Anchor Hocking Glass Museum

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Staying "above ground" and "vertical" one day at a time!


2005 Harley Springer Softail


I grew up in Connecticut until I moved to Iowa to attend Iowa State University where I earned a Bachelor's Degree in Biology. I taught high school science for three years in Iowa before becoming a full-time beekeeper. After running 1200 hives of honeybees in southwestern Iowa for several years, I entered the Air Force and received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in 1980. I spent the next 28 years serving in the military as an officer and civil servant. On November 9, 2012, I decided to finally retire and start working to obtain the necessary funding to expand the museum.

I have been a "collector" since early childhood. This passion has grown and expanded through the years. I initially collected railroad tie date nails, a collection that now exceeds 25,000 nails dating from 1900 to 1980. I has also managed to amass over 4,000 bank notes from over 200 currency-issuing authorities worldwide. Eventually, I expanded my expertise by collecting marbles, lithographs and engravings, oil paintings, handmade bottles, antique Harley-Davidson motorcycles and spark plugs. My personal collection of Anchor Hocking items presently exceeds 15,000 pieces of glass, over 400 boxed sets, 75 glass mold sets, 250 wooden patterns, 500 blueprints, 25,000 pages of glass advertisements, and 500+ catalogs. The entire collection is now on display in the Anchor Hocking Glassware Museum in San Antonio, Texas. The museum will not have regular hours so the collection will be available only when the author is home.

Now that I have 19 motorcars and a hydraulic crane, I built a facility to protect the cars. I recently installed a 14,000 lb. capacity car lift so that motorcar maintenace would be much easier.

With 19 motorcars, I have purchased numerous new old stock Fairmont motocar parts that I needed to store, so I enlarged and enclosed the west side of the carport.

I was lucky to find original Fairmont motorcar parts which included new roofs (complete and frames only for M-9, M-19, MT-14, and A-cars), windshield side mounting brackets, 15 pairs of new aluminum lifting arms, front and back panels, new windshields in the original crates, Fairmont sound absorbing sheets, and Onan starters.

On subsequent trips, I was able to purchase four complete sets of cast steel wheels and thousands of Fairmont parts that came directly from the company's warehouse. The parts included aluminum side panels for the M-19, M-14, S-2 motorcars, roof ends needed to make new roofs, and a myriad of structural rails and supports.

On another trip to Granite City I found more heavy metal red fussee/torpedo boxes, countless drive, idler and rear sprockets for single and double rowed chain drives, 3 new transmissions, and buckets of transmission gears and assorted parts (washers, shims, bushings, shifter forks and shifter rods). I had to modify my trailer to haul the myriad of parts.

I think I have purchased the majority of the motorcar parts I need from Brown's in Granite City, IL. On this last trip I found 50 rear access boxes for MT-14M motorcars, 14 NOS transmission cases, NOS bell housings for CCKB and B48G engines, assorted frame rails, and windshield side panels for MT-19s, MT-14s and S-2s.

On my 24th trip to Brown's I purchased many of the popper parts I passed on before. Here are some of the front and rear pulleys that I acquired. I also got the idler pulleys and brackets and large piston rods, piston pins and rod bearings.

Carport Expansion

Due to the increase in my parts inventory, I am going to expand the east side of my maintenance area to accomodate the additional parts. I already ordered some of the support beams, plywood and rebar for the project. I dug the holes to secure the posts before the concrete slab is poured.

Once the forms were up and the rebar installed, a contractor poured the thick concrete slab. While I am at Brown's getting another motorcar and more parts, the concrete will cure and harden. Upon my return, the construction of the roof, walls and storage shelves will commense.

The expansion is progressing well. Three walls are up and the roof is on. Now I just have to shingle the roof, add insulation and siding to the walls, and install the end wall. I purchased the materials for the shelves and will complete them shortly. Once all the parts are organized, I can continue the restoration of several motorcars.

The roof is finally done and the shelves have been installed. Now I am busy organizing the parts so I can create a database and price list for the parts I plan to sell. Some items, such as the brake rods, were difficult to put on shelves, so I hung them in brackets on the wall. I have purchased so many parts that I had to start stacking them on some motorcars, even motorcars I restored and have yet to run on the rails. In July 2019 I built a second set of shelves for small parts and a large rack for heavy A-car longitudinal channel beams.

The vinyl siding done, the storage shelves have been completed and almost all the parts and motorcars have been purchased from Brown's Railroad Equipment in Granite City, IL. Overall, I spent over $85,000 at Brown's buying 9 motorcars and the majority of their NOS Fairmont motorcar parts. Generally, if I found a part at Brown's, I bought all of the stock available since most of the parts are no longer produced and not available anywhere else. I was also lucky to purchase heavy steel storage racks after the auction.

Motorcar Storage Track

Due to the large number of motorcars that I have accumulated over the last five years I have run out of room. I decided to construct a storage track in the lot where the majority of the motorcars and all the parts are located. The large platform will be used to support a lift for removing heavy items from motorcars undergoing restoration. It may also be used for a place to erect a paint booth.

I am now modifying the fence to install a gate. The first step is to install the posts which were held in place while the concrete hardens. with the concrete hardened, I put in the pressure treated stringers and cedar face boards. The final step is to install a gate and remove the old fence over the tracks.

