Southern Pacific 9010

The Camera Car

Originally, the film used for the simulator was 35mm film.  It was used in the two projectors at our simulator.  One projector was used for a normal trip while the other projector was used for red signals, diverging routes and so on.  Film was what I saw when I went to the simulator in 1971.  The same film was later transferred to laser disc which was about the size of a 78rpm or 33 1/3 rpm record.  These laser discs were used up into 1995 when I spent the summer working for the training department on a special assignment in Lenexa, KS, and, in Chicago, Ill, at the Illinois Institute of Technology.  It was a great way to spend the summer.  I believe these discs were used right up until the UP took over in 1996. 

As best as I can remember it, the screen was about 20x40 feet and was flat as can be.  Outside of the engineer's window there was a rotating light that pointed down to the floor so when looking down on the floor, it looked like ballast as most engineers, myself included, used to look out the side window down to the ballast to judge our speed when starting our train.  However, the actual simulator was close enough and they had part of the fireman's window blocked off to give you the effect that you were actually in a locomotive cab and not in a simulator. 

John  Edwards 2008

I was on the camera car for one day in late 1979 or early 1980 taking experimental shots of Beaumont Hill.  We had the KM on the west end with a GP9 on the east end.  We went lite from Colton to Pershing (the first siding east of Beaumont) where we then went west back to Colton with the camera car while the guys shooting got there equipment adjusted for the shoot.  What they were doing was trying out a new format for movies called video tape.  I thought it went well, the guys from the Audio Visual Dept. of the SP thought it went well, but the higher ups thought that the cost was going to be too high considering what needed to be shot.  They ended up using a laser disc in the simulator.  I assume they took what was already on 35mm film, which is what I had as a student in 1971, and put that on a laser disc. 

In 1995 I, along with other people across the system, were asked by the Training Department to be put on a temporary assignment by the training department of the SP to be temporary simulator instructors to get the most guys promoted as quickly as possible as the SP was apparently short of engineer system wide.  This included the SP proper, the Cotton Belt, and the newly acquired railroad (whose initials and name I can't remember) that ran from, I think, St. Louis to Chicago.  This even included the guys from the old T&L Lines (T&NO) which, when I got promoted, were originally not covered by the simulator agreement in their union contract because they were on the T&L Lines.  It looked like the same stuff I used in 1971 but like I said earlier, but was put on laser disc.

Running the test over Beaumont was like running a normal lite engine.  The GP9 was used to run the consist up and down the hill as the KM had no power except for a little 4-cylinder diesel engine which was used to keep the batteries charged and to supply the necessary electrical power for the camera crews for their filming.

The KM had 26L brake equipment and the then typical, for the time, GE 16-notch throttle.  I hated it when operating a U25B, and I hated it when running from the KM.  Another thing I didn't like about the KM was that it was the roughest riding engine I had ever been on at that time.  Later, some of the UP C41-8 and C40-8 locomotives were even rougher, depending on how well their trucks were maintained.  There was a time when I hit the west switch at Pershing at track speed, which was 50 mph, and I thought we were all over the ground.  I almost got thrown out of the seat because it was so rough.  The noise was almost deafening because it was so loud when hitting that switch.  From then on I never went over 40 mph.

I don't remember an intercom system on the KM.  If there was one, we didn't use it but that doesn't mean there wasn't one.  They just told me that they wanted me to go a certain speed at a certain location and I did that.  I also do not remember a speedometer in the nose of the KM but that doesn't mean there wasn't one in the nose either.  Only the engineer had control of the locomotive consist, not the camera crew.  Like I said, they told me what they needed or wanted and I did my best to comply with their wishes.

I seem to remember an engineer, a fireman, myself (remember, I was the RFE at W. Colton in those days) and I think three guys in the nose to do the filming.  One to monitor the camera, and another one as a sort of director, and I'm not sure what the third guy did if there even was a third guy.  Maybe if there was a third guy he monitored the exterior lights.

If I remember correctly, the maximum speed for the KM was 70 mph but we never had to or needed to or were even able to go that fast during the one day were did our experimental filming on Beaumont Hill.  Other than that, because we were a lite engine, we could make passenger train speed.  But, like I said, we never got over 50 as the maximum speed between Colton and Pershing was, at the time, 50 mph between those two points.
John Edwards 2008

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