Illinois Central--Freight Train: Coal Car
This series was created to celebrate my thousandth find and to say thank-you to the many cachers who have placed the caches that have given me such enjoyment. This series is especially inspired by imcgisme’s Beefies series and brainandbraun’ Whimsical Tales series with some help from rcflyer2242’s caches. The series is also designed with beginning cachers and especially kids in mind. All hides should be very easy and I hope that the cache containers help make it fun for kids of all ages. Families with small children and folks with complaining joints should note that the terrain for the passenger train series is straight forward and should not present much trouble. However, the terrain for the freight train series is varied. The railroad embankment near the beginning of the train is high and fairly steep, especially for the tender and tank car. These numbers should be pretty easy to guess, so it is possible to find the mystery train without climbing to these caches. Occasionally it might not be obvious where to find the log on the container. In these cases a hint will guide you. On the outside of each cache container is a series of numbers. Be sure to record the ones digit as you will need it to find the final: Mystery Train--At the Station. For example, if the number on the outside of the cache container reads 123, you would need to record the number 3.
The Badger State Trail runs on the former bed of the Freeport to Madison line of the Illinois Central. The line was originally constructed for the CM&N Railroad running from Freeport Illinois to Madison Wisconsin. It was completed in 1888 with the first train making the run on February 1, 1888. The final run was made in 1991. As part of the state of Wisconsin's Rails to Trails program, the Badger State Trail opened in 2007 with the final paved section from Purcell Road north to Madison opening in 2010. Click here for more information on the Badger State Trail.
The Coal Car
Technically the coal car is a sub-type of two classes of rolling stock—the gondola and the hopper. The gondola is named after barges carrying coal down the Potomac River in pre-railroad days, which were in turn humorously named after the Venetian gondolas. Gondolas and hoppers are distinguished by the straight sides of the gondola and the sloping ends of the hopper. Coal has typically been carried in open hoppers with bottom doors to allowed coal to exit out of underside of the car. The more recent preference is to use the straight sided gondola. The coal is removed from the car by a rotary car dumper which tips the entire car. Early rotary car dumpers required the car to be decoupled from the train prior to dumping its load. However, the introduction of rotary car couplers allows for the car to be rotated without decoupling it from the rest of the train. In many parts of the country, long trains consisting entirely of coal cars following one after another have become a common sight.
The Train Cars are on the track from approximately March 15 to November 15.
They are replaced by bison tubes for the winter.
The Geocache Notification Form has been submitted to Steven Johnston, Badger State Trail Manager of the Wisconsin DNR. Geocaches placed on Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource managed lands require permission by means of a notification form. Please print out a paper copy of the notification form, fill in all required information, then submit it to the land manager. The DNR Notification form and land manager information can be obtained at: http://www.wi-geocaching.com/hiding