Wednesday, August 29, 2012

RGS #11 back in service

Rio Grande Southern #11 rolled out of the shop this past weekend.  The electrical system was tweaked and lights made to work.  The horn which had fallen apart was replaced with a motorcycle horn mounted up behind the front hood above the chain drive to the driveline from the transmission.

The biggest change has been the painting and letting of the locomotive.  The Rio Grande Southern herald is the same as my namesake railroad in Colorado.  It looks small on this locomotive but both the #10 and the #11 will get the same treatment and these smaller herald fit on that locomotive better than a larger one.

Number plates for both locomotives are on order to hopefully arrive in September.  The #11 also has a brake kit on order from Cannonball which will be installed under the engineer's seat.

Rear end of locomotive - even numbers on the end.

Front of the #11 - shop picture

Number plate still on order.  The lights all work, including the dome light on top which flashes.

Side profile

The "F" stands for Front (of the locomotive.)

Rio Grande Southern Sunrise Herald and locomotive number.

Number 11 and engineer's car.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

RGS #0300 and 0301 back in service

RGS #0300 rolled out of the shop this past weekend and the 0301 went in to get the lettering and numbers applied.  It emerged Monday with the lettering applied and was coupled to its sister car.  They will be used for construction of new track this fall (after the temps and HUMIDITY deminishes.)

302 will remain a yellow car and will remain in locomotive service as a compressor / engineman's car for locomotive #10.  It will also serve as the tool car for the contruction trains.  The flats will handle the buckets of ballast, the gons 0300 and 0301 will handle ties and when available, a new EBT hopper will be purchased and used for final ballasting.

RGS 0300 and 0301 in Extra Train #11

I'll need to come up with the ideal way to connect the locomotive's safety cable to the car's safety chain.


The red coupler is only marking the coupler I would like to replace.  This one has a busted pin to release the knuckle.  The air hose is connected.  The safety chains are held up but the proper quick links for this chain was not available at the hardware store yet.  (Used bailing wire in the meantime, like my prototype would I'm sure.)

Lettering on the curve.

0300 and 0301 in train X-11 in a light rain

0300 and 0301 in train X-11 in a light rain on the Dogwood Bridge
Up next, the #11 will get some maintenance (new horn, new switches, etc.) and a touchup of the paint.  The number will be removed to be replace with the proper railroad sunrise herald and number.  A new number plate for the #11 and the #10 will be arriving sometime soon for the front of the two diesels.  #10 will follow into the shop to get minor mechanical work done and new paint and the same lettering as the #11.

This fall, when the survey of the new route of the tracks is completed, utilizing the newly purchased land next door, construction of Bridge 2A will commence (the bridges from the switchback down to below Pine Hill will start with "2" and be lettered 2A through 2C.  Bridges 2D and 2E are likely not going to be needed now.  Also, I will be removing the car barn switch from the middle of the switchback and use it up above on the "house track" to allow 2 tracks of storage there.  The planned enginehouse / carbarn is now planned to come off of the turntable instead.

A new sign was made up at Tweetside railroad for the Dogwood Bridge.  All bridges on the RGS will get signs like this hopefully.
Train Extra 11 on way to Telluride.  New Bridge 1A "Dogwood" sign on the post.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

RGS 0300 retuns to service


RGS 0300 was put back together and moved out of the barn to return to service on July 4th.

0300 with #11 at Telluride.
Since the car is an older Railroad Supply Co. gondola with a wooden floor and worn out trucks, I decided against any brakes on these cars (they are limited to Maintenance of Way service anyway.)  So the cars can be used in trains with other heavier cars with brakes, the brake pipe passes unser the car from end to end.  The valve is on the right covered with a plastic cap to protect them.

It was decided that the standard for the cars was to have the chains for the cars mounted under the knuckle to that if a car derails, it pulls in the straight line with the car it uncoupled from.  The end of the chain is attached to the same bolt which serves the pin for the knuckle coupler.  In order for these chains not to drag, a second hook is mounted to the side at an angle so the chain can be easily removed to connect to the adjoining car.  The brake hose will loop down under this chain (so it does not get pinched or broken.)

Appliances on the end of the car.

