Paul’s Blog – October 8, 2022

On Saturday, October 8, Dwight Maxey, Colin Mellin, Gary Carter, Tyler Seeley and Paul Brown got busy and finished prepping ties for installation, and then hustled over to our running track to get the ties installed under the rails. We took a quick lunch, and then got everything spiked up and ready to run on. This was no ordinary tie install, as these were 14 foot ties spanning under four rails. We had to pound in about 20 spikes in these oak ties! No small feat! We did a quick check for proper gauge, so we know we can run over this section of track with no problem and fingers crossed. There is still more work to be done under this switch, but that will be waiting until we start to see a few more volunteers heading out to help.

There has been a lot of changes at the Museum, and if you haven’t been by in a while, you might be surprised by what you see. Hope to see a few more volunteers next week as we run our caboose train for folks attending the Rail Fair event at the State Fair grounds.

– Paul

Paul’s Blog – October 1, 2022

On Saturday, October 1, Dwight Maxey, Colin Mellin, Reid Adams and Paul Brown got to work on a project to get a couple of ties prepped for placement under our switch. It took a bit to round up a suitable tool to cut out the notches, and then we found solid oak ties cut very slow! The sawsall and blade we were using were capable, but a bit small for the task at hand. Regardless, we kept taking shifts to man the saw and were able to complete one of the notches of four needed. Next weekend, we will have to work better in order to get the job completed and ties installed under the track!

I have included a couple of pictures of the project work and a before and after picture of some work done in the yard earlier in the week.

– Paul

Paul’s Blog – September 24, 2022

On Saturday, September 24, Dwight Maxey, Colin Mellin, Tyler Seeley, and Paul Brown gathered at the Museum to do a bit of track work, and switch some of our equipment to get things ready for the fall events. First, we did some work to measure, locate and prepare a couple of long ties to go under our switch. We then had to verify where the tie crossed under the rail so we can notch out the wood to accept plates that go under the switch points, as well as under standard rail on the adjacent track. This is not a standard set up for track, but we have some strange things at the Museum! We then went back to the shop yard to use the chainsaw and adz to make the notches. We were not able to finish that work before we needed to fire up one of the locomotives for the afternoon work, so we will continue next week.

After a lunch break, the crew switched our cabooses over to another track and set them up with Engine 104, which we will be using through this fall. Engine 103 and the AT&SF waycar were set out of the way on the lead that holds the Patriot, which is stored indoors. We also cranked up Engine 104 to make sure the systems where all working, and that the batteries got a recharge. After checking things out on 104, we cleaned up our tools and finished our day of work.

I have included a few pictures of today’s work so you can see where the equipment moved.

– Paul

Paul’s Blog – September 17, 2022

On Saturday, September 17, we had one of our smallest turn outs for a work crew, and I would dare say that given the average age of today’s volunteers, we had the oldest track gang working in the country today. Dwight Maxey, Colin Mellin and Paul Brown were the crew today. Now we only worked on the track in the morning, and we removed two long switch ties from under the track. Take a close look at the photos and tell me what you think of the condition of these ties!! They were pretty much disintegrated! When we completed that task, we broke for lunch.

After lunch, we worked on the tool truck and did some clean up work in the shop yard area. I have only included pictures of the track work.

– Paul

Paul’s Blog – September 10, 2022

On Saturday, September 10, volunteers Colin Mellin, Dwight Maxey, John McDowell, Reid Adams, and Paul Brown enjoyed a respite from the heat wave, with some cloudy, cool weather, and stayed busy switching around many cars in our shop yard. After opening up a dead end spur track – that used to be unsecured because it was outside our fence – it was time to stuff it full with some equipment that doesn’t get regularly used and ends up being in the way. We spotted one old passenger car, the 44 tonner, and three odd freight cars on the spur, which opened some space for other projects. We were also able to bring the car we use for our Halloween event into the yard, so work could be done to improve it.

The work was done slowly, due to the equipment not being regularly used, and the track condition. It made for a long day, but we worked safely and had no incidents that caused delay or damage. Many thanks to the volunteer crew for their work! I have included a few pictures to illustrate the work done. Watch for some more exciting projects coming soon!

– Paul

Paul’s Blog – September 3, 2022

On Saturday, September 3, our volunteers did a bunch of dirty work to get an old storage track ready to use. Dwight Maxey, Colin Mellin, Reid Adams, John McDowell, Pascal Bartilow, Justin Cesar and Paul Brown started the day by moving a couple of heavy items. First we moved a locomotive idler axle from the storage track to one of our shop lead tracks. The second item was a complete plain bearing freight truck assembly. For those less familiar, a “truck” in this case is a set of wheels that go under a train car. The freight truck was heavy enough that it required both of our lifts to move! The crew thought up a way to successfully get the move done. The freight truck is now on display in front of our D Street Shop building. I have included a few pictures of these moves taken by Reid and Dwight.

