2013

The Game Plan for this season is to get at least one complete loop operating by Fall. I was contacted last Fall by an organizer for the Fall 2013 NMRA Convention being held in Laconia, NH. They would like me to have my track open for the Layout tour part of the event.

The first work session of 2013 Commenced on April 10th at about 9:30AM. Joe & Dawn showed up this morning to help start building track panels for the up coming season. We ended up assembling ten 10' Straight Track Panels using the track jig I built a couple years ago.

After the batteries in our screw guns ran out we decided to go out and break out the train for the first run of the season. Joe shoveled the back side of the snow bank so we could get the train through. Yes there is still now in my Back yard! Everywhere else it's just about gone.

All in all the track faired up very well over the winter. There are a few spots that need some ballast and tamping but the first run went off with out a hitch. Just a few branches had to be cleared off.

After things dry out a little more we'll take the leaf blower out and clear the pine needles off the mainline.

That's it for now. Stay tuned for an exciting season of Construction!

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Work Session 4/18/13

Track crew showed up about 11AM this morning and we got started building some 45' Radius curve sections. Ended up building 7 pieces and installed 6 of them off the North Crossover to extend the mainline around that leg of the Wye. We had to relocate the ties along the edge of the lawn to accommodate the new alignment. Dawn took charge of the Leaf Blower and blew the Pine Cones & Needles off the whole mainline.

 

Joe had to pull off the 10' Straight that was originally off the end of the switch. Would have made the curve too sharp if we had left it there. 

 

Joe & Cory Assembling the new curve sections we had just built.

After they got the track assembled everybody went for a ride.

Wasn't able to finish the ballasting because we ran out of small ballast last Fall. Soon as the Road Bans come off I'll get another couple loads in. I'm thinking seriously about adding a single ended siding to the outside of the curve for a future Industry. Plenty of room there for something. Hopefully we'll be at it again next week.

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Work Session 5/27/13

Well it's been a few weeks since we really have done any work on the track. On May 7th, Sandy and I took a trip out to MO and WI to pick up new equipment for the Railroad including my new Locomotive. Everything had to sit in the trailer until we got the new unloading lift installed on May 27th. 

This is a 10K Lb, 110V Electric over Hydraulic lift that was originally used in the light rail shops in Boston. It was converted by the previous owner to it's current purpose as a 7 1/4" gauge unloading lift. It is 11' long and weighs about 1200 lbs. It rolls sideways like a transfer table on 2 inverted angle irons welded to 8" wide X 1/4"  steel bar stock that is 20' Long. Next is to finish the approach which will happen tomorrow.

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Work Session 5/28/13

We got started late today at about 11:30. First off I started bucketing Ballast over to the North end of the track to widen out the original right of way to accept 2 tracks. Dawn helped rake it out while Joe proceeded to install some track on the Wye connection.

We worked on this section until we broke for lunch. After Lunch we started working on the approach to the Unloading lift. By this time Cory showed up and lended a hand.

(3 members of the Tool Leaners Union)

Dawn tried out the first test on the lift alignment. Everything worked out well. After this everybody was excited to get my trailer unloaded!

First car off was the Sclair ACF. Sandy backed up the approach and took it off the lift.

Second off was the Shurtleff Hopper followed by the drop center flat and the DWC Bulkhead. Then last was my new CN GP40-2W. Dawn is having way too much fun!

I turned up the sound for her first run. Sounded nice. Plenty of power. We made 1 run before dark with the above consist. Can't wait till we get the first loop finished so we can really have some fun. We'll be back at it later on this week hopefully. Stay Tuned!

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Work Sessions From 5/1/13 to 5/11/13

In this stretch of time there were a few short work sessions because of the weather. We were able to get in a couple hours here and there between the raindrops. 

Here Joe does some fine tuning on the switch points with a grinder. The Switcher derailed at this spot a few minutes before.

Then we started working more on laying out the Wye connector and spreading more Subroadbed.

We are almost out to the North edge of the lawn with the Stone. This is where we will stop for now and start excavating the south side of the property where the small bridge will be. I want to get that side prepared to the same point before we cut into the lawn. I have a guy coming next week to see about doing the Concrete work in the driveway to build the crossing.. 

