Large Scale Railroad
Construction Progress 2018
Work sessions are on Saturday mornings usually around
Come down and help build a railroad!
For more information, or to volunteer, contact Jeff
(cell #) 520-310-1392
Scale Railroad info...]
Planned for December 29, 2018
What a weekend - last weekend. In an effort to reduce wheel
squeal and thus rail wear, last Saturday I decided to experiment using
gear oil to lube the inside of the rail heads on the curved sections of
track. I’ve lost count of how many mistakes I made during this effort,
but here’s a partial list for digestion:
85W/140 was the gear oil used. The
oil, somewhat yellow in appearance, has a consistency similar to
honey and it is tacky to the feel. My initial thinking was that it
would adhere well to the side of the rail head. This may be true but
this is where the “wheels began to fall off”.
The oil was applied to the side of the
rail head using a 3” paint roller attached to a 4’ long extension
pole. Using the extension pole eliminated the need to bend over
which at my age is a good thing. But applying the oil in this manner
probably left a some of the oil near or on the top of the rail head.
The oil was applied to the first 30’
to 35’ of both the inside of the outer rail and the outside of the
inner rail on each of the 4 curved sections of track.
The entire train (all of the cars
connected) was run around the track about a half dozen times to see
if the wheel squeal was reduced. Success! One the first circuit, the
wheel squeal was nearly totally gone. Wheel squeal totally
disappeared on the second circuit. But after several laps, traction
and braking capability also disappeared. With only one passenger
loaded at the end of the consist, the train stalled on the nearly
indiscernible uphill grade in the S curve with the engines wheels
spinning freely. I climbed off the train and pushed it to the top of
the grade near the drive entrance and then rode it back into the
station. When I shut the throttle down to stop, the train continued
to slide through the turnout and ½ way down the straight section
behind the building. Slicker than owl poop is my best description
for the top of the rails!
The rail was 100% covered with a thin,
black, gooey layer of lube. What a disaster! There was no option
other than to clean 710 feet of mainline track by hand and then
clean all of the wheels on the cars and engine. Dejected, I went
home to ponder the problem. It was a certainty that we couldn’t run
the train on Sunday, but the top of the track still had to be
cleaned. Otherwise, kids would walk on it with the greasy film
getting on the bottoms of their shoes and then having it get tracked
onto the brick walkway, sidewalks, the Museum interior or even to
their homes when they left.
Sunday morning, I began the arduous task of using gasoline to cut
the grease and paper towel and rags to clean the rail head all the way
around the layout began. Brian Scott came down and helped with the
process. This 2-man job took us to about 3 pm. Experience is a great
teacher. Maybe the idea had merit, but not the way I did it. Next time
we experiment with rail lubrication, it will not be on the day before
When we have the next scheduled work
session, a week from this Saturday, we can again experiment using
lubricant on the side of the rail head, but this time, we’ll use
marine grease rather than oil.
The grease will only be applied to the
inside of the outside rail using paper towel or some other method to
prevent getting grease on the top of the rail head. The grease will
only be applied to the inside of the outside rail.
The grease will only be applied to the
first 5’ of rail leading into the curve section rather than half of
the curve section.
The results will be carefully
evaluated after we grease only one of the curve sections before
deciding to apply grease elsewhere on the Layout.
- Learn to live with wheel squeal, issue ear protection, and
figure on replacing the rail when both sides are worn out (probably
every 15 years or so).
This Sunday is the last Open House for 2018. With Christmas
just around the corner (less than one week away), on behalf of our
Chairman, Jesse Miller and myself, I want to thank everyone who helped
out this year with our railroad. Without your help, we would simply not
be unable to continue operation.
I’m not sure what the coming year holds for our group as our numbers
have dwindled, but I’m hopeful we can turn this around and find new
member volunteers to help out with maintenance and construction of the
Happy Holidays to everyone. Here’s hoping everyone has a safe and
prosperous New Year.
December 8, 2018 (Polar Express)
Wow! That was one intense weekend . . .
All day Saturday was spent setting up lights, displays, decorations, etc
and getting the train ready to run in preparation for the Polar Express
Event. At 5:00 pm, over 100 people were lined up along the fence waiting
for the event to begin. I was able to get a quick picture of the moment
before the gates opened and the evening’s events began.
Even though we were shorthanded, we were able to get things started,
but as quickly as we began, disaster struck. The 1st turnout coming out
of the station went significantly out of gauge due to bad ties and loose
screws. The train derailed there twice and so we decided to re-route the
train to the outside loop. We haven’t run on the outside loop for
several months so it was a risk. The first train through derailed on the
outside loop. So we suspended the runs for 30 minutes while the three
man crew jumped on turnout and re-gauged the track by resetting screws
into fresh sections of the existing wood ties. The quick fix worked but
it is only a temporary fix as concrete ties are desperately needed under
that turnout ASAP. With nightfall upon us, the Christmas lights began to
take full effect making the train ride a very special experience.
Passengers delighted as they passed through the curved tunnel section
that was planned and constructed by Glenn Ellis. But with nightfall, the
dew point dropped and all of a sudden we had condensation forming on
every horizontal surface of the railroad. The track became wet, the
seats on the cars were wet, the dampness and cold temperatures seemed to
completely change the operating characteristics of the railroad. Now, we
were derailing on the long curve coming out of the caboose enclosure.
Every run, we derailed so we made the difficult decision to suspend the
train rides for the rest of the evening until the track could be
evaluated in daylight the next morning.
So, why did we start having problems on Saturday night and not before.
Well, the problems are not new – they’ve been with us for quite some
time. The biggest problem is that we don’t have enough volunteers to
stay on top of the track maintenance issues. Those volunteers that we do
have do the best that they can, but we need a lot more help to get
things back to where they need to be. The three volunteers we did have
agreed to come early Sunday morning and see if the track issues on the
curved section out of the caboose could be corrected in time to run for
the Open House. What was concluded was that the inside rail head of the
outside rail on that curved section needed to be reversed (turned
around) putting the worn rail head toward the outside. This should have
been done when we installed the concrete ties on that curved section a
couple years ago but it wasn’t. So, beginning early Sunday morning, John
Roads, Tony Kanavage & Burt Wright began to remove the outside rail.
This required removing all of the hex screws & washers from the outside
of the rail and loosening those on the inside. We pulled the rail
joiners and removed 5 sections of the rail. Then, one section at a time
we turned the rail 180 degrees and re-installed it using all of the rail
gauges Raymond McDaniel made for us. Photo credits to Tony Kanavage &
So how badly worn was the inside of the rail head you might ask? The
picture below shows the worn side (left) and the new surface (right).
Although we had run the train the previous Sunday during Open House
without any incident, it is our opinion that the cold temperatures plus
the significant condensation coupled with the very rough surface of the
side of the rail head all contributed to the derailment problem. MLS has
gone to using steel rail on their outside curves but the steel chews up
the wheels on the engines and cars. Rail replacement, especially where
concrete ties are in place, is easier and probably less expensive than
wheel replacements. When we ultimately replace this rail, it’s
replacement cost in today’s dollars is still less than $1 per foot.
Steel rail costs double what aluminum rail costs. There is a total of
about 325’ of outside curved rail on the layout. We reversed well over
90’ on Sunday morning. Machined replacement wheels for our cars cost
about $25 each. Assuming we replaced only the outside wheels on the 6
ride-on cars (4 per car) that we use, that would be $600 for 24 wheels
(not including the engine). Then, there’s the process of pressing off
and on the new wheels and re-assembly of the trucks which would be a lot
of work too. We can have more discussion about the pros/cons of rail
replacement when it becomes necessary to actually replace the rail.
Work continued on this section all morning long. After Saturday’s
effort, these guys deserve some respect – maybe even a little bit of
understanding if they seem to be stressed out a bit. Yeah, we did get
overtime pay for this effort (let’s see, time and a half @ $ 00.00 =
At the end of the morning, the work was completed and test runs
conducted. It was slightly after noon. The crew desperately needed a
break and food as no one had eaten since Saturday. We decided to go to
lunch instead of starting the public rides at 12:30. This decision
didn’t set well with some, but it was a much needed break to allow us to
function in the afternoon.
We began public rides at the Museum around 2:00 pm and continued to
4:30 giving rides to well over 100 people. We learned a lot about our
track during the event and also about the problems associated with
inadequate staffing. We’ve got to correct this problem during the
upcoming year or we’ll have to re-evaluate the policy of giving rides to
As a footnote to today’s message, yesterday the battery in Big Joe was
replaced so items in the 20’ container may now be moved in and out.
This Sunday is another Open House (4th one in a row). We need volunteers
to help out.
Last, but not least, a suggestion was offered to install miniature
flange oilers similar to those used by real railroads to reduce the wear
to the outside rail heads on curved sections of track. For those of you
with engineering minds that might have an idea of how to do this, please
throw your ideas out on the table.
Planned for December 8, 2018
Tis the season for what seems to be everything. I have to admit,
there is just way too much going on and it has become somewhat
overwhelming. So when the going gets tough, the tough get sick. As of
last Saturday, it had been 5 days that I had spent convalescing at home
from what the doctor told me was a viral infection. I decided to go to
the Museum last Saturday morning and I was pleasantly surprised to see
Glenn Ellis, Jurgen Zander, and Will McGeary installing the lighted
display tunnel on the 7-1/2” gauge RR. I decided to pitch in although
there wasn’t much I was able to contribute other than take pictures as I
was still under the weather. Glenn Ellis and Jurgen Zander had dreamt up
this method to create the tunnel using PVC pipe, oversized tees and
crosses, and ½” rebar stakes. Glenn used great aim to drive 20 rebar
stakes without hitting anything but the stakes (I’m sure Jurgen
Bending the structure around the 40’ radii required some engineering
plus some trial and error, but ultimately, the plan worked well.
There are three horizontal runs; one at the top and the other two
will be slid up to about 2:00 o’clock and 10:00 o’clock to support the
plastic and lights. The fittings actually slide on the PVC bents as they
were 1” fittings on ¾” PVC. Screws were installed to hold things in
After completing the structure for the tunnel, Glenn & Jurgen then
turned their attention to fixing the water feature in the G-gauge
layout. Apparently the submersible pump gave up the ghost and had to be
replaced. Of course, getting to the pump isn’t real easy and a bunch of
rock removal had to precede getting into the barrel where the pump
resides. This work occurred later in the morning so it had warmed up
making it a little more pleasant. Jurgen Zander climbed into the display
to disconnect the electrical so the pump could be removed.
Glenn Ellis had a replacement pump, but it’s size didn’t match up
with the existing. So, the project got put on hold until the following
morning so a correct replacement could be secured.
The group went to lunch & I went home to bed – the next day (Open
House) I was too sick to come down. I hope to return to action tonight
at the Museum for the Wednesday night work session.
The Polar Express “Special Event” is this coming Saturday beginning at
5:00 pm. Saturday has been designated as the setup day for the event.
