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Monday, March 15. 2010
Track Dept Weekend Report. March 14, 15 Posted by Adam Robillard in Track Department at 15:24
Saturday Report from Adam Robillard and Sunday Report from Frank Devries:
Today was just one of those days things just seemed to go right. It's about time I'd say.The day started early with Frank and myself and the first order of business was to make a run to Farm & Fleet for some hydraulic oil and parts. While we were away, JD Marzec and Greg Frech both showed up willing to work! They did some invaluable work 'derusting' and lubing track bolts in the shop and did a fine job. Upon our return we hit the machine maint. work. Frank filled the hydraulic on the switch tamper and began testing the new pump he had installed previously. Unfortunately it turns out the pump is pumping the wrong direction... a bit more trouble shooting and adjusting will be needed to hopefully get the machine back to 100% soon. JD, Greg and I topped off the hydraulic on the 6000 tamper and about that time Tom Hunter joined the gang. We did some QC bolt work on the 6000 and cleaned up the tool boxes and prepared to tamp.. The original plan was to do a walking inspection of the main line but the hit or miss weather was enough to keep us close to home.
During lunch we formulated a plan for the rest of the day. Frank, JD and Greg set to do an oil/ filter change on the Amtrak Ballast regulator which desperately needed it. The air filter is the color of dirt and as Frank put it "hasn't seen daylight since the Carter Administration..." Tom and I ran to Napa for oil and filters and Frank, JD and Greg prepped the machines in Yard 11. While that gang was doing the oil, Tom and I switched out the 6000 tamper and began tamping the Streetcar line between Electric Park and the S-Curves. The initial goal was to test the machine from its winter work and break it back in. Amazingly everything seemed to work well and only a few minor adjustments will have to be made. We spent the next four hours tamping the carline and after the Regulator was finished Frank, JD and Greg ran it around to our work area and began regulating the freshly tamped track.
More of the same......
The first task was to determine the electrical short on the regulator. When the lights were knocked off during the barn 11 project, the one light was hanging by the wire. Seems during our work on Saturday, it came in contact with the muffler, burned through the insulation and shorted. Jeron had noticed the high amp readings Saturday night. A quick clip of the wire resolved the short. The light bulb was broken in that light anyway. I noticed most of the lights are burned out on the machine. Next trip out I will pick up some spares from Napa.
We fired up the regulator and resumed the plowing and brooming of the carline between Electric park and the S curve. After a short period of time Jeron noticed a hydraulic leak. I sent him back to yard 11 to put the machine away. Jeron found the leak was a loose hydraulic hose, and with quite a bit of trouble, tightened up the loose connection. Apparently like all track machines it was not as easy as putting a wrench on and tightening. From what I understand it involved a hydraulic power pack unit, and a lot of contortionist like moves. Once fixed, it was back to work. Brooming and plowing continued until another leak was noticed. Seems the valve for the oil pan had worked itself loose. When the leak was noticed we shut down quick, and resolved the leak. So that machine had it's second oil change this weekend. I will hit up the hardware store to get a plug for that valve to avoid a similar issue from happening again!!! By the end of the day
the track looks really good. There is still a bit of box work to be done, but it is a huge improvement.
While Jeron was fixing the hydraulic leak, I went for a walk. Track walking that is... I was able to inspect from East Station switch to Signal 251. During that walk, I found several loose joints, a couple of hanging joints that will get fixed when we tamp, but no breaks, no other defects that will affect opening day. I also marked several piles of OTM and scrap along the main for pick up with the 50. Brush through this stretch looks good. A touch up could be in order around Karsten's, but that's about it. I also marked ties for replacement between E. Station and Karsten's. I think the total was around 140 ties. I marked 5 ties off the bridge to ensure we have good support going into the bridge.
Photos have been posted of the Carline results in the gallery below. A few shots of things from barn 10 as well.
Tuesday, March 2. 2010
Track Dept Weekend Report. Feb 27, 28 Posted by Adam Robillard in Track Department at 06:00
This weekend was all about track machines-
Saturday I was out along with Frank DeVries and our plan was to get our heavily used machines serviced and ready to go.
When we got back we started by replacing the four large high pressure hydraulic oil filters on the 6000 tamper. It was a messy job and my legs and arms were soaked with hydraulic oil by the time we finished but got the job done. These don't have to be replaced very often but we've never replaced them since owning the tamper; they were certainly due for replacement.
Sunday the gang was myself, Frank DeVries and Tom Hunter. We began on the pit by refilling the transmission oil in the Model 50 Burro to find that the new seal appears to be working without leaking. We attempted to start the crane without any luck. After a few attempts we put the battery charger on it and headed to Tk24. The big project for the day was to pull ALL of our machines from Tk24 to switch the heated portion of the diesel shop. We started by getting the 6000 tamper, the ballast regulator and the EJ&E 585 motorcar all fired up. Without diving into the details of the switch list, we were able to pull everything out of the barn and onto the Carline without much difficulty. In a rare move, the old SOO line brush cutter that was in the heated portion of Barn 2 was also pulled out for the first time in years.
