Initial 4/01//2007, last updated
The near record cold spell in 2007 stopped all construction on
the railroad but it didn't stop the planning of projects that have now
got underway with the warmer weather.
|Car Barn Expansion: This photo shows how the
tracks used to lead to the car barn. More storage is needed
for the many new cars that have arrived. Several options were
considered and it was determined that the easiest way to add storage was
to add a track under the deck on the right in the photo and
to extend the car barn to the north (toward the camera).
|This photo shows the new track configuration leading into
the car barn. Straightening the tracks into the barn has
allowed one or two more cars per track in the existing structure.
After the barn is extended, a total of 32 feet more storage per track
will be available.
Jim Norris made the six new switches while it was still
too wet to do track work. The track modifications were made in
soon as there was a couple warm dry days. Check out those
switches, Jim sure makes
tracks flow smoothly!
Wood is being collected for the barn expansion.
|No work was done on the barn expansion during the
summer. After the blowdown meet in October we got at the barn
again. The photo at right show the situation just before Halloween.
The hardest part is done ---- we should have it finished before
The added track under the deck and reconfiguration of the tracks
leading to that are is still to be done.
|Moving the Tool Shed: This tool shed was the
first Mill Creek Central structure. It was located south of
the shop in the area where the motor homes are parked. It was
decided to move adjacent to the yard
north of the steaming bays making it handy for storing many of the track tools --- thus freeing up
space in other areas to store more cars.
This photo shows pulling the
shed with the dozer. The shed had been emptied and all doors and
windows removed. The structure was put together really well and it
remained square even when dragged over very uneven ground.
This was done in April.
|It was a tight fit between the trees but we made it with
only a few minor scrapes.
|This shows the shed in its new location. The final
movement and positioning required both the backhoe and the dozer. At
this point the side closest to the track is about 5 inches too low.
This location is good should it be decided to put the yardmaster and
dispatcher offices in the shed.
|This photo was taken a few days later after the ground
dried a bit allowing the shed to be leveled. Reinstallation of the
doors, windows and storage shelves will be good rainy day jobs. A little
paint or stain might be a good idea too.
|This is the shed on a dreary day in late October.
The shed is level and a deck has been added. That deck
is a cool place to relax and watch the trains. Paint/stain will be a
|Flood Damage: Every spring there seems to be
at least one area of the track that has flood damage.
The area hardest hit this year was just south of the grade crossing over
the driveway. The water that flows down the valley and under the
trestle flowed through a pair of 6" pipes under the track here.
This spring there was a much greater than usual water flow which moved
debris to the ends of the pipes which plugged them. The water then
flowed over the track and eroded the base and ballast.
The cure for this problem was to replace the pair of 6" pipes with an
18" pipe shown in the photo at right.
|The ditch was also increased in size. The little
bridge in this photo was constructed to make it easy to move
the mower over the deeper ditch.
|Dick is hand tamping the ballast on the reinstalled
section of track. The Valley Division is now back in operation.
|Frost Damage: There is also usually some
heaving due to frost every winter. This year the north end of the concrete
grade crossing over the driveway heaved up about an inch. The main
part over the driveway stayed pretty much in the place so the north end of the concrete appeared to have
bent up. Close examination revealed that the concrete had cracked. The dirt
was removed from under the end and the track went part way back in
place. The next step was to use the "big foot" shown in the photo to
push it all the way back in place.
|This shows the side view of the offending piece of
concrete. The hole quickly filled with water after the dirt
was removed. A trench was dug to drain the water. The water
was probably the root cause of the heaving. A drain pipe and filling
the hole with gravel should be a long term solution.
|Moving Ballast Tipple: The ballast
tipple had been located near the main yard for several years. This
was convenient to most the construction. Now that the Mountain
Division tracks are finished through the tunnel and across the meadow it
was decided to move the tipple to the south end of the trestle where it
will be close to the construction of the Mountain Division reverse loop.
This also freed valuable space around the main yard.
The photo at
right (taken from the trestle) shows the new location. The ballast
will be stored to the right which is about 30" higher than the track.
Having the area behind the tipple higher will enable us to use the Kubota
to load the tipple (smaller bucket-less spill) and will enable one to
stand behind the tipple and poke clear jambs.
|This closer view of the tipple shows the walled off area
beyond the chute which will be used to store the ballast cars.
The 4X4 pole will be cut to the correct height to support a roof to keep
the cars dry. We hope to get this roof done before
|Mountain Division Reverse Loop:
The next major project is the Mountain Division reverse loop located on
the hilltop south of the trestle.
We have the first hundred yards or so just beyond the tipple graded and
were able to get this grade crossing installed. The
photo was taken from just south of the tipple and is looking south.
The single track block starts just north of the trestle and goes over
the trestle, past the tipple, over this grade crossing and then on to the
edge of the woods.
Double track starts at the edge of the woods . The double track
does a 180 degree curve in the woods and exits on the west side of the
clearing --- off to the right of the photo. Just before the tracks
exit the woods they split to form a circle in the clearing.
|This photo was taken from the edge of the woods looking
north, The right away on the right leads to the grade
crossing, tipple and trestle. The graded area to the left is the
east side of the reverse loop
The track from the tipple through the woods to the reverse loop in the
clearing will have a ~1.75% grade. Most of the reverse loop will be
|This photo is taken from 75 yards into the woods looking
back on the curve leading to the grade crossing.
|The photo is taken from the same spot as the previous
photo but is looking west. Several feet of fill was required
in this area The fill ends near the top right of the photo
where a cut begins as the tracks turn north towards the edge of the woods.
|This is the cut on the west end of the 180 degree curve
in the woods. Just beyond the puddle one track curves to the
right to start the east side of the reverse loop. The other track
continues north to form the west side of the reverse loop.
This summer Brian Maiher brought his large dozer out and made these cuts
for us which saved us several weeks of work with our smaller equipment. He was able to grade the the entire loop very close to what
we wanted. We now have to go back with our smaller equipment and
remove some of the trees and finish the sides of the cuts.
|This photo showing the east side of the reverse loop
was taken from the edges of the woods just after the double tracks split.
This cut+ is a continuation of the cut in the woods shown in the previous
|This is looking north showing the fill on the east side of
the reverse loop near the middle of the clearing. The graded area on
the right leads to the grade crossing and the trestle.
The plan for this winter is to work on grading when weather permits and
to build track panels when it's too wet to grade. Hopefully the loop
will be in operation before next summer.
|Crossing Signal: Bruce Werner lent us this
really neat signal for the grade crossing on the driveway.
The signal is about half size which is a good match for 1/8th
scale trains and full scale autos. The signal has
flashing lights and a loud bell.
We're using wireless motion
detectors to trigger the signal and and a time delay circuit to keep
the signal operating for a reasonable time after initially triggered.
Thanks for letting us use the neat signal Bruce!
We also finished the trestle, tunnel and turntable this year. The wrap-up
of these projects is described in the
Trestle Project ,
Big Dig Project and
Turntable Project web pages.
Another year is nearly gone with much accomplished.