Friday, July 21, 2017

July, 2017 Work Weekend

A wonderful day to do railroad work! Wonderful, that is, if you like a high of 85F and 60% humidity!

The location and type of markings on 6202's new sides had not been decided; Kendall O. and Brian B. discuss what and where the markings would be placed. Some electrical work had not been completed on the conversion to passenger service project which took place the previous week. Dave O. installs the wiring.

An ongoing project, the 6's water tank (cistern) had been exposed two months ago but no progress was made on removing the rust or roughing the existing paint's surface. Matt W., with the assistance of James M., and Micah M. complete the task.

Nick M. and Micah M. remove sandblasting residue from the cistern.

The South Station expansion is near completion. The building has been extended, the LED lighting has been installed, and the concrete pad on the south side has been poured.

The next step was to raise the newly covered rails to match those in the old portion of the building. Over the years, the tracks outside the building leading to the road had sunk into the dirt but raising them had been delayed -- until now. The gap below the newly located west doors and the railhead was a bit more than optimum.

Due to the fine limestone fill, raising the tracks was more involved than on the rest of the system. Plus, the dust from the crushed limestone was simply a nuisance. On the other hand, the ties were in good shape as they had been kept out of the weather.

Make-believe backhoe operator Elliot H., scrapes the fine limestone from the ties in anticipation of jacking the tracks.

Photos courtesy Rex F.

DRGW Flatcar 6206 Enters Passenger Service

A quick summary of flatcar 6206 at the MCRR:

For details about the refurbishing of 6206 and 6216, see:

A large portion of the conversion project's lumber was cut at Nelson S's sawmill in March. Additional finished lumber purchased from a lumberyard, transported to Mt. Pleasant, and loaded onto the flatcar. Numerous wood working tools were moved into the shop.

The specialty lumber cut at Nelson's mill was moved from its location in the south station into the shop.

Roger R., Konnor S., and Brian B.prepare some of the boards for the benches.

This scene was taken from the loft over the office looking down into the shop's pit track. There are at least 10 MCRR volunteers at work!

Dustin B. carefully marks a board before cutting.

Kendall O. measures one of the uprights.

The welding table, usually with a wide assortment of things that should be somewhere else, has the plans and bolt & nut packages for the benches. Several random tools and a piece of wood are placed on the table for effect.

Stakes are custom fitted into the stake pockets. The stakes will provide the support for the sidewalls and an anchor point for the benches.

Rex F. and Jesse V. apply paint to the edges of the cut boards. Apparently, the slow drying paint was the only serious problem for the entire project.

Griffin W. glances at Brian B's handiwork.

The pieces for one of the dozens of bench brackets.

Dustin B. drills holes for the bolts which fasten the bench brackets together.

A partial set of bench brackets.

More bench brackets.

A view of all the stakes in their respective pockets, some discussion of the horizontal side boards, and drilling of holes for fastening the side boards to the stakes. .

Assembling the "A" end of the benchwork.

The flatcar's right side has all the side boards fastened in place.

Some of the side boards were slightly warped causing them to lift the stakes out of the pockets. Dave O. fabricates a giant "washer" which was placed under several of the stakes to anchor them in their pockets.


Ready to assemble the "B" end.

Lunch time!

Assembling the benches.

Photos courtesy Matt W., Joan M., Elliot H.

Friday, June 16, 2017

June, 2017 Work Weekend

A few dedicated volunteers (and a series of construction guys) braved the hot, windy, conditions and logged in time at the MCRR this weekend.

The highlight of South Station expansion effort this weekend was the completion of concrete work in and around the building.

The expanded area (the west 75 feet) has a 14 foot x 75 foot (approximate) level concrete pad. We plan to put some of the larger and seldom used shop tools in this area. Currently, most of these items are on the flatcars which makes them unusable.

The concrete pad in the original portion of the building was expanded from 8 feet wide to 14 feet wide for the entire length of the building. There is a sloping transition area between the additional concrete and the level pad in the west extension.

As a casual observer of concrete workers, I have always marveled at their ability to use the "float" to smooth concrete. This craftsman had an interesting addition on his float: a vibrator mechanism to insure a perfectly smooth surface with a minimum of strokes at the concrete.

This isn't exactly part of the South Station expansion but it is a new concrete pad for the MCRR's fueling shed. (It makes a nice patio to enjoy cooler evenings in Southeast Iowa.)

The blog entry following this one has a start to finish series of pictures documenting the South Station expansion.

It has often been a problem when we move rolling stock that doesn't have proper draft gear to connect with the locomotives. Matt W. and Elliot H. resolved most of those issues by making a "fits all" link with replaceable jaws to attach almost everything that we have to one of the switch engines.

Dave M. removes some of the ugliness from one of the panels for the water tank on the 6's tender.

The shop's pit needed a thorough cleaning. John K. and Matt W. scrubbed it until the concrete was visible.

An addition to the MCRR's collection of railroad tools is this power tamper, acquired in a trade with the Cumbres and Toltec Senic Railroad. It looks a bit rough but it should be usable sometime this summer.