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Maintenance of Way Equipment Roster

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The Equipment Needed to Maintain the South Shore and Mineral Range

The tables on this page list the maintenance of way equipment that the Duluth, South Shore, and Atlantic Railway (DSS&A) was using in the Autumn of 1922. I have also included a similar roster for the Mineral Range Railroad (MRRR) for the Autumn of 1922. The Hancock and Calumet Railroad (H&CRR) is not detailed since it owned no equipment in 1922.  The DSS&A maintenance equipment was assigned to the Bridge and Building Department.

So far I have found a limited amount of information about this equipment and much of these data are conflicting. I have left three question marks (???) in places where I am missing information or I am confused. Please contact me if you can help clarify these data. I have done my best to sort out the available data and present an accurate picture of this vital equipment.

Maintenance of Way Roster, Autumn 1922

The feet and inches in the table refer to the length of the car.  You will note that some of the car numbers overlap.  This is probably because car numbers changed between the dates of the lists I had available to me.  Business cars nos. 302 and 555 are also included on some lists as maintenance of way equipment.   However, I have listed them on the Passenger Car Roster.

Car Numbers Type of Car Details
701 Wrecking Coach Builder unknown, 1872.
702 Steam Wrecking Derrick Built by Industrial Works, 1894, 24 feet, steel underframe.
703 Truck Care Builder unknown, 1882.
704 Block Car Builder unknown, 1882, box car.
705 Hand Derrick Built by Marquette, Houghton, and Ontanogon Railroad, 1887, 40,000 lbs. capacity, wood body and underframe.
706 Steam Shovel Built by Bucyrus Steam Shovel & Dredge Co., 1894, 1.5 cubic yards capacity, wood body, steel underframe.
707 Hand Derrick Built by DSS&A, 1882, 50,000 lbs. capacity, wood body and underframe.
708-729 Boarding Cars Builder unknown, 1874, 7 units in 1911, box cars.
709 Steam Derrick Built by Bucyrus Steam Shovel & Dredge Co., 1894, 32 feet, steel underframe.
710 Pile Driver Built by Industrial Works, 1893, 73 feet, wood body and underframe.
711 Rotary Snow Plow Built by Cooke Loco. & Machine Co., 1888.
719 Snow Plow Built by DSS&A, 1882, retired July 1957.
720 American Ditcher Built 1886.  Possibly carried no. 1 and not no. 720.
721 Snow Drag Car (Ditcher) Built by DSS&A, 1882, wood body and underframe.
724 Snow Plow Built by Michigan Car Co., 1889 or 1895, Russell type.
725 Gravel Spreader (Wing Plow) Built by Detroit, Mackinac, and Marquette Railroad, 1882, 40,000 lbs. capacity, wood body and underframe, second hand.
726 and 727 Snow Wideners Builder unknown, wood body and underframe.
730 Pile Driver Tank (Tool Driver Tank) Builder unknown, 1893
731 Boarding Car Builder unknown, 1909.
732 and 733 Tool Car Builder unknown
734-744 Boarding Car Builder unknown, 5 units in 1922.
735-747 Boarding Cars Builder unknown, 3 units in 1922.  Probably should be nos. 745-747.
749 and 795 Snow Wideners Builder unknown, wood body and underframe.
750 Locomotive Crane Built by Industrial Works, 1912, 12 ton capacity, 8-wheel.
751-768 Boarding Cars Builder unknown,  18 units in 1922.
769, 776, and 777 Tank Cars Builder unknown, 50,000 lbs. capacity, wood body and underframe.
770-775 Cinder Cars Builder unknown.
778-788 Boarding Cars Builder unknown, 8 units in 1922.
781 Tool Car Builder unknown.
782 Air Compressor Car Built by DSS&A, 1913, 50,000 lbs. capacity, wood body and underframe.
797 Water Car Builder unknown.
1095-1760 Boarding Cars Builder unknown, 1887, 11 units in 1911, 9 in 1922, flat cars.
1488 Steam Shovel Built by Bucyrus Co., 1912, 3 cubic yards capacity, steel body and underframe.
3513-4336 Boarding Cars Builder unknown, 1888, 47 units in 1922, box cars.
9000-9003 Cinder Cars Builder unknown, 1894, 4 units in 1911.
9004-9005 Cinder Cars Builder unknown, 1907, 2 units in 1911.

