Gadsden-Pacific Division Toy Train Operating Museum Logo


Tucson, Arizona


Toy Train Museum Tunnel


Toy Train Museum Tunnel


Large Scale Railroad
Construction Progress 2013

Help Wanted

Work sessions are on Saturday mornings usually around 8:00am.
Come down and help build a railroad!

The Golden Spike Ceremony was December 1st 2012

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Planned for Saturday (December 21, 2013):

Yeah, it's the Saturday before Christmas and all through the house, we who have been procrastinating are starting to think that they may not be available this weekend. But some will still brave the temptation to spend all their money and will volunteer their service to the train museum. We're going to meet at the Museum at 8:00 AM, gates open at 7:30 AM, to hopefully complete the work started last week cleaning and regreasing bearings on the newly acquired gondolas. We will also try to engineer a more permanent fix to the throttle/governor system on the 060 switcher to make it a little more user friendly when pulling a train of passengers. We also need to replace the brake cable again with a solid cable rather than stranded.

Last weekend was pretty amazing. We started the work session with a lot of discussion about the pending order of the new Museum Engine, scheduled to arrive by the end of the month. Discussions led into a review of the Operational Rules & Regulations with several modifications offered up to make the rules more consistent and easy to apply and enforce. A revised document will be sent out before Saturday. Then we moved into budget discussions for 2014.

Once we were finished with all the boring inside stuff, the crew retired outside where the 060 switcher was unloaded from the container and a string of gondolas attached. The red gondola was pulled out of service to start the process of cleaning and re-greasing the bearings. This, like everything else on the railroad involved a learning curve to figure out the easiest way to disassemble and reassemble the trucks. A wooden tool had to be fabricated to fit through the journal box for tapping the bearing & seal assembly out of the back side of the side frames. After a few attempts, we created a tool that worked very well. Because we moved cautiously through the project, it took nearly two hours to disassemble, clean, regrease, and reassemble the truck, but the good news is that we did complete the task and the car rolls great - no squeaking. At some level, I'm going to miss the squeaking. If we start early and move quickly, we might be able to get all the remaining trucks cleaned & greased in Saturday's work session.

Another project in the planning stage is to cut the seats downs to 8" long and install padding & seat cover material. Not sure when that will happen, but we'll get the seats cut and carpet padding remnants down to the Museum so we'll be ready.

Of course, while the red gondola was being worked on, the rest of the crew began testing out the 060 with the consist of gons in preparation for the open house that afternoon. The automatic choke and governor assembly on the little Briggs & Stratton is really finicky and may need to get removed with direct throttle control to get the engine to run consistently.

The Open House that afternoon was not attended by many of the public as there were a lot of events competing with us over the weekend, but those who did come to the Museum were treated to a great train ride. Thanks to those members who stayed to help out.

Saturday (December 14, 2013):

I'm not sure if anyone else got pics, but Bob Kuyper uploaded a short video via Facebook from a ride on Sunday

A short video via Facebook

...and here is a little cinema graph Jesse Miller made using photos from last Saturdays work session.

This Saturday will be another busy day for the 7-1/2" Gauge group. Starting at 8:00 AM, we'll meet at the Museum to begin taking care of some administrative tasks. Chairman Jesse has requested that we address some specific issues including some of the following:

  1. We need to submit a budget to the 1st VP (Ken Kelley) for the year 2014. The 2013 budget, originally earmarked toward buying materials for the racks in the 20' container, was re-allocated toward buying trucks and couplers for the 3 proposed center beam cars. The trucks and couplers were purchased at the Fall Meet of the Maricopa Live Steamers. The materials to build the storage racks was donated to the Museum.

  2. Review the previously created Operational Rules & Regulations now that we have had a couple of public ride days at the Museum (copy attached).

  3. Review the Public Ride procedures (copy attached).

  4. We need to update the 7-1/2" Gauge Committee inventory.
    We also need to complete the work on the 060 switcher including installing and adjusting the new brake cable that was obtained. We will also need to inspect and lubricate the axle/wheel assemblies on the three gondolas in preparation for public rides if we chose to provide them on Saturday afternoon and/or Sunday afternoon's Open Houses. We also want to install padding on the gondola seats if possible as well.

    There won't be much time to do all of this as the Open House will begin at 12:30 sharp. Expect greater attendance at the Open House as advertising has been obtained.

    Last Weekend, we welcomed the return of Raymond McDaniel and Hugh Madsen, both recuperating from knee surgeries. Welcome back guys. The group worked on several tasks. The 060 switcher recently donated to the Museum was thoroughly inspected by the group led by Don VanManen.

The three gondolas and the engineer's car were coupled to the new engine (new for us) and several members took their turn on the throttle. Exceeding all known speed limits and throwing caution to the wind, the brave souls took the new train out and put it through it's paces.

Of course, we found some track issues which were quickly taken care of by the track crew led by John Roads and Chris Cheely. At the completion of the work session, the 060 Engine was re-inspected and the brake cable removed for replacement as it was too short to properly function and the end of the cable was badly frayed. A replacement will be obtained and installed before the next Open House..

On Sunday for the Open House, Roger Phillips brought his train down from Casa Grande and it was unloaded from his trailer and a full consist of cars including our recently obtained gondolas were attached. The Open House began, and although attendance was not great, we were able to provide several rides for a lot of very happy people.

Jesse has been working his magic in response to the BOD suggestion that the new Alco S-4 be painted in a scheme that represents the GPD-TTOM rather than a prototypical railroad. Above is his current interpretation of what this might look like. The engine is currently under construction.

Hope to see you all this Saturday - remember there are Open Houses both Saturday & Sunday. Any time you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

Saturday (December 7, 2013):

This Saturday, we will meet at 8:00 AM to finish up the last turnout (HOPEFULLY) which needs to have the guardrails installed and the switch machine mounted. With Open Houses scheduled for both Saturday & Sunday afternoon for the next two weekends, I don't think we'll begin the excavation process out front to install the turnout as we don't want to create a hazardous situation with so many visitors expected at the Museum. Thus our attention will turn inside to working on a recently acquired engine, three ride-on gondolas and another flat car based ride-on car. Road testing these pieces will also be required. We might even be able to ride the public on Saturday and/or Sunday depending on what we're able to accomplish during the work session on Saturday. Weather may also be somewhat limiting as showers may grace the neighborhood.

Last Saturday, Glenn Ellis, Roger Phillips, John Roads & Burt Wright went to Silver City NM where we picked up some equipment from Mr. Don Beem. Upon arriving at Don's house, we were greeted by four mule deer who didn't seem the least bit concerned about our arrival (obviously wasn't hunting season).

We spent the better part of two hours loading up three 6' long railroad supply gondolas, one 6-wheeled gas powered switcher, and one flat car with 3 padded seats. In addition to that haul, we obtained two steel channel iron steaming bays that are between 11' and 12' long plus a steel stair section that may be usable when it's time to rebuild the stairs to the Caboose. We got back into town about 7:30. A big thank you to Glenn Ellis for supplying the transportation to get this much needed equipment.

Two weeks ago, if you can remember that long ago, it rained like crazy during our work session and again, we marveled at how well the drainage systems we've installed are working. Water was probably running about a foot deep along the back drainage channel but the track stayed high and dry.

Click to enlarge Everywhere we looked, water was doing what we hoped it would. Click to enlarge


Click to enlarge The excavation for the station platform became a lake, This will correct itself once we have built the station & set the brick pavers bringing the area up above surrounding grades.
We turned our attention to the inside where we completed setting all the rails of the new turnout. The stock rails were notched to receive the points leaving only the guard rails to be installed to complete the turnout. Click to enlarge

Rain in the desert is such a wonderful event.

There will be a lot to talk about this Saturday. If you can spend the day & help with the Open House after the work session, that would be great. December's Open Houses are so important to the Museum as a source of funding through Gift Shop sales and potential donations.

Looking forward to seeing you Saturday @ 8:00 AM.

PS: The 6-wheeled switcher has had its carb rebuilt (thanks to Don VanManen and Glenn Ellis). The oil is changed and a battery obtained thanks to Glenn Ellis. This switcher plus the engineer's car have been donated to the Museum by an anonymous donor. It will be available for all to enjoy once the bugs are worked out.

Saturday (November 30, 2013):

With Thanksgiving upon us tomorrow, the work session for Saturday is cancelled. This will allow everyone to get some well deserved time to spend with family and count our blessings.

On behalf of our newly appointed chairman, Jesse Miller, and myself, please have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with your loved ones and friends.

UPDATE: With unanimous BOD approval, the new GPD engine has officially been ordered from Big Joe Trains in Flint Michigan. It is an Alco S-4 switcher, similar to the one pictured below.

It is currently under construction and should be delivered in a month (or so). It will come unpowered and undecorated (in primer). We will obtain the motor drive units and install them separately once the engine has arrived.

Click to enlarge Our new Chairman, Jesse Miller, did a little photoshopping and put the engine into a two tone orange configuration just as an example of possible color combinations. We should be able to impose on Jesse to work up other possibilities as well. Click to enlarge
The BOD discussions about having the unit painted by the manufacturer in UP colors end up in agreement that the unit would be better off delivered in primer just in case the work we will be doing on it to install the motor drive units might damage the paint scheme. There was also some thought that we may be able to secure local donations to have it painted locally after all assembly work is done. There was strong suggestions that the roadname should reflect the Museum name and incorporate the Museum Logo.

At any rate, give some thought to this. Your ideas and suggestions are encouraged.

Gadsden-Pacific Division Toy Train Operating Museum Logo

Last Sunday, during the Open House, a new member joined our ranks. Brian joined the GPD and will become an active member of the 7-1/2" gauge group. His 12 year old son was also in attendance. Brian is the individual who also recently ordered a GP-40 locomotive from Big Joe Trains and it is probable that his locomotive and the Museum's new locomotive will be shipped together to Tucson. We welcome Brian to our group.

Saturday (November 23, 2013):

This Saturday, beginning at 8:00 AM, we'll meet again to hopefully finish up the left hand turnout. The weather is predicting cooler temperatures and much needed rain showers so our outside activities may get curtailed. There have been numerous exciting things that have happened over the past few days related to the engine we are shopping for. It looks like we might be able to get the Alco S-4 we were hoping for after all. It's a long and interesting story that will be shared with the group on Saturday morning.

In addition, we will also discuss the engine, cars, & rail purchase possibility in Silver City NM. It also became known to me that the same gentlemen has some of the steaming bays that were removed from the Scottsdale Live Steamers facility. They were sold & removed a few years ago and went up to Show Low. They were then moved to Silver City and haven't yet been installed. We could use the steel on our 2nd bay.

Last Saturday, we had a lively discussion about the old GP-40 gas engine that is available in Silver City. The owner had been very helpful in sending photographs that were distributed via email. A lot of knowledge was shared with no consensus reached. Given the age of the engine, it will be critical to view and evaluate the engine in person in order to make an informed decision. As such, we may be planning a jaunt over to Silver City to inspect the equipment that this gentlemen has.

Most importantly, Jesse Miller has stepped forward to accept the volunteer position to serve as Chairman of the 7-1/2" Gauge Committee for 2014. Congratulations Jesse! Jesse has developed a flag that could be used to bring attention to the track. He continues to improve it. Bob Rubino said that he'd be proud to display this as a large patch on the back of a jacket. Many kudos to Jesse on this outstanding effort.

Also during the work session, we cut out a 40' radius template that will be helpful creating the curves at the north end station bypass track. The turnout construction is proving to be more difficult that anticipated as the ties keep moving around while securing the straight stock rail. After some expressed frustration, we finally have the rail secured & relatively straight. We re-cut the short pieces between the frog and the points to be somewhat longer which will help with the radius.

