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Longest Day Part 3
By Bob Mintz
The last time we platformed, I asked if anyone
knew what that material was in between the rails.
Lionel and American Flyer made many operating
accessories using loads such as lumber, gasoline, oil, coal, ore,
water, missiles, airplanes, helicopters, piggyback trucks, intermodal
containers, railroad ties, barrels, culverts, passenger luggage,
mail, merchandise containers, ice, freight crates, refreshments,
grain, diesel fuel, nuclear waste, horses, cattle, giraffes, even
Bosco and newspapers.
Perhaps the # 6827-100 Harnischfeger shovel or
the # 6828-100 Harnischfeger crane may have excavated it. During
the years 1976-79, # 2175 Sandy Andy, a manual Gravel loader kit
But other than having part of it in its' name,
I can't recall anyone making anything using SAND!
Now living out in The Hamptons, one would expect
to find sand all over the place, as we were voted the 8th best
beach in the world. I recently found out why there is so much
sand all over the streets miles away from the beach. It is because
sand is absorbed into the air during the evaporation process,
and when it rains, the sand is re-deposited everywhere.
So what does sand have to do with trains?
If you look closely at the red arrows in this
photograph, you will see ruts in the rails. This was caused by
the engine restarting after it stopped at a station or a red signal,
and not getting enough traction to pull the cars, whether that
be passenger or freight.
The rotating wheels cut a groove onto the top
of the track, which is a maintenance of way nightmare as it causes
the track to wear out prematurely or possibly cause it to fail
eventually by splitting, creating a derailment.
Believe it or not, this is the only sanding tower
owned by the Long Island Railroad. You will notice sand on the
tracks at the base of the tower in this image taken at the Morris
Park maintenance facility, slightly west of Jamaica Station, Queens
is deposited into tanks on diesel electric and dual mode diesel/electric
(using either fuel or third rail shoes) engines by the red arrows
shown in the photographs.
By accident, maintenance of way workers have
been known to deposit cement-like materials in its place, with
now perhaps one of our train manufacturers/importers will make
a sanding accessory. Only the passing of the sands of time will
Our next installment will discuss this strange
looking self-propelled unit seen here hiding on a passing track
at Jamaica Station. The only clues that I will give to this train-teaser
is that the predecessor companies of this train introduced the
first commercially viable typewriters, adding machines, and the
world's first business computer named UNIVAC.