Monday, February 25, 2008

Yesterday we began "reverse engineering" the tunnels on the northeast corner of the property. Normal engineering requires tunneling through existing mountains. In this case, we have a reverse process starting with a flat elevation 25 feet above the track on the lower level, we install the tunnel portals and then start building the mountain. The portals and basic mountain structure were design and temporarily set in place. The plan is the glue the sections of the mountain together so it can be removed if necessary. This will be quite the engineering feat if it works.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Based on the inventory of rail types on hand, the design team has determined that the upper loop can be constructed of newer, smoother and reliable track.  The lower loop, switches and yard will be constructed with older tubular track.  A transition section was constructed on site.

Preliminary utility connections were powered up today.  The design is being adapted to the realities in the field.  The turnout or the bridge will be omitted during this phase of construction for safety reasons.

During speed tests on the decent from the upper loop, tubular track and grade issues contributed to a near disaster.  Only by a miracle, the steam engine was prevented from plummeting to the floor.  The board of directors authorized the purchase of additional high quality track for the curved descent.  This move also greatly improved the grade.  Both diesel and steam engines are now making the ascent with heavy loads.

The upper level loop is now secured.  The lower level requires addition of roadbed, cleaning of old track, additional utility connections, and activation of automatic switches.

Friday, February 22, 2008

While design work continues on track, we have begun to develop an economic proforma. The primary need of the railroad is to transport documents between the filing cabinet and the desk. However, we are now considering that the railroad can be self-supporting with the addition of some key industries. We have some resources in cattle, dairy, and lumber. We believe these enterprises can result in a positive revenue stream that more than pays for the railroad. The existing resources include rolling stock and loading platforms for cattle and dairy operations as well as buildings that can be moved on site. We are arranging for these resources to be air lifted to the property.

Meanwhile, we have received a shipment of track. We also obtained a rail car crane and flatcar to facilitate the laying of the track. The flatcar also delivered earth moving and excavation equipment for the establishment of the road bed. We expect ground breaking early tomorrow.
For the railroad we have successfully acquired a 1.69 parcel at an elevation of 128 feet above floor level. This is the same elevation as the desk and will provide mid level access to the filing cabinet. If access to the top of the filing cabinet is required at some date, tram service is conceivable to attain the additional 88 feet.

The acquired parcel has a elevation change of 80 feet. The northeast section of the parcel is the highest area at 208 feet sloping down the the south. The entire western edge is at 128 feet of elevation.

The design team proposes a configuration of two return loops plus a yard. This is intended to provide a solid base of operations for phase one. Phase two will be construction of 288 foot steel bridge from the property to the desk. The lower return loop requires a tunnel under the upper level. The upper level also requires a tunnel through the mountain on the northeast side of the property.

The design team has determined that the original parcel is not large enough to satisfy the maximum grade requirements of 5%. It is necessary to purchase an addtional parcel of slightly more than 1/4 acre making the entire parcel 1.97 acres.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It has become necessary to provide rail service in my home office. The distance from the filing cabinet to the desk is over 1000 O scale feet. Other possibilities including a canal have been considered and rejected. A water source was located when installing the cove base for the new floor but it was deemed better to repair the link than try to redirect the flow.

The Lionel collection that I inherited in my youth will be used. In order to provide a revenue stream for the operations of the railroad, construction will include a dairy farm and possilbly some lumber operations.