Jim M. – Railroad Track Car (speeder)

When Jim retired in the early part of of 2010 he was looking for a project to keep him busy.  Over the years he had always been fascinated with those little train cars.  After meeting and talking to a member of the North American Railcar Operators Association (NARCOA), his interest was piqued.  Already having an interest in the operation and history of railroading in and around northcentral Pennsylvania, this would also allow him the opportunity of riding and viewing the rails “up close and personal.”  In April of 2010 he acquired a Fairmont MT-14-L track car or more commonly known as a speeder.

When purchased, his speeder was missing some of the lights, some of the windshield wiper hardware, the lower front windscreen, numerous other miscellaneous hardware and had no seats or turntable.

By August of that year, he had it ready for a maiden voyage.  Tioga Central RR gave him permission to conduct a test run on old NYCRR track from Wellsboro Junction to Niles Valley, a distance of about five miles.  He along with fellow TTS members had a grand time learning the intricacies of setting on, operating and setting off a track car.

The initial run showed that the alternator wasn’t functioning, there was a small leak in the transmission and the carburetor needed adjustment.  Other than that, everything worked quite well.

Those items were taken care of and it was time for a real test.  Jim had his car ready for Tioga Central’s Rail Days in September 2010, where he along with other speeder owners and members of NARCOA, gave rides to the public.  After that, a real test in a NARCOA sanctioned ride, a distance of approximately 60 miles, was scheduled in October.

With that accomplished it was time to get ready for 2011.  A new “tunnel” cover was fabricated from red oak plywood, stained and polyurethaned.  Some additional rewiring of the electrical compartment and a custom made turntable was installed.   The final preparation for the 2011 season was to add an Erie Diamond on the nose.  Not having official data as to the geneology of the vehicle it was only natural for Jim to make it an Erie speeder.

The following are a series of photographs that show the  “as received” condition and the changes that have been incorporated to date:

Day 1 - Not even unloaded off of the trailer yet.

April 2010 - Day 1, not even unloaded off of the trailer yet.

No seats, the previous owner rode the "tunnel."

No seats, the previous owner 'rode the tunnel."

The tunnel cover is old painted plywood.

The tunnel cover is old painted plywood.

Power is provided by an Onan CCKB two cylinder, air cooled 20 HP engine.

Power is provided by an Onan CCKB two cylinder, air cooled 20 HP engine.

The engine and transmission.  Fairmont was not noted for their wiring harnesses.

The engine and transmission. Fairmont was not noted for their wiring harnesses.

The control panel.

The control panel.

New headlight, strobe light and brass bell.

New headlight, strobe light and brass bell.

Two new seats and a grab bar.

Two new seats and a grab bar.

Waiting for the freight to clear the line so maiden voyage can take place.

July 2010 - Waiting for the freight train to clear the line so the maiden voyage can take place.

Fellow TTS member lending a helping hand.

Fellow TTS members Paul A., Tom C., and Ed R. lending a helping hand.

Ned M. gets the honor of being the first passenger.

July 2010 - Ned M. gets the honor of being the first passenger.

Everyone is loaded and ready to go to Niles Valley.

July 2010 - Everyone is loaded and ready to go to Niles Valley.

April 2011 - New engine (tunnel) cover and intercom system.

April 2011 - New engine (tunnel) cover and intercom system.

June 2011 - All dressed up and ready to go.

June 2011 - All dressed up and ready to go.