Because I have to work alone, I had to prop up the gate while the hinges and cover boards were installed. Once that was done I put in a suspension chain to support the excessive weight of the gate. With the gate finally done, I started to move motorcars onto the storage track.

The deck around the rails is so handy that I decided to extended its length. I laid the new wood out in the sun so the pressure treated lumber would dry out.

2019 Motorcar Excursions

Bluebonnet Run - Llano, TX (completed)

Farmrail System - Clinton, OK (completed)

Central Montana Railroad - Denton, MT (completed)

Ontario Northland Railroad - North Bay, Ontario (completed)

Farmrail System - Clinton, OK

The Farmrail System run was a "mixed bag" of weather. The first day was cold, rainy and windy. The temperatures hovered around 40 degrees with a 40 mph wind out of the north with heavy rain. Some of the participants decided not to ride on the run after hearing the weather forecast. Seven individuals braved the first day, but only five operators ran the second. The second day was perfect; clear skies, warm temperatures and a slight wind. Combine the weather with the excellent track conditions, friendly Farmrail staff, well organized excursion, and low cost for a run almost 300 miles in length and you have one of the best motorcar excursion values in the United States.

Central Montana Railroad - Denton, MT

According to the Excursion Coordinator, this is the 25th year motorcars have run on the Central Montana Railroad. After meeting with the General Manager we headed out on several trips across the line. The railroad is noted for four extremely long, high bridges and a 2,000 foot long tunnel. The well maintained track took us across the wide open Montana plains. The weather was perfect, the excursion well organized and the railroad staff motorcar friendly.

Ontario Northland Railroad, North Bay, Ontario, Canada

On the excursion we were accompanied by several railroad officials. They indicated that the railroad had received several million dollars for track improvements. The railroad had replaced thousands of ties, installed new welded rail and tie plates, and totally upgraded the numerous bridges on the line.

Along the line were countless signals; however, because of the maintenance costs they were no longer used. There were many unusual sights along the route. The sagging wooden bridge just north of the Cobalt railroad station was one of the most unique sights. The well preserved steam engine was from the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railroad.

We traveled by numerous lakes and bogs, over countless streams and rivers, through large rock cuts, and passed many unique stations.

No matter where we stopped, the motorcars attracted crouds of curious onlookers.

2018 Motorcar Excursions

Montana Tour

The Montana Tour covered three railroads throughout Montana. The weather for this year's excursion was perfect. Sunny skies and warm temperatures were the norm. The excursions were well organized with very few breakdowns and no accidents.

Central Montana Railroad - Denton, Montana

Montana Rail Link - Whitehall, Montana

Mission Mountain Railroad - Fortine, Montana

San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad - Alamosa, Colorado

This was the first excursion over LaVeta Pass after the devastating forest fires. The damage from the fires was horrendous!!! Before the excursion, there was a dedication ceremony for an engine decorated with the Adams State University logo and paint scheme. Since the railroad had cars stored in all the wyes, I had to drive my A-4D backwards for about 80 miles. The excursion was held in conjunction with a concert at the newly refurbished concert stage in LaVeta Pass. After the concert, we followed the concert train back to Alamosa. The railroad maintenance personnel was so impressed with the performance of my Isuzu diesel powered A-4D that they tried to buy if from me for their use.

West Virginia Central Railroad - Elkins, West Virginia

This was one excursion for the record books. On the trip to Elkins, approximately 1600 miles, I drove through the torrential rains of the hurricance that went throught the Florida panhandle. Then it rained for most of the excursion and on the way home, I drove though rain for over 1200 miles. To make matters worse, it rained for the next week in Texas. The weather was cold and it even snowed at the higher elevations of Cheat Mountain. I had passengers with me both days, one person from Pennsylvania and the other from New York. Unfortunately, the fall colors were just starting to appear. This was my fourth time on this run and like the others, it was well organized and executed!

2017 Motorcar Excursions

Heart of Georgia Railroad - Pitts, Georgia

This was the last run on the Heart of Georgia Railroad. The railroad was sold and the new owners are not "motorcar friendly". The run began in the "metropolis" of Pitts, Georgia and ran through several swamps, over Lake Blackshear, and across three diamonds with other railroads. On the west end of the run we ended up in Plains, Georgia, where President Jimmy Carter lived. We rode through endless groves of pecan trees and through some extremely old highway overpasses. The two-day run covered approximately 260 miles.

SPECIAL NOTE: This was the last motorcar run on the Heart of Georgia Railroad. The line was purchased by the Genesee and Wyoming Railroad, a railroad that is definitely not "motorcar friendly". As the G & W continues to gobble up small lines all over the United States, availability of railroads for motorcar excursion diminishes significantly.

San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad - Alamosa, Colorado

This was the third time I had attended the LaVeta Pass run. The Friday seton was marked with thunderstorms, lightning and a 30-minute downpour. The first day we went to Antonito and saw the largest bridge on the railroad. Sunday we headed up and over LaVeta Pass (9400 Feet) to the town of LaVeta. We stopped at Fir and waited for the passenger to pass. The railroad was surrounded by numerous snow covered peaks. The railroad line had many unusual rock formations, deep ravines, two tunnels, sharp curves and steep grades. Overall, the run is one of the best in the United States and certainly tests the performance of all motorcars.

