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Monday, June 22. 2009
Weekend Track Report - June 20/ 21 Posted by Adam Robillard in Track Department at 00:01
The heat this weekend reminded me just how much I like early spring and late fall... anything over 65 degrees is just too hot. But the high humidity Saturday didn't stop us from working. The gang this weekend was Tom H, Steph J, Steve L, myself and special guests JD Marzec, Greg Frech both from the steam shop and John from the carshop who was attending for regular membership. As advertised, most of us arrived on time and prepped for a trip to Four Mile Siding to replace the switchpoint on the turnout side of the new power switch. We split into two groups to start out. Steve, Steph and John got the J580 A8 Motorcar, Welding cart and hydraulic cart switched out of Barn 2 while Tom, JD and Greg got the Model 50 Burro, CNW flat and EJ&E 529 caboose together in Yard 11. I ran around gathering fuel, water and ice and got the forklift out to load the new switch point onto the flatcar.
We made it out to Four Mile and were joined by Julie J and Bob O from the signal dept to replace the point. We made quick work out of the job and had the new rods on, including the 'new' #2 rod within an hour. It seems this point is indeed correct and will work fine. We made the slow trek back to the property a bit after 1PM and had everything put away around 2PM. I'm glad to report that all of our machines worked very well and the only thing that required a jump start was the forklift...sigh
The rest of the day we spent mostly in Yard 11 cleaning off the C&NW flatcar and continuing to load our scrap gondola. The old switchpoint was set up near B&G for Volkmann. JD was able to cut frog bolts with our oxy/ acetelyne torch making quick work out of that. Everyone did a very good job and I appreciate all of the help. I think everyone had an enjoyable day but I've been known to be wrong..
Sunday was only slightly lower key. Tom, Steph and I made up the Track Dept while Steve L spent the day helping the Electric car shop in Barn 4. The goal was to cut brush near Karsten's crossing with the Amtrak brushcutter before operations got underway. Tom and Steph arrived on time and got the machine out and on the rail early. After the Electric car shop finished testing of the overhead on the main it was our turn to get on the line. I showed up just as they were finishing up the first section of cutting and just as the machine developed an air leak... An old air line under the machine came loose from its fitting which put us out of service on the main until we could come up with a fix. An hour or so later, after numerous trips to the property and failed attempts at a repair we ended up changing the entire hose. We got ourselves back in service and cleared the mainline for revenue service shortly after. There is still a little bit of cutting left to do near Karsten's but the worst area has been taken care of. It was a warm weekend and proved how important it is to carry water with us on the line. We have a cooler in Barn 2, lets remember to keep it full.
In the next few weeks we will need to take care of some housekeeping chores. The fire inspector will be coming soon and we have a list of things to clean up ASAP. All of the plastic hanging from the ceiling in Tk24 will need to come down and the aisles need to be clear.
Until next time...
Sunday, March 29. 2009
Saturday Report by Frank DeVries:Tom, Adam, and myself made up the crew. I arrived early and resolved an air leak problem in the mower, I found one of the air lines had gotten out of place and rubbed against the drive shaft. I replaced two hoses with a quick trip to Napa, and pulled them up into the cab and had the machine running again. While at NAPA, I also retrieved the hydraulic filter for the same machine. Tom and Adam were out next. Tom took the mower to get fueled, and was back on the main to finish mowing. Adam went to barn 2 to finish draining the fuel out of the 585.
I continued to work on bolts to remove the two failed motors off the Jackson 6000 tamper, but decided north winds and 33 degrees, this was a job better left for another day. Off to the barn. After Adam drained the fuel and re-filled the tank with fresh gas, Adam and I tackled the leaking brake calipers on the 585. We jacked and cribbed the front of the car to allow access to the underside. Since the bolts didn't want to budge, we employed the blue wrench and quickly had the old calipers off the car. In short order we had the new calipers on, and bled, and tested. This car should stop on a dime, and give nine cents change. About this time, Tom was coming back to the property, having finished mowing the main. After a minor derailment, we had the mower put away. That machine will need to be greased again after it's winter workout.
After lunch, Adam got the fork lift out to sort material back by yard 10/11. Tom and I switched out 24 track to get the tamper and tie crane first out. Monday Wes and Warren Lloyd are going to again do the track department a huge favor and go retrieve the engine for the tamper. If they have time, and the snow isn't too high against the door, they will once again put this engine back on the frame of the tamper. Hopefully Fischbach has it right this time. Next weekend we will have to get this baby out and break her in.
After the switch move, it was back to the 585 to get the engine running again. I left our heroes improvising a new rubber fuel line to the fuel pump. I'll run to Napa next time and get some replacement 1/2" ID fuel hose to complete that job.
