Gadsden-Pacific Division Toy Train Operating Museum Logo


Tucson, Arizona


Toy Train Museum Tunnel


Toy Train Museum Tunnel



Large Scale Railroad
Construction Progress 2017

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

[Large Scale Railroad info...] 


December 2, 2017

With 3 consecutive Open Houses in December (the 3rd , 10th, & 17th), we probably won’t have another scheduled work session until after Christmas. I’ll send out updates each week, but Chairman Jesse & I wanted to give everyone advanced notice so you can make holiday plans.

Last Saturday, we finished the west curve section tie replacement project by completing the leveling process.

The long board, shown below, enables us to identify low & high spots on curved or straight sections of track so we can correct any dips or humps.

Then we imported a little more base material to partially fill the spaces between the ties, and then we tamp the material to assure a firm base for the ties.

Then we thoroughly soaked the entire section and allowed it to settle in.

After it dries a bit, we drove the train over the section several times to further set the line.

We then loaded up the tools and pulled the train around to the south end of the property, just south of the south drive, to fix an “out of gauge” section that was discovered during a previous Open House. That out-of-gauge section was fixed by installing a few concrete ties and steel rail joiners bolted into place.

Then the Gandy Dancers moved onto the north where we performed a similar repair to an out-of-gauge section on the bypass loop slightly past the turnout.

With stomach’s beginning to growl as lunch time was upon us, we quickly went back to the west curve and replaced all of the rock ballast.

The curved section is now completely ready for service.

Jurgen Zander & his makeshift crew removed & relocated the caboose light which could have been a head knocker for anyone entering or leaving the caboose on the new stair platforms. Wow, they look great – very high quality and light years safer. Great job Jurgen & crew.

Don’t forget, December’s 2nd of 3 Open Houses is this Sunday. Please come & help with the outdoor train as we should be running.

Planned for December 1, 2017

This Saturday beginning at 8:00 am (NEW START TIME), there will be a scheduled work session at the Museum. On the agenda will be the completion of the concrete tie installation around the west corner of the layout. What’s left is to level the curved section laterally to eliminate sway during operation and longitudinally to eliminate any vertical curves (humps / dips). The leveling will be followed by tamping in additional ¼ minus as needed and then re-ballasting the section. Hopefully, we will also be able to correct the two other gauge problems identified during the last Open House where we ran the 7-1/2” gauge.

Last weekend, like the previous one, was a very productive work session with several people pitching in to help with the tie installation. We welcomed back Dave Peterson who returned from Illinois. We also welcomed Doug Potter who came out to pitch in. Tony Kanavage was also helping out which was very much appreciated. Below are pictures taken by Jesse Miller and Doug Potter during the last session. We have installed about 100 concrete ties over the last two weekends covering a distance of about 65’. No easy task for a bunch of grumpy old men plus a couple of young-uns. Lest we not forget who made these ties for us – thank you Jose Ybarra!


The routine was to start where we left off last week, about ½ way through the curve. First we pulled away the rock ballast. Then we imported some ¼ minus base material to give us a little additional height while making it easier to make a flat surface upon which to lay the concrete ties.

 Like last week, we removed the last two 20’ long sections of rail and switched them side to side so as to put the worn rail head out of harm’s way (now on the inside of the inside rail). It will be like running on new track.

Then, one tie at a time we kept moving down the track to the end of the curve.

The last task was to go back to the beginning and install the fish plate style rail joiners rather than the slip on style. These are bolted in place using SS machine bolts with nylock nuts. They are snug but not tight so that the rail is free to move in the slotted holes of the rail joiner with expansion and contraction. This type of rail joiner does a much better job holding the rail head alignment straight.

So, it’s another curve in the books. Only need to do the leveling which will be during this weekend’s work session.

Hope to see you this weekend beginning at 8:00 am. Please try to be on time as we have a lot to do and try to take advantage of the extra 30 minutes. It should be chamber of commerce weather.

Planned for November 25, 2017

There will be an 'extra' work session this Saturday at 7:30 am.

We will get right to work continuing the concrete tie replacement to the southwest corner/curve. This, unfortunately, means we will not be able to provide 7½" rides for this Sunday's Open House. If we get enough help over the next two Saturdays, we can be back to operating status for the upcoming December open-houses.

Last Saturday, the brand new caboose stairs were installed; Look forward to the caboose being open again for open houses this Winter.

We began the tie replacement on the southwest curve, which begun fairly slowly but proceeded expertly once the whole process was re-learned.

In all about 30 feet of old wood ties were replaced with 'shiny' new concrete ties (courtesy of our friend(s) over at Cemrock).

This Saturday, we will continue the tie replacement so come on down and work off some of that 'extra' stuffing from Thanksgiving. No experience needed, will train.

Planned for November 18, 2017

There will be a regularly scheduled work session this Saturday at the Museum beginning at 7:30 am. There is a huge amount of work that needs to be done so please consider coming down to help if you can. We are going to put on hold, the pouring of the concrete footing for the turntable and turn our attention to some track maintenance items. We experienced derailment problems during our last Open House due in large part to track gauge issues which can be attributed to the wood ties having the screws loosening and/or moving. Of greatest concern is the curve section in the southwest corner of the property between the 40’ & 20’ containers. The best long term solution is to replace the wood ties with concrete ties. We have a good number of concrete ties in inventory due to the generous efforts of new member Joey Ybarra so we have made the decision to replace all of the wood ties in that 90 degree curved section. We are going to attempt to complete this replacement before the next Open House on the 26th. Please come & lend a hand.

While working on the track sections, Jurgen has asked our group to assist in the placing of the stair components for the caboose. So, expect to take a break occasionally from the tie replacement project to help place the stair components.

Last weekend, we had the Train Show, thus there was no work session. It was financially the best show the GPD has produced and your help with that show played a large part in that success. On behalf of the Board, I want to sincerely thank all of you who gave of your time and efforts to help with the setup and takedown. It went smoothly and we had enough help.

Two weeks ago, at the last work session, we completed the first phase of the excavation for the foundation of the turntable, digging down to the top of the footing elevation leaving only the 8” deep x 12” wide trench left to be dug. With the aid of a couple of electric demolition hammers loaned from Jacob Payne, we made fast work of getting that last ditch dug.

With great weather (hey, it’s fall in Tucson), we had a good time with a good group of people.

Hopefully, we won’t need to form the footing to do the pour and the tools enabled us to dig the trench while maintaining the sides intact. Then we made rebar cradles to support the horizontal rebar that will be in the bottom of the footing. This was made easier with a rebar bender loaned to us from Jacob Payne. Notice I didn’t say “easy” as it takes a pretty good man to make a 90 degree bend in ½” rebar.

By the time the work session was over, the steel was in the trench and tied with wire waiting for concrete to be poured. A cement mixer has been obtained from Raymond McDaniel to assist with the concrete preparation in a future work session.

The last thing accomplished was helping to unload the first delivery of Caboose stair components from the powder-coater. They looked great and will greatly improve the appearance of the Caboose display not to mention making it much safer.

We look forward to seeing you this Saturday – the weather will be awesome!

Planned for November 4, 2017

There will be a work session this Saturday at the Museum beginning at 7:30 am. With some luck, we might be able to complete the footing for the stem wall of the turntable. All that remains is to dig the footing at the bottom of the excavation accomplished last Saturday. The footing will be 12” wide, 8” deep.

