Author Topic: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread  (Read 346479 times)

John McNamara

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Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« Reply #720 on: August 02, 2018, 01:08:54 PM »
[text deleted] Certainly they did not have any 48 inch ones?
Sometimes they used old boiler shells. A few hundred feet north of Sheepscot there was a very large culvert made from an old boiler shell. It was sufficiently large that there was inadequate space between the top of the culvert and the rails. Frost heaves pushed the rail up sufficiently that couplers almost uncoupled. We solved this problem by replacing that culvert with a smaller, but still adequate, one. There is a WW&F Newsletter a few years back that shows the replacement process.

Joe Fox

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Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« Reply #721 on: August 02, 2018, 01:30:03 PM »
The above mentioned article was sometime around 2006-2007 if memory serves correctly.

Mike Fox

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Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« Reply #722 on: August 02, 2018, 02:14:38 PM »
Last year I took out about an 18 inch steel pipe, that was where we put the first big culvert. It had plugged with silt, then the ends got buried, and the ROW became a dam.

They also used a lot of french drains which also plugged.

All this work should give us years and years of operation.
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Alex Harvilchuck

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Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« Reply #723 on: August 02, 2018, 02:41:25 PM »
I know I might be accused of being a heretic but.....



We all are not getting any younger ...

If two of these were available with operators for FWW, I see no reason why more than 1600' of track can be spiked over the weekend.
Four of them and the necessary operators and we'd be laying track across the bridge and up to Rt 218 (or the south switch) by the Monday of FWW.

They are only $70/day to rent. $150/day saves a lot of sore backs, $300/day gets us to the new EOT a year ahead of schedule.
Plus WW&F regains the "Miracle Worker" award from our friends in the SPRS. 3000' of track in a work weekend!

I happen to own a used Bosch I picked up for a good price. Photo attached of my Bosch in case you think I am yanking your chain.

FYI, the photo is from Como.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2018, 02:46:13 PM by Alex Harvilchuck »

Bill Piche

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Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« Reply #724 on: August 02, 2018, 03:13:30 PM »
I've used and been witness to using power hammers to do spike driving and they do have their benefits and drawbacks.

One big drawback (and you can see it in the picture provided) is that you need a pilot hole for every spike or you need them the be pre-set in the tie by somebody with a maul. You can't start them with the power hammer.

Another drawback is that you're more prone to bending spikes beyond recovery. Hand hammering is just as likely to bend the spike, but you can stop and bend it back out mid drive. With the power hammer you're liable to not notice it until it's too late. The possibility of bent spikes goes up if you're using smaller spikes than you see on 3' and standard gauge lines.

With the pine ties it seems easy enough to drive spikes that I bet the gangs will have no major problems putting down 300-500 feet a day. That's 150-250 ties and 600-1000 spikes. 800 ties and 3200 spikes in a weekend is a big order, but doable based on what has been done in the past. I believe the record years they were doing it with oak ties and no pilot holes, which from my experience in Portland I can tell you is no fun.

Turnout is never predictable but with how much it's been known that "new iron" is going down my understanding is that turnout is up, especially with the younger demographic. I believe Joe's spring tie replacement group had at least 8 guys under the age of 25. That's not the 100+ that have mobbed the fall work weekends in the past, but 75 or so replacements plus the wholesale track section replacement in 4 days is testament that even a small crew can get a lot done with the current materials.

My understanding is that we only want a maximum of 1600 feet this year anyways because the contractors are going to be accessing the roadbed from right next to where that 1600 feet stops. Equipment and additional materials and whatnot are going to come in through there instead of going over the bridge to reach the areas between the future EOT and the bridge site.
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Wayne Laepple

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Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« Reply #725 on: August 02, 2018, 03:15:09 PM »
What? Power spiking? Next thing they'll be wanting a diesel locomotive. I remember about a dozen years ago when I showed up with the first air tamper and was told they did everything by hand and didn't need any power tamping, thank you very much. And now we have our very own self-propelled tamper, complete with umbrella and cupholder for the operator.

Steve Zuppa

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Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« Reply #726 on: August 02, 2018, 03:47:57 PM »
The above mentioned article was sometime around 2006-2007 if memory serves correctly.
The activity described took place on Nov. 22, 2003 and was highlighted in the Jan/Feb newsletter of 2004. I incorporate it into my on train patter when I'm conductor.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2018, 03:49:42 PM by Steve Zuppa »
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Alex Harvilchuck

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Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« Reply #727 on: August 02, 2018, 04:13:16 PM »
I've used and been witness to using power hammers to do spike driving and they do have their benefits and drawbacks.

