The 2014 Season begins.....

Update 4/22/14

Doesn't seem like 4 years have gone by already and we're now into our 5th season. It was a long hard winter here and glad it's over. There is just a few feet of snow bank left in the back yard. Figures it's still covering the rails. The plan for this season is to get the last 800' of Mainline installed. Currently our running Mainline loop is 1035' which includes the Wye connector. I figure when we have the full Mainline finished it will be a little over 2300'. Not bad for a 2 acre lot. We hope to have it in full operation by our 2nd Annual invitational meet currently planned for September 20th.

The track faired up very good over the winter. Not major problems with only a few sticks and a coating of pine needles. We'll be getting the leaf blower out shortly and take care of them. I gingerly plowed over the driveway crossing this winter and it held up very well. I was careful not to hit the Transfer table rails with the snowplow so things should move good once I get it unwrapped for the season.

Both Locomotives and my Caboose spent the winter in the heated garage and hopefully will be getting them back on the track shortly. I should be getting the new sound board for my GP40-2W shortly so I can get that swapped out. Remember it crapped out at the end of our meet last Fall. The Phoenix Sound Card had an issue with some cold solder joints and the board failed.

Over the winter, Joe & I built this 65'/45' Right hand curve switch. This will be the first thing to be installed this season as the lead to the Ballast loading track. Joe also built about eight 10' Straight Panels and we just finished three 65'R curve panels last week. We'll be working on the curve behind the Ballast piles first and will be facing our first Diamond Crossing build shortly where it will cross the current Mainline. Should prove interesting. Stay Tuned!!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5/3/14 WORK DAY

This morning Joe, Cory and I  started in about 9AM. First we started laying out the new switch. We had to realign the existing mainline a few inches so the 65' radius panels would lay out between the trees correctly.

Joe bolts together the curve switch and 3 curve panels.

Here is the Finished Curve up to the Diamond Location. 

When we reached the Diamond, we laid 2 curved rails over the existing mainline and bolted everything together continuing the curve around to the straight away. At that point I traced the rails from both tracks onto a piece of 3/4" plywood to make up a template to build the diamond. I'll be starting on the Diamond next. I plan on building it using Aluminum Rail and have my brother weld it all together. It will be installed in one piece with any luck. I'll take pics as I build it.

Another look at a different angle.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 24-25 Work Session

Well it's been a few weeks since the last update. Sandy & I took off for 10 days to head out to Visit friends in WI and then attend the Discover Live Steam convention at the Hesston Steam Museum in Hesston, IN. Anyway we're back now and getting back to business slowly. I started cutting rails for the Diamond while Joe kept on building track panels. Below is the progression on the Diamond.

While I was working on the Diamond, Joe was assembling track out on the Mainline.

 

 

 

Joe says we have 140' of track down so far in this stretch. This is going to be time consuming when it's time to Ballast because I can't get my tractor close enough. Has to be done the hard way with the ballast car and many trips to the ballast pile. That's it for this session. Hopefully more next weekend.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Update 6/12/14

Last Saturday Joe and Dawn came over and we got a little more track assembled and ballasted. I also finished up the rough assembly of the first Diamond.

After that we decided to have a little fun running trains.

Watch Video's Below!

On Sunday my brother, George welded up the Diamond.

 

After it was all welded I brought the Diamond back to my shop and cleaned it up with a wire wheel. It's looking pretty good. This thing might just work!

Last evening started to swap the rails over onto Ties. Wasn't as easy as I had hoped. When the rails were welded the heat warped some of the rails and they sprung when I unscrewed them. It was quite a chore to get everything back in place on the ties. Persistence paid off and below is the result.

We have another work session scheduled for this Saturday. We hope to get the Diamond installed and the rest of the track that is on the ground Ballasted. Hope the weather is good!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 14, 2014 Work Day

Well another day dawns overcast but not raining like the previous 4 days. Joe and Dawn showed up about 9am. We did some last minute securing the Diamond to the ties and we headed out to start the install.

  

Once we had everything in place it was time for ballasting. I couldn't get my tractor into this area so we had to use the ballast car and make several trips.

Well the time finally came to try it out. I thought there might be some kind of problem with the guard rails but everything ran smoothly on the curve. We ran back and forth over it at various speeds and finally full throttle and it was as smooth as glass. The straight was a bit different though. One way it ran fairly smooth but the other way it gives you a little jerk to one side. Odd that it only does it in one direction. I'm thinking where it's aluminum that it will eventually wear in and smooth out more. Was able to run through it both ways at full throttle and everything stayed on.

 

We spent the remainder of the day spreading ballast and leveling the new stretch of track to extend the mainline. At this point I have about 70' of rail left. We can build 3 more panels and get them installed but Not much more than that until the new batch of Rail gets here in a couple weeks.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 11, 2014

Last week I finally got my new batch of Rail from Railroad Supply. The goal today is to finish the connection to the driveway crossing from where we left off last time. Joe started out building a few track panels while I got some work finished up in the office. I got out there about noon to start helping out.

Once all the panels were built Joe bolted all the joints together and I started bucketing ballast from the piles out back to the worksite.

The subroadbed needed to be brought up about 8-10 inches at the highest point. I couldn't get in very close with the tractor so poor Joe did a lot of shoveling.

Once we finished up that evening we had a nice steady 55' radius all the way around the curve and we didn't have to do much leveling. Hopefully we'll be back at it again next week.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

October 26, 2014

It's been a while since the last update. things got crazy here for a while and the work sessions were bits and pieces here and there. We have the second phase of the Mainline finished now and starting on the third.

 

 

When we got to this point we changed the track plan a bit. We eliminated 1 Diamond by doing this. I took the #7 RH Switch (to nowhere) that was out on the Mainline by the south end of the fence and installed it where the Wye Connector track is. If you go look at the revised track plan you will see what we did. I still have to build another Left Switch to reconnect the Grain Elevator siding. We just bypassed it for now to get the Mainline back in service.

Here you can see the crossover we installed to complete the wye connection.

At the end of the Day we played for a while!

Here we are back where we left off on the third phase of the Mainline Construction. Behind me is the Storage Container for reference.

This is about as far as we've gotten so far on this section of the Mainline.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------