Last Saturday, we made great headway considering there were only three people available to do the digging. Digging on the side of the drainage-way wasn’t too bad, although we did encounter a lot of rock plus a bunch of gratuitous caliche’.

We were able to get the area excavated down to the “top of footing” elevation.

We took several breaks and drank a bunch of water and the weather was in our favor which helped a lot. This weekend should be the same but with less digging.

The spoils pile kept getting bigger & bigger. We shoveled everything up rather than down in the ditch for several reasons, not the least of which is that most, if not all of the dirt removed will be used to backfill the space once the stem wall is laid up.

Above is one of many breaks in the action.

So, now the excavation is Just waiting for the last phase of digging this weekend. To aid with the caliche’ removal, hopefully we’ll have a hammer drill with a spade bit to help with the final digging. That should make that this task easier. Once dug, we can put in a form and prepare for the pour. It’s estimated that the pour will need to have approximately 20, 80# bags of premix. To aid in the mixing, we’ve acquired an electric mixer from Raymond McDaniel which I hope to have available this weekend. Mixing 20 bags by hand doesn’t sound like any fun to me.

Hope to see you tomorrow for the meeting and this Saturday for the work session. There is no Open House this Sunday.

Planned for October 28, 2017

There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday beginning at 7:30 am. Hopefully, the summer heat is done and we can begin to enjoy the fall temperatures we expect. This will be the first of two consecutive weekends without an Open House as the next Open House won’t be until Sunday, November 12th. At last Sunday’s Open House we weren’t able to run as it was still pretty hot (90-ish) and we were short of staff so we called it off. Although disappointing, it actually gave us an opportunity to meet & greet the visitors who come to our Open Houses.

Last Saturday, although not a scheduled work session, several of the regulars showed up and were quickly put to work helping Jurgen load all of the fabricated steel for the Caboose Stair project onto Tony’s trailer & truck for transport to the powder coater.

The pieces are very heavy, but luckily we had a good group of heavy lifters available.

We also loaded up the Train Show sign and took it with us. The powder coater (Anderson Painting Co.) is located near the airport on S. Country Club. After unloading all of the fabricated steel at the painters, we went to the Expo Center & put up the sign for next month’s train show. In a few weeks, we’ll need to go pick up the steel and carefully bring it back to the Museum to begin the final assembly.

At any rate, this Saturday, beginning at 7:30 am, we will begin the excavation and form-building for the concrete foundation that will form the stem wall and foundation for the turntable. This will be an interesting project for us as none of us has built one of these before. We are using MLS design concept for the turntable although they have the luxury of having theirs on totally flat level land rather than cantilevered over a drainage way. Come down and join us for good fellowship and a little bit of digging.

Hope to see you Saturday AM.

PS: Don’t forget that the GPD annual meeting is a week from this Friday. If you haven’t sent in your ballot, please do so. There will be a dinner served and a raffle (ticket with the dinner meal or you can purchase separately).

PPS: Don’t forget the November Train Show coming up the week after the Annual Meeting (November 10-11). This should be a large show definitely worth attending. As usual, we will be soliciting help with the table set-up and take-down. With the trailer already waiting, the effort related to this task has been greatly reduced.

Planned for October 14, 2017

Sheesh, it's hot with no A/C!

Further work on the turntable will continue at a later date after we do a more precise survey and staking before doing any more digging;

So there are a few 'smaller' projects we can still use help with.

Jurgen will be looking for help loading the Caboose Stairway components for delivery to the powder coater as they are quite heavy.

So besides helping with the caboose stairs, we could also:

  • Begin/continue tie replacement on the station bypass track.

  • Design/build some sort of functional track bumpers for the end of the engine shed tracks, as well as two tracks in the yard behind the building.

  • Discuss where the dwarf signal should be located and begin thinking about how to get electrical to it.

  • Replace the now removed mile markers with 'safer' versions (see JM for prototype and molds).

  • Find any other small jobs that may come up if it isn't too hot already (it is).

Thank you

7½"ga. chair
- Jesse e.m. Miller

September 30, 2017

The weather for this Sunday’s Open House is predicted to be hot again with temps into the mid 90’s. As a result, we will NOT be running outside during the Open House. As usual, you are invited to come to the Open House anyway to promote the mission of the Museum and possibly get new people to join. It’s predicted to be even hotter on Saturday, so there will NOT be a scheduled work session on Saturday. If you want to come down anyway, you are welcome to do so but I’m not sure anyone will be there early.

Last Saturday, we began the process of connecting the engine shed to the layout as we welcomed back Paul Kruppenbacher and John Roads, both of whom have been gallivanting around the country. With the loan of a builders level from Charlie Rigney, we were able to get the grades worked out for the track into and out of the turntable. We established the center position of the turntable and have placed a form stake to establish the center pivot point. With grade and alignment set, we began placing concrete ties onto a 1” thickness of base material (¼ minus).

Tie placement went quickly using aluminum rail as a guide. Laying track is so rewarding, especially using the concrete ties as this system is so “bullet-proof” and stable. Progress went quickly.

While Jesse, John, & Paul worked placing & leveling ties, Roger took on the tedious task of making the angled cuts on the short molding pieces between the two roof elevations to complete the finish touches on the Engine shed.

This was a job that takes time & patience but it definitely improves the finished appearance of the structure.

All that’s left is making the extruded metal strips at the bottom to keep rodents out. We won’t need them until the turntable and track work is completed.

We did find the steel rollers that were donated by Raymond McDaniel for use on the turntable and they are now incorporated into the design.

I’ve attached a pdf file to this email showing the current thinking about the construction of the turntable. If you can print on 11” x 17” paper, it should print to scale. The turntable is planned to be 16’ long so it will easily accommodate an engine & ride-on car (engineer’s car). As always, comments on the design are encouraged as nothing has been obtained other than the 4” channel iron and the 1” X ½” bar stock which was donated by Jacob Payne, and the 4 roller wheels.

Last, but certainly not least, this Friday at 7:00 pm is the October General Membership Meeting. According to the last newsletter, a silent auction is planned. Come on down early and see what train deals might be available.

Planned for September 30, 2017

As planned, last Saturday, the corner moldings were installed on the engine shed essentially completing the work on the shed. Although the expanded metal segments at the bottom of the siding to prevent rodent intrusion still needs to be installed, we are now able to use the shed to store all the G-gauge buildings etc. to make the setup of the outdoor G-gauge much easier and quicker for Open Houses. The shed looks great and we should all be proud of what has been done.

Rough grade for one of the tracks from the shed has already been started as shown in the picture below. . our next project, the turntable.

This Saturday, beginning at 7:30 AM (new time), we will begin the process of surveying the track connection route between the mainline turnout and the engine shed. The turntable will be located in that route. The route was designed to be relatively flat and level from the turnout to the track already laid in the engine shed. Although not necessarily perfect, it is close. The turntable needs to be level as we don’t ever want any trains rolling off the turntable. The center of the turntable must be accurately established and the diameter for the turntable swing must also be established so that we may begin the process of creating a foundation for the concrete turning ring.

