gallery/train track

McComb Railroad Museum




The pictures do not do it justice -- the size, which is enormous, is dwarfed by the sound of the diesel engines, which is deafening. Yet to these railroad retirees, this wrecker derrick is a thing of beauty, a priceless pearl, to be restored to her former days of luster and brute force. The first time the project was mentioned, it did not seem like it would be that complex, but like most things that are really worth doing, this project has been terribly time-consuming and complex. 


Gen. Eisenhower moved armies in World War II with greater ease than this piece of equipment will move 100 yards in 2008. With the assistance of Raymond Kyzar and the McComb City Board, the Wrecker Derrick was acquired for the Railroad Depot Museum, but it sat on the southernmost part of the railyard for about two years. The Wrecker Derrick was built by Industrial Brownhoist, in Bay City, MI, in 1956. A typical Wreck Train included a locomotive, a wreck train, and tool cars as needed for the job; ties, rails, spikes and other repair materials were stockpiled at various points.


The derrick was separated from its future home alongside the other museum railcars by a large ditch and a stretch of hardpan the size of a football field. All that was needed was a bridge or culvert that would support the weight of a 191-ton derrick, 350 ft. of track on which to move it, and twin diesel engines (vintage 1956) that would run. Oh, yes, railroad retirees believe that the derrick should move on her own and not be towed! 


Why are the two men standing by the pickup truck? They are using the battery from the truck to jump the battery of the diesel engines on the derrick. They have painted, replaced windows, replaced horns, and they even have to import engineers to operate the derrick when they want to run it, but if they say the derrick will be in place by the time of the Brick Memorial Dedication then it will be. These guys can really make things happen. Now that is a project to behold.

Wrecker Derrick IC Specs

  • Builder: Industrial Brownhoist, Bay City, MI

  • Date Built: March, 1956

  • Cost in 1956: Approximately $212,000.00

  • Engine Type: 4-stroke Diesel

  • Horsepower: 145 x 2

  • Cylinders: 6

  • Transmission: Twin Disc Clutches

  •  Axles: 6 

  • Brake System: SA-2 Straight Air + Train

  • Fuel Capacity: 75 Gallons (Diesel)

  • Engine: HBI-600 Cummins (2)