Tool Talk

Picture Forum => Picture Forum => Topic started by: Stoney on October 17, 2011, 07:08:44 AM

Title: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Stoney on October 17, 2011, 07:08:44 AM
This is my railroad tool display that is on semi-permanent display at the Cowan Depot, Cowan Tennessee since 2009. It's about time I re-labeled the exhibit.  Cowan is at the foot of the mountain below the Cumberland Mountain Tunnel, built in 1849-1852, which has seen  N.C.&StL, L&N, Family Lines and now CSX.  It is on the mainline between Nashville and Chattanooga.  Because of the 2 percent grade, the tunnel is a pusher district so there is a lot of train action. Up to the 50/60,s the depot also served the Goat Track that carried students to the University of The South at Sewanee, at the top of Cumberland Mountain.  To see the depot go to www.cowanrailroadmuseum.org
(http://i467.photobucket.com/albums/rr40/plantshepherdplus/DSC_0032-1.jpg)

(http://i467.photobucket.com/albums/rr40/plantshepherdplus/DSC_0030-1.jpg)
Better shot of the right side.

(http://i467.photobucket.com/albums/rr40/plantshepherdplus/DSC_0038-2.jpg)
Better shot of the track tools.

(http://i467.photobucket.com/albums/rr40/plantshepherdplus/DSC_0019-1.jpg)
The tool in the front is my pride and joy.  It is a rail drill for drilling the holes in rails so they could be bolted together with 4 bolt clamps.  It dates to the early 1900's.  It works like a post drill, but horizontal.  Behind that are a pair of rail lifting chains and then two track jacks.

(http://i467.photobucket.com/albums/rr40/plantshepherdplus/DSC_0027-1.jpg)
This is the drill bit and the hook that goes over the rail.  When you crank the handles the motion is changed by a bevel gear to vertical motion.  At the bottom through another bevel gear, the motion is changed to horizontal motion.  As the bit is turned a dog at the back applies pressure to the bit forcing the bit to bite.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Papaw on October 17, 2011, 07:31:45 AM
Great display, and an honor that it has been running a long time.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: 64longstep/Brian on October 17, 2011, 12:17:36 PM
Nice!!!
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Fins/413 on October 17, 2011, 02:43:58 PM
Terrific display, "Coast Line' fan here.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Stoney on October 17, 2011, 03:12:47 PM
Thanks ya'll.  The track tools are using tools.  They are waiting for me to get over this kidney setback so we can build a new siding and switch using these tools plus a Lull.  Then we can display more rolling stock.  If I could go back in time my dream jobs would be a railroad shop blacksmith or track section line foreman.  Dreaming
Is that Atlantic Coast Line Finis/413?
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: skipskip on October 17, 2011, 04:55:35 PM
Hmm, seem to be quite a few of us' foamers' here.

I live about 1/4 mile from the D &H ( now CP) Kenwood yards here in Albany.

I spend a lot of time listening to the toots and bangs from the yard.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: keykeeper on October 17, 2011, 05:21:41 PM
I have a ball peen hammer somewhere marked "SAL". I understand that was Seaboard Air Line RR. They had a route that went to Birmingham, AL from what I have read.

A man could tie up a lot of money collecting old RR tools!!
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: rusty on October 17, 2011, 05:26:20 PM

Very nice Stoney: )

And I like that it is more or less a complete working set, looks like you could go tomorrow and lay track with what's there,
All you need is a flat car and a crew...

(OK, an engine might make things a little easier too, those flat cars are hard to push....)

Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Stoney on October 17, 2011, 07:08:08 PM
Skipskip I grew up on a farm where one side of our property joined Southern Railroad main between Huntsville, Alabama and Chattanooga, Tennessee.  When our boys were 6 and 8, we lived on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga looking down on Southern's big yard.  We watched the yard switchers for hours.

Keykeeper, Sal merged with L&N and Clinchfield to form the Family Lines while C&O and B&O were merging to form Chessie Lines.  A few years later the Family Lines and Chessie Lines merged to form CSX. I'm collecting all names connected to CSX.  Yes you can spend a ton of money on Railroad tools but at least there's not as many RxR tools as say wrenches. 

Rusty I'm still missing a track gage, a rail bender and a section foreman  track transit.  Let the hunt continue..