Last Sunday evening we got the trains out and gave the caboose and new loco a bath.

Over the last 2 weekends I installed an Air Compressor in my Caboose to operate the airbrakes. It is a wireless on/off Parking brake for the train. This has been a problem in the past while stopping on a grade because the train would roll freely without power on the throttle. This system is available from Tom Bee. Most of my rolling stock have air brakes. They can be connected together with prototype style air hoses so the whole train can be locked up if desired. With a short train, just the caboose will be sufficient to keep it tied down.

Joe continues working on the Wye Connector. It's starting to take shape.

The second switch is for a single ended siding that will follow the Mainline around to the left. This will be for a future Industry. Possibly a Grain Elevator.

Here it is ready for Ballast.

Here you can see where the second mainline will cross the Wye Connector.

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Work Session 7/3/13

This was just an afternoon on the little excavator. Turned out pretty hot today at about 95 degrees. I started about 1:30 trenching out the outside main right of way from where it crosses the inside Main on the south side of the property. I got about 75 ft dug today. 

Will showed up and gave me a hand raking out the rock for the subroadbed while I bucketed it over with the tractor. Got about 50' of it stoned and called it quits about 5:00.

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 Work Session 7/6/13

Still pretty warm here these days in the low 90's. Joe and Dawn came over this afternoon. We started by adding an additional 30'+ of track to the mainline off the east leg of the wye.

After this was completed I bucketed a few loads of ballast while Joe spread it out. I couldn't reach a couple spots with the tractor so Joe grabbed the Switcher and the loaded ballast car and headed for the wye connector to finish ballasting that area.

We finished up ballasting the completed track in the Wye area and worked on leveling the track. 

The small level on the back porch of the switcher works very well to see where the track needs to be "tweaked" here and there.

Above Dawn waits for us on the east leg of the wye to complete the ballasting work. After I move she'll bring the switcher in to see how level the track is. We only worked about 4 hours today until it got dark. More next time!

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Work Session 7/13/13

Today I took the excavator and started in digging the new right of way where we left off last fall at the end of the mainline.

I spent most of the day digging, piling and moving dirt. Our friends Bill and Allen showed up in the afternoon and gave me a hand moving material. 

It's wide in this area because there will be a siding through here.

That was it for Today. Got quite a bit done.

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Work Session 7/15 & 7/16

Monday afternoon Joe and Dawn showed up and we started moving stone into place where I had been digging last time.

In a couple hours we called it quits because it was too hot. They camped out at our place that night and we started the next morning moving what stone I had left.  Will showed up about noon and we built a few track panels to install on the new roadbed. This used up the last of the tie's I had cut up a couple years ago. I have a bunch of Balusters coming in shortly that we'll have to cut up into ties.

We ended up laying 70' of new track.  It's all ballasted and leveled. All ready to run on. You will probably notice I decided not to swing over and build a bridge like I had planned. It seemed like it was going to be a lot more work than I had time to do.

We'll install the diamond when the time comes to lay the 2nd track.

Joe runs the first train over the new track. Very Smooth!

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On 7/21/13 my brother George welded up the 6 angle irons for the crossing. These are to protect the edges of the concrete from breaking off. He rigged up this special dolly with Box tubing to keep the angle iron straight while welding the concrete anchors in place. If you don't keep the material straight, the heat from the welding will twist it all out of shape.

He was able to sit in one spot and roll the cart back and forth without having to move himself. It worked out pretty good.

Each one is 22' long so I had to use my tilt deck trailer to bring them back home.

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7/27/13

The following weekend Sandy & I laid out the front lawn for where the tracks will cross in front of the house. This is where the neighbors will finally figure what I've been up to the last couple years. Up to this point almost everything had been out of view behind the house and in the woods.

This shows where the curve will be on the north side of the lawn. The outside line is 51' radius and the inside is 42' radius. This should accommodate the 45' radius inside curve and the outside 49' radius +/- curve. This path will be 9' wide with real RR ties bordering the right of way with the lawn. The top of the ties will be at ground level to make mowing easier. We also marked out where the crossing will be. the next morning Bud Barnes came over and cut the asphalt for the crossing.

