Ferroequus Domain

Robert Eugene Swanson (1905–1994) was a Canadian researcher and developer, and is credited with the invention of the first five and six-chime air horns for use on locomotives. Swanson had worked as the chief engineer of a company called Victoria Lumber Manufacturing in the 1920s, when he developed a hobby for making steam whistles for locomotives. Eventually, Swanson designed and built a large steam whistle for the mill where he worked. He also built the Heritage Horns that were on the old BC Hydro building that play the first four chords of "O Canada" at noon every day. The horns are now on the roof of the Pan Pacific hotel at Canada Place.

Later, Swanson, the son of Alfred Swanson, worked as the chief inspector of railroads for the Province of British Columbia. It was here he met his future partner, Don Challenger, who operated a logging company. The two knew each other through the logging industry, which relied heavily on rail transportation at the time.

Swanson published four books of verse between 1942 and 1953, and also a book of logging stories, Whistle Punks and Widow-Makers, which appeared in 1993. Known as the "bard of the woods", he wrote ballads of logging on the British Columbia coast, taking the advice of Robert Service, who noted that Swanson had traveled extensively through the camps and no one else was writing about that type of life. Swanson read the poems on his weekly talk show on radio station CJOR. The chapbooks of the verses were designed to fit in racks meant for issues of Reader's Digest, found in every camp commissary. Mainly distributed through the Harry Smith News Agency, the ballads were immensely popular in bunkhouses, reputedly selling 82,000 copies. Although Swanson was never accepted by the literary establishment, his books easily outsold those of better known poets of the 1940s such as Earle Birney and Dorothy Livesay. In the 1980s, he was part of a troupe that read and sang literature about logging. Forestry authority Ken Drushka recalled that going on a reading tour with Swanson was like travelling with an "octagenarian rock star".

Swanson was the driving force behind the restoration of the Royal Hudson, supported by the New Democratic Party and Dave Barrett. However, Grace McCarthy attempted to take credit for the idea.

Swanson was a qualified locomotive engineer, stationary engineer, professional mechanical engineer as well as chief inspector for the BC provincial department of railways. As chief inspector, he wrote the provincial "Boiler Code" in 1948, and he required that all locomotives running on British Columbia provincially regulated railways be equipped with a five-note whistle, rather than the three-note whistle requirement for federally regulated railway locomotives.

Before his death, he was an active member of the Ladysmith Railway Society. Many artifacts this society acquired were the direct result of his enthusiasm. Vancouver Island, and in particular Nanaimo and Ladysmith were his particular areas of activity. His whistle test station was on Nanaimo Lakes Road where he serenaded neighbours for miles around.

A railroad tie or crosstie (American English) or railway sleeper (British English) is a rectangular support for the rails in railroad tracks. Generally laid perpendicular to the rails, ties transfer loads to the track ballast and subgrade, hold the rails upright and keep them spaced to the correct gauge.

Railroad ties are traditionally made of wood, but prestressed concrete is now also widely used, especially in Europe and Asia. Steel ties are common on secondary lines in the UK;[1] plastic composite ties are also employed, although far less than wood or concrete. As of January 2008, the approximate market share in North America for traditional and wood ties was 91.5%, the remainder being concrete, steel, azobé (red ironwood) and plastic composite.

The crosstie spacing of mainline railroad is approximately 19 to 19.5 inches for wood ties or 24 inches for concrete ties. (The spacing means the distance of the center of one tie to the center of the next tie, and equals to the width of one tie plus the width of one crib.) The amount of ties is 3,250 wooden crossties per mile (2019 ties/km, or 40 ties per 65 feet) for wood ties or 2640 ties per mile for concrete ties. Rails in the US may be fastened to the tie by a railroad spike; iron/steel baseplates screwed to the tie and secured to the rail by a proprietary fastening system such as a Vossloh or Pandrol are commonly used in Europe.

