Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Railroad tool?

From: bartelsr@iowatelecom.net

I was told that this was a railroad key of some sort. Can you identify the tool shown in the attached picture and give me some details about it?

—Rich Bartels


unknown


Note: CLICK HERE to see the second photo referred to in a comment below which shows "the control stand on a completely rebuilt SW1000 that was sitting outside the old EJ&E Car Shops in Joliet, IL. ... Photo by Neal 12/01" from the DPD Productions website's Railroad Gallery.

21 Comments:

Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

That's a controller handle from the locomotive control stand on an EMD diesel. It's either the throttle or the brake lever. I believe it's the throttle lever.

—Art Richardson, Clinton, MS

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/16/2006 9:27 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Wally Day

Looks like a reverse control lever to me. A throttle lever would likely be longer. And it just doesn't look like a brake lever.

—Wally

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/17/2006 6:10 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Paul Baumgartner

Looks like an EMD reverse handle to me.

—Paul B

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/17/2006 6:10 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Charlie Smith
Subject: Reverser Handle

The piece of hardware depicted is an AAR standard control stand reverser handle, see Figure 4.1 of AAR Recommended Practice RP-5132. Paragraph 4.3.2 of the RP states "Must fit all standard control stands regardless of locomotive manufacture." If purchased from EMD it may be found in Parts List D4334, key nos.115 & 116. This handle is removable (it should be removed on trailing units) and also makes a handy blackjack to carry with you if you are forced to tie up in a bad neighborhood. It is much handier for that purpose than the standard air hose wrench!

—Charlie Smith

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/17/2006 6:29 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Neville MADDEN

What came to mind to me was something totally different to a controller handle.

Back in South Australia in the late 1940s there was a box with a clock and recorder at the tram (trolley) terminus. These were of US origin.

When the tram arrived at the suburban terminus the driver inserted the key, with his ID number on it and the key left an imprint on a recorder, using a tape similar to a typewriter. No doubt the time was recorded also. I recall this because as kids we all used to wait for the tram's arrival and get the driver to put a "stamp" from the key on to our hands after using it in the recorder.

Railways in that era were still all steam but with some pretty heavy mountain class locomotives designed by Webb who was brought here from the MKT to solve the problems of underpowered British based locos having to triplehead over the "mountains"; actually only hills but there were a lot of continuous 1:30 grades to overcome.

Suburban services were worked with a 2-6-2 Tank loco but they had good acceleration when getting away from the station. A lot of these were converted to oil burners during the Australia wide coal strike in 1949.

The fast passenger loco in South Australia was a 4-6-2 based on the Pennsylvania Railroad T3(?) with the shark nosed style. The were pretty fast over the flat country and my uncle who was a senior driver (engineer) said the train often reached 100mph when running late. The tracks were broad gauge, 5'3" , on hardwood sleepers (ties) on flat country and straight tracks. This was the time when each section of track was proudly maintained by its own gang and was always in good condition; even though heat bucking could be a problem.

Some Baldwin locos made it here in WW2 and a few in the late 50s but most locos were built in State owned workshops. A lot of US components were used. I can still remember Nathan lubricators and detachable "end of train" kerosene lamps that were made in Chicago. American clerestory style carriages were in suburban use right up till the introduction of the first suburban diesel powered 3 unit rail cars.

There were also pre-WW2 Brill rail motors on lightly trafficked rural lines. Often with a light- weight freight car coupled on. These were repowered with British Gardiner LW8 engines after delivery and continued with them for the rest of their working life. The only thing that took them out of service was closure of un-profitable lines; not the unreliability of the equipment.

—Neville, Brisbane, Australia

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/17/2006 6:31 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Alden Dreyer
Subject The Reverser Key

... the reverser key is how you secure an unattended engine, with or without trailing units or a train. Most every engineman would carry a spare EMD reverser key ...

—Alden H. Dreyer

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/18/2006 9:16 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Harry P. Bean
Subject: RR Tool

The tool pictured ... is the reversing lever of a diesel locomotive. It can (should) be removed when the locomotive is not is service — just like the controller handle of an old street car.

—Harry Bean, El Paso

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/18/2006 9:18 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: bartelsr@iowatelecom.net

First, I would like to thank everyone for replying to my inquiry. Everyone has been so helpful.

I've been doing some more investigating based on the information provided from your discussion group. I tried to compare the photo I originally sent with the one attached here. Does it appear to you to be a match? Of course I'm only looking at the grip portion but the length appears to be correct.

