The Turecamo Boys

Earlier this year, I was able to pickup a large group of original Winton (and some Cleveland) prints. One of the tugs there was prints of, is the Turecamo Boys. I remember seeing this photo several years ago when we were at the Cleveland Public Library going through bound volumes of Winton News.

Winton Engine Corp. Photo, Collection

Yes – that is a swastika you are seeing. More on that in a bit. The Turecamo Boys was designed by the Brown & Demarest Naval Architects of NY, and built by Rice Brothers Shipyard up in Maine. Well, as happenstance would have it I was also able to get an original copy of the Winton news featuring this tug! I will let the issue of Winton News fill in the details.

The tug was powered by a single direct reversing Winton 6-174A engine, introduced in 1931. The engine had a 15 1/2″ bore and 22″ stroke, making 600 horsepower. The engine was one of Winton’s more successful direct reversing models, and was used in several other tugs. A larger 8 cylinder model was offered, but not produced.

As for the swastika – Remember when this tug was built in 1936, the symbol had an entirely different meaning. The following newspaper article explains why Barney Turecamo used the symbol on his tugs – for luck, as suggested by the tugs designer, Merritt Demarest , a common use in pre-WWII days. Turecamo Article on Swastika Symbol

It turned out not only did I get the shot I recognized, but the other two photos in the Winton News as well.

Winton Engine Corp. Photo, Collection
Winton Engine Corp. Photo, Collection

Unfortunately, the Turecamo Boys did not fare well. Shortly after being requisitioned for the oncoming war, the tug would be sunk in the North Atlantic.

Sister tug Turecamo Girls had a slightly better fate. In 1945, Turecamo opted to repower the Girls with a 16-278A. At the same time, a brand new Turecamo Boys replacement was built by Jakobson Shipbuilding of Oyster Bay. The new Boys would be slightly smaller, at 80′ 4 1/2″, and powered by a smaller 8-278A engine. Merritt Demarest designed this new tug as well, which looked very much like the original Turecamo Boys.

The newly repowered Turecamo Girls. Frances Palmer Photo, David Boone collection

The Turecamo Girls would work for Turecamo until being sold foreign in 1965, with the “new” Turecamo Boys being sold off not long after. Merritt Demarest would continue to design tugs (including a number for Turecamo) until passing away in 1979 at the age of 82.

The “new” Turecamo Boys featured in the 4/1945 Diesel Times

I had posted the first photo of the tug in the facebook group, which led to a great discussion about the use of the swastikas’ by Turecamo. I was quite surprised when Robert Pacheco saved and colorized the photo! Turecamo used a wonderful wood grained steel paint job on their tugs, which Robert nailed.

Changing an EMD Power Assembly

A few weeks ago at work, we changed out a power assembly on one of our locomotives. I took the Go-Pro with me and set it up on time lapse to get some footage.

We only changed out a short pack – the head, liner and piston. The original carrier and connecting rod stayed. Check out the above video, it takes you thought almost the whole process other then setting the valves and injector at the end. Thanks to my friend Chris for putting my footage together into something presentable! Be sure to check out his YouTube page for some great midwestern railroading videos –

The Lackawanna Story – DL&W Fairbanks-Morse Train Masters

A few years ago, our local bookstore took in a large collection of railroad books. In rummaging, I stumbled upon an old Fairbanks-Morse promotional booklet promoting the Delaware Lackawanna & Western’s new FM H-24-66 Train Master locomotives, which were at that time the highest horsepower locomotives being offered. DL&W being a favorite railroad, of course I needed it!

So, I take the booklet up to the counter being it had no price on it.. and I inquire. “Oh, that’s..old, were gonna need to research this..”. In other words, you want a lot for it. I go back a few months later and sure enough, they wanted north of $200. Nope, not for a little 20 page promotional booklet!

Fast forward about 2 years ago I stumbled on a cheap copy on eBay, and wound up winning it for only like $25! So, here is a scan of “The Lackawanna Story”.

