The Rubber & Rawhide Railroad

Progress Report for 6th January 2011

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This Page Created on January 6th, 2011
New Sidewalk Crossing Nears Completion

New Sidewalk Crossing Nears Completion

Recent work at the Rubber & Rawhide has had one underlying purpose: Making the upgrades necessary to allow our new Big Boy access to the Line!

After reworking the East Garage Yard and the parallel curves leading to it, the next tight curve was a mere 25 feet away, at the West end of the garage.

It took a lot of measurements and surveying by our engineering department to find a way to install a Big Boy-compliant curve in this tight corner of the Leather Oaks domain. It was only after promissing to relocate a dwarf azalea which simply had to go that our roadbed crew was given permission to proceed.

In this photo, the last sections of roadbed have been installed. Note that this time, the roadbed continues across the sidewalk.

The West Garage Curve

Folks are still raving about how nice the East Garage Curves came out, and our Engineering Department sheepishly admitted that they just finally began using some simple triogonometry in computing roadbed sections. "Simple Trigonometry?" Now there's a thought!

The roadbed guys hate it! Once they figure out how long a section of roadbed will be, we tell them what angles to cut it.

The benefit is that when the tracklayers arrive, all they have to do is stay along the roadbed centerline, and their curves will be exactly as intended!

The West Garage Curve
Sidewalk Crossing and West Garage Curve

Sidewalk Crossing and West Garage Curves

Here's a good place to see what we mean about those cut angles. Since the sidewalk is 48 inches, and our usual roadbed lengths are about 24, we knew we'd have to "double up" the boards to handle that extra curvature. (Bevelling each side would have made one piece too narrow anyway.)

But the other question is what that does to the cut angles on the ends. We ended up with 56 inch long pieces, and sure enough the computed angles were over twice what we usually cut our regular boards. Notice that the single roadbed is connected to the righthand board only? By the time the track reaches the center of the sidewalk, the curve will be using most of the second (lefthand) board!

Trust us on this! There were no photos taken, but the track crew drug out some old sectional fifteen-foot curve track, and it all stayed well along the "narrow" side of the roadbed!

Lot Circumnavigation Split

This important switch used to be situated just at the Northern end of the Cedar Groin tunnel, and produced that terrifying (for engineers) traverse of the driveway as the Lot Circumnavigation separated finally from the original Great Green route structure.

Our surveying crew reported that the old Great Green alignment in this area didn't meet Big Boy standards, as we had previously been led to believe. In order to make that a sixteen foot curve, AND fit in the corrected West Garage curve, the old track had to "bulge out", fortunately only disturbing a little monkey grass.

Since the old Number 6 turnout is being replaced with a dual radius switch, we can maintain a constant curve for the Great Green Return track, with the Lot Circumnavigation track veering off just as gradually. This photo shows the new switch location.

Lot Circumnavigation Split
Grade Crossing Bolted in Place

Grade Crossing Bolted in Place

A little later in the day. The area has been policed, pavers now defining the roadbed very neatly. You'd almost think we were ready for tracklaying!

Well, maybe not quite ready. Read on . . . .

West Garage Curve Closeup

But first, here's a closeup of the West Garage Curve. From this camera angle, it simply doesn't appear possible for a sixteen foot curve to fit! "We'll show you, Boss!" our tracklayers say. "Just let us at it!"

West Garage Curve Closeup
Grade Adjusted Junction

The Rains and the Surveyors Came

Two days later. The rains came, and the surveyors got to looking at the sodden roadbed. In between showers, they measured the grade all the way from the Cedar Groin Tunnel to the Jupiter Switch. "We've got problems," they said!

Well, it had looked a little lumpy, but twelve percent grade does sound a bit steep, even for a Big Boy! Even worse, it varied a whole lot between roadbed sections, a known invitation for problems with even the most tolerant locomotives.

Someone produced brick pavers and wedged them under the roadbed. Our surveyors became rubber-suited excavators, mucking out the gooey extra soil as they regraded almost twenty feet of right of way. It took several tries, and when they quit, it was too wet to operate the level.

This photo, taken 24 hours after the rains quit, gives an indication of how much grading they had to do. The tops of those two inch Harvard pavers were level with the roadbed before!

Grade Adjustments almost ready!

The Great Green/Lot Circumnavigation split as viewed from the East. WOW! You can really see how much the roadbed has been lowered. Once the area dries out a little more, and the surveyor cleans all the mud off his level, final adjustments will be made and track installation can begin!

The management would like it to be noted that adequate care is being taken of the removed plants. As soon as trackwork is completed, the two plots on either side of the walk will carefully tilled and the azalea and other dislocated flora replanted.

Grade Adjustments almost ready!