About how old would the handle be?

—Rich Bartels

8/18/2006 8:26 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Alden Dreyer
Subject: THE CONTROLLER HANDLE

... the controller and the reverser key are very different items. The controller, on a streetcar, which is also removed when changing ends, determines how fast you go. The reverser key, determines if you go, and in which direction. The controller is usually left unattended, the reverser key not.

—Alden, the motorman (Alden H. Dreyer)

8/19/2006 9:17 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Steve Ewald

It's a diesel locomotive reverser handle – used to put the loco in forward or reverse. It's removed from the reverser if the engine is not the controlling unit of the consist; to do so requires putting the reverser in the neutral position.

—Steve Ewald

8/19/2006 3:34 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Steve Ewald
Subject: Reverser handle age

Regarding the age of the reverser handle, I would say that it's relatively modern. It's basically the same as the ones on our modern units (including cab cars) at Amtrak (ours have a black plastic handle, however).

—Steve Ewald

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/22/2006 9:12 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Smith, Charlie
Reverser handle

Regarding the age of the standard reverser handle. The EMD part number for this handle dates to the middle 1950's, the "9" series of locomotives. ...

—Charlie Smith

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/22/2006 9:23 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Note: Certain information has been redacted from posts on this thread due to security concerns.

8/22/2006 9:24 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Smith, Charlie

My recollection is that all-plastic reverser handles became available from an after market supplier in the 1970-1975 period. They were considerably less expensive than the metal variety.

—Charlie Smith

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/24/2006 12:35 PM  
Anonymous 9104 said...

The pic is a reverser handle for a console type. The ones for the drum type were flat on the bottom with a notched part sticking up on top.

1/03/2007 5:56 PM  
Blogger Budman said...

Much good information here.
I recently found out my mystery key was a reverser lever and came here while searching.
Mine is an all brass one made by Aurora who I understand made many locomotive parts.

Here is a photo of mine if anyone in interested.

http://home.centurytel.net/steinville-com/key1.JPG

2/24/2008 2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's a reverser ... throttle is longer ...

3/20/2008 10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have one of these Reverser Keys that I don't want if anyone would like to buy it from me....my email address is: cmgdesign@verizon.net Thanks!

1/07/2009 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is an older reverser handle as you well know by now, all of our handles are now plastic and are made in two colors black and yellow.. Nothing important about colors they all do the same thing.. I would hold on to the brass one you have. It will be worth some money someday.. All the handles used to be made of brass but since brass is so expensive and people take the handles the railroads went to plastic.

2/02/2009 4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: "Dave and Geri Lundien" davengerilundien@gmail.com

About 40 years when I was just a boy, I was in Iowa visiting my grandmother during a drought when I was exploring the east fork of the Des Moines River near her house. The tool is iron and was very rusty when I found it in the shallow riverbed. I could see tiny flecks of red paint on it, so when I got it home I spray painted it red to match the paint flecks and to protect it from further rust. It stands about 5 feet tall, and the handle is slightly angled.

I always thought that it was used in railroad track construction as a lever to lift and to properly position railroad ties or track. But I also wondered why it was red. Red is usually associated with something important or something used in an emergency, which made me consider it might be used as a mechanical tool to manipulate train tracks and divert a train.

Years later when I was a young adult I was in the Union Station in Washington D.C. and stopped in a store that sold to train hobbyists. I drew the object on a piece of paper for the clerk behind the counter. He recognized it immediately and said that it was a tool used by the worker to pack the soil and gravel as train tracks were being laid. He said that they were quite common, sometimes the flared end curved and sometimes straight like mine. He called the tool a "spudge" and the worker who used it a "spudger" (which he said was another word for a gandy dancer). I could never confirm the term spudge for the object, so I thought the name was probably incorrect. Also it seemed like an awkward design for a tool to be used in the manner he suggested.

Anything you can tell me would be very much appreciated. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you need any additional photos. ,,,

—David Lundien, West Plains, MO

8/29/2014 2:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: "Kyle Wyatt" kylekwyatt@gmail.com

My first thought is that it is a clinker bar, used by a fireman on a coal fired locomotive to break up clinkers on the grate. The round loop at the end is for you to grab hold so it does not slip out of your hands into the hot firebox.

—Kyle

8/29/2014 11:50 AM  

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