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Tucson, Arizona


Toy Train Museum Tunnel


Toy Train Museum Tunnel


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Large Scale Railroad
Construction Progress 201

Help Wanted

Work sessions are on Saturday mornings usually around 8:00am.
Come down and help build a railroad!

For more information, or to volunteer, contact Burt Wright (cell #) 444-0661

The Golden Spike Ceremony was December 1st 2012

[Large Scale Railroad info...] 

Large Scale Railroad - 2015-2016
Large Scale Railroad 2014 (July-Dec)
Large Scale Railroad 2014 (Jan-June)
Large Scale Railroad - 2013
Large Scale Railroad 2012 (July - Dec)
Large Scale Railroad 2012 (Jan-June)
Large Scale Railroad 2011

Planned for April 8, 2017

As usual, with an Open House scheduled for this Sunday, there is no “regularly scheduled” work session for Saturday. However, there will be some work going on nonetheless. You are welcome to join us if you don’t have anything going on, but if your time only permits one visit to the Museum this weekend, please come Sunday to the Open House as we really need help running the train.

Saturday morning at 10:00 AM, a tour put together by GPD member Paul Bartholomew will be at the museum with about 50 guests. We will be running the train, so if you can help, it would be appreciated.

Last weekend, we made good headway on the engine shed. We began by installing the 16 remaining 2x4 studs which connected to the steel columns. This had to be done before we began the installation of the sheathing.
We then made a quick trip down to Home Depot and obtained a half dozen 4’x8’ sheets of 5/8” T-1-11 plywood and began the process of installing them.

The weather was perfect as it should be this weekend. This weekend looks like it will be a repeat.
While the main group plugged along with the engine shed, Jesse finished up with the expansion of the R.O.W. adjacent to the track leaving the station. This “just in case” increase in width should eliminate any chance that a train would derail and roll down the embankment.

All photo credits to Jesse Miller. Many thanks to John Roads, Dave Petersen, Glenn Ellis and Jesse Miller for helping out during this work session. Like previous work sessions, we broke at noon, called it a day, and joined the outdoor G-gauge group for lunch at Sam’s.

Hope to see you all at Sunday’s Open House. And if you can make it Saturday, we’ll continue with the engine shed siding.

April Fools Day, 2017

There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday beginning at 8:00 AM. The weather should be perfect. Work will continue on the engine shed including installation of the 2x4’s on the columns to support the siding and also beginning the installation of the T1-11 siding.

Last weekend, we helped out the outdoor G-gauge group by extending the retaining wall around the corner of the fence line at the north end of the property adjacent to the sidewalk. This completely eliminated the “hole” in the corner of the fenced area adjacent to the sidewalk that posed a hazard to visitors who may have not noticed it while walking around the end of the layout (looking at the trains instead of where they were walking). This project was critically important although it doesn’t look like we did very much. With Jesse’s help, a fairly significant amount of additional fill dirt was moved into the area adjacent to the track leaving the station. This creates more width of flat space adjacent to the turnout leaving the station area “just in case” a train derailment occurs. The hope is to prevent any possibility of having an engine or car falling down the embankment into the drainage channel. More improvement to this area is planned.

On the Open House front, we have had two very good Open Houses using the Alco S4 with the new batteries installed. No sign whatsoever of the voltage drops that plagued our engine at the beginning of the year. Many thanks to John Roads, Dave Peterson, and Bob Swanson for helping out at these Open Houses by serving as Engineer, Station Master & Gateman. We have had great feedback from visitors about their experiences at the Museum which makes our efforts so worthwhile. Having said that, we sure could use some additional help during the Open Houses running the train, so please don’t hesitate to come and help out. Even for an hour or two.

We received an email from new member, Joey Ybarra, who is a Superintendent at Cemrock. He is making concrete ties for the layout. He sent me the picture below showing his progress. His efforts will help to maintain our inventory as we move forward with more new and replacement tie installations.


Below is a current photo of the engine shed awaiting the exterior sheathing.

