Large Scale Railroad
Construction Progress 2014
Work sessions are on Saturday mornings usually around
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
Scale Railroad info...]
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 Saturday (Oct 18, 2014):
Yes, there will be a work session this Saturday at 7:30 AM. Items to do
include continuing with the installation of the electrical conduit along
the back fence between the 20’ container and the caboose enclosure.
Investigation of the hydraulic leak from Big Joe needs to be done and
hopefully correct the problem so that we can clean up the bottom of the
compartment and begin paint preparation. There are portions of the 20’
container that need to have the paint touched up. The tie pile is a
mess. We need to go through it and cull out the unusable wood, and
re-stack the usable stuff. Last, and perhaps most importantly, we need
to review engineer’s test questions so that the test can be finalized.
Engineer certification is needed for public operation not to mention
non-public operation. This needs to get done.
The last work session was productive with a huge list of projects
to choose from. Sorry that there are no pictures, but I’m not the only
one who has been too busy this week. The major accomplishment from last
work session was the digging of holes for the conduit supports at the
back fence. The unistrut supports were all cut to length and several
sacks of concrete were mixed and poured into the holes. The supports
were set, leveled, and aligned. The system is now ready for the
installation of the conduit. While that was being done, repairs and
adjustment to the left door of the 20’ container were made making the
opening of that door easy compared to virtually impossible. If nothing
else got done last session, that improvement was huge.
At the last Open House, there were a series of firsts experienced by the
group. We had five trains operating. We’ve had up to two before. The
list of operating trains included:
1. Museum’s Alco S-4
2. Roger Phillip’s Burlington Northern GP-40
3. Brian Scott’s UP GP-40
4. Ron McLaughlin’s Santa Fe ‘F’ unit
5. Don VanManen’s Little Engine’s 040 steam locomotive.
What’s amazing is that there were two more locomotives parked in the
container. Don’s steamer attracted a lot of attention from several
members, mainly Burt who is building a steamer. Don recently acquired
this engine and is in the “getting used to it” mode. The learning curve
is pretty steep with trying to manage water level, amount of fire, steam
pressure, Johnson bar position, axle or hand pump operation, etc. etc.
It’s a handful, very challenging and a lot of fun.
Looking forward to seeing everyone there.
Saturday (Oct 4, 2014):
There will be a regularly scheduled work session this Saturday
10-4-14 beginning at 7:30 AM. Although it’s been fall for almost two
weeks, it still might be a little warm. But with the humidity way down
and monsoons gone till next year, it should be a great day to work
Tasks at hand include final placement of the billboard that was
preliminarily set during a previous work session. This will enable us to
get the banner installed for our sponsors. In addition, we should always
be checking the condition of our track system including reducing the
incident of vertical curves wherever possible. These may be a little
tough to see with the naked eye, but you can feel them when you ride on
the train. They are easily detected with the long straight edge board
that we have in the container. Big Joe has a hydraulic leak that needs
to be attended to. If we can stop the leaking, we should be able to get
it painted which would greatly improve its appearance.
We have for a year, put off the installation of the conduit between
the 20’ container to the caboose. This installation will require setting
intermediate uprights between the fence posts for supporting the
conduit. We have all the pieces. A little bit of touchup painting is
needed on the 20’ container where welding caused the paint to spall.
Also, the south door on the 20’ container is getting really hard to open
and shut. This needs to be investigated and corrected if possible. The
posts under the steaming bays need to be painted. We should attempt to
clean up the wood pile behind the steaming bays making sure to carefully
separate good ties from lumber remnants. Inside work includes
preparation of a formal engineer’s test. This is long overdue but still
needs to be done. We have good examples to work with so it’s really not
re-inventing a wheel.
Obviously, we won’t get all this done, but I don’t want anyone to
think that there’s nothing to do. Pick a project, take the lead. One
step at a time and we’ll get all of this done and more.
Last work session, the Museum hosted a birthday party at 10:00
AM. The train got some exercise and several kids got a very special
experience. Thank you to those who made that possible.
Ask Jesse what the little dot on the blue background is – I have no
Ron McLaughlin brought his new engine to the Museum and gave it a
thorough testing. Sporting a bright Santa Fe color scheme expertly
applied by one of Ron’s friends in the Benson area, the engine performed
well and Ron seems very pleased with his entry into the hobby.