Planned for September 23, 2017

There is an Open House scheduled for this Sunday and it will be much cooler than the last Open House. Last Sunday, it was way too hot (98 degrees) to run either the outdoor G-gauge or the 7-1/2” gauge trains. Currently, the predicted high for this Sunday is 87 degrees so we should be running the trains. Since we have the Open House on Sunday, there is not a “scheduled” work session for Saturday. Remember, we need at least 4 people to safely operate the train (Engineer/Conductor/Station Master/Crossing Guard). It is critical that we have enough staff available at the Open House on Sunday to be able to operate the train. If you can only spend ½ day this weekend at the Museum, make it on Sunday afternoon at the Open House.

As usual, there will be some of us who simply want to get together on Saturday and do something relevant at the Museum. So, if you’re one of those individuals, and can’t get enough of the Museum, you are certainly welcome to join us.

Last Saturday, we made the corner moldings from 8’ long pieces of leftover roof sheathing that we carefully ripped into 2” & 2-1/2” wide strips. They were glued together, nailed, and then stained. They will only need to be cut to length, notched at the top, and installed. We will probably install the corner moldings on the engine shed this Saturday as the finishing touch.

Below are the “before corner molding” pictures.  Next week you’ll see the “after corner molding” pictures.  Then our next project – TURNTABLE ! ! !

PS: If you come on Saturday, we’ll be there at 7:00 am with coffee and pastries as usual.

Planned for September 16, 2017

There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday beginning at 7:00 am at the Museum. On the work agenda will be making the corner moldings for the engine shed. This shouldn’t take too long to do as we plan on ripping plywood (left over from the roof sheathing into 2” wide strips and then gluing/clamping/nailing the strips into right angles and then applying stain. Installation will occur in a future work session. Once completed, we are going to “brainstorm” the design & construction method for the turntable. Thanks to a donation of channel iron & other metal from Jacob Payne, we have the lion’s share of steel that will be needed to make the turntable. This project will add a significant amount of excitement and interest to the railroad for visitors and members to enjoy. Come and join us for this next phase of construction.

Last week, we essentially completed the engine shed by finishing a bunch of loose ends. We were delighted to have Charlie Rigney back to make the final electrical connections to the light fixtures. There is a switch inside the engine shed at each end that will control the lights.

We are so lucky to have these skill sets available to our Museum. Thank you Charlie!
Lights, camera, action!

The final attachment of the door sheathing happened and the locking hardware was installed at each end.

Both deadbolt locks are single keyed and both are keyed alike. Since the engine shed will contain Museum owned 7-1/2” equipment, Chairman Jesse Miller & Burt Wright have assigned keys. Since the Outdoor G-gauge group will have their equipment stored on shelving installed in the building, Jurgen Zander has an assigned key. A 4th key will be placed inside the BOD key box inside the Museum.

Finally, the triangular small pieces of exterior siding were installed & stained (one at each end) to finish the enclosure.

The finished project (albeit still needing corner molding),

For those who have worked on this project, there is a lot to be proud of.

Hope to see you all at the Museum on Saturday. It is supposed to be a little cooler than last weekend too!

Planned for September 9, 2017

FIRST THING FIRST: OPEN HOUSE - this Sunday, 12:30 to 4:30. Please consider coming to help out. Having said that, the current weather forecast shows that we should be experiencing an afternoon high temperature of 98 degrees F. This is on top of high humidity as rains are also predicted for the weekend. Thus, we will NOT be running the outdoor train on Sunday. Although disappointing, we don’t want to put anyone at risk of heat related injury or sickness so we will be postponing our first public run for a couple of weeks.

It’s late notice, but there is going to be a work session tomorrow morning at the Museum beginning at 7:00 am. On the agenda will be finishing the doors on each end of the engine shed to enable it to be secured so the G-gauge group can begin using it to store outdoor G-gauge buildings etc. on the shelving they have constructed. Although this makes the engine shed securable, it still isn’t finished until the small detail stuff is done:

  • There are still two small triangular pieces that need to be made & installed above the doors on both ends of the shed. Once installed, they will need to be stained.

  • We need to start making the corner moldings that will be installed on the 4 corners of the shed. Once made, they will need to be stained & then installed.

Last weekend, we had a good turnout and a bunch of things got done. A small area at the south end of the engine shed was formed to get concrete to secure a sleeve that was installed to receive the drop pin from the left hand door of the shed.

Once formed, Tony & Roger mixed up a half sack of premix and placed it around the steel sleeve.

With that work completed, the plywood pieces made for the north & south ends of the shed were stained and readied for final installation. The picture below shows that we have a little bit of “clean-up” work to do inside the shed to make it usable. Hopefully, we can get all the misc. lumber & other materials removed tomorrow.

The last thing done during the work session was giving the steel framework a coat of semi-gloss black paint in preparation for the installation of the plywood pieces. Don’t have a picture of that, but it turned out good and should look great after tomorrow’s work session.

While the finish work was being done on the shed, the hump was expertly removed from the siding along the back side of the building making it safer to use and much more appealing to the eye. Below is a picture of the finished project – didn’t get a shop of the guys who did the work. Suffice it to say, it isn’t particularly easy as the ballast must be removed from the area below the hump and the track pushed back down into place. Ultimately, installation of concrete ties will stop this problem from occurring.

If you’re interested, the next major project will be the TURNTABLE. Begin thinking about it as that will be a great “fall project” that will enable us to start using the engine shed for train storage.

Last, but certainly not least: As of this morning, eight of our GPD members have successfully completed taking the Engineer’s test. Congratulations to all of you who have taken care of this. Don’t forget that annual renewal of the certification test will be required. If you haven’t taken the test but want to, contact Jesse or Burt who can send you the website link to complete the test.

Hope to see you tomorrow morning. Join us for coffee and pastry at 7:00 am.

Planned for September 2, 2017

Yeah, this is Labor Day Weekend meaning some of you may take advantage of the 3-day weekend to get out of Dodge. But for those who don’t, there will be a scheduled work session beginning at 7:00 am on Saturday. On the work agenda will be (with a lot of luck) completing the installation of the siding on the north end of the engine shed. Time permitting or if we have another good turnout, we might also correct a “hump condition” to the siding track on the side of the Museum. The hump has been with us for some time and really doesn’t hurt anything as it’s a siding, but it’s appearance does not give observers a strong sense of confidence about track conditions. It would be great if that section could get corrected before our 1st Open House. This Saturday is the second to the last Saturday before Open Houses begin at the Museum.

Last weekend, we had a good turnout at the Museum by all of the layout committee’s including the 7-1/2. As a member of the Board and also of the 7-1/2 committee, it was good to see so many people actively supporting the Museum. With the help of Chris Cheely & Brian Scott, the Museum’s ride-on cars were inspected including wheel flanges, springs, track gauge, couplers and general condition while the Alco S-4 had its cab removed and all of the electrical connections checked for tightness or corrosion. The chain drives were checked for chain tension and the chains and couplers lubricated. While they were at it, privately owned engines also received a once-over check.

Even Big Joe received a going over.

Kudos to the efforts by these members for taking on that important task. When they were done with the inspections, there was debris to remove from the grade crossings.

While train inspections and maintenance were being performed, a commemorative brick had to be installed in the front walkway.

Once that was completed, Jesse & Burt wrestled with the siding on the north end of the engine house. We’re close to being finished, but we definitely need at least one more full work session to be 100%.