Said bookstore still has their copy of it, down to only $175 now!

Tug Profiles II – Thomas E. and William J. Moran

3rd in our series of Historic Boat Profiles – Links to the others will be on the bottom of this posting.

New York City is home to one of the most recognizable towing companies in the world – Moran Towing & Transportation.  Moran was founded back in 1860 by Michael Moran.  The company would become one of the largest tugboat firms on the east coast.   But, this is not a history of Moran Towing – for that I defect to the company history on Tugboatinformation:

In 1936, Moran was operating a fleet of around 40 tugboats, from small Canal tugs, to larger ocean going and everything in-between.   A new era opened in the fall of 1936 – The Marie S. Moran was launched.  She would become Moran’s very first diesel powered tug. 

Winton publicity photo of the brand new Marie S. Moran. Courtesy of the Dave Boone Collection.

The Marie would be powered by a single direct reversing Winton 6-164 engine, a huge 15”x22” engine making a mere 550HP at 275RPM.  The 89’ tug was designed by Edmund J. Moran himself, and built at Pennsylvania Shipyards in Beaumont, Texas.  The low profile tug was designed for use in the New York State Barge canal, composed of the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, Cayuga & Seneca canals, all of which required the low profile due to numerous low bridges and whatnot.  When Marie S. Moran was constructed, Diesel engines were still being “figured out” so to speak, and companies would tend to try different engines and combinations.  Like many tugs of the era, the Marie would be retrofitted with a retractable wheelhouse later in her life (more on this later), and the original Winton would be replaced with a more reliable 12-567 engine.  The tug was sold foreign in 1961.  Two more similar tugs would be built in 1937, the Eugenia M. Moran and Elizabeth W. Moran, powered by Alco-Sulzer engines. Both of these would also be sold foreign in 1950’s as well.

 Skip ahead just a few more years to 1938.  Electro-Motive, under GM introduced the new 567 engines, and Moran was looking for some more canal tugs, so the two would become one with the introduction of Thomas E. and William J. Moran.  A new relationship would be born as well, Moran Towing working with Tam’s Inc. and General Motors. 

The Thomas E. Moran on is on the slipways in Bay City, Michigan. It looks like both tugs were launched the same day! Click for larger. Courtesy of the Dave Boone Collection

The tugs would mark another milestone – breaking Tam’s, Inc. into the world of tugboats. While I do not know if they were the very first ones, they would be the ones that really set the pace. Tam’s was well versed in yacht design, as well as being a broker and insurance company. Working with Winton on yacht design would start the relationship with GM as well, being that GM now owned Winton. Beginning in 1938, and lasting for only about a year, General Motors marketed all three engine divisions (Winton {soon to become Cleveland}, EMC and Detroit) under the single “General Motors Diesel Engine Division”, even though the three companies were still operating individually.

The Thomas & William were featured in the 1940’s booklet “Diesel-Electric Vessels Powered by Cleveland Diesel”. Click for larger.
The brand new Thomas E. Moran on her sea trials, likely somewhere in Saginaw Bay. Click for larger. Courtesy of the Dave Boone Collection.

I was first introduced to the Thomas & William in detail when my partner in Cleveland research Jay Boggess showed me a scan of a GM booklet he had: “A New Conception of Diesel-Electric Drive”, which featured the two tugs in depth. Designed under Richard Cook at Tam’s, the tugs were 94′ 4 1/2″ long, with a 25′ beam. The all welded tugs were built in Bay City, Michigan at Defoe Boat & Motor Works. Diesel-Electric drive was not a new concept by any means, however using it with newer, medium speed engines was. Electro-Motive developed the new 567 engine in 1937 for railroad use, having learned from the lessons of the Winton 201A. However, interestingly enough, the first production 567 engines would be used in the Thomas and William, as quoted in EMD’s WWII era book “Diesel War Power”. The tugs used a pair of V8 567 engines, rated at 660HP at 750RPM each.

