December 16 Workday

The club has made it a goal to re-deck most of the bridges around the layout. Most of them have been in service for over two decades and need a little refurbishment. The next two bridges to get some attention is the Conner Siding Bridge and the Shop Yard Bridge. The day before the workday, members came out to the track and removed all the old wood decking and bolts. They also repainted the metals support beams underneath the old decking. This was important preparation work so crews could start first thing Saturday morning installing all the new wood decking.

Crews arrived early on Saturday to being installing the new decking. While the high for the day was 55F, the morning started out at 35F and the area was slick with frost. After many hard hours of work and a lot of drilling, the new decking was installed on both bridges. They both look really good and the work crews were proud of their work. Sometime in the future, the track and ties on the Shop Yard Bridge will be replaced as well to complete the repairs.

December 7 Workday

As the cold weather starts to become more frequent, workdays have to be completed when weather permits. Bill Gardei & Michael Haywood were at the track Thursday completing work on Conner Siding. The area is now ready for ballast and final adjustments this spring.  The next step is replacing the track on the other side of the bridge as well as installing new decking on the bridge. This will be completed in the next month as the weather allows.

December 2 Workday

The track crew was hard a work today rebuilding Conner Siding. The rebuild went very smoothly as the area had already been leveled and the switches were ready to be installed. Most of the panels for this section had also been pre-built during the previous months in anticipation of this project. The crew was able to get all the tracks connected and all that is left to do is secure some remaining ties to the rail.

November 11 - Yard Work

Continuing the work from the November 4th work day, the next step was to re-level Conner Yard before the new yard tracks are installed. The roadbed for the yard needed to reduced in height by 3 inches so it will match the mainline on the left. Since the area has not been disturbed in 30+ years, a little heavy equipment was needed to move the compacted gravel. Huge thanks to Mike Bassham for getting us a Skid Steer to complete the job. 

Steam Engine Training Event

On Saturday, November 4th 2017, a small group of members met at the track for our first ever 'learning to run steam' day. There were 7 students, 3 instructors, and 2 coal-fired steam locomotives present for the event. We began at 9 AM. First the instructors went around introducing ourselves and giving some of our background. The three instructors were Bob Auchenbaugh, Alan Woodyard and Scott Reedy. The three instructors combined have over 100 years of experience with large-scale live steam. 

We then had about 45 minutes of 'classroom' type training. The design and the functions of the locomotive boiler were discussed, along with the nomenclature for some of the most important parts. Emphasis was placed on keeping the water level right to protect the boiler.   Some of the physics behind the boiler operations were explained. We then explained the order of importance when it comes to actually operating a steam locomotive. That order is (1) water level, (2) Track conditions/Traffic, (3) Fire, (4) Lubrication. A lot of emphasis was placed on safety first.   

The group of students then split up into two groups and accompanied the instructors to the steaming bays where the two locomotives were fired up from a cold-start. Students then took turns running the locomotives around the lower loop of the track for the next several hours.  Students typically got at least 4 or 5 laps on a locomotive to try to hone their throttle skills and learn to add coal and water while on the move. The day's lessons ended at about 3:30 PM when the last of the two steamers was blown down.   

November 4 Workday

During the November 4th workday, the track crew started on one of the larger track projects that were slated for this winter. The first project is a complete rebuild of Conner yard. This yard was the club's passenger station until the new one was completed in 1999. The track will all be replaced and the yard slightly redesigned. Once completed this spring, it will once again be an amazing yard and provide additional storage during the meets.

October 12 Workday

With the Winter Meet only a week away, track crews were hard at work today getting a few projects completed. First task was to reconnect all the track going to the high bridge. All that is left to in that area to complete is to ballast and level the track. The second task was to remove the decking from the smaller bridge located near the high bridge. Since there was extra time today, the crew removed all the old bolts and repainted the bridge. On Saturday, the goal will be to install the new decking and track.

Upper Loop Bridge Project

After 34 years, the Upper Loop Bridge supports needed to be replaced. John, Ted, and Kyle Norcross were in charge of the project and began work as soon as the Fall Meet was concluded. They fabricated new steel supports and transported them to the track for installation. With some heavy machinery, planning, and hard work, they were able to install the new supports within 2 days. Many other members came back to the track several times after the meet to assist in any way they could. 

September 28 Worday

During the Fall Meet, it was discovered that the track outside the tunnel had sustained some damage. While this damage did not cause too many issues during the meet, it needed to be repaired. After closer inspection by the track crew, the decision was made to replace all the track and ties in the tunnel, as this had not been done in a long time. The track crew worked very hard and the results look amazing.

September Workday Wrap-Up

It has been a few weeks since the club has posted about all the work going on at the track. First, a new gravel parking area has been installed and the loading areas got some work as well. This should make it much smoother and level while using the transfer tabels.

Lutz Braun has constructed a new bridge that was installed in the steaming bay area.

There have been a lot of little projects around the layout. From repairing track, replacing sidings, fixing lights, and other various things. All these have been needed to get ready for the upcoming fall meet. 

August 8 Workday

Over the summer, a number of heat kinks have developed around the track. It took about an hour, but three of the major ones have been repaired. On the next workday, final corrections will be made and areas will have more gravel added.

In the coming weeks, the club is going to re-gravel the area from the street to the unloading area. During this time, we will also replace two storage sidings. These sidings were in bad shape and the ground is very uneven.  Since there will be skid steer on site for the gravel installation, replacing these tracks seemed like a good idea.

Also, a switch was removed from the unloading track ramp to allow equipment access to the steaming bay area for a couple of weeks.

June 27 Workday

John Norcross has been at the club working on restoring the Full Size Steam Engine and Cars. Back on June 8th, a small group pressure washed the area and did some general cleaning of debris around the enclosure. John came out and has painted the cars and began work prepping the engine for paint. John will continue this project a couple of weeks before the Fall Meet so we will all get to admire his work during the meet.

From the club archives, here is a photo of the Engine and Cars in the early 1970s.

April 15 Workday

With the Spring Meet only three weeks away, everyone has been working hard to wrap up all the track work projects started this winter. With the triple bridge reinstalled two weeks ago, the first task was to gravel the area just after the high bridge that was completed on the February 25 Workday. The second task is to reinstall all the other tracks on the triple bridge as well as brand new bypass switches on the bridge.