Up next for restoration work is the sister car, the 0301.  It was at the end of the tracks with a load of wooden ties.  Some carpenter ants took up residence in the ties so I removed the ties into a pile at Pine Hill (instead of into the 0300) and put the 0301 back down the hill by itself to get the ants to leave before moving it to the shop.  I need to unload the 302 as well to preserve it from the ants moving in.

0300 on House Track with 302 (under cover) while 0301 behind the coach is unloaded.
The lettering for the car is being created now and should arrive before August.  It and the 0301 will have the same simple lettering the RGS used on its MOW cars.

0300 and #11 in Telluride yard on track 2
The 0300 tracks very well.  Luckily only one spring in the couplers were shot and so a new one was installed.  The trucks are a little on the loose side but are not showing signs of wear and the axles are riding in the bearings well (unlike the 302 when it went into the shop.)

RGS 0300 on crossing at Wood Spur Switch
You might notice the parallel between the 0300 and the water tower.  Yes, they are the same color.  Also, to the left of the 0300 are the car frames for the new narrow gauge equipment which will transfer into the barn for storage until after the existing equipment is shopped which right now seems to be only the 0301 and the Santa Fe coach (which is mechanically is great shape but will need the brakes, painting, new seats manufactured, windows and a roof - so hopefully it will not need to be under cover like all the flats and gons.  Also, the 4686 will be shopped once new trucks are purchased (2.5" scale) and equipped with brakes.  It will get the same setup for brakes, chains and the like and a new paint job and lettering - same reporting marks and number.

Telluride on July 4th.

Monday, July 2, 2012

July Update

Work has been commencing in the new garage space of the barn.  Out of the shop to make room for materials was one of the drop arm crossing gates.  This particular gate will be installed here at the crossing for the garage.  The other crossing gate and cross bucks will be located down at the crossing below Pine Hill.



Part of the restoration involved new sealed boxes for the lights (actually holds the flasher and bell.)  It's a tight fit when the arm comes up.  The arm is lowered by an air compressor and air cylinder.


The signals were both in bad shape being out in the weather for 2 decades.  Parts broke off.  Stuff got bent.  In order to prevent additional bending of the cross bucks, I have this signal upside down in the garage.  It too will be restored but stored under wraps until the tracks are completed to the crossing.


RGS 0300, a M.O.W. gondola which will be used to haul ties and ballast is being completed.  The couplers will be mounted once the safety chains are mounted.  The air brakes bypass this car but the air lines are being installed.


Since the 0300 is M.O.W. and so old (and made of wood which is not good for a passenger car) and the trucks are worn out there will be no brakes installed on this car.


The old floor of the 0300 was so badly rotted that the coupler had fallen out and the truck was poking through and while the car was being moved into the garage, the bolster fell off.



100 degree heat this week limits the work which can be done.  The work being done in the garage in the mornings in front of the big fan makes it tollerable.


Reciently completed was the new turnout switch for what was supposed to have been the car barn but will instead be a couple storage tracks.  A new roundhouse structure will be built into the hill to the left of the garage which will also involve more pipe and filling in the ditch between the roundhouse and the turntable at the end of the two tracks here at Telluride.  The electronics for this switch still needs to be made which will also control signals.  This switch will also be installed 20' higher up the hill on the switchback.

Friday, May 11, 2012

May's mutterings

Telluride Location
The past 2 months continue to devote time to the barn's rebuild.  The garage is completed except for the painting and final attaching the metal roof to the wooden substructure.

Inside the "garage" is 20' of track where equipment can be brought in and stored or even repaired.  Outside the barn the pipe has a new wall to form a "catch basin" to try to force more water into the pipe and away from the front of the barn and tracks.  Wednesday's storms once again overwhelmed the pipe so it's obvious that the track leading into the barn from the turntable site WILL need some gaps to allow water to flow through.  The track curves from the barn to the turntable site close to the catch basin.  The retaining wall on the north side of the tracks will also help divert water from the barn side of the hill towards the basin.

In front of the barn the concrete pad has been started.  The edging to the tracks has also been installed and soon the rails will be installed and the site ballasted.  Much of the end of the tracks close to the barn will have crossing planks as well.  Once this is completed, the mainline tracks will be extended another 10' each forming the crossing at Telluride but will have to stop short of the turntable site due to a large tree which needs to be taken down in the area.