Jurgen Zander helped us out by installing the lock box donated by
Raymond McDaniel. It is located in the equipment yard between the 40’
container and the meeting room of the Museum. You need a gate key to get
into the yard to access the lock box. Keys will be provided to those
individuals who wish to operate their trains on the Museum Track but
don’t want to store them in the Museum Containers. The lock box will
have keys to Big Joe and the gate keys to the Caboose Enclosure locked
inside. Yes, the lock box has a combination lock installed. If a member
wants access to this equipment, contact Jesse Miller for arranging to
receive keys to the front gate and a combination to the box.
Don’t forget that there is a General Membership Meeting tomorrow night
at the Museum starting at 7:00 PM. Your own, Glenn Ellis & Burt Wright
will be the food preparer’s for this meeting as they will break out the
grill and become “flippin” geniuses. It was good last time. It should be
better this time. Bring your $5 donation and have some burgers & chips.
This is the last meeting before the Annual Meeting.
Planned for Saturday (Sept 20, 2014):
There will be a normally scheduled work session this Saturday morning
beginning at 7:30 AM. Jesse will be there to open up as Burt & Glenn
will be out of town for the weekend again. Although the high temperature
should only reach the low 90’s, there will be some humidity. Planned for
the day are a few projects which can get tackled including:
We need to create a
safety chain adaptation for the new engine. The logical location might
be the coupler pin. This will probably necessitate some careful
engineering but it is something we need to think about soon.
There are a few weeds
that could get pulled before they turn into bigger problems. These
have sprouted here and there defying the herbicide and pre-emergence
The Billboard needs to
get planted as we have the sign ready to install.
There is a scheduled
Birthday Party set to begin at 10 AM. There will be about 15 children
as well as the same amount of adults. Giving this group rides on the
RR would probably be appreciated by the Birthday celebrants.
At the last work session, we began the session by running the new
Alco S4 engine with a string of gondolas to test not only the engine but
also the track.
||We found no problem whatsoever with the engine, but we did find
a track issue that required our attention. Just outside the caboose
enclosure, we encountered a misaligned track joint coupled with some
inconsistent track gauging.
We spent some time working on that
curved section of track getting the problem corrected and we then
continued doing some additional laps with the engine before retiring
for the day due to the heat/humidity.
The following day, Burt brought his grandkids down to the Museum to give
them some rides on the train. What he found was that with the cars
lightly loaded with little kids, he experienced a few derailments in the
same section of curved track only closer to the south driveway. Close
inspection revealed a dip in the track.
Consequently, the following Saturday just before the Open House last
weekend, Burt, Bob, Glenn & Jesse did some additional track leveling and
track joint gap resetting work on the curve correcting that problem.
||We also fixed a significant hump on one rail of the passing
siding behind the building which had caused an engine derailment
when putting the engine away. That effort required considerably more
effort as a lot of ballast had to be removed and reset. This hump
was not noticed during the previous re-gauging work in the same
The lock box placement has been decided and it will get installed inside
the yard between the 40’ container and the meeting room. The front gate
key also opens the gate to this yard. The intent is to keep the keys to
Big Joe and to the gates of the Caboose enclosure within the lock box.
Yes, there will be a lock on the lock box with a resettable combination
lock installed. The combination will be provided to those who need it.
While track work was being completed, Michael Hegny tried to program the
engine’s sound system but didn’t have much luck configuring the buttons
on the control box. Michael will coordinate his efforts with Bill Kaval
when Bill returns from his current tour of duty.
|The track seems ready for public operations now, but we should
still be diligent by running as much as we can prior to beginning
the public runs. Last Sunday was the 1st Open House and the
committee concluded that it was too hot to run and it was too hot.
The Open House was really packed with people, especially kids. They
didn’t seen too disappointed that we weren’t running, but when we do
start, there’s going to be a lot of demand. Load balancing in the
cars is going to be critical.
Everyone needs to face forward and be given clear instructions about
facing forward and keeping hands inside the train. This is critical to
being safe and keeping us out of trouble. We’ll have a review of this
prior to our first run date.
Have a great weekend – hope to see as many of you as possible at the
Museum on Saturday (7:30 AM). Birthday Party at 10:00 AM. If you operate
the train and give rides, don’t forget the safety chains between the
cars even if we can’t chain to the engine yet.
Saturday (Sept 13, 2014): (No "official" work
This Saturday will not be an Official work session at the
Museum. Sunday will be an Open House. The likelihood is that we won’t be
doing public runs at the Museum as the current weather prediction for
Sunday is high temperature of 97 degrees and the humidity will also be
up there. Although disappointing as we all have been anticipating
running the new engine, it will give us a little more time to get some
track issues corrected.
