Thursday, February 26, 2009

More turntable progress.

Yesterday, February 25th, Ken Eells and I traveled to Joshua Tree for a day of work on the turntable. We were joined by the ever-affable Bill Souder. The modified overhead trolley wheels donated by Mike Brehm were welded into place and a start was made on the deck. Treated 4x4's were placed and 2x6 planks were screwed down as edging to hold the bridge timbers in orientation. Two handy sticks of rail were thrown on for demonstration purposes. It now has the look of a proper turntable. Thanks to Ken and Bill for their excellent efforts!

The weather was gorgeous, as it can be this time of year. A bit of wind kicked up later in the day but didn't hinder our efforts. We stopped into Don Jose's in Anahiem Hills on the way home for our evening meal, which topped off our productive day.

Our next workday is coming up on Saturday, March 7th. I would like to continue tuning up the turntable, as well as work on the lead track coming into it. Remember to save the date, May 2nd, which is our big annual meet on the 15" gauge. With a little luck we may be able to debut the turntable then! If enough people show up we can also start putting the Shay back together now that the hard freezes are over. Work on the balloon track through the cut can also progress when ready.

Until then, be safe and I hope to see you all in the desert soon!
- Chris Allan

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Cold February Day.

Saturday February 7th was cold at Joshua Tree, thankfully the fire built in the Franklin stove at the Pullman picnic shelter was enough to stave off any minor discomfort. More was accomplished on the structure thanks to Bill Souder, Mike and Joseph Brehm, Rita Allan (who lit the fire) and Tom Arnold. The north wall is now sheeted, and the refrigerator is up on the slab poured by Bill Shepherd (Thanks Bill!). The sheeting generously procured by Eric Bauer is being put to good use.

Ken and Mike worked on getting the turntable end wheel assemblies fitted in preparation for attaching the wheels provided by Mike. Tom Arnold rigged up power for my wire feed welder (Thanks again Tom!) and the assemblies were tacked in place. A bit more work remains before the table is wheeled, but we are getting close! Ken and Judy Eells managed to make it up despite having to move out of their house the week before, as well as Judy having just been through throat surgery. We applaud their efforts during these adverse times, and wish Judy a speedy recovery.

Tom, Brendan, and Robert continued grading for the balloon loop using a tractor provided by Robert. They also hauled some rock down to the mini-train loop for, I would assume, retaining walls. The little puttering carts full of material popped up and down the hill all day.

Several esteemed guests dropped by to view our collection of railcars, including Nick Kallas, General Manager for the Illinois Railway Museum, the largest and most diverse railway museum in North America. Nick and I have crossed paths a few times over the past 25 years, and it was a pleasure catching up and comparing notes on our museum preservation efforts.

A friendly contingent from the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum stopped in, led by their president, Diana Hyatt. They toured our railcars and we spent some time getting to know each other. If you have the chance to get down to Campo, near San Diego, don't miss a visit to their railroad museum, and even better yet take one of their trains to Tecate, Mexico. It is, I am told, a rather unique experience not to be missed. I hope to do this with the family in the near future.

We will be back out for the workday on March 7th, 2009. I look forward to seeing all of you then! - Chris Allan