Author Topic: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?  (Read 28090 times)

Wayne Laepple

  • Museum Member
  • Supervisor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,999
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #60 on: November 10, 2017, 05:00:51 PM »
The side elevation and other plans for the Portland Co. WW&F hopper car were on this forum at one point, but I can't seem to find them now.

John Kokas

  • Museum Member
  • Supervisor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,546
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #61 on: November 10, 2017, 05:06:20 PM »
Part of the discussion is in the Museum Archives section but the blueprint is no longer visible.  Maybe one of our Moderators would be able to resurrect it.
Moxie Bootlegger

Bill Reidy

  • Museum Member
  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,145
  • Life member. Ack.
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #62 on: November 10, 2017, 06:58:15 PM »
I'd like to see a hopper car built to the Portland Company design, but I am much more excited to see the work the past few months on what I understand will be a tie inserter.  We have a much greater need to mechanize track maintenance than track building.  Usually we have lots of people who generously volunteer their time for work weekends when track gets built, but as time goes on, we will have a growing need for track maintenance outside of work weekends.

Big Joe has been a good start -- a tie inserter would be a great addition.
What–me worry?

Ed Lecuyer

  • Administrator
  • Superintendent
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,591
    • View Profile
    • wwfry.org
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #63 on: November 10, 2017, 07:15:24 PM »
The "official" thread for the hopper does include the blueprints:
http://forum.wwfry.org/index.php/topic,2705.0.html
(thanks for reminding me of that thread.)

Let's please engage in hopper-specific discussions there, and keep this thread for mechanization in general.
Ed Lecuyer
Moderator, WW&F Forum

Bill Baskerville

  • Museum Member
  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,218
  • Life Member
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #64 on: November 10, 2017, 11:56:49 PM »
Bill is correct.  Track maintenance when ties need to be replaced is actually much harder than new track work.  A working tie remover/inserter would be a boon to that aspect of our maintenance.  As time goes by, and our main line and years continue to grow, we will need more and more track maintenance, which like ROW mowing is growing more difficult to keep up with.
~ B2 ~ Wascally Wabbit & Gofer ~

Mike Fox

  • Museum Member
  • Empire Builder
  • ********
  • Posts: 5,138
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #65 on: November 11, 2017, 08:24:57 AM »
We do have a mower for the Kubota. Just need a finishing touch..
Mike
Doing way too much to list...

Wayne Laepple

  • Museum Member
  • Supervisor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,999
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #66 on: November 11, 2017, 09:14:52 AM »
The discussion of track construction vs. track maintenance has been going on for years. Let's just agree that building new track is way more fun than replacing ties, raising joints, tightening joint bars and cutting weeds and brush. Mechanization of that work will help but it goes only so far. So we need to figure out how to make those maintenance tasks more fun.

Jeff Schumaker

  • Museum Member
  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,151
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #67 on: November 11, 2017, 10:55:57 AM »
The discussion of track construction vs. track maintenance has been going on for years. Let's just agree that building new track is way more fun than replacing ties, raising joints, tightening joint bars and cutting weeds and brush. Mechanization of that work will help but it goes only so far. So we need to figure out how to make those maintenance tasks more fun.

Have Fred sing to us, while we work :o???

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

Bill Reidy

  • Museum Member
  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,145
  • Life member. Ack.
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #68 on: November 11, 2017, 05:34:00 PM »
Having Fred sing is about all the fun I can handle.    :-\

For me, it would help to know in advance (at least a couple of weeks) when we plan a track maintenance day.  During the warm weather, we generally can't take a main line section out of service on a weekend for maintenance without affecting our public trains, so we're largely limited to weekdays.  I have a better chance of getting a weekday off if I know a date well in advance.

I happened to be on vacation in August when we had a very productive maintenance weekday, working the main line between Jayne's Way and Brook crossing.

I understand Joe (who has been pushing track maintenance this past summer) has the opposite situation -- he doesn't know his work schedule until immediately before a given date.

Would we consider publishing a calendar for 2018 listing planned track maintenance days to see if that brings out more volunteers?

What–me worry?

Stephen Hussar

  • Museum Member
  • Conductor
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
  • Life Member
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #69 on: November 11, 2017, 05:44:39 PM »
I'm in the same boat...
I understand Joe (who has been pushing track maintenance this past summer) has the opposite situation -- he doesn't know his work schedule until immediately before a given date.

