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Santa Fe Super Chief parade train is a custom, handcrafted vehicle created by the railroad for the "Chicago Railroad Fair" which ran the summers of 1948 and 1949.  The Chicago Railroad Fair celebrated the first 100 years of railroads. More about the 1948-1949 Chicago Railroad Fair below...

This 33 foot long, one of a kind vehicle was assembled on a new 1948 Dodge 1Ż ton cab-over, truck chassis, powered by a 6 cylinder engine with 4 speed transmission, stiff truck suspension, manual brakes, manual steering and a 15 gallon gas tank.  The top speed was 42 MPH.  It was moved long distances by rail.  It thrilled parade watchers all over America from 1950 to the 1980's.

MyTrain is now outfitted with a new Ford 460 V8 engine, C6 automatic transmission, soft motor home suspension, power 4 wheel disk brakes, power steering, tilt steering wheel, cruise control and an 83 gallon gas tank.   It is a pleasure to drive on the Interstate highway and sensational in parades.  The interior is fitted with two front seats and twelve in back.  The Super Chief is parade ready with a real railroad crossing bell and locomotive horns.

Lead Chicagoland Toys for Tots  Motorcycle Parade in
2000,  '01
'02, '03, '04, '05, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10 and will again in December 2011.
On the front cover of
Thunder Press Feb-2006, Harley Davidson news.
"A train on wheels." says Dave McClelland on Hot Rod TV  Sept. 2005
Illinois Route 66 Magazine (picture on pg.22, Fall 2003 issue).
Northern Rodder Magazine (picture on pg.36, July 2002 issue).
Hot Rod Magazine POWER TOUR 2001(picture on pg.96, Sept.).
First Place trophy
World of Wheels 2000, McCormick Place, Chicago.

Train horn signals
Wonder why locomotives approaching grade crossinge sound their horns four times?
Wonder what the other combinations of whistle/horn blasts mean?
Railroads are required by a variety of state laws to sound horns in advance of all crossings. Basically, horns are sounded for safety reasons--to warn of approaching trains. This table will illustrate the combination of short and long horn blast and the meaning.
The letter "O" is used to indicate short blast, and 3 consecutive dashes "---" indicate long blast.
--- When train is stopped. The air brakes are applied and pressure is equalized.
--- --- Train releases brakes and proceeds.
O O Acknowledgment of any signal not otherwise provided for.
O O O When train is stopped: means backing up.
O O O O A request for a signal to be given or repeated if not understood.
O --- Inspect the brake system for leaks or sticking brakes.
--- O O O Instruction for flagman to protect rear of train.
--- --- --- --- The flagman may return from west or south.
--- --- --- --- --- The flagman may return from east or north.
--- --- O --- Train is approaching public crossings at grade with engine in front. Signal starts not less than one quarter mile before reaching the crossing, if distance permits. If distance does not permit, signal starts soon enough before the crossing to provide warning. Signal is prolonged or repeated until the engine occupies the crossing. This signal is used to warn employees when the view is restricted. Note: Sometimes a succession of short sounds is used when an emergency exists, such as when people or livestock are on the track. When crews on other trains hear this signal, they must stop until it is safe to proceed. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), which enforces rail safety regulations, has studied the possibility of banning locomotive horns where crossings can be equipped with full quadrant gates so motorists can't drive around them, but there's been no ruling on this yet. A ban on locomotive horns in Florida was ordered removed by the FRA after it was shown that the accident rate doubled during the ban.

MORE ABOUT THE CHICAGO RAILROAD FAIR 1948-1949

The Chicago Railroad Fair was an event organized to celebrate and commemorate 100 years of railroad history west of Chicago, Illinois. It was held in Chicago in 1948 and 1949 along the shore of Lake Michigan, and is often referred to as "the last great railroad fair" with 39 railroad companies participating. The board of directors for the show was a veritable "Who's Who" of railroad company executives.

The fair was rapidly planned during the winter and spring of 1948, and originally scheduled to run between July and August of that summer. Erected on 50 acres of Burnham Park in Chicago between 21st and 31st Streets, the fair opened after only six months of planning. A grand opening for the fair commenced on July 20 with a parade that featured such spectacles as a military marching band and a replica of a troop train, a contingent of cowboys and Native Americans, a replica of the Tom Thumb, the first American locomotive, and the spry, octogenarian widow of Casey Jones, who served as honorary Grand Master of the parade. One dollar was the price of admission, and, except food, all the attractions, displays, exhibits and shows were free. Besides the thirty-nine railroads who participated in the fair, there were more than twenty equipment manufacturers, including General Motors.

The highlight of the Chicago Railroad Fair was the "Wheels A-Rolling" pageant. This was a dramatic and musical presentation intended to showcase the development of transportation and the railroads across the country beginning with trails and waterways. The pageant included a recreation of the Golden Spike ceremony at Promontory, Utah, and various historic rolling stock and replicas of equipment in operation.

