locked Re: Southern weed spraying trains in 1960s

Bill Schafer

A few clarifications for Sandy Smart:

* OSM does indeed stand for “Oil Spray Machine” (or “spraying”). As Ike says below, the alpha-numeric numbers were converted to 99XXXX-series MofW numbers in 1969.
* The pictures included with Ike’s post do NOT depict the OSM cars. The OSMs were creatures of the diesel era.
* Bridges were NOT sprayed with oil preservative; it was a thick grease that was applied with some mechanism other than the OSM outfit - a hand-held hose, as I recall. It was really messy. The grease was intended to retard deterioration of the metal but it could hide cracks in the bridge structure, so use of it was discontinued.
* Below is a picture of the OSM machine I think you had in mind to model for your outdoor railroad. This is the best picture I could find; maybe some others can add better images.


On Jan 13, 2020, at 9:11 AM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

The January 23, 1969 Mow renumbering plan shows the following old and new road numbers for the “weed killer flat cars” in service at that time. 

weed killer flat car
to be renumbered from OSM-1
weed killer flat car
to be renumbered from 116820
weed killer flat car
to be renumbered from OSM-3
weed killer flat car
to be renumbered from 117929
weed killer flat car
to be renumbered from OSM-4
weed killer flat car
to be renumbered from 117534

From photos, we can see that Sou 991497 was paired with Sou 991498, …497 being the lead car doing the spraying (an engine pushed the outfit) and …498 having a pump to bring the spray mix out of specially equipped tank cars and pass it to 991497. That appears to agree with the renumbering showing 991497 renumbered from OSM-4 (a modified car) and 991498 renumbered from 117534, a standard flat car.

There is no documentation of what “OSM” refers to but it may be “oil spraying machine”. In the 50s and 60s, the Southern sprayed oil on bridges thinking it retarded rust. Other than maybe accumulating dirt that attracted more water, the railroad stopped using it.

Shown only as “T-413” on captions from the SRHA Ben Roberts collection, the two attached photos are of a 1920s era weed burner. (The “T” prefix does not tell us much, that refers to a “tool” car that can be about anything.)


PS The January SRHA archives work session is this coming weekend. If the weather permits, Norfolk Southern office car OC-8 (Sou 5) will be set on its trucks from its highway mover (along Holtzsclaw Ave beside NS) and moved to the East Chattanooga shop on Wednesday. (It MAY be enroute on the Interstates from Madison, Ill via Nashville now.)

<Sou T-413 on weed burner train circa 1920s_2.jpeg>

<Sou T-413 on weed burner train circa 1920s_5.jpeg>

On Jan 9, 2020, at 3:44 PM, Alexander Smart <agfsmart@...> wrote:

Begin forwarded message:

From: "agfsmart via Groups.Io" <agfsmart@...>
Date: 27 November 2019 at 23:48:40 GMT
To: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io
Subject: [SouthernRailway] Southern weed spraying trains in 1960s
Reply-To: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io


I model Southern outdoors in 1/29 scale and indoors in HO, in Oban, Scotland.
I need more information, photos and possibly diagrams of the consist of these trains.
I checked Ralph Ward’s Southern Railway Pictorial which shows such a train at Asheville in July 1973: CNO&TP F7 6119, caboose X636, UTLX tank car 39918 and 2 special sprayer cars including 991495.
I have in 1/29 an F3, caboose and tank car but need to adapt and detail a couple of flatcars to the sprayer car specifics. 
This would make a very unusual and striking extra on my garden railroad!
If anyone has more information, particularly photos or diagrams of these cars, I would be very grateful.

Kind regards

Sandy Smart

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