Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ballasting on the Rio Grande Southern

With the construction of the raised retaining walls, the scene has really changed.

First, this is the view of where Bridge 2B will be located where it crosses the creek from the switch across to the other hill. I have decided on a standard of about 250 feet to a "mile" on the railroad so 2B would be the second bridge in this section. 2A is the upper switchback tail track bridge.



The retaining wall at Oak Falls was raised significantly. It is also being lengthened to end at what will be Bridge 2B's abutment.


This is the route of the lower switchback tail track up towards the barn and the creek.




The lower switchback switch was disconnected and relocated another 10' up. It will soon be ballasted.



The raised wooden retaining walls shows how much filling will be required.




The tracks were removed up to above the car barn switch so the ground can be raised. Above this spot it will be filled with ballast alone.




The s-curve on the switchback has been ballasted and will be tweaked after the kinks and dips are removed.





RGS #10 sits on the newly ballasted section of the House Track which leads to the future engine house.


Pine Hill has seen a great deal of work ballasting and leveling.



Ballasting began a couple weeks ago with the delivery of 11 tons of clean #67 washed rock. RGS #11 and flat #4686 was once again in ballast train service. The buckets of ballast come from the pile along the driveway in the back of the tractor and are loaded onto the flat for shipping to the front. I can move 14 buckets total at a time with this rig.
It's a lot of work but good healthy outdoor work.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Switchback work

With the help of my nieces we raised the retaining walls of the switchback a foot at the bottom and decreasing amounts up the hill. I'll finish those here soon and will get the tracks at the top (down to the car barn switch) ballasted. The tracks below this point have been removed for the grade to be filled in with dirt and then ballasted.

After I repaired some broken tools and added some new tools to use, progress was slow but steady as it took 12 wheelbarrow loads of dirt to raise the 20' of track down at Oak falls (the lower switchback switch there.) Uphill we'll be needing to bring dirt in from elsewhere. The dirt we dug was from the creek lowering it a foot and widening the channel to prevent flooding of the tracks.

Again, once *I* am done working on this, I'll move on to *my* next project as I am the one doing the work.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Changing Plans

After some additional work, I decided to raise the lower switch and move it an additional 10 feet to the north so it will align with a bridge I decided to add to cross the creek. The problem is that the creek falls quickly in this area and the new end of the track would be near the creek - 24" higher than the switch just 50 feet farther up. That's a 4% grade. So I decided to raise this switch 12" (although I might go one course of wall stones higher to 16".) This reduces the grade above but will mean the switchback will need to be raised 100' as I will be cutting the grade down by 1%.

One advantage of changing the switchback's grade is raising the carbarn switch so it aligns nicely with the car barn tracks.

The reason for the bridge is that it was found to be too hard to go down the hill on the west side due to trees and the necessity of a sharp curve below the switchback's upper tail track. By crossing over, we can use the natural basin on the other side to skirt around and then cross back over on another bridge. This basin does have a fairly sizable side creek in it so it will need a short bridge in there as well - probably 10 feet in length with a single bridge pier in the middle. Then ends will just set on abutments.

Bridge 2A, the one closest to the switchback should be nearly straight and be around 40' long. The 10' bridge mentioned above is Bridge 2B and then to cross back over the creek, Bridge 2C will be a longer bridge, curved on the east end and could be around 6 to 8 feet in height, but that has to be surveyed. It will be around 60 to 80 feet in length.

Coming off Bridge 2C, the tracks will when pass below the upper switchback tail track about 25' down the hill from the current end of the track. It will then curve around to the left across 3 short bridges which crosses 3 side creeks which converge in the middle of the basin it will skirt around. Once around the curve, the tracks should be near the hill top below which is a long, low hill which will provide an easy grade down to the bottom of the property.

Once the track crosses over at the bottom of the property and heads back up this other side, it will ultimately meet up with this new loop so trains will return to Telluride through the switchback to have the locomotive turned, run around the train and head back down.

Photos will be provided later.

Once the switchback, switch and tail track are in place and ballasted, the plans are to begin work on the engine house / car barn. After this building is built, I will continue to build on the railroad.

I know I have offers for help but I really need to just plan on me being the only one building the railroad so the schedule is dependant upon my being able to work on it and afford the materials needed.