Large Scale Railroad
Construction Progress 2017
Work sessions are on Saturday mornings usually around
Come down and help build a railroad!
For more information, or to volunteer, contact Burt
Wright (cell #) 444-0661
The Golden Spike
Ceremony was December 1st 2012
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Planned for October 28, 2017
There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday
beginning at 7:30 am. Hopefully, the summer heat is done and we can
begin to enjoy the fall temperatures we expect. This will be the first
of two consecutive weekends without an Open House as the next Open House
won’t be until Sunday, November 12th. At last Sunday’s Open House we
weren’t able to run as it was still pretty hot (90-ish) and we were
short of staff so we called it off. Although disappointing, it actually
gave us an opportunity to meet & greet the visitors who come to our Open
Last Saturday, although not a scheduled work session, several of
the regulars showed up and were quickly put to work helping Jurgen load
all of the fabricated steel for the Caboose Stair project onto Tony’s
trailer & truck for transport to the powder coater.
The pieces are very heavy, but luckily we had a good
group of heavy lifters available.
We also loaded up the Train Show sign and took it with us. The powder
coater (Anderson Painting Co.) is located near the airport on S. Country
Club. After unloading all of the fabricated steel at the painters, we
went to the Expo Center & put up the sign for next month’s train show.
In a few weeks, we’ll need to go pick up the steel and carefully bring
it back to the Museum to begin the final assembly.
At any rate, this Saturday, beginning at 7:30 am, we will begin
the excavation and form-building for the concrete foundation that will
form the stem wall and foundation for the turntable. This will be an
interesting project for us as none of us has built one of these before.
We are using MLS design concept for the turntable although they have the
luxury of having theirs on totally flat level land rather than
cantilevered over a drainage way. Come down and join us for good
fellowship and a little bit of digging.
Hope to see you Saturday AM.
PS: Don’t forget that the GPD annual meeting is a week from this Friday.
If you haven’t sent in your ballot, please do so. There will be a dinner
served and a raffle (ticket with the dinner meal or you can purchase
PPS: Don’t forget the November Train Show coming up the week after the
Annual Meeting (November 10-11). This should be a large show definitely
worth attending. As usual, we will be soliciting help with the table
set-up and take-down. With the trailer already waiting, the effort
related to this task has been greatly reduced.
Planned for October 14, 2017
Sheesh, it's hot with no A/C!
Further work on the turntable will continue at a later date after we do
a more precise survey and staking before doing any more digging;
So there are a few 'smaller' projects we can still use
Jurgen will be looking for help loading the Caboose Stairway components
for delivery to the powder coater as they are quite heavy.
So besides helping with the caboose stairs, we could also:
replacement on the station bypass track.
Design/build some sort of
functional track bumpers for the end of the engine shed tracks, as
well as two tracks in the yard behind the building.
Discuss where the dwarf
signal should be located and begin thinking about how to get
electrical to it.
Replace the now removed
mile markers with 'safer' versions (see JM for prototype and molds).
Find any other small jobs
that may come up if it isn't too hot already (it is).
- Jesse e.m. Miller
Planned for September 30, 2017
As planned, last Saturday, the corner moldings
were installed on the engine shed essentially completing the work on the
shed. Although the expanded metal segments at the bottom of the siding
to prevent rodent intrusion still needs to be installed, we are now able
to use the shed to store all the G-gauge buildings etc. to make the
setup of the outdoor G-gauge much easier and quicker for Open Houses.
The shed looks great and we should all be proud of what has been done.
Rough grade for one of the tracks from the shed has already been started
as shown in the picture below. . our next project, the turntable.
This Saturday, beginning at 7:30 AM (new time),
we will begin the process of surveying the track connection route
between the mainline turnout and the engine shed. The turntable will be
located in that route. The route was designed to be relatively flat and
level from the turnout to the track already laid in the engine shed.
Although not necessarily perfect, it is close. The turntable needs to be
level as we don’t ever want any trains rolling off the turntable. The
center of the turntable must be accurately established and the diameter
for the turntable swing must also be established so that we may begin
the process of creating a foundation for the concrete turning ring.
Planned for September 23, 2017
There is an Open House scheduled for this Sunday
and it will be much cooler than the last Open House. Last Sunday, it was
way too hot (98 degrees) to run either the outdoor G-gauge or the 7-1/2”
gauge trains. Currently, the predicted high for this Sunday is 87
degrees so we should be running the trains. Since we have the Open House
on Sunday, there is not a “scheduled” work session for Saturday.
Remember, we need at least 4 people to safely operate the train
(Engineer/Conductor/Station Master/Crossing Guard). It is critical that
we have enough staff available at the Open House on Sunday to be able to
operate the train. If you can only spend ½ day this weekend at the
Museum, make it on Sunday afternoon at the Open House.
As usual, there will be some of us who simply want to get together on
Saturday and do something relevant at the Museum. So, if you’re one of
those individuals, and can’t get enough of the Museum, you are certainly
welcome to join us.
Last Saturday, we made the corner moldings from 8’ long pieces of
leftover roof sheathing that we carefully ripped into 2” & 2-1/2” wide
strips. They were glued together, nailed, and then stained. They will
only need to be cut to length, notched at the top, and installed. We
will probably install the corner moldings on the engine shed this
Saturday as the finishing touch.
Below are the “before corner molding” pictures.
Next week you’ll see the “after corner molding” pictures. Then our
next project – TURNTABLE ! ! !
PS: If you come on Saturday, we’ll be there at 7:00 am with coffee and
pastries as usual.
Planned for September 16, 2017
There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday
beginning at 7:00 am at the Museum. On the work agenda will be
making the corner moldings for the engine shed. This shouldn’t take too
long to do as we plan on ripping plywood (left over from the roof
sheathing into 2” wide strips and then gluing/clamping/nailing the
strips into right angles and then applying stain. Installation will
occur in a future work session. Once completed, we are going to
“brainstorm” the design & construction method for the turntable. Thanks
to a donation of channel iron & other metal from Jacob Payne, we have
the lion’s share of steel that will be needed to make the turntable.
