Nordberg Tie Crane
By John Boner
We acquired the machine in 2006 and thought it was a small mobile rail-crane.
Subsequent research and information obtained from Lehigh Valley Chapter NRHS
member Don Young has revealed that the unit is actually an early type of
specialized piece of m.o.w. equipment used for removing and installing ties.
Mr. Young told me that the Chestnut Ridge Railroad had 2 of these machines,
which had a boom that could only swing 180 degrees to one side, and mentioned
that he believed they had run as a set, to give 360 degree capability. Glenn
Terminelli and I later cleaned and inspected the builders plate on the vehicle,
and found that it is marked as a Nordberg Model A-K, and was either sold or
designed by the Gandy Tool Co. Both were well known suppliers of m.o.w.
equipment to U.S. railroads, but are “fallen flags” of that industry, From
information available, we have extrapolated that the machine,sometimes called
a “tie-puller”, “tie-handler”, or “tie-crane”, probably dates from the 1940’s
or 1950’s. The boom was not designed to lift things, but was aligned with the
tie to be removed, lowered to the horizontal through a notch in the frame, and
used to pull out an old tie, using special tie-tongs. The boom telescopes to
enable it to pull various lengths of ties. Both track movement and cable drum
are powered by the single engine through two separate shafts. The machine is
now capable of running on our track, and had its first public showing on
September 7th, but there is still much work to do before it is completely
operational. The credit for the mechanical rehabilitation of this piece of
equipment belongs to member Pat Graham, who has worked largely on his own,
including manufacturing needed parts, to get it running. I will continue to
work with Pat to provide a full-functioning vehicle that is worthy of
exhibition as well as work on our track.
I would like to thank Glenn Terminelli for his insights and assistance on this