Progress on the new D&RGW Refrigerator Car #159 has been progressing slowly. The body and siding is in place and the sides have been primed and painted. One side has been painted the final coat of paint and that has been allowed to dry an extended amount of time before the other side it painted. The ends need one final coat of paint and then it will be ready for lettering.
An additional flatcar was made available for purchase this past summer from the same person who sold me the large #4686. This new flatcar, the #4616 is 7' long which is 12" shorter than the other flatcar. These two flat cars will work to handle materials which are oversized (bridge members, rails, etc.) as well as handling occasional shipments of wood to and from Pine Hill and to Wood Station.
On order and currently under construction in Michigan by Adam Wright to be delivered the end of September is a new East Broad Top 3-bay extended side hopper complete with functioning automatic air brakes, doors and a spreader for ballast. This car will allow me to be able to single handedly maintain the track ballasting since I can use my tractor and top load the ballast directly into the car and then unload it without having to use buckets. With the current track projects and future track expansion, this car will be a savior to my back.
|Similar Hopper to what will arrive the end of September. It's also 2.5" to the foot scale.|
Adam is still working on machining the brake parts for the 4686 which has the Andrews trucks under it and have the brakes hung but the car is missing the brake cylinder, reservoir, links, rods and plumbing. Once Adam delivers these parts, the 4686 will be pulled from service while I install the brakes and dial them in. By that time, I hope to have the 159 body ready for its frame and can purchase another set of brakes from Adam (which hopefully can be manufactured and delivered fairly quickly so that car can go into service over the winter - about the time I hope to have the engine house completed so it can be stored indoors.)
Track work has been extremely limited this season as we have had one of the wettest summers here in a LONG time. (And I was working on other projects around the house which needed doing.) The tracks have been settling where it was reciently improved and some tamping has been required. Over the summer the only trains on the line have been the occasional train hauling materials to the engine house site. The frame of the 18' by 5' building is supported on piers on the side of the hill to the right of the crossing on the side of the hill, on the same track the engine house was originally proposed but on the other side. It is also a 2 stall building and not the 5 stalls I had been planning. Between the piers I am building retaining walls and backfilling almost 12" in places to level the grade. The tracks inside will have a one percent grade towards to door to allow the rolling stock to roll out the door on their own. Once the building "foundation" is completed, the area in front of the engine house will get its retaining wall, ash pit and switch installed and backfilled. It is hoped the hopper will aid in much of this work.
The turnout switch in front of the engine house for tracks one and two will be the switch in the switchback. The new powered switch is still up at Telluride and will be installed uphill from where that switch was located to provide that longer siding / run around. The switch which is in place for the House Track I decided the points are completely shot. They are around 40 years old, were mangled when I got them and I can not get them to work. So I need to replace them. I might as well switch the switchstand over to the harp switchstand as well.
I have been considering taking the switchstand from Wood Siding and replacing it with a motorized switch and using its switchstand for the house track. The idea behind this is that I am contemplating an additional uphill track which can connect to Wood Spur near Wood Station which can circle up behind the chicken coop making use of some of the new land and up to the existing short piece of track at Home Ranch which will continue up behind what will be a new garage and the trailer parking areas and parallel to the driveway. This will allow me to build an unloading ramp up there which would be so much easier to bring equipment in and out on trailers. A future steaming bay is planned near the garage with a possible track into the side or the garage storage wing which can be used to keep the #20.
This extension will be a fairly sharp curve and a significant grade. I still have to survey it. But it will pass near the rock pile so it would be a simplier matter to load ballast onto the train at this location, across the driveway from the ballast storage pile. This track also connects to Wood Station which will need the tracks realigned around the tree so the crossing will need to be remade there and the tracks extended to allow a train up to 50' to work what will be the upper switchback.
The interesting thing is that any train coming from the top with the locomotive facing downhill will by the time it reaches the mainline next to the engine house will be facing uphill. It will then have to pull into Telluride and run around the train to face downhill for the rest of the trip.
Additional survey work still needs to be done across the creek from the (current) switchback to extend that track. As I mentioned before, the lower switch will be raised about 6" to make the tail track easier to use as it will be less than one percent and not the 2 to 4% it is now (steeper near the creek.) This is a good move as it will raise the bridge at Dawn Creek (Bridge 2B) the same amount and reduce how deep the cut will be between Bridge 2B and 2C. It also will add about 10' to the length of 2C. But with the additional property, the curve near Bridge 2D will be a lot broader and even allows for a siding which is good for the approach to the puzzle when more than one train is operating. Luckily that should be rare as I am usually the only one on these tracks with a single locomotive.
Lots of plans and moderate progress seems to be the norm on my railroad.