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Wednesday, August 19. 2009
Our task this past weekend was to
construct the new 11-4 track inside of the Barn in yard 11. We had a
really good group out Saturday to work taking time from their normal tasks to
help us out. The crew was the regular track gang, Frank D, Tom H, Steve L
and Adam R and we were joined by Jamie K, Pete P, Warren L from the diesel dept
and Erik M, a long distance volunteer from Nebraska.
After lunch we regained our strength and finished up building the entire track to the west end of the Barn! Bob Olson and myself ran into the material yard for a quick trip to locate more joint bars while the Erik ran our hydraulic rail saw cropping the ends of the rails and getting the last short panel set. We hooked a chain to the Burro and at an angle and tugged on the track to drag it into place, 15’ from 11-3 track.
With a motivated crew, we figured the next reasonable step would be to dump ballast on our new track. Jamie K and Pete P grabbed the USA 8537 to dump the ballast. An attempt to move the cars with the Model 50 burro proved to be too much on the tough grade into the barn. Adam R, Pete P, Tom H and Steve L ran the four ballast doors while Frank D and Jamie K ran the move. We dumped the entire track with a car and a half of stone in a matter of minutes. Our last task, due to the dwindling light, was to plow out the ballast with our new Amtrak Ballast regulator to prep for the tamper. This was the first time we’ve used this machine and I think we can all say it was an amazing success. A few minor tweaks and lack of use issues came up, but we did manage to run the machine down the entire track without any real problems. It will be a good machine once we get it through ‘our shop.’
With this said, 11-4 track is completely built! This Saturday we will begin the process of getting the Amtrak Jackson 6000 tamper adjusted, lubed and running and hopefully continue to reload our ballast cars. Until the electrical portions of the building are complete, we will work on raising 11-4 track inside the barn and tamping the approaches to the doors outside of the barn. This will be a process of raising, dumping stone, regulating, raising…and so on. We need to raise the track up nearly a foot in some places and that will take time.The help from within the museum really makes things easier for everyone working and shows the commitment they have toward the museum. To find more pics on the Yard 11 project Frank D regularly updates his page here: http://www.irm.org/gallery/album182 Check ‘em out. Thanks,
Saturday, August 8. 2009
Today we took a large step toward the completion of Barn 11. The gang today was Frank, Trackbolt, Steve and myself. The goal today was to build off the newly constructed switch and extend the track into the Barn and begin setting track panels inside the building on the new 11-4 track.
After lunch Steve joined us and we started by installing the first long track panel which extends through the door sills. The Model 50 Burro crane made quick work of the actual install process and the rest of the sweat was getting everything in line and bolted together. Once the panel through the door was in place we brought in the next two panels, laid them in place and bolted them up as well. Nick joined us with the bobcat and backhoe and helped place some stone on the new track to make it safe to travel across. Dave D. helped us engineer the tracks through the door sill and find our eventual rail height. There is a lot of QC work to be done on this new stretch of track but nothing our own track dept isn't capable of handling. We will need to finish spiking up a couple of ties, tamp the barn approaches and insert ties under the joints between panels.From here on out the rest of the track will be built 'relatively easily' with the remaining track panels and Model 50 Burro crane. We have the air compressor and hydraulic power tools to assist us in the construction. The entire process works best with 3-4 people. Anyone is free to join in during this process. We always appreciate the help!
Next Saturday we will again spend the day working on Barn 11 out of the Thomas spotlight. We will attempt to complete the work on the new portion and place more track panels. Our two ballast cars have been loaded by our Model 30 Burro crane and bucket and are ready to be dumped on the track soon. Frank was the "official" photographer for the day and he'll be posting pics in his Member's Photo page on the IRM site soon.
Adam Robillard, Roadmaster
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..
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