The Rubber & Rawhide Railroad

Progress Report for 31st August 2010

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This Page Created on December 8th, 2010
Porched Turtle Causes Stir!

Big Turtle Sighted!

This has been a slow year for turtles on the Rubber & Rawhide. It was a relief to find this big guy visiting our Front Porch Station. He didn't stay long enough for us to sell him a ticket, alas.

Big Boy Fever?

Our management has frequently stated that they don't want to buy any equipment that won't "fit" on our little railroad empire. Curves were deliberately set at what seemed a generous eight-foot diameter minimum. Neither of our Mallets complain much, and even our Pacific has finally found the trackwork so be sufficient to its needs.

But somehow, the siren call "Big Boy", Big Boy, Big Boy keeps echoing around the place. Engineering flat out said NO, muttering the curves were twice too tight. Accounting yelled about budget busting extravagances. But it doesn't hurt to just peek on the Internet, does it?

We even got surveying out to investigate, "How much of the Rubber & Rawhide, say just the Great Green Route, could be upgraded to sixteen foot curves?"

Turns out, there are only about three places on the Great Green Westbound segment which don't already EXCEED 16 ft! Here's what our surveyors roughed out for the realignment east of Marcellus Corner.

East Marcellus Alignemt
Marcellus Corner proposed new Alighment

Marcellus -- Tight Corner, Eased Curve

We aren't sure what our Monkey Grass Lobby will make of this, but it would cut into the swale somewhat. The situation on Marcellus's South Corner is more graceful, as the new alignment would rejoin the original unobtrusively.

The two dead-end track segments are the still unprotected ends of the new Marcellus Depot Sidings.

What a Tender Test!

One Internet search too many turned up one Big Boy too nearby, and almost affordable. The wooden locomotive transit cases looked mighty pretty just resting in the R&R Roundhouse, but the burning question remained, was Sixteen Feet the "final answer". Here the UP tender seemed to say that Twelve Feet was okay. Premature and innacurate that conclusion turned out to be!
Big Boy Tender Curve Track Tests
Twelve Foot Cuves Plotted

Twelve Foot Curves Plotted

We had said that there were three places where sixteen feet curves might be problematic. The second location, in the Discobolos Station area was deemed easlily resolvable by minor adjustments of track alignment. At most two or three sections of roadbed might need to be adjusted, and the current segmented curve smoothed out.

The Diver's Corner/ West Porch area was going to another story entirely. Our surveyors soon found that there's not even sixteen feet available between the porch and the fence. But, "We could do twelve feet!"

Here, the track is "sketeched in". Notice how squashed the existing eight foot loop appears: We continue to be amazed that most locomotives don't find problems negotiating it.

For help in orienting to the existing plan. One of the two switches in the bottom right corner allows trains on the House Perimeter Route to access the Great Green Route, in the middle of the proposed expanded Diver's Loop. The other switch would replace the Wye adjacent to the existing Diver's Loop.

Taping out a Circle

Twelve foot curves were definitely looking doable, but a few measurements might be nice. Here several tape measures are used to create six-foot radials, so our surveyors could be more confident in assessing the possibilities.

The switch at center left would be removed, in essence being replaced by the Wye that currently selects between the Diver's Loop and the Front Porch Return track. The latter track would be relocacted, and a new switch installed just South of the Wye.

If you look really closely, you may note that the new Diver's Loop would actually follow along the front of the Dive Feature, instead of to its rear. The width of the recess between the top of the Serpentine and the Bamboo Forest isn't sufficient to push the curve further back!

Taping the Turns at the Diver's Loop
Twelve Foot View from South

Proposed Diver's Loop view from South

The small section of roadbedded track in the bottom left is near the beginning of the Front Porch Return. Our surveyors were pleased to note that they could get a smooth transition from that track to the new Diver's Loop.

That long track going across the photo from lower left to top right is the existing alignment of the Great Green to House Perimeter connection. It's long been a complaint of our engineers and even some passengers that there are a couple of uncalled for bobbles. That track too would be slightly realigned and straightened, probably joining the House Perimeter Route just South of the FM Tower.