The “Big Hook” on the New Haven was referred to as the “Tool Train”.
Penn Central used the work Wreck. What a surprise. On the New Haven Railroad trains were never wrecked they DERAILED, Collided or overturned but never WRECKED.
A “Big Hook” served the New Haven under steam on Penn Central at least until 1975 when it was utilized at a 12 car derailment north of Windsor, Connecticut. It also had been used in 1970 at a Branford, Connecticut derailment.
At the inception of Penn Central, a New Haven Big Hook was immediately hijacked and shipped to Altoona, Pennsylvania. The New Haven had three 230-ton cranes and the mighty Pennsylvania had nothing that big.
Now, the better track and the emergence of contract wreck clean-up outfits like “Hulcher’s Vultures” had reduced the need for the big hooks, although Guilford maintains a “wreck train” of sorts with a hook, which still sees occasional use.
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