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Thread: Section House Questions

  1. #1
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    Default Section House Questions

    I'm modeling a section/gang house for my Frisco route and have a few questions about their operations. from a few pics I've found of the house I'm modeling it looks as if they have short track coming from the house to the main line.

    How and what were these tracks used for? Was there an odd junction of some sort at these spots for equipment to transfer to the mainline?

  2. #2
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    Default

    That would be for a hand car witch two men can pickup.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by whitepass View Post
    That would be for a hand car witch two men can pickup.
    Thanks. So they would roll it from the section house to the main line and then pick it up, turn it, and proceed down the mainline?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by dricketts View Post
    Thanks. So they would roll it from the section house to the main line and then pick it up, turn it, and proceed down the mainline?
    That's correct.

  5. #5
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    Default

    The rails you describe are called "takeoff" rails. They are for taking off the section car, either a handcar or motorcar (speeder, gang car). There were three types, the first was to store the section car at a section house or other facility like you have found. The second type were temporary rails set at a work site and would consist of not much more than the rails and just enough ties to hold everything together (2-4). The third type was really just a permanent variation of the second, usually at remote location (far from a convenient siding) or near a "problem" area that got frequent MOW attention. The later two types have all but disappeared with the introduction of Hi-rail trucks and the increasing mechanization of MOW work.

    Depending on the situation, there may have been some sort of help for turning the handcar (or later the motorcar). This could be so basic as a few planks temporarily set on top of some extra ballast, through fixed planks, all the way to special turntable that stored between the rails. Most handcars and motorcars had handles that could be used to lever the car around at some convenient point like a crossing. Some motorcars had their own "turntables" (and many MOW machines do as well).

    From my discussions with a former raodmaster of the B&ML, the run off rails were usually "scrap" or "broken" rail left over and almost never the same size as the main track (i.e. 90# main with 75# takeoff rails, or 75# main with 67# takeoff rails). There should be a slight down grade from the mainline to the section house for safety, it will be almost negligible (less than 0.5%), just enough to get the car to roll out of the way. The B&ML used the same size rail as its bridge guardrails for takeoff rails.

    My suggestion is to find out what your was used in your specific instance, either by researching engineering documents, contacting the relevant historical society, by talking to former MOW crewmen, or even try discussing it with motorcar enthusiasts (like NARCOA).

    Hope this helps...

  6. #6
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    Default

    My dad being a section foreman for over 40 years, I pretty much lived in a section house. It's basically a 2 door room that houses the motorcar and section tools. On the 'Q' at least, ties were laid like rails from inside the section house to the outside where they butted up against the outside of the rails at the same height as the top of the rails. Ties were then set parallel in between the rails leaving just enough room for flangeways and were then fastenend down to the track ties. You would push the motorcar out and onto the platform built between the rails. Most motorcars were equipped with slide out handles (similar to wheelbarrow handles). You would slide them both out and 1 or 2 men could pick up the end of the motorcar and turn it to whatever direction they wanted to go.

  7. #7
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    Very interesting information here.

    I remember seeing the section sheds along the Boston and Maine mainline between Haverhill (Bradford) and Boston's North Station. They were small 2-door sheds painted B&M green, which was a dark green that would eventually fade to an olive green color. Sometimes they were the cream and brown, or cream colored with green trim, but mostly drab olive green colored. They are all gone now of course with the advent of the high-rail trucks, but they disappeared rather suddenly sometime during the 1970s and there is no trace of them anywhere.

    The last time I was up in Atkinson, New Hampshire, I saw one near what used to be the passenger station, but that too is now gone as well and probably burned down by vandals which also burned down the beautiful Victorian station that once stood there.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
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