The freight room was more of a baggage room and light freight. In this room we have a display of maintenance tools and equipment that is typical to its time. The maintenance crews needed a means of transportation to get to the site on the track. The vehicle had to be light enough to be pulled off the track in the event of an oncoming train. The vehicles originally were human powered but with the advent of small gasoline engines the carts became motorized. Today the track cars are full size pickups that can both drive on the track as well as roads.

Inside the freight room at night.

An original pump car used by the Northern Pacific. Click here to learn more about pump cars.

The velocepide was used for lighter maintenance and transportation between depots.

The problem with human power is that most of the energy needed to do track maintenance was used up in going back and forth.  Then as the gasoline engine became more popular they were installed on the vehicles.

The Adams Motorcar had a 2 cycle engine directly coupled to the wheels. There was no clutch or reverse gear. To start it the crew pushed it and jumped on. To go in reverse the crew pushed from the opposite direction. There are many stories how the car got away without the driver. But the upside was that a crew could maintain more track a greater distance from the depot.


photos courtesy of the Robert collection