well the Chalk River sub only as far north as Sand Point), they had a unique way of changing the gauge on the trucks.

    The cars would be rolled through a special set of tracks and the distance between the wheels would be widened or narrowed, depending on which direction the car would be going. The axles had "stops" on them which allowed the wheels to move in or out. This didn't last too long.

    Just down the street (or rather the railway line) at Prescott, the provincially gauged Grand Trunk obtained running rights from the standard gauged Ottawa & Prescott (originally the Bytown & Prescott). There was dual gauge track from Prescott Junction down into Prescott.

    On Easter Sunday, 1870, the Brockville & Ottawa (now called the Canada Central) changed all of their track from provincial gauge to standard gauge, the last railway line in Canada to do so. After 1870, there remained only one railway line on Provincial gauge - the Carillon & Grenville (on the north shore of the Ottawa River around Hawkesbury), a short portage railway to get steamer passengers around the Carillon rapids).

    Bob M.
  5. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    I believe a more technically advanced version of this concept is in use on some passenger trains crossing the Spanish border.
  6. Relic

    Relic Member

    pardon me if I seem a bit thick,but just so I got it, if I were watching a freight in the early '60's it would have very few "foreign" cars?
    Thanks to you all, very interesting stuff
  7. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Yeah, in the 1860s perhaps, but around here, in the 1950s, '60s or '70s, there were lots of "foreign" roadnames to be seen. :D :D

  8. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Lots of foreign cars, unlikely to see foreign locomotives.
  9. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Yes, and I remember seeing them as a child in the 1960s! Rob
  10. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Triplex. This seems to be the case, especially by the 1950s. Rob
  11. kutler

    kutler Member

    CPR in the Diesel age

    CPR seemed to lease units every winter, as they were perennially power short. (I think it was a corporate strategy). Old copies of Canadian Rail bear testement to the hoards of units. Off hand I can recall B&M RS-2s, F-units, B&LE F-units, LS&I alcos, IC C-630s, various units from precision national usually retired geeps or alcos. BAR f-units UP Fa-1s. There's certainly more.

    Until the last decade CP leased a lot of units referred to as rent-a-wrecks. Currently CP leases units from CEFX long term and NREX short term.
  12. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks -- this is interesting and helpful info. Cheers, Rob
  13. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Rob: check out the magazine Branchline (published by Bytown Railway Society). At the back every month it has a page or two of locomotive news -- listing leased units, both in and out, among the dead, repaired and stored units.
  14. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    I would like to see a pic of that length of rails that regauge the wheels on a wagon, sounds cool.
  15. kutler

    kutler Member

    Canadian Rail

    In the 60s and 70s "Canadian Rail" a publication of a Canadian Railway Historical assoc had fabulous information and photos of leased equipment. Notes credited to a "B Chapman" are highly reliable.
  16. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    "B Chapman", who I personally know, can tell you the location of the train in Eastern Ontario simply by looking at the telegraph poles. He and some friends are taking their Kodak Super8 movies that they took in the 60s and 70s and putting them on DVD for sale. This is fantastic footage. Unfortunately, no sound but the DVDs bring back to life the railway lines that have long been abandoned.

    Bob M.

    Bob M.
  17. kutler

    kutler Member

    Feel free to provide information as to how such DVD could be purchased.

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