|BUILDING A NEW MAIN LINE
AUGUST 5-18, 2015
After Paul and Amy provided the Calvert Central with that beautiful water tower, I felt the compulsion
to start a new project. I had a new turnout and 17 track panels waiting to make a new main line along
the fence line under two cedar trees. Due to health issues, I could only work in one-hour stretches
once or twice a day. But as it turns out, that wasn't too much of a problem. So here's how it went.
The first step was to remove the old track to make room for the turnout. It con-
sisted of unbolting the track, moving it off to the side, and moving the ballast.
As I bolted in the new turnout, there were two gaps in the rails. I filled them
with spare rail, making sure to make the new rails longer for more strength.
As you can see, the new section of rail is a good bit longer than the original
gap. Joints are always on a tie, never between ties.
I felt rested (and impatient) that afternoon, so I installed that piece of track
that I had pulled out earlier. It took just over an hour including ballasting.
Finishing the turnout installation involved filling the gaps between ties with
ballast. This was all I could do in the first work session.
A few days later, I had enough track installed to give us an idea of how the
new line would look as it approached the first corner.
Here is what the crossing look like after installing rail and a top coat of
ballast. Later I will install planks to make it like a REAL crossing.
Now it was time for finishing up the line. Here I am installing a golden rail
joiner, the final joint for the new main line.
As they did at the Golden Spike Ceremony in 1869, Paul and I got two
locomotives to face each other from each end of the line.
DRIVING THE GOLDEN SPIKE - Paul and I drove in a prototype spike
painted in genuine gold spray paint.
With the ceremony completed, Paul backs away his locomotive. He's smiling
because he's so happy the project is done before the big party.
This was the first official train to run across the completed main line. Why
isn't Charlotte riding with me? Because she was on the other side of the
camera taking pictures.
On Saturday, Paul came over for the day to help dig out the hole for the road
crossing. The tractor was handy but there was a lot of hand digging too.
The finished hole. The curve is at a steady 30 foot radius. The hole is 8
inches deep. Paul worked very hard to get us to this point. I had to take
several breaks but he just kept on digging. He was great with the tractor too.
Next I installed 12x12 concrete pavers to keep the ballast from sinking...
...and covered them with two inches of ballast (#57 crushed stone).
A few weeks later I cut some 3/4 by 6 inch boards to fit the new crossing.
Everything is built sturdily to accommodate regular car and truck (and golf
cart) traffic. The beautiful crossing sign was made by Paul. Thank you!
Next I installed 4x4 ties, each 24 inches long instead of the usual 13.75.