In addition to being the last great assembly of railroad equipment and technology by participating railroad companies, the 1948 Chicago Railroad Fair holds a lesser known honor and connection to Disneyland. In 1948 Walt Disney and animator Ward Kimball attended the fair. To their enjoyment they not only got to see all of the equipment, but they were also allowed to operate some of the steam locomotives that were at the Fair. Upon their return to Los Angeles, Disney used the Fair and Greenfield Village, which the two had also visited on the trip, as inspiration for a "Mickey Mouse Park" that eventually became Disneyland.  Walt also went on to build his own backyard railroads, building the Carolwood Pacific Railroad. Kimball already had his own, named Grizzly Flats Railroad.

The Chicago Railroad Fair, ran for 2 years AND attracted over 5 1/2 million people. Technology was revolutionizing the industry. Railroad management was optimistic about the future. The great rail systems still took pride in the operations of their passenger trains, especially the luxurious limiteds. Passenger trains were run on-time.

The nation had not yet started building interstate highways with public funds. Few could have realized that this celebration of railroads was to mark the end of an era -- an era where the U.S. rail lines provided the backbone of our economy and united the nation.

The fair was sponsored by 38 railroads and the Pullman Company. It was held at Burnham Park, south of Soldier Field. In recognition of the importance of the railroad industry to the city and the nation's economy, business and civic leaders joined the planning and festivities. Chicago was celebrating 100 years of rail service.

While the fair featured a variety of attractions for rail enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike, the "Wheels a-Rolling" pageant was staged four times a day and played to crowds of up to 20,000 visitors per show. The show paid tribute to transportation in America from the Native American Indians to the highly anticipated "Train of Tomorrow." That vision for the future, however, was never attained.

There were also historical events that were commemorated. Leonard D. Tomasso, who in 1909 drove the last spike in the completion of the Western Pacific, was honored at the fair on September 9, 1949.

A railroad fireman who brought the New York Central's Number 999 to the Chicago Columbian Exposition in 1893 after it set a record of 112 1/2 miles an hour was honored and mounted 999 again. He proclaimed her to be pretty good shape.

The 1948-1949 fair marked the last large display of vintage railroad equipment -- never again would such a large number of operating railroad artifacts be brought together and appreciated by such large crowds of people.

The fair's rides, shows, and exhibits were the main attractions. An 1880 San Francisco cable car took visitors to the lake on front and two narrow-gauge railways carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers. Companies that supplied equipment to the railroads sponsored an ice show. There was even a water thrill show on the lake.

The Santa Fe built a New Mexico Pueblo village complete with Indians. The Illinois Central had a Old New Orleans exhibit. Eventually, many of the exhibits ended up at the Museum of Science and Industry.

According to the Chicago Tribune, "The Railroad Fair has been successful, far beyond the expectations of the men who started it. The people of America, and particularly the people of Mid-America, want Chicago to put on an annual fair and will support it handsomely. The present location is just about perfect."

The rail industry was to enter a period of change, uncertainty, and decline. The Chicago Railroad Fair of 1948-1949 represented the last celebration of an era when the nation's freight and economic growth was powered by mighty locomotives. It was the last grand celebration of the glory days of passenger service in the U.S.

 

Trainman / Switchman    Job Description

Receives, relays or acts upon oral, written or radio instructions from customer or customer service representative or other personnel indicating the switch movement, placement or delivery of railroad cars and/or a train.

  • Conducts the movement of rail cars and train movements.
  • Observes, interprets and relays arm, lantern or radio signals and all other indications affecting movement of a train.
  • Operates track switches (visually checks switch condition and route) to change the direction of the engine or cars within yard limits or on the main track; may apply or release hand brakes to switch or perform other duties.
  • Reads and understands the book of rules, timetables, bulletins, train orders, waybills, placards, safety instructions, and other written or printed material.
  • Prepares required daily reports; switch lists - manually or with a computer.
  • Inspects the condition of the train and equipment in movement and while stationary.
  • May couple air and electrical connections between locomotives when making up trains
Required Skills
  • Understanding oral communications.
  • Recognizing sounds/changes in sounds
  • Recognizing colors
  • Understanding printed/written information
  • Making oneself understood orally
  • Judging speed and/or distance of moving objects/parts
  • Understanding visual displays
  • Taking actions and/or making decisions affecting security and well being of others
  • Recalling information required from work activity
  • Climbing and balancing
  • Judging condition or status of objects/parts * Exercising physical strength and/or endurance
Required Experience

High School Diploma or GED Required, Associate's degree preferred.

2 years work experience/or equivalent training required, experience in a 24/7 work environment with exposure to outside weather conditions preferred.