Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Trestle to the Sky Completed

On a cold, desolate and windy hillside on not the warmest day of Winter, a few hardy, brave or silly souls watched as Mike Thompson ran his little Shay up the High Line and over the newly completed trestle and back onto Terra Firma once again. A lot of people had a part in the construction from start to finish, being it a lot, or a little, it all paid off as once again we are in the dirt hauling business if we want to extend track. Here is a link to see it on You-tube-- http://youtu.be/UQr6XL1nOao

The weekend started pretty busy, Two GE 47 tonners, Stites and Ratliff, the Tolans brought out the D&RGW #50, and Art Barter hauled out his Shay..
Art showed up early Saturday and promptly set out to haul a load of dirt in buckets up the High Line. All day long he trekked them up the hill; when asked how many trips he had made, he replied he had lost count. But he always had a smile on his face, even ate lunch on the fly. Kevin and Jeff Tolan made it out Friday night and spent Saturday helping out, Rusty pulled Yeoman duty and hauled steel and whatever else was needed up to the work site all day.
Even pushed the Yankee Girl Dump car in the afternoon to bring big loads up the hill.

Gary and Margret have been building resin plugs to fill the ends on the steel tubing used for the trestles. They started on the Lower Ophirish trestle and had enough to just about finish the new trestle. They have almost one hundred more to make to fill all the holes on the trestles on the High Line, great work you two.

The dedicated crew worked till it got cold Saturday and we finished the rail and tie work Sunday morning. After the short but sweet ceremonial first engine photo shoot it was back to work to stay warm and two sections of track were ballasted beyond the trestle by the end of the day. Allan Ratliff hauled buckets up with his GE and the Thompson Shay pushed the Yankee Girl Dump car up the grade, the Shay sure sounded good with that load on it.

With the Standard Gauge Meet coming up in February it would be a great time to see the railroad and the surrounding desert, make plans to visit this next month, see you there. Brian

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Years Weekend at Joshua Tree 2011

Winter in Joshua Tree stayed somewhere else this weekend. T-shirt weather, clear days, no 'W', and we got a few things done as well. The trestle was extended three more bents which allowed us to add two more lenghts of rail to the span. Our next outing should finish the trestle and put us once again on Terra Firma, or at least a decent fill.

Friday afternoon, Santa came in a blue van. Bill Shepherd showed up with the first of many of a donation of ties from Oroville. Originally from the Klamath and Western when Train Mountain took them over. They were treated and some never have been in the ground. A quick unload with plenty of help created a nice little, ha, stack on three pallets of 5100 ties.

Saturday we worked on the trestle, drilling anchors, setting bents, welding stringers, adding rail, checking curvature, taking pictures, discussing matters of the world, enjoying company, working at the speed of 'lite', screwing down rail to messy ties, load testing and feeling a sense of accomplishment. Come out next time and see it finished.

Saturday night, trains left the station hourly and then back to the poker game. We had quite a group out till late, or early, depending on the perspective. They didn't keep me awake, I left after the 10 o'clock train. Train service ended after 1 o'clock. Sunday not much of anything happened, just enjoyed the day, and a beautiful one at that. Did some welding and working on the Yankee Girl Dump Cars, in preparation of finally having wheels for them.

If you're thinking of spending some time with us now is a great time to see the desert, see you next time. Brian