West Virginia Central - Elkins, West Virginia

The last motorcar run for the 2017 season proved to fantastic. While I normally run the excursion in the fall, conflicts with other activities required that I do the summer run. There was plenty of wildlife to see and the weather was gorgeous! We managed to run 200 miles! What a perfect way to end a successful motorcar season!


2016 Motorcar Excursion History

Camas Prairie Railroad - Lewiston, Idaho

Idaho and Washington provided some outstanding scenery on two divisions of the former Camas Prairie Railroad. The only sources of revenue on the Bountiful Grain and Craig Mountatin Railroad have been sold and will be closed soon. With all sources of revenue gone, the line will be used for car storage. This was probably the last run on the line for the forseeable future.

Bountiful Grain & Craig Mountain Railroad

Great Northwestern Railroad

Montana Tour - Montana Rail Link

Dixon and Whitehall, Montana

This tour involved motorcar runs on several divisions of the Montana Rail Link and Central Montana Railroads. The Montana Rail Link lines were active with numerous 100+ car trains. On several ocassions we had to take a siding to allow trains to pass. We crossed the 800 ft. long, 226 ft. high Marent Gulch Viaduct and tranversed a 2.2% grade after departing Dixon. From Whitehall we went climbed the grade to Sappington. On the run we were greeted by a herd of 8 wild horses which ran at full speed towards the motorcars. The horses ran up the embankment and across the tracks directly in front of my motorcar. I came to an emergency stop just as all 8 horses momentarily hesitated on the tracks directly in front of me. One large horse actually rubbed the front of my motorcar during the incident. I am extremely thankful I was able to completely stop before I hit the horses! The weather was perfect and the scenery gorgeous. On the Central Montana Railroad we were able to traverse all four large trestles on the line. Overall, it was a superb motorcar tour.

Montana Tour - Central Montana Railroad

Denton, Montana

Providence & Worcester Railroad - Worcester, Massachusetts

This was the first excursion on this railroad. The two-day excursion took us through Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. The area was the former center of the knitting industry in the United States. Each town had one or more large mills, a water supply to run the mills, and rows of mill-owned worker houses. Most of the mills were built in the late 1800s, with many converted into apartments after the industry folded. The route towards Providence Rhode Island was originally two tracks, but one track was removed when passenger service ceased. Another unique part of this excursion was the overnight parking space for the motorcars. To ensure the motorcars were protected, the railroad graciously let us put the motorcars in the engine shop overnight. On the first day we did encounter an hour delay when a large clump of trees fell across the tracks. Luckily, two people had chainsaws and after an hour of cutting, the trees were removed. Notice the large group of people directing the efforts of the few who were actually doing all the work. Looks like a state or federal work crew in "action".

SPECIAL NOTE: This was the first and last motorcar run on the Providence and Worcester Railroad. The line was purchased by the Genesee and Wyoming Railroad, a railroad that is definitely not "motorcar friendly". As the G & W continues to gobble up small lines all over the United States, availability of railroads for motorcar excursion diminishes significantly.

West Virginia Central - Elkins, West Virginia

Railroad Partners Incorporated

I first rode a motorcar during a work session of the Railroad Partners Incorporated group. That first ride sparked my interested in the hobby while bringing back fond memories of riding the New Haven Railroad freight train that came through Manchester, Connecticut. As a member of RPI, I went on numerous excursions and work sessions that are not documented on the RPI website. In an effort to provide the members with historical and current information, I am including photos on my website.

My mentoring run was on an excursion which traversed the long bridge at Kingsland, Texas.

The Llano Branch

During one of the work sessions, sections of rail were torn out leaving the motorcars unable to reach Llano. After several months, the railroad finally decided to fix the crossing and return the line to motorcar operation.

The wye in Llano needs constant attention to make it functional. These volunteers were busy cutting grass in 2014.

The motorcar operators rode the Llano line during an excursion in 2014. After crossing the bridge over Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, they stopped in Kingsland for lunch.

One of the work sessions in 2017 addressed some of the overhanging limbs and vines on the line. A custom made platform was mounted on a push cart so volunteers could reach overhead limbs and vines with ease.

A few volunteers showed up for the work session in March 2018.

During the March 2018 work session, we were surprised to see cars stored at a point just east of our leased trackage. The railroad had also cleared the brush along the right of way and totally rebuilt one of the bridges west of the Scobey Spur switch. Days after the work session, the railroad moved cars west into our leased trackage. Because we can't reach the road crossing at the end of our leased trackage, we are forced to turn around in Kingsland. The cars were removed before the 2019 Bluebonnet Run so we could reach our motorcar turn around point.

During the fall 2018 rains, the Llano River flooded and severely undercut some of the roadbed on the line. This made traversing the line rather precarious. On March 23, 2019 RPI personnel had a work session to assess the condition of the line prior to the Bluebonnet Run the following weekend. The river undercut the roadbed for approximately 100 yards. To make this section safe, we used a jack to lift the rails while large rocks were stacked under the ties to provide some needed stability. In the future, RPI personnel will insert railroad ties longitudinally under the track to provide a more permanent foundation for the rails.

The McDade Branch

The McDade branch hadn't seen train traffic in many years. It took several months to clear the trees, vines and brush from the tracks.

Some of the volunteers who donated many hours and funds to clear the line for motorcar travel.

Track work on the line included replacing many of the ties, installing new ballast, replacing numerous sections of rail, and using a laser guilded machine to level the track. In many places, over 95% of the ties had been replaced.