With no Open House this weekend, and the General Membership Meeting still a week away (April 7th), come spend Saturday morning with us. Also, plan on going to lunch with the group at the end of the session as that is always a good time.

Hope to see you all at 8:00 AM, Saturday.

March 25, 2017

Saturday some members may be at the museum to help out.
Sunday, March 26th is an OPEN-HOUSE.

Last Saturday was Dirt Day. The bobcat was there, moving dirt to where shovels and wheelbarrows were waiting to haul the fill to both G and 7½ layouts.
While the Outdoor G layout worked on filling in a 'hole' in the Northeast corner of the property along the fence (see image a.)...The present 7½ committee members went to work enlarging/reinforcing the embankment between mp 0.5 and mp 1.0, which was originally going to be a wall of block similar to what the G layout is using along the fence, but on Saturday it was decided the extra fill dirt from the bobcat could be used for cheap.

We also removed a couple parasitic plants from the trees along the ravine/wash thing.

You will have to come and see the end results for yourself.

a. Outdoor G no-holes for safety project

b. 7½" embankment reinforcement project


March 18, 2017

There will be a work session this Saturday beginning at 7:30 am at the Museum. Work on the engine shed will take a break for a week, but there are probably some track leveling & gauge checking that could be done. In addition, Glenn Ellis is bringing some big rock in to set at the very north end of the property as retaining stones to allow for more fill to be brought into that corner to give a little more room for staging. So some elbow grease would be very welcome Saturday morning.

With no Open House Sunday, please consider helping out the outdoor G guys with their project.

March 11, 2017

There is not going to be a scheduled work session this Saturday, but as usual, several will show up anyway which is a good thing. If you come, you can expect to work on the Museum engine getting the wiring re-secured and the engine road tested as there is an Open House the following day. The new batteries are now installed in the engine which was no easy task as they weigh 100 pounds each! At any rate, assuming we can get the engine running by 10 am, we’ll use it to give rides to a bunch of kids who are coming to a Birthday party at the Museum. That’s always fun.

Last Saturday, we finished the roofing on the engine house. Those who came, enjoyed great weather and camaraderie. And, we finished the project by noon and didn’t have to go back.

Here are pictures from the work session:


Please consider coming to the Open House Sunday to help with the engine operation. That’s when we need the most help.

March 4, 2017

There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday beginning at 8:00 am. On the work agenda will be the installation of the upper roof section over the engine house. This should be an easier process than the lower roof installation for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that we won’t need to cut & fit the short “chevron” shaped sections at each end.

Last weekend, a great group of volunteers showed up to begin the roofing installation on the low roof sections.
The pictures speak for themselves and the end product is something we can all share pride in.


With leadership, tools, and encouragement from Jacob Payne, all of the work proceeded without any major problems or anyone getting hurt.

With the outdoor G-Gauge group pitching in to help, the lower roofs were sheathed, dried-in, trim pieces & drip edges installed and the shingling started by the time we broke for lunch. Jacob, Glenn & Burt then returned to the Museum that afternoon and finished the shingling and the building stood proud during the Open House the next day.

There was unanimous agreement that the structure will be a source of pride for the Museum for years to come. Everyone who participated are to be congratulated for their fine work and quality.

Hope to see everyone this Saturday (there is no Open House this weekend).

Saturday Feb. 25, 2017

There will not be a regularly scheduled work session this Saturday

“But” the weather is going to be soooo inviting, you may wish to come anyway. If you come, (we’ll gather around 8:00 am) there will be enough material present to install the low roofs (north and south ends) on the engine shed. That will include plywood, roofing felt, shingles and drip edge plus a sheet of T1-11 for siding the short portion of wall above the low roof and below the high roof. Confused? Join the club!

The low roofs must be totally completed before we can install the fly rafters on the high roofs. Thus, the low roofs have to happen first. So, if you don’t have anything better to do, come and join us and maybe we’ll all learn something.