This project will add a significant amount of excitement and interest to
the railroad for visitors and members to enjoy. Come and join us for
this next phase of construction.
Last week, we essentially completed the engine shed by finishing
a bunch of loose ends. We were delighted to have Charlie Rigney back to
make the final electrical connections to the light fixtures. There is a
switch inside the engine shed at each end that will control the lights.
We are so lucky to have these skill sets available to our Museum. Thank
Lights, camera, action!
The final attachment of the door sheathing happened and the locking
hardware was installed at each end.
Both deadbolt locks are single keyed and both are keyed alike. Since the
engine shed will contain Museum owned 7-1/2” equipment, Chairman Jesse
Miller & Burt Wright have assigned keys. Since the Outdoor G-gauge group
will have their equipment stored on shelving installed in the building,
Jurgen Zander has an assigned key. A 4th key will be placed inside the
BOD key box inside the Museum.
Finally, the triangular small pieces of exterior siding were installed &
stained (one at each end) to finish the enclosure.
The finished project (albeit still needing corner molding),
For those who have worked on this project, there is a lot to be proud
Hope to see you all at the Museum on Saturday. It is supposed to be a
little cooler than last weekend too!
Planned for September 9, 2017
FIRST THING FIRST: OPEN HOUSE - this
Sunday, 12:30 to 4:30. Please consider coming to help out. Having said
that, the current weather forecast shows that we should be experiencing
an afternoon high temperature of 98 degrees F. This is on top of
high humidity as rains are also predicted for the weekend. Thus,
we will NOT be running the outdoor train on Sunday. Although
disappointing, we don’t want to put anyone at risk of heat related
injury or sickness so we will be postponing our first public run for a
couple of weeks.
It’s late notice, but there is going to be a work session tomorrow
morning at the Museum beginning at 7:00 am. On the agenda will be
finishing the doors on each end of the engine shed to enable it to be
secured so the G-gauge group can begin using it to store outdoor G-gauge
buildings etc. on the shelving they have constructed. Although this
makes the engine shed securable, it still isn’t finished until the small
detail stuff is done:
There are still two small
triangular pieces that need to be made & installed above the doors
on both ends of the shed. Once installed, they will need to be
We need to start making
the corner moldings that will be installed on the 4 corners of the
shed. Once made, they will need to be stained & then installed.
Last weekend, we had a
good turnout and a bunch of things got done. A small area at the south
end of the engine shed was formed to get concrete to secure a sleeve
that was installed to receive the drop pin from the left hand door of
Once formed, Tony & Roger mixed up a half sack of premix and placed it
around the steel sleeve.
With that work completed, the plywood pieces made for the north & south
ends of the shed were stained and readied for final installation. The
picture below shows that we have a little bit of “clean-up” work to do
inside the shed to make it usable. Hopefully, we can get all the misc.
lumber & other materials removed tomorrow.
The last thing done during the work session was giving the steel
framework a coat of semi-gloss black paint in preparation for the
installation of the plywood pieces. Don’t have a picture of that, but it
turned out good and should look great after tomorrow’s work session.
While the finish work was being done on the shed, the hump was expertly
removed from the siding along the back side of the building making it
safer to use and much more appealing to the eye. Below is a picture of
the finished project – didn’t get a shop of the guys who did the work.
Suffice it to say, it isn’t particularly easy as the ballast must be
removed from the area below the hump and the track pushed back down into
place. Ultimately, installation of concrete ties will stop this problem
If you’re interested, the next major project will be the
TURNTABLE. Begin thinking about it as that will be a great “fall
project” that will enable us to start using the engine shed for train
Last, but certainly not least: As of this morning, eight of our GPD
members have successfully completed taking the Engineer’s test.
Congratulations to all of you who have taken care of this. Don’t forget
that annual renewal of the certification test will be required. If you
haven’t taken the test but want to, contact Jesse or Burt who can send
you the website link to complete the test.
Hope to see you tomorrow morning. Join us for coffee and pastry at 7:00
Planned for September 2, 2017
Yeah, this is Labor Day Weekend meaning some of you may
take advantage of the 3-day weekend to get out of Dodge. But for those
who don’t, there will be a scheduled work session beginning at 7:00 am
on Saturday. On the work agenda will be (with a lot of luck) completing
the installation of the siding on the north end of the engine shed. Time
permitting or if we have another good turnout, we might also correct a
“hump condition” to the siding track on the side of the Museum. The hump
has been with us for some time and really doesn’t hurt anything as it’s
a siding, but it’s appearance does not give observers a strong sense of
confidence about track conditions. It would be great if that section
could get corrected before our 1st Open House. This Saturday is the
second to the last Saturday before Open Houses begin at the Museum.
Last weekend, we had a good turnout at the Museum by all of the
layout committee’s including the 7-1/2. As a member of the Board and
also of the 7-1/2 committee, it was good to see so many people actively
supporting the Museum. With the help of Chris Cheely & Brian Scott, the
Museum’s ride-on cars were inspected including wheel flanges, springs,
track gauge, couplers and general condition while the Alco S-4 had its
cab removed and all of the electrical connections checked for tightness
or corrosion. The chain drives were checked for chain tension and the
chains and couplers lubricated. While they were at it, privately owned
engines also received a once-over check.
Even Big Joe received a going over.
Kudos to the efforts by these members for taking on that important task.
When they were done with the inspections, there was debris to remove
from the grade crossings.
While train inspections and maintenance were being performed, a
commemorative brick had to be installed in the front walkway.
Once that was completed, Jesse & Burt wrestled with the siding on the
north end of the engine house. We’re close to being finished, but we
definitely need at least one more full work session to be 100%.
One thing that slowed us down at the engine house was the need to dig
out more ground in front of the shed door to facilitate getting the full
height sheet of T1-11 installed as well as diverting storm water around
the front of the shed. That effort is proving to be somewhat of a
challenge as there isn’t much slope to the grade at that location. It
was decided to set masonry cap stone (sloping away/north) across the
entrance into the shed. Jesse had previously donated a bunch of these
cap blocks to the Museum and we had just enough to create the desired
finish across the entrance way.