The Lightning Brothers have been busy again, this time putting together a prototype of the scale billboard that will be installed along the railroad. The Museum has already sold two billboard signs that will grace the initial billboard for 2 years.

Don't forget that this Sunday is another Open House.

See you this Saturday.

Saturday (November 16, 2013):


After a couple weeks off - (it certainly didn't feel like a couple weeks off), we'll gather again this Saturday and see if we can finish up the turnout we started during the last work session. At the Fall Meet of the Maricopa Live Steamers, we purchased 3 pairs of bettendorf trucks from Tom Bee plus a couple of drawbar couplers and one pair of knuckle couplers for the bench cars. There is also a lot of news to report regarding the engine purchase. We also need to get serious about selecting a new chairman to lead our group into next year. Don't think for a minute that you can avoid being selected by not showing up!

On a more serious note, on behalf of the Museum Board of Directors and the membership at large, I want to personally thank all those individuals who helped with the load, move, setup, take down, and return of the tables to and from the train meet last Friday and Saturday. The meet was a great success with attendance up over past meets. We don't have a final accounting but it was a great November Meet. From what I could tell, vendors were happy and people were hauling lots of goodies out the front door.

At our last work session, we began the construction of a left hand turnout. First task was to re-create a template table by using a couple of 6' tables. The bench car was moved into the Container for the time being.

Click to enlarge Then we had to cut a bunch of spacer blocks to hold the spacing of the ties. We began that process by using a table saw with a fence to cut the blocks to equal length. Ask John Roads how that idea worked out. We quickly switched to using the cutoff saw. Click to enlarge

While that was going on, the ties had to be cut to specific length and then laid out on the table. A backing board was clamped to the tables to keep things in straight alignment.

Click to enlarge The frog was set using gauges designed and built by Raymond McDaniel. Click to enlarge
The rails were arranged using numerous track gauges and the entire assembly began to start looking like a turnout. Click to enlarge It's been more than a year since we built one of these, so the learning curve needed some dusting off. We didn't have the points completed yet, so final assembly couldn't be done during this session.
By the end of the morning, we bid farewell to our good friend Hugh Madson.

After a brief visit, Hugh had to travel back to Minnesota for knee replacement surgery. At the time of this writing, Hugh has had the surgery and is convalescing at home. Hugh reported that the surgery seems to have went well and he is looking forward to PT beginning soon. He indicated that he will be rejoining the group in early December.

Hopefully, we'll have Raymond back by then as well as his knee replacement reportedly also went well. Rumor has it that he's up and moving around - even driving around. I'm sure that the two of them will have plenty to talk about although bending down to lay track may not be in the cards for a while.

Click to enlarge

Hope to see you on Saturday - don't forget the 8:00 AM start time.

Thanks to John Roads for the pictures as Jesse wasn't able to be at the work session.

Saturday (November 2, 2013):

This Saturday Session is Cancelled as we are going to MLS Fall Meet in Phoenix.

In case you haven't heard, a significant part of the group will be traveling to Phoenix this Saturday AM to attend the Fall Meet of the Maricopa Live Steamers, thus the work session is cancelled. If you haven't registered and want to attend, visit their website to register for the meet on-line. There is no cost.

The following weekend is the November Train Meet at the Expo Center. Our group helps with the transport of the tables with the delivery scheduled for 8:00 AM, Friday, November 8th and takedown scheduled to begin after the meet is over, 2:00 PM on Saturday, November 9th.

If you can help out on either or both days, it will be greatly appreciated.

Saturday (October 26, 2013):

This Saturday, at 7:30 AM, we'll meet at the GPD to begin the process of building another turnout (left hand) to be installed at the north end of the property to enable the main line passing route around the passenger terminal. This will entail having to create (albeit temporary) a template table upon which the turnout can be constructed. We also need to create a 40' radius template as the old one built a couple years ago by Dale Cover has seen better days. Burt will bring a 1" x 8" board, 10' long upon which we will scribe a 40' radius arc and then we can cut the arc leaving the template. The arc center should be at the center (3-3/4" from the edge of board) of the 1 x 8 (actually 7-1/2" wide). We will also need to sweep out the cobwebs as we attempt to remember how the turnouts were constructed. Luckily, we have some members who were involved in the initial construction who will be able to guide us through the process.

We have also got to install some hardware cloth into the Caboose stove flue pipe so we will stop collecting pigeon carcasses inside the Caboose Stove - yes, there is another one in the Stove and that makes at least 5.

Last week, with BOD approval to remove the tree and add the main line extension to the north end of the layout, the crew began the task of tree removal. Survey of the area suggested that the best approach would be to dig around the base of the tree to expose some of the major roots and cut the easy to access ones.

Click to enlarge Then, using reciprocating saws, we cut most of the smaller branches leaving only the trunk.

The pile of trimmings got pretty big. Doubts about the capability of Burt's truck to haul all the trimmings emerged.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge Once the branches were removed & stacked, Glenn connected the winch on his truck to the base of the tree trunk and it easily pulled the trunk over and out without disturbing the passenger siding located only 3' from the tree. The project went very well.
Click to enlarge

All that remained was to restore the ground surface and load the truck. With the help of Jesse, our head squasher in charge, the truck got loaded and compacted, tied down and we moved onto the next project for the day.

Click to enlarge Jim Degrood was present and accounted for with his survey equipment (theodolite) to lay out the new track alignment and also to shoot grades. While the tree was being taken down, Jim with the assistance of a few other members, quickly got the alignment worked out. Grade hubs were set (3' offset from the alignment) and the hub elevations shot. We're ready to begin rough grading using the bobcat. Click to enlarge

When you see the wood hubs sticking out of the ground around the front, you'll know what they are. During the Open House this Sunday, we want to discourage kids from kicking any of these or pulling any of the nails which were set to establish the alignment.

Jesse has been exercising his creative juices again as evidenced by the logo he created for the 7-1/2" railroad. Comments are welcome.

Hope to see you this Saturday @ 7:30 AM. This time, we really do hope to see Hugh Madson.

Don't forget to mail in your ballots. Open House this Sunday, 12:30 to 4:30 PM
Click to enlarge

Several of the 7-1/2" group will be attending the MLS Fall meet. Thus the work session on Saturday, November 2nd will also be cancelled. The dates for the meet are 10-31 thru 11-3 although the group will be going up on Saturday, the 2nd. If you plan on going, you need to register (free) online at

Saturday (October 19, 2013):

This Saturday, beginning at 7:30 AM (New Time - 30 minutes later), we'll reconvene to start the process of creating the alignment and the grading measurements for the new mainline track at the north end of the Museum. It will be fun to do some grading and track work again as it's been quite a while since we laid the last track. Part of this process will be to remove the palo verde tree that is in direct conflict with the alignment. A plan was discussed to temporarily remove a portion of the chain link fence adjacent to the sidewalk to allow us to access the tree with Glenn's bobcat may ease in the stump removal. Brink gloves and if anyone has a usable chainsaw, let me know.

We will also discuss how we will build an additional left-hand turnout to accommodate the new track. We may want to reconstruct another turnout template table or some facsimile thereof. Bring your suggestions.

Two weeks ago, we mainly did yard work by removing a ton of tree branches and vegetation from the north end of the property although some additional ballasting work was also done.

Click to enlarge A lot of brush was cleared and Jesse stomped the heck out of the load in Burt's truck. Click to enlarge

The final result left the north end cleared again and very presentable. People will again be able to walk down the sidewalk as well. On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Museum, the efforts to maintain the appearance of the grounds by the 7-1/2 Gauge committee are greatly appreciated.

A rumor has it that Hugh Madsen may be present & accounted for this weekend. Keep an eye out for him.

See you Saturday @ 7:30 AM. Coffee will be brewing.

Saturday (October 12, 2013):

Although it's late notice, better late than never. The work session scheduled for this Saturday Oct. 12th is cancelled. We will resume the following Saturday - I promise. There will also be some old faces back next Saturday as well. FYI, Jeff Swanson has returned to the Hospital with an infection. We hope for his speedy return - so does he!

FYI, the BOD approved the track plan revision including the tree removal to facilitate the revision. For those interested, we will have a vehicle going up to Phoenix for the Maricopa Live Steamers Fall Meet on Saturday, November 2nd. If you're interested in attending, give Burt or Glenn a call.

Saturday (October 5, 2013):

This Saturday @ 7:00 AM, we'll do a thorough evaluation of the track alignment change proposed for the north end of the building. Hopefully, we'll get the alignment staked out this week so we'll actually have it placed on the ground for review. We'll also have some discussion about the train shed planned for the north end in terms of size, shape, & design. We want this structure to look nice as a scaled down representation of an engine house of some similar type of structure although it will need to be secured to prevent vandalism.

As a 2nd task, the trees have begun taking over the drainage structure at the north end and we should probably give some effort to cut some of the materials away.

Last weekend was spent primarily brainstorming and the effort was well worth the time. We decided that the turntable may not actually be necessary as we could create a movable steaming bay on rolling casters that could turn engines around when necessary. This would take the place of the removable steaming bay that was future planned for the loading zone. This will also keep us out of trouble with respect to utilization of the loading zone as it is required by the City. We took a lot of time walking the route for the planned main line addition and also did some measuring of the tracks in the container to decide the optimum width for the train shed. The weather was spectacular as it will probably be again on Saturday.

Our Chairman, Raymond McDaniel, is hanging up his Chairman hat as he is going to be having some knee surgery later this month. Raymond has served as Chairman of the group for nearly two years and our success is partly due to his management and oversight. We appreciate everything he has done for us and we also know that his leadership has left us in great shape. Having said all of that, we'll be looking for a "Regular Member" in our group to step up and offer to Chair the 7-1/2" gauge committee as we move into our first year of public ridership. It isn't a demanding job as this group has always supported it's leaders.

Looking forward to seeing you this Saturday.

Saturday (September 28, 2013):

This Saturday, beginning at 7:00 AM as usual, we'll meet again to take on some additional tasks. The Operational Rules were distributed via the email blast two weeks ago and we should all have had a chance to review them. Final comments will be collected as we need to get them finalized. All comments are welcome. We will also go over the track plan changes being considered at the north end of the layout - north of the building. Attached is a PDF of the current thinking subject to lots of comments.  North end Layout [PDF]

Last week, roger again brought his train for more track testing. The biggest project was taking a hump out of the curved section on the track near the caboose.
Click to enlarge This resulted in huge ride improvements and was worth the effort. We were joined in the effort by Bill Kaval and his son Nate. Youth on the shovels and rakes were definitely welcome.

Lots of laps were ridden in preparation of the Open House the following day.

Click to enlarge

Although public rides didn't happen, Raymond McDaniel was able to get his train out and run several laps around the compound without incident during the Open House.

Click to enlarge

Hope to see you all this Saturday. This is the weather we've all been waiting for.

Saturday (September 21, 2013):

This Saturday @ 7 AM, we'll meet again to take care of a fairly annoying hump in the track south of the south drive. It is expected that this will take at least an hour, perhaps more. We invite those who have trains, to consider running them after we get the hump taken care of. After running trains and completing track work, we're going to do another review of the Operational Rules which were created by the committee last year. I'm attaching a current copy with the Draft-3 watermark removed and one additional change that was motivated by a comment from our insurance carrier. This review will be beneficial as we now have some actual experience under our belts from the Open House two weeks ago. It has also been proposed that we create a short "pocket sized" version of the rules to be applicable to Public Operation.

We will also discuss insurance issues to make sure everyone understands what is in place to provide liability protection to operators and volunteers. We will also have further discussion about an engine purchase (gas/electric) as the day is quickly approaching where we're going to have to make that decision.

Last, but not least, we will begin the discussion of track plan revisions for the north end of the building. I'll try to have a sketch of what is being considered available at the work session. .