In the afternoon after lunch, Pascal, Colin and Justin did some work to our US Army crane to be able to install the batteries. The crew did work to clean out the battery box and get the battery cables ready for use. They were not able to put the batteries in place so that will come in the future. Reid and Paul worked to clean up weeds and prepare the old storage track for use as we will be moving some of our rail equipment to that track next week.

As mentioned above, next week we will be moving a number of pieces of our rail equipment around to different tracks and stuffing the old storage track that we opened up this week. As part of these moves we will be placing our Halloween car close to the shop so prep work can be completed in time for our event. If you have ever wanted to solve a switching puzzle, come out next week and do it with real rail equipment!!

– Paul

Photos by Reid Adams and Dwight Maxey

Paul’s Blog – August 20, 2022

This past weekend we had two calls for work, a rare instance!

First, on Friday, August 19, we had a charter group rent the train set for a couple of rides and a shop tour. Arrangements where made by Ron Roach, who also served as tour guide, and the train was crewed by Colin Mellin, Tyler Seeley, John McDowell and Paul Brown. The group enjoyed a couple trips on the main running track, and a rare trip by train to the D Street Shop to tour our shop and see equipment kept there. Our visitors commented that they had a great time!

Second, on Saturday, August 20, we had volunteers Dwight Maxey, Reid Adams, Pascal Bartilow and Paul Brown doing a variety of work in the shop area. We moved some materials in the yard, mowed some weeds in the newly fenced area, and Pascal was doing some clean up work to our US Army Crane. A lot of little projects were caught up with and some new projects were discovered!

I was only able to take a couple of pictures of the charter group visiting the shop, so I have included those to give another perspective on what we are able to do at the Museum.

– Paul

Paul’s Blog – August 13, 2022

On Saturday, August 13, a small crew consisting of Dwight Maxey, Colin Mellin, Kendall Crouch and Paul Brown braved another hot day in Pueblo. We were able to tamp some material under the ties at our switch project to put the track back into service. We will need to return in the future to fill the crib area with rock ballast and replace a few more ties.

After breaking for lunch and a cool down, the crew did some more work to clean up the shop yard area. As our test track equipment is getting some publicity, we are trying to get the area in good shape for visitors. Now to clean up the weeds and sprouting tree growth. I have included a few pictures to illustrate the work completed.

– Paul

Paul’s Blog – August 6, 2022

On Saturday August 6, we had a small crew consisting of Dwight Maxey, Colin Mellin, Tanner Seeley and Paul Brown brave some hot temperatures to get the work done at the Museum. We spent the morning driving spikes in the three long ties we have been replacing the last few weekends. There were 27 spikes to drive, and it took all of three hours just to get that done. With the heat, many breaks were taken to recover from each round with the sledge hammer! Somebody actually caught pictures of Paul doing some work.

After taking a break for lunch and cooling off, the crew worked on cleaning out stored material from around the display of high speed test cars near the front of the D Street shop yard. Since the Museum had a mention in the 5280 Magazine, we thought we better clean up that area for the rush of visitors we may get. It took a lot of trips with the Bobcat to move the pallets full of material into our newly fenced in yard area.

The 5280 article, which features our Museum as one of many suggested Pueblo day-trip destinations, can be found here.

I am including a few pictures to illustrate the work done.

– Paul

Paul’s Blog – July 30, 2022

On Saturday, July 30, with slightly cooler temperatures but muggy conditions, Colin Mellin, Dwight Maxey, Tyler Seeley, Tanner Seeley and Paul Brown gathered to work at the Museum. When we arrived, we found that our new fencing had been installed this last week, so we did a little work moving our locks to the new gates while testing their operation. After completing that, we gathered some tools to head out to our tie replacement job. We concentrated on getting tie plates in place under the rail, and prepping for spiking. We will get the spiking done once we are able to locate our sledge hammer or any of our spike maul heads.

After completing the track work that we could, we did a bit more work to the fencing. We installed some reflectors on gates that now close off C Street, so that unsuspecting drivers who used to cut through our property have a chance to see the new gate. We also started to remove some of the old gates along the back fence which will slowly be removed in the future.

I have included a few pictures that mostly show the new fencing.

– Paul