Thanks Ya'll for all the good words.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Papaw on October 17, 2011, 07:16:42 PM
I bet you saw this view Stoney
(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3059/3079568324_99c3139bec.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nhankamer/3079568324/)
Tennessee River (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nhankamer/3079568324/) by Noel C. Hankamer (http://www.flickr.com/people/nhankamer/), on Flickr

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3213/3079568372_f54ac30c88.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nhankamer/3079568372/)
Tennessee River (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nhankamer/3079568372/) by Noel C. Hankamer (http://www.flickr.com/people/nhankamer/), on Flickr

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3003/3079568606_12454ab595.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nhankamer/3079568606/)
Cannon (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nhankamer/3079568606/) by Noel C. Hankamer (http://www.flickr.com/people/nhankamer/), on Flickr

Taken several years ago on the way to Philadelphia.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Stoney on October 18, 2011, 05:45:27 AM
Yes Papaw we lived under Lookout Park and could watch the riverboat going down river around Moccasin Bend (that is the bend in the river in the pictures) on the weekends dinner cruise and listen to her steam calliope music.  Beautiful view.  Good times.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: johnsironsanctuary on October 18, 2011, 08:25:30 AM
Great display! Must have taken many years to put it together. It has to feel good to know that a lot of people get to see how it was done a hundred years ago.

I saw several ways to develop lumbar muscles in your display, but not this one.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Fins/413 on October 18, 2011, 10:23:06 AM
Thanks ya'll.  The track tools are using tools.  They are waiting for me to get over this kidney setback so we can build a new siding and switch using these tools plus a Lull.  Then we can display more rolling stock.  If I could go back in time my dream jobs would be a railroad shop blacksmith or track section line foreman.  Dreaming
Is that Atlantic Coast Line Finis/413?
Yes sir that is the one.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Fins/413 on October 18, 2011, 10:24:13 AM
Skipskip I grew up on a farm where one side of our property joined Southern Railroad main between Huntsville, Alabama and Chattanooga, Tennessee.  When our boys were 6 and 8, we lived on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga looking down on Southern's big yard.  We watched the yard switchers for hours.

Keykeeper, Sal merged with L&N and Clinchfield to form the Family Lines while C&O and B&O were merging to form Chessie Lines.  A few years later the Family Lines and Chessie Lines merged to form CSX. I'm collecting all names connected to CSX.  Yes you can spend a ton of money on Railroad tools but at least there's not as many RxR tools as say wrenches. 

Rusty I'm still missing a track gage, a rail bender and a section foreman  track transit.  Let the hunt continue..

Thanks Ya'll for all the good words.
You lived next to the Rathole you lucky dog.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: johnsironsanctuary on October 18, 2011, 10:26:13 AM
What is different about a railroad transit from an ordinary surveyors transit?
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Stoney on October 18, 2011, 06:40:24 PM
Finis/413 my uncle Clifton, who retired as a fireman on the Indiana Harbor Belt, always called ACL The Big Purple.  And always talked about it with admiration.
The Rathole is sweet when big freights are pulling hard upgrade and I was indeed fortunate both to grow up there and to have so many kinfolk that worked the rails.  Beside my cousins and uncle, one of my Grandads was a car wiper for N.C.&St.L.  They were always glad to talk railroads with me.

Johnsironsanctuary, a track transit was mounted on a seat that sat down on the rail.  When the foreman was looking through the transit his butt was only an inch or so off the rail.  I had 2 cousins who were Southern section line foremen.

I have a spike carrier like the one you show but I didn't display it because Cowan was also a  lumbering center and I used it in the lumbering display as a log carrier that I'll show later.  The first 3 track tools to the left, on the rack, are on the far left a National Pattern Combination Tie and Rail carrier, a long handled Tie carrier and a short handled Tie carrier.  Too show how physical track work was, a section hand started the day with a 12 pound spike hammer and an 8 pound track wrench over his shoulder and his pockets full of track bolts, nuts and railroad spikes.  The foreman would drop them off a mile apart and each man would walk a mile in one direction inspecting each track bolt and driving down each loose spike then turn around and do the same thing on the other side of the track back to where he started.  Then the foreman would pick them all up and do what ever he had planned for the day.  Seems like more than lumbar to me.  I applied to Southern when I got back from Nam in fall of '67 but they had done away with section line crews and had gone to area crews.  To build seniority to get on an area crew you had to go on a road crew and be on the road something like 20 days and back something like 10 days.  As I was getting married I decided to take a job with Southern Bell Telephone as a Lineman instead. 
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Papaw on October 18, 2011, 06:49:57 PM
Great story , Stoney!
It is always cool to hear what we may have done in the old days.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Stoney on October 18, 2011, 07:04:33 PM
Thanks Papaw, we are the sum of our raising and we have an a obligation to past our heritage on to the following generations.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Branson on October 19, 2011, 06:07:05 AM
Sometimes the work was even harder.  Destruction of RXR and track was  common in the Civil War, and supplying the army meant somebody had to fix things.  These two pictures are from the Civil War.  A bonus picture shows carpenters building a bridge -- you'll see a couple of men drilling holes for heavy bolts with T handle augers.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Stoney on October 19, 2011, 08:53:59 AM
Branson, that picture of straighten track looked like fun. There was a lot of track destruction during the war in our area by both sides.  The Confederates blew up the bridge over the Tennessee River at Bridgeport Alabama  to stop men and supplies getting to the Federals during the battle for Chattanooga.  The Confederates also tried to blow up The Cumberland Mountain Railroad Tunnel above Cowan but with no success.
(http://i467.photobucket.com/albums/rr40/plantshepherdplus/DSC_0052-2.jpg)