There is a huge amount of stuff that needs to be done – especially
outside with decorations and lights. Please come down & help out if you
can. The event will start just before sunset at about 5:00 pm and will
end around 9:00 pm. Depending upon crowds, the train rides may be single
or double lappers – we’ll make that decision as the crowds arrive. The
train will also need to get decorated. Battery powered lights have been
obtained for the train.
And then, Sunday will be an Open House and help is always needed for
November 18, 2018
With Open Houses scheduled for the next 4 Sundays in a row and the
special event “Polar Express” scheduled for Saturday, December 8th, we
will not schedule any further work sessions until after Christmas unless
an emergency repair demands that we have a work session. As you are
probably already aware, there was no work session scheduled last weekend
either. You actually have to go back to Sunday, November 18th to see the
work that was completed during the last work session.
At the last work session, the crew (made up of Jesse Miller, Paul
Kruppenbacher, Glenn Ellis, Will McGeary, and yours truly were able to
finish the replacement of the wood ties with concrete for the turnout
near the meeting room exit door. We used the train again to transport
all the materials (1/4 minus and concrete ties). continued placement of
the ties in a zippered fashion. The first task was to pull out the
remaining rock ballast and then remove the screws from the wood ties.
We pulled rock ballast out well past the beginning of the turnout
with intention that we would finish setting all of the concrete ties
under the turnout.
Then we went back and predrilled holes where we needed to set
concrete screws where there were no pre-placed inserts available –
namely at the frog.
We finished the project successfully, by replacing the rock ballast,
put away the tools, admired the finished project and then and retired to
our favorite watering hole down the road.
Although this Sunday’s weather may be iffy as rain is predicted, it
certainly will be cool enough to have a good day of running. If it is
raining, obviously we won’t be. Check the weather in the morning and
come help out on Sunday if you can. We’ve been having trouble getting
enough people to run the train.
Planned for November 17, 2018
There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday at the Museum
beginning at 8:00 am. This is 30 minutes later for those of you wanting
that extra 30 minutes of sleep. Coffee & donuts will be available so
come on down and join the fun.
This work session will focus on concrete tie installation again
as we only were able to complete about one half of the ties on the
turnout leading to the siding adjacent to the backside of the Museum. We
need to complete that installation on the turnout so that we can
evaluate the technique that we’ve chosen which involves installing the
ties in a zippered fashion. Will McGeary joined Paul Kruppenbacher to
begin this test installation last week. Using the train has been really
helpful to haul ties and ¼ minus to where we need to have it not to
mention making it more fun.
Like everything else on the railroad, there’s always a little bit of
a learning curve and this process is no exception. I hope we’ll be able
to complete the turnout this Saturday.
Last weekend, another train show came and went. I want to
thank all of the committee members who gave up some of their time to
help out with the set up and take down of the tables. It went relatively
well as we were totally set up by 9:40 am. The show was pretty well
attended and there were 180 vendor tables set up. By Saturday afternoon,
everyone I saw was pretty tired and ready for a shower and an easy
chair. Sunday, we were back to the Museum for Open House. Burt Wright
quickly installed the guide for the turntable locking pin handle so that
the turntable could be used.
With help from Ivan English at the gate, we were able to run the
train. Will McGeary, our newest certified Engineer, took control of the
throttle of the Museum’s Alco S4 and ran the public train for the entire
afternoon. Thanks to Will for the great job and also to John Roads for
serving as Conductor, you make a lot of kids very happy with great train
At the end of the day, we got out the Doepke Yardbird that was
donated to the Museum some time ago and put it on the track.
Will McGeary took the hand pedal car for a ride on our track and soon
we saw some young visitors at the helm as well.
As the ad taken from a 1956 magazine suggests, the car is slightly
less than 3’ long. Will was folded up quite a bit to use it. It sort of
made me wish I was 5 years old again – naw.
Planned for November 3, 2018
There will be a scheduled work session this
Saturday at the Museum beginning at 7:30 am. As usual, coffee will be
available. On the work agenda will be two possible items depending on
how many people come down. We have had discussion at the Museum on how
we were going to adapt the concrete ties into the turnouts. The initial
though was to cast up varied lengths of ties to replace the varied
length of wood ties. This would probably require that the inserts for
the ties would need to be drilled and set rather than pre-installed as
the turnouts are not standardized and lengths and position of ties vary
with each turnout. Concern about drilling into the ties causing them to
crack or spall makes this option “iffy”. Since we spread the ties
spacing to 8” O.C. using concrete ties, it was suggested that we install
the standard concrete ties in a zippered fashion, staggering them as
they come together into the turnout. Like so many other things we have
done, probably the best way to evaluate this is to try it on one of the
two turnouts located in the siding next to the building rather than the
main line. If the results are positive, we’ll apply the technique onto
the mainline turnouts
The second work session agenda item will be to
evaluate the Big Joe replacement.
Planned for October 20, 2018
There will be a scheduled work session this
Saturday beginning at 7:30 am. The work agenda will include placement
of ¼ minus inside the engine shed as well as around the outside of the
shed next to the exterior walls. Preceding the placement of the ¼ minus
outside the shed with be a little bit of raking to level the grades and
assure good drainage.
With the completion of the engine house, including
the rodent barriers that were installed a week ago, we can now begin
planning the Big Joe replacement. Thus, we will begin discussing and
developing a strategy for the replacement of the old YELLOW Big Joe with
the replacement BLUE Big Joe.
As usual, at the end of the calendar year, we need
to decide who should serve as chairman for the 7-1/2” gauge committee.
It’s also time to begin thinking about developing our 2019 budget.
Although last weekend there wasn’t a
scheduled work session, as usual some of our members came to the Museum
with the hope that something could be worked on. The effort was reduced
to sitting out on the front porch of the Museum and watching the light
but steady rain for several hours. That rain continued on and off
during the day and then started again during the night. With nearly 3”
of rain falling at the Museum from Friday thru Saturday night, the
ground softened significantly and ponding water was still standing
Sunday during the Museum’s Open House. The rains and soft, muddy
conditions prompted us to cancel the public operation during the Open
House to prevent any issues from occurring on the track.
Planned for October 13, 2018
IMPORTANT: First of all, if you are a Regular Member (voting member)
of the GPD Museum and have received a ballot in the mail, please talk
with someone who attended the last General Membership meeting (last
Friday) regarding members who might be willing to serve on the Board and
also the proposed Bylaw revisions before you vote and mail in your
ballot. Better yet, attend the Board Meeting a week from this
Wednesday (October 17th) as there could be significant relevant
discussion pertaining to the proposed Bylaw revisions. You will still
have time to mail in your ballot after the Board Meeting.
There is a scheduled OPEN HOUSE this Sunday and the temperatures
should be very acceptable for running the train during the Open House.
We might have some more rain in the forecast but I’m not predicting
that. We’ll know more toward the end of the week.
Because of the Open House, there won’t be a scheduled work session this
Saturday. But please, we could need all hands on deck for Sunday’s Open
Last Saturday, we completed the installation of the extruded
steel barriers that filled the spaces at the bottom of the Engine House
walls. We had a lot of help from the outdoor G-gauge group who share the
engine house with us. We used the Museum train again to haul the heavy
stuff bringing 13 (80 pound) bags of premix concrete right up to the
engine house using one of the gondolas.
From there, the bags were pulled into a wheel barrow and expertly
mixed to proper consistency.
The concrete was placed into the trenches using the square point
shovel and pushed up to the bottom of the extruded metal screens.
Once the concrete set up a little bit, Jurgen Zander and Glenn Ellis
applied their finishing skills to create a continuous connection to the
screen to prevent unwanted rodent entrance.
Everyone seems to agree that we “think” we’ve created an adequate
barrier. Time will tell. Tony Kanavage smoothed out the dirt on the
backside of the shed giving it a better appearance and also making it a
bit easier to apply the finished touch. (Tony, your foot appears
dislocated – how did you do that? The picture below is hard to look
The weather Saturday was awesome (finally) and we entertained another
birthday party with train rides. Jurgen Zander helped out as conductor
for the train rides. Here’s a short video of the train ride that
someone posted to
Thank you Glenn Ellis, Jurgen Zander, Paul Kruppenbacher, Tony Kanavage,
Roger Phillips and Charlie Rigney for helping out last weekend.
Planned for October 6, 2018
Finally, the weather this Saturday should be great. Temps
should top out in the low 80’s and it might even be cloudy. It won’t
matter since most of our work will be in the shade. We are scheduling a
work session Saturday because there is no Open House this weekend. The
work session is scheduled to begin at 7:30 am.
The agenda for the work session will be completing the
installation of the extruded metal screens along the bottom of the
engine house to keep rodents out. If we get enough help, we should
also be able to also set concrete at the bottom of the extruded metal
Last Saturday morning, we had a better turnout as Glenn Ellis,
John Roads, and Paul Kruppenbacher joined Burt Wright and as a result,
we got quite a bit of work completed. Shallow trenches were dug along
the bottom of the shed that will be poured with concrete to hold the
bottom of the extruded metal screens in place. All of the trenches got
dug and two of the eight screen sections got installed. Luckily, we
didn’t encounter as much caliche in the trenches, but that didn’t make
the digging easy.
The last 6 screen sections will get installed this Saturday and
hopefully we will be able to begin placing the concrete. Since the
concrete will ultimately get covered with ¼ minus and some ballast,
neatness with the concrete pour will not be critical.
The extruded screen panels fit snugly with virtually no gaps which
should control the rodent problems inside. The 8 sections of extruded
metal and 1½” angle iron had been precut with holes drilled using
dimensions measured by Jesse Miller & Burt Wright a couple months ago.
Jacob Payne made short work of welding the extruded metal to the angle
iron on Friday afternoon before the work session. The first two sections
fit perfectly which was a huge relief. Hopefully, the rest will also fit
correctly this Saturday. After the concrete is poured, we’ll need to
touch up the exterior stain at the bottom of the siding. Then we will
need to continue to monitor the shed after we complete the enclosure to
make sure the pack rats don’t get in. They can do a lot of damage to the
equipment we intend to store inside.
At 9:30 am, with the heat beginning to close in, we called it a morning.
A large Birthday Party arrived at the Museum, so we got the train out
and provided rides for all of the kids. By 11:00, we were done and all
retired to our favorite watering hole for lunch, etc.
Looking forward to seeing you at the Museum Saturday morning at 7:30.
PS: Don’t forget this Friday’s General Membership meeting beginning at
7:00 pm at the Museum.
PPS: A reminder notice to get re-certified as an Engineer for calendar
year 2019 was sent out to committee members who were certified for
calendar year 2018. If you are not currently certified as an Engineer
and wish to become certified, please contact either Jesse Miller
(firstname.lastname@example.org) or Burt
Wright (email@example.com) to
obtain information (including the on-line test link) on how to become
certified. Per the Operational Rules, Regulations, and Guidelines (GPD
Policy #11), you must be a certified engineer to operate any train on
the GPD 7-1/2” gauge layout. There is no cost to become certified and
the testing is “open book”.