One thing that slowed us down at the engine house was the need to dig out more ground in front of the shed door to facilitate getting the full height sheet of T1-11 installed as well as diverting storm water around the front of the shed. That effort is proving to be somewhat of a challenge as there isn’t much slope to the grade at that location. It was decided to set masonry cap stone (sloping away/north) across the entrance into the shed. Jesse had previously donated a bunch of these cap blocks to the Museum and we had just enough to create the desired finish across the entrance way.

Perhaps next week, we can finish the grading to make sure water can get around the north end without damaging the shed siding or causing undo erosion.

While work was going on outside, the interior of the Museum is taking shape. Of major significance is the effort being made the the Gift Shop crew headed up by newly appointed Marketing Coordinator Jurgen Zander and the newly appointed Gift Shop Chairman Jeff Swanson plus Deborah McGeary. Their collective efforts over the summer should dramatically increase Gift Shop sales as much more merchandise is now on display and the displays are much more appealing. If you haven’t seen it, come on down and check it out. You won’t be disappointed and don’t forget to bring some $$. Don’t forget, Museum members get a 10% discount!

LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST: Jesse has completed the on-line engineer’s test. This must be successfully (minimum of 80% required to pass) completed in order to operate any train on the Museum layout. Even if you don’t have a train now, you may wish to operate the Museum’s equipment in the future. Please go on-line and take the test.  You can repeat the test after an hour if you aren’t satisfied with your first attempt. Obviously, there is no cost associated with taking the test. Contact Jesse if you have any questions about taking the test. Successfully completing the test does not obligate you to having to participate at Open Houses, that is purely optional.

Hope to see you this weekend.

PS: Don’t forget the membership meeting is this Friday at 7:00 PM at the Museum.

August 26, 2017

Due to the quickly approaching Open Houses, there will be a scheduled work session this Saturday beginning at 7:00 AM at the Museum. On the work agenda will be inspection & servicing of the Museum’s ride-on cars as well as a thorough inspection of our Alco S4 locomotive. Time permitting, we may begin installation of the siding on the north end of the Engine Shed.

Last weekend, we (Jesse & I) were able to finish installing the siding onto the south end of the Engine Shed.

Although the picture shows both doors with sheathing installed, only one had been stained. The other piece did get removed and also stained but it has to be reinstalled.
The door frames still need to be painted (black).

The 2nd billboard also got installed.

As usual, there is much to do, but this summer, we’ve had few people coming around to help get it done. We really do need your help if you can spare some time.

Hope to see you this Saturday.

August 19, 2017

There will be a regularly scheduled work session this Saturday beginning at 7:00 am. The gates will be open and coffee will be brewing.

On the work agenda for this Saturday:

  1. Installation of siding on the ends of the engine shed. Once installed, the siding will need to be stained to match the existing siding.

  2. Installation of the 2nd billboard.

  3. Installation of an engraved brick into the front sidewalk honoring Steve Collins.

Last weekend, Jesse Miller & Burt Wright finished installing the bird board on the engine shed. Also installed was one of the two billboards near the front drive entrance. The complete public train was unloaded from the container and several hot laps were performed around the facility checking track conditions and the operation of the crossing signal. Amazingly, the track was found to be in very good condition with little settling caused by monsoon activity or problems associated with expansion/contraction. We then put one of the gondolas in front of the engine and slowly pushed it around the track with Jesse laying on the padded seats to inspect rail joiners and adjusting them as needed to make sure they were centered on the rail joints. We really are blessed with an outstanding location and great drainage thus limiting our potential for damage from weather related problems. Our friends to the north have constantly had to correct damage to their track resulting from the surface flow of storm water that will actually float the track sections, moving and twisting the track as their facility is located in a flood plain. In addition, rail expansion constantly causes many humps and bumps that must be corrected.

Toward the end of the morning, Joey Ibarra came down with another large load of concrete ties that he’s been making for us. We now have a very full load of ties in reserve (approx. 235 ties) which will, in part, be used to complete the connection from the main line turnout to the engine house. That connection will be part of our next large project that will include construction of the turntable.

Hope to see you this Saturday morning at the Museum. There is only 3-1/2 weeks left until our 1st Open House of the season. Lots to do!

Last item: I received an email from our friends at MLS announcing the theft of a train (engine, car & a trailer to haul them). Below is a photo in case any of you happen to see or hear about it. If you see something for sale that resembles this train, the folks at MLS would appreciate being contacted.

August 5, 2017

There will be a scheduled work session beginning at 7:00 am on Saturday. On the work agenda will be the installation of the bird board on the engine shed. All of the pieces have been made and stained and are ready to be installed. In addition, we need to get the train out and do some running primarily to check track conditions so that repairs may be made if necessary. We have a stock of concrete ties in case we encounter wood ties needing replacement.

Last week, although not a regularly scheduled work session, the bird board was cut to fit each of the 24 locations where they will be installed. The pieces were then stained to match the siding.

The corners of each bird board were then clipped (chamfered) to give them some visual character and the cut edges were re-stained.

Continuous strips were cut from surplus plywood to be installed directly below the rafters. Each bird board will be installed into the space between the roof rafters by attachment to the continuous strip with two screws. Pre-drilling holes in the bird board will make this job relatively simple.

The wood strips were then stained to match the siding.

Burt Wright will be out of town this weekend so please consider coming down to help Jesse with the installation. The turnout for work sessions has left a lot to be desired so far this summer. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

We are beginning “beta testing” on the Engineer’s Test. Contact Jesse if you wish to participate. Successful completion of the test must occur before the September Open Houses begin.

Thanks to Jesse Miller for supplying the photos this week.

Significant progress has been on the Caboose stairs by Jurgen Zander with help from Charlie Rigney and Bob Swanson. The railings have been roughed in awaiting finish welding and grinding and then the entire system will be sent to the powder coaters for painting (powder coating). What an undertaking! Great job to those who have been involved.

July 22, 2017

There will be no scheduled work session this Saturday, but as always on Saturdays, there will be some of us there doing stuff. You’re always welcome to join us. The gates will be open around 6:30 am and there will be some sort of pastries available if you do come.

Last week, thanks to Tony Kanavage, we were able to get the engine shed painted with water resistant semi-transparent exterior stain in a color called “tugboat”.

Although there was a slight learning curve necessary to operate the airless paint sprayer loaned to us from Glenn Ellis, we finally got the hang of it and the job went pretty quickly and the results look great. We also put a coat of stain on the transformer cover for the outside G-gauge. There is still more to do like under the eaves and overhangs, but the lions share is completed. We have to install the bird board before we can finish the staining.

As a service to our members, we are including Classified advertisements that may be of interest to our group. This week, Chris Cheely has notified me of his intent to part with his small red electric 040 switch engine manufactured by “Real Trains”.

His selling price is $1,600 which is what he paid for the engine. He added Tom Bee couplers to it shortly after purchasing it. It has a new battery and has received little use. It has an operating headlight and a horn making it completely compliant for operation on the Museum layout.

This would be a great starter engine for anyone and it’s certainly priced fairly (well under market value).

You can contact Chris at 520-955-0754 for additional information.

Have a great weekend if we don’t see you Saturday morning.

Planned for July 22, 2017

This Saturday, there will be a scheduled work session beginning at 7:00 am at the Museum.

