The Rubber & Rawhide Railroad

Progress Report for 5th December 2010

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This Page Created on December 14th, 2010
The New Locomotive Bridge Unveiled!

The New Locomotive Bridge Unveiled!

The Big Boy is an awfully big locomotive! One just naturally has to think big to introduce such a behomoth to the admittedly confining domain of the Rubber & Rawhide.

We knew we had to re-do several curves to accomodate the Big Boy in any way. But, would it ever be possible to do more than an end to end run? And if that, would we then have to back the Big Boy, ignominiously, along all the track it had so grandly traversed?

Major Mack hinted at a possible solution, and we even procured Lazy Susan mechanisms, thinking they could somehow become the basis for a turntable.

Not a Turntable, but a Turnbridge!

We got to talking to Julio, though, and he was thinking more primitively. "All you need is a bridge, Chief!" he said, and sketched out a plan with his axe.

Here our Turnbridge is in place, a five foot sectional trick connecting to the open track of the South Garage Wye. Would someone send us a locomotive, please?

Turnbridge in place
A Mallet on the Bridge

A Mallet on the Bridge

We have this great old Mallet from Texas. It's got as many driven wheels as the Big Boy, they just happen to be smaller. It's also battery powered.

Yup, it fits purty good. Of course, it's only 45 inches or so, including the tender.

Another Turnbridge View

The turnbridge was pretty simple to build. All it took was around 120 stainless steel screws, nine aluminum plates, four aluminum angles and eight small casters. We sprung for those fancy, brushed metal cabinet door handles from Lowe's, just to dress it up.

Another Turnbridge View
Will the Turnbridge Turn?

Will the TurnbridgeTurn?

The turnbridge had handled pretty well with only its own weight. But what would it do with twenty-some pounds of locomotive added to it?

The casters were a trifle balky. Our Track and Roadbed shop says they'll want to add holddown points before trusting us to rotate the Big Boy. They must have seen Accounting squirm when the Mallet gently rocked on the track as the turnbridge was moved!

Realigning for Clockwise operation.

As many may be aware, most of the Rubber & Rawhide operates in a counterclockwise direction. Thus, the Mallet was backed from the Roundhouse, up the Yard Lead, against its normal forward direction.

Here, our third largest locomotive is being turned so it will now be set for clockwise forward.

Realigning for Clockwise Operation
Turnbridge Turned and Ready!

Turnbridge Turned and Ready!

It appears that the Turnbridge has successfully completed its 180 degrees turn, and is now reconnected to the South Garage Wye.

Mallet Reversed!

Now wait! Didn't we just back this locomotive onto the bridge? And now, we have to back again? I'm confused!

But once our confused engineer backs, he'll be able to go forward in a clockwise direction. Aren't directions wonderful?

Backing onto the Main
A Turnbridge Still Life

A Turnbridge Still Life

We had tried to take some construction photos, but the aluminum ate all the flash.

The aluminum plates spanning the two bolted together angles were cut down from our regular eighth-inch thick, four by twelve inch splice plates. The aluminum angle is all eighth inch stock. Two inch angles were used between the plates, while inch and a half angles gave the correct height for our casters to hold the assembly about 1/4" above the surface. This put the rails half an inch above their usual height. Scrap eighth inch plates were stacked to ease the five foot track section down to grade level.