In the old days, railroads would have a shanty alongside the road at crossings to watch for traffic when the train was coming through.
These guys were called watchmen, and were typically workers who had been injured or deformed working on the trains or in the yard.
A watchman simply held either a flag or a sign, sometimes a lantern, and watched traffic. Some crossings had manually operated gates.
Years ago, an example of one of these shantys was given to the WK&S, and now it will be restored and placed at the front entrance
to the tracks, right along the red brick path. The intent is to leave it open to the public. Upon moving it, we found some writing on
one wall that appears to be steam engine numbers written down by an employee years ago — possibly a record of the last
engines to pass before removal of this shanty?
The black-and-white photo here shows an example of a Reading Railroad Watchman's Shanty. Although our shanty is slightly different in
the roof, the dimensions are the same on the building itself. Most of these shantys had a small desk, chair, telephone to dispatcher,
and a small coal bin inside. The building is roughly 6 feet by 8 feet.
The entire shanty will be stripped, cleaned, and much of its wood replaced. Under a makeshift cover, we found that the original glass
paned door was still intact, although it will need some slight repair. Originally, this shanty would have had a coal stove and a phone
in it, and possibly we will find those and install them, but for now, it will be restored and placed as is, with a few goodies inside.
|Project Initiated: September 2012|
Anticipated Completion: April 2013
Around 2003, the WK&S acquired a 1966 dual-tire 1-ton dump truck for use on the track project into the shop. We had fitted
it with Hi-Rail tires and running gear so it cold be driven on the tracks. The truck worked incredibly well, and has been used
on other smaller projects ever since.
In preparation for future work, the truck has been shopped now and will get its turn at a full restoration, with some modifications.
The plan at this point is to go over the dump body and repair any issues with the body itself or the dumping system. On the chassis
itself, we will be refurbishing as needed and repairing the sheet metal on the cab, as well as "prettying up" some of the
more cosmetic aspects of the truck. The truck will not be registered for roadway use, however it will be 100% operational. These
pictures show the truck in its current condition and in use on the track project in 2006.
|Project Initiated: September 2012|
Anticipated Completion: September 2013
Repainting of Various Structures
Like many railroads, we are constantly painting and repainting. Throughout the 2011-2012 period, we have spent a lot
of money and time repainting many of the structures in preparation for our 2013 season, which will be our 50th anniversary.
On top of that, we found out on short notice that the television show "Tracks Ahead" will be filming us for a
feature segment in the 2013 season. Here are some pictures of the painting done.
Built in 1942, caboose 92936 was constructed in-house by the Reading Company. Though newer than our steel caboose 92830 by a few years,
it appears older to many due to its wood sheathing. During the second World War, the US government had placed restrictions on the
use of steel, so the railroad sheathed the caboose in wood over its steel frame. This was called a Northeastern style caboose, and
was common to many railroads.
The WK&S has refurbished the caboose and restored it to its original appearance, with a new roof and wood siding. It was decided
to make one slight modification from the original, in the name of longevity and maintenance. We applied a rubber roof to the caboose,
much like you might see on your neighbor's garage. Normally the roof would be painted black anyway, so the addition of the rubber roof
is hard for anyone to really detect unless they are inspecting it closely.
Upon removal of the old roof, we found much more than we anticipated. We tripled the amount of wood originally thought
needed, and the windows were totally refurbished. This added some time to the process, but in the end the caboose is going
to last much longer than if we had not done this. The interior required some touch-up, but it was still fairly good since its
last restoration years ago. We did, however, decide to alter one paint item. Normally the caboose would have a brownish paint on
the end platforms and the trucks. Since the roof is black and the trucks on all of the other cars are black, we decided to go with
black here too, simply for esthetics. When we restore the steel caboose 92830, that one will get the correct brown for
|Project Initiated: September 2011|
Project Completed: June 2012
Over the years, much like many railroads, the WK&S has acquired numerous pieces of auxiliary equipment for use in the repair
and maintenance of the track and right-of-way. In about 2003, we acquired a high-volume air compressor, and it was simply placed
on a flatbed cart. It was instrumental in the construction of tracks into the shop building in 2006 and has been an asset ever since.
It was decided that it was time to permanently mount it to a cart and add some needed tools and supplies as well. We added a
welder/generator, tool storage, and hose supply rack to the cart, and went over the structural portion of the cart itself.
The compressor was mounted permanently, a new welder also mounted to the cart, and much like the railroads still do today, we managed
to "repurpose" an old school locker for use as a tool locker on the cart. A hose rack was fabricated and mounted to the cart
and the entire unit received a paint job and an official designation as MOW 82.
Without the MOW ("Maintenance of Way") department, the railroad would stop. Along with the compressor cart, many of the
other MOW carts are being refurbished, including wood deck utility cart MOW 83, steel deck logging/tie cart MOW 84, and tie
replacement cart MOW 81. MOW 83 and MOW 84 (also pictured here) are used on a regular basis and can be seen sitting somewhere around
the yard daily. Carts 85, 86, 87, and 88 will be refurbished between other projects as time allows; they are various sized utility carts.
|Project Initiated: September 2010|
Project Completed: July 2011
The rebirth of the 734 has been one of the largest projects to date that the WK&S volunteers have accomplished.
This locomotive has had a complete and thorough overhaul mechanically, electrically, and cosmetically. A lot of deferred
maintenance from previous owners was also performed. The total cost of this project was approximately $30,000.
The WK&S acquired the locomotive in November 2004 through the Railway Restoration Society Project 113 located in
Minersville, Pennsylvania as a trade for the Central RR of New Jersey (CNJ) business car #98. They acquired the GE
locomotive from Koppers Corporation in Muncy, Pennsylvania in 2004. Koppers had purchased it in 1983 through George
Silcott, a locomotive broker from AMEX-US Metals in Carteret, New Jersey, who purchased the locomotive directly from
General Electric in December 1956.
The 734 was moved from Koppers Corporation to the WK&S in November 2004, using cranes and two tractor trailers.
The cranes were used at both locations, to lift the locomotive body off the trucks and then to reassemble at Kempton.
The 734 was brought into the shop in December of 2006, after the second shop track was constructed. The locomotive was
jacked up and the trucks were disassembled. The axles were sent out to be inspected, contoured and the journals were
resurfaced. All the brake and air systems had comprehensive repairs and upgrades. The traction motors
were also inspected and had maintenance performed. The trucks were reassembled in March 2008. The electrical system
was completely rewired during 2008 and 2009. Other systems, both mechanically and cosmetically, were repaired and/or
upgraded. Major sheet metal work was performed — all the steps were replaced, the engineer's door was
replaced (the old one was a piece of plywood), the cab floor was reinforced and rewelded, and the corners of the cab
were replaced, along with many other items. Both engine compartments were degreased, scraped, and repainted.
From 2008 to June 2010, the entire locomotive underwent a complete makeover. This included many tasks, too numerous to
mention here. All items were removed, repaired and repainted, right down to the set of Nathan M-3 3-Chime horns.
The paint scheme and lettering was completely the design of WK&S volunteers who spent many hours designing, taping,
masking and painting to create what you see today.
|Project Initiated: January 2006|
Project Completed: June 2010
© 2009-2013 Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern, Inc.
P.O. Box 24, Kempton, PA 19529
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