Two weeks ago, we finished up the re-cutting of the flange ways across the south drive. While this was being done, there was allot of ballast raking and general cleanup going on in preparation for the 1st Open House of the fall season.

Click to enlarge Chris Cheely has recently joined the group and brings allot of new energy and excitement to the project. Chris has kind of adopted the Caboose by getting too close and getting sucked in by the vacuum. He's responded to the challenge by touching up the truck assemblies and the Caboose numbers with fresh black paint which really helped the appearance. Click to enlarge

We also mounted the recently donated switch stand and did some last minute track leveling.

Click to enlarge We unloaded PVC piping from the Caboose & put together some public railings in preparation for the Sunday Open House. Then, one Sunday, we had our first test of the system. Roger Phillips graciously allowed his equipment to ride the public on this unofficial first test of the track. We applied the previously created Operational Rules creating & reinforcing the job tasks for the Engineer, the Conductor, the Stationmaster, and also had a gateman with flag to safety allow the train to cross the entrance drive to the Museum. Yes, we had some derailments but they may have been more related to a truck issue with one of Roger's gondola's, but the good news is that there were no major issues whatsoever.

Records were diligently kept with the tally being 23 public rides with 92 ticketed passengers being given rides of 2-lap duration (approximately 4 minutes long). There were allot of smiling faces.

It was a perfect day for the trial as we had rain delays that resulted in us having to stop the rides and cover the train. This enabled the group to retire to the back room to discuss the experiences and also brainstorm new ideas. This proved to be invaluable as many good ideas about track revisions at the north end of the layout were discussed and will be considered in greater detail at the next work sessions.

The day was a perfect setting to gain much valuable experience about our railroad.

Click to enlarge

As a footnote to this event, the Board of Directors has decided to ask the General Membership for authorization to purchase our first engine. A yes/no ballot item will be mailed out to the membership with the election ballots soon. Please consider this important first step to having the Museum own its own engine.

We'll see you Saturday -

PS: don't forget the Open House this Sunday as well.

Saturday (September 14, 2013):

Due to several factors, not the least of which was the fact that several members attended the General Membership Meeting last Friday night, the work session last Saturday, and the Open House on Sunday and as a result are somewhat "burned out". Add to that the fact that at least three key people won't be available including the two key holders, thus Chairman Raymond has agreed to declare this weekend cancelled with us returning to work the following Saturday.

We'll send out the normal email reminding everyone next week. Please enjoy the weekend and be safe.

Saturday (September 7, 2013):

This Saturday beginning at 7:00 AM will be the last work session before the 1st Open House of the season. We need to make sure that things are spruced up and that track conditions are the best they can be. We will also complete the saw cutting of the flange grooves in the south driveway as that was not completed last week. We also need to discuss operation procedures for the Open House as Roger Phillips may have his train on the tracks and Don VanManen entrusted his train to Jesse Miller.

Last weekend, we began the work by cutting the flange grooves that were tooled in the concrete work a little deeper and wider to reduce risk of imbedded rocks damaging wheel flanges. First cut was the sidewalk which went pretty quickly. Then the track crew performed some track work between the sidewalk and the north driveway entrance. Operation of trains revealed a "hump" in that section resulting in the need to lower the center portion of the track.

Click to enlarge Rather than pulling the ballast out from in between all of the ties, it was decided that it would be easier to remove the entire short section of track. The plate type rail joiners were also replaced at the same time as they also presented a minor amount of flange interference. The track was reset, leveled, and the ballast replaced. Click to enlarge

The foam pads were again a godsend for everyone's knees and the canopies provided much needed shade.

While the track crew was working their magic on this section, the flange grooves were re-cut across the south drive entrance. This was a little more time consuming, but the result was worth the effort.

Click to enlarge Work was completed at about 11:00 AM with the results again improving the ride in preparation of our 1st Open House of the season.

Please join us this Saturday again at 7:00 AM to make final preparations for Sunday's Open House.

Click to enlarge

Don't forget the General Membership Meeting this Friday night with dinner served at 5:30 for a $5 donation while table sales of trains will be featured. Tables can be purchased for $5 each and each table purchaser is allowed to then add 3 items into the Auction which will be conducted immediately following the Meeting. We haven't done this for quite some time and there is quite a bit of excitement brewing so don't miss out.

Bring money and an appetite. See you there.

Saturday (August 31, 2013):

Only two work sessions left till the first Open House of the season.
This Saturday, we'll hopefully continue to run trains and test track conditions. This will include re-cutting the grooves in the concrete drive entrances. Running trains is really a great way to discover issues so that they may be immediately corrected.

Last Saturday may have been one of the most rewarding days at the Train Museum in recent history. Roger Phillips showed up at the Museum pulling his trailer full to the brim with his trains so that we could test the track conditions under expected conditions of having a complete train pulling passengers.

Once the trailer was opened, there was a flurry of activity as the off-loading began. At this point, it was a great test of the transfer table as it was called upon to reach to top of 3 levels to unload the cars from Roger's trailer. Big Joe worked well although we needed to use the transfer plate that Roger brought instead of the flip down plate installed on Big Joe to receive trains that may be riding in the back of a pickup. Removal of the flip down plate was simple due to the design and presented no problems.

Click to enlarge Roger's ride-on cars are gondolas fitted with adjustable seats that permitted us to ride with various passenger configurations. His engine is a GP-40 in Burlington Northern decoration. It is gas powered similar to Raymond's engine although it is longer. Click to enlarge

Big Joe was definitely up to the task of lifting and setting - that design & construction has worked out well although some work may still be needed on the flip ramp to make the transfer go a little easier.

Click to enlarge Once on the track, there was no problem getting volunteers to start riding. Grins were detected everywhere. The only things missing were Raymond's and Don's trains. Click to enlarge

After almost two hours of continuous running, we were able to pinpoint problems (vertical curves/dips) and the track crew got to work re-setting some of the rail near the caboose enclosure.

Click to enlarge This work involved lifting the track in the ballast and re-tamping the ballast to take the humps out and then re-checking the lateral level. We then spread several more wheel barrows of ballast as this area didn't get enough ballast during the original installation. Click to enlarge

There was even some time for a little laying down on the job - are these guys really working?

Click to enlarge At the end of the day, another lap around the bend to test the track crew's repairs and then sadly, it was time to repack the train into Roger's trailer. We are sooooo looking forward to getting a Museum owned train.


Click to enlarge

It was a beautiful day at the Train Museum with cool temps from recent rains and a nice breeze (finally). We didn't even need shade. 

Hey you snow birds - get back to town - you're gonna love this.

Saturday (August 24, 2013):

Are the dog days of summer done? 

This Saturday @ 7:00 AM, we'll meet again as the monsoon season will again attempt to bring us some much needed rain. The temperature will be much lower than last weekend which proved to be a real scorcher. With most of the kinks now removed in the curved section rail joints, we can start to concentrate on operation in preparation of our first Open House in September. We hope that we can encourage one of our locomotive owners to begin operating to gain some much needed track experience. While that is going on, we'll also begin cutting the grooves in the rail crossings at the concrete drive entrances a little wider and deeper.

Last week was brutal with heat in the lower 100's and little wind to give some relief. Although we had shade, it was little benefit without some breeze. We began the morning by loading up a flat with the shade canopy and some tools and pushed it around to the final curve section needing attention.

We then set upon the task to remove the kinks from the curve section joints using the pipe wrenches. We reset the gauge at each joint while we went along. Burt promised to bring some foam cushions for this session and as luck would have it, he found a 6' square sheet of foam laying in the roadway next to the Museum adjacent to the drainage structure. This sheet gut cut up and provided much needed cushioning for the crew's knees. Click to enlarge

We did accomplish what we hoped we would by finishing the work to eliminate the kinks at the curve section joints along the last curved section between the south driveway entrance and the caboose enclosure.  This portion of track needed a significant amount of ballast placed as well so part of the crew began the tedious work of shoveling and wheel barrowing rock to complete this section.

Click to enlarge The fresh ballast was tamped into place using the tamper built by Dale Cover and the sledge hammer.  Track leveling (lateral) was verified and the crew called it a day. Phew. Click to enlarge

We look forward to seeing the group again this Saturday @ 7:00 AM.

Saturday (August 17, 2013):

We'll meet again this Saturday beginning at 7:00 AM and we will pickup where the track crew left off - just south of the south entrance drive on the curved section leading into the caboose enclosure. This should be the last curved section needing our attention to eliminate the kinks where the curved sections join together. Burt assures us that we'll have much thicker pads to put down as our collective knees are taking a beating. Work will begin early to beat the heat and we'll set out both canopies again to create shade. With a self-imposed goal of being able to safely run trains at our first Open House in September, we are very close to having the track ready.

Last Saturday, we came together after a wonderful week off where several of our group traveled up to Durango to ride the Silverton Branch
as well as riding the Cumbres & Toltec out of Antonito. Perhaps it was inevitable, but what we found at the Museum was our first vandalism on the 7-1/2" gauge. Although nothing was stolen, it did appear that there may have been an attempt as the center siding on the rear of the building appeared to have been lifted about an inch resulting in a very visible hump in the rail.

This damage definitely appeared to be human caused and was very disappointing to see. The ballast had to be removed from about 8' of track and the rail pushed down to take the bend out and then the ballast replaced. At any rate, an hour of work and we got the siding back where it belonged, realigned and leveled. Click to enlarge

If that wasn't enough, the wire fence that runs along the south side of the property was completely cut open about 20' from the west end. What is bizarre is that you can simply walk around the west end as it does not continue beyond the last post. To add more confusion to this apparent mal-intent is the fact that the vandals walked right past a stack of prepared track sections to get to the piece that they tried to remove. Consequently, the motive may have simply been to vandalize the track and not steal it. At any rate, an hour of work and we got the siding back where it belonged, realigned and leveled.

Click to enlarge Jesse has been working overtime trying to find a suitable engine for the Museum to use to pull public trains and this find was a really nice unit.
While the track repairs and fence mending exercise was going on, the other track crew continued on around the north and east sides of the Museum taking the kinks out of the curved track sections. Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge This process has really begun to pick up speed as the crew has the process down. Re-gauging also takes place as the curve section joints are corrected. There is only one more large curved area that will need attention that should get completed this weekend.

Look forward to seeing you this Saturday.

Saturday (August 10, 2013):

After that wonderful trip to Colorado to ride the Durango & Silverton,

Click to enlarge

we then traveled to Antonito to ride the Cumbres & Toltec.

Click to enlarge

A CD full of favorite pictures that are being gathered from those persons who went on the trip is being put together by Bill Nunn and should become available soon. Perhaps we'll have a program at the Museum where we can share the pic's on a big screen.

This Saturday, we'll continue working on our own railroad by continuing to improve the track conditions as we find them. After riding the narrow gauge this weekend, I can attest to the fact that I think our tracks are going to be better. I'm still swaying back & forth.

If you recall, the work from the last work session included the placement of our first order of engraved bricks. This was our first attempt at lifting out the already placed bricks and it, like everything else we've done, involved a learning curve. We were loaned a brick extractor tool which helped immensely although it too, had a learning curve.

Click to enlarge We quickly learned that using a hack saw blade rather than the flat bladed scraper was more helpful in scraping out the sand previously placed between the brick joints. Click to enlarge
Water was also a big help in loosening the sand making it a tad easier to scrape out.

