Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Country Folk Waste Nothing - and Reuse Everything


Country Folk Waste Nothing and Reuse Everything, it is our way.
A month or so ago, I read in the newspaper that a local barn was going to have to be torn down. Made of concrete and glazed tile, it was designed and built to withstand fire.  Fire but not water.  Even the best concrete after just more than a hundred years, sometimes fails due to water damage.  (Read the Findlay Courier Article by Jim Maurer here ...)

What does the tear down of a century-old barn have to do with the Alvada Two Footer Railroad?

Well, local Ohio / Hancock County history ... and the three-way switch that we started installing in 2009.  .More in that here at the Little Locos blog on Fantiastic Fabiola.  You see, inside that barn, as part of the structure, was used 50# rail.  Not such a surprise, country folk have an eye for quality, and re-use material if it makes sense.  I suspect, but do not know that the rail's first use was part of a light rail system that was formerly just a few miles from here, in the low ground, and used to harvest peat from what is now known as "the muck ground". That muck ground is now used to grow chipping potatoes (mostly) that go to make wonderful local potato chips.
Regardless, there the rail was, in the demolition debris.  So last Wednesday, the fella and I with substantial help from the folk doing the tear down, pulled the rail out of the rest of the barn, loaded it on a trailer, and brought it home. We plan to use this rail to complete the track leading from the three-way switch next spring. Which will make for use number 3 for that American Made rail, which is in good shape, more than a century after it was made.  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

how the lights got lit ... and why some of the neighbors believe that I have lost my mind ...

Back when we were building the railroad, after the track was down, we decided that we needed signal lights and crossing gates.  Bases cast, lights and gates installed all that was left was running the wire to power and control them.  (For those of you that want to know HOW, I have left myself a note to write a useful article for you, will get it done, promise.) Regardless, how took some figuring, doing was another matter entirely.

The day that we installed the wiring for the lights and gates, I spent the afternoon, mostly on my hands and knees putting dirt back into a hole that I had spent the morning digging.  Yep.  Did it on purpose too.  A hole about 1500 ft. long.  Wire for the signals on the railroad.  Took the dirt out with a trencher attachment for the bobcat, had to put it back in by hand 'cause of the location.  No matter, wasn't that bad, only people that would have seen me crawling, dirty, through the woods woulda been the neighbors, and they already know that all my mental bolts could use a little tightening.

Happy New Year to all of you folk!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Inside B&O Caboose C3008

B&O Caboose C3008 exterior in winter
There are lawn ornaments, and then there are YARD ornaments.  This particular ornament is now a static display on standard gauge track. It used to be an actual working caboose, specifically B&O Caboose C3008.  Retired almost complete it was preserved with some of the paperwork still inside.
For those of you who have not actually walked inside this (or any other) caboose, above is a photo of the interior.   Cabooses (because they were essentially the conductor's home away from home) have some of the comforts of home.  If you consider heat, water and a sort of sometimes bathroom, comforts.
 Sort of sometimes?  The photo on the right begins the explanation of the sorta sometimes.  Yes, there is a sign inside the bathroom warning the potential bathroom user to refrain from using the facilities while the train is in the yard or at the station.


Is this a politeness issue? Not so much.  While I am sure that the conductors would spare passengers standing on the platform the sound of flushing toilets, if the toilets flushed as you are used to the idea of flushing.



Little known fact:  Toilets in cabooses, empty rather than flush.  Yes, that light you see at the bottom of the toilet is daylight.  Yet another reason that my parents warned us to not walk on railroad tracks.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A tree fell across the tracks, sometime in the last week

A tree fell across the tracks sometime last week, in one of the seeming never ending storms that we have had here.  Track maintenance is called for (as soon as it stops raining, which may be sometime next year).  Time to fire up the speeder and a chainsaw.

I have neglected this blog badly and it also needs maintenance.  A chainsaw may or may not be involved.

Meanwhile  a photo:

Ginormous Ball of Bubble Gum Pink Bailing Twine (that Queen Anne's Lace Flower in the background was 6 inches across)

Why in the world would I post a photo of a ball of bailing twine in a railroad blog?

It bothers me when things things that should be wound up aren't.

I spent an entire afternoon rolling this out of place (formerly) string of twine into a ball.  If you don't have that degree of tenacity, you should never attempt to start your own railroad.  Read the story about the ball of twine here (click this link). It will take you to another of my blogs, one of the ones not about a railroad.

That is my sideways way of saying that I have noticed that this blog needs some winding.  I am fixin' to do something about it.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Little Locomotive and Speeder (Work Car) and Sunbeams

Support the little railroad and the folk that put it together - buy inexpensive hand crafted yard art from Mary (yes, the run the train, work on the track Mary)  Click this link.

Of course this is just a photo that I snapped the other day.  Between recent snow, rain, and high winds, the track needs to be cleared.  Remind me to put the chainsaw and a spud bar on the speeder and get to it.  Nagging is fine, needs to be done before real winter sets in and the locos get parked inside.  Thanks for stopping by folks!  Love ya all.  No, I mean that.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

In the event that I never did mention it ...

Did I ever introduce myself? My name is Mary. How am I connected to the Alvada Two-Footer Railroad? Way back when, when the railroad mostly wasn't, I; Marked the route, cut trees and excavated dirt. Hauled and spread stone for the rail bed. Marked the arcs that were used to bend the rail to go around curves, then moved the rail into position so that the rail bender could do it's job. Hauled rail and spikes and ties then was part of the team that assembled 2/3 of a mile of steel and wood and spikes into a railroad. That doesn't mean I watched, I lifed and carried and ran the spike hammer, as much as anybody and more than most. Scraped and sanded and painted every piece of rolling stock with the exception of one. Got the job of doing most of the train driving, except on the showboat occasions. Not that it matters all that much, I just never said. Now I have. That is all.