B&O Derailer Unearthed

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B&O Derailer Unearthed

Unread post by bluestreak81 »

I located a derailer along the old B&O Lake Branch line near Concord, Ohio. The line has been abandoned since 1981, tracks removed around 1982. Originally the line ran from Fairport Harbor to Youngstown, Ohio. This particular one has a patent date of 1910 embedded on it. I do not see an area where a padlock would be inserted. This was buried under soil, stone and concrete for likely decades. I'm still gradually cleaning her off day by day. I'd like to get her operational, but the hinges are rusted pretty tight. One person suggested it was from the steam era, obviously true, but what makes a derailer steam vs diesel equipped? I've added a few photos. One was the day of find and the other is the current state after trying to clean her off. Still a work in progress. You can still see remnants of original red paint from its operational days. Does anyone have any info that shows the progression or evolution of derailers over time? I'd love to see a photo of one similar to this model.
Derailer I.jpg
Derailer II.jpg

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Re: B&O Derailer Unearthed

Unread post by AARR »

Nice fossil find 8)
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Re: B&O Derailer Unearthed

Unread post by Ypsi »

Technically speaking you’re very close as the term generally accepted for use is “derail”. It is possible it did not need to lock as I have encountered flopping details that don’t have locks on them. However most do. It’s meant for derailing rail cars and not really locomotives (Although it’s never a great idea to roll over one anyway). And they would generally be rolling at slower speeds. A detail can just break off if it at higher speeds or by a locomotive. Depending on where you found it, that would tell what it was protecting. Given it’s a 1910 date, it’s likely that it was protecting 40 foot box cars or similar sized tank cars at one point if it was on a spur. Over time as cars got bigger, it was likely replaced and thrown into the weeds. Either that or when it was abandoned it was left there.
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Re: B&O Derailer Unearthed

Unread post by Saturnalia »

To echo what Ypsi said, details are decent insurance against roll away cars but mileage may vary, especially with portable ones used by MOW. When I was on MOW crews using them is yards it was common to remind everybody that it didn’t guarantee anything, and that if you head a loud metal pop, heads up cause you probably have a car headed for you.
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Re: B&O Derailer Unearthed

Unread post by C&O Dispatcher »

The C&O in Michigan used to have quite a few pipe-connected derails that worked in conjunction with a main track hand-throw switch. Obviously, these required a lot of maintenance (read "grease") and I think most (if not all) were eventually reconfigured to work independently. On the C&O Northern Region, derails with a low-level stand displayed green when off the rail and purple when in derailing position. Our interlocking with the GTW at Ionia had derails on the C&O side. They were operated by trainmen from a shanty at the diamond, but I don't recall if they were electric or pipe-connected. The bridge over the Saginaw River at Saginaw was protected by split-switch derails, but that's a whole different configuration!

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