(http://i467.photobucket.com/albums/rr40/plantshepherdplus/DSC_0050-2.jpg)

(http://i467.photobucket.com/albums/rr40/plantshepherdplus/DSC_0051-2.jpg)

The original bridge was a 2 level bridge with a railroad on one level and horse/foot traffic on the other.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: johnsironsanctuary on October 19, 2011, 12:39:08 PM
Didn't Disney make a movie about blowing one of those bridges in the 60's?
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Branson on October 19, 2011, 01:19:24 PM
Didn't Disney make a movie about blowing one of those bridges in the 60's?

Are you thinking of The Great Locomotive Chase?  1956.  Based on the same incident as Charlie Chaplin's The General.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: johnsironsanctuary on October 19, 2011, 01:37:23 PM
OK Branson, I'm actually older than I remember.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Bus on October 19, 2011, 02:36:53 PM
The General was a Buster Keaton classic silent film not Chaplin's.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Stoney on October 19, 2011, 04:28:26 PM
And a Great one to Bus.  Buster Keaton devised and performed all his stunts.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Branson on October 20, 2011, 04:46:26 AM
The General was a Buster Keaton classic silent film not Chaplin's.

Oh.  Yeah.  Having a Sr. moment here.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Wrenchmensch on November 24, 2011, 02:49:56 PM
I have a largish doe wrench with a C&O boss on it that I could be persuaded to part with. PM me with degree of interest, if any, and email address, and I will send a photo.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Stoney on December 28, 2011, 07:57:37 PM
The Smithsonian has a traveling exhibit called 'The Way We Work'. The stops include Cowan, TN in March.  Our Depot is too small for the Exhibit so we will be holding the exhibit in the Cowan Art Gallery. They will also critique our museum displays/ how we tell our story and help us tell it better. Tom Knowles, curator of Cowan Railroad Museum, asked me today to spruce up my 'Railroad Tools Exhibit' as he wanted it in with the Smithsonian exhibit.  WOW Double WOW.  I'm blown away.  So I'll be bounc'ing ideas off ya'll.  Please ya'll I need your ideas.  This is the bomb.  The greatest thing with my tools ever.  Thanks in advance as I know ya'll are the best.
                                                                                                   Stoney
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Papaw on December 28, 2011, 08:04:08 PM
Smithsonian? Congratulations, Stoney!
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: amertrac on February 25, 2012, 06:25:36 AM
Hmm, seem to be quite a few of us' foamers' here.

I live about 1/4 mile from the D &H ( now CP) Kenwood yards here in Albany.

I spend a lot of time listening to the toots and bangs from the yard.
Stoney, I live about 4 miles from the D&H canal and while recuperating from a couple of operations I did a study and personal inspection of the canal from penn. to roundout have pics and text that i did while tramping through the mess it is in now... bob w.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Wrenchmensch on February 25, 2012, 10:29:41 AM
Stoney:  That's a winning display of railroad tools, and inclusion in the Smithsonian exhibition is a huge and well-deserved plus!

Skip Skip: I used to walk the D & H tracks with friends in the early 1950s.  We would cross the Mohawk River at Lock 7 in Scotia to get to the tracks which ran East - West along the river's south bank at that point. The land along the tracks was unsettled and probably is still so. I have a couple of D & H railroad lanterns one of which has the great D & H script embossed on its globe (pictured below). The lantern is an Adams & Westlake Reliable with a 1913 patent date on it.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: kxxr on February 25, 2012, 02:40:11 PM

Very nice Stoney: )

And I like that it is more or less a complete working set, looks like you could go tomorrow and lay track with what's there,
All you need is a flat car and a crew...

(OK, an engine might make things a little easier too, those flat cars are hard to push....)
And, if you're going to be the Section Foreman, don't forget your most important tools, the coffee cup and clipboard!
Nice collection, and the best place to see them these days, for me anyway, is on display.
Title: Re: My railroad tool display at Cowan Depot, Cowan, Tennessee.
Post by: Wrenchmensch on April 09, 2012, 02:48:15 PM
Well done, Stoney!  I hope your kidney healing process is completed soon.