Perhaps next week, we can finish the grading to make sure water can get
around the north end without damaging the shed siding or causing undo
While work was going on outside, the interior of the Museum is taking
shape. Of major significance is the effort being made the the Gift Shop
crew headed up by newly appointed Marketing Coordinator Jurgen Zander
and the newly appointed Gift Shop Chairman Jeff Swanson plus Deborah
McGeary. Their collective efforts over the summer should dramatically
increase Gift Shop sales as much more merchandise is now on display and
the displays are much more appealing. If you haven’t seen it, come on
down and check it out. You won’t be disappointed and don’t forget to
bring some $$. Don’t forget, Museum members get a 10% discount!
LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST: Jesse has completed the on-line engineer’s
test. This must be successfully (minimum of 80% required to pass)
completed in order to operate any train on the Museum layout. Even if
you don’t have a train now, you may wish to operate the Museum’s
equipment in the future. Please go on-line and take the test. You
can repeat the test after an hour if you aren’t satisfied with your
first attempt. Obviously, there is no cost associated with taking the
test. Contact Jesse if you have any questions about taking the test.
Successfully completing the test does not obligate you to having to
participate at Open Houses, that is purely optional.
Hope to see you this weekend.
PS: Don’t forget the membership meeting is this Friday at 7:00 PM at the
August 26, 2017
Due to the quickly approaching Open Houses, there will
be a scheduled work session this Saturday beginning at 7:00 AM at the
Museum. On the work agenda will be inspection & servicing of the
Museum’s ride-on cars as well as a thorough inspection of our Alco S4
locomotive. Time permitting, we may begin installation of the siding on
the north end of the Engine Shed.
Last weekend, we (Jesse & I) were able to finish installing the
siding onto the south end of the Engine Shed.
Although the picture shows both doors with sheathing installed, only one
had been stained. The other piece did get removed and also stained but
it has to be reinstalled.
The door frames still need to be painted (black).
The 2nd billboard also got installed.
As usual, there is much to do, but this summer, we’ve had few people
coming around to help get it done. We really do need your help if you
can spare some time.
Hope to see you this Saturday.
August 19, 2017
There will be a regularly scheduled work session this
Saturday beginning at 7:00 am. The gates will be open and coffee will be
On the work agenda for this Saturday:
Installation of siding on
the ends of the engine shed. Once installed, the siding will need to
be stained to match the existing siding.
Installation of the 2nd
Installation of an
engraved brick into the front sidewalk honoring Steve Collins.
Last weekend, Jesse Miller & Burt Wright finished
installing the bird board on the engine shed. Also installed was one of
the two billboards near the front drive entrance. The complete public
train was unloaded from the container and several hot laps were
performed around the facility checking track conditions and the
operation of the crossing signal. Amazingly, the track was found to be
in very good condition with little settling caused by monsoon activity
or problems associated with expansion/contraction. We then put one of
the gondolas in front of the engine and slowly pushed it around the
track with Jesse laying on the padded seats to inspect rail joiners and
adjusting them as needed to make sure they were centered on the rail
joints. We really are blessed with an outstanding location and great
drainage thus limiting our potential for damage from weather related
problems. Our friends to the north have constantly had to correct damage
to their track resulting from the surface flow of storm water that will
actually float the track sections, moving and twisting the track as
their facility is located in a flood plain. In addition, rail expansion
constantly causes many humps and bumps that must be corrected.
Toward the end of the morning, Joey Ibarra came down with another large
load of concrete ties that he’s been making for us. We now have a very
full load of ties in reserve (approx. 235 ties) which will, in part, be
used to complete the connection from the main line turnout to the engine
house. That connection will be part of our next large project that will
include construction of the turntable.
Hope to see you this Saturday morning at the Museum. There is only 3-1/2
weeks left until our 1st Open House of the season. Lots to do!
Last item: I received an email from our friends at MLS announcing the
theft of a train (engine, car & a trailer to haul them). Below is a
photo in case any of you happen to see or hear about it. If you see
something for sale that resembles this train, the folks at MLS would
appreciate being contacted.
August 5, 2017
There will be a scheduled work session beginning at 7:00
am on Saturday. On the work agenda will be the installation of the bird
board on the engine shed. All of the pieces have been made and stained
and are ready to be installed. In addition, we need to get the train out
and do some running primarily to check track conditions so that repairs
may be made if necessary. We have a stock of concrete ties in case we
encounter wood ties needing replacement.
Last week, although not a regularly scheduled work session, the
bird board was cut to fit each of the 24 locations where they will be
installed. The pieces were then stained to match the siding.
The corners of each bird board were then clipped (chamfered) to give
them some visual character and the cut edges were re-stained.
Continuous strips were cut from surplus plywood to be installed directly
below the rafters. Each bird board will be installed into the space
between the roof rafters by attachment to the continuous strip with two
screws. Pre-drilling holes in the bird board will make this job
The wood strips were then stained to match the siding.
Burt Wright will be out of town this weekend so please consider coming
down to help Jesse with the installation. The turnout for work sessions
has left a lot to be desired so far this summer. Your help would be
We are beginning “beta testing” on the Engineer’s Test. Contact Jesse if
you wish to participate. Successful completion of the test must occur
before the September Open Houses begin.
Thanks to Jesse Miller for supplying the photos this week.
Significant progress has been on the Caboose stairs by Jurgen Zander
with help from Charlie Rigney and Bob Swanson. The railings have been
roughed in awaiting finish welding and grinding and then the entire
system will be sent to the powder coaters for painting (powder coating).
What an undertaking! Great job to those who have been involved.
Planned for July 22, 2017
This Saturday, there will be a scheduled work session
beginning at 7:00 am at the Museum.
On the work agenda will be, weather permitting, applying stain weather
protecting finish to the plywood siding on the engine shed and/or,
painting color to the previously primed steel doors and wall members at
the ends of the engine shed.