On the work agenda will be, weather permitting, applying stain weather protecting finish to the plywood siding on the engine shed and/or, painting color to the previously primed steel doors and wall members at the ends of the engine shed.

Last week, Jesse & Burt applied primer to the remaining steel at the ends of the engine shed in preparation of getting painted.

We had to dig down a bit to get primer on the full face of the steel ground beam at the north end of the shed. Although the temperature was relatively mild, it was a tad muggy so we didn’t work very long into the morning before quitting but both ends did get completely primed and ready for paint.

Jurgen Zander was busy pouring the footings for the stairways into the caboose. He’s done a great job with that project so far and it’s nearly ready to send the component off to get them powder coated.

It’s very rewarding when a complex project like the stairways starts coming together. Jurgen is almost single-handedly doing this project although he is getting some help with the heavy lifting – and the components are heavy!

The footing at the southeast end of the caboose is poured too. Great work Jurgen!

Hope to see you this Saturday.

July 8, 2017

Hope everyone’s 4th of July was fun and safe. We certainly need all of your fingers to get our work done.

There will be a work session this Saturday morning beginning at 7:00 am, Sun or Shine – I’d like to say “rain or shine” but I don’t see much rain for Saturday. We keep on hoping though. The gate will be open around 6:30 so that coffee can be prepared. As usual, the work agenda will include completing the siding on the engine shed doors so that we can get stain applied to all of the exterior siding at one time. If you haven’t been to the Museum lately, come on down and lend a hand. We could sure use some help.

For you prototype enthusiasts, Ron McLaughlin notified me that he is selling some RR related items which may be of interest to you:

The 1st item is a S.P. red block signal: base is 14 inches wide and 4 inches deep and is supported by a tin plate and 4 railroad spikes and its stands 65 inches. The red block is 20 inches in diameter and is able to come off the pole to expose wires that can be activated to light up the red block. Asking 500 bucks and I will accept terms.

The 2nd item is a U.P. crossing gate. It is 114 inches long and 5 inches wide. Asking price is 100 bucks.

Ron indicated that he would deliver the items to the Museum. If you are interested, you may contact Ron via email ( )


June 24, 2017

There is at least one inside project that needs to be done and that’s painting the two billboards. Everything needed is there and they have already been prime coated. They will be hand painted with white enamel paint so “painting clothes” are advisable.

Also, I’m hoping that we can get some siding up on the ends of the building before it gets too hot to be outside.

This will be Glenn’s last work session before he heads off to Hawaii for the rest of the summer. Come on by and wish him a good send-off.

June 17, 2017

This Saturday, there will be no work session scheduled. We are now on an every other week schedule unless otherwise noted. It is my understanding that the outdoor G-gauge group will be present doing welding on the caboose stairway if you’re looking for something to do.

Last weekend, we had a relatively productive work session although there were only a small handful of volunteer’s present. We put a good coat of white primer paint on the two steel billboards which will get painted during the next two weeks.

We then built a form for the concrete header that was to be poured across the opening into the engine shed. The form included slot depressions to accommodate the rails which will exit the engine shed. With some time still remaining, we then cut a piece of rebar and mixed a sack and ½ of concrete and made the pour.

The forms can be removed anytime if you’re looking for something to do this weekend.

We still have to finish the siding installation onto the doors and get the weather proofing stain applied. Plan on helping out during the next work session scheduled for Saturday, June 24.

Have a great weekend and try to stay cool.

June 10, 2017

Yeah, it’s beginning to feel a little bit like summer, so let’s get an early start. On the agenda for the work session this Saturday is trying to finish up the siding on the ends of the engine shed. In addition, we need to begin installing the bird board with molding. This should keep us busy for the morning.

On an unrelated note, you may recall discussions we have been having with folks from Sierra Vista about semaphores that they were given by the Southern Pacific RR. They have laid in a pile for decades awaiting some sort of possible use. We have expressed interest to them about obtaining one to be installed for display although we hope to possible make it operational. Below is a picture recently taken of a portion of the “pile”. They cannot be donated to the Museum due to local laws prohibiting gifting, but they can be sold “at fair market value” (I don’t know how this is determined given the rough condition of some of the units) or possibly some sort of trade could be arranged. More to come as this develops.

Here’s another picture of a single unit.  These things weigh in at about a ton each with the base control cabinet.

Here’s what the inside of the cabinet looks like.

Hope to see you all this Saturday.

May 20, 2017

There will be a regularly scheduled work session this Saturday morning beginning at 7:00 AM. On the work agenda will be the installation of siding on the end wall & doors of the engine shed. A concrete header needs to be poured at the entrance to the shed with slots formed for the 4 rails. Once the doors and end walls are completed, we can install trim molding on the doors and corners of the shed. Bird board also needs to be installed as well as extruded metal along the base of the building for keeping out the critters. As you can see, there is still lots to do.

Last weekend, there was no work session scheduled due to the Open House scheduled for the next day. A birthday party arrived at 10:00 AM with 30 very well behaved pre-school kids and 30 adults. Jesse & Glenn were kind enough to take time out of their day to get the train out and give the party goers a great riding experience before it got too hot. Thank you Glenn & Jesse.

This Saturday morning is predicted to be nice out, so please come down & lend a hand to the group.

Update:  I regret to have to let everyone know that tomorrow's work session may have to be cancelled.  The reason for the cancellation is that I was not able to obtain the materials necessary to complete the work planned for tomorrows session. Having said that, you may wish to come on down anyway and help out with other projects that are going on. In addition, there is a small tour scheduled for 10:30 and you could run the train if desired.

Planned for May 13, 2017

There will be NO work session this Saturday. Sunday's Open House (Mother's Day, so could be busy or not...)
The weather is looking way too windy all afternoon though, so unless at least 3+ others can help crew this Sunday,  I will be posting later today that there will be NO rides during the Open-House.  If you are able to help, reply to me asap.

Here is the repaired temporary walkway/level crossing, which should work nicely. Thanks Tony K.!

Last week, the storage shed siding was completed, so watch out for 'animals' trying to make a home inside.


Happy (early) Mother's Day!

May 6, 2017

There will be a regularly scheduled work session for this Saturday.  With that said, please consider coming to the Saturday morning work session beginning at 7:00 am as there is lots to do.

To make these weekly messages a bit more interesting, I want to take this opportunity to bring back a few of the photos taken during this journey to create the 7-1/2” gauge railroad. It really wasn’t that long ago when the dream was put onto paper and the Museum Board agreed to allow us to take on this project. Perhaps part of the Board’ decision to approve the project was that we would fix, once and for all, the drainage problems that had plagued the Museum for years along the back drainage channel area. As you can see from the picture below, it was pretty ugly back there.
Making sure that the layout wouldn’t be damaged by the drainage issues proved to be a challenging task. Work began building catchment structures at the base of the roof drains and piping them individually to the channel. We obtained fill dirt from the cut made on the opposite side of the Museum where the rock retaining wall is located. Digging on the property was often like digging in concrete! The dirt from the front cut was moved to the rear and enabled us to create a level place to lay the track behind the building.   It would be the biggest understatement of all times to suggest that we could have done this work without the extraordinary effort and generosity of Glenn Ellis and his Bobcat.

