The Rubber & Rawhide Railroad

Progress Report for 24th June 2009

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This Page Created on June 24th, 2009
Is that the Huey P. Long?

The Memorial Bell Tower approach track Grade Improvement Results

Looking almost like a wooden interpretation of the Huey P. Long railroad bridge approaches, the track crossing the Bridge Over Lake Orin has already risen 4½ inches by the time it reaches Rainboot Point! This drenched photo was made minutes after completion of the morning's sprinkler run for the Magic Garden.

The back story: This little section of track held the dubious distinction of having the second highest upgrade on the Rubber & Rawhide's mainline route structure. While it had never been an impediment to operation of diesel-powered and geared steam locomotives, it imposed significant limitations on train length for our passenger steam locomotive, and gave engineers fits trying to control train speeds!

Closeup of Bridge Crossing

Closeup of Bridge Crossing

From Horse's vantage point, the new bridge crossing looks even more impressive. Accounting and the Roadbed crew are holding "discussions" over whether to install a solid base for the track as opposed to this rather tin plate arrangement. "It will cost a whole $15.00 board," the bean counters were heard to cry. The roadbed folks are hoping for support from the wildlife protection folks, who are already eyeing the potentially turtle-threatening height as the track regains normal roadbed.

This had been on the Roadbed's crew makeover list for some time. Once they were able to get some surveying time on the project, and found it would not involve any changes to existing roadbed, it seemed that mere minutes were required to complete the modifications.

Sago Palm Grade Improvement View

Sago Palm Grade Improvement Project Begins!

The "worst grade on the line" engineers would rave! And once passenger service was returned to steam power, others noticed too. The Sago Line's most famous character was seen making threatening motions with one of his several battle knives, as his favorite train went from six cars to three and then a measley two!

Despite the extreme heat and humidity, the roadbed crew was sent out to see if they couldn't find an easy solution. Surveyers had identified the areas with the biggest slopes, but calculated that if the two grade crossings traversing the Garden Path were raised, it would be easy to meet the R&R's five percent mainline target.

Grade Crossings temporarily suspended.

In order to facilitate the grade improvements to the Sago and Horse Loop, it was necessary to temporarily halt vehicular use of the Garden Path. Full pedestrian and wildlife usage are unimpaired, however.

In this photo, the track may be seen in its raised state. Hopefully, the grade crossings will be reworked soon.

Grade Crossings to be Raised
Horse's Plaza Unaffected

Horse's Plaza Unaffected

The greatest grade adjustment was required under the Sago Switch. By the time the track passes behind Horse Plaza, it's only an inch or so above its previous alignment. All adjustments required ended well North of the Iron Bridge.

Sago Switch and Raised Grade Crossings

Looking back to the North, a good perspective view of the much smoother, gentler grade approaching Horseman's Plaza.

With these two grade improvement projects available at least for limited use, we're hoping ( and Horse is demanding!) a restoration of more rational passenger service in the near future.

Sago Switch and Raised Grade Crossings
The Dried Bridge Crossing

The Bridge Crossing is Now Dry!

One last look at the grade-adjusted Bridge over Lake Orin Crossing. Maybe we won't flip too many turtles on their backs, you think?