The engraved bricks are slightly thinner which requires a very slight addition of sand into the hole before setting the engraved brick.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge With the bricks set, the area dried out, and the sand replaced between the joints, we sat back and admired the effort. The brick sales will represent a major fund raising opportunity for our group and will ultimately pay to purchase a Museum engine and get our public ride-on cars on the track. It is hoped that this initial placement will be seen by visitors to the Museum starting in September and result in many more purchases.
With the brick work completed, the efforts moved to the rear of the Museum as we eliminated the abrupt kinks that were evident in the track joints on the curve section. Previously learned from Roger Phillips shared experience in Oregon, the use of pipe wrenches enables us to transition these joints seamlessly. This also allows the track gauge to be held consistently through the curve. Jesse was inspecting the ROW outside and found a family of ants crossing the track at a grade crossing ignoring the warning signals. Click to enlarge

As the temperature crept upward, the crew retired inside the Museum in preparation for lunch. Jesse climbed a ladder took a shot of the progress being made by the OH G-gauge group. Jeff came down and was looking a little more like he does now than he did before. It is rumored that he'll be back behind the wheel in September which put a smile on his dad's face. Also inside, to our horror, we witnessed a tragic wreck on the HO layout as two trains collided spreading destruction along the main line ROW on the northeast side of the layout.

Looking forward to seeing everyone this Saturday.

Saturday (August 3, 2013):

Just a reminder about this weekend -
Work Session cancelled due to GPD Charter Trip to Durange

Saturday (July 27, 2013):

This Saturday, we'll open up the portable canopies and continue working on track alignments - mainly on the curved sections to eliminate the small kinks where the track sections are joined. It's amazing how much those canopies help to keep us cool as we keep making headway toward creating a reliable train operating circuit.

We can also cut the grooves for wheel flanges a little wider/deeper across the drives as there have been some comments that they may be too small.

Last week, after a lengthy break from the action, we began tackling the kink problems at the curved track joints. Roger was extremely helpful bringing significant experience into the group from his affiliation with the track in Oregon.  The results is that the task which has previously frustrated the group with mixed success now is considerably easier and the ride is vastly improved.  We completed the work on the two original turnouts at the read and tested the process with several rail cars. Click to enlarge

The guard rails were remounted with wider spacers to prevent wheel flanges from riding up on the taper.  In addition, the tapers were re-ground to be less abrupt.  The results were very encouraging as we appear to finally have a handle on these problem areas.

After testing several times with a string of unladen rail cars, we found that we were having unpredictable derailment issues with Raymond McDaniel's orange hopper. We checked gauge, we checked rock obstructions, we checked levelness of the track and nothing appeared to be out of spec's. The only common thread between the derailment issues was that it was always happening on curved sections. Roger again came to the rescue as he had encountered this same problem at the Oregon track. We turned the car upside down and it quickly became apparent what might be causing the problem. Paint was being scraped from the bottom of the car by the wheels as the car rode on a curve. There was no space other than a very thin plastic washer between the car cross-member and the truck bolster. When the truck turned, the wheel would contact the angled bottom of the hopper causing the derailment. As a result of this, the Oregon group mandates the installation of a minimum 1/8" spacer be installed. With Raymond's permission, we fabricated spacers from fender washers, added grease, and put it back together - and no more derailments. Experience is such a great teacher.

We were also given the benefit of learning how to bend that last 6" of rail on the curved sections at the joints. These joints typically have had kinks where they came together and we tried everything trying to reduce their impact. Everything except a pipe wrench and cheater bar. This suggestion worked like a charm. The grooves cast into the switch frogs are also a little shallow causing a fairly significant bump when a car or engine rolls through. Roger made short work of creating a smooth transition with his angle head grinder. While the track crew was working on making the ride better on the rails. Click to enlarge

At the end of the morning, Raymond McDaniel gave us a demonstration of Plasma Cutting as he recently got a new Plasma Cutter. Similar to an Acetylene torch (except it uses no gas), this little torch does amazingly nice work on metal up to 1/8" thick and it's powered from a 120 VAC circuit.

Earlier in the day, Raymond also shortened up the lock box on the 20' container making it much easier to get your hands up to the lock inside.

Last, Jesse has been keeping his eye on the Goose at the website and noticed that the price had been reduced to $3,950. Seems very reasonable for the Goose and the ride-on car.

Hoping to see everyone at the work session this Saturday at 7:00 AM. Remember, the following Saturday work session will be cancelled due to the Museum Charter trip to Pagosa Springs, Durango and Antonito.

Saturday (July 20, 2013):

After THREE weeks off, we'll restart the track work this Saturday at the Museum beginning at 7:00 AM. Work scheduled includes re-assessing the expansion gaps in the rail as some have closed entirely putting some of the alignment at risk. We also will again be tackling the turnouts along the side of the building including finishing up the guard rails on the first turnout we repaired at our last work session. It is also possible that we may have the first order of engraved bricks to insert into the walkway.

If you can remember our last work session (seems like it's been months), we finished the board crossing at the front of the Museum. The boards were sanded with the level brought to rail height level so no trip hazard will present itself.

We applied linseed oil again and the installation is now complete and looks great. Once the design for the patio to the north is finalized, we can begin that project (when it cools off).

Click to enlarge

Mark from Rock Solid Materials delivered the remaining 5 pallets of bricks to the Museum and we placed them into the Cabooses Enclosure.

Click to enlarge These pallets weight over 1-1/2 tons each so we couldn't move them with Glenn's bobcat. The bricks are neatly placed and don't take away from the appearance of the Caboose. Dale Cover built a very handy "brick box" which has 10 brick sized compartments that will enable the bricks that are being taken to the engraver to be safely transported without being damaged or chipped. 10 bricks is the minimum engraving order so this box will come in very handy. The initial order of brick engravings has now been sent to the engraver.

The last order of the day was to begin rebuilding the turnouts on the west side of the Museum Building. These were the first built and our collective lack of experience resulted in a few functional issues which needed to get resolved.

The crew was able to pretty much resolve the issues on the first turnout with little difficulty and has a good start on the 2nd. Rail needed to be re-gauged, the guard rails needed to be re-spaced, and the points needed to have a little bit of curve put into them. It's all part of the learning process.


Click to enlarge

A question amongst some of the newer members has arose about General Membership Meetings over the summer. Simply stated, there are no General Membership Meetings in July or August. The next meeting will be September 6th. There will be another BOD meeting in August (7th) if any are interested in attending. Work sessions normally occur during the summer as each layout committee dictates. The normal Wednesday night work session schedule normally occurs throughout the summer. I hope this clarifies any misunderstanding.

Jesse Miller was doing some browsing on Discover Live Steams website ( and found the following "Goose" for sale. Wouldn't that look nice running around the Museum on Open House days?

As Seen on Discover Live Steam

Again, thanks to Jesse for all of the photo taking.

I look forward to seeing everyone this Saturday, July 20th.

Saturday (June 29, 2013 - July 6, 2013):

Well, this Saturday is predicted to be 113 degrees. That's a bit too hot and a little risky for this group to be working outside. Your Chairman has decided that the work session is called off as a result. The following weekend may be somewhat cooler, but it's a long weekend resulting from the 4th of July being Thursday and some of the remaining group are planning to do family stuff and/or "Get out of Dodge". Consequently, it too is being cancelled. We will reconvene on Saturday, July 13th.

So take a couple of weekends off from RR building and catch up on stuff at home. Enjoy the holiday if you can, and most important, stay out of the extreme heat!

We'll see you all soon.

Saturday (June 22, 2013):

I'm getting hot just thinking about this weekend ! ! ! But we're going to do it anyway. We'll reconvene this Saturday @ 7:00 AM to do some work on the railroad after taking last week off. There are several tasks at hand including the following:

1. We need to figure out where we are going to store the 5 additional pallets of bricks. This may seem like a relatively easy task, but looks may be deceiving as the pallet loads are too heavy for Glenn to move with his Bobcat. Thus we need to make sure they get placed in a good, well thought out location that can be accessed by the forklift used by Mark - the owner of Rock Solid Solutions next door to the Museum where the bricks are currently stored.

2. We need to finish sanding the boards across the rails out front and get another coat of linseed oil onto them before the monsoons begin. We also need to replace the temporary screws used with deck screws as we had run out of the colored ones.

3. We now have some drawings for the station platform in hand although they aren't yet completely finished. We need to go over the requirements for this project before moving it ahead.

4. We have the springs to finish the turnout switch mechanism's so they can now be completed.

5. We need to redo two of the west side turnouts as they are causing derailments. This is going to be a fairly large project that will take some time & patience.
We can set up a couple of shade canopies to assist in the board work and also the turnout repairs. Working in the shade makes these types of projects much more pleasant.

The last work session two weeks ago, we were able to finally finish installing the boards at the rail crossings in the front. That was tedious work requiring a lot of patience, but the results, I hope you'll agree, were worth it.

Click to enlarge Getting those straight boards into the curved spaces while maintaining the parallel pattern was quite an exercise. There was a lot of O.J.T. (on the job training) to be sure. We also had to create some more 1" boards by ripping a 4x4 on the miniature table saw. Slow work, but we got the job done with no issues.
Click to enlarge Having the correct tools always makes a job easier. This time we had the little sabre saw to cut the radius'. Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge The boards on the north side of the 2nd rail went in fast - no cutting necessary. That left only the boards adjacent to and inside of the curved section of rail.  Click to enlarge

A lot of fit and finish, but one by one, the boards fell into place. Holes were pre-drilled, countersunk, and screws set into place.

It won't be long until people will start walking across this RR crossing waiting for their turn to ride the railroad. They'll look down and have no idea what went into building this feature. Mind you, It isn't even close to the effort to build the rock retaining wall, but it's still a work of art to those who participated. We'll be installing engraved bricks shortly as the initial order is being prepared.  Click to enlarge

While the majority of our group took last weekend off (including myself), a couple of our members were busy in their workshops. Raymond McDaniel built a solid brass valve header that will distribute steam to all of the steam requiring accessories on his Prairie through a bunch of true to scale valves. I hope he brings it this Saturday as it's a piece of art. Dale Cover, recovering slowly from eye surgery, took on the challenge of building a "brick box" that will enable 10 bricks to be carried to and from the engraver without incurring damage. The box design was tweaked with "Dale ideas" to make it work better and be stronger. It'll be there Saturday as well.

Monsoons are coming - we wait in anticipation as the desert needs this life blood badly. We'll also be able to see again how well our drainage structures are working.

Hope to see you this weekend.

Saturday (June 15, 2013):

Due to significant heat and some planned out of town trips by a few members, the work session this Saturday has been declared CANCELLED. We'll meet next weekend to continue "working on the railroad". Look for an email next week with the normal description of work plans for the session plus a report from the last work session including another batch of great pictures from Jesse.

Have a great weekend.

Saturday (June 8, 2013):

Starting time this Saturday will be 7:00 AM. Summer is definitely here, so be prepared for some heat. It's likely that we'll be done a little early to avoid overheating and we'll need to stay hydrated. We will hopefully finish the wood crossing over the 2nd track as the framework for the planks was completed last week. We also need to work on one or both of the turnouts along the side of the building near the meeting room. It may be too hot to do much additional work. 

Last week, we took a break from the work sessions and instead, worked to help with the setup and takedown of tables for the train meet at the Expo Center. 

I want to extend a most heartfelt thank you to those who were able to help in any way to lighten the load for everyone. A special thank you to Glenn Ellis for again lending us the use of his equipment trailer and truck to do the heavy hauling. The setup went virtually without a hitch as it took less than 2 hours from start to finish. Click to enlarge

The only glitch was that the Hall wasn't open when we arrived "on time" as usual. The boy's took the delay in kind, by doing their own interpretation of "King of the Hill".

Take down took a little longer as slow vendors cause delays inside the hall with the table breakdown. The 105 degree heat on Saturday PM didn't help much either as those who followed the tables back to the Museum stacked all of the tables into the steel container (aka: easy bake solar oven). The June meet is always going to be a tough take down. Next time, we need to get air blowing through the container since we can open that box at each end. 

2 weeks ago, Jesse again documented our work to build the framework for the planking over the 2nd track at the north end of the building. We should be ready to complete this task this week.