One big drawback (and you can see it in the picture provided) is that you need a pilot hole for every spike or you need them the be pre-set in the tie by somebody with a maul. You can't start them with the power hammer.

You wouldn't want to start a spike with a power hammer. Either drill a starter hole or hand-set with a hammer.

Another drawback is that you're more prone to bending spikes beyond recovery. Hand hammering is just as likely to bend the spike, but you can stop and bend it back out mid drive. With the power hammer you're liable to not notice it until it's too late. The possibility of bent spikes goes up if you're using smaller spikes than you see on 3' and standard gauge lines.

You would want to have more experienced people run and manage the power hammers. You don't want to go willy-nilly thinking you're superman just because you have a power hammer.

With the pine ties it seems easy enough to drive spikes that I bet the gangs will have no major problems putting down 300-500 feet a day. That's 150-250 ties and 600-1000 spikes. 800 ties and 3200 spikes in a weekend is a big order, but doable based on what has been done in the past. I believe the record years they were doing it with oak ties and no pilot holes, which from my experience in Portland I can tell you is no fun.

Thus the point of a power hammer. Work smarter, not harder.

Let's model with two hammers using your numbers of spikes. (70/day * 2 hammer *3 days = $420) with a gang of 4-6 to run the power hammers
3200 spikes = 1600 spikes per power hammer, 13 cents per spike driven
Assume with 24 hours of work over 4 work days and you get and average of  50 spikes per hammer-hour (25% inefficiency over an 8 hour day)

1000 spikes = 500 spikes per power hammer, 42 cents per spike driven
Assume with 24 hours of work over 4 work days and you get and average of  16 spikes per hammer-hour (25% inefficiency over an 8 hour day)


It's linear, but let's run the number with 4 power hammers (70/day * 4 hammer *3 days = $840) with a gang of 8-10 to run the power hammers
3200 spikes = 800 spikes per power hammer, 26 cent per spike driven
Assume with 24 hours of work over 4 work days and you get and average of  25 spikes per hammer-hour (25% inefficiency over an 8 hour day)

1000 spikes = 500 spikes per power hammer, 84 cents per spike driven
Assume with 24 hours of work over 4 work days and you get and average of  8 spikes per hammer-hour (25% inefficiency over an 8 hour day)


Turnout is never predictable but with how much it's been known that "new iron" is going down my understanding is that turnout is up, especially with the younger demographic. I believe Joe's spring tie replacement group had at least 8 guys under the age of 25. That's not the 100+ that have mobbed the fall work weekends in the past, but 75 or so replacements plus the wholesale track section replacement in 4 days is testament that even a small crew can get a lot done with the current materials.

You are assuming that the availability of "under 25 years olds" is perfectly elastic, I'm betting that it is inelastic and Joe's pool of potential support is nearly tapped out.
The museum is already seeing a Year-over-year reduction in labor. There is a reason why the temporary bridge is designed for a second life in MOW service for laying rail.
Nothing prevents a section being hand-layed. The spikes can be hand-started if people want to do that. I'm just saying that the prior model of hand laying track is unsustainable.

My understanding is that we only want a maximum of 1600 feet this year anyways because the contractors are going to be accessing the roadbed from right next to where that 1600 feet stops. Equipment and additional materials and whatnot are going to come in through there instead of going over the bridge to reach the areas between the future EOT and the bridge site.

I believe Mike has said that location 10 and 11 might get completed prior to FWW since the contractor wants to complete most activities on the south side this year. It is all going to hinge on the completion of the pinch point so Contractor Jeff can get to the rest of the south side with his equipment to place the bridge.

Contractor Jeff wants to haul the material in from the access road, versus across the bridge next year. So this moves up our culvert installation to this year.. Contractor Jeff will help so we can do it quicker.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2018, 04:29:33 PM by Alex Harvilchuck »

Roger Cole

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Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« Reply #728 on: August 02, 2018, 04:28:52 PM »
John Henry told his captain,
"Well, a man ain't nothin' but a man,
But before I let your steam drill ** beat me down,
I'll die with a hammer in my hand, Lord, Lord.
I'll die with a hammer in my hand."


