Western Rail Road Museum Track Crew News

March 20, 2008
Repairs to the Tie Inserter

Flywheel being pulled using a shop-made puller. This puller was originally made to pull pinions off traction motors, but was adapted for this job. Photo by Joel C.

Pulling the flywheel off the old engine will require a special puller. It was decided to make a puller for this job in the manner that has been used for pulling motor pinions from traction motors in the past. The flywheel has a circle of 12 threaded holes where the drive plate for the hydraulic pump mounts. These holes will be used, with threaded rods, to pull on the flywheel. A plate will be made, with 12 corresponding holes, to receive these threaded rods and bear against the crankshaft in the middle. Then the nuts on the threaded rods will be tightened to create the tension needed to pull the flywheel. Because there are 12 high strength threaded rods working together, a high pulling force can be generated.

It turned out the in the Association’s collection of shop-made pinion pullers, there was one with an appropriate circle plate that could be used for this project. Of course, the holes in the circle plate didn’t match up with this flywheel, but there was room to drill new ones. The drive plate was used to mark the needed holes, and the drill press was used to make the required holes. Six-inch pieces of threaded rod were cut and inserted in the 12 holes in the flywheel. Then, with the circle plate in place, nuts were run up on each threaded rod. After only a couple of turns around tightening the nuts equally, the flywheel popped off.

The next step will be to clean up all the remaining pieces and mount them on the new engine.


March 15, 2008
Track Crew Work Party Day

track frog points and related rails
The work this day involved installing the frog, points and related rails. Photo by Joel C.

For this work day, the Crew set out to continue building the new turnout at Garfield. Last time, the preparatory cutting, drilling, and bending had been completed, so now the task was to assemble the turnout.

Arriving at the work site, the first job was to assemble the curved closure rail and diverging switch point. All the required hardware was unloaded as needed along the work area. Then the switch point was lifted into place and bolted to the straight stock rail. Once the remainder of the closure rails were bolted in place, the curvature of the rail was set from the standard plans using the offsets from the straight side of the turnout.

West view of turnout
View west showing the new turnout at Garfield. The next step will be to install the long ties under the turnout. Photo by Joel C.

Having the curved closure rail in place indicated accurately the required position of the frog. The hand-cranked crane was used to reposition the frog as close as possible to the required position, so that only a minimal amount of work would be required to move it into final position. Finally, the Crew was ready to remove the running rail and place the frog, straight closure rail, switch point, and bent stock rail.

With these new rails in place, the Crew was now ready to make the final cuts to tie in the turnout to the existing track. These rails were quickly cut and drilled using the Association’s rail saw and rail drill, and then bolted into place. Finally, the spiking could begin.

With the spiking complete and the track ready once again for service, the Crew of Joel C., Bob P., and Pete W. decided to pick up the tools and call it quits for the day. They headed back to the museum to put the tools away and join all the other volunteers for a nice dinner at the Volunteer Appreciation day

March 13, 2008
Repairs to the Tie Inserter

The new (factory rebuilt) engine for the Association’s Tie Inserter has arrived. Now the next step will be to get all the attached equipment such as flywheel, bell housing, starter, and alternator moved over to the new engine. Then the hydraulic pump can be mounted, and the engine installed in the machine.

New and old engines
New (silver) and old (yellow) engines. Now it will be necessary to move the auxiliaries from the old engine to the new one. Photo by Joel C.

The first item to be transferred over to the new engine was the vee-belt pulleys. On the old engine, this was a double belt system, while the new engine was supplied with a single belt pulley. Moving the pulley from the crankshaft was easy – just loosen the nut, exchange the pulleys between the engines, and tighten the nut again. The pulley on the blower turned out to be somewhat more complicated. First, the engine shroud had to be removed to gain access to the nut holding the pulley in place. Then, it turned out that the blower housing was different for the single belt pulley system, so it was necessary to exchange the entire housing as well. However, the new bearings and fan out of the replacement blower were taken out and transferred to the old blower housing so that those parts would be new in the final configuration. Finally, the respective blowers were reassembled and mounted on their respective engines.

The next step will be to pull the flywheel off the old engine and move it to the new one. This job will apparently require a special puller, which will have to be made for this job.

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