Last week, Jesse & Burt applied primer to the remaining steel at
the ends of the engine shed in preparation of getting painted.
We had to dig down a bit to get primer on the full face
of the steel ground beam at the north end of the shed. Although the
temperature was relatively mild, it was a tad muggy so we didn’t work
very long into the morning before quitting but both ends did get
completely primed and ready for paint.
Jurgen Zander was busy pouring the footings for the stairways into the
caboose. He’s done a great job with that project so far and it’s nearly
ready to send the component off to get them powder coated.
It’s very rewarding when a complex project like the
stairways starts coming together. Jurgen is almost single-handedly doing
this project although he is getting some help with the heavy lifting –
and the components are heavy!
The footing at the southeast end of the caboose is poured too. Great
Hope to see you this Saturday.
July 8, 2017
Hope everyone’s 4th of July was fun and safe. We
certainly need all of your fingers to get our work done.
There will be a work session this Saturday morning beginning at 7:00 am,
Sun or Shine – I’d like to say “rain or shine” but I don’t see much rain
for Saturday. We keep on hoping though. The gate will be open around
6:30 so that coffee can be prepared. As usual, the work agenda will
include completing the siding on the engine shed doors so that we can
get stain applied to all of the exterior siding at one time. If you
haven’t been to the Museum lately, come on down and lend a hand. We
could sure use some help.
|For you prototype enthusiasts, Ron McLaughlin notified
me that he is selling some RR related items which may be of
interest to you:
The 1st item is a S.P. red block signal: base is 14 inches
wide and 4 inches deep and is supported by a tin plate and 4
railroad spikes and its stands 65 inches. The red block is
20 inches in diameter and is able to come off the pole to
expose wires that can be activated to light up the red
block. Asking 500 bucks and I will accept terms.
The 2nd item is a U.P. crossing gate. It is 114 inches
long and 5 inches wide. Asking price is 100 bucks.
Ron indicated that he would deliver the items to the
Museum. If you are interested, you may contact Ron via email
June 24, 2017
There is at least one inside project that needs to be done
and that’s painting the two billboards. Everything needed is there and
they have already been prime coated. They will be hand painted with
white enamel paint so “painting clothes” are advisable.
Also, I’m hoping that we can get some siding up on the ends of the
building before it gets too hot to be outside.
This will be Glenn’s last work session before he heads off to Hawaii for
the rest of the summer. Come on by and wish him a good send-off.
June 17, 2017
This Saturday, there will be no work session scheduled.
We are now on an every other week schedule unless otherwise noted. It is
my understanding that the outdoor G-gauge group will be present doing
welding on the caboose stairway if you’re looking for something to do.
Last weekend, we had a relatively productive work session
although there were only a small handful of volunteer’s present. We put
a good coat of white primer paint on the two steel billboards which will
get painted during the next two weeks.
We then built a form for the concrete header that was to
be poured across the opening into the engine shed. The form included
slot depressions to accommodate the rails which will exit the engine
shed. With some time still remaining, we then cut a piece of rebar and
mixed a sack and ½ of concrete and made the pour.
The forms can be removed anytime if you’re looking for
something to do this weekend.
We still have to finish the siding installation onto the doors and get
the weather proofing stain applied. Plan on helping out during the next
work session scheduled for Saturday, June 24.
Have a great weekend and try to stay cool.
June 10, 2017
Yeah, it’s beginning to feel a little bit like summer,
so let’s get an early start. On the agenda for the work session this
Saturday is trying to finish up the siding on the ends of the engine
shed. In addition, we need to begin installing the bird board with
molding. This should keep us busy for the morning.
On an unrelated note, you may recall discussions we have been having
with folks from Sierra Vista about semaphores that they were given by
the Southern Pacific RR. They have laid in a pile for decades awaiting
some sort of possible use. We have expressed interest to them about
obtaining one to be installed for display although we hope to possible
make it operational. Below is a picture recently taken of a portion of
the “pile”. They cannot be donated to the Museum due to local laws
prohibiting gifting, but they can be sold “at fair market value” (I
don’t know how this is determined given the rough condition of some of
the units) or possibly some sort of trade could be arranged. More to
come as this develops.
|Here’s another picture of a single unit.
||These things weigh in at about a ton each with the base
||Here’s what the inside of the cabinet looks like.
Hope to see you all this Saturday.
May 20, 2017
There will be a regularly scheduled work session this
Saturday morning beginning at 7:00 AM. On the work agenda will be the
installation of siding on the end wall & doors of the engine shed. A
concrete header needs to be poured at the entrance to the shed with
slots formed for the 4 rails. Once the doors and end walls are
completed, we can install trim molding on the doors and corners of the
shed. Bird board also needs to be installed as well as extruded metal
along the base of the building for keeping out the critters. As you can
see, there is still lots to do.
Last weekend, there was no work session scheduled due to the Open House
scheduled for the next day. A birthday party arrived at 10:00 AM with 30
very well behaved pre-school kids and 30 adults. Jesse & Glenn were kind
enough to take time out of their day to get the train out and give the
party goers a great riding experience before it got too hot. Thank you
Glenn & Jesse.
This Saturday morning is predicted to be nice out, so please come down &
lend a hand to the group.
Update: I regret to have to let everyone
know that tomorrow's work session may have to be cancelled. The
reason for the cancellation is that I was not able to obtain the
materials necessary to complete the work planned for tomorrows session.
Having said that, you may wish to come on down anyway and help out with
other projects that are going on. In addition, there is a small tour
scheduled for 10:30 and you could run the train if desired.
Planned for May 13, 2017
There will be NO work session this Saturday. Sunday's
Open House (Mother's Day, so could be busy or not...)
The weather is looking way too windy all afternoon though, so unless at
least 3+ others can help crew this Sunday, I will be posting later
today that there will be NO rides during the Open-House. If you
are able to help, reply to me asap.
Here is the repaired temporary walkway/level crossing, which should work
nicely. Thanks Tony K.!
Last week, the storage shed siding was completed,
so watch out for 'animals' trying to make a home inside.
