Lumber mill, rustic enginehouse, input needed!

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cv_acr

Active Member
You must not have been there before about 1970? Things went on at night some times during the day.
And what has that got to do with anything he said about block signals (or anything else)?

Some of the super's were more "flexible". Some had their own opinion about where "end of track" was , there was no sign and so it varied according to who was working.
If you went onto a main track without permission, you better believe heads will roll. No room for debate for flexibility on where limits end.
 

GeeTee

Well-Known Member
And what has that got to do with anything he said about block signals (or anything else)?



If you went onto a main track without permission, you better believe heads will roll. No room for debate for flexibility on where limits end.
Unless you worked for Dow or the MP in that yard or lived near there at that time , you have no idea what went on that branchline.

The end of MP trackage was indeterminate (on paper it was Freeport station , but there was no station as such ) , So there was plenty of room for debate , about 7-10 miles worth of debate. It was up to MP yard superintendent as to where that was , as he put it , it was his block and he ran it as he saw fit , besides there's only one locomtive down there , and theres no passenger trains , or interlocks, on a dead end branch .

The MP never would keep enough motive power down there and if the customer wasn't allowed to pick up his cars , the yard would overflow and choke the main. Dow was one of MPs biggest customers so they carried quite a bit of clout with the MP, and MP wanted the business, it was exceptionally profitable for them .

If the customer is big enough they can put significant pressure on the railroad .Especially when you bring product in by barge instead and choke the money flow off to railroad. They become more cooperative.
 

dave1905

Well-Known Member
Unless you worked for Dow or the MP in that yard or lived near there at that time , you have no idea what went on that branchline.
I know people that were in charge of that branch and I worked in Houston so, yeah, I kinda have an idea.

The end of MP trackage was indeterminate (on paper it was Freeport station , but there was no station as such )
Not how railroads work. Leases are to a specific milepost or location and apply to specific tracks, so "the end of track" is pretty definitive. That doesn't mean that a train doubling over might enter into the other party's track to make the move, but the limits are defined by a contract.

Regardless of whether or not there was a building, there definitely was a station because a station isn't a building. Its a named place, a sign. Freeport existed and still exists as a station. Most of the clerks were located in Houston in the Customer Service Center.

If the customer is big enough they can put significant pressure on the railroad .Especially when you bring product in by barge instead and choke the money flow off to railroad. They become more cooperative.
The inbound feedstocks weren't really the business the railroad was hauling. Most of the inbound feedstocks were by barge or pipeline. What the railroad hauled was mostly outbound product, chemicals in tank cars and covered hoppers. The only railroad that served Freeport was the MP so if DOW "cut off" the MP, they would basically shut down their own plant. Empties were just as important as loads, because the plant needed empties to keep the plants running. I had to give the General Manager of the region a report every morning of the number of cars off the branch and when the connection left Angleton (the main line junction). Did the same thing with the chemicals off the PTRA railroad in Houston.
 

dave1905

Well-Known Member
Not to say that the operation was flawless. The volume regularly overloaded the capacity of the tracks. The whole area was coastal wetland ground, mostly sand, so the track was very unstable, adding lots of heavy loaded cars, the track was always sinking. Every car out of DOW had to be weighed and the scales were always having to be maintained because the track shifted. I was talking over old times to a friend who was a trainmaster back then and he was telling a story about where one of those big 4 truck whale belly tank cars rolled over because the track gave way and how they pumped lime under the track for days trying to stabilize it.
 
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dave1905

Well-Known Member
Back to the original discussion.

Here are some pictures of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR coaling "facilities" and ash pit. Sanding was bags of sand hauled by hand up to the top of the engine. It doesn't have to be too involved. My prototype (Reading Co.) used a steam crane with a clamshell bucket to fuel engines at Wilmington. So even the big RR's used things other than a coaling tower. The ash pit is a modern concrete one, but nothing says you couldn't have one made of stone to backdate it or by the transition era concrete was a common material.

CTSCoal.jpg

CTSAsh.jpg
 

GeeTee

Well-Known Member
I know people that were in charge of that branch and I worked in Houston so, yeah, I kinda have an idea.


Not how railroads work. Leases are to a specific milepost or location and apply to specific tracks, so "the end of track" is pretty definitive. That doesn't mean that a train doubling over might enter into the other party's track to make the move, but the limits are defined by a contract.