RPI Sponsored Excursions

Bluebonnet Run - Llano, Texas - 2019

The weather for the run was rather gloomy, cold, overcast, and windy. We headed east on the Llano branch after the safety meeting and traveled along the Llano River. We could see all the debris from the recent floods that had undercut some of the tracks. Of the many bridges along the line, the long bridge at Kingsland is always awesome.

The wild flowers were spectacular for this year's Bluebonnet Run. Many of the operators were so overwhelmed with the flowers that they wanted to get "up close and personal" with the abundance of color.

During the run we ate lunch at the new Wakepoint facility in Kingsland. The weather was rather cool, but everyone enjoyed the fantastic food and great camaraderie of the event. In the afternoon the weather warmed up slightly and the camera shutters were clicking everywhere at all the photo stops..

Bluebonnet Run - Llano, Texas - 2016

The first excursion of 2016 was the Bluebonnet Run on the former Southern Pacific line running east from Llano Texas. The was the test run for the diesel powered car (former Ontario Northland) that I just finished overhauling. Since the motorcar ran well with no problems, it will be taken to the Heart of Georgia excursion in Pitts, Georgia next. During the Bluebonnet Run we encountered rain, high weeds, clogged brake rigging and a multitude of gorgeous wildflowers.

Heart of Texas Railroad - San Saba, Texas - 2015

Heart of Texas Railroad - San Saba, Texas - 2016

The Heart of Texas Railroad from Brady to Lometa, Texas, was recently sold and the new owners are not "motorcar friendly". The run in April 2016 will probably be the last time the line will see motorcar traffic in the forseeable future. The line was noted for its beautiful scenery, multiple long bridges, and welded rail. The highlight of the run was the photo stop on the newly constructed 1,000 foot long, high bridge over the Colorado river. The original wooden bridge had collapsed after a horrific fire.

Border Pacific Railroad - Rio Grande City, TX - 2014

On our run of the Border Pacific Railroad we were confronted with a cut of cars left on the mailine the previous evening. This prevented us from reaching the west end of the railroad. The next day, with the cars removed, we continued west and stopped just before reaching Rio Grande City to get lunch at a local Mexican restaurant.

Texas State Railroad - Palestine, TX - 2016

The Texas State Railroad provides motorcar operators with the unique experience of operating on the same line at the same time with two steam powered passenger trains. Motorcars traversed 25 miles of well manicured right of way in Texas.

The Motorcar Fleet

Fairmont A-4D (3-Cylinder Lister-Petter Diesel)

The A-4D was the first motorcar that I purchased. The car had been overhauled by the previous owner so the only improvements I made was to add an intercom system and new console. Eventually the pedestal seats from my Tomah Cab car were added to this car when the suspension system was installed in the other car. This year I purchased a set of cast steel wheels and the original heater. This spring I installed a new clutch, cast steel wheels, new radiator vibration isolation mounts, a new radiator core and rebuilt the original heater with a new core and fan motor.

Fairmont A-4D (2-Cylinder Mitsubishi Diesel)

The motorcar was in really rough shape when I brought it back from Florida. I had originally purchased the motorcar for the diesel engine only; however, when I got it home I decided it would be a real challenge to restore the motorcar to running condition.

The A-5E restoration project is well underway. The chassis has been cleaned, straightened, and repainted. All the bearings in the transmission and rear end have been replaced. The radiator fan, fan belt, clutch, and alternator are new. The old wheels were discarded and new wheels installed along with new bonded brake shoes. The radiator core was replaced and the inlet and outlet were moved to match the engines specifications. The new decking, fuel system and wiring completed the restoration. Eventually, I replaced the engine injectors and injector lines, and upgraded the motorcar with new cast steel wheels.

Fairmont MT-14L Standard Gauge (Kubota Z-600 Diesel)

The Ontario Northland motorcar was in sad shape when it was purchased. The wiring was riddled with splices and bad connections. The entire inner surface had been sprayed with glue and covered with hard rubber matting. The brakes were bad, the turntable did not have an alarm, the fire extinguisher was empty although the gauge showed it was full, it had the wrong front axle improperly adjusted, and the fluids and filters hadn't seen attention for a long time.

The Ontario Northland motorcar was totally upgraded with all new wiring, completely new fuel system, new center console, new intercom system, new bonded brakes, new aluminum lift handles, four new wheels, new front axle and bearings, and a new paint scheme. I took this motorcar on my runs this year in Texas, Georgia, Washington, Idaho, and Montana where it performed flawlessly. After an excursion in Colorado in 2017, I replaced the engine injectors and injector lines to improve performance.

Fairmont MT-14L Standard Gauge (Kubota Z-600 Diesel)

This car is an unrestored example of an Ontario Northland MT-14L with the Kubota Z-600 diesel. I really didn't need another motorcar but I couldn't resist buying a car just as it came from the railroad. This will join my two other ONR cars with Kubota diesels once the winter ends and the snow melts.

The motorcar was tricky to load. We were on a busy highway and on a blind curve. I had to back into a ditch and between a tree and large stone pillar. Luckily, I was able to line the trailer up with the motorcar. The 9,000 pound winch easily pulled the car onto the trailer. The all that was left was the 2,162 mile drive home.