Saturday Feb. 18, 2017

There will be a scheduled work session this Saturday beginning at 8:00 AM. On the work order is some track repair that is needed in the station siding at the north end of the layout. We need to add some fish plates to replace the push on rail joiners as we’ve experienced some derailment issues up there. This area is also slated to receive concrete ties soon. Work on the engine shed may also proceed although I’m not certain just how far we may get this weekend as the weather is looking a little “iffy”. The hurricane straps need to be installed next.

Last week, even though it wasn’t a scheduled work session, we had a good turnout and a huge amount of work transpired. Framing materials were obtained and while Jacob began framing the walls, the rest of the group started cutting the scroll designs into the bottom and ends of the rafters and made a jig to make the rafters into trusses using plywood gussets. With 38 rafters, that was a lot of jig saw work to be sure.

With most of the trusses made and ½ the walls framed, the group broke for lunch. Then after lunch, three hearty souls (Jacob, Glenn & Burt) decided to return to the Museum and continue with the project. The outcome of that afternoons effort was incredible with all of the trusses installed and both sides of the building walls framed. The walls were plummed and all of the bolts were set into the beams and bottom plates to secure the entire structure.

The weather was so perfect, we just couldn’t stop. I’m here to tell you that the old bodies complained a tad at the end of the day, but the results make it all worthwhile. The next morning, we put some water sealer onto the exposed portions of the beams and rafters to help preserve them.

The next major work on the building will be to install the roof sheathing and get the building dried in. That will take a full work session, perhaps like last Saturday to complete.

Hope to see everyone this Saturday. There is no Open House on Sunday.

Saturday Feb. 4, 2017

This Saturday precedes the Open House scheduled for Sunday thus we normally don’t have a work session on the day before. However, there is definitely going to be some activity going on at the Museum if you care to join us. Lumber will be obtained and available to begin the process of framing the walls and roof. Rafters need to be pre-cut with the ends prepared to mimic the roof structure on the adjacent outdoor G layout roof that covers the control area. Plywood gussets will be cut and the rafters prefabricated with the gussets installed at the peak. The ends of the beams need to be chamfered on each side to match the other roof structure as well. How much we get done will be directly proportional to how many people show up. With the Open House following the next day, I’m not sure much will get done, but you never know!

Last Saturday, the last of the track was installed inside the engine house in preparation of the framing of the building. Assisting with the work was our Chairman Jesse, John Roads, Paul Kruppenbacher, and Burt Wright. The routine was the same as the previous week where we completed the installation of one track although this last week we benefited from the fact that we knew what we were doing (at least I think we did).
Once the 2nd track was installed, we laid the 2” thick cap blocks that Jesse had donated to the Museum. This created a very nice level walkway between the tracks in case we need to go into the train shed.
It wasn’t that tough to install the walkway, especially with both tracks set and level.

Once completed, the blocks were swept and the ground raked a little bit, we then used hammers and 2x4’s to tamp the dirt down in between the ties making the entire installation very stable. Then we hosed the installation down a bit to settle everything. Next task is to begin the framing.

Although we hope to see you this Saturday, please don’t forget about the Open House on Sunday. We still don’t have the batteries replaced in the S4 so we hope to be able to use Brian’s GP40 again. Brian will be here this Saturday to check us out on his engine.

Saturday Feb. 4, 2017

Happy February!
We have a scheduled work session this Saturday beginning at 8:00 AM at the museum. The agenda for the work session is to finish placing the concrete ties and rail into the engine house.

The project was started last Saturday, but like everything in life, the effort took longer than we assumed and we only got halfway finished. The effort began by re-establishing the specific grade level needed for the top of the concrete ties. Using the builder’s level brought in by Charlie Rigney, we quickly were able to establish where the top of rail elevation needed to be with the top of the ties being 1” lower. The next step was to run a string from one end of the engine shed to the other that not only established the elevation of the top of the ties but also the outside edge of the ties. We then had to remove about an inch of soil from the bottom of the engine shed and then began placing the ties (8” O.C.). Luckily some of the younger members did the hands and knee work to place and level the ties and then secure the rail. The rail, which was harvested from a couple of the spare track panels that had been in storage at the side of the building was then attached to the ties.
The rail installation onto the ties made aligning the ties simple and the finished product speaks for itself.
There is something really cool about the appearance of aluminum rail onto the concrete ties.