Franks photos from the weekend are on his Member's Pages here:
IRM Track Dept.
Tuesday, February 2. 2010
Toms report from Saturday and my report from Sunday-
Yesterday Frank and I got there so that we could help with the Electric Car folks with the first moves into Barn 11 - as no one was about in the morning, we dug into the list of stuff to do in Barn 2 - starting with the starter of course. As I noted below - Frank dug out that one from the 585, we did the switch with the 580 and got the 585 running. We let it run a while to warm up and starter in on the 6000. We changed out the broken pin on the right work head, and on the good advice of Frank decided to change the left one too since I bought two new pins... good thing as that one was broken too, hanging on but less the a 1/4 inch...yikes... So it goes to show - inspect your machine as much as you can... Both are now new.
After all that was done, Adam showed for the 2nd trick. We headed to Yard 11, to wake up the 50. It took a while with the normal trans oil and warm up, we had to thaw out the transmission air lines too - but it fired up fairly well for having sat for a month...
In the end it was not needed - so that ended a good day
(Seems the EJ&E folks installed the wrong starter in the 585 - one with too small teeth on its gear - that DID grind away some on the fly wheel, but after Frank removed the 585 starter and we went into the barn to see what was on the 580 (how cool to have spare motor cars huh?) and saw it was a lot bigger motor on the 580... sooo..switcho we did -)
Tom and I made up the gang and chose to clean off the CNW flatcar of 'stuff' gathered from along the RoW with the Burro crane we serviced Saturday. Tom fired up the Model 50 in Yard 11 and I went to retrieve wreck knuckes and such. The CNW flat was buried in the middle of a string of cars on Station Tk 2 so we had to move a bunch of cars to get it out.
the main at a brisk 1-2MPH... It was amazing. After making the switch we headed to yard 14 to unload a slew of line poles we had picked up from Schmidt Siding and then went to the diamond at South Jct to unload three old signal foundations from the old 151/ 152
have to clear out ALL of the track machines from the Barn. Included is the old brush cutter in the heated portion of the shop. If anyone is working on it, please let me know as it may be moved permanently out of the shop due to track space issues.
IRM Track Dept
Tuesday, November 17. 2009
Track Dept Weekend Report - November ... Posted by Adam Robillard in Track Department at 18:38
Saturday's gang began with Greg Frech, JD Marzec and Adam Robillard. We received 100tons of ballast this past week and it was time once again to load ballast cars and continue working on surfacing yard 11 (outside of the barn) as well as the tail track lead at the Yard 13 diamond. Greg and JD were on the Model 50 Burro crane crew and sorted material throughout the yard. We had lots of scrap, rails, timbers, etc scattered all over the yard and they spent all morning loading the gondola and stacking material.
By lunchtime, Adam had nearly 3/4 of the ballast car full and asked to use the diesel dept switch crew to help dump ballast. Jim West and Warren Lloyd as the crew of the ComEd 15 switched Yard 11 and dumped 1/2 of the car on the tail track lead. Jim West ran the engine while Warren, JD, Greg and Adam ran the doors. Finished with that Greg, JD and Adam got out the Amtrak regulator and regulated the freshly dumped ballast in prep for tamping. Dark took hold soon after and we called it a day.
Sunday's gang was made up of Steve Lewkowycz, Jim West, Joel Ahrendt, Warren Lloyd and Adam Robillard. The day's priority - Tamp and Regulate. Steve L and Adam R started the day out by checking fluids and starting up the Amtrak 6000 tamper in Yard 11. We took it to the Yard 11 tail track and set up the machine. Steve L took to the controls for his first time and made the first pass with only a minor 'cord' problem which continued to short out and trip the circuit breaker.. A quick crop of the light buggy extension cord was in order but remedied quickly. After the first pass was through we got the Amtrak regulator out and plowed stone to prep for the next pass. By this time we were joined by Jim W and Warren L who helped finish the next few passes with the tamper. Jim ran the tamper for the rest of the evening and did a fine job as this was only his second time at the controls. We made three passes on the track now it no longer resembles a roller coaster. Warren ducked out about the time Joel A showed up to help out. The next steps were to tamp 11-4 and 11-2 tracks from the Barn to the switches. We split into two gangs: Steve and Joel ran the ballast regulator while Jim and Adam ran the tamper. We did our final passes on both tracks and the crew on the regulator had them both broomed and looking like mainline track by dark! The 6000 ran great with no mechanical problems all day long.... Looks like the hard work over the past few months is paying off. Thanks to all who helped this weekend, especially Joel Ahrendt, Jim West and Warren Lloyd visiting from the other departments, as we get ready to open up Barn 11!