Sunday's Report by myself:
Today started out kinda dreary; snow on the ground, drizzle and lots of clouds.
As soon as Barn 11 is ready for us to work in, we will. Within the next few weeks we'll try and get the three 112lb track panels to Four Mile Siding and set in place, just as we did in Yard 13. By the time we left the sun was out in full force without a cloud in sight with temps in the mid 40's. The property was almost entire void of other life, but it was well worth the trip out.
Check out the rest of my photos from the day in my Member's Album: http://www.irm.org/gallery/album144Adam Robillard
Monday, March 23. 2009
March 13-14, 2009
Last Saturday's gang was Tom, Frank, Steve and myself. The original goal for the weekend was to get the mainline walked and inspected for defects and Tom continue to brush cut on the main. Frank and I ended up getting out early and spent the entire day walking from MP0 to MP 4.8 marking defects along the way. We came up with 3 full pages of issues to correct, mostly loose bolts and missing washers, but a few other important defects like sink holes near 4 culverts... A day of repairs will be necessary very soon, but for now the line is open to 40MPH without any speed restrictions. Tom spent all day on the mower cutting brush from Seeman Rd to Four Mile Siding. He made huge progress cutting areas with very heavy brush. The improvement is very noticeable.
Sunday was Frank, Steve and myself. We hit the main early with the EJ&E 585 motorcar, hydraulic power cart and tie crane and headed to Four Mile Siding. Frank ran the crane prepping the siding extension for three track panels... This involved picking up about 50 ties laid out and clearing the area for weeds. In the meantime, Steve and I drilled two bolt holes at the end of a rail that had never been drilled on the siding. We now have bolts in both rails and the joint put back together. There is no reason Four Mile can't hold revenue trains now. We greased the new power switch at Four Mile, and continued greasing all of the spring switches as we headed back to the property for lunch.
March 21-22, 2009
This weekend we had a different focus. Saturday we picked up the transmission filter for the Model 50 Burro crane from NAPA we had previously ordered. Getting that and a complete set of filters for the 6000 filters set up the day's tasks. Frank was out with Trackbolt (Frank's daughter Emily) and Tom was out with Tyler. Frank and Emily did wonders getting oil changed and filters replaced on the 6000 while Tom and Tyler did a great job cutting the mainline. By dark Tom had the entire line cut from one end to the other! Only a few chainsaw jobs left and we are 100% done with brushcutting. As promised, the line is tree free by regular ops next month. Tyler and Emily helped me top off the transmission fluid in the Model 50 burro and we tested it out with much success. A few hickups, but it seems with the proper amount of ATF and a clean filter the crane hauls very well. We tested it by moving cars around Yd 11.
The diesel guys had a bunch of trucks that needed to be rolled into storage at Yard 13... Long story short, 3 axle trucks don't roll well through streetcar curves.... We assisted by re railing those trucks about 10 times in a span of 3 hours... We had one set of trucks tucked away and another set half way to it's storage spot when the main radiator coolant line on the 50 Burro blew apart leaving the crane paralyzed with a passenger truck hanging from the hook.. This was around 9PM and we called it a day until we got parts due to lack of options to lower the trucks...
Sunday Tom and I made it out mid-afternoon armed with 5 gallons of antifreeze and a new hose. By the time I showed up Tom had the new hose installed and antifreeze topped off and we fired up the crane. We finished re railing the passenger truck with the crane and Tom hooked it up to the Jeep with a chain to drag it into it's storage spot a few rail lengths down. It was a sight to see and got the job done without any more derailments or broken windshields...thank goodness. The rest of the day was moving equipment around for the next project and getting the Burro Crane put away.
Thank you everyone for all the hard work so far this year. Soon we'll wind down the machine maintenance and focus more on projects. Coming up soon we are going to try to get Four Mile Siding extended another 150', repair defects on the main and prep machines for tamping and tie work. Machines that still need a fair amount of work is the Jackson 6000 tamper and the Model 30 Burro crane (X-17). We are out nearly every Saturday and help will be appreciated more and more as we get into the operating season. Let me know if you can join in the fun!
Tuesday, February 10. 2009
General Track Update and Recent ... Posted by Adam Robillard in Track Department at 17:14
Despite the cold and snow the last few months the Track Dept has continued to press on. Since the museum has been closed after the Santa Trains in December we've been spending time on the mainline cutting brush along the Right-of-Way. The primary focus of this is to clean up the railroad to increase visibility for train crews and prevent brush from coming in contact with the sides of equipment... We have a majority of the railroad cut west of Johnson Siding and as weather and time allow we will continue eastward. This is a very slow process due to the number of line poles along our railroad but we've made significant progress. We are pushing to have the railroad fully cut before revenue operations begin as not to tie up the line during the spring.
