The Man wrote:The North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, NC has a great collection of MOW stuff, a real early ballast reclaimer from Southern, And a lot of the small equipment like tie crane, regulator, tamper and so on. I think they might even have part of a welded rail train but I'm not sure. I don't think any is on the website but if you are there I would ask for John Bectol (I am sure I am way off on the spelling of the last name) and he would know how to find the MOW equipment and if not who would.
If you are talking about the old ballast cleaner that used to be parked near the old paint shop, this was a water ballast cleaner built, starting in 1978. It was supposed to use water to pick up the ballast from the RoW, spin it in a drum (like a giant Maytag) and return it to the track. It was given the name of "Gravel Gertie" by the employees who worked on her. It was generally a failure. For almost two years, the shops modified, changed, re-designed, added, subtracted "stuff" to make Gertie work. But it was all in vain. For months on end, the machine was worked upon, and it went out regularly on a special work train to test it. Then it would come trundling back to the Roadway Shops in Charlotte, NC, and back under the shed. One such test run almost resulted in the car being lost in a creek. Part of the design called for water to be sucked up out of creeks and rivers to clean the ballast. This time, they stopped on a small bridge and boomed out to take on water. Outriggers had not been called for. Gertie almost turned over in the creek! So she came back with her "tail' tucked between her legs for the addition of outriggers and a more stable "water buffalo" car!
After spending a couple mil hoping to reduce the acrid dust that surrounded ballast cleaning operations, it was concluded that this machine simply had too many moving parts and had "Rube Goldberg-itis". It quietly disappeared and sat forgotten at the back of the old Charlotte N & S Yard for a few years. Then it was donated to the NC Transportation Museum.
How do *I* know all this? Gravel Gertie and I were "born" on the railroad; I hired out that year ('78) at the Roadway Shops, and Gertie was a frame and a couple of trucks sitting out in the snow behind the backshop. I watched Gertie "grow", take on diesel engines, drums, rotary diggers, and chutes. I went clerking by 1981, and it is here that I "discovered" ole Gertie sitting out in the weeds in Charlotte Yard. And I thought, "So THAT's what happened to her." Then it disappeared again, and I saw it again AT the NC Transportation Museum when I took my small daughter up there for a day while Mom worked. And I thought about the work that had gone into the machine.
So everytime I visit the museum (about once a year), I smile because I have history with this machine. It looks like a rusty old hulk now, but once it was "alive" with the hopes of a lot of men!
For more on "Gravel Gertie", see November '08 issue of Trains magazine where there are photos and how she looked when new.