Thursday, January 24, 2019

MoW: Sidebooms or sidewinder (a dozer with a boom and a counterweight)

Sidebooms or sidewinders are dozers with a boom hinged on the left side and a counterweight hinged on the right side. Also, a hoist works is mounted on the counterweight side. They were developed to help lay oil pipelines. But they have proven to be useful in handling freight cars and locomotives. Especially for cleaning up derailments.
The ability of sidebooms and pipelayers to walk with a long strand of pipe makes possible a project like this. Bechtel Corporation is walking a 600-foot strand of pipe into the Niagara River for the Tennessee Gas Transmission Company on September 11, 1954. This was the first pipeline to cross the Niagara, and a fleet of Cat MD7s, equipped with extra counterweights, is doing the honors. The MD7 was a very popular sideboom; fleets of them still turned up in pipeline auctions into the early 2000s.
I tried finding info on sidebooms on Cat's web site, but it was broke. So I found this image.
Before the invention of the sideboom.

Jonah Hemingway posted
An old SD40-2 getting put back on the rails on Golden Avenue in Springfield, MO last Tuesday. [9-3-2019]

At 0:25 we see some sidebooms comingdown a road. Each is carrying a diesel wheelset to be loaded on the truck we see in the left foreground. In a couple of seconds, we will see the counterweight being lowered in anticipation of lowering the boom. But I have no idea why they lowered the boom before they got around the power pole. Especially since they raised it before they got to the truck. At 2:23 you can see the traction motor that is attached to the wheelset. The traction motor is what makes this a heavy load. Lowering the counterweight when the boom is lowered not only keeps the center of gravity between the dozer's tracks, it lowers the center of gravity for improved stability.

Hulcher is a contractor that has developed the sideboom as a tool for cleaning up derailments.
Hulcher also uses them for non-emergency tasks such as placing heavy loads on flat cars.
[That would be the rotor for a generator in a power plant.]
[Hulcher cleaning up a derailment.]
I had to search the web a bit to find photos that included the counterweight.
Not all track work is emergency repairs. Here they are doing a #20 switch scheduled replacement. Rail is remarkably flexible. You can't lift it in just a couple of places with cranes. Sidebooms provide an economical solution to providing several lift points and to providing mobility.
Byron Willcutt updated
Ron Schlegel 4 side booms make short work at derailments
Kraig Hausenfleck Ron Schlegel when you have 4 operators that all can work together yes but if not it’s more of a pain in the butt sometimes
Ron Schlegel Kraig Hausenfleck we wore radio headsets
An 8-axle mobile crane is a big hydro-crane, but they are using the rear winch on several dozers instead to raise the locomotive. Is the crane going to be used when the rear of the locomotive is at the top of the cliff to raise the cab end over the concrete retaining wall?
Terry Fisher photo
Sidebooms have proven so efficient for cleaning up train wrecks that the "Big Hook"' (heavy tonnage rail crane) has become obsolete. They are now found only in museums. But the smaller rail cranes are still used for maintenance-of-way projects.

Screenshot @ -6:08 from Gil Moser post
Derailment on the Van Buren Sub in Morgan Arkansas, Second set of trucks on second unit derailment and split the switch at Control Point (CP 336) to siding. Dragging half the second unit across Bridge 336.3(1) (4-Spans RCS) Hope Ya'll enjoy video.
Doug Meigs Need to use an Atlas re-railer.
[I'm too lazy to research an "Atlas re-railer." I think the end of the video is the same clip repeated a few times. I never did figure out what the excavator was doing. Later I saw the cable was being pulled by a tracked front-end loader instead of another locomotive.]
Harry Brannen posted, cropped
[Sometimes a railroad is welling to pay for a sideboom for each corner of a car. We can see on the right-front unit that the how the counterweight moves out to balance the load.]
John W. Coke posted
Donahue Brothers, Inc.
Clarence Thibodeaux Side booms are best for re railing.
Carl Brooks Used Hulcher’s in the Detroit was amazing just watching them do their job with the sidewinders....
John W. Coke
Donahue Bros Inc
Ray Jones sidewinders, the KING for derailments and other track work..........