Happy (early) Mother's Day!
May 6, 2017
There will be a regularly scheduled work session for
this Saturday. With that said, please consider coming to the
Saturday morning work session beginning at 7:00 am as there is lots to
|NOSTALGIC LOOK AT THE PAST:
To make these weekly messages a bit more interesting, I want to
take this opportunity to bring back a few of the photos taken
during this journey to create the 7-1/2” gauge railroad. It
really wasn’t that long ago when the dream was put onto paper
and the Museum Board agreed to allow us to take on this project.
Perhaps part of the Board’ decision to approve the project was
that we would fix, once and for all, the drainage problems that
had plagued the Museum for years along the back drainage channel
area. As you can see from the picture below, it was pretty ugly
||Making sure that the layout wouldn’t be damaged by the
drainage issues proved to be a challenging task. Work began
building catchment structures at the base of the roof drains and
piping them individually to the channel. We obtained fill dirt
from the cut made on the opposite side of the Museum where the
rock retaining wall is located. Digging on the property was
often like digging in concrete! The dirt from the front cut was
moved to the rear and enabled us to create a level place to lay
the track behind the building. It would be the
biggest understatement of all times to suggest that we
could have done this work without the extraordinary effort and
generosity of Glenn Ellis and his Bobcat.
For those of you who were there at the beginning, you may
remember the process of moving the rail from the pile near the
caboose to the rear of the building to serve as our retaining
structure for the dirt. The rail was held in place by 2” pipes
driven into the ground on 4’ centers. I will never forget myself
and Raymond McDaniel trying to drive one of those pipes into the
ground with an 8# sledge hammer. 30 minutes of exhausting work
and we couldn’t even finish one. That’s when Dale Cover offered
us the use of his ingenious “water pic” which no one, other than
Dale of course, believed would do anything other than make a
huge mess. Boy, were we wrong. I can’t even begin to tell you
how many times I’ve used his invention to precede digging post
|Lest we forget, there was an incredible effort by two of our
original members, Bob Rubino and Hugh Madson, who volunteered to
take on the project to create the retaining wall adjacent to the
cut using irregular rock provided by Glenn Ellis from his
property. To this day, their efforts continue to function as
intended without needing maintenance or repair and it continues
to be the favorite photo spot on the layout for visitors whose
loved ones ride our train.
|I will continue this “NOSTALGIC
LOOK AT THE PAST” in future email ramblings – hope you enjoy it
as much as I have.
Last weekend’s work session was very productive.
The curved section of track at the north end of the layout where we had
previously replaced all of the ties with concrete was re-ballasted.
While that work was going on, Jacob Payne was welding on the steel door
frames which he pre-fabricated at home to both ends of the engine house.
The door frames are now ready for sheathing and deadbolts. Thank you
New member, Joey Ybarra, arrived with a truck load of concrete ties that
he has been making for us.
This brought our inventory back up to over 100 ties as we had pretty
much run out. Thank you Joey!
|Tony Kanavage forgot to take the step backward when we asked
for volunteers to fix the end of the wooden walkway to the
outdoor G-gauge layout. That project seemed simple at face
value, but once the top boards were removed, it became painfully
apparent that the structural support system beneath the boards
needed to be rebuilt and re-supported. Thank you Tony for your
help with this!
||And to finish things off, Jesse and yours truly, completed
sheathing the backside of the engine house with the T-1-11
plywood. With the door frames now completed, there is nothing
keeping us from completing the sheathing on the shed. There is
still a lot to do on the shed including pouring concrete at the
entrance where the rails will cross, installing bird board,
installing moldings at the corners and around the doors,
installing the lights, and applying the stain finish that was
Once all of that is done, all that is left is to connect
the engine house to the mainline tracks across the turntable. Oh yeah,
It was a great morning at the Museum, a lot accomplished, good
fellowship. We look forward to seeing you at the Open House on Sunday.
PS: Don’t forget, This Friday is the May General Membership Meeting
beginning at 7 pm.
April 29, 2017
There will be a regular scheduled work session this
Saturday beginning at 7:00 AM. It should be a great day for working on
the railroad as high temperature is predicted to be in the 70’s. There
are several items on the agenda that we can do.
rock ballast onto the curved section of track at the station area.
See photos below.
the installation of the exterior siding on the engine shed.
process of making concrete ties as our inventory has dwindled
significantly with the recent replacement of the wood ties at the
Saturday, a Birthday Party with 30 attending (15 kids) beginning at
10:00 AM will occur. So before we put stuff away, we’ll probably run
the train for the birthday boy or girl.
Last Saturday was a very productive one as the
available crew worked efficiently and effectively to complete the
replacement of the wood ties in the curve section from the pedestrian
crossing to the turnout at the north end of the building.
This work entailed the installation of about 35 ties. To do this, we
developed a system . . .
First, Paul Kruppenbacher manned the drill motor and removed the old
ties for a couple of feet, then leaving one in place to hold gauge and
approximate elevation. Then he would keep ahead of the install crew
removing a couple feet of wood ties at a time.
A wheel barrow was used to haul in ¼ minus from our stock pile near the
caboose. The concrete ties are a little shorter than the wood ties thus
we need to import base material to maintain the proper track elevation.
Plus the ¼ minus makes an excellent firm & easily adjusted base for the
The new ties go in rather quickly with the new ties plates enabling the
rails to slide across the ties as they expand and contract from the
heating/cooling. Where we have rail joints, we installed slotted 1/8” x
4” steel fish plates secured with loose machine bolts & nyloc nuts. They
help hold the track in horizontal alignment while allowing the
expansion/contraction movement. Where we have rail joints, we place two
concrete ties adjacent to one another for additional support and
stability. PS: we’ve order another 1,000 tie plates – they should be
arriving this week.
The new ties are installed 8” O.C. rather than 4”. The new ties have a
much broader base and once ballasted, they look great. The 10# weight of
each tie also all but eliminates the need to pound rebar stakes into the
ground to keep the track from moving outward on the curve track due to
centrifugal forces imposed by the trains. The concrete should easily
last our lifetimes in direct contact with the ground as it is impervious
to insects and doesn’t deteriorate from weather exposure.
