The Rubber & Rawhide Railroad

Progress Report for 20th September 2008

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This Page Created on January 20th, 2009
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Leopard Alert!

The Leopards are coming! The Leopards are coming! Well, at least some pretty good sized leopard frogs. They've long been fixtures here at Leather Oaks, and now they're moving in as roadbed inspection adjuncts to the Rubber and Rawhide! This photo was made on the new gravel-protected northbound house-side route.

Tremendous Roadbed progress reported!

Thanks to improved production line techniques, roadbed is now being created almost on demand along the Phase II House Perimeter Route. The photo at right shows eighteen pieces already prepared with their splice plates installed and ready for use.

Roadbed Production Center

Roadbed Installation completed past Endless Pool!

See the photo below. Actually, the prepared roadbed extended past the deck steps, but there's no photographic evidence. Work was stopped early as additional track switches were required, and arrangements for local procurement were made with Orange Grove Hobby Shop.

House Perimeter Roadbed

Phase II roadbed rough-out completed!

The photo at right and its linked companion show the roadbed pieces placed but not installed in the critical "Magic Portal" area between house and garage. Two or three of the pavers had to be relocated a few inches to clear a path for the roadbed, but otherwise this showplace remains intact.

Magic Portal Roadbed Roughed out
Phase II Interchange Switch Locations

Phase II and Phase III relationships plotted.

While details of the exact alignment of Phase III trackage are still being determined, two locations were selected for rail interchange between the House Perimeter (Phase II) and the Lot Circumnavigation (Phase III) routes. The first of these is almost invisible at first glance, except for the spade handle lifting the roadbed for elevation adjustments in the photo at left. This spur will join the Memorial Bell Tower route proceeding Northwesterly towards the Pond Waterfall. The linked photo shows the roadbed designed for the Northeast Wye. This switch will serve to connect the Sago Palm/Bronze Trio loop with the Southbound House Perimeter.

Progress reported in Southbound Lot Circumnavigation.

This crucial service has been hostage to conflicts between Rail Operations and the Leather Oaks Chief Arborist. Rail Operations has insisted that five percent grade must be considered the maximum for any mainline segment intended for uphill (usually Southbound) service. The arborist has argued with equal insistence that the yard not become a mere excuse for trackage out of bounds. The reason this became a particular issue along the Skeletal Stream was the roughly ten percent drop of the ground along that route!

A serpentine was seen as a reasonable alternative to a huge overhead trestle, as the latter would have to extend almost to the Leather Oaks Pond. As short lengths of manufactured wood "roadbed" are difficult to assemble with any degree of rigidity using the usual R&R RR practice of wood splices, other alternatives were explored. The Roadbed Section much preferred simple aluminum plates.

The Arborist and Operations soon saw the advantages this posed when the first segment was built up (Photo at right), and once it was reinstalled as the Southernmost segment of the Skeletal Serpentine (Linked Photo), the effect is almost of roadbed floating in space!

Aluminum Splice Plate Demonstration