Click to enlarge With the framework completed, a bigger project was started & completed to remove the "Hump" from the track crossing the curb at the rear parking area. More ballast removal, re-grading, tie locations adjusted, etc, then re-ballasting, straightening & leveling.  Click to enlarge

We hope that this will be the last time we'll need to work on this section, but it remains to be seen. Here is photographic evidence that the rail rests on the concrete.

Click to enlarge

At the end of the day, Raymond was able to take a lap or two only to find more track issues at turnouts along the back side of the building for us to work on next week.

Don't forget that there is a General Membership Meeting this Friday with dinner being served beginning at 5:30 PM and the meeting beginning at 7:00 PM. In addition, there is an Open House scheduled for Sunday between 12:30 PM and 4:30 PM.

Hope to see some of you brave souls Saturday AM.

Saturday (June 1, 2013):

The work session this Saturday is CANCELLED due to the Summer Train Show:

Friday, May 31, 2013
Open to the Public 2:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Saturday, June 1, 2013 
Open to the Public 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

As normal, we will be meeting on Friday morning at 8:00 AM at the Museum to load tables to be transported to the Expo Center. We can get into the Expo Center to begin the set up at 9:00 AM and should be done within an hour or so. We know the routine and as usual, many hands make this job go pretty quickly. The floor will be pre-marked with tape so table placement can begin as soon as we arrive at the Expo Center (Irvington & Palo Verde). History has shown that the set up takes about an hour.

Please consider helping us with this move as well as take down on Saturday afternoon beginning at 2 PM. 

Using our tables creates a significant cost savings to the GPD on this major Fund Raising event.

Hope to see you this Friday at 8:00 AM at the Museum to load tables.

Saturday (May 25, 2013):

This Saturday, beginning at 7:00 AM, we will continue the work on the front crossing as well as testing and leveling the track around the facility. With the Open House scheduled for Sunday, this will be an important work session for us as we again could have some trains operating during the Open House if operators are willing. We will also need to do the Janitorial work in the Museum at the end of the work session as Sunday is the Open House. Please consider coming to either the work session or the Open House or both.

Last week, the work continued on the track crossing at the north side of the Museum with discussion about transitioning the wooden walkway from the siding to the turntable to the Golden Spike ceremonial track section. We set up a 10 x 10 canopy creating some appreciated shade and began the task of evaluation. 

Although occurring at the end of the work session, much needed track leveling was also performed outside the caboose enclosure where a vertical curve (dip) in the track was eliminated and attention was given to providing some super-elevation to this curve. There are a couple of track joints that need to be double tied next week. While work on the front walkway was going on, some of the members took it upon themselves to perform some needed tree trimming work. Jeff even stopped by to do some of the "heavy lifting".  Click to enlarge

The first issue tackled on the front walkway was to slightly lower the elevation of the board immediately next to the track as the wide "dual gauge" wheels on Don's speeder ran onto the boards leaving small marks. The belt sander made relatively short work of this issue.

Click to enlarge After the sanding was done, we looked at the space between the siding track and the Golden Spike ceremonial track. The elevation of the Golden Spike track is about 1/2" different (higher) than the siding track. After some careful thought & discussion, it was decided that the wooden walkway would need to slightly slope uphill to compensate for the different elevations. The Golden Spike track is relatively level between the two rails while the siding track has a small amount of gradient to it.

 This coupled with the elevation difference makes designing the support structure for the boards a little tricky. It became clear that the best solution would also be a long term solution - build a concrete footing upon which the structure could be set. 

So, with agreement in hand, the ballast was pulled out of the way & out came the pick & shovel. A shallow 4" footing was quickly dug. Luckily, the area had been previously dug up so we encountered no caliche'.

After a lot of measuring including some fit & finish work, a slightly tapered wooden form was made & set on top of the first tie within the Golden Spike Ceremonial track. 3-sacks of concrete were mixed and then placed into the formed trench. 

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge A little bit of screed work, and the foundation is ready for the next work session. The weather was great again as it is predicted to be this weekend.


Hope to see you Saturday (and Sunday too if you can make it.)

Saturday (May 18, 2013):

Summer is headed our way, so it's a good thing that the start time got moved up to 7:00 AM. This Saturday, we can continue to complete the rail crossing at the north end of the walk if we wish, although it isn't necessarily that important. The bigger task is going to be addressing a couple of "vertical curve" issues that need to be addressed on the layout. The continuous running of Raymond & Don's trains have helped us to identify these locations so we'll start to get the "LOWS" raised and the "HIGHS" lowered as needed. In addition, we will probably experiment with rail joiners at the curve near the caboose enclosure.

Last weekend was near perfect in many regards. Saturday's work session had awesome weather - warm with breezes. Work continued on extending the wood across the tracks at the front walk north of the main entrance to the Museum. While that was going on, Bob Rubino straightened out the support ties on the turnout near the west corner of the building in preparation of mounting the switch machine.

Click to enlarge The wood work went along quickly as most of the boards placed this day were not in need of any special cutting. We made relatively short work of the project and finished the work with a belt sanding and then application of the 1st coat of linseed oil. It really looks good and those who have worked on this should be proud. 
As you can see by the pictures, we stopped short of crossing the 2nd track as Roger wasn't there to apply his skill set of "cut & fit". This weekend we can possibly get across the 2nd track (or not).

We needed to begin running trains and both Raymond and Don were on hand with their equipment ready to facilitate the process. 

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge Things began slowly and we found that the slow speeds seem to aggravate the problematic locations where derailments were experienced. A fairly significant vertical curve issue with a moderate rail joint interference was quickly identified on the back curve near the caboose enclosure. Interestingly, as speed was increased, the derailment problem pretty much disappeared. Raymond described the condition as hitting the "sweet spot" of speed to allow trouble free operation.

With successful operation "under the belt", it was decided that we could and should have a train out for the Open House on Sunday. Although we don't want to begin public operation at this point, we do want to get the public's reaction to the big trains. With expected attendance to be low due to Mother's Day, it was an ideal time to start demonstrating the possibilities. The picture above shows Don talking with one of the youngsters who came out for the Open House. No problems whatsoever were experienced during the event.

To our missing members who had to go back east for the summer, did you happen to see the news report on the "Ice Tsunami" in Minnesota? Hugh, what's with that? It's supposed to be spring! We miss you all you guys allot.

See you this Saturday @ 7:00 AM. Track work and train operation is on the agenda again.

Saturday (May 11, 2013):

Last week, we moved up the start time to 7:30 and this week, we're going to do it again. This Saturday, we'll meet at 7:00 AM as there is plenty of daylight at 7:00 AM and we can avoid some of the heat later in the morning. There is even a whisper of a chance that we could get some sprinkles, but I wouldn't hold your breath. 

This Saturday, we'll continue our work on the wood decking rail crossing that was begun last week. While that is going on, I want to encourage either Raymond or Don to operate their equipment if possible as we continue to work on the track. If we can get reliable operation, we may even think about having an engine running during the Open House on Sunday. Switch machines also need to get mounted on three of the turnouts.

Last Saturday, work began on installing the wood across the tracks at the end of the brick walkway. 

Click to enlarge With the rails curving through the area and the walkway made of straight boards wanting to be parallel with the bricks, the effort will need to proceed slowly to achieve "the look". A lot of hand cutting, template making, and trim-to-fit efforts will ultimately be rewarded with a great looking crossing. 

While the wood work was proceeding, the brick border was being placed by a new volunteer newcomer (Chris) who is the son of a new GPD Member (Harold Swinscoe). 

Chris, who is a tile setter by trade, made short and skillful work of the 2nd border setting giving Glenn & Burt a break from the agony of getting more "OJT" (on the job training). It went so fast, that we didn't get pictures of the process. Thank you to Chris for being willing to help us out with this project. Rumor has it that Chris has also offered to come back when we're ready to do the remaining brick work in the station platform area as well as the patio portions north of the track. Click to enlarge

While the last bricks were getting set, we began backfilling the sides of the walkway eliminating the ditches.

Click to enlarge Bob invented new ways to empty wheelbarrows full of dirt (PS: without getting hurt). It's funny how Jesse is always there to get these little glitches documented.

After the border was laid, and the sides backfilled, grade sloped gently away with the area raked & smoothed, we set silica sand into the brick joints and washed down the surface..
Click to enlarge The whole process went well and the results are really great looking. With the Open House this Sunday, we're looking forward to comments from the visitors. Click to enlarge

With some luck, we might even be able to get a train running for the Open House on Sunday - we'll just have to wait and see.

Looking forward to seeing you Saturday.

Saturday (May 4, 2013):

For you G-Gauge guys thinking toward the future of doing G-Gauge outside, this link to an Ebay auction may be of interest.

This Saturday, the start time will move up to 7:30 AM. It's that time of year! It won't be long and we'll be starting even earlier. Two projects begun last Saturday will continue this Saturday with the brick border along the walkway at the front of the Museum hopefully getting completed and work will also continue on the board placements across the tracks. Track testing with trains and leveling efforts are also on the agenda.

Last Saturday, we began the installation of the brick border and the process went much slower than anticipated. The area preparation went well enough, but with very little brick laying history amongst the group, it was literally one brick at a time.

Click to enlarge Lesson #1: The mortar mixing was way ahead of the brick placement and the first lesson learned was that the mortar doesn't wait for the brick layers. 
Click to enlarge Lesson #2: Neatness does count as the mortar really stands out when spilled onto the brick surface.
Click to enlarge Lesson #3: Acid wash does remove some of the mess, but it must be watered down because it can also start dissolving the brick!
It was decided a few month ago to not extend brick into the area between the RR tracks, but to use boards as was done prototypically in the old days. Redwood was selected for various reasons including cost & workability. Trying to obtain 1" thick redwood however, is not easy. A 4 x 4, 12' long was obtained and ripped into three 1" thick boards. They will be cut to length and used for the project which was laid out by Hugh & Roger.  Click to enlarge

Cutting & installation will begin next week as templates were made, supports were cut & installed and the area re-ballasted. Given the curved nature of the tracks at the crossing location, the installation is no where as easy as it may appear.

Click to enlarge Raymond McDaniel was nice enough to get out the ole Great Northern and begin the process of track testing so that evaluation of the system may continue. A lot more of this must occur before we begin the public exposure.

Weather was great as usual, but it was with mixed emotions that one of our winter visitors (Hugh Madsen) will be returning to his home in Minnesota for the summer. Rumor has it that the snow shovel is awaiting his return home as the ground is still frozen. Hurry back Hugh and God speed.

Hope to see you Saturday.

PS: General Membership Meeting tomorrow night with Sub Sandwiches being served beginning at 5:30 and the meeting beginning at 7:00 PM. No open house this weekend.

PPS: Train Meet at the end of the month. We'll be moving tables on Friday morning, May 31st beginning at 8 AM. We should be done about 10 AM. Please put that date on your calendar.

Saturday (April 27, 2013):

This Saturday, we'll again meet to work on a couple of projects. The brick is set out front, but the borders need to be mortared in. This will be slow going and we won't need many people involved as it's one brick at a time for the most part. While that is going on, there is a considerable amount of track leveling and aligning that needs to be done in the back of the building where the passing siding and spur are located. The switch machines still need to be installed as well. We also want to begin running trains again to get the entire track work tested and settled in which will involve more leveling and straightening. There's a lot to do, so please join us.

Last Saturday, the last of the straight track sections were assembled.  

Shortly after, the template table was separated and loaded in Dale's truck for salvaging. That table was awful good to us and certainly served its' purpose, but it was time for it to be gone. The space in the work room will be very welcome by the OH G-Gauge group as they are beginning their construction of track sections.

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While the track sections were being built, the brick crew headed to the front and began spreading sand into the curbed and previously prepared and compacted area.