Other cold weather projects have been happening in our shop area inside Barn 2 on Track 24. We've spend time giving a number of our track machines oil and filter changes and repairing them as needed. A short list of those projects include reattaching any missing hoses on the broom of the ballast regulator, cleaning and maintaining our work area in the shop and prepping the engine in the switch tamper for removal and repair.
This past weekend the warm temperatures brought us outside to begin work on the line. Saturday Frank Devries and Adam Robillard were out and the first order of bussiness was to help the Signal/ DC Line dept replace a bad impedance bond on the far west end of the railroad. We brought out the tie crane, loaded up the new bond on a track cart and Frank ran the crane to West Schmidt. I met him out there and we had the new one installed fairly quickly. Returning from the field we switched track 24 getting the switch tamper in order to allow the engine to be removed during the week. The clean work space in Tk 24 made this task a lot easier. After finishing up we headed over to the Model 50 Burro Crane in Yd 11 to troubleshoot the travel. We began having problems with the transmission nearly two months ago and were now unable to get the crane into reverse.... It turns out a 3/8" X 1-1/2" bolt had been replaced in the past with a smaller bolt underneath the machine. This smaller bolt allowed too much play and prevented the piston from engaging into reverse on the transmission... A quick exchange with the correct size bolt solved that problem and the travel works, dare I say, reliably. We still need to change the hydraulic filter and troubleshoot the outriggers, but the crane is back in service.
Sunday Frank and I were joined by Steve Lewkowycz and we decided to tackle the first of many switch timbers that need replacement along our streetcar line. We got materials and tools out from their winter hiding spots and began by replacing a 16' timber in the switch leading to Yard 10 on the south end of the carline. We used the tie crane for the hard work and air compressor to spike it all up. The job ran quicker than any of us expected it too and next we tackled two head block ties in the switch leading to Yard 4 West near Depot Street. The existing ties were in horrible condition and were unable to hold the switchstand in place. The ties broke into 30 pieces when we attempted to pull them proving their ineffectiveness. A few hours and a few slices of pizza from Rosatti's later we got the two new 15' ties installed and spiked up. We needed to regage about 15ft of track off of the points to bring the switch back into gage. The switch stand was reinstalled and we called it quits after that. Kudos to Steve for venturing out for the day and helping with the work. We have many carline switch timbers to replace this season so any help would be much appreciated.
The next few weeks will include more brush cutting on the mainline and machine maintenance. If we can get a good crew together and a few nice days we can continue replacing ties. There is more than enough work to keep us busy before operations make our jobs much more difficult. We will begin inspections in early March. This includes a complete walking inspection of all revenue tracks (mainline, carline, sidings) and building a list of defects we need to fix before operations begin in April. Typically we will find enough work to keep us busy for two weekends repairing the defects. Help is always needed during this time to ensure the line is open without speed restrictions or Out-of-Services for the operations dept. If you'd like to help us out in the Track Dept. feel free to send me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Did I mention the good exercise you gain from working with us? Check out updated photos of our work at my photos folder here. http://www.irm.org/gallery/lzeje657
As I learn more about this blog i'll incorporate pics in the future..
Saturday, January 3. 2009
Tom and myself were out today and knocked out another section of brush cutting on the mainline. My original plan to volunteer in the Library fell apart so Tom and I ran out to Book Creek Bridge and finished cutting the entire length of the curve including the area at and around the bridge which was, to say the least, an interesting experience. With a few hours of light left we ran to the far west end and began cutting eastbound. In this area only one side needing cutting so while Tom ran the south side I kept the machine stable by counterbalancing the north side. We cut the entire main from Jefferson St to west switch Schmidt, the UP interchange, Schmidt Siding and one pass East switch Schmidt to the West Station Switch. One more good day with some trimming on the mainline at Schmidt and between East and West Station switches, everything west of the big tree will be done. (~MP 1.6) I'd say we're about 1/3 of the way finished with the line.
In amazement, nothing failed or went wrong today... A few sprits of ether and she fired up, no hydraulic failures and no harm to hidden objects in the grass... This really is a terrific machine to have on hand.
We will continue to mow the line as much as possible. It's fair to say we'll have the entire line mowed before revenue trains begin in April. That's the goal anyway.
