~ Page Five - Thursday, October 29, 2009 ~

The Marion Model "40" Steam Shovel !

In our Photo Gallery of Really Great Railroad Models!

~ Page Five ~

How about this one guys? Here's a Marion #40 drifting downgrade. After a hard days work in the mountains perhaps.

It took no less than THREE GUYS to operate one of these things! One in the Cab, whose job it was to make the thing go back and forth and swing the boom from side to side... [ These shovels were self powered... Chain Drive. As in LOG Chains, not Motorcycle Type Chains! ]

A second crewman sat on a kind of an old timey Tractor Seat, one of those old stamped steel affairs with the holes in it; His job was to operate the shovel itself, doing the digging; And a third guy was in the rear, making sure the old girl had steam up so’s the other two guys could do their jobs!

This was obviously back in the days before much consideration was given to safety or ergonomics, and certainly long before the days of OSHA! Yet, most of the modern railroad Right-of-Ways were created by equipment much like you see pictured here. Though clumsy and inefficient by today's standards, these old shovels were still capable of a good days work. And they required only a three man crew to operate them, instead of the usual-for-the-times hundreds of men with picks and shovels...

Our old friend Jan Rons tells of seeing a documentary on one of the educational channels that shows the building of the Panama Canal. And guess what’s shown in operation in it? A Marion Steam Shovel! Jan says the old girl appeared to be amazingly agile! You might want to watch for the film to make a comeback some time in the future.

By the way, we think this is one of our best-ever photos. What's your opinion?

Click on the photo below for another view of this great model.


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