Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Way back when, I used to frequent a website known as the Cyberspace World Railroad. One of the things I liked about it was that each month or so they would post an oddity-something seen along the tracks that made you go....hmmmm.

I've always liked that type of thing, and am on the lookout for something unusual whenever a train is about. One of the oddities I've noticed along the BNSF the last year or so is a sizeable number of late model covered hoppers with heralds that look like this:

I've conjured up a couple of theories as to what is going on with these cars. Maybe some elevator has a car mover that grabs the cars and pulls them ahead, and wipes the grime off the car where it is grabbed. Or maybe-well, I guess I only thought of one possible cause. And that one is, admittedely, a stretch.

Here's another example of what I'm talking about.

This next picture finally got it through my thick skull that the cars are having a reinforcement welded to the car body near the slope sheet. You can barely make the plate out in the photo above. This next photo is about the best illustration of the reinforcement that I have.

Next question was why is this being done? A (poor quality) photo shot as a train passed through Staples the day of the World's Greatest Hobby show proveded a clue as to why these cars are getting worked on. The area where the reinforcing plate would be installed on this car is kinked. That can't be a good thing.

That's my story of one of the strange things you might see while looking for trains. And it's an example of the reality that when you see something strange, keep looking. The answer is probably out there if we just keep searching.


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