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Topics - Wayne Laepple

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Two Footers outside of the US / New two-footer in Queensland
« on: July 22, 2020, 05:34:18 PM »
The Isis Central Sugar Mill in the Bundaberg region of Queensland, Australia, is working on a major expansion of its cane-gathering tram lines. This two-foot gauge line will be about 24 miles long when completed. Half of the new line follows the grade of a former government branch line purchased by the sugar company when it was abandoned in 1955.

Mill engineers were surprised to find that the timber trestle bents on several bridges are still good after 65 years. The bridges themselves are being constructed using beams recycled from other abandoned lines. The longest bridge is 21 spans. The entire new line will use 60-pound rail on concrete ties made in-house by the sugar company. Officials say the new rail line will remove 21,000 trucks from area highways once it is completed.

Isis currently operates 96 miles of line to transport 1.6 million tons of cane to the mill from more than 70 loading sites.

Below is a photo of a section of the new line. The sag at the crossing will be corrected when the road is rebuilt.

Two Footers outside of the US / Queensland Sugar Railways
« on: July 20, 2020, 01:38:08 PM »
Here's an interesting chart detailing the sugar-hauling two-foot gauge railways in Queensland, Australia.

3688 kilometers of line equals 2,298 miles
27 million tonnes of raw cane equals 29.7 million tons
119 kilometers equals 74 miles
2000 tonnes equals 2200 tons
40 kilometers per hour is 25 mph

Museum Discussion / No 10 news, and here comes No. 11
« on: June 11, 2020, 02:29:22 PM »
Over the past couple of months, there has been a lot of discussion back and forth among members and friends concerning the possible sale of No. 10 with the idea that its sale would help fund the construction of a new locomotive, No. 11. Building No. 11 has become necessary by the new Mountain Extension, with its challenging grades and curves.

The negotiations for the sale of the locomotive have ended, so No. 10 will remain at Sheepscot for the foreseeable future. That said, a new plan has been developed that will return No. 10 to service while at the same time work will begin to build No. 11. The first phase of the plan calls for work to construct the boilers for both locomotives simultaneously. There are major benefits to doing this, not the least of which is cost savings that will be realized in performing some procedures at the same time for both boilers. 

At the same time, a small team of WW&F members will start construction of No. 11. In fact, some parts have already been ordered from outside vendors. While this approach may slow No. 10's return to service, it will accelerate the construction of No. 11. No. 10 should be ready to should be ready for use in 24-30 months, and the timeline for No. 11 is 4-1/2 to 5 years.

To support the project, the museum has opened a FundRazr crowd-funding site. The goal for the first round of fund-raising is $17,000, which will boost the funding for the first year of the project to $50,000. Anyone is welcome to donate to the project at

Other Narrow Gauge / Steamin' in the rain
« on: June 09, 2020, 10:12:05 AM »
On the 30" gauge Puffing Billy Railway in Australia. Notice engine 14A, which was converted to oil firing a year ago. Also the small Garratt G42. It is really hustling along in a couple of scenes.

US Two Footers / Newest 2-foot steamer
« on: April 02, 2020, 09:16:00 PM »
This locomotive is a mostly new replica of a World War I Davenport locomotive, used by US forces in France. The frame, drivers and cylinders are original; everything from the wheels up is new. It has air brakes, which were not used on the originals. Owned by someone in California, I understand.

Other Narrow Gauge / Puffing Billy Railway shutdown
« on: March 21, 2020, 12:23:52 PM »
Australia's Puffing Billy Railway has announced it will shut down effective Monday, March 23, for three months. That puts their reopening close to the end of June, right in the middle of winter in Australia.

Two Footers outside of the US / New sugar 2-footer in Australia
« on: January 15, 2020, 07:32:39 PM »
Here's an article about a new sugar railway being built in 2020 in Australia.

Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad / Signal at Phillips depot
« on: December 15, 2019, 04:19:00 PM »
Does anyone out there have any information regarding the semaphore signal on the platform at Phillips? Specifically, information concerning the operating lever mechanism? One of my Australian friends is interested in signals and inquired about it. Any help appreciated. Thanks.

Two Footers outside of the US / Sandstone 2019
« on: November 11, 2019, 11:27:21 PM »
Check out the Baldwin 4-6-2 no. 52 as well as all the other cool stuff here!

General Discussion / Another steam weekend
« on: October 16, 2019, 03:23:00 PM »
WW&F member and volunteer Don Fenstermacher was absent from the Fall Work Weekend this year, but there was still steam involved. Don and his son and grandson helped run the 25th anniversary outing of the North American Steamboat Association at Lake Nockamixon Park near Quakertown, Pa. Ten boats were in attendance.

Here's a nice report from a local television station, which includes some screen time for Don, as well as shots of his boat,

(Note: He still wishes he could have been in two places at once!)

Two Footers outside of the US / New two-foot track in Queensland
« on: October 07, 2019, 02:28:17 PM »
Here some brand new two-foot gauge track in Queensland, Australia. Laid with jointed rail and concrete ties made in-house by the sugar company.

UK (Welsh, British) Two Footers / Another L&B report
« on: September 16, 2019, 02:43:57 PM »
In addition to the usual Thursday work report, the L&B this past weekend held the first of two fall work weekends. A large crew spent a couple of days clearing parts of the L&B right-of-way that have been dormant since 1935. Scroll down along the right side of this link to see photos.

Two Footers outside of the US / Swedish two-footer
« on: August 20, 2019, 08:44:05 PM »
Here's a two-footer in Sweden. Check out the outside Stephenson valve gear on the engine. Also, it appears the diesel follows the steam train with a water tank to put out any fires it may start. Also note how much difficulty they have with one of the turntables.

Other Narrow Gauge / What about multiple gauges?
« on: June 09, 2019, 03:21:04 PM »
Here's a photo taken by Robert Wilson in Gladstone, South Australia, in 1969, when the five-foot gauge and 3-foot six-inch gauge lines were being converted to standard gauge. How would like to be the guy whose job it was to keep that turnout properly adjusted?

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