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Soo Line Rail Detector 700 .

Soo Line Rail Detector 700


In February 1977, I saw a special Soo Line truck at the Park Falls, Wisconsin, depot at lunch time.

On the cab under the driver's window is

UNIT 700

License plate is YE 27-594 but I can't read the state from the plate.

Notice that it didn't have the usual Sperry Services marked on it, this was Soo Line's own rail inspection vehicle.

There's some messages on the SooLineHistory group about this.
. . . . messages 14949, 14941

. . . Keith and a few others have mentioned the 'white large van' . . . .

. . . . the white Soo detector. Seems to me it was shown on the line-up as the RD 700 Rail Detector.


Sensor heads are under the rear step.

I vaquely remember this had both ultrasonic and magnetic detection for cracks and inclusions in rail.
I think they could detect broken angle bars, too.

It's romantic to think one could see the mainline of the entire Soo Line every year, but you probably wouldn't see home much.
And I suppose the Sperry operators see a lot more miles in a year.


I asked the operator if I could stick my camera inside the door,
and he was nice enough to let me peek at all the detector stuff.
This is like science class running on the rails.
Back in those days, this was portable electrical gear. Not computers.

I don't remember if there was a driver also.
I don't even remember if this truck operated in forward or reverse while detecting.

There was a rack of toggle switches on an electrical cabinet.
Columns of star-wheel integer selector switches.
The black box on top of the stack was a Clarion MultiMeter Counter.



There was an overhead electric panel above the rear window.
One voltmeter, and plenty of toggles marked left and right.



Close look at the sensing heads underneath. They would have to be lowered into position close to the rail head.
Messy situation, considering the snow on the rails. Would water upset the electrical connections?
And this was on jointed rail, 39 footers. Plenty to check.
And I don't know how fast they ran. I think there was mention they would stop and back up
to double check and paint mark the rail defects so the section men knew where to work.


Link back to my index page, Bruce's RailRoad Pictures

my best index page is on the TrainWeb site, as of January 2011.

This page was wrote in December, 2012.