Author Topic: Block car?  (Read 1297 times)

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sirenwerks

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Block car?
« on: November 23, 2021, 01:05:57 AM »
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This photo came through Facebook of a N&W 'block car".  I imagine it's a MOW crew car of some sort but can someone shed some light on it?


http://canadianfreightcargallery.ca/cgi-bin/image.pl?i=nw550435&o=nw&fbclid=IwAR0pmVVn91du2hSS2TEwd1lhgQQ0prS3s8DpMLXFDpHReGzQNkQkSAoXJpw
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thomasjmdavis

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Re: Block car?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2021, 09:03:36 AM »
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Here's the closest classification I know of:
Quote
MWT – Tool and Block Car. A car used for the carrying all descriptions of tool equipment and blocking. This car has side and end housings and roof, also end platforms. There are doors in sides and ends and usually windows. It is fitted inside with proper racks and boxes for storage of tools.

MWTK – Similar in design to T, but used specifically in maintenance-of-way service.
https://www.trains.com/trn/train-basics/abcs-of-railroading/freight-car-classifications/

I assume that N&W designated some cars specifically for blocking, and perhaps the tools specific to the task.  I didn't really think about it as a specialty, as in an earlier time, I think this function was probably filled by a gondola or flat with old ties and chunks of 4x4 and such.  But in the modern day, might well include jacks, steel structural parts, and other things they would want to keep in an enclosed car.
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Mark5

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Re: Block car?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2021, 09:31:06 AM »
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My understanding is that the "block car" contains various wooden blocking for stabilizing / jacking the crane and/or other cars.

cv_acr

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Re: Block car?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2021, 12:45:34 PM »
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My understanding is that the "block car" contains various wooden blocking for stabilizing / jacking the crane and/or other cars.

Mine as well.

sirenwerks

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Re: Block car?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2021, 02:40:54 PM »
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Curious.  With the windows and the end doors, I figured this was more of crew quarters.  I thought the 'block' was kind of a reference like the use of 'block' in New England, to mean a structure with units.  My bad, but I learned something...  But yea, a gondola seems to serve that purpose better than hauling chunks of wood from, essentially, a box car.  Interesting how the door was relocated to the car end, I presume to be closer to the crane itself.
Emergency Manager (Noun)

1. A person who solves problems you can't.

2. One who does precision guesswork based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge.

See also: wizard, magician, miracle worker

nkalanaga

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Re: Block car?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2021, 01:42:05 AM »
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The main advantage I can see for a boxcar is easier loading and unloading, if done by hand.  The blocking has to be lifted from a gondola.  Tossing, or sliding, it out the door of a boxcar would probably be easier.
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Roger Holmes

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Re: Block car?
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2021, 02:41:43 PM »
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The smokejack on the left end of the roof implies that the car is heated.  Does that give any further clue to its use?
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eja

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Re: Block car?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2021, 03:06:21 PM »
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« Last Edit: November 24, 2021, 03:42:34 PM by eja »

nkalanaga

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Re: Block car?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2021, 03:27:34 PM »
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Eja:  That second link thinks it's an email address. 
N Kalanaga
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eja

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Re: Block car?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2021, 03:43:46 PM »
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Eja:  That second link thinks it's an email address.

Not any more ...... thanks for letting me know.

eja

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Block car?
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2021, 03:48:37 PM »
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The smokejack on the left end of the roof implies that the car is heated.  Does that give any further clue to its use?

Heater unit to keep the blocks from freezing together? I bet there is a workshop in there to strap or bolt blocks together to make a specific geometry to stabilize cranes.
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cv_acr

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Re: Block car?
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2021, 09:58:14 PM »
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I bet there is a workshop in there

Probably that. And/or tool storage or something.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2021, 10:00:32 PM by cv_acr »

drgw0579

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Re: Block car?
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2021, 11:06:02 PM »
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Remember that specialized pulleys are also called blocks  (i.e. Block and Tackle), and a wrecking crew would want to have a big selection of these when they were at a wreck site using the cranes and derricks.  I can only wonder where the name "Snatch Block" came from, but those are often used to change the direction of the pulling force.  For instance, when we operated the Pile Driver OB on the Cumbres and Toltec last August, we used a "Snatch Block", chaining it to the rails, to pull the boom up.   Tow Truck drivers will use a snatch block to winch a car up an embankment and keeping the cable low to the ground so the force keeps the car from flipping up.

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m_nanson

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Re: Block car?
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2021, 02:14:49 PM »
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Remember that specialized pulleys are also called blocks  (i.e. Block and Tackle), and a wrecking crew would want to have a big selection of these when they were at a wreck site using the cranes and derricks.  I can only wonder where the name "Snatch Block" came from, but those are often used to change the direction of the pulling force.  For instance, when we operated the Pile Driver OB on the Cumbres and Toltec last August, we used a "Snatch Block", chaining it to the rails, to pull the boom up.   Tow Truck drivers will use a snatch block to winch a car up an embankment and keeping the cable low to the ground so the force keeps the car from flipping up.

Bill Kepner
The term snatch block refers to a pulley that can be placed over a pulling line to redirect the run of the line or up to double the pulling force in a given direction. They are removable so that one side of the cheeks of the pulley open to allow the rope to be inserted and removed.  This is very useful in situations where temporary rigging is required, IE a wreck site.  So the Block car would allow for storage and repair of the blocks.  The CPR Block and Cable Car would do the same thing, as well as store reels of cable for when the winch line just would not reach.
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sirenwerks

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Re: Block car?
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2021, 07:07:06 PM »
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I've been kind of marveling over cranes and derricks lately as I have been looking how to dieselize my Dimi-Trains Brownhoist.  I also, recently, scored a Stewart 25 tonner, and have been trying to find information on pile driver because my road will have so many trestles.  But now I am thinking I need a complete education on MOW equipment to fill in the support car roster.  The block car was an obvious hole in my knowledge but when I think about it I don't know what tools a tool car held, how many crew cars would be needed on a train, and what other support cars there were - maybe fuel, water, generator, etc.


I need to find a good source of info on this.  No Kalmbach book exists... so any recommendations of general knowledge sources?   
Emergency Manager (Noun)

1. A person who solves problems you can't.

2. One who does precision guesswork based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge.

See also: wizard, magician, miracle worker