For those of you who were there at the beginning, you may remember the process of moving the rail from the pile near the caboose to the rear of the building to serve as our retaining structure for the dirt. The rail was held in place by 2” pipes driven into the ground on 4’ centers. I will never forget myself and Raymond McDaniel trying to drive one of those pipes into the ground with an 8# sledge hammer. 30 minutes of exhausting work and we couldn’t even finish one. That’s when Dale Cover offered us the use of his ingenious “water pic” which no one, other than Dale of course, believed would do anything other than make a huge mess. Boy, were we wrong. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve used his invention to precede digging post holes, etc.

Lest we forget, there was an incredible effort by two of our original members, Bob Rubino and Hugh Madson, who volunteered to take on the project to create the retaining wall adjacent to the cut using irregular rock provided by Glenn Ellis from his property. To this day, their efforts continue to function as intended without needing maintenance or repair and it continues to be the favorite photo spot on the layout for visitors whose loved ones ride our train.
I will continue this “NOSTALGIC LOOK AT THE PAST” in future email ramblings – hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Last weekend’s work session was very productive. The curved section of track at the north end of the layout where we had previously replaced all of the ties with concrete was re-ballasted.

While that work was going on, Jacob Payne was welding on the steel door frames which he pre-fabricated at home to both ends of the engine house.

The door frames are now ready for sheathing and deadbolts. Thank you Jacob!

New member, Joey Ybarra, arrived with a truck load of concrete ties that he has been making for us.

This brought our inventory back up to over 100 ties as we had pretty much run out. Thank you Joey!

Tony Kanavage forgot to take the step backward when we asked for volunteers to fix the end of the wooden walkway to the outdoor G-gauge layout. That project seemed simple at face value, but once the top boards were removed, it became painfully apparent that the structural support system beneath the boards needed to be rebuilt and re-supported. Thank you Tony for your help with this!
And to finish things off, Jesse and yours truly, completed sheathing the backside of the engine house with the T-1-11 plywood. With the door frames now completed, there is nothing keeping us from completing the sheathing on the shed. There is still a lot to do on the shed including pouring concrete at the entrance where the rails will cross, installing bird board, installing moldings at the corners and around the doors, installing the lights, and applying the stain finish that was decided upon.

Once all of that is done, all that is left is to connect the engine house to the mainline tracks across the turntable. Oh yeah, the turntable!

It was a great morning at the Museum, a lot accomplished, good fellowship. We look forward to seeing you at the Open House on Sunday.

PS: Don’t forget, This Friday is the May General Membership Meeting beginning at 7 pm.

April 29, 2017

There will be a regular scheduled work session this Saturday beginning at 7:00 AM. It should be a great day for working on the railroad as high temperature is predicted to be in the 70’s. There are several items on the agenda that we can do.

  1. Reset the rock ballast onto the curved section of track at the station area. See photos below.

  2. Restart the installation of the exterior siding on the engine shed.

  3. Begin the process of making concrete ties as our inventory has dwindled significantly with the recent replacement of the wood ties at the station.

  4. On Saturday, a Birthday Party with 30 attending (15 kids) beginning at 10:00 AM will occur. So before we put stuff away, we’ll probably run the train for the birthday boy or girl.

Last Saturday was a very productive one as the available crew worked efficiently and effectively to complete the replacement of the wood ties in the curve section from the pedestrian crossing to the turnout at the north end of the building.

This work entailed the installation of about 35 ties. To do this, we developed a system . . .

First, Paul Kruppenbacher manned the drill motor and removed the old ties for a couple of feet, then leaving one in place to hold gauge and approximate elevation. Then he would keep ahead of the install crew removing a couple feet of wood ties at a time.

A wheel barrow was used to haul in ¼ minus from our stock pile near the caboose. The concrete ties are a little shorter than the wood ties thus we need to import base material to maintain the proper track elevation. Plus the ¼ minus makes an excellent firm & easily adjusted base for the new ties.

The new ties go in rather quickly with the new ties plates enabling the rails to slide across the ties as they expand and contract from the heating/cooling. Where we have rail joints, we installed slotted 1/8” x 4” steel fish plates secured with loose machine bolts & nyloc nuts. They help hold the track in horizontal alignment while allowing the expansion/contraction movement. Where we have rail joints, we place two concrete ties adjacent to one another for additional support and stability. PS: we’ve order another 1,000 tie plates – they should be arriving this week.

The new ties are installed 8” O.C. rather than 4”. The new ties have a much broader base and once ballasted, they look great. The 10# weight of each tie also all but eliminates the need to pound rebar stakes into the ground to keep the track from moving outward on the curve track due to centrifugal forces imposed by the trains. The concrete should easily last our lifetimes in direct contact with the ground as it is impervious to insects and doesn’t deteriorate from weather exposure.

With the last ties set, we went onto leveling the entire section, both longitudinally and laterally. Once that was done, we drug out the hose and gave the installation a good soaking. Then we tamped the ¼ minus between the ties and gave it another soaking. We left the system exposed since we had already decided that we weren’t going to run during the open house the next day due to the predicted 98 degree temperatures.

Lastly, although our crew wasn’t involved, Charlie Rigney completed the wiring of the lights, switches, and convenience outlets in the engine shed. All that remains in the installation of the light fixtures which are in the container. If you see Charlie, give him a big attaboy for helping us out with that.

Photo credits: Roger Phillips (which is why he isn’t in any of the photos).

With no Open House this weekend and temperatures back to reasonable, this should be a great weekend to get some major railroading done at the Museum. We look forward to seeing you all Saturday morning.

April 22, 2017

There is a scheduled work session for this weekend beginning at 7:00 AM. Although there is going to be an Open House scheduled for Sunday, we have decided that with predicted high temperatures of 98 degrees, it will be too hot to safely operate the train. Thus, your attendance at the Open House becomes less critical as we don’t need a train crew. Because of this, we hope to get a few of you to come to the work session on Saturday instead to continue working on the curved section of track.

Last weekend, we got a good start replacing the wood ties on the curved section of track leading out of the station area toward the 1st turnout at the north corner of the building.

With Dave Peterson doing the removing of the wood ties, 2’ at a time, Jesse brought in ¼ minus from our stock pile and quickly brought the grade to the desired height. The ¼ minus makes it very easy to set the new concrete ties in place and they can quickly be secured in place.

We double-tied at the rail joints and with the phish plates previously installed, the installation went quickly.

This system has proven to be bullet proof with the curved section coming out of the caboose enclosure and we’re hoping for similar results here.

After laying about 34 ties, we then carefully leveled the track laterally and longitudinally, tamping the ¼ minus as we went. Final work was simply soaking the the base material down and running our S4 over it a bunch of times. We hope to lay another 30+ ties this Saturday morning so please come & help.

While we were busy with the track, Charlie Rigney was busy installing pipe (conduit) and electrical boxes for the new engine shed. Charlie didn’t ask for any help because he was in a hurry. We took the hint and left him to his work which, as usual, speaks for itself.

Of course, everyone needs a little supervision.

It won’t be long & we’ll be using this important structure. Thank you to Charlie for his offer to help.

Special thanks to Jesse Miller for the photos.

So, hope to see you tomorrow early at 7:00 AM.

April 8, 2017

As usual, with an Open House scheduled for this Sunday, there is no “regularly scheduled” work session for Saturday. However, there will be some work going on nonetheless. You are welcome to join us if you don’t have anything going on, but if your time only permits one visit to the Museum this weekend, please come Sunday to the Open House as we really need help running the train.

