Author Topic: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?  (Read 874 times)

Alex Harvilchuck

  • Museum Member
  • Switchman
  • **
  • Posts: 84
    • View Profile
Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« on: September 18, 2017, 12:23:04 PM »
The current plan is to hold off on mainline track laying till next spring or fall, depending on how filling goes this year. The hope is to lay 1,000' at a time again like we used to do. If we can build 1,000' of track in 3 work weekends we will be almost to 218, and across Trout Brook. We have 7 work weekends between now and the estimated timeline for being over the brook if everything goes well. All of this will depend on money, and a few other matters, but that is the anticpated timeline.

Any thoughts on simple innovations to help speed the track building process?

 
« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 01:37:25 AM by Ed Lecuyer »

Jason M Lamontagne

  • Operating Volunteers
  • Conductor
  • *****
  • Posts: 896
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2017, 12:42:22 PM »
We have programming and equipment modifications to our track laying program which we keep in reserve, should the need to increase track laying speed and efficiency develop.  At this point there is no need to do so.

Thanks,
Jason

Mike Fox

  • Museum Member
  • Superintendent
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,250
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2017, 03:59:48 PM »
As crazy as it sounds, track building should never be mechanized. Not for us. We have a bunch of volunteers that love to help lay track. And when you tell the public it was all laid by hand, they find it remarkable.

Track maintenance, on the otherhand, should be. We don't want to be building track faster than we can maintain it.
Mike
Doing way too much to list...

Jason M Lamontagne

  • Operating Volunteers
  • Conductor
  • *****
  • Posts: 896
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2017, 04:24:12 PM »
I agree with Mike.  The changes I refer to as nothing more than the expansion of current methods to their ultimate efficiency level.


Joe Fox

  • Museum Member
  • Engineer
  • ****
  • Posts: 621
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2017, 06:14:42 PM »
Laying track at our current levels may seem slow, however at 1,000 to 1200' per work weekend, our track laying crews keep right up with the excavating crew. We could be at Trout Brook currently in 3 weekends, our only hold back is the washouts that lay ahead.

Alex Harvilchuck

  • Museum Member
  • Switchman
  • **
  • Posts: 84
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2017, 05:37:19 PM »
It doesn't mean full automation, but I was thinking of things along the lines of ....
  • Laying out the ties before the 3-day work window with a smaller crew so the larger crew can get going immediately laying, aligning and spiking rail.
  • Use an A-Frame Derrick with a roller to move/position the rail sections in place off of the work car - this is how they took the rails up on the Rio Grande Southern with a Goose and a trailer car. The derrick would be good for maintenance
  • A hydraulic dump car for spreading ballast on newly spiked track to work in tandem with the tamper.
 
I can see the "fun" part being laying the rail and spiking it down, but hand shoveling ballast off a flat car? Sounds like a sore back to me. It's just like tamping and the reason why Big Joe exists. It means more time can be spent on the art of spiking and aligning new rail instead of the drudgery of shoveling rock.

Jeff Schumaker

  • Museum Member
  • Hostler
  • ***
  • Posts: 279
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2017, 06:16:48 PM »
Alex,

I take it that you've never been up for a fall or spring work weekend. Although shoveling ballast may seem like tedious work, and can be at times, the sense of accomplishment once a section of track has been ballasted, lifted, and aligned completely by manual labor more than compensates for it. You also get an appreciation for the way things were done when the original railroad was built.

Jeff S.

Mike Fox

  • Museum Member
  • Superintendent
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,250
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2017, 07:09:23 PM »
And that is what makes it so enjoyable. Plus during the idle time, you get a chance to chat with folks that you may only see once or twice a year. You don't really think of it as work. Rebuilding what once was, in a way similar to how they would have done, for just about the same pay.
Mike
Doing way too much to list...

Fred Morse

  • Museum Member
  • Fireman
  • ****
  • Posts: 331
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2017, 07:45:46 PM »
Believe it or not, our working members would be upset if they couldn't do all those things.

Alex Harvilchuck

  • Museum Member
  • Switchman
  • **
  • Posts: 84
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2017, 08:06:31 PM »
And that is what makes it so enjoyable. Plus during the idle time, you get a chance to chat with folks that you may only see once or twice a year. You don't really think of it as work. Rebuilding what once was, in a way similar to how they would have done, for just about the same pay.

Since we have been talking about shop cats, does the supervisor at FWW/SWW have a period-correct cat o' nine tails? ;)
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 08:08:08 PM by Alex Harvilchuck »

Ed Lecuyer

  • Administrator
  • Supervisor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,811
    • View Profile
    • Historical Topo Maps
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2017, 08:27:10 PM »
No, but he tells one heck of a moose story.
Ed Lecuyer
Moderator, WW&F Forum

Alex Harvilchuck

  • Museum Member
  • Switchman
  • **
  • Posts: 84
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2017, 08:45:24 PM »
No, but he tells one heck of a moose story.

Does that make him the "Fearless Leader"?
« Last Edit: September 23, 2017, 12:07:40 AM by Alex Harvilchuck »

Ed Lecuyer

  • Administrator
  • Supervisor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,811
    • View Profile
    • Historical Topo Maps
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2017, 09:25:13 PM »
You'll have to come and see that for yourself.
Ed Lecuyer
Moderator, WW&F Forum

Stewart "Start" Rhine

  • Museum Member
  • Trainmaster
  • *******
  • Posts: 2,778
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2017, 10:16:48 PM »
Dana Wigwam is certainly a one-of-a-kind, and this is the 20th anniversary of his joining the track crew. 

Alex Harvilchuck

  • Museum Member
  • Switchman
  • **
  • Posts: 84
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2017, 12:06:07 AM »
Although shoveling ballast may seem like tedious work, and can be at times, the sense of accomplishment once a section of track has been ballasted, lifted, and aligned completely by manual labor more than compensates for it. You also get an appreciation for the way things were done when the original railroad was built.

IMHO, Spreading ballast/crushed gravel is prime for mechanization, the lifting and aligning should be done by hand. I've flat & round hand-shoveled enough bluestone crusher run or anthracite coal or concrete over the years that any sense of "fun" is long past. As an engineer I appreciate it enough - that's why I bought myself a 60hp 4WD diesel bucket loader with a backhoe. Makes short work of the drudgery.