With the last ties set, we went onto leveling the entire section, both
longitudinally and laterally. Once that was done, we drug out the hose
and gave the installation a good soaking. Then we tamped the ¼ minus
between the ties and gave it another soaking. We left the system exposed
since we had already decided that we weren’t going to run during the
open house the next day due to the predicted 98 degree temperatures.
Lastly, although our crew wasn’t involved, Charlie Rigney completed the
wiring of the lights, switches, and convenience outlets in the engine
shed. All that remains in the installation of the light fixtures which
are in the container. If you see Charlie, give him a big attaboy for
helping us out with that.
Photo credits: Roger Phillips (which is why he isn’t in any of the
With no Open House this weekend and temperatures back to reasonable,
this should be a great weekend to get some major railroading done at the
Museum. We look forward to seeing you all Saturday morning.
April 22, 2017
There is a scheduled work session for this weekend
beginning at 7:00 AM. Although there is going to be an Open House
scheduled for Sunday, we have decided that with predicted high
temperatures of 98 degrees, it will be too hot to safely operate the
train. Thus, your attendance at the Open House becomes less critical as
we don’t need a train crew. Because of this, we hope to get a few of you
to come to the work session on Saturday instead to continue working on
the curved section of track.
Last weekend, we got a good start replacing the wood ties on the
curved section of track leading out of the station area toward the 1st
turnout at the north corner of the building.
With Dave Peterson doing the removing of the wood ties, 2’ at a time,
Jesse brought in ¼ minus from our stock pile and quickly brought the
grade to the desired height. The ¼ minus makes it very easy to set the
new concrete ties in place and they can quickly be secured in place.
We double-tied at the rail joints and with the phish plates previously
installed, the installation went quickly.
This system has proven to be bullet proof with the curved section coming
out of the caboose enclosure and we’re hoping for similar results here.
After laying about 34 ties, we then carefully leveled the track
laterally and longitudinally, tamping the ¼ minus as we went. Final work
was simply soaking the the base material down and running our S4 over it
a bunch of times. We hope to lay another 30+ ties this Saturday morning
so please come & help.
While we were busy with the track, Charlie Rigney was busy installing
pipe (conduit) and electrical boxes for the new engine shed. Charlie
didn’t ask for any help because he was in a hurry. We took the hint and
left him to his work which, as usual, speaks for itself.
Of course, everyone needs a little supervision.
It won’t be long & we’ll be using this important structure. Thank you to
Charlie for his offer to help.
Special thanks to Jesse Miller for the photos.
So, hope to see you tomorrow early at 7:00 AM.
April 8, 2017
As usual, with an Open House scheduled for this Sunday,
there is no “regularly scheduled” work session for Saturday. However,
there will be some work going on nonetheless. You are welcome to join us
if you don’t have anything going on, but if your time only permits one
visit to the Museum this weekend, please come Sunday to the Open House
as we really need help running the train.
Saturday morning at 10:00 AM, a tour put together by GPD member Paul
Bartholomew will be at the museum with about 50 guests. We will be
running the train, so if you can help, it would be appreciated.
|Last weekend, we made good headway on the engine
shed. We began by installing the 16 remaining 2x4 studs which
connected to the steel columns. This had to be done before we
began the installation of the sheathing.
||We then made a quick trip down to Home Depot and obtained a
half dozen 4’x8’ sheets of 5/8” T-1-11 plywood and began the
process of installing them.
The weather was perfect as it should be this weekend. This
weekend looks like it will be a repeat.
|While the main group plugged along with the engine shed,
Jesse finished up with the expansion of the R.O.W. adjacent to
the track leaving the station. This “just in case” increase in
width should eliminate any chance that a train would derail and
roll down the embankment.
All photo credits to Jesse Miller. Many thanks to John
Roads, Dave Petersen, Glenn Ellis and Jesse Miller for helping out
during this work session. Like previous work sessions, we broke at noon,
called it a day, and joined the outdoor G-gauge group for lunch at
Hope to see you all at Sunday’s Open House. And if you can make it
Saturday, we’ll continue with the engine shed siding.
April Fools Day, 2017
There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday
beginning at 8:00 AM. The weather should be perfect. Work will continue
on the engine shed including installation of the 2x4’s on the columns to
support the siding and also beginning the installation of the T1-11
Last weekend, we helped out the outdoor G-gauge group by
extending the retaining wall around the corner of the fence line at the
north end of the property adjacent to the sidewalk. This completely
eliminated the “hole” in the corner of the fenced area adjacent to the
sidewalk that posed a hazard to visitors who may have not noticed it
while walking around the end of the layout (looking at the trains
instead of where they were walking). This project was critically
important although it doesn’t look like we did very much. With Jesse’s
help, a fairly significant amount of additional fill dirt was moved into
the area adjacent to the track leaving the station. This creates more
width of flat space adjacent to the turnout leaving the station area
“just in case” a train derailment occurs. The hope is to prevent any
possibility of having an engine or car falling down the embankment into
the drainage channel. More improvement to this area is planned.
On the Open House front, we have had two very good Open Houses using the
Alco S4 with the new batteries installed. No sign whatsoever of the
voltage drops that plagued our engine at the beginning of the year. Many
thanks to John Roads, Dave Peterson, and Bob Swanson for helping out at
these Open Houses by serving as Engineer, Station Master & Gateman. We
have had great feedback from visitors about their experiences at the
Museum which makes our efforts so worthwhile. Having said that, we sure
could use some additional help during the Open Houses running the train,
so please don’t hesitate to come and help out. Even for an hour or two.
|We received an email from new member, Joey Ybarra, who is a
Superintendent at Cemrock. He is making concrete ties for the
layout. He sent me the picture below showing his progress. His
efforts will help to maintain our inventory as we move forward
with more new and replacement tie installations.
Below is a current photo of the engine shed awaiting the
With no Open House this weekend, and the General Membership Meeting
still a week away (April 7th), come spend Saturday morning with us.