Planned for September 29, 2018
There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday morning
beginning at 7:30 am. This is 30 minutes later than the last few work
sessions. On the work agenda will be installation of the extruded metal
fill pieces at the bottom of the engine shed walls to prevent rodents
from getting inside. This is critical as we know that pack rats began
making a nest inside our GPD engine when we parked it inside the shed
two weeks ago. Until we correct this problem, the engine will be parked
in the 20’ container. This will delay our Big Joe transfer table
replacement project. We have 3 weeks between Open Houses from last
Sunday until the next Open House, so we should be able to get this
project knocked out during the next few weeks.
When the engine shed was built, it was built as a pole building rather
than having a conventional style of foundation with bearing walls. The
reason was to eliminate any potential issues related to possible
flooding. We extended the exterior wall siding down to about 4” above
finished grade with the gap open thus allow free passage of water if we
ever have a serious storm water event. The gap also invites small
rodents, such as pack rats, to easily enter and exit the shed. The gap
was intended to be filled with sheets of extruded metal to address this
problem, but we never got around to it. We, now we have to get around to
it. 6” wide by 6’-0” long pieces of extruded metal have been cut and
will be welded to 6’ long pieces of angle iron. These pieces will then
be bolted to the underside of the bottom 2x4 plates that support the
exterior wall sheathing. A 4” to 6” deep narrow footing will be dug into
the ground with the intent to secure the extruded metal at the bottom
and discourage rodents from digging under the barrier.
Crushed rock ballast will then be placed over the concrete to improve
the appearance. So, this Saturday will be the beginning of this process.
Last Saturday, Tony Kanavage & Burt Wright installed the 2nd
track from the turntable to the engine house completing the track
connections. This section is a little bit unique as it had to
incorporate a gentle curve before heading straight into the shed. First,
we placed straight rail into the head wall mount and raked in ¼ minus to
provide a good base for the tie placement.
Then we began setting ties as we usually do.
The process went relatively quickly. When we had about 10’ of rail
length secured with the ties, we slid the rail into its final position
creating the gentle curve. We then leveled the rails side to side and
finished installing the ties to the shed. Tony cut the fill pieces of
rail as needed to complete the section of track, and then we brought in
more ¼ minus to fill the spaces between the ties and secure the section.
We haven’t mustered much of a turnout at our work sessions lately, so
if you haven’t attended one recently, we sure could use some help. Hope
to see you this Saturday around 7:30 AM.
Planned for September 22, 2018
There won’t be a regularly scheduled work session this Saturday since
there is an Open House scheduled for Sunday. However, as usual some of
us will be at the Museum on Saturday beginning at 7:00 am. We intend
to begin installing the 2nd track from the turntable to the engine
house. You are welcome to join us but if you can only come down to the
Museum once this weekend, please attend the Open House as that will of
much greater benefit to the Museum.
The weather prediction as of this afternoon suggests that
temperatures in the afternoon Sunday will be hovering near the mid-90’s
meaning we probably won’t be running again. We’ve generally decided that
temperatures above 90 degrees is just too hot to safely be giving the
public rides on the train and is too hard on the volunteer staff.
Although no such specific restriction currently exists within our Rules,
it is our intent to modify the rules to add such a restriction for
public operation. Having said that, the final decision may be made on
Saturday as things can change. I will try to send out an email late
Saturday alerting everyone about the public run at the Open House. Even
if we don’t run at the Open House, we will probably display the engine &
some of the cars out in front of the Museum with our new sign in an
attempt to recruit more volunteers for our layout committee. Having
people there presenting the Museum favorably including our DIRE need for
volunteer operators is PRIORITY #1 right now. So, please consider coming
down Sunday to help. At the last Open House, two Sundays ago, it was
over 100 degrees outside. In spite of that, we had a huge number of
visitors come to the Museum, probably due to increased advertising by
the Museum Board to attract more visitors. We need to take advantage of
these new faces coming through the front door and try to recruit new
At last Saturday’s work session, Roger Phillips and Tony Kanavage
joined yours truly to lay new track on concrete ties connecting the
turntable to the track previously installed inside the engine house. The
weather was relatively kind to us and our work area had some shade as
the team went about the task at hand. We also were entertained by having
the Studebaker Club arrive at 10 AM for a tour at the Museum.
The first step was to make sure the previous work to establish rough
grade elevation was still adequate. Although there was some need to
import a little bit of additional fill and cut a little bit of high
grade down, it only to about 30 minutes to re-establish rough grade. We
got out the club’s Alco S4 and a couple gondolas and used the train to
our advantage. We loaded one gondola with all the tools that we needed
and then ran the train back to the rear of the caboose where we loaded
the other gondola with ¼ minus. The ¼ minus was used to establish the
finished grade by giving us an easy to work with base material upon
which the concrete ties are placed and leveled.
We then backed the train, with the loaded gondola, around to the north
end of the property where we parked it on the turntable. We installed
two pieces of rail secured temporarily to concrete ties spaced about 3’
O.C. to hold gauge. BTW, I want to thank Roger Phillips for taking
several pictures documenting this work progress.
We then slowly backed the loaded gondola onto the new rails making it
easy to spread the ¼ minus onto the newly graded R.O.W.
Starting at the turntable, we quickly installed the concrete ties at
8” O.C. until we reached the end. Roger cut the short fill pieces of
rail to make the final connection to the engine house and before we knew
it, the connection was completed. We filled in the spaces between the
ties with the remaining ¼ minus. Rock ballast will ultimately get placed
later, after track #2 is installed.
Once the ¼ minus was placed between the ties, the installation got a
thorough wet down to settle everything in.
While the wetting continued, the work train was taken to the back to
the caboose for another load of ¼ minus. Anticipating completion, we
stopped at the container and picked up the remaining Museum consist and
returned to the turntable with 5 pieces of rolling stock in tow. We
shoveled all of the ¼ minus out of the red gondola into the area
adjacent to the new track in preparation for receiving the 2nd track at
the next work session. It was time to quit & go eat lunch, but first we
needed to park the entire train in the engine shed. Concerns were raised
that this consist (engine and 5 cars) wouldn’t fit inside the engine
shed. There was one way to find out.
The 3 empty gondolas are relatively light (125 pounds apiece), so we
decided to back them into the shed and individually lift them from one
track to the other, one end at a time. Installing the 2nd track next
week will eliminate the need to do this type of heavy lifting, but for
now, it was the only way to accomplish the task. As you can see from the
pictures above & below, this involved some switching exercise to get the
gondolas in the correct order, but that was a fun thing to do. It made
us forget how hot it was becoming.
After a short while, the entire consist was parked in the shed with
about a foot to spare on each track. We will need to get bumpers
installed on the ends of the tracks to prevent encroachment into the
Outdoor G Gauge space, but that will become a task for someone who might
be willing to take on a fun project. The engine was the last piece
parked in the engine house.
We plugged it in (without needing an extension cord thanks to Charlie
Rigney’s good planning with the outlet placements, and we took pause for
some pictures and contemplated a cold beer with lunch.
Great work guys!
Hope to see you this weekend. We’ll be there Saturday if you want to
joins us to build the 2nd track, but more important is attendance at the
Open House on Sunday. I’ll try to give everyone as much advanced notice
on whether we run or not as the weekend weather predictions get nailed
down a little closer. If it’s over 90 and clear skies, we won’t run. If
it’s cloudy, we may or may not depending on how hot it does get.
Planned for September 15, 2018
Even though we had a work session last Saturday, we’re going to have
another one this Saturday. Last weekend, we corrected an
alignment issue across the small bridge at the south end of the parking
lot. We ran the engine with a full consist of cars around the Museum
several times to check track conditions. We also identified that the
automatic crossing signal was not operating. Charlie Rigney was kind
enough to check it out and found that the power transformer for the
system had suffered an exposive melt-down inside it’s box with the
culprit apparently being an outside source such as a lightning strike? A
replacement transformer has been ordered and will be installed after
wiring has been checked for possible damage/continuity/etc.
This Saturday, we’re going to start a little later as the 6:00 am
start time has not been particularly popular. So, we’ll go back to the
7:00 am start time. Having said that, prepare for heat as the predicted
high temp for Saturday is 105!
On the work agenda is going to be the replacement of the yellow Big Joe
on the transfer table with the blue Big Joe that has been stored in the
yard between the 40’ container and the meeting room. The first part of
that project will involve removing yellow Big Joe from the outriggers
put together by Raymond McDaniel in 2012. The front of Big Joe is simply
bolted to the front piece of the front outriggers. Take out 2 bolts and
the front outrigger can be moved out of the way.
The bridge is simply bolted to the forks of Big Joe. Remove two bolts
from each side and it should easily come off.
Taking loose the rear outrigger requires an understanding of how it
is secured as it is not clearly evident by looking at the rear of the
Big Joe had two swivel rollers installed in the rear to enable the
forklift to be easily steered when being used. The two swivels were
removed from the bottom corners of Big Joe as shown in the picture
Raymond welded a square tube spacer to a piece of plate which was
bolted in the location where the swivels were located. A piece of angle
iron was then welded on each side of the outrigger for securing Big Joe
as shown in the two pictures below.
So removing the rear outrigger involves removing the two bolts and it
can then be removed. It is important to understand at this time that Big
Joe is pretty heavy. Raising it will necessitate using a hydraulic floor
jack and using a bunch of our old 2x4 ties as cribbing.
The 2nd step will necessitate cutting the welds that hold the mounts on
both outriggers as the Blue Big Joe is a slightly bigger unit and the
dimensions for both front & rear are different. Once the mounts are cut
off, they will need to be re-welded in new locations to accommodate Blue
Big Joe. The welding may or may not occur on Saturday but it would be
great if we can complete the work needed to be ready to weld the mounts.
Angle grinders will be used to cut off the existing welds. Hopefully,
the mounting methods used by Raymond will also work with the Blue Big
Reattachment of the bridge may also become a re-adaptation of the
steaming bay track previously obtained as a donation from Don Beem in
Silver City. It is identical to the steel channel iron steaming bay
insomuch as it is constructed using channel iron. It will be stronger
and slightly longer than the one we’ve been using. Adapting that bridge
will involve having to build a new transition ramp to connect the bridge
to the racks and/or approach track. Anyone who has attempted to load
trains onto or off the transfer table should be in favor of rebuilding
Why are we doing this you might ask? Although the Yellow Big Joe has
served us well and is still operational (albeit needing a new battery),
it is starting to complain when raising our 600 pound locomotive. The
Blue Big Joe has a greater weight capacity (1,000 pounds) and will also
reach to a greater height making it much safer when loading cars into
the container top rack. It’s just time to make the change before we have
a failure with equipment on the lift and find ourselves in trouble.
Depending on progress with this project, we may or may not be able to
access the trains in time for the next Open House (assuming that it
wouldn’t be too hot to run. If that happens, we’ll cross that bridge
when we get there.
Possible change to work agenda for tomorrow. Due to an excellent
suggestion from Michael Hejny, we may choose to install track between
the turntable and the engine house tomorrow rather than work on Big Joe.
This will enable us to move the GPD’s train into the engine house before
we embark on the transfer table redo.
I hope you can come to help with this project.