Saturday morning at 10:00 AM, a tour put together by GPD member Paul Bartholomew will be at the museum with about 50 guests. We will be running the train, so if you can help, it would be appreciated.

Last weekend, we made good headway on the engine shed. We began by installing the 16 remaining 2x4 studs which connected to the steel columns. This had to be done before we began the installation of the sheathing.
We then made a quick trip down to Home Depot and obtained a half dozen 4’x8’ sheets of 5/8” T-1-11 plywood and began the process of installing them.

The weather was perfect as it should be this weekend. This weekend looks like it will be a repeat.
While the main group plugged along with the engine shed, Jesse finished up with the expansion of the R.O.W. adjacent to the track leaving the station. This “just in case” increase in width should eliminate any chance that a train would derail and roll down the embankment.

All photo credits to Jesse Miller. Many thanks to John Roads, Dave Petersen, Glenn Ellis and Jesse Miller for helping out during this work session. Like previous work sessions, we broke at noon, called it a day, and joined the outdoor G-gauge group for lunch at Sam’s.

Hope to see you all at Sunday’s Open House. And if you can make it Saturday, we’ll continue with the engine shed siding.

April Fools Day, 2017

There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday beginning at 8:00 AM. The weather should be perfect. Work will continue on the engine shed including installation of the 2x4’s on the columns to support the siding and also beginning the installation of the T1-11 siding.

Last weekend, we helped out the outdoor G-gauge group by extending the retaining wall around the corner of the fence line at the north end of the property adjacent to the sidewalk. This completely eliminated the “hole” in the corner of the fenced area adjacent to the sidewalk that posed a hazard to visitors who may have not noticed it while walking around the end of the layout (looking at the trains instead of where they were walking). This project was critically important although it doesn’t look like we did very much. With Jesse’s help, a fairly significant amount of additional fill dirt was moved into the area adjacent to the track leaving the station. This creates more width of flat space adjacent to the turnout leaving the station area “just in case” a train derailment occurs. The hope is to prevent any possibility of having an engine or car falling down the embankment into the drainage channel. More improvement to this area is planned.

On the Open House front, we have had two very good Open Houses using the Alco S4 with the new batteries installed. No sign whatsoever of the voltage drops that plagued our engine at the beginning of the year. Many thanks to John Roads, Dave Peterson, and Bob Swanson for helping out at these Open Houses by serving as Engineer, Station Master & Gateman. We have had great feedback from visitors about their experiences at the Museum which makes our efforts so worthwhile. Having said that, we sure could use some additional help during the Open Houses running the train, so please don’t hesitate to come and help out. Even for an hour or two.

We received an email from new member, Joey Ybarra, who is a Superintendent at Cemrock. He is making concrete ties for the layout. He sent me the picture below showing his progress. His efforts will help to maintain our inventory as we move forward with more new and replacement tie installations.


Below is a current photo of the engine shed awaiting the exterior sheathing.

With no Open House this weekend, and the General Membership Meeting still a week away (April 7th), come spend Saturday morning with us. Also, plan on going to lunch with the group at the end of the session as that is always a good time.

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

March 25, 2017

Saturday some members may be at the museum to help out.
Sunday, March 26th is an OPEN-HOUSE.

Last Saturday was Dirt Day. The bobcat was there, moving dirt to where shovels and wheelbarrows were waiting to haul the fill to both G and 7½ layouts.
While the Outdoor G layout worked on filling in a 'hole' in the Northeast corner of the property along the fence (see image a.)...The present 7½ committee members went to work enlarging/reinforcing the embankment between mp 0.5 and mp 1.0, which was originally going to be a wall of block similar to what the G layout is using along the fence, but on Saturday it was decided the extra fill dirt from the bobcat could be used for cheap.

We also removed a couple parasitic plants from the trees along the ravine/wash thing.

You will have to come and see the end results for yourself.


a. Outdoor G no-holes for safety project


b. 7½" embankment reinforcement project


March 18, 2017

There will be a work session this Saturday beginning at 7:30 am at the Museum. Work on the engine shed will take a break for a week, but there are probably some track leveling & gauge checking that could be done. In addition, Glenn Ellis is bringing some big rock in to set at the very north end of the property as retaining stones to allow for more fill to be brought into that corner to give a little more room for staging. So some elbow grease would be very welcome Saturday morning.

With no Open House Sunday, please consider helping out the outdoor G guys with their project.

March 11, 2017

There is not going to be a scheduled work session this Saturday, but as usual, several will show up anyway which is a good thing. If you come, you can expect to work on the Museum engine getting the wiring re-secured and the engine road tested as there is an Open House the following day. The new batteries are now installed in the engine which was no easy task as they weigh 100 pounds each! At any rate, assuming we can get the engine running by 10 am, we’ll use it to give rides to a bunch of kids who are coming to a Birthday party at the Museum. That’s always fun.

Last Saturday, we finished the roofing on the engine house. Those who came, enjoyed great weather and camaraderie. And, we finished the project by noon and didn’t have to go back.

Here are pictures from the work session:

Please consider coming to the Open House Sunday to help with the engine operation. That’s when we need the most help.

March 4, 2017

There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday beginning at 8:00 am. On the work agenda will be the installation of the upper roof section over the engine house. This should be an easier process than the lower roof installation for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that we won’t need to cut & fit the short “chevron” shaped sections at each end.

Last weekend, a great group of volunteers showed up to begin the roofing installation on the low roof sections.

The pictures speak for themselves and the end product is something we can all share pride in.

With leadership, tools, and encouragement from Jacob Payne, all of the work proceeded without any major problems or anyone getting hurt.

With the outdoor G-Gauge group pitching in to help, the lower roofs were sheathed, dried-in, trim pieces & drip edges installed and the shingling started by the time we broke for lunch. Jacob, Glenn & Burt then returned to the Museum that afternoon and finished the shingling and the building stood proud during the Open House the next day.

There was unanimous agreement that the structure will be a source of pride for the Museum for years to come. Everyone who participated are to be congratulated for their fine work and quality.

Hope to see everyone this Saturday (there is no Open House this weekend).

Saturday Feb. 25, 2017

There will not be a regularly scheduled work session this Saturday

“But” the weather is going to be soooo inviting, you may wish to come anyway. If you come, (we’ll gather around 8:00 am) there will be enough material present to install the low roofs (north and south ends) on the engine shed. That will include plywood, roofing felt, shingles and drip edge plus a sheet of T1-11 for siding the short portion of wall above the low roof and below the high roof. Confused? Join the club!

The low roofs must be totally completed before we can install the fly rafters on the high roofs. Thus, the low roofs have to happen first. So, if you don’t have anything better to do, come and join us and maybe we’ll all learn something.

Saturday Feb. 18, 2017

There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday beginning at 8:00 AM. On the work order is some track repair that is needed in the station siding at the north end of the layout. We need to add some fish plates to replace the push on rail joiners as we’ve experienced some derailment issues up there. This area is also slated to receive concrete ties soon. Work on the engine shed may also proceed although I’m not certain just how far we may get this weekend as the weather is looking a little “iffy”. The hurricane straps need to be installed next.