Also, plan on going to lunch with the group at the end of the session as
that is always a good time.
Hope to see you all at 8:00 AM, Saturday.
March 25, 2017
Saturday some members may be at the museum to help out.
Sunday, March 26th is an OPEN-HOUSE.
Last Saturday was Dirt Day. The bobcat was there, moving dirt to
where shovels and wheelbarrows were waiting to haul the fill to both G
and 7½ layouts.
While the Outdoor G layout worked on filling in a 'hole' in the
Northeast corner of the property along the fence (see image a.)...The
present 7½ committee members went to work enlarging/reinforcing the
embankment between mp 0.5 and mp 1.0, which was originally going to be a
wall of block similar to what the G layout is using along the fence, but
on Saturday it was decided the extra fill dirt from the bobcat could be
used for cheap.
We also removed a couple parasitic plants from the trees along the
You will have to come and see the end results for yourself.
a. Outdoor G no-holes for safety project
b. 7½" embankment reinforcement project
March 18, 2017
There will be a work session this Saturday beginning at 7:30 am at
the Museum. Work on the engine shed will take a break for a week, but
there are probably some track leveling & gauge checking that could be
done. In addition, Glenn Ellis is bringing some big rock in to set at
the very north end of the property as retaining stones to allow for more
fill to be brought into that corner to give a little more room for
staging. So some elbow grease would be very welcome Saturday morning.
With no Open House Sunday, please consider helping out the outdoor G
guys with their project.
March 11, 2017
There is not going to be a scheduled work session this Saturday, but
as usual, several will show up anyway which is a good thing. If you
come, you can expect to work on the Museum engine getting the wiring
re-secured and the engine road tested as there is an Open House the
following day. The new batteries are now installed in the engine which
was no easy task as they weigh 100 pounds each! At any rate, assuming we
can get the engine running by 10 am, we’ll use it to give rides to a
bunch of kids who are coming to a Birthday party at the Museum. That’s
Last Saturday, we finished the roofing on the engine house. Those
who came, enjoyed great weather and camaraderie. And, we finished the
project by noon and didn’t have to go back.
Here are pictures from the work session:
Please consider coming to the Open House Sunday to help with the
engine operation. That’s when we need the most help.
March 4, 2017
There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday
beginning at 8:00 am. On the work agenda will be the installation of the
upper roof section over the engine house. This should be an easier
process than the lower roof installation for several reasons, not the
least of which is the fact that we won’t need to cut & fit the short
“chevron” shaped sections at each end.
|Last weekend, a great group of volunteers showed up
to begin the roofing installation on the low roof sections.
||The pictures speak for themselves and the end product is
something we can all share pride in.
With leadership, tools, and encouragement from Jacob Payne,
all of the work proceeded without any major problems or anyone
With the outdoor G-Gauge group pitching in to help, the
lower roofs were sheathed, dried-in, trim pieces & drip edges installed
and the shingling started by the time we broke for lunch. Jacob, Glenn &
Burt then returned to the Museum that afternoon and finished the
shingling and the building stood proud during the Open House the next
There was unanimous agreement that the structure will be
a source of pride for the Museum for years to come. Everyone who
participated are to be congratulated for their fine work and quality.
Hope to see everyone this Saturday (there is no Open House this
Saturday Feb. 25, 2017
There will not be a regularly scheduled work session
“But” the weather is going to be soooo inviting, you may wish to come
anyway. If you come, (we’ll gather around 8:00 am) there will be enough
material present to install the low roofs (north and south ends) on the
engine shed. That will include plywood, roofing felt, shingles and drip
edge plus a sheet of T1-11 for siding the short portion of wall above
the low roof and below the high roof. Confused? Join the club!
The low roofs must be totally completed before we can install the fly
rafters on the high roofs. Thus, the low roofs have to happen first. So,
if you don’t have anything better to do, come and join us and maybe
we’ll all learn something.
Saturday Feb. 18, 2017
There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday
beginning at 8:00 AM. On the work order is some track repair that is
needed in the station siding at the north end of the layout. We need to
add some fish plates to replace the push on rail joiners as we’ve
experienced some derailment issues up there. This area is also slated to
receive concrete ties soon. Work on the engine shed may also proceed
although I’m not certain just how far we may get this weekend as the
weather is looking a little “iffy”. The hurricane straps need to be
Last week, even though it wasn’t a scheduled work session, we had
a good turnout and a huge amount of work transpired. Framing materials
were obtained and while Jacob began framing the walls, the rest of the
group started cutting the scroll designs into the bottom and ends of the
rafters and made a jig to make the rafters into trusses using plywood
gussets. With 38 rafters, that was a lot of jig saw work to be sure.
With most of the trusses made and ½ the walls framed,
the group broke for lunch. Then after lunch, three hearty souls (Jacob,
Glenn & Burt) decided to return to the Museum and continue with the
project. The outcome of that afternoons effort was incredible with all
of the trusses installed and both sides of the building walls framed.
The walls were plummed and all of the bolts were set into the beams and
bottom plates to secure the entire structure.
The weather was so perfect, we just couldn’t stop. I’m
here to tell you that the old bodies complained a tad at the end of the
day, but the results make it all worthwhile. The next morning, we put
some water sealer onto the exposed portions of the beams and rafters to
help preserve them.
The next major work on the building will be to install the roof
sheathing and get the building dried in. That will take a full work
session, perhaps like last Saturday to complete.
Hope to see everyone this Saturday. There is no Open House on Sunday.
Saturday Feb. 4, 2017
This Saturday precedes the Open House scheduled
for Sunday thus we normally don’t have a work session on the day before.