Fairmont MT-14L Tomah Cab (Onan Engine)

This car was modified by the Tomah Car Shops of the Milwaukee Railroad after it was purchased from Fairmont. The motorcar was overhauled and fitted with a new suspension system, four new wheels, new bonded brakes, stainless steel six gallon gas tank, new seats, new control console, new floor mats, and a 110 watt radio. In 2017 I installed a pair of Pyle National miniature caboose marker lights to the rear of the motorcar.

Fairmont MT-14L Narrow Gauge (Onan Engine)

This motorcar was originally sold to the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad in 1975. It was subquently converted to narrow gauge several years later. In the coming months the original gasoline powered Onan engine will be replaced with a brand new Kubota diesel; thereby eliminating the problems associated with running gasoline engines at high altitudes. I have a setup for a hydrostatic drive but I have decided to replace this drive with an Onan Manual transmission. I recently received the clutch adapter and bellhouse ring for the final conversion.

Fairmont MT-14 (Kubota Z-600 Diesel - Hydrostatic Drive)

This motorcar has a Kubota diesel but the drive is fluid (hydrostatic). Not many of these cars were produced and information about the drive system is very limited. I bought the motorcar for the diesel engine; however, my plans have changed and it will be my next restoration project.

The original cab was removed, cut up and land-filled. The deck was stripped and repainted. The control console was repainted and fitted with new switches and gauges. The motorcar contains a myriad of hydraulic lines that makes restoration a real challenge.

The center wood console was made from solid red oak and red oak 3/4" veneered plywood. The wood was assembled with stainless steel screws and then stained and coated with outdoor polyurethane. The front of the motorcar was assembled from new old stock Fairmont parts which will be disassembled. painted and then reassembled.

The fuel tank had to be mounted near the front of the motorcar because there was no room under the console at the back of the motorcar once the battery box was installed. The oil cooler was mounted in front of the radiator.

Fairmont A-4 (2-Cylinder Mitsubishi Diesel)

This motorcar was purchased as a standby only. It has a Mitsubishi 21.5 horsepower S2E2 diesel engine like the A-5E shown earlier. The cab has been fitted with a massive structural support that allowed the railroad to lift the motorcar with a crane. Fold down footrests were utilized to increase the crew comfort and capacity of the motorcar. The motorcar weighs 2800 pounds.

Fairmont A-4 (2-Cylinder Mitsubishi Diesel)

This motorcar was purchased as a standby only. It has a Mitsubishi 21.5 horsepower S2E2 diesel engine like other Canadian Pacific motorcars. We had to use a crane to extract the car from a closely packed line of motorcars in storage. It was loaded on my trailer with four A-4E motorcar roof frames, cast steel wheels, and two M-19 roofs still in the original Fairmont wooden crates.

Although this motorcar was purchased as a standby only, when it was moved to the storage track I started its restoration. I spent the first day removing the majority of the old wood, wiring, and lighting. My next task will be removing the pressed wheels and replacing them with cast steel wheels.

Like most restorations I do, I removed the radiator to have it recored. The alternator was rebuilt and a new cooling fan and fan belt are installed.

I removed the rearend cover, transmission, and clutch access cover and found the the parts were practically new with no corrosion or damage.

Fairmont A-4 (3-Cylinder Mitsubishi Diesel)

This motorcar has a Mitsubishi 33 horsepower S3E2 diesel engine. The cab has been fitted with a massive structural support that allowed the railroad to lift the motorcar with a crane. Unlike the 2-cylinder version shown earlier, this car is all steel and weighs 3200 pounds.

I had not planned on restoring this motorcar, but since I completed my other restorations I began to restore this car. I had the radiator recored, changed all the fuel, air and oil filters, and started to remove all the paint. The engine started quickly even after nine years of sitting out in the weather. I recently replaced the stamped wheels with new cast steel wheels and totally rebuilt all the braking system with new parts. Luckily, the cab is all steel so I won't have to do much work to get it ready for painting.

Fairmont A-4 (4-Cylinder Ford Engine)

This is an A-4D that was used on the Alaska Railroad. It is powered by a Ford 4-cylinder engine. It has not been modified since it was purchased from the railroad. The motorcar has cast steel wheels, 4-wheel chain drive and rail sweeps that are made of heavy steel blades for snow removal.

We had to use a crane to lift the motorcar from a closely packed line of cars and place it on my trailer. Both the rear end and transmission could not be actuated, so rolling the motorcar off the trailer in Texas was impossible. I had to take the top off the transmission (four speed with a reverse) and carefully unlock the shifting mechanism. I also cut the old floor out to access the rear end. After several hours of work, both the transmission and reversing rear end were in perfect working order and the unloading could commense.

The rear end and universal joint were stripped and repainted. All the wheel bearings were repacked and the oil in the differential changed. Most of the chassis has been disassembled. The radiator has been recored, the alternator has been rebuilt and a new starter, muffler, and drive chain installed. Luckily, I kept my motorcycle lift; it makes the removal and replacement of the heavy cast steel wheels manageable. Always replace all filters. Over time serious deterioration may have occurred. The motorcar is powered with a Ford 4-cylinder 134 CID industrial engine.

Fairmont A-4 (4-Cylinder Ford Engine)

I originally tried to purchase the cast steel wheels off this Alaska Railroad A-4D motorcar; however, the seller said I could have the entire car for the price of the wheels alone. This purchase was a "no brainer". I received a complete car with the Ford 4-cylinder industrial engine, excellent transmission with a reverse gear, a perfect rear end and numerous good body parts.

