Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June, 2015 Work Weekend

Wonderful weather for a work weekend!

Last month's water tower tank insert swap left the north station surrounds in less than perfect condition. Several MCRR members removed most of the ballast that had been used to provide traction for the crane. Besides the ballast pathways, there were places that deep ruts had formed as the heavy equipment maneuvered around the area.

Taken from the manlift while awaiting the arrival of OT's crane-like "thing," these pictures show some of the tire tracks in the mud to the right of the switch tower and going south from the North station.(Of course, the picture also has the railroad tracks to the left of the switch tower!)

We needed the OT crane-like "thing" to shift the plastic tank liner towards the center of the enclosure. A volunteer directs the "thing" into position.

The recent rains had provided an ideal environment for grass and other tall items to rise from the ground. Dan H. and Nicole's sons run the mower and weed trimmers to make fast work of the overgrowth.

After the railcar team affixed the couplers to the stockcar, the car was taken for several laps around the track by the "Squirt," our Vulcan gasoline switch engine.

After confirming the stockcar's ability to negotiate the tracks, it was placed inside the shop. On Saturday, David M., Randy V, Walt O., and Evan P. removed what remained of the roof.

Matt W. created a new burner drip pan for the locomotives. The old pan, dating to the days of Shay No. 9, was getting a bit ragged plus with two oil burners (No. 12 and No. 6) it is nice to have two drip pans. The new drip pan needed handles and a pour spout. After all the other projects, only the handles were completed. The spout will appear in July.

Elliot H. and Matt W. express their thanks to the Miller MIG welder.

Matt W. prepares the jig for forming the handles while Evan P. and Elliot H. turn away.

Chris P. and Dave O. offer constructive comments about the drip pan.

The handles are welded in place.

Attaching the couplers to the gondola required a few super-sized bolts. Scott D., Kendall O., and Chris P. make the bolts on the lathe.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May, 2015 Work Weekend

With a major project in the works, the work weekend was started a few days early. The major project was removing the water tower's metal liner and replacing it with a "new" non-metallic liner.


...goes into...

Any questions?

Dan H. prepares to disconnect some of the plumbing protruding from the tank's bottom.

Numerous items needed to be removed or disconnected from the inside of the water tower. While we were waiting for the manlift to get to the worksite, an ordinary extension ladder was used to access the water tower.

With the tank metal tank liner ready for removal, the next task was getting the non-metallic liner ready for installation. The non-metallic liner was 5 feet too tall to fit into the tower.

After Dave O. and Elliot H. marked the cut lines, Dan H. uses an ordinary circular saw to slice through the 3/4" thick walls.

The material wasn't as strong as anticipated; once sufficient slices were made the lid separated from the rest of the tank.

Two slices were taken from the liner. An 18" slice was cut so the lid could be fastened to the lower tank. A 42" slice was cut as the remainder of the 5 feet to be removed.

The sandy looking material in the tank was from its original use -- the tank was a part of a gigantic water softener.

A little nudging from the backhoe and skid-steer righted the lower portion of the tank.

The lid was taken to the shop where sections of the 18" slice were bolted in place.

Walt O. washes the sandy looking material from the lid.

Back at the worksite, the lid is placed on top of the tank's lower portion and fastened in place.

The next morning, Steve P. arrives with his large crane.

The chopped tank is slid close to the water tower.

Our thanks to the crane operator!

The crane has huge outriggers. To keep the outriggers from sinking in the ground, Kendall O. places large flanges under the hydraulic rams.

Outriggers in place, the crane is swung into position for removing the metal tank.

Standing on the semaphore platform, the new tank liner and water tower are in plain sight, The crane is getting ready to remove the water tower's roof.

Crane operator.

On to plan "B." The water tower's roof was in such bad shape that instead of lifting away, it started to collapse.

Plan "B": Remove the roof and metal tank at the same time.

Attaching the crane to the new tank liner.

The new tank liner can be seen peeking out of the water tower. The new tank is a few thousand gallons smaller than the metal tank. While this may worry some people, with the auto-filling capability, we always have a near full tank at the end of any operating event which often gets dumped. The smaller tank means less waste.

On Saturday, the main job was to remove the roof, measure what can be measured for its replacement, and to disassemble the metal tank liner.

The first thought was to slide some metal channel irons under the roof, lift it free of the tank, and push the tank out from under the roof. That plan didn't last long. The roof was is such poor shape, it could not be lifted from the tank without falling apart.

Plan "C" was to lighten the structure by removing the roofing materials (which had to done anyway) and then lift the roof free of the tank.

With just the skeleton remaining, an attempt was made to lift the roof clear. That didn't work too well.

The portions of the roof that made it clear of the tank were hauled to their final resting place. There still was a load of material inside the tank, plus the tank itself needed to be removed.

Matt W. and Ryan F. get the cutting torch ready.

A doorway is sliced into the tank.

Using the access port, the portions of the roof that did not make it clear of the tank are removed.

Separate from the water tower project, the past few weeks saw a flurry of track maintenance activity and a delivery of an open-air car!

The modified gondola arrived Friday morning.

As John W. wrote in his facebook pages, he was in "training" with the new gon.

Another car with a brake retainer for trips down the long grade north of the horse barn.

A modern hand brake assembly!

The load of old ties ready for pickup.

A walk along the east side to the North Station.

A few days of rain followed by extremely warm weather proved ideal for grasses to grow in and around the tracks.

A coach-wheel's view of the system to the south and north along the west side.