Union Pacific "Lucky Loaders"
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This file was last updated on August 16, 2016.
The following comes from the June 1984 issue of Union Pacific INFO magazine:
"In June 1984, Union Pacific placed its first "Lucky Loader" into service. These are specialized cranes that are equipped to travel along the tops of gondolas to distribute and reclaim track materials, such as spikes, tie plates, and connector bars. The Lucky Loader cranes are equipped with 20-foot arms and 45-inch diameter electromagnets." (Union Pacific INFO magazine, June 1984, page 19)
|EQUIP NO||ITEM NAME||MODEL||SERIAL NUMBER||BUILD DATE||DISPOSAL DATE|
|SLC 1||SCRAP LOADER CRANE (IS NOW SLC-9602)||RR100||4280732||10 Apr 1980||(01 Feb 1996)|
|SLC 2||SCRAP LOADER CRANE||RR100||4780733||11 Apr 1980||21 Mar 2001|
|SLC 3||SCRAP LOADER CRANE||RR100||41680734||22 Apr 1980||13 May 2009|
|SLC 4||SCRAP LOADER CRANE||RR300-1||12583847||01 Mar 1983||11 Jun 2009|
|SLC 5||SCRAP LOADER CRANE (IS NOW SLC-9601)||RR300-1||33083848||08 Apr 1983||(15 May 1996)|
|SLC 6||SCRAP LOADER CRANE||RR300-1||42983850||12 May 1983||12 Nov 2008|
|SLC 9601||SCRAP LOADER CRANE (WAS SLC-5)||RR300-1||33083848R||25 May 1996||20 Apr 2010|
|SLC 9602||SCRAP LOADER CRANE (WAS SLC-1)||RR100||4280732R||25 May 1996||21 Apr 2010|
Two machines were rebuilt in 1996.
Two machines retired in 2001 and 2008 may have been sold at auction (more research is needed).
Four machines retired in 2009 and 2010 may have been scrapped (not auctioned or sold) (more research is needed).
View a photo of UP Lucky Loader SLC-9602; an RR-100 eight-wheel model built in 1980, and rebuilt in 1996 from SLC-1
View a photo of UP Lucky Loader SLC-5; an RR-300 sixteen-wheel model built in 1983
Lucky Manufacturing Company was incorporated in Alabama on April 10, 1967. The company specialized in log loader cranes that used hydraulics to lift and load logs onto trucks. From a company description given in 1981: "Lucky is a manufacturer of log loading machinery. The principal moving parts of this machinery are activated by a system utilizing fluid pressurized by a hydraulic pump."
Various internet searches found that Southern, NS, CSX, and AT&SF all use (or used) Lucky Loaders for railroad purposes. Many on-line photos of smaller versions mounted to highway and off-highway trucks show "Lucky" on the boom. Smaller versions were used to load logs onto trucks.
Lucky Manufacturing used three distinctive logos.
- A log with "Lucky" written on it.
- A four-leaf clover, in green color, with an 'L' on each leaf
- The RR-300 model used a railroad steam locomotive with speed lines, and "RR-300" lettering.
There are three patents issued to the company, for loaders used by railroads (research by Evan Werkema).
Lucky Manufacturing Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2007, and apparently stopped doing business during 2008.
A search using Google Maps and Street View shows that, as of June 2016, the Lucky property in Huntsville is vacant, except for the major structures still intact.