Maintenance of Way

CNoR Steam Crane 50127
Built: 1914
Lifting capacity with outriggers: 75 tons at 16 ft. radius, 34 tons at 25 ft. radius
Lifting capacity without outriggers: 18 tons at 16 ft. radius, 10 tons at 25 ft. radius
Unit weight: 185,000 lbs.
Length (crane and boom): 27 ft. 3 in.
Acquired: 1973

The Industrial Works of Bay City, Michigan built this crane as unit #2573 for the Canadian Northern Railway. The railway then renumbered it to 63017.  When Canadian Northern amalgamated with Canadian National in 1920, the crane was renumbered to 50127.

Most of its career was spent working out of the station in Hanna, Alberta. It was self-propelled and powered by a vertical steam boiler inside the cab. 

Movie Credit: “Days of Heaven – 1978”

Its original number is visible on the plaque.

CNoR Idler Car 57611
Built: 1912
Weight: 42,000 lbs.
Acquired: 1973 from CN

A constant companion to 50127 is its idler car, 57611. It was originally built as a flat car and then later converted for use as an idler. The car serves two purposes. First, it provides space in a train for the crane arm to “sit”. Without it, and with the crane arm being in the front position, the front coupler on the crane would be inaccessible. Second, it carries spare equipment, supplies and tools required for the crane during operation. This idler, however, serves a third purpose: sleeping accommodations. Since the crane is fired and operated like a locomotive, there are sleeping bunks for a crane engineer, an operator and a fireman.

Idler 57611 is currently in the Dunvegan Shop fully restored waiting to be reattached to Steam Crane 63017.

Movie Credit: “Days of Heaven – 1978”

CNoR Crane 50387 / CNR Idler 54597
Built: 1956
Acquired: 2000 from CN

This diesel crane was built by Industrial-Brownhoist and bears serial number 12325. Its capacity is 250 tons. Its companion idler (on the left) was built as a flat car 634520, converted to an idler car in 1979 and renumbered to 54597. The idler allows the crane to be placed in the centre of a work train. Without it, the coupler underneath the boom would be inaccessible.

NAR Auxiliary Water Tender 16015
Built: 1940
Light Weight: 55,000 lbs.
Capacity: 6,000 imperial gallons
Acquired: 1983 from CN

This tender was built for CPR Locomotive 118. Acquired by NAR in 1943, the tender was renumbered to 16015.

This tender is an example of railway ingenuity in adapting cars from one service to another. It was fitted with a coupler in place of the draw bar. A hand brake and regular air brake equipment were applied so it could be used as a regular car. The coal bunker could be emptied unless the tender was to be used with a coal-fired crane or pile driver.

The tender currently stores water in the summer season only.

CNR Tender 51566
Built: 1910

51566 was formerly a tender for Grand Trunk Pacific 4-6-0 Locomotive 618 which then became CN 1441. This tender was last used with CN piledriver 50122. It is equipped with arch bar tender trucks fitted with heavy duty leaf springs and steel-tired wheels with 5.5 x 10 journals. Steel tired wheels were required for passenger service.

One of the lesser-known benefits provided by the tender was the unintended service it provided to “the knights of the road” (hoboes) when traveling on a cold winter’s night. The warmth radiating from inside the water tank, combined with some pieces of cardboard for a mattress and an old blanket or tarp, provided the economy-minded traveller a reasonable degree of comfort during his journey.

CNR Snowplow 55245
Built: 1952
Acquired: 1993 from CN

This snowplow was built by Russell Car and Snowplow Company for the NAR and numbered 16531. After amalgamated with CNR in 1981, the snowplow was numbered 55245. This all-steel has wing elevators and is equipped with ice diggers. It currently requires paint and the installation of gauges and some fittings.

NAR Jordan Spreader 16522
Built: 1915
Acquired: 1982 from CN

This spreader was built by O.F. Jordan Company for the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway.  It was delivered to the NAR in 1929 and numbered 16522.

It is used for spreading ballast along the side of the track and for clearing track-side brush which increases drainage for a better roadbed. The spreader also plows snow from the right-of-way. A locomotive would push the spreader and provide compressed air supply to run it. The cab and decking of the spreader were restored in 2011.

The builder’s plate on the side of the spreader reads:

No. 437
O. F. Jordan Co.
Spreader, Flanger, Scaper, Bank Builder & Snow Plow
East Chicago, Indiana

Stelco Diesel Crane
Built: 1956
Acquired: 2014

This diesel crane (Model 840) was built by American-Ohio Crane for the Steel Company of Canada (Stelco). It was used for lifting scrap in the Alta Steel Plant in Edmonton. Additional cable is now required to reattach the crane boom and magnet that came with the crane.

Speeder Car 5213
Acquired: 1993 from the former Acheson Maintenance of Way shops
Engine: Four Cylinder Ford

Speeder cars like the 5213 were used on the railroad by track inspectors and work crews to move quickly to and from work sites. It is now used to transport visitors on regular summer weekends.

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The Museum supports the efforts of Canada’s railways to promote safety. We highly recommend that our guests also visit the Operation Lifesaver website. There you’ll find more information about rail safety, including in-person presentations, videos, and other resources.


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