Sunday, November 30. 2008
Saturday was myself, Tom, Frank and Trackbolt (Frank's daughter). We split ourselves into two separate gangs for the day. Tom and I spent the full day out on the mainline cutting brush with the recently debugged Amtrak brush cutter while Frank and Emily did a bunch of smaller essential tasks. The day started out like most any other day. The cutter wouldn't start. Immediately thought it was a dead battery (now only 2 weeks old) so we attempted a jump but nothing. Turned out the 60A main breaker fuse was busticated so Frank made quick work getting the last two from Napa. With a new fuse she started right up given the 32deg temps. Ready to roll, Tom set the cutter on the rails at Central Ave and we rolled out to Karsten's crossing to continue where we last left off. Things went well for the first five minutes when a hydraulic line failed...Typical day. Thankfully we were not stuck on the mainline without a way back cause Frank was on the grounds and went through our stock of used hoses and ran the motorcar out to us with the correct hose! We were back up and running in 10 min flat. A new record I think! From then on out the cutter ran great and we finished the first "section" from Karsten's crossing to the big tree were the RoW runs next to a field and we don't need to cut the south side. Satisfied we ran the mower back to Karsten's crossing and started the other direction cutting through the curve. Low light came upon us far too quickly and we quit a few poles west of the crossing.
Frank and Emily not only saved the day (twice), but also replaced a heel block bolt on the East Station 1/2 switch and capped off the leaking line on the Model 50 Burro crane. I'm pretty sure the two of them had to travel to every hardware store in the county to find the correct fittings, but they did and until we can repair the cylinder we'll at least be left without a puddle of oil on the machine. Frank mentioned an issue with a wheel locking up on the Santa Fe truck. We'll need to send it to Dave D. in B&G to take a look at it.
Today I was out primarily to prepare for the Santa trains running the next two weekends. I cleaned the pockets on the 50th Ave/ West wye switch as well as the East/ West wye switch near Central Ave. Both locks on the switches on a shot of lub/ de-icer as well. The 50Ave switch got a little TLC and the switch ties are now spaced evenly and no longer crooked. Quick work with a lining bar. The mainline from East Switch to Seeman Rd, including Johnson Siding, was inspected and thankfully nothing major, pull aparts, were found. Julie, there will be a copy of the inspection sheet in your mailbox Saturday. I noted that the flange ways in Karsten's crossing were badly fouled so I cleaned them out. I think I've seen more derailments due to frozen crossings than anything and those CTA cars aren't that heavy. I finished the day with a cleaning out the bed of the Santa Fe truck and cleaning a few smudge pots for service next weekend. We have two pallets of kerosene switch heaters in the material yard so I found enough caps, wicks and pieces to get 6 put together. I was able to get 5 lit and working but I'll need to get another wick for the 6th. I dug them in and tested them out on the East/ West wye switch just after dark. They will be cool to use for the next couple weekends. I'm gonna try to be festive and get the two electric switch lanterns lit on the East Wye/ Yd 4 switch and the East/ West Wye switch lit as well. What's cooler than that...don't answer. Next Sat I plan a quick inspection of the mainline and get the pots and lanterns running and deal with any snow we'll have. Sayin 6-8 inches tonight for Union.
Sunday, November 23. 2008
Frank and I were out today, naturally Frank was out Way before me though. Good thing because he installed the new radio in the Amtrak brushcutter where the old Amtrak one was mounted. Everything is installed ready to go minus the power to the unit. Nice work for sure.I arrived after lunch with the intention of getting the wine car parts unloaded from the UP hopper from California... Nick asked nicely. Frank had gone over the Model 50 earlier topping off fluids and repairing a tranny leak he found coming off the main pump. seems a lock nut was loose and was leaking at high RPM's. gonna have to keep an eye on that one. Frank was today's crane operator and his luck doesn't seem to be improving when it comes to travel mode. He was able to get it to move one direction but not the other. He found that pivoting the boom one way or the other made it function which tells us the contacts on the swivel post are dirty or corroded... After a while it worked fine so Frank said he'll clean up the contacts and hope that solves the problem.
We picked up the UP hopper on station 2 and dragged it over to the steam leads where we picked out the 2 complete freight car trucks, coupler, diesel loco foot boards and steam loco firebox from the car. The car by the way, still has half a load of 20 year old coal in it. Thanks to Jim W and Dan M for running the USA8537 for the day. After lifting the trucks from the car, Jim W pulled the car out and Frank lowered the truck to the ground where Nick was ready with the forklift to move the trucks to Yard 10. Everything went smoothly including the unloading of the 1800's steam locomotive firebox that came along.
To wrap up the day Jim, Frank and I dug the EJ&E 529 caboose out from 100 track and put it in Yard 11 for us to use with the Burro crane. The heat does work and I imagine we'll use it this winter.
All in all it was a good day.
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