Photos of the engines from the “New Conception of Diesel-Electric Drive” booklet. Note how the engines do not look anything like the 567 we all know. While they did have a welded block, they did use more cast pieces in their construction, as well as individual covers for each power assembly. Click for larger.

Build sheet date for the engines. More on the name change shortly..

Thomas & William at home in the NYS Canal System. Click for larger. Courtesy of the Dave Boone Collection.

Electrically, the tugs used General Electric 400kW, 250 volt shunt wound main generators behind each of the 567’s, with belt driven 24kW exciter/shaft generators. General Electric also supplied the pair of 500HP propulsion motors. A common arrangement of the era was using two smaller motors, feeding into one reduction gear, supplied by Farrel-Birmingham. The arrangement was used on numerous fleet tugs throughout WWII. After the Thomas and William, Moran (along with James McWilliams Blue Line) would build several more tugs in 1939-1941 to virtually the same design, however they would be powered with single EMC 12-567 engines (Sagamore, Sheila Moran) and the last ones with Cleveland 12-278 engines (William J. Moran, Agnes A. Moran, Mary Moran, Sheila Moran), the later ones having a more normal, single level deckhouse (more on that later).

Farrel-Birmingham catalog pages showing the tugs. Click for larger.

Along with the 24kW shaft generators, the tugs each had a single Detroit 3-71, which drove a 30kW generator. The 71 was also a newly introduced engine in 1938. Click for larger.

A small booklet produced by GM featuring the new 567 engine. Ironically only the Thomas had the 567! Click for larger.

With World War II looming in the distance, the US Navy would requisition these tugs in 1940. I have long since been told that the Thomas and William were the prototype design for the YTB series that would be built in mass throughout the war. Part of me wonders if the Navy financed these in some way, with an agreement that they would be used during the war. But these details are likely lost to history. The Thomas would become the Namontack, originally classed as a Yard Net Tender (YN-46), Net Yender (YNT-614) and finally Yard Tug, Big (YTB-738). The William received the same treatment, and was named Wapasa, and also did time as a Yard Net Tender (YN-45), Net Yender (YNT-613) and finally Yard Tug, Big (YTB-737). After the war, the tugs would be returned (resold? I am not sure how those requisitions worked, if anyone knows, please drop me a line!) to Moran, however would be renamed. Originally the Thomas E. Moran, her new name was now the Harriet Moran. The William J. Moran became the Anne Moran.

The Anne Moran at home in the canal, made up in push gear with a grain barge (which looks to be an old motorship). The tugs had 4 control stations, the wheelhouse, the upper deck, the aft deck, and the engine room. Note the “box” on top. This was the upper wheelhouse to gain a little more height to see over the barge. The primitive wooden box was installed in the fall/winter and would fold up in inclement weather. Click for larger. Courtesy of the Dave Boone Collection.

After the war, Cleveland Diesel went heavy on marketing, producing numerous booklets and brochures. These are from the late 1940’s book “Commercial Vessels Powered by Cleveland Diesel”. Note that they used older photos of the Thomas and William, and airbrushed the original names out in favor of the new, post war renaming’s. Not only that, but they incorrectly spelled the one! An interesting feature of these tugs is the sliding heavy weather portholes, that would slide up the cover the large glass windows. Click for larger.

In 1956, Moran embarked on a modernization program for the canal tugs. The Harriet and Anne would both be repowered with single war surplus (from PCE vessels, unfortunately the records do not note which) Cleveland 1000HP 12-278A engines and Allis-Chalmers 814kW main generators, however the original propulsion motors were kept. Along with the repowering, the tugs received a new retractable wheelhouse. Introduced in 1950 by Lake Tankers Corp. on their tug Canal Cities, the retractable wheelhouse was a revolutionary advancement for working in the canal.  A large air or hydraulic cylinder raised and lowered the wheelhouse to see over the barge, but to “duck” when a bridge or other obstruction was approached.  Virtually all “modern” diesel canal tugs would be retrofitted with these by the mid 1950’s, with all new tugs being built with them from then on out. 

