April 23-25, 2011
In one of the most intense work sessions we have executed in years, George (supported by Rachel), Jeremy, Dick (supported by Carole Ann and Aurora), Daniel, Josh, Scott, and Spencer, landed at the railroad with massive track problems to solve. Chief issue involved the excavation of the new crossing, where tons of wet mud and clay had to be moved by hand to allow for pouring of new concrete, later this week. Not only was the soil, ballast and clay removed, all ballast was screened to remove organic material for roots and rotten ties. While that went on, Daniel and Dick removed and rebuilt three lengths of track which were severely damaged in fall, 2010, when a contractor's trailer hooked it and tore it out of the ground. In addition, the movement of trains over the past thirty years had severely worn down the rail head, causing a rising number of derailments. After the rain started in earnest, outdoor work ended and we switched to upgrading tracks and couplers inside the shop.
On Sunday, Dick, Spencer, and Scott, replaced over one hundred rotten ties and re-gauged the down line tracks beyond milepost 1. Saturday evening dinner was provided by George and Rachel, with desserts from Carole Ann. Sunday morning breakfast was cooked by Carole Ann and Scott. Sunday lunch was made up of leftovers from the previous two meals. Needless to say, nobody went hungry. At the close of the day, everybody was exhausted, but the work had shown remarkable progress on all fronts.
The first two photos show the beginning of the crossing excavation on Saturday, about two hours before the heavens opened up.
The next three photos show Jeremy, Scott, and George cleaning gravel and placing surveying stakes for the cutting of sod:
"Steam Dog" Aurora, supervising the eastern side of the crossing where rails have been removed. This is the original concrete and re-bar installation from years before:
In Chain Gang fashion, Jeremy, Josh, and Daniel, lean into the removal of the wet clay under the projected foundation. Note the joy in their faces.
Scott replacing ties along the down line:
Spencer removing the rotten ties and the considerable root material that permeated the track:
George kneeling by the southern end of the track cut, giving some idea of the scale and volume of material removed. The deep layer of gravel is a subterranean drainage line, placed years ago:
Dick watching the progress on our new CNR boxcar as is rolls over newly re-gauged rail:
These last photos give an idea of how much underground preparation is going into the new crossing. Note the weed barrier ground cloth, the drainage pipe, and stone:
Concrete arrives on Friday April 29th:
And by Saturday April 30th the tracks are down:
Note the wear on the old rail:
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