Planned for August 25, 2018
With only 3 more Saturdays before our 1st Open House,
there is going to be a scheduled work session this Saturday again
starting early @ 6:00 am to give us more cool time. Come whenever you
can if you can’t make the early start time because we could sure use the
help. On the work agenda will be the leveling of the straight track
section adjacent to the caboose where the tie replacement was finished
at the last work session two weeks ago. We will probably also install
some rail joiners to keep track joints from coming apart or squeezing
too tight due to expansion/contraction. Depending on home many people
come this Saturday, we will begin doing a thorough inspection of the
entire track in preparation for fall Open House running.
Last week, although it wasn’t a scheduled work session, a couple
of diehards (Tony Kanavage & Burt Wright) did come to the Museum and
finished the installation of rail & ties in the track between the
mainline and the turntable enabling the first use of the turntable.
The track was leveled and then we pulled the Museum’s
train onto the turntable for the 1st test. Thanks to Jurgen Zander for
taking a video of the train being pulled onto the turntable for the
first time. You should be able to view it by clicking on the following
The three photos below show that the rail connection to the turntable is
complete and the turntable works!
With the Museum’s train backed onto the turntable, the
locking pin is pulled and the turntable is turned.
With the locking pin reset, the train was backed off the
turntable and then we took it around the layout clockwise rather than
the usual counterclockwise.
We then put the train back on the turn table and turned
it back as it was when we started.
It’s been a project for sure, but it really felt good to
see it finally function as intended. Thank you Jurgen Zander for taking
several of the pictures above and also the short video.
Hope to see everyone this Saturday beginning around 6:00 am.
Planned for August 18, 2018 (No scheduled work session this Saturday)
There will not be a scheduled work session this Saturday keeping with
our every other week scheduling. Having said that, there will be people
there working outside on various items. If you don’t have anything to do
and suffer from insomnia, you’re welcome to join us beginning at 6:00 am
at the Museum again. It’s nice & cool at that time and gives us a good 3
hours or more that we can get stuff done.
Last weekend, we finally got the tie replacements done on the
straight section behind the caboose. The ballast needs to be reset but
we wanted to get some rain onto the ¼ minus that was placed as base and
in between the ties for stability. Raking out the ballast won’t take but
10 to 15 minutes.
Then we’ll focus on getting the track laid into the turntable from
the layout. The rails are already cut but the ties, although previously
set, need to be repositioned & leveled before the rail can be secured to
the ties. It’s a little less than 20’ and we should be able to get it
done without much trouble.
If we can complete that section, we will then be able to actually use
the turntable. The track section between the turntable and the engine
shed still needs to be installed.
Planned for August 11, 2018
This Saturday beginning at 6:00 am, we are going to begin work
to complete the tie replacement behind the caboose. The area will be
shaded that early and we should be above to avoid the substantial heat &
humidity that has plagued the past couple of weekends. Hopefully, we’ll
be able to get all of the track ties replaced behind the caboose
including leveling the section and resetting the rock ballast. At least
that’s the plan.
Now for the IMPORTANT PART: A few months back, we began
seriously discussing the lack of recruitment the 7-1/2 gauge committee
is experiencing for the outdoor railroad. Actually, most of the Museum
layout committees are experiencing similar problems although there seems
to be a systemic problem acknowledging that the problem exists. Thus, we
are going to grab this bull by the horns and try to solve the problem on
our own. We have a golden opportunity ahead to get our message out in
front of the public with the November Train Show. Ron McLaughlin and
Roger Phillips have volunteered to put together a display to be used at
the upcoming November Train Meet with a focus on recruitment for the
outdoor railroad. The train show is scheduled for November 9th & 10th
which is approaching quickly and the need to recruit volunteers to help
with the outdoor railroads is immediate. At our current rate of
recruitment, operation of the railroad is simply not sustainable. Thus,
the presentation at the Train Show in November will be a critical step
is trying to get more participation from the public. This Saturday,
after we quit working outside (probably between 9:00 to 9:30 am), we are
going to put our stuff away and go inside into the air-conditioned
meeting room and have a brain storming session with Ron and Roger
regarding the train meet display. I’m told that Ron McLaughlin’s wife,
Gail, is going to make her very good cinnamon sticky buns and Ron
promised not to eat all of them on his drive in from Benson. Anyone who
cares about this railroad should be able to participate in this think
tank effort and we are going to need “all hands on deck” at the train
show to help man the effort. We hope to see you this Saturday for this
very important meeting.
PS: Although the 7-1/2 gauge committee took a break last weekend,
there were some members that were very busy at the Museum. After
installing all of the seat cushions into the Rio Grande caboose, Jurgen
Zander, with help from Tony Kanavage, Paul Kruppenbacher and Charlie
Rigney, began placing stone around the turntable as a “finishing touch”
to the recently installed assembly. Although there is a little more to
do to finish that work, what they have done so far is amazing as
depicted in the before & after pictures below. Jurgen has directed this
portion of the project and deserves a lot of the credit although others
pitched in as well. I want to thank all of them for their special caring
about the way that the Museum presents itself. With only a few members
available to help work on the 7-1/2 gauge layout, the informal
partnership between the two outdoor groups as well as some “independent”
GP members helping out is very heartwarming. Jurgen, Charlie, Tony &
Paul, thank you so much for everything you all do.
I can only imagine how you guys must have felt after doing all of
HOPE TO SEE EVERYONE THIS SATURDAY (6:00 AM)
Planned for August 4, 2018 (No scheduled work session this Saturday)
There is not going to be a scheduled work session this Saturday.
Last Saturday, only one person braved the heat & humidity to continue
working on the track behind the caboose enclosure. The work performed
was removal of the rock ballast from the remaining section of track
needing tie replacement. Then, the wood ties were removed with some left
to hold gauge and support the rail. The concrete ties were moved into
the enclosure and distributed as needed to accomplish the replacement.
Unfortunately, only 4 of the concrete ties got placed before the shade
went away as the sun rose above the side of the caboose. That effort
required 4 bottles of water!
The heat was pretty bad, but the humidity was the real reason to
quit. It was a good start but done for the day – the project completion
will need to wait for the next work session.
An idea is being floated around which is to either start the work
sessions earlier (between 5:00 and 6:00 am) or possibly try evening
(starting after 6:00 pm). The morning would be cooler but getting up
that early might be problematic. The evening would require some outdoor
lighting but there would be no solar impact. Any comments?
Planned for July 28, 2018
Although it may be pretty hot (80-ish) and humid (good chance for
rain on Saturday), there will be a scheduled work session this Saturday
beginning at 7:00 am. On the work agenda is completion of the wood tie
replacement with concrete ties to about 20’ of track on the backside of
the caboose (shown in the picture below).
It would be great if we could complete this section so that we could
refocus on completion of the track work into the recently completed
Hope to see you early on Saturday.
Planned for July 21, 2018 (No scheduled work session this Saturday)
There is not going to be a scheduled work session this Saturday as we
had one last weekend. I want to thank Paul, Jesse, Roger & Tony for
stepping in last weekend in my absence to start doing tie
replacement behind the caboose. They are about ½ done with the stretch
inside the enclosure. We should be able to be completed with that
portion of the track during the next work session.
Roger Phillips was also at the Museum last Saturday to help with the
track work. He sent me some pictures that he took of the track work
behind the caboose that I want to share with everyone. The first step in
the tie replacement process is to rake out the ballast.
A short section of wood ties are removed and ¼ minus is brought in to
raise the grade to compensate for the different tie height and also
provide a base that is easier to work with. Then a few at a time, the
concrete ties are placed and attached.
And so it goes . . . .
I also want to give special thanks to Jurgen Zander for making the
headwall/turntable conflict go away by using a grinding wheel designed
for concrete. Nearly 1/2” of concrete needed to be ground off at one end
of the headwall on the inside face to allow the turntable clearance. His
efforts look great and now the turntable will complete a 360 degree
revolution without conflict. The south end and north end headwalls are
The roller wheels on one end of the turntable need to be shimmed to
make the height of the turntable perfectly equal at each end. Then the
locking pin plates need to be adjusted vertically to accept the mating
pin. Once that is completed, then the track connections can be made.
Jurgen Zander has also been working to set rock around the backside of
the turntable stem wall and he has also begun to dig out adjacent to the
turntable ring to set pavers. The picture below shows a little bit of
that effort which will give the area a clean & finished appearance that
the Museum can be proud of.
Thanks again to everyone who helped out – I look forward to finishing
this section at our next session. Have a great weekend and be
safe. We’ll be hard at it again the following weekend (Saturday, the
28th). A reminder email will get sent out.
Planned for July 14, 2018
With Independence Day behind us, we hopefully will be able to get
working on the railroad again. Several things need to be done now that
the head walls are poured at the north and south end of the turntable.
Track maintenance is definitely needed behind the Caboose enclosure.
This will include replacing wood ties with concrete. That section of
straight track has suffered from the constant expansion & contraction
due to day heating and night cooling that doesn’t get properly
compensated by the current installation. Even though adequate gaps are
provided at the track joints, the solid securement of the rail to the
wood ties restrict the rail movement and the result is the ties move
with the rail and can’t return to their intended position. This movement
is a daily & constant phenomena and it results in loosening of the
screws, shifting of the tie positions, including upward movement,
resulting in the track becoming unleveled and also getting out of gauge.
At least one of the slide-on rail joiners has worked its way off the
rail resulting in the rails separating. By installing concrete ties with
tie plates, the rail is allowed to move laterally through the tie plates
as the concrete ties stay put. The expansion/contraction is then
accommodated by the gaps at the rail joints as intended. The weight of
the ties also assures that they don’t move. Ultimately, we will have all
of our rail secured to concrete ties which will dramatically reduce the
track maintenance efforts.
Also on the list of tasks is making the track connections from the head
walls to and from the turntable although these connections are now a #2
priority as the track maintenance identified above is more important to
the safe operation of the railroad.
Last weekend, with only two people attending the work session, we
still accomplished the first intended task. We were able to get both
headwalls poured at the north and south end of the turntable. The first
part of that effort was to get the headwall forms set. We started with
the south end and got the form set without much difficulty. We didn’t
need to hold the form in place using stakes as we held the form in place
using a couple of concrete ties as shown in the picture below.
With the anchor bolts already having been secured in position during
a previous work session, we removed the steel plate from the anchor
bolts and then mixed up a couple sacks of concrete in a wheel barrow and
began pouring it into the formed space. After the form was filled, we
pushed the plate back onto the anchor bolts and then waited for the
concrete to set up a bit. Then we were able to work the concrete up into
the ends of the form and made an attempt to improve the appearance.
As the concrete began to set, we shifted our attention to the north
end, set the form and began the same process. As with any project, there
was a learning curve to anticipate the time when we could begin working
the concrete. Since neither of the members doing this project have ever
built anything like this before, experience was a bit lacking, but we
still got the project done.
We will try to pull the forms at the Wednesday night work session at
the Museum (tonight). The next step will be to begin making the track
connections although we need to take care of some much needed track
maintenance (tie replacement) behind the caboose enclosure first.