Now with her new retractable house, the Harriet Moran would still work the canal, but by the 1970’s was regulated to doing assist and barge work in the harbor. The Harriet and Anne would keep their stepped deckhouses, and sliding “portholes”, however the other Moran canal tugs mentioned above would get more modernized single level deckhouses, and square retractable wheelhouses. Note that the new wheelhouse fits inside the profile of the original one. Even the original Marie S. Moran of 1936 was retrofitted with one! Click for larger. Courtesy of the Dave Boone Collection.

Unfortunately, working in the canal with a retractable wheelhouse had its downfalls. You need to pay attention! (To quote Buford T. Justice in Smokey and the Bandit: “Duck, or you’re gonna be talkin’ out yo ass!”) The wheelhouses essentially floated in a pocket, with some very basic guiderails. So when the captain forgets to drop the wheelhouse, the bridge is usually going to win, as what happened in 1965 to the Anne. Numerous canal tugs were decapitated over the years, but because they were so simple, the dents were pounded out, wires rerun, and back off to the races they went. I spent a few years working on a canal tug, and its an all hands on deck operation spotting for obstructions, especially high tension wires at night. Click for larger. VDD collection.

Typically a “last stop” for tugs working for Moran was to be put on the garbage barge run before being retired. The Anne is moving one of the DSNY scows in 1970. Click for larger. Courtesy of the Dave Boone Collection.

Moran would sell both of the tugs to Eklof Transportation in 1975/6 with the Harriet becoming the Viking, and the Anne the Yankee. Eklof would use the tugs for moving oil barges around the harbor for the next 15 or so years. Unfortunately, the road would end here for the Yankee (William J. Moran) and was scrapped in 1993. Our story does not end here though. Click for larger. Courtesy of the Dave Boone Collection.

Now the McAllisters Sharon Elizabeth in Georgetown, SC. Click for larger. Photo courtesy of Franz A. von Riedel.

A small towing company, Georgetown Towing, based in Georgetown, South Carolina purchased the Viking, and named her as the Georgetown, doing ship and barge work in the area. McAllister Towing would purchase the company in 1999, and renamed the tug as the Sharon Elizabeth. Zenith Tugboat of Duluth, MN purchased the tug in 2005, and brought it up to the Great Lakes via the Erie Canal – right at home, 67 years after being built.

Now sporting Zenith’s stack colors, the Sharon Elizabeth is laying over in Troy, New York on her way to Duluth. Click for larger. Photo courtesy of Franz A. von Riedel.
Photo courtesy of Franz A. von Riedel.

Lets take a quick walk through the Sharon Elizabeth, starting in the stern. I always wondered the reasoning behind the stepped deckhouse design. Entering in from the door, you head down a few steps into the galley, complete with giant cast iron Webb diesel stove that every tug and ship of the era had. Click for larger. Photos courtesy of Franz A. von Riedel.

Canal tug wheelhouses are usually pretty spartan, simply because they lack any extra space. The Sharon’s wheelhouse had the typical Lakeshore Diesel-Electric control stands, and Benson electric steering, likely all installed during the 1950’s rebuild. Along the back wall is the running light panel, and the field amp/prop shaft RPM gauge and steering changeover switch. At some point in her life, Moran welded the sliding window portholes in a fixed position, and removed the tracks. It was not uncommon for canal tug wheelhouses to be kept in a semi-lowered position (especially when they get older and the system fails). The one on the Sharon is not all the way down here. Click for larger. Photos courtesy of Franz A. von Riedel.

By the time smaller companies have these older boats, the staterooms are usually pretty tired – as often times the tugs are used as day boats, meaning no full time crews are living on the tug, which also means that maintenance starts to dwindle. For a canal tug however, these are some pretty big rooms! Click for larger. Photos courtesy of Franz A. von Riedel.

Photo courtesy of Franz A. von Riedel.

