Unrelated but Interesting Snippets

Items added: March 10, 2003

AMERICAN ENGINEER reprint from AMERICAN RAILROAD JOURNAL of --- Jan. 19, 18 3 3!

"---with Dr. Patterson, of U. of Virginia in the tender, the mile on a straight line was run through in 58 seconds according to the estimates of one 'computation', whilst another observer of time counted 52 seconds. That the distance might have been run in less time was obvious to all, for Mr. Baldwin bade the engineer cut off the steam entirely to check a "CAREER" ( term for speed) that he felt might be too great for the strength of the road, or tenacity of the parts of the locomotive. At 58 seconds, the speed was more than 60 mph. from this rapid movement, no inconvenience was felt by the passengers, but a stiff breeze was produced by the quick motion through the air so as to endanger the security of hats."

RAILROAD GAZETTE 7/10/1875 p. 289.:


The Barney & Smith Manufacturing Co. of Dayton, Ohio, are building eight sleeping coaches for the Central Pacific, thus described by the Dayton 'Journal': Color is a light shade of canary, with light tracings and scroll work of darker color in contrasting shades. Interior finished in black American walnut oiled and most elaborate veneering of French walnut engraved with fine lines of gold, and decorated with the shields of marquetry, containing the monogram of the company in ivory on ebony. The silver lamps with shaded glass globes, the highly finished wood, elaborated with silver fixtures in shape of curtain rods, coat and hat pins and embossed French place glass and mirrors, gives almost a dazzling tone to the entire coach. The seats, chairs, and sofas are upholstered with the finest grade of cerise plush. The floor is covered with Brussels carpet expressly in colors and design to harmonize with the general finish. The windows are shaded with damask curtains on spring rollers which also, in color and figure, carry out the completeness of the interior finish. The berths are equipped with springs and hair mattresses of the very best quality, with linen sheets, pillow cases etc. The body of the coach contains a smoke room with an inlaid floor, and supplied with a sofa and lounging chairs. This room is entirely disconnected from the main room, yet easy of access by means of a short passage which leads to the sleeping or parlor portion of the car. This room is divided into twelve sections, each section supplied with four seats or two berths. Two double sash windows, damask shades, and embossed mirrors. Each of these compartments is so arranged that it may be entirely closed from the others, and by addition of a movable table, converted to a dining room. Next to the smoking room there is a larger and entirely private stateroom, supplied with arm chairs and sofa, together with a ladies dressing room, complete in each detail. At the opposite end of the car are the general wash room, closet and steam heating arrangement; all finished in corresponding elegance.


A Dramatic Locomotive Mishap

An unusual and thrilling locomotive mishap is reported (Ellington emphasis) to have occurred recently at Patterson, N.J., when the engineer of an ERIE RR express attempted to bring his train to a stop at the station in that city. When the engineer, says the report, eased up on the throttle preparatory to stopping at the station, the engine, with its six heavily laden passenger cars, rushed on with increasing speed. He closed the throttle, but there was no response. With his engine running away with the train, there was but one chance---the emegency brake. He jammed on the air, and the train was brought to a stop one hundred feet beyond the station. For an instant the engines brakes gripped the wheels, then, with a roar, the engine shook and heaved and the wheels revolved as though the locomotive was traveling 90 miles per hour. Showers of sparks flew in to the air, but the train did not move. The emergency steam valves were thrown wide open and to prevent the fire from generating steam faster than it could be blown off, several pails of water were thrown on it. Soon the engine spent its power, and the wheels slowed down. Investigation showed that the throttle had broken inside the boiler. It was fortunate that the air brakes held, or the train would never have made the sharp curves within the city without disaster.