On my birthday, I picked up the A-4 in Granite City, IL and transported the motorcar back to Texas.

Fairmont A-4E (4-Cylinder Ford Engine)

While I was in Granite City, I purchased this motorcar for two reasons. First, the car was basically complete and second, it was equipped with the mounting brackets for a Fairmont turntable which I had purchased two years ago and never installed in any of my motorcars. I bought the turntable for my A-4D with the Lister-Petter diesel engine, but it was too dificult to make all the brackets necessary to mount the unit. This motorcar is also unique because the chain for the four-wheel drive is exterior to the wheels. The brakes are foot actuated not hand actuated and it is equipped with a parking brake like an automobile. The purchase also included brand new side and end panels.

I recently found and purchased the entire side chain drive and cover for an A-4E motorcar. The drive is rather ugly, but my goal in restoring any motorcar is to keep the car in its original configuration. I was also able to find a complete original Fairmont turntable made specifically for the A-4E cars. I will have the hydraulic rams overhauled before I install the turntable. The other challenge was finding a company that could manufacture new drive sprockets to fit on the wheel pedestals. Froedge Machine & Supply Company in Tompkinsville, Kentucky was able to machine the necessary sprockets.

Fairmont A-6 (6-Cylinder Ford Engine)

I resisted the temptation and bought this Fairmont A-6 which originally came from the Alaska Railroad. The motorcar is powered by a Ford inline six cylinder engine and rides on 20 inch cast steel wheels. During the restoration I will remove and discard the plywood doors and sides made by the railroad. I was able to find a new gas tank, four new shock absorbers, four new axle boxes with installed bearings, and new body panels for the A-6 in the motorcar parts I purchased from Brown Railroad Equipment Company in Granite City, IL.

I recently drove to Eugene, Oregon to pick up an original Fairmont turntable made specifically for the A-6F motorcar.

Fairmont A-4D (4-Cylinder Isuzu Diesel)

I bought this A-4D motorcar at the Brown Rail auction on 22 March 2018. The car is powered by a 4-cylinder Isuzu diesel engine. This is one of the few cars that I don't have to totally restore before it hits the rails.

The Isuzu motorcar needed little work to make it completely NARCOA compliant. I had the alternator rebuilt, changed all the air, fuel and oil filters, installed a new fan belt and fuel lines, sanded all the decking to ensure the wood was in good condition, and bought 1/2" aircraft grade aluminum diamond plate for the center floor areas. I still need to upgrade the lighting and straighten the four rail sweeps.

The radiator was removed to have a new copper core installed. While it was out I replaced the radiator mounts and all the radiator hoses. The front grate was also removed to straighten the bent frame. Four new tail/brake lights were installed and the rail sweeps completely rebuilt. The old rusted hardware was removed and renewed with stainless steel hardware. The required NARCOA tow bar was added to the front bumper.

The next part of the restoration is the replacement of the wood decking. Once the pieces are properly prepared, the wood will be stained and covered with polyurethane for weather resistence. A new 10-gallon stainless steel fuel tank will replace the original tank. The brake blocks looked good at a distance, but upon closer examination, were cracked and rotting. All the brake blocks were replaced when the cast steel wheels were installed.

Improved Brake Blocks for A-Cars

Over the years I have bought several sets of A-car brake blocks. I have been frustrated by the carriage bolts used to secure the hook assembly in the center of the block. The carriage bolt will turn in an old block or in a new block if you over tighten the nut and then try to loosen the nut. I recently ordered eight blocks from Thunderhill Services. When I expressed my frustration with the carriage bolts they modified the hole to accept a square headed bold. This bolt will not turn in the block. They also include square headed bolts to secure the brake shoe to the block. This was how Fairmont secured the brakes. Other manufactures put hex head bolts in the square holes. I have had several bolts rotate in the hole when trying to tighten or loosen the nuts. Thunderhill Services (found on the NARCOA site) also coats the blocks with polyurethane to protect the blocks from the elements. They are the best blocks I have found anywhere!

The motorcar has been totally restored and successfully tackled the 3% grades of LaVeta Pass (9400 Feet) in Colorado. The railroad maintenance personnel were so impressed with the performance of the motorcar that they tried for two days to purchase the car from me.

Fairmont MT-14L Tomah Cab (Onan Engine)

The MT-14L was originally restored for the owner of Brown Railroad Equipment Company of Granite City, IL. The restoration was performed by Steve Paluso, the "Michelango of Motorcar Restorations". The entire car was built with NOS Fairmont parts: new engine, transmission, hydraulic turntable, floor and tunnel panels, console, wheels, brakes, axles, gas tank, full vibration and sound isolation, and other assorted parts. Everything was powder coated in dark red, the owner's wife's favorite color. To ensure everything was operational, the motorcar was taken on a twenty mile break in run. That was the only time the car was ever operated. I had tried unsuccessfully on many earlier trips to Granity City to purchase the motorcar. With plenty of cash in hand, I was able to strike a deal for the car and bring it back to Texas.

As you can see the entire motorcar was built with NOS parts. I did have to relocate the rail sweeps, add an electric fuel pump, and add a tow bar to make the car NARCOA compliant.

