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March 2006 - Page 34

by Paul Knowles
Photos by the author


ne day I was lucky enough to witness a wheel change-out on a grain car. This occurred near my home in St. Joseph, Missouri, approximately four years ago. Much to my surprise, the railroad was able to perform this task with relative ease. They use a specially designed, heavy duty truck for this service. Equipped with a knuckle-boom crane and a flatbed, the rig can carry a single railcar wheel or a complete truck and wheel assembly. I watched as they backed it up to the rails, extended and then dropped the outriggers. Using the knuckle-boom, they lifted two heavy duty hydraulic jacks from the back of the truck. The jacks were then

positioned under the affected railcars jacking pads. Within a minute or so the jacks had raised the carbody high enough to roll the truck out from underneath. Again using the crane they lifted the new wheelset from the bed of the truck and placed it on the rails. The rail truck was then raised, and the twoman crew performed the change-out. In a short time their work was done and they were on their way. I was impressed with this operation, so much so that I wanted to build this truck. After looking through various hobby shops and catalogs, I discovered there are very few Maintenance of Way vehicles (MOW) avail-

able...or at least what I wanted. A custombuilt model using parts from various sources was my only option. After some searching I decided to start by using an Atlas Ford 9000 Louisville as my base truck. The frame and chassis were stretched using Evergreen 12" channel to accommodate the long flatbed of the truck (an additional scale 8'). Custom Finishing supplied the fuel tanks, hi-rail wheels and various other parts. The mirrors and grille came from Plano, two-hole Budd wheels and tires are A-Line parts, and finally, the fold-up crane is a Herpa part. Oddball Decals has an excellent selection of MOW decals just for trucks. The only thing that


MARCH 2006

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