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August 2006 - Page 22


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Operations at Train Time
Wagons or carts would be moved either to the platform adjacent to the station or across to the other side (usually over wooden deck planking or other paving between the rails) of both tracks to await trains. In most cases, it was the agent who had to haul these heavy wagons about, often with some laborers to help if there was more than one wagon to be moved. At busy stations electric elevators were installed to permit moving the w agons to a subway passage in order to cross the tracks. In large stations and terminals, such as Union Station in Chicago, separate low platforms were provided for moving the baggage, mail and express wagons without interfering with passengers. In larger stations the special passages for these wagons ran in their own subway tunnels and formed labyrinths not usually seen by the public. When a train arrived, the doors in the working (open and staffed) express cars would be opened to receive and drop off sacks of express. Mail and passenger lug gage were usually placed in separate cars, and was all shifted from the wagons onto their assigned cars. This operation was done without much lifting since the platforms that the wagons employed were usually a close match for the height of the floors in the head end cars. After the departure of a train from the station, several of these wagons would have been filled with packages and sacks received from the head end cars. These cases and parcels were brought to the baggage room or express office. Railway Express packages had to be logged in to be handed to the REA drivers for local distribution. Luggage and trunks went to the baggage room to be

Self-propelled battery-operated platform wagon for large terminals. The skirts have been removed to facilitate servicing of the motor and battery. The yellow extension at the frame level is the front bumper, the fold-up step plate for the operator is just above this on the end; at the top the upper bumper beam is to protect the operators head in the event of collision. This unit is in service at Toronto Union Station. Similar units I have seen in the U.S. have not had the upper bumper fittings.

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Self-propelled platform wagons, one with original skirting still in place.

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Modern tractors similar to those used by railroads and REA at major city facilities. Manufacturer photos

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22 MODEL RAILROADING

AUGUST 2006

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