The Sharon had her twin 8-567 engines replaced in 1956 with a single Cleveland 12-278A removed from a Patrol Craft. An Allis-Chalmers main generator was utilized from a Destroyer-Escort, a common package used in Diesel-Electric tugs of the era. Click for larger. Photos courtesy of Franz A. von Riedel.

Electrically, the Sharon kept her original twin GE propulsion motors and Farrel-Birmingham reduction gear. A lakeshore propulsion panel connected the motors and generators. A Detroit 3-71 is seen in the forward end. Click for larger. Photos courtesy of Franz A. von Riedel.

Zenith renamed the Sharon Elizabeth as the Statesboro in Spring of 2006. For an almost 70 year old tug at the time, she still looked sharp. Photo courtesy of Franz A. von Riedel.
The tug was sold in the fall of 2006 to Busch Marine of in Carrollton, MI. The tug is being towed by their own tug, the Gregory J. Busch. Photo courtesy of Franz A. von Riedel.

Busch Marine renamed the tug as the Barbara Merry Busch. The tug was tied up at their dock in the Saginaw River, only a few miles up from where she began her life in 1938. Unfortunately, the tug was never used by Busch, and she sits tied up listing heavily, waiting for what is likely an inevitable date with a scrapper one day. Even Busch’s large tug – Gregory J. Busch is laid up. This is another tug I would love to see inside, as she is powered by Alco 12-244 main engines.

Click for larger. Photos courtesy Todd Shorkey

Thomas E. Moran was featured in numerous GM advertisement’s.

While just a footnote in history now, the Thomas E. Moran will go down in history as being the first use of the EMD 567 engine, the engine that went on to become one of the most successful diesel designs even built, and used in countless tugs, locomotive’s and stationary applications. Moran would wind up working almost exclusively with Tams (and successor GM Design and Marine Design Inc.) over the next 30+ years, building some of the most recognizable tugs on the east coast – all powered with General Motors Diesel-Electric Drive. Following the Thomas and William, several 567 stationary gensets would be built, as well as a bunch of 12-cylinder models used in Navy and USCG tugs in 1939.

Be sure to visit our other pages highlighting historic vessels –

Many thanks to Franz A. von Riedel for sharing his photos of the Sharon/Statesboro. Thanks to Dave Boone for sharing numerous photos with me over the years, Todd Shorkey, Isaac Pennock & Jay Boggess as always for scanning and sharing more then I can recount.

More reading –

A Winton Survivor – Ambrose Lightship

Over the course of this summer, I began to build a spreadsheet of all (known) surviving Winton and Cleveland Diesel engines.  The short story is there is not a lot, especially when it comes to Winton’s.  I only have 25 on my list (so far – when I get it closer developed, I will post it here). One such survivor is the Winton 6-149 in the Lightship Ambrose LV87/WAL 512, at South Street Seaport Museum in New York City.  The Ambrose was built as a steamer in 1907 by New York Shipbuilding in Camden, New Jersey.

Ambrose Lightship at South Street. Note one of the 5000lb mushroom anchors on the bow. Will Van Dorp photo.

In 1932, Ambrose would leave station under steam for the last time, and would be repowered with a new direct reversing Winton 6 cylinder model 149 engine. The 149 was introduced in 1929, and offered as either a generator engine or direct reversing marine engine. The 4 stroke engine had an 11″ bore and 15″ stroke.

While the Ambrose is a large ship – the engine room is not all that big. These lightships were only meant to make short distance jaunts between the nearest port and the duty station, never more then a few miles at a time, thus a large powerplant was not needed.

Swinging around to look at the other side of the engine. The yellow set of wheels controls engine direction and speed. Ambrose is the name of the channel entering New York Harbor. After her 1932 refit she was designated as Relief ship – which would take station in place of various other lightships while they would be in for drydock, etc. She would then go on to take station at Scotland, NJ, Vineyard Sound, MA and roles as an examination vessel and more relief work.