Sources: ICC 1916b.  "The DSS&A Ry.--Valuation at June 30, 1917, Michigan Rate Care--April 21, 1922" typed list in the red Freight binder of the Perron Collection.  The Official Railway Equipment Register (December 1923, 392-393).  "Valuation of the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railway as of date June 30th 1911," State Archives of Michigan, Record Group: Records of Attorney General, Duluth South Shore & Atlantic R. R. vs. State of Michigan, accession no. 53-7, lot no. 3, box no. outsize.

In addition to the equipment listed in the above table, the DSS&A also owned aprons, stakes, and side planks to equip 110 flat cars, two horses, two wagons, two harnesses, a sleigh, 63 locomotive snow plows (75 in 1911), five pilot flangers, 63 snow covers, a cinder unloader, and a locomotive crane.

The Official Railway Equipment Register (December 1923, 392-393) indicates under miscellaneous equipment the following:

  • Box (MWX)--Bridge and Building, and Caboose--3513, 3578, 3581, 3623, 3838, 3855, 3941, 3948, 4087,4195 (10 units)
  • Flat (MWX)--Bridge and Building--1179, 1186, 1263, 1489, 1760 (5 units)
  • Maint. of Way--700 to 799 (90 units)
  • Maint. of Way--900 to 944 (42 units).

The Interstate Commerce Commission report (ICC 1916b) also lists the following information for 1916:

  • Box Boarding Cars (78 units)
  • Box Tool Cars (9 units)
  • Converted Passenger Cars (5 units)
  • Flat Tool Cars (14 units)
  • Supply Car (1 unit)
  • Locomotive Tenders (5 units)

Lastly, the 1911 valuation of the DSS&A has a detailed list of tools found in the wrecking train tool car.  Among the items listed are jacks, wheels, wedges, coupler parts, blocks and pulleys, wire cable, chains, spikes, wrenches, bolts, bars, mawls, hooks, shovels, sledges, hammers, lanterns, boots, and blankets.

MRRR Maintenance of Way Roster, Autumn 1922

Car Number Type of Car Details
X-1 Box Tool Car Builder unknown.
X-2 Snow Widener Builder unknown.
X-3 Snow Plow Builder unknown.
X-4 Snow Plow Builder unknown.
X-5 Snow Plow Builder unknown.
X-8 Snow Widener Builder unknown.
X-9 Box Tool Car Builder unknown.
X-11 Flat Tool Car Builder unknown.
X-12 Snow Drag Car Builder unknown.
X-13 Snow Widener Built by MRRR, 1916.
200 Converted Passenger Car Builder unknown.
331 Cinder Car Builder and year unknown, 30 feet, 40,000 lbs. capacity, construction unknown, possibly a gondola used to carry cinders.
333 Cinder Car Builder and year unknown, 30 feet, 40,000 lbs. capacity, construction unknown, possibly a gondola used to carry cinders.
402 Converted Passenger Car Builder unknown.

Sources: ICC 1916c.

The MRRR must also have had locomotive snow plows, but I can find no record of how many they had or of any other miscellaneous equipment.


For me the most interesting maintenance equipment is that relating to the removal of snow.  It is clear that we are dealing with a north country railroad from the list of snow related equipement.  The DSS&A had only one rotary plow, but it had a wide variety of other snow removing equipment including regular snow plow with blades and snow wideners, as well as a large number of snow plows that could be attached to the front of locomotives.  Preparations for Winter operations must have involved a lot of work fitting the locomotives with their plows.  However, the preparation was probably easy in comparison to the day-to-day tasks associated with actually clearing the tracks during the Winter months.  Removing the snow equipment, cleaning and repairing it, and storing it away must have been regarding as a sure sign that Spring had arrived.

Curiously, I did not see any hand cars mentioned.  I assume that the DSS&A and MRRR must have used them.  They must have been considered so common that they were not enumerated.

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This page, and all contents, are Copyright 1997 by John P. DuLong, Berkley, MI. Created 6 May 1996. Last modified 5 February 1998.