Kevin’s Komments 04/01/2021

Steam Switchers

Somehow (probably because of the USRA pics of switchers), I’ve been caught up with pics of yard switchers – steam era.

This is the Milwaukee Railroad yard:

If you like UP steam, this is a great site: .  I found this UP switcher along with a few others:

Same website – this is likely a USRA 0-6-0 (the “US” on the tender):

PRR switchers:

A PRR 0-8-0 pulling yard duty:

PRR (B8 class) 0-6-0 switcher steam engine #1109 and slopeback tender was built 1910-1911 at the Altoona PA shops. Photo was taken in the Long Island City yard in 1946.

This is an SP switcher at the Bayshore engine house in San Francisco.  Apparently, SP (along with several other RRs) had a few of these that they used in engine facilities.  (Maybe we need one at the Van Wert roundhouse!)

This one is lettered for “Taylor Round House” – couldn’t find anything on it. (Shrouding/streamlining on a shop switcher(??))

New Haven switcher at Cedar Hill yard, New Haven, CT, 1946:

Maryland & Pennsylvania 0-6-0 switcher, built in 1903, at the Baltimore Roundhouse.  (An Armstrong turntable!)

The Davenport 0-4-0 yard switcher was fireless – built in 1953. I finally have some additional info, ”Rather than burning coal or wood to produce steam, the locomotive’s distinctive wide steam chamber was ‘recharged’ with steam from the power plant’s boilers. The process could last up to an hour and, when complete, brought the pressure in the steam chamber up to as much as 625 psi. Each “recharge” lasted roughly 4 hours. Because of the shape of its steam chamber, this 60-ton locomotive was nicknamed the ‘thermos’.”

I’m not very wordy today (Dan appreciates that!).  Part is due to the topic – the pic captions, if there is one, are small with very little info.  I guess yard switchers don’t attract the same level of attention as large or streamlined steam.  The other part is – it’s cold on April 1st!


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One thought on “Kevin’s Komments 04/01/2021

  1. If you take the time to notice you can see a small platform on the front of the engines. Brakemen or utility-men would stand on these platforms to ride along. As the engine approached a car the brakemen would step off to see to the coupling. Too often the men would step off in front of the engine while it was still moving. This resulted in broken ankles and legs or worse. The railroads made training films teaching employees to step to the side of the engine to avoid injury. Eventually the platforms would be removed and disappeared when the diesels came along.

    Today every employee must cross tracks at least 10 feet away from a car. They must cross at a 90 degree angle and may not step on the steel rail. Any employee wishing to step between cars to connect hoses or cross over must as the engineer to apply “3 Steps”. This immobilizes the engine during work. The worker must wait for confirmation from the engineer that “3 steps” has been applied. When the work is complete the worker grants permission to the engineer to release 3 steps.

    The 3 steps are; set the throttle to notch 0, put the reverser in neutral, disconnect the field coil.

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