IRM Track Dept
Wednesday, November 11. 2009
Well it turns out Veteran's Day is an Amtrak holiday... know knew? Well the weather cooperated today so I head out with a list of one man jobs to accomplish. To my surprise, JD Marzec and Greg Frech both showed up willing to do track work! Turns out they had the day off as well. So with three people the job quickly turned to Yard 11. The job was to get 11-4 track ready for another pass with the tamper so the first task was to regulate the stone that was dropped a few weeks ago. After getting the regulator fired up, Greg and JD made a few quick passes with the plow and broom. After they finished the 6000 tamper and regulator were moved to Yard 10 to clear 11-4 track. We made our way to Track 24 to fire up the tie crane and motorcar/ powerpack combo. We had to replace a ~12ft stick of rail on 11-4 track to close a 3" gap in the curve. So Greg and JD both got a walkthrough on the machines and ran them over to yard 11 while I acted as the U-man on the ground. The three of us made quick work of removing the old rail and cutting/ installing the new rail. After the last spike was through we headed for lunch at Joe's.
Monday, October 12. 2009
SEPTEMBER 26-27, 2009
Last weekend was a big weekend in Yard 11. Our dept was joined by three volunteers from the Minnesota Transportation Museum, Andy Inserra, Phil Wellman and Eric Hopp in addition to our IRM gang Frank D, Tom H, Adam R and our most recent addition, Mike Weber. The task was to do as much work in Yard 11 as possible with two full days and a good group of guys ready to work. In previous weeks we have been actively loading ballast into our two C&NW ballast cars and dumping them on yard tracks as needed as well as repairing the 6000 tamper. Saturday we split into numerous gangs throughout the day while we ran our "production surfacing gang" in the Barn. While tracks were being tamped with the 6000 tamper, other crews were busy loading ballast cars with the Model 30 Burro crane, regulating stone on the yard tracks and dumping stone with the Model 50 Burro crane. At one point it was truly an impressive scene with three work gangs working on seperate tracks at once! The crew from Minnesota did a great job learning the machines and jumping into the jobs. (Some of them have backgrounds in track and signals and are also the MTM's track dept...) Saturday night we all worked well past dark which was possible due to the ceiling lights inside of the Barn. We called it quits for the night and made it to the Truck Stop for dinner a bit after midnight.
Sunday most of us returned for another day of tamping and regulating in the Barn. Like all track machines a few problems came up with the 6000 tamper later in the day shutting down the operation. A few parts failed 'inside' of the machine and for anyone who knows the machine also knows how dirty it is to get under, in between and 'inside' of the it for any reason... We had a few spare parts which we reinstalled and helped us get through the evening but more parts are on order which will complete this round of repairs and get us rolling again. The work didn't stop there as another track was regulated and the west end of 11-4 track was lined with the assistance of Nick K in the Bobcat. By the end of the weekend we had finished tamping 11-4 track, nearly finished 11-3 and made the first lift on 11-2 track. Each track requires 3-5 lifts with the tamper for their entire lengths to get the track upto the proper height and alignment. Ballast was dumped on 11-3 and 11-4 tracks and both tracks regulated. It was a VERY successful weekend and proves how much we can accomplish when the machines work properly and most importantly when we have many hands helping out. Track work is not an easy activity to say the least... Thanks to the gang from Minnesota again, we really apprectiate your help!
OCTOBER 3-4, 2009
This past weekend, Tom H, Frank D and Adam R were out Sunday to continue repairs on the tamper, load ballast and pick up material on the mainline. An urgent request was made to clean up some Track and Line Dept material near the interchange track for the unloading the the new Santa Fe loco in the coming weeks. Frank was the first one out this morning and fired up the Model 50 Burro crane. I arrived shortly after and we picked up the C&NW flatcar and headed West toward the interchange.
OCTOBER 10-11, 2009
Saturday's crew consisted of Frank D, Tom H, Steve L, Steve's friend Josh Gould, and Adam R. As in previous weeks the big project is finishing Yard 11. The day started early for Frank who was able to get the tamper temporarily fixed making it operable once again. With things looking positive we fired up the tamper and got to work... Thankfully Nick showed up shortly after and gave us a little pep talk. My favorite quote from the conversation- "Get as much done before the tamper breaks again, it's already past due for a break down..." Mind you we hadn't been tamping for more than 15 minutes at this point. More on that later...We all focused the next few hours tamping 11-2 track and 11-3 track. By 12:30 we had 2 track and 3 tracks completely raised and ready for stone. But as expected the tamper failed just as we were finishing 3 track. The pin which holds the entire workhead assembly to the hydraulic cylinder snapped, the workhead fell to the ground and busted the hydraulic cylinder and hoses.... Sigh. Well all hope wasn't lost and the next few hours were spent working on the current failure and replacing parts from last weekend's failures... Needless to say we got a lot done on the machine and we'll be up and running this weekend.
I left early but the rest of the gang stayed late Saturday dumping another round of ballast on the finished tracks. The majority of the work inside of the barn is done. Three passes with the tamper on one track and the tamping will be done. We need to manually lift the last 20' on each of the yard tracks, finish ballasting (including loading one more car of stone), regulating, and we will be finished with the track portion of the project indoors. IF all goes well next weekend I can see us being out of the Barn within the next 2-3 weeks.
Sunday was very low key in comparison. I was the only one out and spent a few hours sorting the recently arrived switch timbers near the connector track. Next month Volkmann, our track contractor, will be out replacing switch ties on a number of mainline and carline switches. http://www.irm.org/gallery/icemancne and my photo album here: http://www.irm.org/gallery/lzeje657
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