Click to enlarge Spreading the sand and leveling it with a short screed board proved to be relatively easy, especially since the walk area is less than 5' wide. Click to enlarge
The bricks arrived on cue, just before we got the sand leveled. Thanks to Mark @ Rock Solid Materials for delivering the pallet of concrete pavers to the area immediately next to where we were laying them. The pallet of pavers weighs in at about 3,000 pounds which is more than Glenn's bobcat can move, so this was really helpful. Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge The sand leveled and wetted down a bit, the laying process began - somewhat tentatively at first as we weren't entirely sure of the process. We snapped a string right down the middle and following the alignment. It took about 30 minutes to set the brick and we were done.
The walkway will get it's mortared in border this Saturday and will then be open for walking on. As we sell the engraved brick (light colored to contrast with the red pavers), they will be installed into a space created by removing one of the red pavers. 

A fine sand will be used to fill the gaps which are created by small bumps protruding from the sides of the bricks. It's going to look great!

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Hope to see you all this Saturday. Weather should be great.

Saturday (April 20, 2013):

Work will resume on the front side walk area with initial setting of pavers. With Glenn Ellis' help, we will be bringing in sand, so we'll be ready to begin the process of setting the brick. If you have never done this before, don't feel like the Lone Ranger - it will be a learning process for all of us.

Last Saturday, with a large group of us missing due to various conflicts, work proceeded on construction of more straight track and from what was observed during Wednesday's BOD meeting, several sections were assembled & neatly stacked on the staging pile.

As usual, Jesse Miller was diligent taking pictures and documenting the progress, so below are some of his photos documenting the work that was performed.

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Click to enlarge Thanks to Mike Tuinstra and the OH G-Gauge group, the building got opened up early so everyone could get in without delay. Working in the same room, they too cranked out additional track sections.

Neat picture of Walt Disney on Lillibelle, his 7-1/2" gauge 4-4-0 American running around the Carolwood Pacific RR at his home. The steamer was a perfect miniature live steam model of the steamers that are still running around Disneyland in Anaheim. 

While work inside progressed, Jesse made modifications to the recently re-installed cross buck by moving the rear sign forward making it more readable from the side.

The Windmill has potentially seen it's last day of operation. The 50 mph winds were too much for it and centrifugal forces caused vanes to become undone and so it has been removed. I don't know what will become of the pieces or the structure - anyone have any ideas?

Click to enlarge

Saturday (April 13, 2013):

Although some members will be absent, the work session this Saturday is still scheduled to happen. Due to the kind offering of Mike Tuinstra to open the building in the absence of other key holders, the normal meeting time of 8:00 AM will be in effect. The work scheduled for the day will be construction of straight track sections. How many get built will be an exercise of when the ties run out. When they do, we will have to cut additional ties, probably using the brown treated lumber left in the 40' container as it will not be cost effective to take only a partial pallet of untreated ties up to Eloy for treatment. 

Although it won't necessarily matter as the work will be done inside, the weather this Saturday should be another chamber of commerce day.

Last weekend, as usual the group split into a couple of groups doing separate projects. First effort concentrated around "replanting" the RR X'ing sign that was removed during previous brick excavation work. The first project was to figure out a good location. The area adjacent to the RR track crossing the sidewalk entrance to the Museum was selected. 

Click to enlarge Then, Dale brought forth his water pic invention and the hole got dug to the appropriate depth. Of course, no project like this should be performed without proper supervision.  Click to enlarge

Luckily, we had qualified supervisors available which proved helpful.

Rather than do a direct bury as was done with the original placement, the group dug the hole a little bigger than necessary and used concrete to set the sign. This will greatly increase it's stability and longevity.

The finished product really looks good and is a great improvement over the original placement.

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Click to enlarge  While the sign placement was going on, another group began building another straight track section on the template table inside. It's been a while since we've done this, but the process came back to everyone pretty quickly. About an hour and the 1st piece was moved outside. Next weekend, another section or two can get built.

Last, or first, the paint was touched up on the 20' container where the latching hardware was relocated during the previous work session restoring its' great looking appearance. In addition, the two sections of 10" drain pipe were relocated into the Caboose enclosure to remove the temptation for youngsters to do their log rolling exercises. All in all, it was another great day at the Train Museum.

Hope you guys have another great day this Saturday.

Saturday (April 6, 2013):

This Saturday at 8:00 AM, we'll meet at the Museum to continue with the task of getting track alignment and leveling completed. Unfortunately, the brick won't be arriving this week as hoped, but I'm told it will be here early next week. We can also mount the switch machines as the mounting brackets were completed by Raymond McDaniel. 

Last Saturday was a busy day with multiple projects being worked on. 

Some of the group took on the project to add a back panel for the wooden trackside enclosure. In order to match the weathered appearance of the front exposure, the back was pieced together using old wood donated from Steve Collins. It was a perfect match and was perfect for this task.

Click to enlarge Working with a "Sow's Ear", Dave & Hugh created "Silk". The look achieved is exactly what we were hoping for. Another task well done. Click to enlarge

Probably the biggest task of the day involved lowering the 20' container and replacing the blocks that were holding it up with more stable concrete piers. Picking up a 6,000 pound container (excluding contents) using a high lift jack wasn't terribly difficult.

Click to enlarge Dale brought his high lift jack which could lift either end of the container high enough to allow the work to be done. While Dale & Burt were busy raising and setting the container onto the new Click to enlarge
lower concrete piers, Glenn, David, and Bob were removing and relocating the door latching mechanism for clearance purposes to the approach track.

One unplanned issue related to lowering the container is that the large HDPE drainage pipe sections would no longer fit below the container. Although they can be left outside exposed to the sun, they aren't exactly pretty and could be a hazard to any kids who might be walking around the backside of the container. We'll need to find a place for them (out of sight hopefully) until we've decided to get rid of them. 

While container work continued, Hugh, Dave, George, David, and Jesse took on the task of working on track leveling & alignment stabilization on the curve section to the west of the container. This work is critical to the reliability that we need to experience with the trackage as we begin to use the track. Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge Track leveling work is a somewhat tedious project, but is critical for our railroad and, as in previous efforts, the results were favorable. A little more leveling will complete the task on this section and hopefully reduce derailment occurrence. Track leveling needs to continue from this location north along the side of the building - especially the sidings which have never been leveled.

As we begin edging closer to summer, some of our winter visitors will be heading back east. Dave's last work session until the fall was last Saturday and we'll miss him. Hurry back Dave.

It was another great day at the train museum. Hope to see all of you this Saturday @ 8:00 AM.

PS: Tomorrow night there is a General Membership Meeting.

Saturday (March 30, 2013):

This Saturday, beginning at 8:00 AM, we'll continue working on the track eliminating various imperfections as we discover them. Currently, we have some issues on the curve at the west corner of the property between the containers. While this is going on, we need to also reposition (lower) the 20' container and place it onto the concrete piers that were previously obtain for that purpose. This will make it more accessible for Big Joe plus eliminate the broken hollow CMU units currently being used. As part of that project, we also need to move the door linkage on the right hand door of the container to the center position so that it will not conflict with the approach track when we lower the container.

Last Saturday, work began on taking the noticeable hump out of the back straight where the curb crossing occurs behind the parking. The expansion gaps were opened up as it appears that the hump was born from expansion issues. Ballast was removed, the track lowered to where it was straight, and the section re-balanced and leveled.

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While the crew was slaving away with the track, Jesse was getting a birds eye view of how the work was progressing.

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George got a great picture of Jesse taking a great picture of George.

Work progressed and we finally got the section of track corrected including some tie replacements while we were there. As we finished up, Jacob Payne arrived to take a look at the 20' container where the storage racks are to be installed. A plan was discussed and confirming measurements taken. Big Joe was scooted down to the container and the platform raised to verify vertical travel. It is moments like that which cause me to wish I hadn't got out of bed that morning. Big Joe wouldn't reach high enough to access the planned top level of storage within the container. There were two primary reasons for this - one is the conflict caused by installing the lights at the top of the vertical members of Big Joe. These prevented the platform from raising to its' full potential height. This was easily remedied (temporarily) by removing the lights, but then the real culprit was discovered. The rollers that were installed to prevent the excessive tilting of the platform prevent the platform from being raised much more than about 5 feet high before the rollers slide off the top of the verticals. This won't be easily remedied at all. The roller installation adequately solved the problem of the excessive tilting, but we're going to have to come up with another solution or give up on accessing the 3rd tier of the storage in the container with Big Joe. 

Click to enlarge This picture shows the platform raised to it's absolute highest position with the rollers still in contact with the uprights. Although it doesn't appear too bad in this photo, the 20' container is somewhat higher than the 40' container shown in the picture. I addition, the maximum vertical won't get to the upper (3rd tier) shelf height planned in either container. "Close, but no cigar" as they say. 

We, as a group, have taken on so many challenges on this project, I'm confident that we can overcome this, but it's a setback nonetheless.

 The solution will probably involve a combination of several ideas including rack design changes, lower the container, re-engineering the platform guide of Big Joe in some fashion, possibly adding spacers between the forklift forks and the platform thus raising the platform slightly. There are probably other possibilities as well. All need to be discussed and a solution found. Click to enlarge

Looking forward to seeing everyone this Saturday. Weather couldn't be better. Bricks are on the way, but aren't here yet.

Saturday (March 23, 2013):

This Saturday, we'll attempt to get back on track (literally) by meeting at 8:00 AM at the Museum. Weather should be downright awesome. 

There will be a lot of stories shared from the visit to the MLS Spring Meet as a bunch of our members ventured up to the meet as well as the swap meet next door and appeared to have enjoyed the experience. Here are some photos to make those not attending wish that they had.

Nope, that's not the interior of the cab of a real 4-6-6-4 steam locomotive, it's Bruno's Challenger in 1-1/2" scale, 7-1/2" gauge and you can own this behemoth for a mere $189,000.00. 

Click to enlarge

Check out this link: 

Pretty near everyone who went were given rides on one train or another. Here, Jeff is getting instructions from the owner of the locomotive that he's sitting behind and Jesse is putting his life in his hands riding with Jeff at the controls. If I overhead the instructions correctly, it was something on the order of take the 1st right and then stop at the Circle K and bring back a case of Miller Lite. Click to enlarge

It was a great day, not too hot - just right. We did a lot of train watching and saw some derailments up close - yeah, they have them up there too. We learned what MLS is doing with their track system using continuous steel welded rail on the outside of the curved track while keeping aluminum on the inside.

Click to enlarge Those are all GPD guys riding the train in the lower left photo above. We also got to get some dimensions from storage  Click to enlarge
 racks inside some of the containers which will become helpful soon.


You may remember our last work session that was 2-weeks ago (it seems like months ago). Below are photos taken during the work that was going on. The rains let up and we were able to pull the forms from the brick walkway border foundations and begin to backfill with base material. Burt pulled out the plate compactor, went and got some gas, fired it up & shazam ! ! ! Burt turned the reins over to Dale and the compaction went on without a hitch. The base material was dampened by the rain which was just the right amount of wetness and it compacted beautifully. 

Click to enlarge While the compaction work was going on, the track crew was busy taking out the "kink" that was accidentally put into the track a couple of weeks previously by an unknown Click to enlarge
 Bobcat operator.  No harm, no foul as they say.  The track crew also made some 
Click to enlarge repairs to a couple of other curved sections at the rear of the property.

The finished work completed, we cleaned up the front and we now await bricks.

Click to enlarge

It's nice to see drainage systems working like they should. I'm told, by Bob, that the initials carved into our freshly poured concrete are actually the year 2013. If I didn't know better, I would think that just above this may be more initials "JM" - hmmmm

With a little time on our hands, some additional drainage work was massaged near the end of the 20' container. 