John W. Coke posted
Donahue Brothers, Inc.
[They have four sidebooms on the job, one for each corner.]
But sometimes they call in their cranes.
Donahue Brothers, Inc. posted

Lisa Catera posted three photos of a derailment with the comment: "This morning [6/6/2019] in Taylor TX."
James Patterson Sidewinders
George Dubbs Yep called sidewinders four can get hold on each corner of the biggest locomotive or loaded freight car And carry it to good track and put it back on track....used them many times,time savers verses old wrecking cranes.....



Wayne Helms posted
Kevin Flynn posted six photos with the comment: "Four loaded tanks last winter in Lemont. Hulcher Professional Services getting it done!"
Kevin Flynn Tom Klimczak , Hulcher can set up 2 booms in under 30 minutes.
David Koziol Ken Schmidt when I was having a talk with Glen Hulcher in Denton a few years back he told me that he was in the business of moving men and machines.
Ken Schmidt David Koziol They sure are. One morning while I was getting coffee, I saw a parade of trucks on US 65, lights flashing.
You didn't need much prompting as to what happened, all one had to do was follow the leader and find out where.
1, cropped

2, cropped

[I'm confused: the same amount of lean even though he has raised the counterweight to clear the signalling box. It looks like they needed four units instead of just three. One for each corner. Or else place this unit on the other side where there is no signal box. Photo 6 below appears to show that there was room on the other side.]



Tyler Glass posted two photos with the comment: "This is what happens when industry doesn’t listen to the person who inspected the track and doesn’t let them fix it."
Keith Todd You know its bad when the sidewinders show up.
Trestin Minefee Good ole side booms!
Thaine Brown What the hell are those critters?
Don Whatley Thaine Brown D9 Cat bulldozers with side booms.


Robert Learmont posted
Derailments can sometimes be fun.
Note to all before you comment - realize that there are different senses of the word “fun” and realize that derailments can occur on vastly different scales and have vastly different impacts. I’ve been railroading for a bit over half my working life, and been a stuporvisor (mechanical foreman on the loco side) for a bit over six years. That’s a very short time compared to many people here, and it is significantly longer than many who wish to critique who have never railroaded for a day in their life. I do fully realize the impacts that derailments can have on the railroad, and on the railroad’s customers, as well as any other delay or mishap. I have to keep a supply of power headed out to trains, no matter what factors affect us. I get to respond to issues and service interruptions out of my limits, which can include derailments that are in terribly inconvenient places for the operation of the railroad. A big part of how my team has to operate is based on understanding of how different unforeseen circumstances will affect the railroad and the railroad’s customers. I am also charged with the safety of a team of craftspeople, which is a duty that I do not take lightly. Even when something minor, like in the picture, happens, it is costly, someone is probably going to get sent to investigation, and it really can be a royal pain in the arse to reshuffle everything to keep the rest of the railroad flowing, and make sure the people keeping the railroad flowing are doing so safely.
Despite all that, I’ll maintain that derailments can be fun, and if you read the replies to the first comment, you will see why.
Corwith DSF (Chicago, IL), February 2016.

Robert Learmont All sorts of ways. It’s something that you don’t see every day, for one. It’s neat to watch the contractor come in with their sidebooms, set up, and do their lift. It’s quite honestly sort of fun to throw the terminal into a tizzy, when two out of the three ways in and out of your service track are blocked by something that can’t be moved, and all the outbound consists have to be reshuffled since the only way in and out is now through the opposite end than is normally used, also meaning that the terminal has to route consists the long way through the yard.
It’s neat to watch the contractors working in hairy situations too, like when they do a lift on a bridge that runs over a city street.
Really, it just throws a wrench into the best laid plans, and it can be entertaining to watch the resulting dumpster fire.

[I recognize Robert as a railroad employee, not a railfan.]

Noe Gutierrez The very first derailment I "experienced" was fun. I was a kid, in junior high, I think, and had wandered off from the store my mom worked at in downtown McAllen to go visit the SP yard four blocks away. I found a crew stranded when their GP9 had dropped a wheel off the rail while spotting (or picking up?) cars on the interchange track with the MP.