We ran out of time after completing one side of the installation thus saving the other side for the next work session this coming Saturday. The removal of excess soil from the other side has essentially been done, so all we will need to do is rerun the string and start installing ties & rail. Once completed, we’ll backfill between the ties with dirt to completely secure the installation. In order to prevent pack rat intrusion, there is going to be a concrete curb installed at the south entrance to the engine house with the rails set into a notch that will be cast into the concrete. We may have time to form & pour that curb this Saturday if all goes well.

FYI, the 7-1/2” gauge committee budget and inventory were completed and submitted to the 1st VP in accordance with the bylaws. In addition, the BOD formally approved the Operational Rules for using the 7-1/2” gauge RR. They will be posted on OneDrive, probably after the next board meeting when all of the Museum policies will be signed. The budget will be reviewed and hopefully approved at the Board meeting on the 15th. Each GPD member involved in the 7-1/2” gauge committee will receive a copy of the Operational Rules in a separate email. They are also kept in the Committee binder located in the 40’ container.

This Friday night beginning at 7:00 PM, the February General Membership Meeting will occur at the Museum. To my knowledge, no one has volunteered to do meal preparation so eat dinner before you get to the Museum.

Last but not least, there is no Open House this Sunday, thus Saturday may be your only chance to get your “train fix” for the week unless you decide to attend the meeting this Friday night.

Saturday Jan. 28, 2017

We are between Open Houses now and thus, the scheduled work sessions will occur beginning at 8:00 AM this Saturday and next Saturday. After the wonderful winter storms bringing lots of rain to the area, we found that the depressed area where the new engine shed is being built held onto the storm runoff. With a pool of standing water covering the area inside the engine shed, we had to create a couple of temporary channels by which the standing water could escape to the drainage wash next to the shed. The temporary fix was easily accomplished with a shovel, but a permanent solution must be planned & installed at the work session this Saturday.

This Saturday, we will gather at the Museum at 8:00 AM. As usual, coffee and donuts will be available. Although the tasks at hand may seem relatively minor, I think we’ll have our hands full getting the effort completed. First is to plan a permanent method for draining storm water from the confines of the new Engine Shed. This must be done in concert with the preparation of final grade inside the shed so that the placement of concrete ties and rail may begin. This will precede the framing of the walls and roof.

Charlie Rigney will be bringing his builder’s level to assist us in making the finished grade at the prescribed elevation which is 4” below the top of the existing rail elevation (3” tie & 1” rail = 4”) at the turnout leading toward the engine shed. We want to have all this rail from the turnout to the north end of the engine shed level if possible to prevent train movement when stored or parked. Once the grade inside the shed is level and flat, we can begin placing the concrete ties. Once the ties are placed, aligned, and leveled, rail can be installed followed by backfilling the space in between the ties with dirt to stabilize the track. Jesse has brought 8” x 16” cap block down which can be installed as a walking surface between the rails.

This effort will require a steady concerted effort so we are requesting “all hands on deck” if possible. The weather will be a little chilly, but the sun will be out and things should be dried out.

If the grading and tie placement is achieved, we may make a trip to Home Depot to secure the framing materials that will permit us to begin the framing of the engine shed during our next work session the following Saturday.

A piece of great news, we welcome new member Joey Ybarra who works as a fabrication superintendent at Cemrock. This is a company in Tucson that makes artificial landscape rock from a concrete mixture employing fiberglas. He came to the last Open House and introduced himself and offered to make our concrete RR ties from left over mix usually thrown away at his plant. He mocked up 4 of these using 4 of our molds and they came out great. Welcome to the Organization Joey ! ! !

Large Scale Railroad - 2015-2016
Large Scale Railroad 2014 (July-Dec)
Large Scale Railroad 2014 (Jan-June)
Large Scale Railroad - 2013
Large Scale Railroad 2012 (July - Dec)
Large Scale Railroad 2012 (Jan-June)
Large Scale Railroad 2011

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[Page Published April 08, 2017 ]
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