Hope to see you all this Saturday at 8:00 AM

PS: for those insomniac's with capability to view U-Tube videos, this link will no disappoint you. The video is nearly an hour long, but well worth the time.
Union Pacific Historical Society - Steam Trains - Big Boys 1960

Saturday (March 9, 2013):

This Saturday, weather permitting, we'll continue working at the front of the building on two related projects. The first will be to pull the 2 x 6 forms and stakes that were used for the concrete pour last weekend. We then need to import soil and base materials to bring the level inside the main walkway up to within an inch of the bottom of the brick. The base material will need to be leveled and compacted. This preparation will enable the concrete pavers to be "sand-set" once the pavers are delivered and sand is obtained. The 2nd project (concurrent) is to re-align the rail that was moved during the excavation and re-level the track in the ballast. If raining, all of this may need to be rescheduled. Keep your fingers crossed although I'm sure that receiving rain wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. At worst, we can all go inside and pick out a substitute project or play with trains.

A friend of mine recently made a trip to Prescott where he found an amazing railroad trestle just north of the city. I lived in Prescott for 5 years and I don't remember ever seeing this. This trestle, over 400' in length, is located about 1/2 mile east of the municipal golf course, about 1/2 mile north of highway 89A. If you can use Google Earth, type in Antelope Hills Golf Course in the search line. Then pan to the east about 1/2 mile east of the eastern most portion of the Golf Course. The bridge is located at the north end of the Peavine Trail which is under development. Apparently, the trestle is part of the old AT&SF ROW. Perhaps some of you history buffs may have more information about this spindly looking structure. My first take on this was that there is no way a train would cross over this thing, but apparently it was a real RR trestle and trains did pass over it. Below are a couple of pictures taken by him. Obviously, the railroad is no longer using this bridge.
Click to enlarge Click to enlarge

Maybe even more amazing is the fact that it's still standing. It is built across Granite Creek. I'm not sure I'd walk across this thing!

Last week, the group did the concrete pour into the forms that were placed the previous week. This involved having to mix 25, 80# bags of pre-mix concrete. The forms had been leveled & properly set to the correct elevation during the previous afternoon so all that remained was attaching a piece of bender board to the sides of the ties to prevent concrete migration into the track. We were about to start piecing 4' long pieces of rebar together when Jacob Payne arrived with a load of 20' long pieces of 1/2" rebar. Wow, did that speed things up. The morning did get of to a somewhat ominous beginning as Glenn Ellis, who had the 19 bags of concrete in the back of his truck, accidently locked himself out of the truck with the engine running at his house. Consequently, he was a little late in arriving as he had to wait for the locksmith guy to arrive and break into his truck. We had 6 bags of concrete in the Conex, so the group got started without the rest of the concrete getting to the Museum. At virtually the moment when we finished placing the first 6 bags, Glenn arrived with the other 19. 

Click to enlarge Everyone found a job they were comfortable with and the work progressed smoothly.  There's something very satisfying about working with concrete.  The pain Click to enlarge
 is short lived and the results usually outlast everyone.
Click to enlarge It was a beautiful day - not too cool, not too warm. No one got hurt, no concrete dumped on the ground, Jesse didn't turn into a concrete dust magnet. It was all good. Click to enlarge

Finally, strong backs prevailed with the goal of getting the job completed and the area cleaned up before 10 AM when the Tour of the Garden began and visitors to the Museum began to arrive.  At 9:38, we called the project completed and set about the task of cleaning up.   While the finishing touches were being made, 

Click to enlarge  Jesse went about the task of removing some dead wood from one of the trees at the front of the Museum property. Burt's truck got loaded for a run to the dumpster and we were done.  Click to enlarge

Was that BOB scratched into the concrete finish? You just have to watch these guys all the time ! ! !

Click to enlarge

Hope to see you this Saturday, even if it's raining we'll have the Museum open.

Saturday (March 2, 2013):

This Saturday will become quite a challenge for our group as we must quickly mix & place concrete into the forms that were staked but not set to elevation during our work session last Saturday. This work will include placing rebar into the forms as well. The challenge presented isn't so much the mixing and placing of the concrete, but rather doing it quickly before large groups of public show up at the Museum at 10 AM for the beginning of the Rails in the Garden Tour that the Museum is participating in. To my knowledge, there are only 11 sites on the tour this year so it's likely that we could be visited by a significant number of people. With the weather report suggesting almost perfect conditions, we'll need to work fast.

Please be ready at 8 AM sharp to begin the work. For those who may be available to come to the Wednesday night work night, we could begin, or perhaps even complete the form leveling so that concrete placement could begin shortly after 8 AM meaning we could easily be done & cleaned up by the time the Garden Railway tour gets to the Museum.

Last Saturday, another great turnout with ideal weather conditions so a lot of work get completed. Raymond got the transfer table ready for "transferring" again and there are reported to be some anxious operators waiting in the wings.

Click to enlarge The front side of the museum got the footings dug and forms staked into place although they still need to get leveled with elevations set. This work is critical to get our brick donation sales ramped up. Click to enlarge
The digging still required a little bit of pick work as the caliche' presented itself again near the surface. Many hands made this work more along relatively quick. 
Click to enlarge As work progressed outside, there was even some time to go inside and tweek the HO a little bit.  Click to enlarge

Glenn brought in a trailer hub and a piece of galvanized steel pipe that he found laying around in a friends yard. It was evaluated to see if it could be used for the pivot on the turntable. It was definitely heavy duty enough, and probably could have been used to pivot a real turntable. We had previously received a small hub assembly from Wes Slagel but it was felt it might not be heavy duty enough. Something in-between would be perfect. Sounds like the story of goldilocks and the 3 bears. Word is that Glenn has obtained a perfect sized, 5 hole lug, trailer hub that should be "just right".

Click to enlarge

Burt showed the group the most recent donation that came in from an anonymous source although it did get delivered to the Museum in Jacob Paynes trailer. It was all the channel iron needed to fabricate the turntable including the bar stock to form the ring around the perimeter upon which the outer wheels will ride. Consequently, materials won't hold us up when we're ready to begin that construction project. In addition, we received angle iron that can be used to support the station platform currently being designed.

At the end of the work session, yellow caution tape was strung out to discourage the public from wandering into the excavation at the Open House the following day and we then retired to lunch. It was another great day at the Train Museum.

See you all this Saturday @ 8 AM sharp.

Saturday (February 23, 2013):

While I watched in awe and marveled at the snowfall this morning, I'm told that things will get back to relative normal this Saturday as we should be seeing mid 60's again on Saturday. We'll meet @ 8:00 AM as usual. 

At the end of our work session, it will be important to make the front of the Museum safe for visitors by properly cordoning off the area being graded for the brick pathway as there is an Open House scheduled for Sunday. We we can finish the excavation work and perhaps even get the forming done in preparation for the concrete & rebar for the small foundations that will support the border bricks. We might even try taking out the kink that was accidentally put into the track next to the excavation. We won't be able to prepare the foundations for the Station Platform columns as construction drawings for that project must be first prepared and then sent through the permitting process again with the COT. We have no idea what time element may be involved in that process but hopefully it can be quick do to the small nature of the project.

Last Saturday, Raymond completed work on plumbing the filter system for Big Joe. He also installed a small solar battery charger to keep the battery system charged.

Click to enlarge A small amount of hydraulic oil is all that is needed to get this project back up and running. While this work was going on, the crew began the grading for the new brick walkway out front.  Click to enlarge

What proved to be the toughest part of this effort was moving the concrete table & benches. The rest of the dig was accomplished using the bobcat and it's distinguished operator. 

Only one hiccup which the track crew assured could be fixed with little more than a couple of whacks with a sledge hammer.

Click to enlarge We keep making progress with every session. Here's a contest for you - guess where the picture at the lower left was taken. For the answer, you'll need to show up Saturday @ 8 AM. Click to enlarge

The fundraising committee which included several of the 7-1/2" gauge group, met at 11:00 AM in the meeting room. The purpose was to decide on the brick style and engraving method. Presented were clay and concrete bricks with sandblasted and laser engraving examples. Brick patterns were also discussed. Consensus was reached to use concrete bricks with sandblasted engraving. We are researching using Mark, the owner of the Rock Solid Materials next door to the Museum, as a source for our concrete bricks. We will also be exploring having him do the engraving. The photo above shows the brick style intended with some color options and also shows both sandblasted (left) and laser engraving (right). Basket weave vs. running bond brick patterns were also discussed. Basket weave (depiction provided from Jesse Miller below) would enable us to be able to offer a two-tier brick sale option with 4 x 8 or 8 x 8 sizes. Running bond would require 4" fill in pieces anywhere 8 x 8 bricks were used. .More information will be gathered soon so that forms will be able to be put together and we'll be able to obtain the materials and start installing bricks.

Hope to see everyone this Saturday.

Saturday (February 16, 2013):

Great weather is coming back and we should have a great chance of getting some work done this Saturday at 8:00 AM. We can begin prepping the area up front for the impending brick work as the BOD has approved funding to proceed with that project. This will include scraping enough dirt out of the walkway alignment to accommodate brick & sand depth plus digging shallow footings for the borders. This would enable us to be able to pour concrete the following Saturday into the border footings. I think we have all the pieces needed to complete the re-assembly of Big Joe, so that project should be able to get wrapped up. We also still need to mount 2 switch machines as well. If there is time, we may event get to run a locomotive and continue getting the track system straightened out.

We are also tentatively meeting as a fund raising group with Ivan English to finalize the brick selection. This meeting will be held in the meeting room at the Museum at about 11:00 AM. 

Last week, with a great turnout, but shaky weather, we mainly prepared to receive and host the Hudson Car Club at the Museum. Several of their group traveled from the Phoenix area and beyond to tour our Museum and hold their monthly meeting. While they were enjoying the trains, we were enjoying their cars.

Click to enlarge

Not many 36 Hudson pickups around and certainly not many in this kind of condition! The proud owner's father bought this pickup new at Rollings Motor Company, the Hudson Dealership, right here in Tucson at 412 to 420 North Sixth Ave (pictured from Sixth Ave.). The proud owner said that he learned how to drive in this truck and he has lovingly restored it to it's better than new condition. The building is still there as evidenced by the picture below.

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Amazing what you can find on the internet - below is a postcard from the dealership dated 1941 advertising a new Hudson Coupe for only $877. Apparently, the dealership changed it's name to Rollings Dawson Motor Co. in or around 1939.

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Here's another advertisement from Rollings Motor Company that was apparently in the Arizona Daily Star in 1932. Check out those prices! Check out the 4-digit phone number.

The 1939 Coupe below, was in remarkable non-restored condition. The 56 Hudson below was updated with a late model power plant, but retained it's original beauty.
Click to enlarge Click to enlarge

Below are the kind of Hudson's that I remember most. These cars get out on the freeway and are very happy keeping up with traffic - or even passing the traffic.

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge

Don VanManen, who is a member of that group, was the host for their visit. They had a potluck lunch at the Museum and spent a lot of time inside enjoying the layouts and displays plus some braved the cold outside and actually became the first non-museum member passengers on the 7-1/2" gauge RR. Don gave some of the group rides around the facility using his trusty reliable Fairmont replica as well as his small electric locomotive.

All in all, it was a great morning at the Train Museum and the food was the best part of it. This group really knows how to eat well. The baked turkey by Don was awesome - and every part of the meal was delicious. Where the heck did he learn to cook like that?

Hope to see everyone this Saturday at 8:00 AM.

PS: This Saturday, we will also discuss the possibility for us to attend the Maricopa Live Steamers Spring Meet. This annual meet is a 5-day event beginning on Wednesday, March 13th and lasting until Sunday, March 17th (flyer attached). There has been some stated interest to group car pool & go up to this event - probably on Saturday meaning that the work session would be cancelled or changed to another day. For information regarding the meet, the MLS website is [PDF flyer]  If we decide to go, those attending should register on-line. There is no cost to register for the event. 

