Saturday, August 15, 2015

August, 2015 Work Weekend


Then again, what should one expect for mid August in Southeast Iowa?

Various things were happening in and around the MCRR this work weekend.

Kendall O. and John G. finished checking the firebox staybolts and then connected No. 12's tender to the locomotive.

In the South Station, Melissa B, Elsie B, Kaelen W., and Brian B. attached the stencils on DRGW Boxcar 3007 in anticipation of painting.

And this may come as a surprise, there was track work!

In the past month, several postings here and in facebook wrote about the removal of the bridge. With the berm properly constructed it was time to replace the rails.

It isn't very obvious in this picture, but the fill placed on the berm was about 6" too high to replace the rails -- and the ties.

Matt C. scraped the top layer of fill off the berm.

Matt W. replaces a spike removed from a rail. We had an out-of-sequence fix to the rails: there was a short rail in the joint between Matt and the red fan. The short rail was moved to the other end of the long rail in front of Matt. Why? We wanted the short rail on a straight section of track instead of on a curved section.

John K. and Roger R. adjust the outside rail and joiner while Chris P. watches the progress.

Roger R. checks the gauge of the rails.

Driving a spike.

With a bunch of "gauge ties" installed, the other ties get lifted to the rails and spiked in place

Elliot H. points at a track jack.

Model "A" Fireman's car and the rumble car with most of the tools

Not pictured at the worksite but instead shown on the trailer after purchase, is the new air compressor. The old Gardner Denver compressor had serious mechanical problems last month and was replaced with a late model Sullair diesel. Quiet! Quiet! Quiet! ...and it pumps like an air compressor should pump.

Photos courtesy Dave O, John K, and steam.airman

Friday, July 24, 2015

July, 2015 Work Weekend and Independence Day Operating Event

The July 11th Work Weekend was rescheduled to the 4th to coincide with the Independence Day operating event.

Leading up to the I-D activities and the incredible fireworks show sponsored by the Mt. Pleasant Independence Day Committee, work centers popped up all over the grounds.

Inside the shop, Walt O. and his helpers continued work on the stock car's roof.

On Friday, only a small portion of the roof had been completed. It may not look like much had occurred at the time of these photos, but many hours were spent cutting and treating the boards destined for the roof.

Walt completed the roof's installation and painted the top side. With the roof installation complete, work was completed on the catwalk.

Outside the shop, the track gang attended to several spots needing help. For example, in the yard north of the shop, the rails were sinking at one of the switches. The usual procedure: remove some ballast, insert track jacks, lift the rails to the proper height, tamp new ballast into place, remove the jacks. The team consisted of Matt W, Paul K, Roger R, and Elliot H.

On the east side, previous track work had required removal of the signal wires from the rails. Paul K and Roger R replaced the leads to the signal. (a) Clean the rails, (b) thermoweld new leads to the rails, and (c) splice the wires to the leads.

Last year, we started raising the rails west of the South Station -- but ran out of time to complete the task. Trains leaving the South Station dipped a few inches before rising to the proper elevation as they crossed the road at "Zephyr Crossing."

After digging out most of the ballast (actually, mud) with the backhoe, Wayne P and Roger R finish the task of installing the track jacks.

Rex F and Paul K "eye" the rails to insure the correct elevation.

The fans on the rumble cart may seem familiar to regular readers of this blog. We started using the two fans a few years ago on hot days to keep the tamper operators comfortable. The fans are NOT used for propulsion!

Matt W and Paul K raise the rails with the track jacks.

Tamping! You will notice the operators texting one another; the tamping is very noisy.

Track work done, the next order of business was operating the train for the Independence Day festival. No. 14 performed well -- and was ready to go nearly at the turn of a key. We stopped the train so photographers could get the last few shots of our train passing over the bridge.

On Sunday, the staff removed the rails and about 1/2 the timbers from the bridge in anticipation of the City of Mt Pleasant's public works crew starting their storm water retention project.

The significance of the first picture is the last train over the bridge. A video of the "A" passing over the bridge is on our facebook page.

Removing spikes.

Lifting the first rail off the ties and away from the bridge.

With the rails gone, the ties were removed and stacked alongside the tracks.

A short time after we completed our portion of the work, the city was well into their portion of the work.

-Photos courtesy Walt O, Matt C, Steam.airman