If you haven’t been able to come to any of the summer work sessions yet,
we understand that family vacations take precedence, but if you can
spare some time this Saturday, please consider coming down to help out.
There’s definitely a lot to do, and it’s much easier to accomplish these
tasks with more people helping.
Hope to see you this Saturday morning beginning at 7:00 am.
PS: For those of you (myself included) who might have wanted to visit
the recently concluded 2018 Train Mountain Triennial Meet but
couldn’t find time, you might enjoy this 45 minute YouTube video:
Planned for June 30, 2018 - No work session
So that you may plan for your family “pre-4th of July” travels or
events, there is not going to be a scheduled work session this weekend
at the Museum. Work sessions will resume on Saturday, July 7th. We will
send an email out later next week reminding everyone of that work
Last Saturday, we only had two people at the Museum to work on
the turntable head wall footings. We got an early start so it wasn’t too
hot to do the digging. The footing at the south end had already been
dug, so we began our work by cutting the rail to length from the
turntable to the turnout to the south. We clamped the rail to the plate
which was held at the correct elevation & alignment using bar clamps and
the locking pin as shown in the picture below. The anchor bolts extended
down about 14” below the plate (2” above the bottom of the footing).
We then mixed up an 80# sack of pre-mix concrete and poured it into
the footing. We then went to the north end of the turntable & finished
digging the foundation at that end while the concrete began to set at
the south end. The north end will have two of these plates set as there
are two tracks that will be served by the turntable at the north end.
The two plates have to be individually set as the turntable is being
used to establish the correct elevation & alignment. Since the turntable
has to remain in place while the concrete footing sets up, we were only
able to get one of the plates at the north end positioned at a time.
Once the digging was completed (it took about an hour), we checked the
south end which had already begun to solidify enabling us to remove the
clamps and lock pin and spin the turntable 180 degrees. Below is a
picture of the south end after the concrete was set, the clamps removed,
and the turntable revolved.
With alignments checked, we then set one of the two plates using the
same technique we used at the south end. We had to partition the footing
into two sections as only one of the two plates would be installed at a
time and then we mixed another sack of concrete, poured the 2nd footing
as shown below.
It was about 9:30 when we finished the 2nd pour and it was beginning
to get hot, so we picked up the tools and headed inside for the
remainder of the session. We will probably pour the footing for the
3rd/last plate tonight (Wednesday night work session) so everything will
be ready for the head wall pour at our next work session in a couple
weeks. We are getting there – slowly but surely.
I also want to give special thanks to Joey Ybarra who has been
working behind the scenes to help our railroad by making concrete ties.
He showed up mid-morning with a load of another 120 ties (@ 10# each,
that’s 1,200#). We unloaded them onto the steaming bay.
We need to be thinking about continuing the tie replacement program
as there are a few places calling out for attention including the curved
sections at the front (north end) of the Museum and the straight section
along the southern fence line behind the caboose.
Thanks to John Roads for the photo contributions. On behalf of our
chairman, Jesse Miller and the Museum Board, we hope everyone has a
great holiday this coming week as we celebrate our country’s
independence on the 4th (Wednesday). If you are heading out of town this
weekend (as I will be) or next week/weekend, please travel safely & come
back in one piece.
Planned for June 16, 2018
There will be a scheduled work session this coming Saturday
morning with the start time being 7:00 am. The weather is predicted
to be relatively cool as the monsoon’s are finally making their
appearance. Usually, the monsoon rains are in the afternoon so the
morning should be perfect for outdoor activity. At any rate, we need to
begin the process of building the two headwalls for the turntable.
There has been quite a bit of discussion regarding these headwalls and
specifically how to ensure that the locking pin hole that will be welded
to the top of a piece of ¼” steel plate will get secured onto the top of
the concrete headwall in alignment with the locking pin on the
The task is complicated by the fact that the forms for the concrete
headwall built last weekend (shown above) prevent the turntable
from being in position to allow it to be used to align the steel plate
with the attached receiving hole. So, in order to make sure that the
steel plate with the receiving hole welded to it will be correctly
aligned with the locking pin on the turntable, the headwall forms cannot
be in place. Jurgen Zander came up with a good solution although it
makes the headwall construction a 2-step process. Below is a drawing
depicting the plan as sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. The
head wall will now be poured in two segments, the first being the
footing that will hold the anchor bolts in place. Since the headwall
forms will not need to be set to pour this footing, we can use the
turntable to get the correct placement of the receiving hole for the
For each plate, there will be two, 16” long, ½” diameter anchor bolts
connected with double nuts to the plate. We will dig a relatively small
foundation about 10” deeper that the concrete ring. We can then align
the turntable and set the steel plate (with anchor bolts attached) onto
the locking pin and then pour the foundation using one or two sacks of
premix concrete. With the concrete placed, we will recheck the plate to
make sure it’s level & aligned with the locking pin and then we will
wait for the concrete to set up. The second step (probably the following
work session) will be to set the forms for the head walls and do the
final pour. Since the plates will already be in their correct position,
we won’t need the turntable to do the final pour. If after everything
has cured, we will still be able to adjust the plate and ensure proper
fit with the locking pin as the holes will be slotted and we can adjust
the height as the assembly is bolted to the headwall rather than
permanently cemented in.
At least this is the plan at the moment, better ideas are always
welcome. If you come to the Wednesday evening work night tonight, we can
Looking forward to seeing everyone Saturday morning.
Planned for June 9, 2018
There will NOT be a regularly scheduled work session for the 7-1/2”
gauge group at the Museum this Saturday. However, as usual, there will
be activity going on at the Museum this weekend as work continues inside
and outside. Last night at the Museum, with the concrete cured on the
center pivot axle of the turntable, the blocks that held the turntable
in place were removed and the turntable was given a spin. It is with
great relief that I can honestly say I can now get a good night’s sleep.
Doug Potter was present and filmed the effort. Here is a MOV video file.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to open it to see the “first
If you have nothing to do this Saturday, there will be people including
myself at the Museum beginning at 7:00 am. I want to get a head start
building the forms for the headwalls that will get poured at each end of
the turntable. With some luck, the forms will get completed and we can
use them to pour the concrete headwalls during next week’s scheduled
work session. You are certainly welcome to stop by and lend a hand
and/or inspect the progress into the summer’s work agenda.
Last Saturday’s work session was very productive as we tackled
the long awaited placement of the turntable structure into its permanent
location. We got two of the Museum’s gondolas out and placed them on the
approach track. We slid the turntable (300 pound +/-) off the steaming
bay onto Big Joe. We then slid the turntable off Big Joe over the 1st
gondola onto the second. Then we finished sliding the assembly off of
Big Joe with the end placed onto the first gondola. With several people
present, we were able to safely do the transfer.
The we moved the turntable down the backside tracks across the
turnouts without incident.
The move worked perfectly and only took about a minute.
Once parked beside the previously prepared ring, we lifted one end of
the turntable off the gondola and swung it onto the ground in the center
of the concrete ring. Repeating the process, we quickly had the
turntable set on the ring. The center hub assembly with the short axle
segment was then bolted into place with a plastic ring form installed
between the bottom of the turntable and the ground. We checked and
re-checked the alignment of the turntable and finally agreed that we had
it properly centered and we mixed up a couple sacks of premix concrete.
Pouring the concrete into the hole was probably the hardest part of
this job and there was little space available between the plastic ring
form and the edges of the turntable structure.
Little by little, the hole was poured full.
With the predicted high temperature for the day being well over 100,
we were very motivated to complete this work early in the morning while
it was cool.
. . . and then we stepped back to admire the job well done. It was
8:20 am and we were done.
Thanks to all that helped out with this project. Look at the short
video, the “first
turn”. (6MB) Video taken by Doug Potter.
Planned for June 2, 2018
Yeah, summer is almost here and it’s getting warmer each weekend.
This weekend will explain why our winter visitor members have got out of
Dodge. This Saturday we have a scheduled work session which will begin
at 7:00 am (30 minutes earlier that previous work sessions). The
predicted high temperature for Saturday is going to be over 100 and
Sunday will be hotter. Thus, the early start time as we’ve got a little
bit of heavy lifting to do and would like to get it done before the
major heat shows up.
This Saturday will be the day when we place the turntable in its
final resting place. Current thinking is that we will get out two of the
Museum’s 7-1/2” gauge gondolas and lift the turntable off the steaming
bay and place each end of the turntable structure onto a piece of
plywood centered in the middle of each of the gondolas. It is estimated
that the turntable structure weighs around 300#. It is 16’ long. If we
use the rail cars to move it, it will greatly reduce the distance that
we’ll need to carry it. Exactly how this is going to work is somewhat of
a mystery, but we know we don’t want anyone to get hurt and the tracks
go right by where the turntable is going to be placed. Below is a
depiction of what this move “might” look like.
The turntable structure itself is currently ready to move – freshly
painted as shown in the picture below but also, as of last Wednesday
night, the roller wheels are installed and the wood planking bolted
on. In addition, the center hub/axle assembly is now greased and the new
grease seal installed.
Once we have the turntable moved to its position on the concrete
ring, it will need to be perfectly aligned and centered with the hub
assembly bolted into place in the center of the structure. Then the hole
into which the hub assembly axle is positioned will be filled with a
slurry of concrete. In case you haven’t yet seen the location, below is
the finished ring before the hole was dug in the center.
Hopefully, the move shouldn’t take too long & I expect that we won’t
need to mix much more than one bag of concrete +/- to place in the hole
once the center axle hub assembly is in position. So, that is the work
scheduled for this Saturday. It will take at least 4 able bodied people
to help lift and position the turntable on and off the rail cars plus
dropping it (not literally) into place onto the concrete ring. So if you
haven’t been to a work session for a while, this would be a good one to
attend as we could sure use your help. Don’t forget the new time (7:00
Planned for May 26, 2018 (no work session)
Due to the fact that this coming weekend is the last Open House for
the season, there will not be a scheduled work session on Saturday. We
are sending this announcement out early so that people may make plans
for the long Memorial Day weekend coming up. Also, with Sunday’s
predicted high temperature currently setting at 101, we obviously won’t
be running the train on Sunday. So, for those who may be thinking of
getting out of Dodge, get in line and have a great time – you all
Last Saturday at the Museum, we had a great turnout to begin
preparing the turn table structure for painting. On board were Tony
Kanavage, Glenn Ellis, Roger Phillips, Jesse Miller, Paul Kruppenbacher,
Jerry VanCleve, & Burt Wright with Jurgen Zander & Charlie Rigney
waiting in the wings if needed. Many hands made relatively short work of
the preparation tasks as several wire brushes were working on drill
motors at the same time.
While the prep work continued, we cut & pre-drilled the holes into
the 2” x 6” planks that will be bolted to the brackets welded to the
side of the channel iron. Glenn Ellis then brushed on a very healthy
coat of water sealant to the 2 x 6 planks.
With time to spare after the prep work was finished, a coat of primer
was sprayed onto the turntable structure. It dried quickly leaving
enough time to paint the turntable. A single coat of flat black
Rustoleum was then applied and it looks great!
The finished product is almost ready for installation but that won’t
happen for a couple more weeks.
