With the Fall Meet only a few weeks away, the track crew is in high gear to complete all the remaining track work projects. There were two gravel trains running Saturday to bring all the rock needed to finish this section of track. It has taken almost a month to completely rebuild this section of track due to all the roadbed changes but the effort has been well worth it.
Back in 1992, Maury County Parks & Recreation began installation of some rock retaining walls and culverts around the park. The rock around our bridge was in very bad shape. After meetings with the park management team, we felt the best and safest thing to do was to have a professional fix this wall. Turcios Masonry INC. has just completed a rebuild of those walls. Huge thanks to Maury County Park for helping to fund this repair.
It was a great but hot workday as the track crew installed the new downhill track from the gauntlet to the triple bridge. Over the past 7 days, various members have been onsite preparing the grade and improving water drainage in the area. Over 30 panels were installed as well as new wood decking on the bridge. There is still more work to complete in that area before the project will be complete.
As we start getting ready for the Fall Meet, club members walk the track looking for issues that need to be corrected. One section of track that needed attention is from the gauntlet to the triple bridge. This area of track was installed back in 1999 and see heavy passenger traffic every meet. Bill Gardei and Michael Haywood removed 260 feet of track today from that area. The next step is to repair the retaining wall and re-level the roadbed. After that is complete, track crews will begin instakling new track panels.
Many members came out to enjoy some late afternoon and night running that the track. It was a warm afternoon but as the sun went down, temperatures got a little better. Everyone had a lot of fun and glad so many members were able to attend.
On June 28, 2018, Columbia had a major thunder storm and flash flooding affect many areas. Due to the volume of water in such a short amount of time, there was some gravel washed away during the heavy rain. Most of the damage seems to be confined around the creek that runs through the center of the layout. The track crew is currently working on getting tools are resources together to repair the damage in the coming weeks.
It was a hot day but many members came out to the annual backwards run day. It is truly a unique experience to run the track backwards and creates some unique challenges, especially for steam engines. Everyone was in good spirits and had an amazing time!
With the last workday being cancelled due to rain, a special workday was called to get the club back on schedule with spring meet preparations. With the spring meet so close, it was all hands on deck to get a massive amount of gravel put down on the new tracks. Due to some great teamwork, the track crew was able to complete about 85% of the gravel work that was needed. Work will continue at the next workday this upcoming saturday.
Crews were hard at work Saturday installing new lights for the Steaming Bay area. There is still more work to complete before the system is fully ready for the meet but good progress was made!
The Spring Meet is rapidly approaching and there are several projects being worked on simultaneously to get the facility ready for everyone's enjoyment. Mike Bassham has been working hard on two projects involving the steaming bay over the last few months. Project #1 was the removal of the wooden retaining wall around the bays and the installation of a new a concrete wall. Project #2 was the complete re-flooring of the entire steaming bay area. The old gravel and debris was removed and the entire area got a level coat of new gravel. Note, there is a lot of rock dust on the tracks but that will be cleaned before the meet.
During the last meet, the club asked Ted and John Norcross if they could take the Mid-South Live Steamers wooden sign back to their shops for a professional restoration.
The sign was originally displayed on the turntable in the steaming bay and was moved to the side of the storage building at some point during the 1990s. The sign was beginning to show signs of damage from all the years outside in the elements. From the photos below, you can see the dramatic transformation of the sign back to its former glory. Many thanks to the Ted and John for all their hard work on this project.
The newly restored sign will be reinstalled on the storage building during the Spring Meet.
With the Spring Meet on two months away, the track crew was hard at work getting the facility ready. The inner most track leading to the passenger station had seen over a decade of very heavy use and was in need of replacment . The entire loop was removed, roadbed leveled, and new track panels were installed. Additionally, several other members were around the facility taking apart old panels and repairing various issues that had been observed.
There is a lot that goes into the preparation of a MSLS meet. There is track work, facility management, and merchandise production. MSLS member Michelle Irwin was kind enough to take a time lapse video of her work making the amazing Mid-South Live Steamers hats. With her skills and amazing abilities, the club has been able to expand our color selection and improve quality many times over versus what the club did before. Below is a video of how the new club hats are fabricated.
If your Live Steam Club is looking for Hats or Shirts like this, Contact Michelle for more Information! https://www.etsy.com/shop/CreatedByMI
Finally the weather in Tennessee is being nice so it was time to get a little track work done. Bill Gardei and Michael Haywood went out to the track to get a few projects completed. The first task was to complete the work from the February 3rd workday. The switch was rehabilitated and some missing ties were installed. Before the Spring Meet, work crew will level and ballast the area.
The major project for the day was the removal and replacement of one of the trailer unloading tracks behind the sheds. This particular track is also used to load the gravel cars, so it has seen some heavy use for many years. Within a few hours, the brand new track had been installed and will be leveled and ballasted in the coming weeks.
With cloudy skies and a high of 45F, the crew arrived and began to survey the track for sections to repair. Members noticed that a section of main line track near the steaming bay was in need of replacement. The track crew removed and replaced about 170 feet of track. While this section was not on the winter repair list, it shows how routine inspections of the layout can identify problems areas that need to be addressed before the next meet.
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.
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.
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.
Bill Gardei, Jon Sproat, & Michael Haywood were hard at work today rebuilding switches. Over the next few weeks, additional switches and track panels will be built, in preparation for the Conner Yard rebuild that will take place in the coming weeks.