May 7, 2011 - Lower Loop Update

May 7, 2011

The crew trimmed the ties and filled in the gap on the north side of the girder bridge on Friday and Saturday morning.  The beams need to be welded to the steel tower on the north end and a spacer  welded in place on the south end.  After that is completed the beams can be painted and then ties and track installed.  (Click thumbnails to enlarge photo.)

Bruce was on hand early Saturday to finish some welding on the truss bridge trusses.   It was easier to turn them over here than in his shop.    (Wonder if welders ever catch their beards on fire?)

This is a good view of some of the equipment used to construct a railroad --- almost like the big boys.

Bruce is welding the bridge base to the west tower so there would be no chance that we knock the base off the tower when installing the sides.  It was a good thing this was done.

The time finally arrived to put the first truss in place.

It went pretty well --- we did have to set the beam down once and shorten the straps.

Once the straps were shortened Dick was able to place the 900 pound truss within an half inch.  Bars and shoving took care of the  rest.

The base had a little sag and bow so cable and chain come alongs and clamps were used to draw the two pieces together.  That required a lot more effort than hoisting the truss into position.  Photo shows Bruce welding  one of the joints. 

Once we had some experience, the second truss should be a snap --- not so!  Dick had trouble getting it up high enough.  We must have made a dozen attempts to get it in position.   During this process the senior member got his finger caught in a strap ratchet which was under considerable tension and he nearly fell into the creek when the pressure was released to free the finger.  On the upside, once the truss was in position it only took a few minutes to clamp it for welding.

Clee, Bruce and Dick testing the assembled truss bridge.   We were all exhausted at this point    Bruce will come back another day to finish the welding. 

This is the view of the truss bridge from the driveway.  There is somewhat of an illusion in that the track on both sides of the bridge and well beyond the curve on the other side of the bridge is all at the same elevation --- no grade.   The track curve and possibly the zoom lens may have caused the illusion.      


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