Tamper/Canron's Rail Changeout Unit was a $2 million, 221-foot long, 170-ton beast used to replace jointed rail with welded rail in the early 1980's. Based on the P-811 concrete tie replacement machine, CN operated 505-51 and one other RCO, while CP had RCU 5001-01. The RCO and accompanying track machines were spotted for the weekend at Kings, Mi 162 Kingston Sub in April, 1985. The first section power car rides on the old jointed rail (above), and the second cantilevered section support six work stations suspended above the ties. The unspiked jointed rail is moved aside for the tieplate magnets pickup rollers , spike hole plugger, and sweeper:
The welded rail is threaded in after the adzers prepare new tie surfaces and creosote is sprayed onto the new surface:
The plate dropper deposits new tie plates via lower conveyer from one of the supply gondolas, which also receive the old tie plates via upper conveyors:
The third section rolls on the new welded rail, which is lightly spiked to hold the gauge:
The upper and lower conveyors handle tieplates from the orange, formerly brown supply gondolas following the RCO. Track machines work ahead and behind, including Speed Swings, spike pullers, rail heater, spikers and speeders in the years before hi-rail trucks.
On May 4, the RCO is being pulled east through Queens at Mi 175 after a day's work, by 1329 and caboose, along with its flat car for supplies, former baggage car now workshop 70783, and conveyor-equipped gondolas such as 90576 and 90625:
Once tucked away in the former Hanley spur, just off the mainline, a crane operator will go to work removing old tie plates and dropping into other waiting gondola cars. The RCO train also included 4 to 6 more gons, another caboose and two tank cars of fuel.
On a drizzly day in May, the RCO is working near Mi 179, pushing a flatcar ahead of it upon which four sectionmen throw spikes after they've been pulled. 1329 and caboose 'shadow' the RCO at far right:
A foreman talks on the radio while he monitors the tie preparation, threading out of the old rail and threading in of the new rail:
Working at 1500 to 2000 feet per hour, the RCO's crew of 100 could replace up to three miles of rail a day, surely one of the biggest production gangs of its day. Now that wholesale installation of welded rail is complete, short lengths of welded rail are replaced by regional steel gangs as needed. At least one of the CN power units is operating independently as propulsion for CN's TEST train.
Here's a link to a nice selection of RCO photos from CN's Halton Sub in 1982.
A round trip to Toronto one week ago aboard VIA train 651 (the coffee was hot) and train 48 (the Sleeman cold and the pretzels fresh). Scooped a westbound CP freight at Brighton with pure SD40-2 power consist: 5765-5773 Dual Flags scheme-6020. Gondola THB 2674 tagged along with numerous CP gons in the train.
Schnabel car CEBX 800 finally departed Toronto for Kansas with a gigantic Hooper Welding load aboard CN train 915 Eng 5528. Walter Pfefferle posted some excellent stills of the consist here, and Crazeejay posted a video of the train in sumacs at Strathroy here. Schnabel, loosely translated from German to English is "frickin' humongous".
Make sure to visit my brother's new Tumblr site Selling Canada (see link in sidebar) for Canadian history you never knew. Jack Granatstein asked Who Killed Canadian History? in his 1998 book title. Well, Dave is definitely applying the paddles and attempting to resuscitate it.