Wednesday, August 14, 2013


 Fairmont section car engines are a familiar friend if you grew up in the '50's and '60's.  Kids would head to the tracks when they heard the familiar putt-putt sound of the two stroke engine, and it was a thrill when the operator opened up the throttle after passing an intersection. It is not the same listening to a Fairmont run at an engine show, with no load and without the wheels singing on the rails.

The track inspector or section crew rode the platform in the center, and tools, spikes, bolts, or maybe even a new tie rode under their feet.  The faithful little cars could also pull a trailer, when multiple ties or a section of rail was needed.  The handles were pulled out and used to lift the car when it was taken on and off the rails.

A condenser sat atop the radiator.

The transmission is a flat belt drive, very much like the transmission in a sawmill's headworks.  It was simple and dependable.  The cars that came along in the 1970's had an Onan opposed engine with a real stickshift transmission.

Collectors like these noisy little artifacts, and there are several places around the country where clubs can run them on rusty old rails for a few hours of fun and glory.

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