During the work session last Saturday, we took care of a fairly major
track problem that was present just as you exit the caboose enclosure.
It involve set setting the curvature at a track joint to eliminate
somewhat of a “kink” that was causing sporadic derailment. This was
corrected and it seems to be working fine, but downstream from that
point there is a condition where potential settlement has created a
slight vertical curve on the horizontal curve. These two conditions
(horizontal curve is intended) together with a lightly loaded car has
caused some other derailments. So, this Saturday, if you want to attend,
were going to tackle the removal of the vertical curves in that location
in preparation for our next public run dates – hopefully 2 weeks from
that point. Of course, we can also do so additional running during the
morning as well to test out our corrections.
So, if you come, we’ll see you there on Saturday morning, beginning
about 7:00-7:30. If you have something you’d rather do or need to do, go
for it and hopefully we’ll see you Sunday afternoon during the Open
Saturday (Sept 6, 2014):
This Saturday will be a scheduled work session with lots of
potential projects lined up to do. Obviously, these won’t all get done,
but we may make some headway on some of them. Our Chairman, Jesse, has
put together the following list for consideration:
Complete siding track work along back.
Mount the Lock Box.
Locate/plan crossing signal pole plus
consideration of the signal system, including station bypass and
possible automatic switch control.
Locate/install scale billboard(s).
Finalize/design Alco S4's #3975 paint
scheme and plans for finishing/paint.
Plan the Relocation of the standard
gauge track/golden spike section/exhibit.
Design/build diamond x-ings (two
Design/build Station structure.
Locate and install track mile markers
built by Dale Cover.
The following are lower priority:
Locate, finish, install, water tank.
Design/plan for many scale structures
and or flats along back wall or along the backside of the 20’
container. They should be self-supporting along the back of the
Design possible siding
tracks/destinations for equipment operations/staging.
Landscaping plans (trees & plants, 1:8
scale features like hills, mines, etc.)
The last work session was one of our more tedious work sessions
as we did some track re-gauging at the back of the building as well as
doing the saw cutting across the front drive to facilitate the
installation of wiring for the future signal system. Although canopies
were set up for both tasks, it was still hot and slow going. In
addition, the square tube rails were permanently fastened to the floor
in the 20’ container. Raymond McDaniel welded up the lock box in
preparation for its installation. We just need to decide where its
permanent location should be. One suggestion was to install it at the
end of one of the steam bays. Another suggestion was to mount it to Big
Joe. Another was to mount it to the 20’ container although door swing
could be impacted depending upon where it was placed.
||The saw cutting goes slowly, about 1 foot a minute. The old saw
finally gave up the ghost making these cuts after making all of the
pavement cuts from the beginning.
Although the saw cutting went slowly, the digging out the 3” wide
slice of asphalt didn’t exactly go quickly either. It was pick work for
the most part.
We had to dig down about 6” to get enough space above the 1” conduit for
a minimum cover of concrete.
||With the conduit glued into a continuous piece (34’ long), we
prepared forms for each end and then started mixing the concrete. As
usual, we came up about two cupful of concrete short and Brian Scott
made an emergency run to home depot for another bag or two. Thank
you Brian for that help.
|Glenn Ellis took charge of the placement of concrete and the
finishing tasks with help from his kneepads.
||Now with the work completed, there was time for a lap around the
circuit only to find another track gauge issue near the station
bypass north of the building. There will be no end to track
maintenance although we are blessed with good drainage systems thus
we have not experienced damage from the monsoons such as our
brothers to the north.
We look forward to seeing everyone this Saturday morning.
Don’t forget the General Membership Meeting this Friday @ 7:00. As
usual, dinner will be offered beginning at 5:30 for the requisite $5
donation. Jerry Dzara will be providing the program which is always
interesting and unusual. We’re also hoping to see Raymond McDaniel up
and around on Friday as he’s recovering from the fall he took 2 weeks
Saturday (August 23, 2014):
This Saturday, there will be a work session beginning at 7:00
AM as usual. With a very productive local monsoon this week, we need to
give our track system a pretty good going over to make sure that our
drainage features are working as intended. Having said that, I received
an email today from our friends up north (Maricopa Live Steamers)
indicating that the County had closed their park due to flooding from
heavy monsoon rains. This isn’t good news for them as they have a lot of
track on the ground at their facility that is vulnerable to being
damaged from flooding. We hope that they won’t have extensive damage. We
are so blessed to have our track installed outside of a flood plain.