If you’re going to be in town over Memorial Day weekend, please consider
coming down to help out at the Open House on Sunday. Even though the
outside trains won’t be running, they always need help inside with the
This has been a great year so far. Entering into the summer will
restrict the hours of work sessions due to the heat that creeps in late
morning. We will push up the start time for work sessions to begin at
7:00 am starting with the scheduled work session June 2nd which will
give us another 30 minutes of time to get things done. If you can’t get
up that early, come down when you can – your help is needed whenever you
can get there.
May 19, 2018
There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday at 7:30 am at
the Museum. On the work agenda will be the preparation work on the
turntable structure recently delivered to the Museum. It is
currently located on top of the steaming bay next to the loading zone.
Preparation work will involve wire brushing and/or grinding off surface
rust and then priming the areas with rust preventative primer. While
that is occurring, the 2 X 6 planking needs to be cut to length,
pre-drilled for the mounting bolts, and then coated with wood
preservative. If we can complete these tasks, we can brush on a coat of
flat black Rustoleum paint that we have. So, you might notice that there
is NO “digging” indicated for this work session so everyone can get
Last weekend was a total bust as far as the 7-1/2” gauge
committee was concerned. There were only two members present Saturday
morning – so we decided to blow off the move of the turntable from
Burt’s house to the Museum. Sunday wasn’t much better as we didn’t have
enough crew to man the train at the Open House, so the train never came
out of the barn. Even though it was Mother’s Day, the Open House was
well attended by the Public.
Midmorning Sunday, before the Open House began, Glenn Ellis met Burt
Wright at his home and together they were able to slide the turntable
structure off the welding table into his trailer.
The turntable was then delivered to the Museum where, using Big Joe,
they were able to slide the turntable off of Glenn’s trailer, across Big
Joe, and onto the steaming bay. No lifting was necessary which is a good
thing – the turntable weighs in about 300#.
Look forward to seeing all of you this weekend.
May 12, 2018
There will not be a scheduled work session Saturday as this Sunday is
a scheduled Open House. Having said that, and assuming that all the
welding gets completed on the turntable, it could get delivered to the
Museum by Saturday morning in preparation for its installation. Prior to
installing, there have been suggestions that we first paint the
turntable. If it is to be painted, now is definitely the time to do
that. Thus, on Saturday, we could begin preparing the surfaces on the
turntable for paint application. That may involve grinding, wire
brushing, and/or sanding. Color choice has not been made but flat black
is currently in 1st place. Input is always encouraged. In addition, we
will need to apply weather resistant stain to the wood planking that
will be installed on the side of the turntable. So, although there is no
“scheduled” work session, there is always work that happens at the
Museum. Come on down and enjoy the camaraderie. I guarantee – NO
Current weather forecasts show that the high temperature for Sunday
could again be over 90 degrees again. 90 degrees has been our cut-off to
operate the train outside. The decision to run will probably be made on
Open House day as it’s too early now to declare it as a GO/NO-GO. All
members are encouraged to come to the Museum as even if we don’t run, we
always need help inside the Museum.
Last weekend, only a couple of the 7-1/2” group came to the
scheduled work session. Thus, we were only able to get the hole dug for
the center pivot foundation. No pictures of that excavation were taken –
it looks like any other hole in the ground. It only took about an hour
to get the hole dug and yes, we did encounter a bunch of caliche. We
took the opportunity of finishing early to go over to Superlite Block
Co. (previously Young Block) around the corner from the Museum. What we
found was an interesting style of cap block that was slightly wedge
shaped that could have application as a finish to the outside of the
concrete ring. Jurgen Zander developed a drawing shown below showing how
such block could be installed. We will have more discussion about this
concept during future work sessions. Your input is always appreciated.
UPDATE from last weekend: With Jacob Payne’s welding skill not
to mention his welding equipment and that awesome welding table, the
welding on the turntable structure was pretty much completed. Still
needed are mounts for a push bar on at least one end (probably removable
to facilitate moving the assembly) plus mounting supports for “wooden
sideboard planking”. In addition, linkage for the locking mechanism to
secure the turntable in alignment needs to be added.
In the picture below, the turntable is on its side with the top of the
turntable facing right – the notches cut into the top of the cross
members will allow for the wheel flanges. The mounts for the rollers
extend out 6” from the edge of the channel iron. That makes the entire
assembly 22-5/8” wide at each end. Otherwise, the table is only 10-5/8”
wide (7-5/8” gauge width plus two 1-1/2” wide pieces of channel iron).
The wood side board planks will be installed between the mounts for the
rollers with the outer edge of the planks even with the roller mounts.
With a 14” wide locomotive on the turntable, the wood side board planks
would extend a little more than 4-1/4” out from the side of the
locomotive. We plan to use a standard width 2 x 6 (5½” wide) with a ½”
space between the 2 x 6 and the channel iron. I figure the supports
could be 1-1/2” angle welded to the side of the channel iron located so
the planking would be level with the top of the turntable. The boards
would be secured to the angle iron with carriage bolts. We would stain
the boards with water-resistant stain like we used on the engine house.
What do you think?
Below is a picture of one of the MLS turntables (they have more than
one). It has wider planks that appear to be 2 x 10’s or 12’s), but the
added width doesn’t appear to add any particular benefit functionally
speaking (actually the additional width could be counterproductive in
our application since our turntable will be installed closer to the
ground. The yellow handle on the right of the MLS turntable is the
locking mechanism used to secure the table in place when it’s being used
to load a train. As I recall, there was only one of these locking
mechanism’s on the table. It is our intent to have only 1 locking
mechanism initially although a 2nd one could be added later if we felt
it was necessary.
On the MLS turntable, the roller wheels were mounted below the bottom
of the turntable as shown in the photo below. Our rollers are installed
into pockets attached to the side of the turntable. The height
difference is about 4” with the result being that our turntable will be
much lower to the ground. The addition height of the MLS turntable
resulted in them having to create a deeper well which required them to
have a concrete retaining wall poured entirely around their turntable to
compensate for the added depth. We avoided that by mounting the rollers
off the side of the turntable rather than under the turntable.
Below is a photo of the locking pin used on the MLS turntable. Not
particularly pretty, but it is functional. Our arrangement will be very
Hope to see all of you this weekend – Sunday is the critical day if
you can only come once – I know, it’s Mother’s Day, but a lot of mothers
come to the Train Museum on Mother’s Day.
May 5, 2018
First of all, I want to thank our winter visitors who have stayed in
touch with me, even after they have left town. Fred Daigneau checked in
with me yesterday and wanted to say hello to everyone. He complained
that his internet wasn’t working, it was cold outside, and he was ready
to head back. I probably shouldn’t tell him that it’s going to be 100+
this weekend! Dave Peterson checked in via email on April 25th stating
he was sorry to miss all the fun as he had to shovel snow instead! I
think I join everyone in saying that we really miss these guys – hurry
back both of you!
Yes, there will be a work session this Saturday morning beginning at
7:30 am. On the work agenda will be doing some final raking & shaping of
the ground around the turntable to facilitate drainage if and when we
get rain. We can also do the excavation in the center of the turntable
in preparation of creating the footing for the center pivoting hub
assembly that will support the center of the turntable.
Last weekend, we stripped the forms from the previously poured
concrete ring. We had no particular problems removing the screws that
held the sections of bender boards together and removal of the rebar
stakes also went relatively well. Then the hard part began as there was
quite a bit of dirt that had to be removed from the center of the ring.
We encountered caliche again that needed to be picked out. Thank
goodness for young backs who could help with that task.
We then leveled the dirt inside the ring to be about 1” below the
It took the better part of the morning to get the dirt raked out and
there were some tired souls who will testify to the amount of work that
The group was up to the task and we finished just before lunch break.
Then, with the surface raked flat, we filled the center with water to
“settle” the ground in preparation for the next step. It took nearly ½
hour with the hose on full to create the shallow pond you see below. It
was gone within another 30 minutes.
Ultimately, we will place some ¼ minus material spread inside to keep
dust down and give the space a finished appearance. Before we do that,
we will need to dig the center excavation for the pivot hub assembly
Below is what the turntable looked like just before we left for lunch.
Now that it’s beginning to take shape, this is proving to be a pretty
exciting project to be involved in. The turntable structure is being
fabricated/welded at Burt’s house on a huge welding table built by Jacob
Payne. The welding table is level and is large permitting the turntable,
which is 16’ long weighing nearly 200 pounds to be easier to fabricate.
Below is a current picture of the system mocked up before welding
The hub assembly was donated to the project by Glenn Ellis. The
trailer axle was bent badly in the middle, but we were able to cut off
each end to give us two hub assemblies (one to use & one spare).
The hub assembly will be attached to a steel plate welded into the
center of the turntable shown below. Tonight, the center will have a 3”
diameter hole drilled where the pilot hole is located to accept the end
of the hub assembly. You are looking at the bottom of the turntable in
all of the pictures.
In the picture below, you can see one of the notches that are cut
into the pieces of channel that hold the long pieces apart maintaining
the intended 7-5/8” gauge.
Not depicted are the pieces that have all been fabricated that form
the pockets into which the 4 roller wheel assemblies will be mounted
(two at each end on the sides of the turntable). My hope is that the
entire assembly will be finished & delivered to the Museum by May 12th.
Our next work session will probably be May 19th although the 12th isn’t
out of the question.
Hope to see you Saturday – Remember there is no Open House this Sunday
but there is going to be a General Membership Meeting this Friday. Hope
to see you all this weekend.
April 28, 2018
There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday beginning at
7:30 am at the Museum. You might have been wondering if we were able to
do the concrete pour last weekend. Well, we did manage to “git er done”.
On the work agenda for Saturday will be stripping the forms off the
concrete ring poured last Saturday. We also will lower the elevation of
dirt inside the concrete ring to at least 1” below the concrete surface.
To address concerns being expressed about water ponding inside the ring,
if we have time, we will extend a drain from inside the ring to the
adjacent drainage channel. We can also shoot some grades around the
outside of the ring to determine which direction we need to divert
drainage from the areas adjacent to the ring. So, it will be a full
morning – please consider stopping by.
Last Saturday, although being the day before the Open House, a
few hearty souls came down to help with the concrete pour into the
previously formed ring. Before we got started with the pour, we had to
bend & wire in all of the rebar around the ring (two #3’s w/spacers).
As usual, manning the mixing duty, with a bunch of experience, was Glenn
Ellis who expertly controlled the slump with just the right amount of
water. The mixer worked flawlessly again and we are grateful to Raymond
McDaniel for making it available to the Museum.
Paul Kruppenbacher lent his back and arms to the effort by hand
placing all of the concrete (one ton of it to be exact) bucket by bucket
into the previously formed ring. Tony Kanavage kept up with Paul or vice
versa, as they methodically moved around the circle making sure to pull
the rebar up off the ground and into the concrete as they went. The
notched screed worked out well to make sure the level of the concrete
stayed no higher than the form and below the level of the bar stock. I
need to try and get a more flattering view of Paul working. Sorry Paul.
