Buddy Bryan

Tifton, Georgia, USA

Friend of the late Colonel Harold COHEN, DSC

William "Buddy" Bryan revisits the famous Battle Fields around Chaumont
August 2008

Buddy Bryan is CEO and founder of Utilco Railroad Services, Inc, Georgia, USA. ( http://www.utilcorailroadservices.com/ ). He offers very interesting services to over twenty different railroads in 16 states.

Buddy visited the battle fields for the first time in 1985 when he accompanied his good friend, Colonel Harold Cohen during his last visit to the area around Bastogne. Colonel Cohen was the Commander of the 10th Armored Infantry Battalion that supported other battalions such as the 8th Tank Battalion (under Major Albin F Irzyk, now retired as Brigadier General), and the 37th Tank Battalion (under Colonel Creig Abrams) in their objective to liberate all the villages south of Bastogne and who liberated eventually the town of Bastogne.  Buddy wanted to revisit these famous battle fields and take the necessary time to remember the many killed, wounded or missed US soldiers who saw action on these hallowed grounds.

Buddy says about his business: "Our initial business of right of way clearing gradually migrated over to power line and pipeline construction which, of course, required cranes and Sidewinders or Pipelayers, as we called them. Before we knew it we had the basic equipment necessary to rerail cars and engines. This was about the time the major railroads were retiring the large rail bound derricks and I sensed an opportunity. With a background in engineering and a penchant for tinkering with something I designed and built a hi-rail system for my largest crane.

Most cranes are built to perform jobs that are totally out of the realm of rerailing railroad equipment and thus are very limited. After set up, they are restricted to their load limits.  What was needed was a specifically designed crane capable of high tonnage, hi-rail gear, short boom, and a high road speed. I found this crane in the 150 ton Mantis built by Spandeck and purchased the first one owned by anyone other than a major railroad. This crane, in my opinion, lacked capabilities I could improve on. It needed a rolling outrigger to transport a load on the rail.  It also needed a counterweight to take full advantage of the design. I designed the rolling outrigger which has been sold to other owners and, at my suggestion, the counterweight was incorporated into this model by the manufacturer.

Most derailments require moving cars and engines and in the past the Sidewinder was king.  It soon became apparent these tractors, including my own, were extremely limited. They were being used in a capacity never intended. They could not rotate with a load, they had poor flotation, and their lifting capacity, and counterbalance were lacking. The market offered no remedy so I decided to engineer a derrick with a specific purpose, derailments.  Beginning with a basic excavator frame assembly, the "Big John" derrick was developed and has far surpassed all of our expectations.  It's wide and long undercarriage, coupled with awesome brute lifting capacity and very high drawbar power make it the machine of choice on a derailment.

So as you scroll through these pages you will find many pieces of equipment and tools that we designed with a specific purpose in mind. From a machine that cuts brush thirty feet under itself, to a simple device to unload ties or rail, Utilco Railroad Services is the recognized leader in innovation. Our motto has always been, "The impossible only takes a little longer". Buddy Bryan