Friday, December 16, 2011

New Roof on the Car Barn

Our miracle man, Bill Shepherd, has done it again; during his Fall pilgramage to JT one of his everlasting signs that he has been here before will be the new roof on the Car Barn.
The old rolled roof and the South wind have fought for years and the wind won. She would work the roof and all the roofing nails would just pull out everytime we would get a good blast.
Finished in the same material as the Station, when viewed from just the right angles they match and fool the eye that they are the same building. This welcome addition to the grounds will protect the contents from the elements for years to come. Thanks again Bill from all of us at JT.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Vice Presidents Foundation Weekend

Vice Presidents Foundation Weekend, December 10, 11 2011

Mike Thompson, he is the Vice President, wanted to get a jump on pouring the rest of the foundations for the Trestle to the Sky on the High Line. They are five bents left plus the head wall, leaving us six more to form up and pour so he can have the dimensions for the heights of the bents left to be constructed.

The dates were thrown around and this weekend worked best for most, you learn early that one weekend does not work for all. Allan and Lynn Ratliff arrived Thursday and I made it out late that night as well. Bruce Thompson ambled in Friday afternoon with Mike and Nathan showing up after dinner. Greg and Becky Ratliff finished the Friday night arrivals. Saturday Morning was the Lunar eclipse, I caught a look at it as it dropped below the edge of the hill around 5:15 am.

Mike was up not much after dawn and we all got an early start on the task at hand. With the portable power on the hill and the table saw at the end of track/trestle the forms for all that remained were finished by noon. Allan on the GE 47 tonner made plenty of trips up and down the grade for this or that during the morning in addition to preparing the train for concrete duty. Before we broke for lunch we cleaned up the site of anything that was not needed or in the way on the hill to make it easier to get around when pouring started after lunch.

Paul Westover made it out and brought us a load of track panels that he puts together at home. After a quick photo and text on the phone, showing the progress to a few that could not make it out the pouring project started. The batch plant was stocked with bags of ready-mix out of Tedder Shed, water hose stretched to location, etc.

I ran the mixer and loaded buckets down the hill. Allan ran the GE and string of flats up and down the grade. Bruce had switch duty at Brown, the High Line switch, to help speed up train movements. Mike, Greg, Paul and Gary Conley schlepped buckets from the end of the trestle to whichever form they were filling. We had four set of buckets going on the fill, so the wait at the top or bottom was minimal, heck, until we got a good rhythm going there was not much time to even get in a sip of beer.

Communications went up or down on the train. Number of bags used, how many forms filled, keep them coming, two then one more load. The sun had long disappeared at Tedder but was still out up on the hill, Allan said there was quite a difference in both locations. Twenty-one bags of mix, plus the other stuff that goes into the concoction went up by train in a little over two hours, about fifteen round trips. Bill Shepherd added a little to the finishing touches as the crew wrapped up for the day. A good accomplishment, usually two days worth of work done in one, all because we had the help to do it, thank you all involved.

Sunday, we have forms to pull off the concrete and a little edge breaking to do. Clean up of the form wood as we will not be needing that stuff for a while, probably the fire wood pile will be a good place to stack it. We need to run a string line over from on end to the other to get the numbers for the bent heights. The steel is purchased and the square tube is at Mike’s to be cut, so that the next project will be at Thompson Garage Floor Welding.

Should have a few bents welded up by New Years, and the rest by Mid January. Great weekend, see you at the next one?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rudy Run 2011, November 10-13

This years Rudy Run is now in the books, the weather cooperated to an extent giving us both a rainy day and beautiful clear ones on the same weekend.

Quite the crowd had assembled by Thursday night, and even though we were to play this weekend, the arrival of three more bents for the trestle made a welding party on the hill the event of the day on Friday. A load of channel iron Thursday about dark from Vagabond Welding of Yucca Valley sealed the deal. By noon, always a slow start the first day, stringers were being cut and transported up to the trestle job. The sun made an appearance and warmed the afternoon. With enough help; the stringers, ties and rail were extended as far as we could go, even a new bent foundation was dug. And by the time the day was over all that was left to do was screw the track to all the bridge ties.

Visiting trains ran as well, the sight from the end of track affords quite the view.By Friday night the steaming bays were full, seven steam engines, three electric and a complement of personal pedal contrivances.

Saturday we arose to a sprinkling of precipitation, it never really let loose,if it did it wasn't for long, it just kind of spit on occasion. It didn't stop many from getting in a day of running, just a low key kind of day, By afternoon it had stopped raining all together and by dinner time the sky was showing stars. Sunday was calm and clear for miles, the Annual Meeting took up the morning with time afterwards to run a bit before the start of the packing process began. The work on the trestle was wrapped up with the ties all secured to the rail.

A good weekend for visiting and meeting new faces at the track. A time to enjoy the fruits of our labors, as well as to continue with our efforts with ample assistance was had. Looking forward to the next time is a good thing, see you there, Brian

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Opener Weekend

Halloween Weekend has come and gone, the place is ready for the Rudy Run in less then two weeks. We did a little work on the next trestle, even had Allan Ratliff's GE 47 tonner testing the span. Hope to see you out for the meet, till then, enjoy.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Itching for a Trip up the Hill?

Tired of that same old loop? Itching for a trip up the hill? It is getting that time of year again; when the leaves start to turn colors and fall to the ground for some sap to rake up.

That means it is also Joshua Tree and Southern season. The fall brings new life out at the tracks. Renewed enthusiasm, a trip or two turning at the wye below the station and making a run up the grade, waiting for the downward train and then up to the reverse loop where you wait for the uphill train before you make your decent back to the station. Ah!, Railroading on the hill, we'll be waiting for you.

Check the calender or drop me a note at;

Friday, August 19, 2011

We Are Still Here

We are still here and it has been a busy summer. The Narrow Gauge Meet went well in March. The Road Trip to Maricopa had a couple of JT engines in attendance. Spring Break we did a little work on the next trestle. Fathers Day weekend it was on the road again to PV & A for an invitational run it the hills of Portola Valley, nice. The last weekend in June is was out to the tracks and we welded up three sections of the new trestle and poured three more footings. If this summer stays cool as it has we might squeak in a weekend for more construction. August was the annual Narrow Gauge Meet at Bitter Creek, it is always worth the trek to there. I updated the calendar for next year. Plan ahead. See you soon. Brian

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Standard Gauge Meet at JT february, 18-21, 2011

Had a good weekend, weather cooperated to the best it could, eight locomotives graced the rails and plenty of people. See the whole enchilada by sending me a note at

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mid January Run and Sun at JT, 1-13-17, 2011

A crew of us spent an enjoyable weekend at the tracks. Got in a little running and a lot of outdoors time. Great weather with us all weekend, with it getting better each day. The #1 spur track at the lift was the major work project; a much needed storage track for big run days.
If you would like to get on the list for knowing more about what is going on send me an E-mail at See you at the Standard Gauge Meet, February 18,19 and 20.