Will McGeary joined the fun and provided some encouragement to Tony as
his work is the part that will ultimately show.
By noon, we were done and the group retired to Sam’s (our favorite
watering hole) for a much needed break and refueling.
Hope to see you this Saturday at 7:30 am for another fun day as the
turntable is quickly approaching reality.
April 21, 2018
Sunday is an Open House. At the moment, the predicted high
temperature is looking to be over 90, thus we may not be running. That
is subject to change depending on the weather and also available
There is some motivation to do the concrete pour on Saturday morning
since the ring is now formed. Holding off may result in kids tripping on
or messing with the forms so it makes sense to get the concrete poured
So, at the moment, we are scheduling a work session for Saturday to
do the pour. The pour will need to be preceded by placement of a pair of
3/8” rebar inside the formed the circular ring which shouldn’t take long
at all. We should have the 20+ sacks of concrete at the Museum by
Saturday morning for the work session. The weather is predicted to be
mid 80’s so the AM should be ideal. Consequently, we are going to try to
do the pour Saturday morning. I hope you can come & join us in this
Last Saturday, the installation of the circular forms was done.
Although the process took some time, it went rather well in my opinion.
Plywood templates were used to set the width & height spacing for the
Then, using a rotary hammer drill & a long ½” masonry bit, we
pre-drilled holes adjacent to the bender board to accept the ½” rebar
stakes. They were hammered into the pre-drilled holes and held the board
securely. The board was tied to the rebar stakes with tie wires.
The installation on top of the masonry retaining wall required wooden
vertical pieces screwed into the block. That also worked well.
The finished results speak for themselves.
While Tony, Jacob, & Burt worked on the forms for the concrete ring,
Paul Kruppenbacher, with help from Jurgen Zander, went to work on
replacing several broken or split boards on the wooden bridge walkway
between the tracks.
After the boards were replaced, they gave the walkway a fresh coat of
stain. Looks great.
As if that wasn’t enough, with Jesse’s help, we managed to give a
birthday party a train ride around the Museum. The kids always love the
train rides and we make a big deal out of them for the birthday boy or
girl. This is why we do what we do.
Looking forward to seeing you Saturday morning @ 7:30 am and don’t
forget the Open House Sunday.
April 14, 2018
There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday at the Museum
beginning at 7:30 am. On the work agenda will be setting forms for the
concrete ring pour now that the steel ring has been placed.
Construction of the turntable itself has begun in hopes that it will
be completed when we need to get it installed. But first things first.
The bender board that will be the forming material is already at the
Museum awaiting it’s installation.
I can’t remember who suggested it, but drilling holes for the
installation of the vertical rebar used to secure the forms is going to
work out great. We tried one last Saturday just to make sure it was the
right approach. One of the tasks needed will be to cut the ½” rebar into
short lengths using the rebar cutter stored in the engine shed. It works
well but it takes a strong set of arms and back. I figure we’ll need a
rebar every couple of feet inside and outside. I think we’ll need at
least 32 pieces of cut rebar (perhaps more) with each being about 16”
long. It will be a full morning to get this task completed. Once the
forms are set, we’ll be able to schedule the pour.
April 7, 2018
There is no scheduled work session this Saturday due to the Open
House on Sunday...but come on down anyway.
Last Saturday was a regular work session back to work on the
Turntable, and on the schedule was to install the steel ring to the
previously prepared posts.
So 1st was the measuring and the verifying, then the work began welding
the rolled ring to the posts hopefully forming some sort of circular
But 1st 1st, a small extension was added to one of the more "sunken"
posts. One to weld and another to hold the bar stock in just the correct
And worked continued around from post to post.
... to post until we got back to where we started. Then just a quick
cut off the extra and we had one mostly perfect circle!
See you all this Sunday at the open house and don't forget the
monthly membership meeting Friday night.
March 31, 2018
There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday beginning at a
new time (7:30 am) as winter has past and spring is officially here.
With Saturday’s high predicted to be near 90, we want to get a little
bit of a head start. On the agenda for Saturday’s session is the
installation of the 1” x ½” bar stock ring for the turntable. The ring
is actually three separate pieces that were rolled to the approximate
diameter (15’-4”) needed by Smyth Industries who is a major steel
fabricator of water tanks in Tucson. They were kind enough to offer
their assistance to us using their massive steel rollers which they use
to create the curved sheet steel pieces that make up large welded steel
water tanks. Before the ring can begin to be installed, we must cut off
the ends of each piece as the ends won’t have the curve applied (typical
for rolled steel is that the last foot and a half +/- comes out
Last Saturday, although not a scheduled work session, new member
Fred Daigneau, Roger Phillips, Tony Kanavage & myself got out the
transit and re-established the appropriate grade and then did the math
necessary to find the intended elevation for the tops of the steel
supports that will hold the steel ring. What seemed like a relatively
easy task proved to be anything but. Just ask Roger & Fred how their
knees and backs felt after this exercise.
Although I had the easy job of looking through the transit scope, I
managed to miss one of the elevations by an inch! This resulted in the
one post being cut 1” too short. Like previous screw-ups one my part, we
will need to impose upon our resident welder to fix my mess by welding
in a 1” long filler piece.
We closed off the unscheduled work session by giving train rides to a
bunch of kids who came to the Museum for a birthday party.
Hope to see you this Saturday @ 7:30 am to begin the installation work
on the ring of steel.
In case you can’t make it on Saturday, I wish each and every one of you
and your families a wonderful Easter Sunday.
March 24, 2018
Since we missed the work session last Saturday, we will attempt to
get done what we should have done last week. So, for those of you who
can join us on Saturday morning @ 8:00 am, we’ll get the steel posts cut
to the correct elevation in preparation of the steel bar stock ring
installation. If you can only devote one visit to the Museum this
weekend, please come on Sunday for the Open House so we can have enough
people to run the public train.
March 17, 2018
There is not going to be a scheduled work session this Saturday as
several members are traveling to Phoenix with Burt (Dave Peterson,
Jurgen Zander, Fred Daigneau, & Tony Kanavage) to attend the Spring Meet
of the Maricopa Live Steamers and the “Everything Railroad” swap meet.
Both events occur at the Adobe Mountain Desert Railroad Park on Saturday
with the swap meet starting at 9:00 am until 1:00 pm. The flyer for the
swap meet can be viewed at this link:
www.azmodelrr.com/AMRS documents/Swap Meet Flyer.pdf The website
for the Maricopa Live Steamers is:
http://maricopalivesteamers.com . For those of you who have
heard, GPD member Chris Cheely has finally taken possession of his
new Dash 9 engine as pictured below. Chris will be at the MLS meet
For those members staying in Tucson this weekend, you may want to
consider coming down to the Museum if for no other purpose than to
operate the train as there is a fairly large birthday party scheduled
for 10:00 am on Saturday. The train could be operated for that party if
enough staff are present. Remember, if the gates are closed, only an
Engineer and Conductor would be needed.
Last Saturday, the steel posts were set into concrete for the
support of the bar stock ring that will support the turntable. This was
a relatively easy task compared to the effort to dig the holes. The next
task will be to mark each post where they will then be cut to be level &
the appropriate elevation.
A recently joined member to the GPD came to the work session last
Saturday and we quickly put him to work. Fred Daigneau is a winter
visitor from Ohio. He was an engineer on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic
) located in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park which is between Akron &
Cleveland, Ohio. Welcome aboard Fred!
Fred also helped out during the Open House on Sunday by sharing some of
the flagman duties with Dave Peterson and also helped to corral the kids
at the Station. With several of our “regulars” not available on Sunday,
we weren’t sure we could run but Brian Scott & his son Trevor came down
and ran the train all day. We had great weather and the crowd was steady
all day. Everyone seemed to have a great time and initial reports from
the Gift Shop were very encouraging. Thank you Brian, Trevor, Fred &
Dave for all your help.
March 10, 2018
Due to the Open House this Sunday, there will not be a scheduled work
session this Saturday. As usual, there will be some of the group who
will come anyway. If we have 2-3 people come, we will install the steel
posts intended to support the bar stock ring for the turntable. This
effort shouldn’t take long to complete and there is no digging involved
(yea!!!). As usual, if you’re bored and want something to do, come on
down and join in the fun. If you can only devote a single visit to the
Museum this weekend, please consider coming to the Sunday Open House as
we will be running thin on staff to operate the train as a couple of our
regulars won’t be able to come Sunday.
Last weekend, we had the “Rails in the Garden” event visit the
Museum on both Saturday & Sunday. We had a great showing on Saturday
with plenty of staff to operate the train. Ron McLaughlin brought his
“shorty” Santa Fe Chief with his engineer car and work caboose staffed
with a couple of teddy bears from Benson. Roger Phillips brought his
trailer full of Burlington Northern equipment from Casa Grande and we
had three trains running on the track. The Museum’s Alco S4 with a
couple of gondolas and the newly fitted-up beam car was used for
passenger rides. It was a lot of fun with three trains running without
having to worry about staff. With visitor’s arriving at a slower pace
than a normal Open House, we were able to run the Museum train with only
two staff persons. We had the drive gate closed, thus no flagman was
needed and there were no lines waiting to ride the train all day, thus
the station master duties were not needed. It was great weather and we
were able to take lots of breaks during the day making it truly a
pleasure to be there helping out. Sunday was the same – although we just
had the Museum train running. John Roads and I were able to run the
train all day until about 3:30 where we put it away. Thanks to those who
came Saturday to help out including those who helped with the outdoor
G-gauge setup. We received a lot of positive feedback.
In the morning during the work session, we were able to get the 9 holes
dug for the steel posts. It was harder than anticipated due to the
presence of rock in the holes. The water pic got us through the caliche
without much effort, but it wouldn’t do a thing to the rock we
John, Jesse & I dug for two hours and have the sore shoulders/arms to
prove it but we did get it done just as the Rails in the Garden visitors
began to arrive.
For the event, Ron McLaughlin brought his Santa Fe Chief to add
interest for the visitors.
Roger Phillips brought his trailer full of Burlington Northern
equipment from Casa Grande.
It was a great day at the train Museum. Hope to see you this Sunday
for the Open House.
PS: Don’t forget that Chairman Jesse has called a special meeting
tonight beginning at 7:00 pm at the Museum. Please consider attending to
add your suggestions regarding the following agenda items:
• Brainstorm how to get more help on our run days. Discuss
• Recruitment & Train Show(s) display.
• Ongoing & future projects.
• Begin planning the Holiday Event scheduled for December 8th.
• Chairman & other committee appointments.
• Junior Engineer Program
March 3, 2018
Even though there is the Rails in the Garden Tour coming to the
Museum at 10:00 am on Saturday, we will be having a scheduled work
session beginning at 8:00 am. On the agenda will be the post hole
digging for the vertical posts around the perimeter of the turntable
ring that will support the 1” x ½” bar stock. We need 9 holes dug
approximately 12” deep spaced approximately 3’ apart. Once dug, we will
set 16” long, 1½” square tube posts into the holes and pour a small
amount of concrete around the posts to hold them solid. Once the
concrete sets, we’ll measure each with our builders level and then cut
off the top of each to have all be exactly level to support the steel
ring. The steel ring will be welded to the posts at a future work
session. The turntable is going to be 16’ long and will ride upon the
top of the bar stock which will be set 4” inside outer edge of the
turntable (outer edge of the concrete ring).
