Re: Keeley Can

Jack Burgess <jack@...>

I have a sidebar in my book on the Yosemite Valley Railroad which a YV brakeman told me about Keeleys:



“The YV had plain bearings in all of [the trucks on] the cars, and when you’d have a hot box or one that is warming up, they’d hang what you’d call a Keeley. This was a tank with water in it and a hose and you’d just open the journal box lid and fasten the hose in there and it would just kinda drip in there and keep that sucker cool enough so that you could get to some place to set it out or take it into Merced Falls that way.

                “It looked like one of these tanks that you carry air in for airing up tires remote from the pump. It was hung right off of a grab iron and I suppose that it was 2'-3' long and 10" in diameter and it had this rubber hose on it. You’d just hang that thing in there and keep things cool. I don’t think that it was made by the Keeley Company at all. I think that that was just a clever name they hung on it. [Keeley was a satirical reference to the “Keeley Cure”, a bottled concoction developed by Dr. Leslie E. Keeley in the 1890s as a cure for alcoholism and other additions.]

                “I remember one time they burned a journal so bad that we had to change the wheels. That is hard to do with a car load of logs. With arch bar trucks it’s not too bad, you can just drop the bolts and pull the journal boxes and the whole works comes out. With a car with cast trucks, you can’t do that out in the field, you’d have to go out with a wrecker and put a new truck on it.” - Bob Lunoe, YV Brakeman


Jack Burgess

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