The crossing itself is 7' wide by 21' long. We added 6" to each end just for good measure. Bud will be back in a week to do the concrete work. I'll get the area dug out when I know what day he is going to come over so it doesn't tie up my driveway very long. I'll take pics as we go so you can see how we do it.

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8/3/13

Today I hopped on the excavator and continued my way through the woods on the south side of the property. I'm moving all the material out of this area because there is really no place to put it. So it's slow going. I'll dig in a ways then take the bucket loader and move the material to the other end of the property for storage.

I took a load of small trees out of the path so now all I have to do now is move dirt.

I worked my way through to the lawn removing all the brush in the way.

It kind of looks like a mess at the moment but it will come into shape shortly.

Looks a lot different there now with all the underbrush and small trees gone. 

Next project will be the driveway crossing this week. Stay Tuned!

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Sunday 8/4/13 we trenched out the crossing.

George begins by tearing out the Asphalt.

Next George chipped out the gravel to square up the against the pavement while I started scraping down the trench in layers. This way we didn't disturb the gravel underneath so we wouldn't have to compact it. It took us about 4 hours to complete the job right at dark.

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Crossing Concrete Forms and Pour Day 8/6/13

Tuesday Morning dawned chilly for early August in New Hampshire. It was a mere 50 degrees when Buddy Barnes and his son Wyatt showed up at 6:45am to start the Form setup.

They got started right away laying out the Rebar.

Here are the Forms roughly in place.

I brought over the angle irons for the edges while they continued setting things up.

The driveway drops from right to left  (in this picture) about 2 1/4".  To be able to keep the tracks level we decided drop the right Track Form 1/2" below the pavement. Next we dropped the left Track Form1 1/4" below the right form. Lastly the left hand drop back to pavement will be 1/2". Here you see the outside angle irons in place.

Once the ends were in place, Buddy tied up the center of the forms to the correct height.

 

Here all of the angle irons are in place. Just about ready.

Here it is all set up ready to Pour. The Concrete truck is on it's way. Buddy ordered 4 yards.

A Game plan is setup with the driver and here we go.

They start in the middle and kick the concrete under the forms to "hopefully" make a solid flat surface on the bottom of the form.

It certainly is a messy job and you really need to know what you are doing. I'd have concrete all over the dooryard it it was me.

The lower form started to "float" over the concrete so I took a bucket of Ballast Rock and dumped into the top of the form to weigh it down. That along with the weight of my loader bucket pushing down it went back into place.

Well here it is on the home stretch. It's looking very nice. 4 yards turned out to be perfect. Only a couple shovel fulls left in the truck. Kudos to the concrete professionals! The boys will be back in the morning to break down the forms. More pics tomorrow with any luck.

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8/7/13

Buddy showed up the next morning to tear down and clean up. 

Everything came out pretty well. Had a couple small voids in the floor of the trenches. He filled in those with some Portland Cement and we are good to go.

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Work Session 8/8/13

Joe, Dawn & Cory came over today and we started in building a couple 50' radius curve Panels. 

Will spent a few afternoons last week building 15 straight panels in preparation. 

Dawn went out and did some weed spraying along the mainline. The undergrowth was peeking up through the ballast in places.

Joe started laying out the switch and track panels. 

The night before I finished digging out the forest mat and moving the material out. I still have to finish digging the outside main that will run to the right of these pine trees.

Cory and I started playing with the subroadbed as far as we could go with what stone I had left.

Joe and Dawn started Ballasting the newly laid track. They used the ballast car to shuttle the small rock to the jobsite because I couldn't get the tractor close enough. Joe just shoveled it out of the car. it's easier than trying to use the bottom doors.

After about 5 loads with the Ballast car, Joe relaxes and brings the Ballast Extra back to pile..  

Here we are playing with joint bars again.

A few more Panels down then we're back to Ballasting.

While Joe & Cory finished the ballasting, Dawn crashed in the Ballast car. I'm starting to see a pattern here. LOL!

Next we leveled the new track using the level on the back of the switcher. The next few pics are of the new alignment. I'm spacing the inside railheads 3' apart. Seems to be wide enough so you won't knock knees while passing another train.

