Mail Cranes

Rich Cizik
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Joined: December 16th, 2005, 6:19 pm

June 26th, 2018, 7:46 pm #1

Hello all,

I was wondering if anyone had photos of how the NH painted their mail cranes, more specifically the metal ones with the curved cast head.  The Ct Eastern RR Museum will soon be installing a restored Mail Crane next to our Chaplin Station, thus need to find photos of similar ones in service on the NH, and if possible on the Airline Route.

Below is the crane we will be installing.

Thanks,
Rich C.
WP_20180616_15_45_20_Pro.jpg
Oh also we are looking for the standard drawing for the RPO mail bags (so we can make a replica) and if anyone happens to have a vintage one...
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Statkowski
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Joined: March 5th, 2003, 4:39 am

June 26th, 2018, 9:05 pm #2

I really can't imagine them being painted anything other than black, but that's not definitive.  I do remember the mail crane and platform at Cornwall Bridge, Ct. many, many, many years ago, but it was a wood structure with metal fittings.
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Rich Cizik
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Joined: December 16th, 2005, 6:19 pm

August 15th, 2018, 3:53 pm #3

I was wondering, since the original posting, has anyone come across any photos?  The only other metal crane I know of with a ladder, is the one at the Smithsonian Postal Museum, unfortunately the ladder and platform look to have been rebuilt by the C&O/B&O RR before it got donated to the museum as it doesn't match photos and illustrations of these cranes and the metal is too new, the corners are still sharp. 

What I am looking for are clear photos of part of the ladder (top rung) and the top step, I have enough info to replicate the rest, but that is the black hole in the design.  The original location of the crane, to be installed at the museum was Windsor/Windsor Locks and was removed in the late 80's.  We have an old photo of the crane in Windsor and a matching one in Redding but the camera is level with the top step and both are slightly blurry.  Both were painted all white. The one photo we have of the crane in Yalesville only shows from the lower arm up.

Does anyone remember details from one they were close to, preferably someone that was a station agent that hung the bag for the RPO to grab?  The info I need to derive from the photos or a first person source are:

      --Did the C Channel ladder rails face in or out (I am assuming outward for safety), or did they stop using the C Channel for the rails before the New Haven purchased them (diagram below calls out 1.5" C Channel for the ladder rails and 1/2" pipe for the rungs)

      --Were the ladder rungs welded to the inside of the ladder rails or did they pass through for strength

      --What was the top step surface and pattern if made from multiple pieces

mail crane at Windsor - closeup 2.jpg
The diagram is from a 1915 Maintenance of Way Structures book and the photo is the Mail Crane in Windsor, Ct.

Thanks for any help anyone can give.

Regards,
Rich C.
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Statkowski
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Joined: March 5th, 2003, 4:39 am

August 15th, 2018, 8:10 pm #4


Maybe one of these would help.
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NH746EJO
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Joined: November 24th, 2007, 7:18 pm

August 17th, 2018, 12:02 pm #5

Rich  -- I'm sorry these two shots I took at Steamtown, Bellows Falls, Vermont, October 21, 1978 won't help you at all but I'm sure there are many readers who have never seen a mail pouch pick-up at speed and may not even know how it's done.  (The arm across the mail car door is swung out by the postal clerk to make the catch.)   I doubt there is any place today doing this kind of demonstration on the fly.
IMG_0021.jpg IMG_0022-001.jpg
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Jim Vaitkunas
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Joined: August 9th, 2009, 11:41 am

August 17th, 2018, 12:31 pm #6

Hi,  The Minnesota Transportation Museum has a functional mail crane just to the east of their Osceola, Wisconsin station.  MTM's tourist line is called the Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway.  They will occasionally use their Soo Line triple combine to catch a mail bag for demonstration purposes.  This is done maybe 2-3 times a year usually in conjunction with a special event.

Thanks!

Jim Vaitkunas
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Rich Cizik
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Joined: December 16th, 2005, 6:19 pm

August 18th, 2018, 12:21 am #7

IIRC Illinois Rail Museum (www.irm.org) also does a catch on the fly demo.
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