Fairmont A-4 (4-Cylinder Waukeshaw Engine)

This motorcar was purchased as a source of parts only. I have no intention of restoring the car. Once the wood was removed, the roof and the rest of the motorcar was disassembled. The transmission and rear end were practically new, so they are going to be used to build another motorcar. The Waukashaw engine turns over and was sold and the structural steel beams were salvaged.

Fairmont A-4 (4-Cylinder Waukeshaw Engine)

Like the motorcar shown above, this motorcar was purchased as a source of parts only. I have no intention of restoring the car. The car's drive train is in great shape and the roof is salvageable. The A-4 was finally loaded and on its way to San Antonio.

The motorcar has undergone some disassembly. The Waukesha ICK engine was in excellent condition and turns over easily. The radiator was also in excellent condition. Both the engine and radiator will be sold. I plan to keep the transmission, rear end and use the frame to build a narrow gauge motorcar.

A-4 Narrow Gauge - (Diesel Engine)

I have decided to convert a couple of my motorcars to narrow gauge. I am going to use the chassis from the car above to begin the conversion. I have already had two sets of front and rear axles machined. I am using solid, one-piece front axles so I can make the motorcars four wheel drive. All the steel hardware is being replaced with stainless steel hardware.

Kalamazoo Motorcar (4-Cylinder Ford Flathead)

This was another motorcar that I purchased at the Brown Rail auction on 22 March 2018. It is powered by a Ford industrial flathead engine. The car has a unique drive system and both axles are secured to the frame with a single leaf spring. The axle blocks allow about 1.5 inches of independent vertical travel. The motorcar was parked at Brown's for about 20 years allowing a tree to grow up through the frame.

Recently I started to restore the Kalamazoo motorcar. The first task was to access the condition of the drivetrain. The rearend had massive ring gears. The entire unit had surface rust (easily removed) but nothing that would degrade its operation. I was surprised to find out that the main 3-speed transmission had curved teeth like the ring gears in the rear end and was syncromeshed.

Fairmont W64-A-1 Hydraulic Derrick (Wisconsin Engine)

I purchased a very rare, hydraulically-powered W64-A-1 derrick with a 13 foot boom from the Smythville Texas Railroad Museum. Between exposure to the elements and local vandals, the derrick was almost beyond restoration: however, the brakes have been replaced, there is new decking, all the boom cables were replaced, the Wisconsin 9 h.p. engine has been totally overhauled and new hydraulic lines purchased. I just have to add hydraulic oil and connect the gas tank and the project will be completed.

Fairmont Rail Cart (EJ & E Railroad)

I purchased this rail cart and two axles at an estate auction in Northern Missouri because they had cast steel wheels. The cart was extremely heavy so I removed the steel decking, winch, axle supports and wheels (about 650 pounds). I also repaired one end of the cart where it had been rammed and the steel structure distorted.

I replaced the cast steel wheels, painted the steel structure, replaced the steel decking with pressure treated lumber and fastened everything down with stainless steel hardware.

Future Motorcars


I purchased a very rare, brand new complete MT-19 enclosed cab that has never been on a motorcar. In the coming months I will locate a rolling chassis to complete the motorcar.

I purchased this ATSF for the rolling chassis for the motorcar cab shown above. In the coming months, when space is available, I will strip the motorcar down to the bare chassis and begin a complete restoration.

MT-14 M

I purchased a MT-14M motorcar in Granite City, Illinois in late 2016. We used a crane to lift the car from a line of motorcars and place it on my trailer. While the cab was incomplete, I was able to buy the needed replacement parts for most all the Fairmont motorcars. The B-48G engine was virtually new with the hone marks clearly visible in the cylinders. The chassis will need to be disassembled and the corroded components replaced. I already have new wheels, cylinder heads, rail sweeps, seat brackets, engine gauges, lights and other electrical components purchased. This project won't be started for about a year since I burried many of the car's walls and doors behind the myriad of motorcar parts I have.

New Car Fleet

Driving to distant motorcar runs is a breeze in my new Ford F-250 Super Duty truck. The diesel has outstanding horsepower, torque, comfort and economy. With a 15,000 lb. towing capacity, you hardly know you are towing even the heaviest motorcar.

Christmas came early this year with the purchase of a 2016 Ford Escape SE in burgundy red. This replaces my 1984 El Camino.

Retirement Activities

P-51 Mustang Ride

I decided to live each day like it was my last. With this in mind, I recently took an hour flight in the P-51 Mustang pictured here. The flight, costing $2200.00 for 30 minutes, consisted of 360 degree rolls, four-point rolls, flying inverted, flying in very close formation with another aircraft and the pinnacle of the flight was two simulated bombing and straffing runs over Calavaras and Braunig Lakes. The flight gave me a great appreciation for stamina and courage of the pilots who flew these fighters in WW II!!

B-29 Superfortress Ride

In early September I had a ride in the bombardier's position in the B-29 Fifi. The bombardier's position is the favorite position because it is in the nose of the aircraft just below and in the front of the pilot and copilot. The view was spectacular but watching the landing from this position had my heart racing! The $1450.00 cost of the flight was minor in comparision to the cost of operating this aircraft: $2,000,000.00 a year!

B-17 Flying Fortress Ride

In March 2019 I took a ride in the B-17 Flying Fortress. The highlight of the flight was looking out the top hatch while we were flying. I had to remove my hat and glasses so the 180 mph air stream didn't rip everything off. My next flight will be on the F-4 Phantom, hopefully later this year.

