Jack Delano liked to visit the various back shops of the different railroads that he photographed. Seventy-seven years ago he stopped in at the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe’s locomotive shop in Shopton, located at the bank of the Mississippi River in Fort Madison, Iowa.
Though it’s March of 1943, he found the toasty spot in the shop when he came across the area where locomotive drivers had their tires replaced. The tire is the outer ring on the driver wheel. It forms the running surface of the driver, along with the flange of the wheel. These wear over time, and can also become damaged, therefore the driver is built to handle this by enabling the maintenance folks to replace this outer ring.
Removal and installation is accomplished by heating the tire with a gas-fired apparatus that will cause the tire to expand. It can then be either removed, or installed over the large rim portion of the wheel. When slipped on and then cooled, the tire contracts tightly around the rim, holding it firmly in place.
This operation must have been an impressive thing to witness in person!