I Built a Railroad. CHOO CHOOOOOOO

So today I went out to Deadwood, Oregon and built a railroad. Where is Deadwood, you ask? It's right here:

With that established, I should say that I didn't exactly build it myself. I was at a work party with about 14 other people. And I should also say that we didn't built the whole thing. The railroad has been an 11 year project that will have 6,000 feet of track when it's finished. Today we built another 120 feet, and there are only about 150 paces left to go! The people around there are awfully excited in the way that hardworking train enthusiasts get excited about things.

To build a railroad of this magnitude (18" gauge), there are several steps. First, you have to clear brush and lay a nice bed of dirt down and all of that. All those things had already been done, so we laid track. A lot of steps were already done, but here's how a good portion of it works:

New track is added on top of wooden ties:

Then it gets secured with steel railroad spikes, on both the inside...

...and outside...

...of the track! Here's a picture of me pounding an outside spike:

Then you have to add more gravel to the track. The gravel is called ballast, a heavy material that improves stability. Just like on submarines or hot air balloons.

Then you have to spread the ballast evenly over the track.

Then you have to make sure the track is level.

Then you have to pack, or tamp, the ballast down with an incredibly heavy steel tool called a tamper. This is a really tiring job. I think the tamper weighs like 4,000 pounds.

But then the track is ready! This is the diesel engine with passenger cars:

It was really fun to ride!

1 comment:

Mehalia said...

Good post.