Regardless of whether or not there was a building, there definitely was a station because a station isn't a building. Its a named place, a sign. Freeport existed and still exists as a station. Most of the clerks were located in Houston in the Customer Service Center.



The inbound feedstocks weren't really the business the railroad was hauling. Most of the inbound feedstocks were by barge or pipeline. What the railroad hauled was mostly outbound product, chemicals in tank cars and covered hoppers. The only railroad that served Freeport was the MP so if DOW "cut off" the MP, they would basically shut down their own plant. Empties were just as important as loads, because the plant needed empties to keep the plants running. I had to give the General Manager of the region a report every morning of the number of cars off the branch and when the connection left Angleton (the main line junction). Did the same thing with the chemicals off the PTRA railroad in Houston.
And when were you there?
 

dave1905

Well-Known Member
The location of the engine terminal also indicates how the trains run (or at least would on a real railroad). Obviously there will be variations of every sort. Trains on a branch/shortline would run as a turn from the terminus with the engine terminal out to the other end and back. The shorter the railroad the greater the possibility they do something different, the longer the more likely they originate from the station with the engine terminal.

One thing model railroads don't consider as much is the crews. The crews have to live near where the train originates, especially on a longer branch or short line. A train can't run if there isn't a crew there, how does the crew get to the train. In a modern era we have good roads and everybody has cars so the crews can live 30" to a an hour away from where they go to work. On the other hand, back in the steam era, that wasn't as feasible and the crews lived close to the station where the trains originated. Many labor agreements required crews to live within walking distance of the crew caller office, having a phone in your home wasn't universal. When the train was put on duty, or "called", a clerk would go to each house and notify the crew when they were on duty and for what train. Several of the women I worked with joked when they retired, that they started their railroad careers as "call girls".

Logging is a moveable industry. The work area moves around as the area is logged off. It is entirely possible tha tthe shops were build 20-30-50 years ago when the logging was going on right around it and since the logging has gone on further away so that by the 1950's the shop is no longer in the center of the action.
 

GeeTee

Well-Known Member
Not to say that the operation was flawless. The volume regularly overloaded the capacity of the tracks. The whole area was coastal wetland ground, mostly sand, so the track was very unstable, adding lots of heavy loaded cars, the track was always sinking. Every car out of DOW had to be weighed and the scales were always having to be maintained because the track shifted. I was talking over old times to a friend who was a trainmaster back then and he was telling a story about where one of those big 4 truck whale belly tank cars rolled over because the track gave way and how they pumped lime under the track for days trying to stabilize it.
I think thats partly correct , and soil may have been a contributing factor , but Plant A was constructed prior to WW I , and the radius of the curves were tight. , and it rolled over in the turn(the weight of the car was not over the track) . I believe it may have been carrying ammonia at the time .

Every car at Plant A might have been weighed. But Dow had 3 plants , A ,B ,and Badiche ( now BASF ) . The scales are at A.

Part of my information comes from the Yard Superintendent and unamed Brakeman . I happened to be in store across the street from where the station was and they walked in , the subject of the Dow switcher came up , I was told its was kept far enough south that you couldn't see it from passing freight , apparently road crews were not considered "reliable".Theres a dip in the track and curve south of town.

One of the towns near Dow was wet and Angleton and most other towns in Brazoria were dry . To get something done , Beer becomes an acceptable form of currency. I dont know or remember how dry Angleton was I don't know if transport it for your own consumption (I think it was limited to 2 six packs ) , but being the county seat , full of city police, sheriffs deputies and DPS with nothing to do but run up and down 521/288 all day long ...people become industrious and find other modes of transportation , You can buy alot with a 6-pack .

I wonder if six pack was sitting on the end sill of tanker , who's cars would get picked up first?

It all depends on how bad someone wants a beer , in bone dry town. Some people get thirsty at 104 in the shade.

I never witnessed any thing change hands but then the town went wet in 70's .

The Dow (Alco) switcher was scrapped about 3 miles south of the Angleton Yard , Where it died , It sat on a siding for several months before Dow cut it up in situ ,They hauled it out on on flat bed semis.
 

DakotaLove39

Always Improvising
So, yeah, I've been doing things. I got ahold of two GHQ log fork loader kits. They turned out much better than I expected.
IMG_20201031_124401397_HDR.jpg

The log inbound area has progressed.
IMG_20201101_164357486.jpg
 




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