** Power Hammer

Alex Harvilchuck

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Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« Reply #729 on: August 02, 2018, 04:32:20 PM »
John Henry told his captain,
"Well, a man ain't nothin' but a man,
But before I let your steam drill ** beat me down,
I'll die with a hammer in my hand, Lord, Lord.
I'll die with a hammer in my hand."


** Power Hammer

John Henry got his butt kicked by the steam drill. He did die with a hammer in his hand.

Ed Lecuyer

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Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« Reply #730 on: August 02, 2018, 04:35:37 PM »
Quote
The museum is already seeing a Year-over-year reduction in labor.
I do not believe that to be true. The number of volunteers and volunteer hours increase every year. The one exception was Steve and Annie's wedding - where every guest was logged as a volunteer for the day.

Quote
There is a reason why the temporary bridge is designed for a second life in MOW service for laying rail.
Yes. Several actually. None having to do with the number of volunteers or their capabilities.

Alex, will you be able to join us for the Fall Work Weekend?
Ed Lecuyer
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Mike Fox

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Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« Reply #731 on: August 02, 2018, 05:19:37 PM »
Actually, to back up what Ed said, we used to have a lot of volunteer activity on Saturdays, but that was the only day of the week. Now with Jason there most days during the week, more volunteers are coming spread out over 7 days instead of just one. So we wind up with more volunteers with more volunteer hours.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2018, 07:45:18 PM by Mike Fox »
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Stephen Piwowarski

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Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« Reply #732 on: August 02, 2018, 06:12:23 PM »
We all are not getting any younger ...

While it is true that quite literally no one is getting younger, I actually resent the idea of switching to power spiking (one which has been suggested many times, so don't take it personally) because it misses a key point of what the recreation of the WW&F is about- maintaining and teaching the authentic skills used to build, operate, and maintain a late 19th-early 20th century narrow gauge railroad.

Some of our younger volunteers pride themselves on doing things the 'old' way. That is, they enjoy cutting logs by hand, either with saw or axe, enjoy hand spiking. There are plenty of places to do things the 'new' way, but few to learn and practice these skills that we use on a regular basis.

The other problem with this is- if you are worried about an aging volunteer workforce, I think you would not focus on devices which save us from the labor that the railway is all about. Instead we should focus on attracting new, willing volunteers who are interested in learning those skills instead of replacing them with a machine. Saving labor with a machine to counteract an aging volunteer workforce is not a sustainable solution. Is a very few short years, since you have focused on saving labor rather than expanding volunteer workforce, you will find you have no one to run your power spiker- or locomotive, for that matter, either.

Ok, I'll get off the soapbox,
Steve Piwowarski
« Last Edit: August 02, 2018, 06:14:04 PM by Stephen Piwowarski »

Joe Fox

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Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« Reply #733 on: August 02, 2018, 06:33:57 PM »
I'd like to note that even though the air hammer or hydraulic hammer is nice, it is extremely heavy and hard on the back. More so than spiking by hand. Also if going for production, a team of two spike mauls can go much faster than a team of hammers. This is because once a spike is set with a maul you can go to town. When a spike is set with a maul the guy with the hammer has to step into place adding 30-45 seconds of time, where as the guy with a spike maul is already done. Even near the end of the day it was still faster the old way.

Jason M Lamontagne

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Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« Reply #734 on: August 02, 2018, 07:15:00 PM »
Hand spiking is the last, great bastion of building our railroad by hand, as many other concessions are made out of necessity. 

Handling those pneumatic spikers is no easy feat for those of us of “average” build.  Anyone bulked enough to handle one properly shouldn’t be trifled with.  I know from a touch of experience (trying to handle a pneumatic spiking hammer, not getting beat up by a pneumatic spiking hammer operator).  There is no ability to finnesse track gauge by drawing a rail with spiking technique.

If the mood of the crew swings towards automation in this regard- we’ll certainlu give it fair consideration- as we always strive to do.  We want to hear from those folks who would otherwise be wielding spike mauls.  I figure this FWW we can take the crews temperature again.  The introduction of such devices would be well thought out and executed.  If a couple showed up by surprise, I’m sorry to say they’d likely go unused that weekend.

See ya
Jason