Speaking of the area of contact between the driving wheel and the rail some 17 years ago, when employed at the Sacramento shops, Mr. Luckett was General Foreman and we were trying to ascertain what was the real area of contact---. We had a 40-ton 10-wheeler on the pits, and we sand-papered the driving wheel and the rail to get them perfectly smooth. We then jacked up the drivers at the point where we were making the experiment, and placed some extremely thin paper, in fact, so thin that it could hardly be seen, on the rail and allowed the driver wheel to be lowered onto the paper. When the driver was again jacked up, there was a hole in the paper describing the area of contact. We repeated the experiment three different times, having the flange as far away form the rail as it would go to get the minimum, and about the middle to get the medium and the flange clear over against the rail to get the maximum area. The minimum area of contact figured .14 of a square inch, and the medium was not quite half a square inch, but the striking feature about the experiment was that the area of contact, instead of being across the rail, follow(ing) the theoretical line of contact, was really in the direction of the rail, showing that the rail must have yielded from the weight, the rail resuming its normal surface as soon as the load was lifted.

(Remarks of Mr. A.A.Worthington, Sup't. of the Southern Pacific Company before the Pacific Coast Railway Club.)

RAILROAD GAZETTE 10/02/1885 p. 635:

(D.& R.G. item)
A correspondent sends the following facts:

The third transcontinental TEA TRAIN over the Denver & Rio Grande road, consisting of 13 cars passed through Pueblo, Colorado at 8 o'clock on the morning of September 4th. A fine piece of switching was done by the railroad boys when it arrived. They changed engines, cabooses, and added three more cars of freight to the train, all "on the wing", not stopping the train at all, which kept on running through the town at the rate of not less than 12 miles per hour. The work was performed as follows: The (relief) engine was held ready on the main track, while the incoming engine was cut of and switched onto a side track, allowing the cars to run up to the fresh engine which was started up and allowed them to gradually come together. The caboose was dropped off, and a third engine was ready on another side track, and over took the train after it got past the switch and attached 3 cars and a caboose while all were in full motion. All done under the supervision of Yardmaster Sam Sewart, late of the "Ohio & Mississippi". These three tea trains, of which the one just described was the third, have caused large mention among railroad men in Denver. The men at Grand Junction and Salida did the yard work in from 5 to 12 minutes, and telegraphed Pueblo "How's THAT?" This put the Pueblo men on their mettle, and the second train was stopped in Pueblo for only one minute and forty seconds, and this third train is recorded as having arrived AND DEPARTED at 8 A.M., not showing any stop at all!


Caruso Will Sing
Troubles With The Police
Will Not Prevent His Appearance.

Judge Sullivan in a court of general session signed an order granting a right of appeal from the decision of the police magistrate in a case involving Enrico Carusso, Italian Opera singer, who was found guilty in municipal court of annoying women in the monkey house at Central Park, and fined $10.00.

RAILROAD GAZETTE 5/19/1876 p. 223:


This road is now running no less than 50 daily trains. About 15,000 cords of wood per month are carried to Virginia and Gold Hill and the ore traffic between Virginia and the mills along the Carson river is very large. There are 22 engines now in use, and 2 more have been ordered from the Baldwin Locomotive Works.

RAILWAY REVIEW 10/01/1881 p. 546:

Monday night a transfer boat carrying a CANADA SOUTHERN train across the Detroit river ran up against the dock with such force that a sleeping car was shot forward off the boat and into the river. A coach followed it but was held by its coupling with the second coach at 45 degrees just off the water. The boat was backed, and the sleeper rose to the surface of the water and turned on its side. A lively time ensued in breaking the windows of that sleeper and rescuing its occupants. Fortunately the berths were not made up, and the occupants of the car were all seated. If they had retired, many would probably have lost their lives. The accident is said to be because of the failure of the pilot bells to do their job.

RAILROAD GAZETTE 4/ 4/1879 p. 1879:

A Missouri railroad company, (being) sued for damages for killing a man's wife, made an as an offset that he had a new wife, better, stronger, better looking, and in all ways superior to the old one, and was consequently benefited, not damaged by the accident. The verdict, however, was for the defendant.

RAILROAD GAZETTE 12/02/1898 P. 864

The Southern Pacific has turned out from its shops at Sacramento, a passenger car sheathed with copper, like that in use on the New York, New Haven and Hartford, described heretofore in the RRG. The Southern Pacific car is in service beteen San Francisco and San Jose.

RAILROAD GAZETTE 1/27/1893 p. 789:

Private car 'Alexander' built by Pullman Car Co. for A.A. McLeod, President of the New York & New England. One of the strongest ever built--lengthy article, full description.


