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