Ambrose was officially retired in May 1966, and donated to the new South Street Seaport Museum in 1968, where she has been on exhibit since. While once operation many years ago, the engine in Ambrose unfortunately took a significant hit with massive freeze damage (note the cracking in the following two photos). The engine was taken apart, and is how it currently sits. When I took these photos a few years ago, the plan was to put the engine back together in one piece, as an operational restoration is out of the question.

The cylinder heads on this engine (and this is one of the smaller Winton diesel’s!) are absolutely massive! The elbow on the lower portion is the water jacketed exhaust. To the right is the blow down valve, and under it a cylinder relief valve.

Ambrose has a few other smaller generator engines, as well as a unique combination engine/compressor (as in, its the same thing), however I did not get any photos of them. While Ambrose is open to the public, the engineering spaces are not. Thanks to SSSM for allowing me to photograph these. For those that like to read, be sure to check out George Rongner’s book “Life Aboard a Coast Guard Lightship”

Top photo by my friend Will Van Dorp of Tugster –

More on Ambrose:

Diesel Data Sheets

As I mentioned here a few times, I picked up a few rolls of microfilm a few years ago, including 3 rolls marked as “Diesel Data Sheets”. Unfortunately, there is no index on the rolls (that I can see..). Last night I went through them out of boredom, and was shocked to see sheets for a vast array of boats, including engine’s from a number of companies. I guess I need to find a microfilm scanner now. If my math is correct, each roll is 100 feet, 20 frames per foot, so about 2,000 images per roll. It is a lot of data! I have an idea to design and 3D print a holder so I can scan them on my flatbed, but that might take forever.

Click for larger

A few random examples (click for larger):

I saw data sheets for ships from the teens through WWII, with engine makes such as Busch-Sulzer, Enterprise, Cleveland, EMD, Detroit, National, Ruston-Hornsby, Stover, Fairbanks, Alco, Norfolk Navy Yard, Buda and others. Hopefully in time I will be able to digitize these, along with the other reels I have.

Remember, only a few weeks left to pre-order my book on Railroad Tugboats (which has lots of cool engine stuff in it also!)

Buy my book!

After several years, my comprehensive book on Diesel Railroad Tugboats is now available for preorder!  This book will cover chapters on all the major designs on the East coast such as Tams Incorporated, Thomas Bowes, General Managers Association, and early oil-electric designs.  

Over 75 tugs and their original owners are covered, as well as a vast section documenting what happened to these tugs, the last operations of railroad tugs, subsequent owners, and final dispositions. More then 250+ tugs will be pictured, along with numerous blueprints, drawings and technical data.

Operations and owners that will be covered include New York Harbor, Delaware River (Philadelphia and Wilmington), Norfolk (Hampton Roads, Sewell’s Point and Little Creek area operations) and Baltimore Harbor. Railroads featured include: Erie, PRR, BEDT, NYC, RDG, LIRR, LV, NH, B&O, CNJ, Dalzell, BTRR, NYD, DL&W, C&O/Chessie, VGN, SOU, V&M/ESHR and NYCH.

A little more insight as to just what is inside – Sections will cover: What’s inside a railroad tug: engines, propulsion systems, construction elements, how steering works, interior layouts, etc. Oil-Electrics: The original Diesel tugboats designed for railroads. Tams Inc. & the GM powered tugs. Tugs by Thomas Bowes & powered by Fairbanks -Morse. The railroads own design – General Managers Association tugs. Tugs for Norfolk, covering the C&O, Chessie, PRR/V&M, Virginian and Southern. The last stand, featuring the last original owners of railroad tugs on the Brooklyn waterfront. A huge photo gallery covering railroad tugs after railroad ownership. And finally, a large appendix with dispositions of every boat and a large amount of technical data and extras.

Railroad tugboat operations were unique, and the designs of these boats were specific to the needs of the railroads they served. This book appeals not only to railroad enthusiasts, but to maritime historians interested in this unexplored chapter of tugboat design and operation.

