Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Lidgerwood

Canadian National Railways 50515, Prince Rupert BC, August 28, 1958. Back in those days, there was a lot of activity at the Engine Servicing Facility. The engine house always had activity with machinists and mechanics doing this and that – except on the weekends. There were a pair of hostlers for fueling and sanding.

There was always something happening on the RIP tracks (Repair In Place.)

And there was a modest collection of MOW – Maintenance of Way – equipment on hand including a rotary plow, wedge plow, Jordan Spreader, and this ma-moo, the Lidgerwood.

When a powerful winch is needed, work crews could depend on the muscle-bound “Lidgerwood,” simply a rail mounted winch. I never got to see it in action, but it was always included in a wreck train.

Being steam driven, a Steam Generator Car would have to accompany any assignment. And there were many of them in the three years we lived in Prince Rupert. The size of the gears hints of the pulling power of this machine!


Here we see Canadian National Railways 4409 (GP-9) leaving Prince Rupert with a wreck train. It seems First Class 196 with two SW1200RS’s – 1276 leading 1271 - tripped over a rockslide at Mile Post 102.2 12 miles east of Prince Rupert. The wreck occurred in a Permanent Slow Order section, limiting both passenger and freight to 15 miles per hour. But according to Engineer Allister Maisonneuve, there was a heavy mist coming off the Skeena River, which shrouded the main line. The Steam Generator car is just ahead of Lidgerwood CNR 50515.

Lidgerwood was a continuation of Speedwell Ironworks of Morristown, N.J. The company, which included John H. Lidgerwood, Jr., opened their doors as Lidgerwood Engineering in New Jersey, in 1873. They engineered, designed and manufactured a
wide range of mining, construction and logging equipment, making their mark on the building of the Panama Canal.

Here are excerpts from the 1873
Lidgerwood Catalog. I neglected to get the builders plate information off this unit, but then give me a break – I was only 15 years old when I took this photograph!

Lidgerwood Manufacturing is now part of a larger entity – Superior-Lidgerwood-Mundy Corporation.

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