John Kokas

  • Museum Member
  • Supervisor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,546
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #70 on: November 11, 2017, 06:04:14 PM »
Maybe we should consider a couple of 3 day workweeks during the year to do mainline work exclusively.  (M-W or W-F)  Schedule it several months in advance so that some of the folks who have to travel a distance a chance to participate.  Just don't schedule it during black fly season.
Moxie Bootlegger

Joe Fox

  • Museum Member
  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,211
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #71 on: November 11, 2017, 06:17:04 PM »
Hopefully the new DW will help speed up tie changing next summer. As for scheduled track work, there is always several smaller tasks that can be done such as tighten loose bolts, replace worn out joint bars, etc that is listed in the track inspection/work book. I wanted to get to the museum last month several times, however I only had 4 days off for the month and of course did not realize till it got to the 24 hour mark when the phone would ring thus starting 5 more days. What a hectic month October was.

Wayne Laepple

  • Museum Member
  • Supervisor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,999
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #72 on: November 13, 2017, 08:46:25 PM »
A couple of thoughts on track maintenance, if you please. The first train of the day is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. So if a track gang can get out to a designated work site between Sheepscot and Alna Center by 8 a.m., they have two hours plus to work before they have to clear up for the train. If a crew is doing spot tie work, it is not necessary to spike up individual ties before the train passes. For example, in order to clear up for the train, any track-mounted equipment would either return to the North Yard lead or take the siding at Alna Center in the clear 10 minutes before train time while a few people stay behind to spike.

After the northbound passes, work can continue, or other tasks can be done until the southbound run passes, depending on the location of the work. This sort of routine requires advance planning and setting up work limits so the train crew knows what to expect and it is incumbent on the foreman of the track gang to be constantly aware of the time so the train is not delayed. This is how it's done every day on working railroads all over the country.

If it were me, I would concentrate working from the center of each area between sidings toward the sidings, i.e., Sheepscot Mills and Rosewood, so that as work proceeds, the distance to the siding, whether it's Sheepscot, Alna Center or Top of the Mountain, is progressively shorter. After the last train of the day has run, take the tamper out and tamp each new tie inserted. The rule of thumb used on most railroads when hand tie changing takes place is one tie per hour per man, i.e. a four man crew should be able to change out four ties per hour. With mechanical assistance, better production should be achievable.

It may take some experimentation to get all the pieces to work well together, but it can work. As stated above, planning and coordination are what makes it all work.

I appreciate John Kokas' suggestion of a couple of three-day mid-week work sessions to concentrate exclusively on track work, specifically tie renewal and surfacing. With some advance scheduling, I'd make an effort to get to Maine for at least one such session.


Bill Baskerville

  • Museum Member
  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,218
  • Life Member
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #73 on: November 13, 2017, 10:24:51 PM »
Wayne's plan works.  I worked with a team of three and used this method to replace missing joint bar bolts (usually where the bolt was missing due to hole misalignment.  We could usually remove a pair of joint bars, drill the hole, and reassemble the connection with plenty of time to spare.  If there were two pairs of joint bars near one another we could usually do two between trains and still have plenty of time to remove the red flags (we left the yellow ones up) before the time expired to clear the rails for the next train.  This was on the old schedule when the trains ran every hour.

The plan did require the train crew and the track foreman paying attention to necessary communication between the two groups so it could be relayed to dispatch after each train returned.

A lot of small projects could be accomplished on weekends with a little planning and coordination.
~ B2 ~ Wascally Wabbit & Gofer ~

Joe Fox

  • Museum Member
  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,211
    • View Profile
Re: Improved Efficiencies & Mechanization for Track Building?
« Reply #74 on: November 13, 2017, 11:01:55 PM »
All of this taken into consideration, we can try for better schedules. Next spring I hope to have a set schedule, which I could have right now if I wanted to work nights again, but right now I am chasing the money. There was hopes of regular track days this summer, but too many projects kept popping up, equipment issues, etc.

We can try for Saturday track crews, but this year was lead to too many other weekend projects and lack of interest by volunteers. And by 8:30 I tend to lose ambition for trying to recruit guys. Best bet in reality is to continue planned week days coordinated with and or around shop help. Jason and I had discussed earlier this year that two days a month for 5 months and we could surface almost all of the rough spots along with other select work in those areas at the same time.