Western Rail Road Museum Track Crew News

The Track Crew meets twice per month, on the second and fourth Saturday. Track Crew News Archive

June 2011

The Track Crew started off 2011 with a bang, reaching the full year's goal for tie replacement in less than 4 months. Using the collection of mechanized equipment to replace ties in the operating track, the Crew reached new highs of productivity, even achieving a record 100 ties replaced in one day! Since not all of the work can be done by machines, it is some of the most physically demanding work done by the Crew each year.  For that reason, they are happy that the work has been completed during the cool parts of the year. In the past three months, Jerry A., Joel C., Mal E., Jerry L., Bob P. and Pete W. contributed to this accomplishment.

Of course, a project like this doesn't go forward without some kind of hiccups. On one workday, the main hydraulic pump drive on the Association's tamper failed. It turns out that that the last mechanic who worked on this left out one grease-fitting from the pump drive shaft. This meant that it wasn't ever lubricated, and lead to the failure of the part, rendering the tamper immobile. Fortunately, it was possible to salvage parts off the similar tamper (purchased as a parts source about a year ago) from the Northwestern Pacific Railroad. These spare parts, plus some new bearings and seals, allowed for a very economical repair of the problem. Jerry A., Joel C., Mal E., Bob P. and Pete W. worked on this and other pieces of equipment, keeping everything running.

Looking ahead, the Track Crew will be completing rehabilitation of the Torsion Beam Tamper and then using it to raise, line and level the track. Over the next few years, this machine will also be used to smooth out the Sacramento Northern main track now being operated, to improve the ride quality of our service. The Crew will also work on recreating the spur at Garfield as well as a major bridge repair project. Finally, other track maintenance and rehabilitation projects will round out the coming year for the Track Crew.

Does any of this sound interesting to you?  The Track Crew is open to anyone who enjoys working outdoors, and meets at 9:00 on the second and fourth Saturday of each month.  If you are interested, come to the museum at those times and look for the Track Crew.  We'll see you down the line!

(left) Joel C. operates the Association's Tie Inserter to install a new tie under the track, while Pete W. cleans extra ballast out of the way. The Track Crew installs up to 100 ties per day this way. Photo by Jerry A.
(right) Bob P. operates the Association's Tamper to tamp up the new ties installed in the Sacramento Northern main track. This day's work was near the Gum Grove station platform. Old ties that were replaced can be seen stacked next to the track. Photo by Jerry A.