This Saturday, we have at least one section of track requiring attention
due to gauge issues. That needs to be corrected before we begin
running/testing our new engine. We also need to enlarge the drilled
holes in the top of the rails installed during our last work session so
that a socket wrench can be used to install the lag screws replacing the
temporary phillips screws that were temporarily installed. It is
probable that Raymond McDaniel will have the lock box he’s offered to
donate to the Museum ready to be mounted so that can also be done.
Another saw cut across the main entrance drive needs to be made to allow
for a wire installation to facilitate the future installation of the
crossing signal. And of course, we have some engine testing to do as
well. During breaks, we need to continue having discussion about
painting vs. powder coating the new engine as we’re almost ready to move
on that project.
Due to a flurry of activity on the Alco S4 that occurred last Friday
afternoon and then again on last Saturday morning, our engine is now
operational and ready for track testing (de-bugging). The first picture
below (top left), is a mock-up of a grade crossing that Bill Kaval put
together to demonstrate electronics that he developed that will
automatically cause our crossing signal to activate when a train
approaches the grade crossing at the entrance to the Museum. Although
the demonstration was on HO track, it will work on the 7-1/2” gauge
layout as well. You have to see this demonstrated as it is really neat.
|The speaker boxes that were ordered were exactly the right size
to fit onto the frame of the engine as well as accommodate the
6-1/2” speakers. They were installed with Velcro belts, front &
rear, under the cab of the engine facing downward. The amplifier was
attached to the top of the front speaker and wired into place.
|Even though this was not an announced work session, several
people were at the Museum anyway. When Bill fired up the sound
system for the first time, it attracted a ton of attention. With the
hour meter logging in the first 2/10ths of an hour (sound system
testing), and the wiring completed, we replaced the cab onto the
chassis and then took it outside for a spin around the layout.
The engine worked flawlessly – I wish I could have said the same
thing of the track. We found a gauge problem at the beginning of the
curve section behind the steaming bays. This has probably always been
there but wasn’t causing an issue with the normal counterclockwise
rotation which we normally run. The testing however was done in a
clockwise rotation and we came off the track just south of the first
turnout. It gives us something to do next Saturday.
Bill Kaval spent several hours on Friday & Saturday finishing up the
wiring installation on the S4 and the results were outstanding. Bill did
this a day before he had to leave his wife & family for 8 weeks,
traveling to the SE part of the country for military related training.
This effort goes so far over the call of duty that words cannot express
how much we appreciate his efforts. We wish we had an opportunity to
repay Bill for what he has done for us, but it will have to wait for
now. On behalf of all of us, thank you Bill for everything.
During the last work session, two Saturdays ago, we installed the
bottom rails into the container.
||This went relatively fast although the screws used to secure the
rails are only temporary as we didn’t have a drill bit large enough
to drill the top holes allowing us to use a socket on the lag screws
we need to use. This also gives us something to do next Saturday as
the correct size drill bit will be brought to the Museum and we can
finish that task.
Raymond McDaniel has found the lock box that he mentioned he had last
week. It’s large enough to hold more than just keys. It’s built really
heavy duty and will work well for our purposes. We’ll need to mount it
and get a lock for it. That’s another task for an upcoming work session.
For those who come this Saturday, please look at the work that the OH
G-Gauge group including the Lightning Bros. Have done on the overhead
G-Gauge Layout. Bill Nunn has got track installed and the long loop
(outside loop) is operational. They will be ready for Open Houses which
start in only 3 weeks!
Hope to see you all this Saturday.
Saturday (August 9, 2014):
There will be a work session this
Saturday beginning at 7:00 AM. Tasks to tend to include:
Installing tube steel rails in the
bottom of the 20’ container as originally planned.
Track leveling in the back where the
hump in the first siding was removed during the last work session.
Important discussion related to use of
the storage racks in the container and the new key policy approved by
The last work session proved to be
very productive as a couple of long delayed projects were completed.
|First on the list was to remove a fairly significant “hump” from
the 1st siding on the back side of the building. With the building
providing the shade, all that was needed was to pull out the ballast
along about 15’ of track, replace a couple of bad ties, re-gauge the
rails, tighten some screws and then re-ballast the section of track
once we established level grade and do some tamping. All that is
left is some minor L/R leveling. About 9:30, with the shade
beginning to disappear, the heat chased us to the next project which
was nearly completed as well.
|The 40’ container where all the tools & materials was stored had
become a rats nest not to mention a trip hazard from one end to the
other. It was a project that involved having to unload the container
and start over. By the time Jesse & Burt had completed the track
work, the rest of the crew were almost done with the container. Wow,
what a difference that made.