Burlington Northern moved 100,000 cars on 126,000 miles of rail to transport food, fuel, and goods to American markets on a scale only the railroad could handle. This is a tribute to the people and equipment that could pump 2,000 freight cars a day through it's classification yards.

Filmed in 1973

A railway air brake is a railway brake power braking system with compressed air as the operating medium. Modern trains rely upon a fail-safe air brake system that is based upon a design patented by George Westinghouse on April 13, 1869. The Westinghouse Air Brake Company was subsequently organized to manufacture and sell Westinghouse's invention. In various forms, it has been nearly universally adopted.

The Westinghouse system uses air pressure to charge air reservoirs on each car. Full air pressure signals each car to release the brakes. A reduction or loss of air pressure signals each car to apply its brakes, using the compressed air in its reservoirs.

Union Pacific Railroad paid tribute to it's 'Big Boy' steam locomotives in a publicity film that has become popular with rail enthusiasts worldwide. You'll see the evolution of UP steam power from 4-6-0s to the development of the articulated locomotive. Then you'll meet the Big Boys and watch as they are serviced, rebuilt, and run. Trackside and cab shots feature these mighty 4-8-8-4s pulling long freights over Wyoming's Sherman Hill during their last years in regular service.

General Electric promotional film from 1915 extolling the virtues of railroad electrification.

Robert Eugene Swanson (1905–1994) was a Canadian researcher and developer, and is credited with the invention of the first five and six-chime air horns for use on locomotives. Swanson had worked as the chief engineer of a company called Victoria Lumber Manufacturing in the 1920s, when he developed a hobby for making steam whistles for locomotives. Eventually, Swanson designed and built a large steam whistle for the mill where he worked. He also built the Heritage Horns that were on the old BC Hydro building that play the first four chords of "O Canada" at noon every day. The horns are now on the roof of the Pan Pacific hotel at Canada Place.

Later, Swanson, the son of Alfred Swanson, worked as the chief inspector of railroads for the Province of British Columbia. It was here he met his future partner, Don Challenger, who operated a logging company. The two knew each other through the logging industry, which relied heavily on rail transportation at the time.

Swanson published four books of verse between 1942 and 1953, and also a book of logging stories, Whistle Punks and Widow-Makers, which appeared in 1993. Known as the "bard of the woods", he wrote ballads of logging on the British Columbia coast, taking the advice of Robert Service, who noted that Swanson had traveled extensively through the camps and no one else was writing about that type of life. Swanson read the poems on his weekly talk show on radio station CJOR. The chapbooks of the verses were designed to fit in racks meant for issues of Reader's Digest, found in every camp commissary. Mainly distributed through the Harry Smith News Agency, the ballads were immensely popular in bunkhouses, reputedly selling 82,000 copies. Although Swanson was never accepted by the literary establishment, his books easily outsold those of better known poets of the 1940s such as Earle Birney and Dorothy Livesay. In the 1980s, he was part of a troupe that read and sang literature about logging. Forestry authority Ken Drushka recalled that going on a reading tour with Swanson was like travelling with an "octagenarian rock star".

Swanson was the driving force behind the restoration of the Royal Hudson, supported by the New Democratic Party and Dave Barrett. However, Grace McCarthy attempted to take credit for the idea.

Swanson was a qualified locomotive engineer, stationary engineer, professional mechanical engineer as well as chief inspector for the BC provincial department of railways. As chief inspector, he wrote the provincial "Boiler Code" in 1948, and he required that all locomotives running on British Columbia provincially regulated railways be equipped with a five-note whistle, rather than the three-note whistle requirement for federally regulated railway locomotives.

Before his death, he was an active member of the Ladysmith Railway Society. Many artifacts this society acquired were the direct result of his enthusiasm. Vancouver Island, and in particular Nanaimo and Ladysmith were his particular areas of activity. His whistle test station was on Nanaimo Lakes Road where he serenaded neighbours for miles around.

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