M-497 Jet Train 1966

Find an old ROW or want to know what the name of that one tower along the EL was? Post any historical questions or comments here. Open to any era from around the Ft Wayne area. Interurbans welcome!

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cjberndt
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M-497 Jet Train 1966

Post by cjberndt » Wed Oct 28, 2015 7:26 pm

Getting ready for a presentation about the 1966 runs of M-497, I found my photos taken from a friend's 1960 Ford. These were eastbound, west of Edgerton, Ohio, gaining speed on the record run. We were going about 100 and I turned and shot M-497 through the B-pillar of the Ford.

The timer for the run was at Melbern. M-497 ran 196 MPH, then slowed for 180 MPH through the timer, but ran 183.85. It ran about 180 through Bryan. No OSHA then.

Craig
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Butler M-497 at speed 07-23-66.jpg
M-497 eastbound 100 MPH July 23, 1966

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rrnut282
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Re: M-497 Jet Train 1966

Post by rrnut282 » Thu Oct 29, 2015 8:15 am

I'm suprised the highway was empty enough for you to pace it like that.
rrnut282
(Mike)

cjberndt
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Re: M-497 Jet Train 1966

Post by cjberndt » Thu Oct 29, 2015 12:17 pm

We were following a police officer who was running that fast with his light flashing.

It was an unadvertised event and not many people were there for the runs. I only knew about the tests because a couple of days before I'd seen a newspaper man taking photos downtown. I liked cameras and asked what he was doing. When he said there would be a jet train, I said "yeh, right!" He said to be out east of Butler Sat. morning. There were few people, maybe 10-20, when M-497 took off. We thought it was the only run, but were told by the guy at the road crossing that it would run again that day, so we waited, then chased it with the car.

The first run Sun. morning we stood near the SR-49 crossing in Edgerton, maybe 30 ft. from the track. It literally sandblasted us when it went past. All road crossings were manned because the signals didn't operate until M-497 had passed.

Someone put a sheet of plywood on the track west of Bryan before run #2, the record-setting run. Don Wetzel couldn't stop M-497, so it hit the plywood, which splintered and caused no damage.

Micro-switches for measuring speed were at Melbern and Bryan, with Melbern being the official time. Track deflection, sound pressure and other measurements were taken at Bryan. Planned speeds at Melbern on runs #1-3 were 120 MPH, 180, and 140. On run #2, Don was running 196 east of Edgerton and didn't start slowing early enough, so went through the trap at 183.85. He hit the plywood then went through Bryan at 180.

Run #4 was a 120 MPH ride for the crew in Bryan. Don intended to break the French record of 202 on that run, but NYC President Perlman said no.

The stopping point was near Stryker. Ties were piled on the track someplace west of Toledo in case they couldn't shut it down.

Craig

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RDJ
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Re: M-497 Jet Train 1966

Post by RDJ » Thu Oct 29, 2015 8:33 pm

A few years past I purchased slides from an estate of a local railfan.
I have two slides taken of the jet train. (enclosed)
I have no information about the location etc.

RD
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Jyoung(1196)c.jpg
Jyoung(1197)c.jpg

cjberndt
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Re: M-497 Jet Train 1966

Post by cjberndt » Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:21 pm

RD:

These are great photos. That's the first rear view I've seen in 50 years. Thank you.

The smoke in the first slide suggests that M-497 was just staring its run: heavy load and lots of thrust. US-6 is at right. He was between Butler and Edgerton.

Who took the photo?

Craig

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Notch 8
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Re: M-497 Jet Train 1966

Post by Notch 8 » Fri Oct 30, 2015 6:04 am

Too bad M-497 was not put on display. I believed that it finally was scrapped around 1984 ? Been an interesting experiment especially on jointed rail, This had to be something to have seen in person... Thanks for posting !

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Re: M-497 Jet Train 1966

Post by cjberndt » Fri Oct 30, 2015 7:49 am

After the final run, NYC took M-497 to New York City where it was displayed for a while. It couldn't fit through the tunnel, so they ferried it across the Hudson.

After display in NYC, it was delivered to the Beech Grove shops near Indy and restored to its original RDC-3 state; except, however, that the steel plates welded to the front of the roof air intakes to deflect the jet blast were not removed.

It returned to service in New York State. PC renumbered it in 1968 (#97) and 1969 (#98). It was retired in 1977 and scrapped in 1984.

The conversion to Jet Train was completed at the Collinwood Shops 18 days after NYC Pres. Perlman gave the order to proceed, and that included the 4th of July weekend.

Craig

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Re: M-497 Jet Train 1966

Post by hibbard » Fri Oct 30, 2015 5:07 pm

Interesting pictures and stories. I wish I could have seen it, but Uncle Sam had other ideas.

Bob

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