Pictured on the cover is the Erie Lackawanna tug Marion, photographed by Charlie Berkemeyer in 1975, in one of the most recognizable scenes in Hoboken, New Jersey. On the rear cover is a wonderful painting by noted maritime artist Dave Boone of the New York Dock Railway tug Brooklyn, Southbound on the North River. This is going to be a big book! Over 400 photos, numerous blueprints and drawings and a great deal of history of each of the designs. Be sure to get your preorder in!

Tugs featured in this book include (subject to change): Fred A. Cassidy, Olean, Long Island, Integrity, Intrepid, Rochester, Elizabeth, NYC #34, Elmira, PRR No. 18, PRR No. 15, PRR No. 16, Wicomico, Cleveland, Hornell, Marion, Akron, Elmira, Binghamton, Paterson, Lehigh, Bethlehem, Capmoore, Cornell, Wilkes Barre, Hazleton, Bumble Bee, Cordelia, Transfer 23, Transfer 24, Carol Moran, Altoona, Chicago, Roy B. White, Howard E. Simpson, William C. Baker, Walter L. Price, J.W. Phipps, Liberty, Communipaw, Sandy Hook, Sound Shore, Dalzell 1, Dalzell 2, Dalzell 3, Lacey 2, Lehigh, Delaware, Brandywine, Schuylkill, Tamaqua, Shamokin, Irving T. Bush, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Syracuse, Hoboken, Nazareth, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Trenton, Indianapolis, Jersey City, Newark, Buffalo, W.R. Coe, R.B. Claytor, Accomack, M.I. Dunn, Walter J. Tuohy, J. Speed Grey, Howard E. Simpson, Brooklyn III (NYD), Brooklyn III (BEDT), Cross Harbor I, New Jersey, New York, Roy B. White (NYC), Williamsburgh, Petro Arrow, Petro Flame, James M. Witte, Cornell, Hercules, Pleon, Karen Tibbetts, Kyle Smith, Ned Ferry, Texas, Florida, G. Shelby Freidrichs, Margaret F. Cooper, Glenn Smith, James McAllister, Staten Island, Catherine McAllister, Yemetzis, Commander, Scandinavian, Fort Fisher, Bradenton, Tumbador I, Eric M. McAllister, Palmetto, Elizabeth, Thomas E. Moran, NYC No. 34, St Phillip, Timothy McAllister, Big Daddy, Edith Thornton, Carol Wales, David McAllister, Jeanne C., Elizabeth, Theresa S. Krause, Brandywine, Leo, Shamokin, Fall River, Mack Point, Blue B., Leonard J., Russel B. Murray, J. L. Krause, Narragansett, Cornell, Christopher B. Turecamo, Patrick R. McAllister, Virginia, Hawkins Point, Julia C. Moran, Marie Moran, Deborah Quinn, Neptune, Steven McAllister, Swan Point, Captain Bill, Blacksmith III, Nancy McAllister, Mobile Power, Fort Caswell.

And before anyone asks – Volume II down the road will cover Great Lakes, the West Coast and all other Diesel Railroad tugs. After release, a dedicated page will be on this website to maintain an errata as well as any extras.

Please visit for ordering information. Preorders are due July 17th 2022, with a fall delivery. This is a limited run book, so be sure to preorder if you want a copy!

A mistake in identity?

I have two c. 1944 advertisements in my collection – both featuring a Type 327 ST tug, built for the US Army, one from Enterprise, and the other from Busch-Sulzer.