Last week, even though it wasn’t a scheduled work session, we had a good turnout and a huge amount of work transpired. Framing materials were obtained and while Jacob began framing the walls, the rest of the group started cutting the scroll designs into the bottom and ends of the rafters and made a jig to make the rafters into trusses using plywood gussets. With 38 rafters, that was a lot of jig saw work to be sure.

With most of the trusses made and ½ the walls framed, the group broke for lunch. Then after lunch, three hearty souls (Jacob, Glenn & Burt) decided to return to the Museum and continue with the project. The outcome of that afternoons effort was incredible with all of the trusses installed and both sides of the building walls framed. The walls were plummed and all of the bolts were set into the beams and bottom plates to secure the entire structure.

The weather was so perfect, we just couldn’t stop. I’m here to tell you that the old bodies complained a tad at the end of the day, but the results make it all worthwhile. The next morning, we put some water sealer onto the exposed portions of the beams and rafters to help preserve them.

The next major work on the building will be to install the roof sheathing and get the building dried in. That will take a full work session, perhaps like last Saturday to complete.

Hope to see everyone this Saturday. There is no Open House on Sunday.

Saturday Feb. 4, 2017

This Saturday precedes the Open House scheduled for Sunday thus we normally don’t have a work session on the day before. However, there is definitely going to be some activity going on at the Museum if you care to join us. Lumber will be obtained and available to begin the process of framing the walls and roof. Rafters need to be pre-cut with the ends prepared to mimic the roof structure on the adjacent outdoor G layout roof that covers the control area. Plywood gussets will be cut and the rafters prefabricated with the gussets installed at the peak. The ends of the beams need to be chamfered on each side to match the other roof structure as well. How much we get done will be directly proportional to how many people show up. With the Open House following the next day, I’m not sure much will get done, but you never know!

Last Saturday, the last of the track was installed inside the engine house in preparation of the framing of the building. Assisting with the work was our Chairman Jesse, John Roads, Paul Kruppenbacher, and Burt Wright. The routine was the same as the previous week where we completed the installation of one track although this last week we benefited from the fact that we knew what we were doing (at least I think we did).
Once the 2nd track was installed, we laid the 2” thick cap blocks that Jesse had donated to the Museum. This created a very nice level walkway between the tracks in case we need to go into the train shed.
It wasn’t that tough to install the walkway, especially with both tracks set and level.

Once completed, the blocks were swept and the ground raked a little bit, we then used hammers and 2x4’s to tamp the dirt down in between the ties making the entire installation very stable. Then we hosed the installation down a bit to settle everything. Next task is to begin the framing.

Although we hope to see you this Saturday, please don’t forget about the Open House on Sunday. We still don’t have the batteries replaced in the S4 so we hope to be able to use Brian’s GP40 again. Brian will be here this Saturday to check us out on his engine.

Saturday Feb. 4, 2017

Happy February!
We have a scheduled work session this Saturday beginning at 8:00 AM at the museum. The agenda for the work session is to finish placing the concrete ties and rail into the engine house.

The project was started last Saturday, but like everything in life, the effort took longer than we assumed and we only got halfway finished. The effort began by re-establishing the specific grade level needed for the top of the concrete ties. Using the builder’s level brought in by Charlie Rigney, we quickly were able to establish where the top of rail elevation needed to be with the top of the ties being 1” lower. The next step was to run a string from one end of the engine shed to the other that not only established the elevation of the top of the ties but also the outside edge of the ties. We then had to remove about an inch of soil from the bottom of the engine shed and then began placing the ties (8” O.C.). Luckily some of the younger members did the hands and knee work to place and level the ties and then secure the rail. The rail, which was harvested from a couple of the spare track panels that had been in storage at the side of the building was then attached to the ties.
The rail installation onto the ties made aligning the ties simple and the finished product speaks for itself.
There is something really cool about the appearance of aluminum rail onto the concrete ties.

We ran out of time after completing one side of the installation thus saving the other side for the next work session this coming Saturday. The removal of excess soil from the other side has essentially been done, so all we will need to do is rerun the string and start installing ties & rail. Once completed, we’ll backfill between the ties with dirt to completely secure the installation. In order to prevent pack rat intrusion, there is going to be a concrete curb installed at the south entrance to the engine house with the rails set into a notch that will be cast into the concrete. We may have time to form & pour that curb this Saturday if all goes well.

FYI, the 7-1/2” gauge committee budget and inventory were completed and submitted to the 1st VP in accordance with the bylaws. In addition, the BOD formally approved the Operational Rules for using the 7-1/2” gauge RR. They will be posted on OneDrive, probably after the next board meeting when all of the Museum policies will be signed. The budget will be reviewed and hopefully approved at the Board meeting on the 15th. Each GPD member involved in the 7-1/2” gauge committee will receive a copy of the Operational Rules in a separate email. They are also kept in the Committee binder located in the 40’ container.

This Friday night beginning at 7:00 PM, the February General Membership Meeting will occur at the Museum. To my knowledge, no one has volunteered to do meal preparation so eat dinner before you get to the Museum.

Last but not least, there is no Open House this Sunday, thus Saturday may be your only chance to get your “train fix” for the week unless you decide to attend the meeting this Friday night.

Saturday Jan. 28, 2017

We are between Open Houses now and thus, the scheduled work sessions will occur beginning at 8:00 AM this Saturday and next Saturday. After the wonderful winter storms bringing lots of rain to the area, we found that the depressed area where the new engine shed is being built held onto the storm runoff. With a pool of standing water covering the area inside the engine shed, we had to create a couple of temporary channels by which the standing water could escape to the drainage wash next to the shed. The temporary fix was easily accomplished with a shovel, but a permanent solution must be planned & installed at the work session this Saturday.

This Saturday, we will gather at the Museum at 8:00 AM. As usual, coffee and donuts will be available. Although the tasks at hand may seem relatively minor, I think we’ll have our hands full getting the effort completed. First is to plan a permanent method for draining storm water from the confines of the new Engine Shed. This must be done in concert with the preparation of final grade inside the shed so that the placement of concrete ties and rail may begin. This will precede the framing of the walls and roof.

Charlie Rigney will be bringing his builder’s level to assist us in making the finished grade at the prescribed elevation which is 4” below the top of the existing rail elevation (3” tie & 1” rail = 4”) at the turnout leading toward the engine shed. We want to have all this rail from the turnout to the north end of the engine shed level if possible to prevent train movement when stored or parked. Once the grade inside the shed is level and flat, we can begin placing the concrete ties. Once the ties are placed, aligned, and leveled, rail can be installed followed by backfilling the space in between the ties with dirt to stabilize the track. Jesse has brought 8” x 16” cap block down which can be installed as a walking surface between the rails.

This effort will require a steady concerted effort so we are requesting “all hands on deck” if possible. The weather will be a little chilly, but the sun will be out and things should be dried out.

If the grading and tie placement is achieved, we may make a trip to Home Depot to secure the framing materials that will permit us to begin the framing of the engine shed during our next work session the following Saturday.

A piece of great news, we welcome new member Joey Ybarra who works as a fabrication superintendent at Cemrock. This is a company in Tucson that makes artificial landscape rock from a concrete mixture employing fiberglas. He came to the last Open House and introduced himself and offered to make our concrete RR ties from left over mix usually thrown away at his plant. He mocked up 4 of these using 4 of our molds and they came out great. Welcome to the Organization Joey ! ! !

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[Page Published February 12, 2019 ]
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