However, there is definitely going to be some activity going on at the
Museum if you care to join us. Lumber will be obtained and available to
begin the process of framing the walls and roof. Rafters need to be
pre-cut with the ends prepared to mimic the roof structure on the
adjacent outdoor G layout roof that covers the control area. Plywood
gussets will be cut and the rafters prefabricated with the gussets
installed at the peak. The ends of the beams need to be chamfered on
each side to match the other roof structure as well. How much we get
done will be directly proportional to how many people show up. With the
Open House following the next day, I’m not sure much will get done, but
you never know!
|Last Saturday, the last of the track was installed
inside the engine house in preparation of the framing of the
building. Assisting with the work was our Chairman Jesse, John
Roads, Paul Kruppenbacher, and Burt Wright. The routine was the
same as the previous week where we completed the installation of
one track although this last week we benefited from the fact
that we knew what we were doing (at least I think we did).
|Once the 2nd track was installed, we laid the 2” thick cap
blocks that Jesse had donated to the Museum. This created a very
nice level walkway between the tracks in case we need to go into
the train shed.
||It wasn’t that tough to install the walkway, especially with
both tracks set and level.
Once completed, the blocks were swept and the ground raked a
little bit, we then used hammers and 2x4’s to tamp the dirt down
in between the ties making the entire installation very stable.
Then we hosed the installation down a bit to settle everything.
Next task is to begin the framing.
Although we hope to see you this Saturday, please don’t
forget about the Open House on Sunday. We still don’t have the batteries
replaced in the S4 so we hope to be able to use Brian’s GP40 again.
Brian will be here this Saturday to check us out on his engine.
Saturday Feb. 4, 2017
We have a scheduled work session this Saturday beginning at 8:00 AM at
the museum. The agenda for the work session is to finish placing the
concrete ties and rail into the engine house.
|The project was started last Saturday, but like
everything in life, the effort took longer than we assumed and
we only got halfway finished. The effort began by
re-establishing the specific grade level needed for the top of
the concrete ties. Using the builder’s level brought in by
Charlie Rigney, we quickly were able to establish where the top
of rail elevation needed to be with the top of the ties being 1”
lower. The next step was to run a string from one end of the
engine shed to the other that not only established the elevation
of the top of the ties but also the outside edge of the ties. We
then had to remove about an inch of soil from the bottom of the
engine shed and then began placing the ties (8” O.C.). Luckily
some of the younger members did the hands and knee work to place
and level the ties and then secure the rail. The rail, which was
harvested from a couple of the spare track panels that had been
in storage at the side of the building was then attached to the
||The rail installation onto the ties made aligning the ties
simple and the finished product speaks for itself.
|There is something really cool about the appearance of
aluminum rail onto the concrete ties.
We ran out of time after completing one side of the
installation thus saving the other side for the next work session this
coming Saturday. The removal of excess soil from the other side has
essentially been done, so all we will need to do is rerun the string and
start installing ties & rail. Once completed, we’ll backfill between the
ties with dirt to completely secure the installation. In order to
prevent pack rat intrusion, there is going to be a concrete curb
installed at the south entrance to the engine house with the rails set
into a notch that will be cast into the concrete. We may have time to
form & pour that curb this Saturday if all goes well.
FYI, the 7-1/2” gauge committee budget and inventory were completed and
submitted to the 1st VP in accordance with the bylaws. In addition, the
BOD formally approved the Operational Rules for using the 7-1/2” gauge
RR. They will be posted on OneDrive, probably after the next board
meeting when all of the Museum policies will be signed. The budget will
be reviewed and hopefully approved at the Board meeting on the 15th.
Each GPD member involved in the 7-1/2” gauge committee will receive a
copy of the Operational Rules in a separate email. They are also kept in
the Committee binder located in the 40’ container.
This Friday night beginning at 7:00 PM, the February General Membership
Meeting will occur at the Museum. To my knowledge, no one has
volunteered to do meal preparation so eat dinner before you get to the
Last but not least, there is no Open House this Sunday, thus Saturday
may be your only chance to get your “train fix” for the week unless you
decide to attend the meeting this Friday night.
Saturday Jan. 28, 2017
We are between Open Houses now and thus, the scheduled work sessions
will occur beginning at 8:00 AM this Saturday and next Saturday. After
the wonderful winter storms bringing lots of rain to the area, we found
that the depressed area where the new engine shed is being built held
onto the storm runoff. With a pool of standing water covering the area
inside the engine shed, we had to create a couple of temporary channels
by which the standing water could escape to the drainage wash next to
the shed. The temporary fix was easily accomplished with a shovel, but a
permanent solution must be planned & installed at the work session this
This Saturday, we will gather at the Museum at 8:00 AM. As usual, coffee
and donuts will be available. Although the tasks at hand may seem
relatively minor, I think we’ll have our hands full getting the effort
completed. First is to plan a permanent method for draining storm water
from the confines of the new Engine Shed. This must be done in concert
with the preparation of final grade inside the shed so that the
placement of concrete ties and rail may begin. This will precede the
framing of the walls and roof.
Charlie Rigney will be bringing his builder’s level to assist us in
making the finished grade at the prescribed elevation which is 4” below
the top of the existing rail elevation (3” tie & 1” rail = 4”) at the
turnout leading toward the engine shed. We want to have all this rail
from the turnout to the north end of the engine shed level if possible
to prevent train movement when stored or parked. Once the grade inside
the shed is level and flat, we can begin placing the concrete ties. Once
the ties are placed, aligned, and leveled, rail can be installed
followed by backfilling the space in between the ties with dirt to
stabilize the track. Jesse has brought 8” x 16” cap block down which can
be installed as a walking surface between the rails.
This effort will require a steady concerted effort so we are requesting
“all hands on deck” if possible. The weather will be a little chilly,
but the sun will be out and things should be dried out.
If the grading and tie placement is achieved, we may make a trip to Home
Depot to secure the framing materials that will permit us to begin the
framing of the engine shed during our next work session the following
A piece of great news, we welcome new member Joey Ybarra who works as a
fabrication superintendent at Cemrock. This is a company in Tucson that
makes artificial landscape rock from a concrete mixture employing
fiberglas. He came to the last Open House and introduced himself and
offered to make our concrete RR ties from left over mix usually thrown
away at his plant. He mocked up 4 of these using 4 of our molds and they
came out great. Welcome to the Organization Joey ! ! !
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