Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Spreading Ballast in Thomsaton Yard

The RMNE’S first Fall Track Blitz Weekend was certainly helped by a pair of almost ideal days on the 1st and 2nd of November. As planned, the work centered at the Thomaston Shop Yard, concentrating on the construction of the middle and west outside tracks and the completion of the two switches leading to them. The two switches, located on a curve, were more difficult to build than those on tangent trackage, but the complex design was dictated by the need to get the maximum storage capacity within the “footprint” of the site.

The end of day on Sunday found the center and west tracks completed southward to just south of the end of the shop building. Although surfacing had not been done, the track rested on a solid and level grade – permitting the use of the trackage at low speeds and for storage as all the ties were good. “Build it and they will come” certainly works for us – the tracks were filled as the sun set.

Sunday the 16th saw a ballast crew working through most of the day. The two hoppers were empties of their remaining loads of ballast stone, which was spread over about 75 percent of the trackage including the switches. That will likely be it for ballasting for 2008 as freezing weather is only weeks away. Two switch stand targets were installed on the new switches at the end of the day.

Volunteers numbered about 35 on Saturday, 24 on Sunday. Around 200 ties and about 32,000 lb of former NYNH&H 107 lb rail were installed, connected by 1600 spikes and about 3 tons of “other track material.”

Planning for the next extension will be undertaken during the winter. Plans will most likely include extending each track about 450 feet south, with provision for a car barn structure over a portion of the trackage. More photos and news available here.

--Photos by Howard Pincus

Monday, November 17, 2008

November Order Board

The reconstruction of the Huntingdon Avenue passing siding has continued a few rail lengths at a time, with the trackage returning to service for now. Over the winter it is hoped to run a few work trains along the south end of the line, performing some lineside brush cutting and trash cleanup.

The reassembly of the rebuilt Cummins front-end loader engine has been completed and work is now ongoing on the other components such as the torque converter. Work usually takes place on Saturdays and Thursdays at the minimum, unless the DMV is called out to assist other departments. Gene Pfeiffer, Bob Harrington and Sam Walker have been the mainstays on this project.

The defective seal on the number two axle of engine NAUG 2203 was successfully completed. Later in the month, the NH 529 will be drained and winterized, and RMNE 45-tonner will be getting an oil change if time permits.
--Bill Sample

Naugatuck Train Crew

Our volunteers come from all walks of life. Here's a photo of one of our "typical" Naugatuck Railroad train crews! From Left to Right: Joan Jackson, Thomaston Station Agent; Joe Knowles, Jr., Conductor (his father was a New Haven Conductor on the Naugy back in the day); Sue Sample, Brakeman; Gordon Wheeler, retired NHRR tower and block operator (92 yrs old); Ralph Harris, Conductor; Lou Beres, Car Host. October 2008, photo by Howard Pincus.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Photos from Track Blitz Weekend

More photos from our successful November track blitz weekend.

Our new three-track yard takes shape!

Striking a classic pose aboard RMNE 42

The pneumatic spiker helps move work along

Fine tuning our new switch lead

NH 529 hauls a load of ballast out of the yard

Coaches inside Thomaston Shop

Carefully testing the new switch

Our wary, watchful Foreman

Adjusting switch points in Thomaston Yard

--Photos by Otto M. Vondrak

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Awesome track blitz weekend

A few pics from the weekend work. Lots of work done and tens of thousands of calories consumed. About 35 people on Saturday and about 24 on Sunday; they built 400+ feet of tracks and did a few other projects as well (Naugatuck locomotive 2203 and coach 5805, as well as some of the shop building interior systems). The numbers: 200 track ties, 1600+ spikes, 30,000 lbs of steel rails, and a few tons of other track parts went into all this. A tremendous effort by all involved, and tremendous progress made, with a working, three-track yard completed in a weekend. This effort builds upon our earlier work this past May, and increases our capacity to bring more of our historic equipment closer to the "home shop." Thanks so much to all of you who participated and made this Track Blitz Weekend the success that it was. You guys are the best!
—Howard Pincus