Saturday, August 24, 2013

New Life for the Gandy Dancer

For years a bright red handcar was the centerpiece of the Utah State Railroad Museum's maintenance-of-way exhibit. The replica, built in the 1980s for racing events, hadn't been used since the early 1990s, but recently was taken as a traveling exhibit to the Evanston Roundhouse Festival in Evanston, Wyoming. Now it has become the official traveling ambassador for the museum, and with the Golden Spike Chapter helping, has become a new way to experience railroading history. Below are two videos, the top being at the Utah State Railroad Museum and the bottom being at the Evanston event taken by Lee Witten. An inexpensive and removable horn was added for safety, but beyond that improvement it provides a neat representation of railroad travel before the internal combustion engine.

The plan is to not only travel, but to utilize it at special events such as National Train Day (when speeder rides were offered this past year) and during the regular Weber County RAMP-sponsored free museum days. A plan is in place to expand this concept to include the museum's own Fairmont speeders and eventually even one of the smaller locomotives in the collection.

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