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Messages - Rick Rowlands

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US Two Footers / Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Snowplow
« on: December 27, 2020, 09:46:10 AM »
Yeah that sounds like it. 


US Two Footers / Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Snowplow
« on: December 24, 2020, 09:12:52 AM »
Another pic of the plow.

US Two Footers / J&L Narrow Gauge Snowplow
« on: December 24, 2020, 09:12:20 AM »
Several years ago I bought this snowplow that had been listed on Discover Live Steam.  It was moved to Davenport, Iowa to a friend's farm, and last week it was moved again to a different location for storage.  My plan is to eventually get it back to Youngstown, however since we do not get massive amounts of snow here, it really wouldn't be used for much beyond inhabiting the end of a spur track. 

The story I was told is that it was originally used at a tie treating plant somewhere in Wisconsin or Minnesota. The wheelsets are much older than the car with dates cast into the wheels of the 1880s, cast by a foundry located in Minneapolis (of which I cannot remember the name right now). 

I am not sure how the various Maine NG operations are set up for snow removal, but if one of them may be interested in a well built HEAVY two foot gauge plow with full width wheels and an adjustable height plow blade, I am the guy to talk to.  Otherwise, it will eventually get moved to Youngstown, painted and set out to pasture to wait for that freak blizzard that dumps enough snow on the railroad to make it worth our while to run a plow extra. 

Museum Discussion / Re: Switch lanterns on high mast switches
« on: November 28, 2020, 06:32:32 PM »
I will take a couple of pics of the machine tomorrow and will be in touch.

Museum Discussion / Re: Switch lanterns on high mast switches
« on: November 26, 2020, 09:36:53 PM »
Kinda,  what I mean by a reverse stamping, instead of striking the letter into the metal strip, this would be bringing the strip onto a letter "positive" where you end up with a raised letter coming out from the surface of the strip.

These used to be a simple arm press with a platen where the letter/number dies would be inserted, then a tinplate strip would be placed over the die index and crimp.  The imprinted strip would be then attached to the body of a metal object via open tip soldering.  If I can find a picture, I'll add it.

I have such a machine with two spools of the soft tinplate strips.  I use it occasionally to make labels.  It came out of an electrical shop in a steel mill.  They would label outlets with it as to what voltage they were.

Volunteers / Re: October 2020 Work Reports
« on: October 14, 2020, 06:42:07 PM »
Ed I know how much you love cold wet rainy days!   ;D

US Two Footers / Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« on: October 05, 2020, 09:46:21 PM »
A lot is going on in this photo.  What is perhaps the only 24" gauge motorized interlocking in the US is being installed on the passenger lead switch.  The first of three signals for what will be Laughlin Junction is in place in the background. The switch will be radio controlled from the locomotive cab, eliminating the need for having a switchman on duty when we run passenger trains. 

Also on the left is a whistle manifold, which will be put to use at our annual Whistle Blow this Saturday.  58 has plenty of steam for even the largest whistles that can be mounted on the manifold.  After this weekend she will be winterized and put away until the spring. 

If all goes well and I have enough time, I will be building a new tender for 58 and an open air passenger car over the winter.  Both cars will use fully sprung and equalized German trucks (bogies) which will provide for a much better ride than the unsprung Carpenter cars.

Two Footers outside of the US / Re: Queensland Sugar Railways
« on: August 13, 2020, 08:13:08 PM »
More than likely 58 would have stayed on the rails!   ;D

When Richard Craig passed away a few years ago and the Alvada Two Footer was disbanded, someone bought his ballast hopper car at the auction.  I have seen it listed from time to time for $4,500 and have not heard that it had been sold.  The car is a fully functional ballast hopper with air operated doors, and while not prototypically accurate for the WW&F, it would partially solve the problem of getting ballast out where it is needed. 

Museum Discussion / Re: Wheel standard and turnout drawings
« on: June 19, 2020, 08:50:55 PM »
Wheel and track standards are also of great interest to me as well. The J&LNG adheres to the same back to back standard as the WW&F but due to our prototype being a steel mill railroad we adopted much sharper curves.  Our tightest curve is 40 ft. radius and our tightest switches are No. 4 which come out to about 46' radius. We however use rail in the 85 to 115 lb. range.

Same track gauge but two vastly different ways of doing things.

I have been watching their videos.  They do not have much in the way of tools to work with.  Their best bet is to grab a stick of rail out of one of those out of service sidings and put in there .  Respike (screw) the rail back down to whatever ties are still in that crossing and they should be fine.  About the heaviest thing they operate over that line is a home built speeder so that repair will be just fine. 

The smaller rail sizes generally do not have any heat treatment.  Heat treatment is usually only required with the larger sizes that are approaching the limit of steel technology to handle high axle loadings. 

Volunteers / Re: COVID-19 (aka "coronavirus") and the WW&F...
« on: April 28, 2020, 10:56:40 PM »
According to the data that I have been following, currently 0.073% of Maine residents have Covid-19 (972).  0.0038% of Maine residents have died (51).   The number of new cases per day is on a downward trajectory.

In comparison, 155 people died in auto accidents in Maine in 2019, three times the death toll of Covid-19.

I am getting similar numbers for Ohio, although Maine overall has a lower chance of dying than we do in Ohio (1 in 26,000 chance vs. our 1 in 16,000 chance). 

At some point someone has to start counting the economic effects, the increased suicides, increased domestic violence, child molestation etc. and realize that in their zeal to save a few more lives at the front end, we will be losing far more at the back end.   Unfortunately our modern society and media does not reward people for making rational risk/benefit analyses any more.  At this point I am far more concerned with those unseen back end effects.

General Discussion / EBT Couplers vs. 3/4 size Sharon Couplers
« on: April 05, 2020, 07:29:00 AM »
I have heard that the EBT couplers and the 3/4 size Sharon couplers such as what Irwin Car sells are not compatible.  Is that true?  I am curious as to what the major differences there are between the two. 


And now for some Good News!

One year ago today the J&L 58 operated under steam for the first time in over 60 years. An amazing accomplishment that all of us are very proud of. Today we are announcing that we have reached an agreement to purchase the two identical sister locomotives in Canada and bring them to Youngstown to be reunited with the 58.

This plan includes restoring one of these locomotives to operating condition and having TWO operational locomotives on the J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad!

Now I know that this is the absolute worst time to launch a fundraising campaign given the current crisis and economic downturn, but we WILL emerge from this crisis and when that happens we will begin promoting this project. Heck, at this time we cannot even go to Canada to inspect them! But we didn't want to wait to make this announcement as we are very excited about this and feel that everyone out there needs something to cheer them up!

So stay safe and wish us luck!

US Two Footers / Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« on: January 19, 2020, 12:30:00 PM »
We are getting ready for our second season of operations on the J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad. J&L 58 does not need much work in the off season, just a few tweaks and improvements to take care of some issues uncovered in our first summer of operation.  There is a plan in the works to acquire more property to dramatically extend the J&LNG and to that end I have started construction of a switch that will head to that new property.  Hopefully by June this switch will be complete as well as about 300 feet of new trackage to run over. 

The house track is also scheduled to be constructed as well as relocate the enginehouse from the main track to this new location.

This photo shows the start of construction of the second switch.  We are using 100RB rail, although the new track will transition up to 115RE to go up the hill, then back down to 90RA for trackage on the upper level.  The house track will be 70AS since I have several sticks of it available.  The track leading off to the right is the house track and the enginehouse will sit basically where the pickup truck is parked.

Our operating schedule for 2020 can be found here:

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