Thanks again to Cory, Joe, Dawn, Will and my brother George for continuing to help with building the Railroad. I couldn't do it without you guys!

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8/14/13

Today Will and I finished up the laying the track in the new Crossing.

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8/22/13

Today Will and I finished spreading rock in the 2 Mainline curves on the south side of the driveway.

When this was finished we started on excavating the lawn to the crossing.

Below is the finished trench ready for rock.

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8/26/13

Today I started on the north side of the crossing. First I used the edge of the tractor bucket to cut a straight line in the ground.

I'll start from the opposite end and dig toward the crossing. More pics later on.

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8/28/13 Work Session

Today Joe, Dawn and Cory came over fo help out. Joe and I commenced to build a Right hand switch while I had Cory move some Gravel I had dug out on the north side of the crossing the day before.

Once the switch was finished we laid out the track panels to see what our options were. We decided to use 50' Radius on the outside and 65' radius on the inside. It worked out just about perfect.

While Joe played with this Dawn, Cory and I finished rocking the right of way out to the crossing and installed some Landscape RR ties along the edge of the lawn. I ran out of ties so I have to go get some more from the local tourist RR to finish the project.

 

You can see the Ties on the left side of the rock in this pic by the lawn. I'll add more next week to the opposite side and fill in the rest with stone. We were able to finish ballasting out to the end of the switch we just installed before it started raining too hard. You will see more pics of that area next time

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Work Session 9/4/13

Today Joe, Dawn and Cory showed up around 9am. Joe and Dawn started in on assembling the track from the siding switch where we left off last week out to the crossing.

Here Joe finishes up Ballasting and levels out the new track alignment.

Joe is the first one over the new crossing with a train.

Cory and I worked on the north side of the crossing all morning digging out the rest of the right of way. 

After Cory had all the Gravel removed we started in on rocking the new right of way.  We lined both sides of the tracks with Railroad Ties to help keep the rocks off the lawn. (When I actually have a lawn again :-)

Joe couldn't wait to start laying track on this side of the crossing.

I bucketed over ballast while Joe shoveled it around. Dawn was acting foreman.

Here are a few pics of the finished alignment from the switch to the crossing.

Joe did an Awesome job on this and it rides very nice.

That was it for the day. I took the whole crew out for dinner at the Mountainview Restaurant in Center Ossipee. It's a great place with good food and is located in the old B&M Passenger Station. Look them up online and stop by if you are in the area.

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Work Session 9/5/13

The next morning we knew that finishing the loop was in reach. I started in hauling ballast to fill up the ditch that we created.

We set the ties in place as we went.   

After all the subroadbed was in place we started assembling the rest of the mainline.

This section seemed to give us a challenge in leveling the track out. Took quite a while to get it right.

Well the time finally came to "Drive the Golden Spike". Joe was bestowed the honor of running in the last Screw to complete the first loop. There were only 3 of us on hand to witness this Historic event. 

The rest of the day we played running trains around and around in both directions. We had a couple issues with the new track but nothing that can't be overcome. Next week we'll focus on doing some much needed surfacing around the track that was being neglected while under construction. I guess at this point we're pretty well ready for the Seacoast Regional NMRA Convention next month. The track will be open to convention goers on Oct 19 and 20, 2013 from 10-4. I hope you can stop by.

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10/3/13 

The last few weeks we haven't done a whole lot but just run trains. Joe and Dawn have been over a couple times and we spread some ballast and leveled some track. Couple weeks ago my brother built up a 10' Steaming track for me. I made it free standing so I can move it out of the way when not in use.

Sandy & I worked last Sunday filling in behind the ties along the front lawn.

When that was finished and installed a couple Crossing Posts beside the driveway crossing.

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10/3/13 

Joe and Dawn came over today and we went to work building the siding where the future Grain Elevator will be in the middle of the Wye.

Next Weekend is our first Annual Invitational Meet on Oct 12th. The track is pretty well ready to go with just a little bit of cleanup left to do. I'll be posting some pics under the "Meets" link on the homepage after next weekend.

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Thanks for Visiting!