The Rubber & Rawhide Railroad

Progress Report for 8 November 2010

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This Page Created on December 14th, 2010
French Drains East

East Garage Gets Frenched!

That's French Drains, of course. The East Garage Yard had always been something of a disappointment. The R&R management, feeling pressure to at least get some return on our Big Boy purchase, decided a complete rebuild of the yard was necessary. Even if the curves to the Round House were acceptable, which they weren't, the repeated floods down the yard had made it a huge maintenance drain.

So, all of the trackage was removed, even down to Neptune, a certain Cleyera Japonica that also restricted curves unacceptably was dug out, and twin drain pipes installed. In this photo, the two pipes already have their socks on, and lanscaping cloth drapes the two ditches. The upper end of the pipe nearest to the garage has already been partially covered with gravel.

North End of East Garage Yard

Someone had told us we should start the digging at the lowest point and work back up. This photo shows what happens when you ignore that advice!

We did do some things right, though! The sprinkler head has already been relocated, and the bamboo roots cut back, ultimately allowing a much better alignment of both the mainline and the locomotive return track.

North Garage Yard View
Marshy Path ditch connection

Ditches extend almost to Neptune!

Finally, our ditch grunts start the hard work of digging through the crushed granite of the Marshy Path. The twin pipes rejoin existing drains at that point.

The two hose indicates the general route of the new drain pipes as the head southward to join those passing through the East Garage Yard. The bare earth indicates the old alignment of the Lot Circumnavigation Route. The one piece of roadbed visible connects to the "Beyond the Briars" loop.

What a Sod Story!

The area between the garage and the Marshy Path used to be a really neat little green. Tree removals after Katrina destroyed the grass, and the only green visible most of the time was moss and weeds.

Since we had this huge amount of dirt, mostly topsoil, dug out from making the French Drains, someone had this really great idea of renting a tiller, breaking up all that earth, and then bringing in the sod truck.. Looks pretty neat, I think, and this is before the trackage and most roadbed has been reinstalled!

What a Sod Story!
Curves Ahoy!

Curves Ahoy!

With all of the drains completed, and sod installed where grass had not dared venture for years, it was time to begin "Big Boy Friendly" track redesign. The old Main track and Yard Lead both featured some rather steep curves, just barely over eight feet in diameter.

The new Main line track's curvature is about sixteen and a half feet, while the inner Yard Lead still has a curvature of over 15 feet diameter.

Building the RoundHouse Curve.

The most critical curve in the East Garage, perhaps on the entire, extended Great Green route, was the track leading from the Yard Lead to the RoundHouse. A new dual-radius switch was obtained, so that the curve could start inside the garage (Round House). This was absolutely critical, as there's only eight feet between garage wall and the East fence! Obviously, to get an eight foot radius (16 feet diameter) curve, something had to give!

The majority of the new switch resides in the garage, with only the points and switchstand outside.

In the photo, our roadbed crew has carefully designed a careful sixteen-foot curve, using brand new aluminum plates them to get the strength and rigidity needed for 43-pound locomotives, such as the Big Boy.

In the background, a few portions of the old Main Line roadbed have been hinted in place. The foreground diagonal piece of roadbed is about where the Lower (North) Yard Lead will lie.

Building the RoundHouse Curve
The RoundHouse Curve in a rebuilding Yard

The RoundHouse Curve in a rebuilding Yard

There now! We knew it would fit! You see those two pieces of roadbed alongside the fence? You notice how smoothly the RoundHouse curve meets the second roadbed? Simply good engineering, that's all, we say with more relief than pride!

The new RoundHouse Curve Viaduct

The most vexing problem with the new RoundHouse curve was caused by the gentleness of the curve: It left no good place to build supports that wouldn't in some way impact the yard in a negative way.

Operations was already unhappy enough that Yard Tracks One and Two were now about two feet shorter than before. The possibility of losing another siding was "not an option" we were told.

So, appropriate lenghts of sizes of aluminum angle was procured, and a boxlike structure designed which serves the second purpose of hosting the Lower Yard track! Neat, huh?

A couple of other points. The brick wall alongside the Main Line has been neatened. Further work will be done on pavers, etc as the yard roadbed is slowly reassembled.

RoundHouse Curve Viaduct