Model Railroading

During inclement weather, I can always continue my fascination with railroads by operating my HO model railroad (now under construction). The railroad is designed to represent the New Haven Railroad's mainline with overhead electrification.

2017 Cruises

Western Carribean

In February 2017 I took my second cruise to Mexico, Belize, and Honduras in the western Carribean. This cruise was taken aboard the Carnival Freedem. I visited the Mayan ruins in both Mexico and Belize. In Mahagony Bay Honduras I went snorkling and exploring the coral reefs in a one-person, self-propelled submersible. The highlight of the cruise was a guided tour of the ship available to only 32 passengers. We went through the laundry, food storage and preparation areas, morgue, brig, control room for all the ship's equipment (engines, generators, ballast and fuel tanks, heat exchangers, water treatment, etc.) and tour of the ship's bridge conducted by the ship captain.

Western Carribean and the Panama Canal

The 14-day cruise on the Carnival Freedom went to Jamaica, Aruba, Curacao, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and through the Panama Canal.

Mother Nature provided some spectacular sunrises, sunsets and rainbows.

The skylines of Aruba, Colombia and Costa Rica were completely different.

We were one of the first cruise ships to go through the new Panama Canal locks. A new bridge is being constructed to replace the ferry across the mouth of the canal.

During this cruise I ascended a 750 foot high series of waterfalls, rode a chairlift up a mountainside and rescued green sea turtles trapped under the sand at the protected nesting site.

I decided to indulge myself on the cruise and buy a Rolex watch as my Christmas present to myself. The watch has 54 diamonds around the edge of the 14K solid gold case and 10 diamonds marking the hour positions on the dial. The wrist band is stainless steel and solid 18K gold. Another item to cross off my "bucket list".

Since we didn't have pumpkins for Halloween, the ships crew carved watermelons.

During the cruise we were amazed at the talent of the individual pictured above in creating a host of balloon figures.

2018 Cruises

Western Carribean

There were many interesting things to look at on this cruise: lovely ladies playing the violins, marble floors throughout the ship and the culinary arts of the ship staff.

Many of the days on the cruise were marked with frequent storms and high winds. We were able to dock in Mexico and Jamaica; however, because of the high winds and rough seas, we did not go ashore at Grand Cayman.

The storms were everywhere, but they did provide some beautiful sunsets. The ship's staff had a display of their towel folding talents. The next day the pool was drained because the ship was rocking back and forth to such an extent that the water was sloshing out of the pool area.

Faithful Companions

Life is great when you are "owned" by a cat. This is Lovebug my faithful and loving companion who was rescued near Rosenberg Texas after being "dumped" by the side of the road by some thoughtless person.

Lovebug is enjoying life every chance she can! She spends the majority of her day sleeping.

Coyotes and wild hogs living in the area pose a serious threat to domestic animals, so Lovebug and Noel have an outdoor pen which they can access through a elavated tunnel from the porch. I had to install a custom made spiral ladder for Lovebug because of her advanced age (9 years old). Lovebug needed a companion so I adopted Noel from the Animal Defense League of Texas. Life has definitely changed with two cats!

Noel is a mighty hunter and often brings her trophies into the house. No matter where she is, Noel can always find a way to settle down for taking a nap.

Trouble With a Capital "T"

Early this summer a feral cat decided to have a litter of kittens in my Ontario Northland MT-14L motorcar. Originally, I only found four kittens. Several days later I found another kitten inside my drained pool. I put this kitten with the other four and continued to feed the mother so she would stay with the five kittens. One night she moved two kittens, then moved another the next morning. The second night she moved the forth kitten but she would not take the fifth kitten. I decided to bottle feed this kitten. I brought it to the vet to get the feeding bottle and formula and make sure the kitten was healthy. The kitten is so lovable and has plenty of personality. The other cats are aware of her existence but have ignored her for now. Life is certainly full of twists and turns!!

Moose cuddles up to his moose for comfort when she is in his travel box or relaxing in my master bathroom tub. Unlike some of the people I know, Moose appreciates my beard as a great spot to place her head for a quick nap!

Moose certainly has grown over the last couple of months! She continues to play "innocent" when she is on the dining room table playing with the Waterford crystal candlebra or checking out Noel's activities in the bedroom potty box.

Like most cats, Moose spends the majority of the day sleeping. How else can she get the energy to totally destroy my bathroom?

For some reason all three cats want to constantly lay in front of the computer to get some attention.

Moose can look so innocent and peaceful (when sleeping), yet once awake she can get into all sorts of trouble. SPECIAL NOTE: Even after three visits to the local vet, nobody suspected Moose was not a "dude". When Moose when into "heat" I took the cat back to the vet to verify her sex. Yes she is a female and will be spayed and front declawed this month. I sure thought vet students received anatomy lessons during their training, but evidently I was wrong.

Over the years, everybody has learned to tolerated each other and get along most of the time!

Noel loves to stick her head in my slippers and take a quick nap if she can't find a place on the furniture. Lovebug decides is time to take a nap after she is done inspecting my packing expertise in preparation for a motorcar excursion.

Trying to watch TV is always a challenge when the cats are in the house. Luckily, Moose can "chill out" by herself and not park herself on my chest like Lovebug.

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