But first things first, we need to get out the water pic, post hole
digger, hammer drill and caliche bar and dig 9 holes. Once dug, we can
mix up concrete and set the steel posts.
Last weekend, we took a welcome respite from the routine. The
previous Saturday, with cool temperatures and overcast skies, the group
got busy establishing the finished grade for the concrete ring. A little
bit of digging was needed and the mound of dirt in the center had to be
leveled by backfilling against the recently constructed retaining wall.
We had a good turnout and the work went relatively fast as we completed
the intended tasks. Below, Burt, Dave, Jesse & Tony are hard at work
getting the grade established for the concrete ring. Roger was behind
The white lines in the picture below approximate where the post holes
will be dug. Jesse, Dave, Tony, Michael and Roger admire their work.
Hope to see you all this Saturday. If you can, plan on staying for
the Rails in the Garden Tour.
Every once in a while, I’ll pull out some old photos and we’ll reminisce
a bit. I think it’s important as we continue to move forward to reflect
on where we’ve been. ENJOY.
• November 2008 – Formal creation of the 7-1/2” gauge committee approved
by the Museum BOD. A year of planning begins.
• January 2009 - In the beginning, erosion & weeds were the norm.
• October 2010 – In the picture below, Glenn Ellis, using his
Bobcat, moved all of the cut soil from the front of the Museum to the
rear to provide a stable & level roadbed for the railroad.
Notwithstanding, notice the 2” diameter pipes driven into the ground
about 4’ apart that hold restrain the pieces of rail that hold back the
imported soil. Those pipes are 2’ long and had to be driven into the
ground through caliche and rock. Raymond & Burt hammered on one for
about 20 minutes but couldn’t get it driven completely. That’s when Dale
Cover suggested that we use his “water pic” which was nothing but a
piece of ½” pipe with a valve and hose connection on it. Of all the
ideas brought forward during construction of this railroad, the water
pic falls at the top of the list for saving time, not to mention our
backs. The water pic enabled all of the 30+/- pipes to easily be driven
into the ground in about 2 hours. Thank you Glenn Ellis and Dale Cover
for your invaluable contributions to the Museum.
• March 2011 – Bob Rubino and Hugh Madsen took on the project
to create the rock retaining wall out front using rock excavated from
the home of Glenn Ellis.
Magnificent would be an understatement describing their work as the
wall has withstood the test of time without any failings whatsoever.
Thank you to both Hugh & Bob for their contribution.
February 24, 2018
There will not be a scheduled work session held this
Saturday. Work on the turntable will pause until the following
Saturday’s work session. An email will be sent out next week explaining
what the next steps are for the turntable. If you want to come down on
Saturday, you’re certainly welcome to do so as there is a birthday
party scheduled on the calendar so it would be nice to be able to
give the kids a ride.
Last Saturday, Roger Phillips brought back the straddle beam car
with the mounting pieces for the trucks installed including coupler
pockets and couplers temporarily on loan. We quickly installed the pair
of Tom Bee trucks that we had on hand and put the car on the tracks. For
those of you who might remember, Saturday morning looked and felt like a
drizzly day in San Francisco.
Not deterred, we got the beam car on the track and
hooked it up to the Museum’s Alco S4. With headlights on, we then took
it for a short trip up & down the foggy tracks.
This homemade beam car was built a couple of years ago by Dale Cover in
his garage using donated lumber. It was painted at the Museum and the
seat upholstery was added by Roger Phillips. Although it has some
warping issues, it will give us a good opportunity to test the concept
with passengers before investing a bunch of money in commercially
available steel units of similar design. Planned improvements include
edging along the sides of the footrest board to prevent a person’s foot
from accidently sliding off the car.
We may consider building a beam car utilizing a welded steel frame
similar to that depicted in the photos below. Steel will reduce the
likelihood of warpage although care during the welding process to keep
the steel straight & plumb will be critical. We’ll see how the wood beam
car works out before we go down this road. The photo below is a beam car
currently marketed for $395 on the website www.discoverlivesteam.com.
They are being built in Florida so shipping could add dramatically to
Another example of a beam car frame being marketed on
the same website is depicted below (photo shows three separate frames
stacked on top of each other). The frames are priced at $295 each. They
are also located in Florida.
Now to the important stuff: This Sunday is Open House.
We will be somewhat short staffed as yours truly will be out of town. If
you can attend the Open House to help with running the train, please let
Chairman Jesse know so that plans can be made. Jesse’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org
. The weather for Sunday will be sunny and cool. Should be fine for
running the train if there is enough staff.
February 17, 2018
Yes, it’s late notice, but the weather has been pretty
wild the last few days. Working outside in the dirt/mud wouldn’t have
worked out so I had to wait to make sure that Saturday would be dry. The
forecast says 70’ish and we shouldn’t have any rain overnight so it
should be dried out. Therefore, there is a scheduled work session to
begin at 8:00 am.
On the work agenda will be backfilling against the newly laid up
retaining wall. This accomplishes two things; 1) it gives us a level
place to work and, 2) it lowers the pile of dirt to enable us to get the
grades established for the concrete ring.
Once the dirt pile is lowered, we can then establish the
exact location and grade for the placement of the concrete ring that
will support the ends of the turntable. If we finish that task, we can
then determine where the vertical supports for the circular bar stock
will be installed and perhaps begin digging the holes needed to install
Last weekend, although not a scheduled work
session, we did get the last course of block installed on the stem wall
as well as placement of rebar to secure the concrete ring to the stem
wall when it is poured.
Tony Kanavage was kind enough to do the block
installation which was checked and found to be nearly perfect in terms
of being level. Great job Tony!
The turntable is slowly becoming a reality so it’s not too soon to start
thinking about how to safely use it. Our engines may not weigh as much
as a real one, but 600 pounds ain’t exactly light. As much as we try to
make the track dead level in and out of the turntable, there will be a
slight grade between the turn table and the engine house. Unattended
equipment could roll into the turntable.
So, easily placed and visually obvious wheel chocks will
need to be created and used or ???
During a Wednesday night work session at the Museum, we decided to get
the train out and do some “night-running” to see how well the GPD’s Alco
S4 headlight would illuminate the track as we are probably going to be
giving night time rides during the Holiday Event scheduled at the end of
the year themed around the Polar Express movie. Below is a photo taken
during that test behind the caboose.
Night time running is a very different experience. I
encourage you to try it. Think about how this will look with Christmas
lights and decorations along the route. It’s going to be fun!
Hope to see you tomorrow morning.
February 10, 2018
There will not be a “scheduled” work session Saturday
due to the Open House Sunday. However, rumor has it that the completion
of the concrete block stem wall for the turntable will occur
Saturday so if you are looking for something fun to do, you are
certainly welcome to come down @ 8:00 am and join this jolly group of
masons while they work their magic. As usual, on Open House weekends, if
your schedule only permits one visit to the Museum, please choose Sunday
as we’ve been having a lot of difficulty getting enough help to run the
train during Open House.
Last Saturday, Glenn Ellis & Tony Kanavage took on the placement
of the first two courses of 8” x 8” x 16” concrete blocks.
Like any project, sometimes the hardest part is just
getting started. With the weather cooperating, and with John Roads,
Jesse Miller, Paul Kruppenbacher feeding Glenn & Tony mortar on demand,
they dynamic duo made good headway. Laying block isn’t the easiest task
on the planet, and laying block in a curved pattern on a sloped
embankment with uneven surfaces doesn’t make it any easier. On top of
that, QC inspection from Burt Wright, who was relegated to “gofer” as he
was recovering from flu, slowed progress to a crawl, but even with the
problems, the group managed to get two of the three courses laid and it
looks pretty darn good.
Only one more course of 4” x 8” x 16” remain and then
Hope to see you this weekend – especially on Sunday!
February 3, 2018
Wow, what incredible weather!
Sorry for the late notice but Saturday, beginning at 8:00 am, we plan on
moving into the 3rd phase of building the turntable. That will be the
laying up of concrete block to create the stem/retaining wall for
that portion of the turntable that extends slightly into the
drainage swale. Depending on the number of individuals who come, we may
also address a couple of track conditions identified during Sunday’s
Last Saturday, a few brave souls showed up to
complete phase 2 of the turntable project which was the mixing and
placing of a concrete foundation into the excavation (Phase 1) created a
couple of months ago for the turntable. We quickly re-established the
elevation needed for the top of the footing and set some rebar stakes to
help us establish where the top of the concrete needed to be. Then, we
strategically placed the cement mixer (obtained from Raymond McDaniel)
at the edge of the excavation. This allowed us to mix & dump the
concrete directly into the trench eliminating the need to wheel concrete
to the trench. To prevent dirt from falling into the concrete during the
pour, a trough was formed using plywood and roofing felt. By the way,
thank you to Raymond McDaniel for putting wheels on that mixer!
4 volunteers then mixed up the twenty, 80 pound sacks of
concrete and managed to get 98% of it into the location where it
belonged. Glenn Ellis ran the mixer and created a consistent mix each
time allowing it to easily pour down the embankment into the trench. It
only took about 2 hours, and the result was great.
With Glenn in charge of making the mix, Dave Pederson and Jurgen Zander
worked the trench below pulling the concrete as needed to each end of
Once poured, equipment was cleaned & put away and we
retired to our favorite watering hole to listen to Burt complain about
having to lift 1,600 pounds of concrete twice.
We have now completed Phase Two of the project. Phase 3, which is the
laying of 3 courses of cinder block (2 courses using 8”x8”x16” blocks
and 1 course using 4”x8”x16”) on top of the foundation, will begin this
Saturday. If any of you have experience laying concrete block, it would
be great to have your help. It’s not that many block – less than 35
Below are a couple of snipped images from our design drawing:
As a look ahead, once Phase 3 is completed. Note that
the phases indicated below are intended to represent approximately 1
work session at the Museum. Some may get combined and others may be
split into multiple sessions depending upon the amount of help we get.
• Phase 4: excavation & grading at the surface creating a level area for
the 360 degree 8” x 4” concrete grade ring.
form & steel setting for the grade ring.
mix & pour the concrete grade ring.
form, steel setting, and concrete pour for the center hub assembly.
build and place the turntable.
form & pour the curbing required for installation of the approach
tracks into the turntable.
grade the ground from the existing track to the turntable and from
the turntable to the engine house.
Install track connecting the existing track to the turntable and
from the turntable to the engine house.
Hope to see you all this Saturday at 8:00 am.
Large Scale Railroad - 2017
Large Scale Railroad - 2015-2016
Large Scale Railroad 2014 (July-Dec)
Large Scale Railroad 2014 (Jan-June)
Large Scale Railroad - 2013
Large Scale Railroad 2012 (July - Dec)
Large Scale Railroad 2012 (Jan-June)
Large Scale Railroad 2011
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