The road leading to Telluride needs some swails cast into it to divert the water away from the crossing towards the drains near the water tower.

Mainline Work
Out on the mainline, the tracks were leveled and ballasted.  A great deal additional settling has been happening over the spring since it has been so wet.  This is to be expected and each year the ground firms up even more.  The large fill above the lower switchback switch received a great deal of ballast as a 2" deep by 30' long sag in the track was leveled.  RGS #11 with the 4686 and 100 have been out on the road making repairs.

The flooding of the creek over the past month altered the stream 20' up from the lower switchback and washed out part of the retaining wall in this location - a section about 36" long.  New materials have been purchased and is on the 100 flat right now awaiting enough dry weather so the creek will not be so muddy before a new wall reach down below the creek bed up to the track height is built.  The headwater deflection seems to work at the end of the tracks and no washing of the tracks in that location has occurred.  The final 8 feet of track is ready to go down in this location and the 302 gon with the ties is currently sitting on the tracks in this location waiting to be put to work.

Car Barn Switch
When time permits, the new switch will be built and intalled.  It will be placed 20' higher up the hill than it currently is now.  That switch will be removed and used inside the yard.  The OLD parts of the old switch is proving to be troublesome.  The same can be said of the house track which needs its points ground again as the locomotives tend to split the switch whereas the cars do not.

Rolling Stock
The "trash gon" #300 has been stored on the house track and has been cleared out and can be hauled up to Telluride to receive a new floor.  The #301 is also sitting next to the 300 and will need a new floor.  Next to the #301 is the Santa Fe coach which needs to be pulled out and a new roof made.  The last load of materials brought down from Clemmons included the aluminum sheet which we'll use to make a new roof.  New windows also need to be fashioned.  Once this car is sealed up, it can be used for holding all the materials for track building.  Or outfitted with seats for kids to ride but on this railroad, more railroad parts ride the rails than people.  Besides, the beam riding car is in service already.  Last on the House Track is the diesel locomotive frame with all the new rail car frames all waiting to be moved up to Telluride to be turned into real railroad cars.  In the meantime, those frames should be moved into the barn.  The house track and car barn tracks need to be put back into live service so the engine house and car barn can be built.

RGS #10 is on stamdby.  It's parked on Pine Hill siding with the beam car at this time.  It's not that efficient of a locomotive to use hauling the larger loads of ballast, at least until the train air brakes are all on.  The parts are on order and will arrive sometime down the road.  The first air brake controls will be placed on the #11 as it's serving as the road engine more often.  And it has more room for the compressor, reservoir and such.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Quick Update

Well, not much to report over the past 3 months.  The beam riding car has its brakes and is now parked with the #10 on Pine Hill Siding out of the way.  An additional 20 feet of track is down on the lower switchback tail track and the retaining wall along there was extended and back braced.  Only another 10 feet or so of track is left to lay there.  I have been using the pre-cast plastic ties in this area and really like how easy and quick it is to use those.

I have decided to replace the troublesome SPDT switches used in the electric turnouts with a new electrical module I designed which will make the railroad work more like a prototype.  New controllers, signals and such are being built now as I have time.

The biggest project on the books right now is replacing the barn leanto which was collapsing after only a decade because they used poor quality products to build.  The new one is considerably stronger, fully enclosed and larger.  There will even be a track along the retaining wall with a small door for the trains to pass through.  This track will connect to the turntable when that's built.   It is hoped to have the barn's "garage" completed and painted by the end of the month when the specially ordered steel roof will arrive.  Currently tarpaper is being used on the roof.  This roof also used 1" thick plywood so branches will not longer be able to fall and poke holes through it.  And this garage will be a covered location to work on the rolling stock, build track infastructure (turnout switches), etc.  The barn shop will revert to the shop it was meant to be as storage is moved onto the huge number of shelves that will be in the garage.

As part of the rebuilding the barn, the area will be concreted down there and the tracks across the driveway will be extended and concreted as well.  Drainage is still a problem here but I hope more driveway gravel will help until the entire drive up is concreted and all water can be diverted off towards the drainage at the water tower.

Currently RGS #11 is working with the 4686 and 100 (flats) to build the tracks.  RGS 302 which is loaded with ties will be used shortly as the bridge across the creek from the switchback is started as the dirt from the enginehouse and carbarn site is removed.