Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pine Hill (mostly) done.

Pine Hill siding has been raised almost 6" near the trees and lengthened another 5 feet. A new bumper is in place, one that is anchored to the cribbing and not the tracks so the rails should not seperated when hit by a railcar. This siding is mostly level but I want to let it settle a little more before I add any more ballast to it.

The culvert (next to the tree) was raised up as well. A little water might pool up behind but not much. There is no drain between the mainline and this siding so the water will be absorbed by the ballast and run off towards the end of the siding if there is enough water.

Looking up from the end of the switchback's upper tail track. This track will someday be extended using a section of bridge. The track is purposely towards the right so there will be room to walk alongside the stopped train once the railings are in place.

Looking south. The dogs were having fun moving the landscape fabric around. The switchback on the far left will be the next section built (in addition to a section of the engine house track.)

Here's the signal head for the switch. I will probably add another "repeater" which will stick up above the railing near the north switch controller box so the aspect can be read from the far side of the tail since the railing might block the view.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Construction this past weekend

Not much to report (and no pictures yet) other than I began to build the retaining walls for the siding at Pine Hill. I built up the last 8 feet or so of it but still need more landscape timbers to complete the work. I need to then back-fill the end of the siding with some more dirt and then I can ballast the track to be level.

I could have done more work except it was in the 90s and VERY humid and I had to get a tire on my truck repaired that morning.

I am about out of ballast so I need to place an order. I might wait until August to do that but when I will begin work on the switchback track and the engine house track.

This coming weekend I'll be up in Farmington in the morning moving another ton of 12 pound steel rail. My truck is the only one that can get back in there and have enough power to pull those rails out. These are the rails that my friend Fred is swapping with some folks in Illinois for aluminum rail. He's going to give me the 3-way switch for the car barn section which connects to the tracks on the switchback track. I do have the switch to go in the switchback track and it will be rebuilt next. Then a new switch will be built for use at the bottom, one with another motor like the top of the switchback and I will then wire these all together (so the power and control wires will be in a conduit buried alongside the tracks.) The power source will be the vertical windmill which I have decided to locate next to the chicken coop since it is a little windier there... Plenty to do so laying track does not need to happen right away (which is easier on me during the hottest parts of the summer. Eventually I hope to spend the summer months working on the locomotives and cars in the barn and the cooler months working on the tracks. We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The July 4th weekend allowed me the time to complete the ballasting to the end of the upper Pine Hill Switchback track.

Looking north at the end of the track.

The heavier stop-block at the end of the tracks. The tracks from the switch to the end there are level now. Eventually the track will extend another 20 feet on a bridge section to allow for the full length trains to go through the switchback.

Damage to the Pine Hill Siding stop block was caused when the 4686 flat car, 300 and 302 gondolas fully loaded with ballast could not be stopped in time and pushed the parked 301 up and over this. It will be rebuilt after the retaining wall is built and these tracks are leveled.

The location of the retaining wall for Pine Hill Siding. The plans for this upcoming week and weekend is to build Pine Hill Siding's retaining wall which will actually extend the other retaining wall in the background up along the siding and the siding can be lengthened another 5 feet. Eventually wood storage racks will be added along this spur track so cut and uncut wood can be stored ready for use at Wood Station. This is also the access point for the gardens for deliveries from the barn of mulch, etc. A true multi-purpose siding.

Upper Pine Hill; the 3 turnout switches are shown here. Once the siding is done, the mainline down the switchback will be started as well as the retaining wall and fill required for the engine house track (middle) which will be used as extra storage as well as a temporary building built to house the #10 switcher once it's operational again. I'll use the metal pieces from an old "shanty" that used to occupy this site and had collapsed for the walls.

After it was found that the weight of the fully loaded flat was too much to be moved by hand safely, the flat was loaded with freshly split oak on Sunday and is now parked at Wood Station. This car holds a LOT of wood and was difficult to push up here on the 4 percent at Wood Spur switch around the huge oak tree. The bearings are in great shape and this car rolls very well, unlike the old gondolas which are truely worn out, hince, the need for the new narrow gauge cars to handle all the day to day work as the old gons are used for maintenance of the track.