You will note….both advertisements feature the same tug, ST-246! These 86′ Type (design) 327 tugs were built throughout WWII by numerous shipyards across the country and used 3 main types of propulsion, all of which were direct reversing engines:

Enterprise Engine & Foundry Co. – DMG-38: 8 cylinder, 12″ x 15″, 650HP
Busch-Sulzer – 6DFMT-17: 6 cylinder, 13″ x 17″, 650HP
Clark Brothers – MD-6: 6 cylinder, 12 /2″ x 16″, 650HP

It is likely that both of these companies used a stock photo provided by the Army, however it is indeed good for a laugh. A good portion of these tugs went on to postwar careers, many of which would get EMD 567ATL repowers. The Great Lakes region is home to a handful of these, as well as some with original Enterprise engines. The Enterprise seems to have been the better choice of the three. Other classes of ST tugs built during WWII featured a swath of other engine makes, including EMD, Atlas Imperial, Cat, Superior-National, Buda, Kahlenberg, Fairbanks-Morse and others.

According to Dan Friend’s roster – the 246 had the Enterprise (and may still be around!) –

Sarter Marine Towings Susan L (ST-709) is still powered by her original Enterprise DMG-38, and is likely one of the only direct reversing tugs still working commercially.

Some related links: (Clark MD-6) (Busch-Sulzer 6D) (Busch Sulzer 6D) (Enterprise DMG)

Montana Western 31

With the help of Winton, the Electro-Motive Company pioneered and developed gasoline-electric railcars. Hundreds of these cars were built in the 1920’s-1930’s, and were an important stepping stone in the development of the forthcoming Diesel-Electric generation of railcars and locomotives.

Only a small handful of these cars remain, including Montana Western #31, at the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom, Wisconsin. #31 was donated to the museum in 1965.

The car was built in 1925 for the Great Northern Railway as their #2313, and was sold to shortline Montana Western in 1940. Only the front truck on these cars is powered.

While the date on the plate is 10/1925, the car’s engine was not shipped until 4/1926, leading me to think this may have been a contract date.

Inside, the car is essentially 100% original, including these lush purple velvet walkover seats. A small smoking section is in the compartment forward of this one.

Ahead of the smoking section is a baggage room, as well as being home to the cars heating boiler.

The rear end of the car features a control stand, as well as a small bathroom opposite of it.

Forward of the baggage room is the engine room, home to the 6- Cylinder Winton 106A gasoline engine and control stand.

Stepping back a few feet gives us a better overall view of the engine, showing the central carburetor and intake manifold. These early engines used General Electric electrical gear. The three exhaust pipes head straight up to the roof.

Forward of the engine is the engineers corner with the various controls and brake system, note the use of a “trolley” style controller. My ears bleed just thinking of being this close to the engine!

The engine in #31 is a Winton 106A, a 7 1/4″ bore x 8″ stroke, 4 stoke, 6-cylinder gasoline engine. The engine was rated for 250HP at 1200RPM. Previous model 106 was a slightly smaller, 7″x8″ engine, rated for 200HP at 1000RPM.

What is interesting is the Winton record for this engine lists it as a 106B. It is likely this is simply a typo on the record sheets, as other engines labeled 106A are listed with the same shipping date.

Looking toward the magneto side. While you can access the cab through doors on either side, or by climbing over the generator – it is still an extremely cramped space.

A better view of the engine from the Winton manual for these engines.

Special thanks to Bill B. at Mid-Continent for arranging a look inside this rare piece of equipment. #31 is currently not in operable condition, however the museum does have a 2nd spare parts engine it obtained from Sperry Rail – once a large user of Gas-Electric railcars. Be sure to stop by the museum if you are in the area, they have an amazing collection!

Video of a Winton 106A engine on youtube, by user Taitset.

New on VDD – Pages

One of my big griefs with setting this up as a blog format initially, was that after a certain period of time, the posts would disappear off the home page. I was working around this initially by doing a post every so often with a listing of every post.

Now, you will see on the right hand side of the page..

… a listing of various topics we have covered. In each of these pages is a sub listing of all the articles that pertain to that topic, essentially making this more of a website, then a blog.

This is the first step in hopefully a bunch of cool new things coming this year, so stay tuned! Be sure to sign up on the right hand side as well, and you will get an email (NOTE: It does go to spam sometimes!) whenever we make a new post.

Note – Apparently these pages do NOT show up when your viewing on a phone..