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 

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.