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  1. #1
    us
    Jan 2012
    Arizona
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    Railroad camps?

    Does anyone have any tips on figuring out where old railroad camps are located? I've tried some old maps and can't find any realiable or detailed maps of the railroad or construction ion maps so I'm not sure how to find some of the camps! Any tips would be very appreciated!!

  2. #2
    us
    May 2011
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    go on google earth.follow the tracks and a lot of the time you well see where the bushes have been removed,find 5 to 10 of these ,then go there and look for old cans and junk.you will be amazed at all the stuff you will see that just falls off the trains.have fun good luck. brad
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  3. #3
    kcm
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    Keep in mind that there were also many hobo camps near RR tracks. But normally, I wouldn't suspect that they would have downed any brush.

    You might look for a pattern in the brush every so often - like areas that appear to be similar in size and located near the tracks, yet maybe not as grown as the surrounding brush/trees.

    A better approach might be to research old photos and then try to get a bearing according to 1) where the photo was taken and 2) what geological clues are available in the photo(s).
    sms28 likes this.
    "...I've got silver in the stars and gold in the morning sun" - Don Williams

  4. #4
    us
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcm View Post
    Keep in mind that there were also many hobo camps near RR tracks. But normally, I wouldn't suspect that they would have downed any brush.

    You might look for a pattern in the brush every so often - like areas that appear to be similar in size and located near the tracks, yet maybe not as grown as the surrounding brush/trees.

    A better approach might be to research old photos and then try to get a bearing according to 1) where the photo was taken and 2) what geological clues are available in the photo(s).
    thank you! Do you know about how many miles of track they were able to lay per day? According to terrain obviously. Haha

  5. #5
    kcm
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    Sorry, not a clue how many miles per day. I have to think that in actuality that number would vary, as work crews, work leaders, terrain and supplies were often variable, not to mention weather and even Indian attacks.
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    "...I've got silver in the stars and gold in the morning sun" - Don Williams

  6. #6
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    Bohannon would be the man to ask.

    Hell On Wheels reference, sorry.
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  7. #7
    Charter Member
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    Been following the question with interest and figured I'd throw out a little food for thought regarding the subject. Keep in mind that depending on time frame and specific railroad there weren't always fixed or pitched camps. Many RR's used older converted freight and passenger cars as the camp. The cars included everything from bunk cars to commissary cars and kitchens. The practice is still in use today to a limited extent.
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  8. #8
    kcm
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    Thanks PP> I was going to add that into my post, but by the time my hands caught up to my brain, it was already telling my hands to hit the "Post Quick Reply" button!
    sms28 likes this.
    "...I've got silver in the stars and gold in the morning sun" - Don Williams

  9. #9
    us
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palmetto Pony View Post
    Been following the question with interest and figured I'd throw out a little food for thought regarding the subject. Keep in mind that depending on time frame and specific railroad there weren't always fixed or pitched camps. Many RR's used older converted freight and passenger cars as the camp. The cars included everything from bunk cars to commissary cars and kitchens. The practice is still in use today to a limited extent.
    Same with wreck trains. They had a sleeper car a chow car one or two boxcars for tools & parts, one or several flat cars for axels etc. Maybe you guys back east can help with this, but Union Pacific RR always painted the wreck trains silver not sure if other RRs did the same. You can probably still see them on GE staged on sidings.
    sms28 likes this.
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  10. #10
    us
    Jan 2012
    Arizona
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    Thanks everyone! There's a couple hundred miles of abandoned rail lines around here so I'm just trying to narrow down my search! Looks likes I'll be doin a lot of hiking

  11. #11
    us
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    Yep. They called them .... "Hell on wheels".

    It's my understanding, and I may be mistaken, that prior to the CW they didn't use these converted cars as a mobile camp. And many of the RR camps grew into towns and cities once the RR workers moved on. Finding a RR camp may be very difficult west of the Missouri. The likely places still available might be near where difficult bridge construction would take place.

    Good hunting if you find one.
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  12. #12
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    I'm looking at a big lot where all the railroad tracks met up in the early 1900s. There might be a tracks next to each other in this one specific area. My question is did they pull up all those railroad tracks or did they just cover them up with dirt? Because I'm thinking it would be hell to metal detect the area wouldn't it?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  13. #13
    us
    Jan 2015
    Washington/Texas
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    Here is interesting article ( to me ) cause i know the line; I was actually looking at camps here as well.

    If you read it; it will give you some idea of the amount of track a day. I would consider this track to be some of the easier and faster track to be laid.. flat land and small trees.


    https://tshaonline.org/
    handbook/online/articles/eqh14
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  14. #14
    us
    Jan 2012
    Arizona
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deft Tones View Post
    Yep. They called them .... "Hell on wheels".

    It's my understanding, and I may be mistaken, that prior to the CW they didn't use these converted cars as a mobile camp. And many of the RR camps grew into towns and cities once the RR workers moved on. Finding a RR camp may be very difficult west of the Missouri. The likely places still available might be near where difficult bridge construction would take place.

    Good hunting if you find one.

    I have found some pictures of camps around me but they give no location and it's hard to go off land marks being that the high desert around me all looks so similar. But you are right they did have a lot of the converted cars around here. It's also hard to hunt any well know established places since there like a magnet for people target practicing for some reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth1253 View Post
    I'm looking at a big lot where all the railroad tracks met up in the early 1900s. There might be a tracks next to each other in this one specific area. My question is did they pull up all those railroad tracks or did they just cover them up with dirt? Because I'm thinking it would be hell to metal detect the area wouldn't it?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    are you looking at lines in az? And all the line around here have been completely removed other than sections on the very first one built here, they were very remote. All they left were the timber though. I've walked along some sections and found a few spikes but not much else so far.
    Truth1253 likes this.

  15. #15
    us
    Apr 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by sms28 View Post
    I have found some pictures of camps around me but they give no location and it's hard to go off land marks being that the high desert around me all looks so similar. But you are right they did have a lot of the converted cars around here. It's also hard to hunt any well know established places since there like a magnet for people target practicing for some reason.



    are you looking at lines in az? And all the line around here have been completely removed other than sections on the very first one built here, they were very remote. All they left were the timber though. I've walked along some sections and found a few spikes but not much else so far.
    No I'm looking in the New Orleans area. And Lord knows those "good ol' boys" back in the day might just cover it up. But is it standard protocol to take them up?


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