Author Topic: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad  (Read 11424 times)

Rick Rowlands

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J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« on: June 23, 2019, 08:17:41 AM »
Now that the J&L 58 has returned to service and operating on a regular schedule, we are turning our attention to several other projects to enhance the operation. 

House Track.  Currently the only track that we have is the main, which is about 600 feet long.  One switch has been installed leading to the new site of the enginehouse and eventually into a proposed extension of the Tod Engine building.  This building extension will have a 20' x 45' area for a backshop complete with a 25 ton overhead crane. 

Standard Gauge Rail Cars.  We have three standard gauge cars coming in to serve the narrow gauge.  The first is a wooden bay window bobber caboose body that will be used as a crew room and bunkhouse for volunteers.  This car was built by the Lake Erie Franklin & Clarion Railroad and has been at a campsite since 1968.  It will be moved to Youngstown later this summer.  The second car is an EL bay window caboose donated by CSX.  It will be used for our main office.  The third is a 1920s era 10,000 gallon GATX tankcar tank.  Also being donated by CSX, it will be cleaned out and used for boiler water storage. 

Eastern Extension.  The mainline will be extended approx. 800 feet to the east, thanks to a deal struck with a neighbor to purchase a 30' wide strip of land extending about 700' eastward.  Once a new turnout is installed and grading done we can commence with the laying of track, and speaking of track I also made a deal to acquire enough 90 lb. rail to construct this extension.

Due to the weight of our locomotive, we are consigned to using rail 85 lb. or heavier for most of the railroad.  While it makes it a bit more difficult to build mainly because frogs and points are not designed for the short closure distances of 24" gauge, it is actually rather easy to find rail.  Older 90 and 100 lb. rail can still be found in abandoned sidings and industry tracks. 

While the type of narrow gauge railroading that we do here in Youngstown is a far cry from what is practiced up in Maine, I do look to the WW&F for inspiration and ideas.  You set the standard which we strive to emulate. 

The photo is of a recent operating day when we moved topsoil from the new site of the enginehouse to the fill at the western end of the main track with the side dump car. 

« Last Edit: June 23, 2019, 08:19:19 AM by Rick Rowlands »
Rick Rowlands
Chief Engineer
Jones & Laughlin Narrow Gauge Railway
Youngstown, OH

Rick Rowlands

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Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2019, 08:22:30 AM »
This is the LEF&C bobber bay window caboose as it appeared last weekend.  It stayed in good condition because it had a rubber roof appled and the previous owner placed storm windows and Celotex on the sides of the car.  The interior is absolutely beautiful as well.
Rick Rowlands
Chief Engineer
Jones & Laughlin Narrow Gauge Railway
Youngstown, OH

Rick Rowlands

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Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2019, 08:36:46 AM »
The GE 70 ton locomotive makes for a great platform to view the action from.  The 58 is all business.  No frills, just brute strength and heavy weight.  At over 40 tons and with 16,000 lbs. of tractive effort, there isn't much she can't pull.

I made a few modifications to the locomotive, one of which is the provisions for a large whistle mounted to the tank.  Currently she has a PRR 3 chime, but can accommodate any full size locomotive whistle.  To compensate for the expansion of the boiler as it heats up, a flexible steam line is used between the dome valve and the whistle bracket.
Rick Rowlands
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Jones & Laughlin Narrow Gauge Railway
Youngstown, OH

Graham Buxton

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Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2019, 09:08:20 AM »
That last photo above is a striking example of #58's ability to handle sharp curves!  :o
Graham

Rick Rowlands

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Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2019, 08:49:13 PM »
Yes.  That is a 40' radius curve and 58 rolls right around it as if its not there.  The rear platform swings out so far it reminds you of being on a trolley car.
Rick Rowlands
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Jones & Laughlin Narrow Gauge Railway
Youngstown, OH

John Kokas

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Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2019, 08:57:29 PM »
For some reason I think you're going to have a little flange wear on that curve.  Just say'in  :o
Moxie Bootlegger

Rick Rowlands

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Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2019, 08:13:30 AM »
Not a little, but a LOT of flange wear.  I keep the curve greased and that does help.  There will be an almost as sharp of a curve going in the other direction on the eastern extension, so at least wear will be evened out.

I already have a price quote for new driver tires and since I have a spare set of drivers, they will be disassembled and refurbished so that when we do wear through the flanges, I can just swap them out.   I can only imagine the number of driver tires these engines used up in 25 years of service at J&L. 

The idea of putting in a permanent rail greaser has crossed my mind and there is one that I could acquire if I wanted to put it in.  Until then its me and the bucket of grease every morning on operating days!
Rick Rowlands
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Jones & Laughlin Narrow Gauge Railway
Youngstown, OH

Rick Rowlands

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Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2019, 08:23:43 PM »
This is the stub track that runs out onto a fill at the front of the property.  115RE rail on full size ties cut in half.  This is our standard construction, except we drop down to 100RB for the rest of the main, 85AS for the house track and the eastern extension will be 90RA. 
Rick Rowlands
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Jones & Laughlin Narrow Gauge Railway
Youngstown, OH

Steve Smith

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Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2019, 10:34:53 PM »
Rick, I'm guessing there's "some wicked squealin," as a Mainah might say, when 58 goes around that 40-foot radius curve. Do you perhaps have a link to a sound recording?

Wayne Laepple

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Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2019, 07:40:51 PM »
You might want to consider flange bearing guard rail on the inside rail on that sharp curve. Designed to bear against the back of the flange which is thicker than the front. They were fairly common on steep curves on the broad gauge, and I have seen some curves that had guard rails on both rails where the curve was really sharp!

Rick Rowlands

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Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2019, 10:08:53 PM »
Interestingly enough it does not squeal going around the curve as long as the outer rail is greased. 
https://youtu.be/0iRsHTvwNoQ?t=193

A guardrail may be something that is added down the road. 

Rick Rowlands
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Jones & Laughlin Narrow Gauge Railway
Youngstown, OH

Steve Smith

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Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2019, 11:20:11 PM »
Rick, thank your the link to the video. It was nice to observe in action the particular variant of Walschaert valve gear on No. 58.

Jeff Schumaker

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Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2019, 09:20:11 AM »
Great video, Rick. What is the heritage of the GE centercab that shows up in the video?

Jeff S.
Hey Rocky, watch me pull a moose trout out of my hat.

John Stone

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Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2019, 07:41:14 PM »
That is an impressive 2 footer! I love the Pennsy whistle too! That's probably the cleanest that engine has been since it left Porter!

Rick Rowlands

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Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2019, 08:51:17 PM »
Steve, 58 has indirect Walschaert valve gear, with the eccentric crank facing the opposite direction from most other US steam locomotives. I don't really know why, but it is interesting.

Jeff, the GE is a 70 tonner built in 1942 for the New York Central, later sold to Standard Slag, then finally Valley Lould & Iron in my hometown of Hubbard.  It has a 250 volts DC electrical system, making it very useful as a genset for powering the overhead travelling crane in the Tod Engine Building.  It also serves as our plant air compressor. 
Rick Rowlands
Chief Engineer
Jones & Laughlin Narrow Gauge Railway
Youngstown, OH