Fairmont railroad speeder on the Georgetown Loop Railroad

 A railroad speeder is a small maintenance of way (MoW) vehicle that is used by track crews and inspectors to quickly move along railroad tracks. The speeder has been largely replaced by high rail vehicles. However, some smaller railroad operations, such as the Georgetown Loop Railroad (GLRR) still use them. Even railroad hobbyists collect and restore (external link) them for operation.

Morning track inspection

While driving east on I-70 toward Georgetown, Colorado, my wife and I stopped to take in the view from the Georgetown Overlook Pull-out. As we took in the view of the Rockey Mountains GLRR's MoW speeder came around the loop to the southwest of Devil's Gate Station. Before the day's train excursions, track inspection had to being done.

GLRR's speeder pushes a trailer car around the loop located to the southwest of Devil's Gate
GLRR's speeder pushes a trailer car around the loop located to the southwest of Devil's Gate.

Fairmont railroad speeder

According to the GLRR's website, the speeder is a Fairmont A4 model, and it originally operated on the Canadian National (CN) Railway as number 19174. The railcar speeder was built by Fairmont Railway Motors (FRM) of Fairmont, Minnesota. FRM was founded in 1909. The A4 is a general-purpose MoW car and can hold four people.

GLRR's Fairmont speeder crosses over the Devil's Gate Bridge
GLRR's Fairmont speeder crosses over the Devil's Gate Bridge.

While slower than a train, railcar speeders, often called gang cars, allowed MoW crews to move across a railroad much faster than walking or driving via roads. Thus, the name speeder came to be used. Today, the railcar speed has been superseded by what is commonly referred to as hi-rail trucks. These are pickup trucks or heavy-duty trucks modified with train wheels to move MoW crews along a railroad line.

A hi-rail pickup truck is eastbound on the North Runner at DeWitt Yard
A hi-rail pickup truck is eastbound on the North Runner at DeWitt Yard.

  • Photographs one and two, taken on September 5, 2013, at Georgetown, Colorado.
  • Photograph three, taken on May 7, 2022, at Minoa, New York.

Comments

  1. Great shots! We have a speeder. I forget the model number but it's an old Milwaukee Road Fairmont. It's small and open. Runs but needs a bunch of cosmetic work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you have track on your land to run it around on? I rode on some many years ago in Illinois. It was a lot of fun.

      Delete

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