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How are a crane’s hooks secured for transit?

By Steven Otte associate editor | November 6, 2021

While the boom was secured to the deck, the hooks weren’t always

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A brown-and-silver wreck crane is seen in transit, its boom secured to the deck
A brown-and-silver wreck crane is seen in transit, its boom secured to the deck
It’s important to secure the boom when moving a wreck crane, like Marcus Rail Transport crane no. 029, seen here in Union Pacific’s 36th Street Yard in Denver, Colo., in February 2018. Though the hooks might be loosely tethered to a tender flatcar, as is the big hook here, they aren’t always, as the smaller hook shows. Chip Sherman photo

Q: I have a couple of 25-ton cranes on my layout. While running them in a work train, the hooks swing, giving them an unrealistic look. Are the hooks normally tethered to the boom when the cranes are being transported? I couldn’t find any photos of actual cranes during transport. – Steve Favale, Buffalo, N.Y.

A: When a crane is moved, it’s important to tie down the boom so the crane doesn’t turn and swing out over adjacent track or other trackside obstructions. For transit, the boom is lowered all the way and tie-downs attached to the sides of the boom. Those tie-downs are then hooked to the front corners of the crane’s deck and the boom is raised slightly to tighten them. The hook end of the boom generally rides above a flatcar or dedicated crane tender car. While the hook can be tethered loosely to the tender or flatcar, as in the accompanying photo, it isn’t always, especially not if the work train is expected to transit tight curves. Usually, winching the hook all the way up to the boom is sufficient to prevent excessive swing.

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