1920s Automobile Riding on Railroad Tracks

By Joe Maurath, Jr.; posted November 5, 2008

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Many railroad maintenence vehicles (mostly pickup and similarly sized service trucks) have had a wheelbase which allows them to quickly and silently roll upon railroad tracks. There has been (and still is) an adaptation for this while the truck tires are slightly lifted remaining in place. That has been the practice for years. Here you see a vintage automobile set up for "rail roading" for whatever reason(s). How many of the current models have *silently* snuck up on you during your RR right-of-way archiecholgical adventures?


Please refer to (below):

Added note: Here in Boston we have many street trolleys all over the city and in adjoing communities. These operate from an overhead 600 VDC caternary. The embedded track acts the electrical ground. In my earlier years I have found that the wheelbase of every-single (larger size American) vehicle I have ever owned **precisely** was in alignment with both rails....with all four tires, heading perfectly straight. Wow! Especially with Pink Floyd playing on my flimsy 8-track (see below). This was also safely accomplished while testing in the same direction of clear rail travel sharing the same pavement as the street. Sshhh! hide than can...Oh yeah, here in MA no prob you will legally posess "it" as voted yesterday (November 4) if "it's" under the weighted "ozz". The 1970s will always rule, no matter what anyone has to say!

Anyway.....back to my story:

The older guy who did my annual DOT vehicle inspections and other automobile service work (utilizing nothing-but-the-best methods of old-school way of doing front-end alignments) was rather impressed by my rail-roading with a 1968 Plymouth RoadRunner (and other vehicle) and related city-railroading documentations. Or did he call it a 1968 Plymouth RailRunner? Anyway, the only noticable distortion while doing all of this was from the random skipping of programs of my sorta-loose eight-track player mounted under-dash while crossing the bumpy track lanes for left-turn traffic lights and when the speedometer backlighting erratically flashed while using either of my turn signals.

All of the above probably is everyday Boston travel, BTW. I don't go none-there-anymore. As far as reliable cars go....ask any BOS cabbie...especialy one who owned and drove a Checker for a living. Or better yet (see below) a Chrysler-product cab.

And, whatever became of those "you simply couldn't kill" Checker automobiles? I think they were last made in 1982? They rivalled Plymouth Belvederes and Dodge Coronets of their day with their endless durability. They PROUDLY served with the harshest service conditions with city stop-and-go driving...often documented for over 300,000 miles before retirement. And from there...they still saw "recycled" use in many instances.

You simply couldn't kill those old Chrysler "Slant Six" and 318 cubic-inch engines! Heck, I even had a 383 that ran as good (if not better) eight years after I bought it in 1971!