Tie Gang at Mile Post C89.6, May 1975

Discussion in 'Maintenance of Way' started by Karl, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    On numerous occasions Dad said that he never had enough tie budget to cover the ties that he needed. He contended that the 132lbs CWR kept the Frisco rolling.

    Before the tie gang arrived, my dad, both on motorcar and afoot, marked the ties that wouldn’t last until the next tie renewal cycle. He used bucket of white paint and a brush on a stick to mark the bad ties. As he marked the ties, he recorded the number of new ties needed per each pole length. The ties were delivered on the company’s 104045-104091 class, bulkhead-flat, chain cars.

    As the work train rolled slowly, the appropriate number of
    ties per pole length was kicked from the car.

    chain_car_2.jpg chain_car.jpg

    The tie gang first removed the spikes from the defective ties. At this time, the Frisco used a tie shear to cut the tie into 3 pieces. The first images shows the lobster-claw like shears that cut through the tie. The second image shows the white dab of paint that was used to mark the tie.
    tie_shear_jaws.jpg tie_shear3.jpg tie_shear.jpg

    The tie handler followed the shear, and it removed the tie butts from the crib. The butts were collected and burned.
    tie_handler.jpg tie_handler_2.jpg

    A ballast scarifier followed the tie handler to create clean crib for the new tie.

    With a fresh crib for the new tie, a second tie handler grabbed a tie from the dump, and placed it into the crib.
    second_tie_handler.jpg second_tie_handler_2.jpg

    The tie handler did not inset the tie all the way into place. A cable, tie inserter (an M90, I think) was used to pull the tie into the crib.

    The tamper nipped-up the tie, and then tamped ballast under it.

    A rail lifter lifted the rail, and the tie plate was replaced under the rail.

    A spiker completed the replacement job.

    A gang member with a push car followed the parade, and finished-off any spike that wasn't driven home.

    The following month, June 1975, the surfacing gang arrived, and finished the work.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2014
    Joe Lovett likes this.
  2. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Re: Tie Gang Mile at Post C89.6, May 1975

    These are some priceless MofW photos Karl. How old were you when your dad was doing this? I was crazy about Frisco in 1975 too, was 14 years old, but didnt even think about a camera, had no idea the RR would ever change you know? That was some pretty tall iron! Sure shows what kind of back breaking work went into maintaining the RR in the day. We are so lucky your dad had the foresight and courage to do this, and was willing to go the extra step to get these unique photos. Sometimes it isn't easy to take photos will your working. Nowadays it might get you fired, or fined by the FRA. Wonder how many of those Yellow hard hats are still around.
    Looking fwd to seeing William Jackson's perspective, and what he has to add to the thread.
    Thank You Karl.
  3. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Frisco.org Supporter Frisco.org Supporter

    Re: Tie Gang Mile at Post C89.6, May 1975

    Fantastic photos and storyline to boot!

    Glad that he had the foresight to do this ... Too bad more of this type of work was not saved for us.
    We too easy forget those who make the trains keep running!
  4. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    Re: Tie Gang Mile at Post C89.6, May 1975

    I was 21 during 1975. My earliest memories of trains occurred when I was just a little snot, when Dad would drive through the West Yards and Shops. There were still lots of steam in the deadlines, we would stop, and Dad would lift my brother and me into the cabs of the locomotives. I don't ever remember being higher off the ground. I still a vivid memories of the sights and smells. I was hooked. I don't know about the yellow hard harts, but I still have both of my dad's white hard hats. I am working on some pics taken of bridge renewal work performed onthe KC Sub. Will got those posted in a day or two.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2014
  5. r c h

    r c h Ft Worth - Tulsa Engineer

    Re: Tie Gang Mile at Post C89.6, May 1975

    Great thread and photo essay. Every time I see a section gang I am so thankful those guys are out there taking care of the road for us. It looks like most of what was going on in the 70s has been automated today, but I'm sure there's still plenty of opportunity for things to go wrong and have to be done manually. Seeing this makes me glad I hired out in TY&E!
  6. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    Re: Tie Gang Mile at Post C89.6, May 1975

    I remember similar work being done through Kirkwood in the late '70's. There may be a few pictures in an album or shoebox because it was good theater out the back window behind the fence.

    The next time they did such extensive work through Kirkwood was in September-October 2010. They coordinated with the County Highway department to install new crossings at Big Bend and at Geyer Road. Much of the equipment looks very similar, though it did seem to be bigger and certainly longer. I do have lots of pictures of these, but it's BNSF now and not Frisco, alas.

  7. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    I started on the tie gang in 1970 and left for Springfield in 71. That was long enough. The M90 Inserter is being run by Woody, which seemed like he was on their forever. The guy behind is Kelly, which was a lifer in the tie gang.
    I can almost hear the Shear roaring to a stop, Chip, pulling the pins, then "Full Throttle" shearing ties. The shear was about the only machine, that broke down, and we thought it was great, everything stopped. All too often it was a tie crane, which we took the cranes place throwing tie butts by hand.
    Great photos, brings lots of memories.
    For a while, I rode the Tamper in and out of the hole, which we called the track where we tied up for the day. As one of the spike setters, I always found myself, removing the push car from the tamper and shoving it back to where the spike setters had stopped. Fairly tough, it was heavy, and loaded with several kegs of spikes. Well, it got pretty tiresome, so a couple of the guys said, "just give a little push and ride for a while, just don't let it go too fast" You guessed it, I did it, and it got away from me, and their I was going faster and faster, waving my arms wildly for people to get out of the way. No it had no brakes. I was going way too fast to jump, besides, what if it hit someone. Finally, I jumped, just seconds before it ran into the Spiker. It tore a couple hoses and one of the hammers, spikes flew all over the front of the spiker. The operator jumped, we called him Snoopy. As luck would have it, no they did not fire me, just put me on a shovel for a while, which was worse than firing. After all what would you expect, giving a cart, a shove, down Norwood, Hill.

    Just happened to think, you know I would never do it, but to slow down the Shear, some guy would lay a road kill, right where the blade would come down. Man would that ever make Chip mad, he would stop come off the Shear, start yelling at everyone. The culprit was normally the spike puller guys, trying to get him off their tails. Did not do me any good knocking anchors behind the shear. Man, nothing worse, than a possum, laying on the track.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2014
  8. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Thank you William.
    What a great explanation and story, It is priceless that you actually know, and worked with some of the guys pictured. Thats a great story about the car you were pushing, and got away, I can see it happening, as you describe it. Thanks for the personal touch.
    All to often and way to regular, people seem to identify themselves with the Engineers, Superintendents or CEO's of the RR and almost never with the guys that gave the most, to see the outfit actually ran, "right side up". Of the derailments I have been involved with, The MW guys that carried the wedges and track jacks cared little about who was responsible and most about, getting stuff re-railed or just out of the way. :):)
    Always glad to see your input.
  9. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    Just another night here at "the creosote plant."
    - Brandon
  10. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    While not the main topic of the post, Karl, the trailer(?) in Photo 15 of 16 is precisely what I'm considering kitbashing out of a Durango Press handcar for sitting outside of my Olathe car house. Excellent photos and a fascinating documentary of the stuff that needed to happen to keep the trains moving.

    Best Regards,

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