spacer BSM Track Updates . . .

by
John LaCosta


August 4 - 25, 2007 Update


John LaCostaAugust saw the track work in full swing at the musuem with work on both the connection of the North Avenue Loop to the new Car House four track and the completion of dropping ballast along the entire second track of the main line. 

    For the last few Saturdays 1164 has been pressed into service as the motive power for the ballast car. The only delay was when the back hoe failed mid month, which was traced down to a bad alternator and bad battery. With those fixed, the back hoe loaded about 120 tons of ballast into the ballast car and that stone was distributed along the approximatley 800 feet of track. By mid-afternoon of August 25 the entire track was filled with ballast and was ready for jacking and tamping. Next week the tamper will be moved from its current location on yard track 3 to the new second track and tamping will begin.

It is a little involved to drop the ballast because there is no overhead wire on the new main line track to power 1164. The solution is to use a "Stinger", a long insulated wire with long wooden poles at each end to connect the trolley wheel to the wire over the original main line track. The wire can't be too long or it will drop too much voltage so the wire limits the car to about 100 feet. After 100 feet it stops and the stinger is reset to allow the car to move the next 100 feet. This requires a number of people on the ground to ensure the wire does not get tangled as well as cooridination with the Dispatcher during the afternoon to allow the service cars to operate.

August 4 and 11 saw the the remaining concrete poured on four track, While this is never an easy job, August 11 was extremly hot and humid so the crew was very tired by the end of the pour. It did not help that the cement truck got lost and by the time it artived the concrete had already started to set. Except for the first 10 feet outside the Car House, the cement is below the top of the rail about 3 inches to allow the addition of brick to give the track a nice finished look. The first 10 feet were poured flush to allow easy access of the back hoe and line truck into track four to start hanging the trolley wire. If things stay on track, the snow sweeper should be outside the car house by the anual meeting for all to see.

From August 17 -19 a few of the BSM members were up at the Pennsyvania Trolly Musuem and worked on the overhead wire to their new trolley display barn. Both musuems have been working togethere on replacement overheade line parts and the cooperations is helping both musuems continue to expland.

Ready to PourThe next to the last section is ready for the concrete. The black fabric in the senter of the track covers the drain pipe.  Clening upThe next to the last section has been poured and leveled.  Buster can be seen cleaning hte broom used to finish the surface of the concrete as Paul looks on. The board across the track is used to stand over, but not on the concrete.
Final PourThe final pour is completed and the North Avenue loop is connected to the car house. It will take about four weeks for the concrete to completely set before the snow speeper can come out.Walking the Ballast CarCarl is walking along side the ballast car as 1164, with Ed at the controls pushes the car along. Steve and Josh are seated on the end of the car controlling the rate that the ballast is dropped. The long vertical pole on the left side of the picture is the "stinger" used to opower 1164, 
Trimming the ballastThe tie ahead of the left wheel is used to trim the ballast to the rail height and keep the stone off the top of the rail so 1164 doe snot have to crush stone. Even with the tie, the dust from the ballast can become think enough to prevent the power from the overhead line returning via the rails, in which case the 1164 stops moving.Ready for tamping Its mid afternoon and the track crew has finished dumping the ballast. 1164 has been returned to the Dispatcher for revenue runs. The third rail can be clearly seen on the right side of the newly ballasted track.
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