Union Pacific "Lucky Loaders"

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This file was last updated on August 16, 2016.

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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)

Roster Listing

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

Company Background

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.

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.