Burt hauled off a trunk load of junk to his dumpster and we got
our container back. Hallelujah!
||As a final treat, Ron McLaughlin brought down his latest
acquisitions including a homemade wooden caboose which was detailed
with more gingerbread than one could imagine. It had everything
including the kitchen sink (in miniature of course). You could spend
an hour looking at all the little details that were installed in
this caboose. Nice pieces Ron!
Hope to see you this Saturday.
Saturday (July 26, 2014):
Yep, it’ll be hot and humid. It’s that time
of year. I might even rain if we’re lucky. But a work session is
scheduled nonetheless for this Saturday morning beginning at 7:00
AM. There is some discussion that Ron McLaughlin may have his newly
acquired caboose & engineer car at the Museum for all to admire. There
are a couple of projects that need to be done although they won’t
particularly be a lot of fun. One is cleaning out our end of the 40’
container. It’s getting flat dangerous to walk into it. There is
probably some stuff that can get tossed, but re-organizing would really
help out as well. The 2nd task involves leveling the siding track on the
drainage way side of the building. This was never done when it was
installed a year ago and is way past due. Getting both done during this
work session may not be possible but it would be nice to get the
container cleaned out & organized if possible.
Two weekends ago, the group met to get started on completing the
leveling of the station bypass track plus remove the short section of
curved track that was left in place across the boardwalk when we
relocated the turnout. Because it’s summer and the sun takes its toll on
us in a hurry, we broke out the canopies. In order to remove the section
of track, we had to remove the boards that had been so beautifully
installed. It was somewhat heart breaking to do that, but progress
dictated that they be removed.
|Once all the boards were pulled, the entire section was pulled
up and the support structure for the boards could be disconnected
from the track ties. We completed the leveling process around the
corner of the building to the sidewalk crossing and then redid the
While the track work was being completed, our
resident tree trimming crew managed to fill up Burt’s truck again with
branches contained the sharpest thorns this side of the Pecos. There was
Looking forward to seeing you all at the Museum at 7:00 AM or so.
Saturday (July 12, 2014):
We will meet this Saturday beginning at 7:00 AM at the Museum
to continue working on projects that have been put off for a while such
as track leveling and gauge checking the Station Bypass Track to make it
usable. This will necessitate the setup of all the canopies to provide
us with much needed shade. This may be predicated on how the weather
looks as rains are again predicted. With the recent welcome arrival of
the Monsoons, we want to check the entire layout to review the drainage
systems to make sure all is well. We also want to get ol’ gas engine #5
out and evaluate exactly what needs to be done to make it usable and
reliable. Depending on the availability of Bill Kaval, we might continue
with the wiring project for the S4 switcher. Chairman Jessie wants to
discuss the schedule of work sessions for the remainder of the summer.
Should we continue on the bi-weekly (2/month) approach or consider
weekly? Jessie also want to discuss/begin to plan an engine dedication
ceremony for the completed #3975 (Alco S4).
Last work session, we again tackled the ever returning hump
problem occurring over the curbing location next to the 20’ container.
This has been corrected on numerous occasions but keeps returning. We
employed a little different strategy this time, taking a suggestion from
Roger Phillips. We removed all of the ballast going both directions from
the curb. We added based material in a few locations to provide a stable
setting for the ties. Ties were repositioned with a few added and a few
replaced. The difference this time was that we drove stakes into the
ground on both sides of the curb and then screwed and adjacent tie to
the stake to prevent upward movement. It was our evaluation that the
heave was not caused by rail expansion as joint gaps located adjacent to
the curb were not closed when the rail section raised.
||With the work completed, we re-ballasted the section. A small
amount of leveling is still needed on the section to be complete.
The shade canopies were a great investment and made this work
|Bill Kaval was available and wired in the motors to the motor
controller on the S4. In addition, battery hold downs were
fabricated by Glenn Ellis and installed with drillings in the bottom
of the chassis for the hold down bolts.
Chairman Jessie has added
a proposal for the paint scheme for the S4. Please review and be
prepared to comment.
Hope to see you this Saturday @ 7:00 AM
These guys are good – a lot got done and it was done well and safely.
We then retired to our usual watering hole for lunch & a well-deserved
break. It was a great day at the train museum.
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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