Concurrent to this event is the AMRS (Adobe Mountain Railroad Society) Swap Meet that only occurs on Saturday, the 16th beginning at 9:00 AM and ending at 2:00 PM (flyer attached). It is held immediately adjacent to the MLS site and is worth attending if you are there. This is why we are considering the Saturday trip as opposed to another day. There is a $5 cost to enter the swap meet. [PDF flyer]

Saturday (February 9, 2013):

This Saturday could be a little problematic depending upon the weather. Rain is again predicted and we'll be lucky to see 50 degrees. The temperature isn't the major problem, but rain could be. We are still scheduling the work session though, as we are expecting the Hudson Car Club to arrive at the Museum about 11:00 AM for their potluck & tour. Don VanManen, who belongs to the Hudson Club, intends on having one of his engines and some cars at the facility to give some of his Car Club friends a ride on the 7-1/2" gauge RR. Thus, we will need to make an effort outside (weather permitting) to test the trackage and correct any notable imperfections. This will be the main focus for the work session.

We should also have the replacement in-line filter and flexible hose to make Big Joe "whole" again. So if it isn't raining, Raymond will be able to work his magic with the transfer table to get it operating again and hopefully a little more environmentally friendly.

At the BOD meeting last night, the budget proposals from all layout committees were approved. This included the acquisition of materials for construction of the brick pathway from the front of the Museum to the main line track as well as the extension to the East. It also includes acquisition of materials for construction of the station platform. Thus both of these projects have been immediately moved into a "high priority" classification.

The work session last Saturday was a busy one with several projects being performed concurrently. Jim DeGrood was kind enough to get initial survey work prepared for getting some horizontal control taken care of by locating the brick pathway, station platform column footings, and the turntable with stakes & spikes. Elevations were also shot giving us much needed grade information. This effort is extremely timely given the recent BOD action. We so much appreciate Jim's help. 

Click to enlarge We welcomed David Inman back and he was a big help to Jim. David, a Civil Engineering major at the UA, is currently studying surveying and helping Jim with this effort was probably mutually beneficial. Click to enlarge

After some amount of deliberation, a decision was made to move the turntable center point approximately 2' closer toward the street to get the ring wall out of the drainage wall slope which will help in the forming & construction as no retaining structure will be necessary. While the survey work was going on, Don VaManen brought out his little gas speeder (Fairmont replica) and found some more rough spots in the track. 

Click to enlarge The rough spots were marked and the track crew went to work with their remedies. The results of their efforts were favorable as several adjustments including some tie replacements were made and no more derailments occurred. Click to enlarge

As always, we sure appreciate the photo documentation that is provided to us from Jesse Miller. It's hard to predict just how important the legacy will be that he and others have provided to us by capturing these moments with pictures. 

Besides that, it's fun to reflect back. Here's a picture from 1 year ago taken behind the building. We were just starting to install the main line. Turnouts were under construction inside the back porch.

Click to enlarge

Hope to see you all this Saturday & also hope we don't get rained out.

Saturday (February 2, 2013):

This Saturday, the weather should be awesome - back to normal, maybe even a little warmer than normal. We will meet at 8:00 AM to begin layout of the turntable and the Station Platform. We need to get these locations tied down so that we can establish grades when Jim Degrood can join us. Hopefully, Jim will be able to attend Saturday, but if he can't, we still need to get things staked out. The track laid a couple of weeks ago needs to have the leveling completed. Switch machines need to be installed and track conditions all around the property need to be checked, hopefully by operating some of the equipment on the track. 

Last week, with the Museum receiving a long overdue, welcome, & beautiful rain during the work session. We couldn't help but peek outside during the rain to see how well the drainage structures which we have built during the past two years are working. 

Click to enlarge The following photo was taken shortly after the rains stopped and virtually no standing water anywhere. Click to enlarge

Do you remember what the back of the building looked like before we started?

Click to enlarge

The Group took advantage of being inside as a group & brainstormed the design of the turntable assembly. 

Using photos taken from the MLS facility, we made some design decisions to facilitate construction. Many decisions about details were made and everyone seemed to enjoy the process. Burt will try to have revised construction details with dimensions available this Saturday at the work session.

Click to enlarge

Hope to see you all there. 

PS: This Friday is the February General Membership Meeting. Dinner will be served starting at 5:30 for those interested, meeting to begin at 7:00 PM.

Saturday (January 26, 2013):

This Saturday, with weather predictions suggesting rain, that is very much needed in our community, the outdoor activities may be somewhat curtailed. We'll just have to wait and see how that plays out.

If the weather holds back, we may be able to run a train to test track conditions as well as turnout conditions. We also may be able to mount the missing switch machines if they are ready.

If raining, we will use the opportunity to brainstorm the construction of the turntable. Below are a few photos of the tried & proven arrangements used at the MLS track in north Phoenix.

Click to enlarge They have built this turn table twice and it's design is serving them well. The engines that access this turntable can weigh in excess of 2,000 pounds, well more than what our loads will impose.  Notice the  Click to enlarge
apparent monolithic pour of concrete for the base & ring. The center is dirt although the center pivot is set into concrete.
Click to enlarge The locking mechanism is relatively simple and the transition from table to track is a separately fabricated steel piece for consistency & control as can be seen from this picture.
Click to enlarge It is unclear what the pivot assembly components are from the pictures above. However, from this picture, it appears that the center pivot uses an automotive style of hub & spindle arrangement. Click to enlarge

Although it is a little difficult to see in the two photos below, the pair of flat roller wheels on each end of the table ride center on what appears to be a piece of bar stock that appears to be imbedded into the concrete forming a "step" approximately 1/2" to 3/4" inches high in the concrete. The steel would perhaps prevent the concrete from spawling or breaking from the loading imposed when the turntable gets used.

Click to enlarge Another view of the same assembly from below. Notice all of the debris that collects on top of the concrete on each side of the bar stock. This will be problematic if the roller were to "bump" over small rock on the    Click to enlarge
left (outside) of the roller but the problem is much more forgiving on the right (inside) as the concrete surface is lower by approximately 1/2".

It is clear from the photo above that the roller wheels ride centered on top of that steel bar stock which results in them overhanging the bar stock on the right (inside). There is a lot going on in the two photos above for which I don't have a clear understanding, thus the need for brainstorming.

Last Week, work mainly centered around completing the last siding on the rear of the building. The final track sections were installed, aligned, adjusted, ballasted, and leveled. Many hands made very short work of this effort.

Click to enlarge Portions of the previously fabricated track sections had to be re-gauged due to original construction techniques not maintaining required rail separation. Click to enlarge

We want to welcome Fred Wilson back to the group after his summer exodus to the the Midwest. And we also want to welcome two new "walk on" members to the group (Roger Phillips from Casa Grande & Mike Hejny from Tucson) who have jumped in and are bringing fresh eyes and ideas plus strong backs to the construction process. Roger has a long history of involvement in 7-1/2" gauge railroading and is the proud owner of an engine with cars. We look forwarded to seeing him ride our rails in the near future. Welcome to both of you.

In addition, Chairlie Rigney continued to provide materials and labor to make the electrical connections inside the building that ultimately will bring power to the 20' container and the caboose in the future. Charlie's efforts, with Dale Cover's help, went on all day long finishing late in the afternoon. Thank you to both of you for that unexpected and greatly appreciated help.

Hope to see you all this Saturday, beginning at 8:00 AM.

PS: don't forget the scheduled open house at the Museum this Sunday beginning at 12:30 to 4:30. We can always use help interacting with the public who comes to the Museum.

PPS: A recent visitor to the Museum (Alfonso Valenzuela) has a 7-1/2" gauge train that he wants to sell. He also has many other fascinating toy & train related rare items that he likes sharing including a Buddy L train that is in excellent condition. The 7-1/2" gauge train consists of an electric 0-6-0 steam locomotion, tender, and three cars (hopper, flat & caboose). This train appears to be hand built by a hobbyist many years ago. There is a significant amount of wood used in it's construction that may need repair and/or replacement to be operational, but a more  Click to enlarge
careful evaluation would be needed to confirm this.  A picture is provided above. If you are interested in discussing this with Mr. Valencia, he can be reached at 304-1367. Or you can contact Burt Wright or Glenn Ellis for more information and/or photos.

Saturday (January 19, 2013): 

After a very successful train show last Friday & Saturday and an Open House on Sunday last weekend, the 7-1/2" gauge group will meet this Saturday @ 8:00 AM at the Museum to continue working on several projects.  Most notable will be the continued work on the back side of the building laying the 3rd track against the building. Once laid, we can place ballast and begin leveling the siding as well as the passing siding adjacent to it. The lever throw switch machines have been obtained and can also be mounted on those turnouts currently not equipped.

During the last work session, two Saturday's ago, a lot of work was being performed in several locations. The lions share of work was occurring on the back side of the building where a 2nd headwall was set around the north catch basin and base material was brought in and set level to finished grade. 

Click to enlarge A section of track was then placed beginning at the existing turnout. Click to enlarge
While the track laying was going on, the 40' container was receiving some long overdue tool organizing effort by installing materials that enable the rakes, shovels, and other items to be hung up rather than laying in a pile next to the door.  Click to enlarge Raymond & Hugh were busy mounting lights on Big Joe in preparation of evening running & operation.

We received some wonderful pictures from George Knecht, a relatively new Museum member, taken during the Golden Spike Ceremony. A collage was put together and has been printed and will be framed & posted in the Museum commemorating this significant event.

Click to enlarge

Hope to see you all there on Saturday. The weather is predicted to be "Chamber of Commerce" Tucson rather than Minneapolis. 70 should work.

Saturday (January 5, 2013): 

This Saturday @ 8:00 AM will be the 1st work session for the 7-1/2" gauge group in 2013. The fiscal cliff has come and gone (albeit temporarily). Now we can get down to the business of building a railroad again. We have another load (5 tons) of base material again to work with so we should be able to make the roadbed for the 3rd track flat and ready at the rear of the building for placement of the last siding. The work there needs to include building the head wall around the northern roof drain termination. In addition, we can continue making inspections and needed adjustments to the turnouts that we've installed.

Last Saturday, we had a great work session installing new conduits underground to the electrical panel locations. This involved another wonderful donation of equipment from Bingham Equipment Co. who graciously allowed Glenn Ellis to use a Trencher Attachment for his Bobcat. 

Click to enlarge That made relatively short work for about 3/4's of the trenching that we needed to do. The other 1/4 was done by the old method using picks, bars and shovels. 


Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge Bottom line is that the task was completed and nothing was damaged and no one was hurt. 

Conduit was placed a minimum of 18" deep, photographed and the trench backfilled. I want to personally thank Charlie Rigney for taking the lead on the work occurring during this session to make sure everything was done correctly and everyone stayed busy.

PS: Don't forget that this Friday (January 4th) will be the 1st General Membership Meeting of the year at the Museum. The meeting begins at 7:00 PM although dinner will begin being served ($5 donation) for those wanting to come early at 5:30. Rumor is that the dinner will be "The Super Chief" which is pulled Pork BBQ with corn and potato salad, veggie tray, cookies and iced tea. Guests are always invited to attend these monthly meetings. 

PPS: Please put Friday/'Saturday, January 11th & 12th, on your calendar as this is the weekend for the January Train Meet. If you haven't got a table yet, there is still time. Contact Dave Hoverstock 909-0722 for table information. As usual, we need help with the moving of tables to the Expo Center which will begin at the Museum at 8:00 AM. In the past, we've been able to get the tables moved and set up at the Expo Center by 10 AM. Many hands make very short work of this process and saves the Museum a huge amount of money. Your help is very much appreciated.

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