President Lincoln's Car subsequently purchased by Sidney Dillon of the Union Pacific, used by that road for some time as a Director's car, but was steel plated and thus too heavy, so removed from service.


H.E. Huntington Private car.

Floorplan & article. Electric Rly. private car built by St. Louis Car Co., 62' 7" long;


Private car 'Alabama' good side view of car; all steel built by St. Louis Car Co. for H.E. Huntington, President of the Pacific Electric Railway of Los Angeles.


Boyhood Dream Lands Soldier in Army Brig

FORT WAYNE, Ind. Nov. 11 (UP) - Pvt. William J. Emig, 34, Philadelphia, was in the brig at Baer Field today, waiting for a military guard to return him to Camp Cook, Calif., without any memory of realizing his boyhood ambition to ride in the cab of a locomotive. Emig boarded a Pennsylvania railroad passenger train at Chicago yesterday, en route to Philadelphia on a furlough. After several drinks, he decided to visit the engine crew. Engineer F.H. Dressel of Fort Wayne saw him crawling over the coal tender and objected to his presence. Emig conked Dressel with a lump of coal. Fireman Arnold Walbel conked Emig with a chunk. The train rolled into Van Wert, O., with Walbel at the controls and Dressel and Emig unconscious on the floor of the cab.

RAILROAD GAZETTE 4/28/1876 p. 183:

Great Mississippi Steamboat.

The following description of a new Mississippi river steamer, the "GRAND REPUBLIC" is taken from the St. Louis 'Globe-Democrat'. The "Grand Republic" started on her first trip from St. Louis Sunday, April 16. The hull is 350' in length; 101' wide; beam 56' 8"; 54' 6" floor; hull 10 1/2' deep in the clear. The boiler deck is 30' long with 20' promenade guards on each side and outside the cabin. The main, or saloon cabin is 270' in length, 30' in width; 15' high. "Great Scott!" Those who acknowledge a weakness for terpsichorean amusement, think of it! Imagine gliding down the river, wiling away the hours of the evening in giddy mazes of the dance in such a grand saloon as this. And then the cabin is very handsome, being in the Gothic style, ornamented with columns, scrollwork, etc.; thoroughly ventilated with extra high skylights, with many passageways from the cabin to the main and upper decks. Here is grandeur, comfort, good taste,and almost everything else requisite to the perfect enjoyment of life. The chimneys are 72" in diameter; 76' high from the hurricane deck, and 113' from water to their top. The shafts are 36' long, 18 1/2" in the journal, 4 flanges on each, 22 arms in the flanges. Wheels 38' in diameter, with 18' bucket. She has capacity for 5,000 tons of cargo and storage room for 15,000 bales of cotton. It will accommodate 400 1st cabin and 500 deck passengers. Notwithstanding her immense size and carrying capacity, her draft of water is very light, being but 33" forward, and 50" aft.


An eagle flew into the cab of the Rock Island's 'ROCKY MOUNTAIN LIMITED" the other day, while the train was going at full speed. The eagle attacked and knocked (and rendered senseless) the engineer and then went after the fireman, fastening its talons in his arm, but it was beaten down by a shovel and captured. It had overtaken the train, evidently becoming emboldened by the smoke and noise, entered the cab, striking the engineer on the head with its beak, the engineer falling to the floor of the cab, unconscious. The bird measured 7' 11"; the fireman had been forced to slacken speed to attend to his captive.


PITTSBURGH & LAKE ERIE A locomotive for every mile of track on the P.& L.E. road. The road now possesses as many locomotives as there are miles in the system. 180 locomotives, 180 miles of track operated by the company.


Horse In Orchestra; Jumped Over Footlights And Created A Panic In Theater.

East St. Louis, November 24. While a performance was in progress at the Broadway Opera House last night, a horse, utilized in the last act to draw the heroine in a buggy, becoming frightened, sprang over the footlights and jumped into the orchestra. The heroine fell unconscious to the stage, and three women in the audience fainted, while the horse floundered around in the orchestra pit demolishing chairs with its hoofs and creating great excitement in the theater. Presence of mind in a number of men in seizing the horse and sitting on it, at the same time admonishing the people to sit down prevented a panic.

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