As they stood around helplessly waiting for assistance to arrive from Edinburg, one of them handed me some money and asked me to go get them a drink. I hurriedly ran back to my mom's store and began grabbing Coke bottles from the machine in the back of the store. My mom asked what was going on and I excitedly told her I was helping out a train crew at a derailment before running back out with the bottles. I think I remember her saying "Well be careful!" as I ran off.

The crew was glad of the Cokes and I got to stick around and watch as the engine got re-railed with the help of large blocks of wood cribbing brought in by company pickup from Edinburg.
It’s neat to watch the contractors working in hairy situations too, like when they do a lift on a bridge that runs over a city street.

Really, it just throws a wrench into the best laid plans, and it can be entertaining to watch the resulting dumpster fire.

Aaron Thomas posted, cropped

Brendan J Dock shared
carry on, nothing to see here
Mark Gillings Donated to a museum without a rail connection.

Rick Durrant posted five photos with the comment: "When the spreader derails on Donner 2011."





There were no injuries. One report called it a sand train. But some of the hoppers are too long for sand. And at 0:08 the yellow bulk-head flat car looks like it is carrying lumber.
(new window) In addition to sidebooms, the other goto "clean up tool" is an excavator with a "thumb."

The comments on this share as well as the video below indicates this rerailer can be used for locomotives as well. It seems much cheaper and faster than swinging a locomotive from a couple of hooks. Unless UP 9714 above ended up with the wheels some distance from the tracks.
Terry Dabbs We used to do that with wood blocks. Re-rail em and get back to work. Now-a-days, you drop 1 wheel on the ground and you’ll see 5 semi’s with heavy equipment heading towards it.
Andy Peters Re-rail frogs are still used, not a image of by gone days.

(new window)  The action starts at 1:38.  Note there is one "white hat" for each sideboom operator giving the signals.  At 15:04, they shutdown and move the sidebooms to the rear of the car and just pull the front truck through the dirt. They steered the front trunk by changing were they pull on it. At 23:21 you can see gravel on top of the springs of the truck. So the truck got buried pretty deep to stop the locomotive's first pull. The buried truck is why they moved the sidebooms to the back of the car and allowed the front truck to plow dirt. Would four sidebooms fit? That is, one at each corner.

(new window)  Facebook no longer saves a link to the post. I remember one of the comments wondered about why did they lift it so high to replace the truck? They must have been planning to do something other than truck replacement because I think they would have left the truck on the tracks if it was being replaced. I notice that the guys on the right side had enough sense to step back as they noticed the lift was getting rather unstable. Note that the "white hat" decided to look to his left just as the two blocks on the left touched each other and broke the cable.

Screenshot  @ -4:26
[A row of sidebooms tipping like dominoes. They evidently needed bigger counterweights for this job.]

One of 22 photos posted by Tim Twichell
[I selected this one because it does show that the counterweights and boom are transported separately.]

River Rail Photo has an album of four photos showing several sidebooms rerailing tank cars. "All of the cars rolled away on their own wheels."

More examples of CSX and other railroads keeping sidebooms busy

A YouTube video starting with failure of re-railer and then the sideboom action. What are they torching? Did they have to weld on lift brackets? The start of the lift
Mike Kaluhiokalani Jr. shared
John Sohn I was one of the guys who worked that job and I have to say great camera work.
Dylan Miles Haha i remember this! I look like a baby.

I saw several posts concerning this derailment. Here are a couple for some context: overview and details. My motivation for noting the derailment is this video. In particualr, I was surprised, starting at 0:29, how they move one end of the locomotive sideways by tipping a sideboom over.
(Update: I add this one because many of the comments are probably by railroad employees. Towards the end, this one has some drone shots. Some of those shots show how much rock they hauled in to reduce the slope of the embankment. 40 photos)
Screenshot @ 0:29
(new window) Drone footage of the above Buffalo & Pittsburgh derailment in East Aurora, NY.

Screenshot, a rectangular grain elevator

Screenshot, another rectangular grain elevator?

Screenshot, this video has several detailed views including a sideboom tilt.
The "white hat" giving signals strikes me as being too close to the dangling locomotive.


A video of two of them putting a derailed NS locomotive back on the tracks

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