NS GP40-2 3046

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I’ve been away from updating my blog for sometime now. There are no real excuses expect pure laziness on my part. My very brief statement sums my new found thoughts and feelings about railroading.

For the last 5 weeks, I’ve been learning the trade of a railroad brakeman. My class is taught and held at Midwest(http://www.midwestrailway.org/). I usually tell friends and family that I’m going to hang out at “the roundhouse”. For about two and a half hours every Saturday morning, we have reviewed railroad operating rules and air brakes. I will admit that I thought I knew everything about railroading until I started to learn about railroading. This class brings me a different aspect on the world of railroading and those who perform duties for a living. It’s hard work that must be performed with the up most safety and respect for the equipment at all times. The air brake system for a train is really interesting to me. There are so many parts that make up this system. You have the triple value, reservoirs, compressors, air hoses, brake pipes and so on. You learn little things. It takes 7 minutes to charge the air on a train, 8-11 minutes to charge up to 50 cars and 18-25 minutes to charge up to 100 cars. I’ll guess it takes a lot longer to charge trains over 100 cars. I’m confused how trains with helpers and how they are able to help recharge the brake system. We will soon learn how to get on and off equipment that is moving (not fast, just up to 5 mph), couple and uncouple cars, learn the hand signals and read railroad timetables. But before we can learn how to do the things above, we have to put back our turn table.

The roundhouse was built in 1906 and I will assume that the table was installed at the same time (that makes it 102 years old!). A few years back, someone was working on something and had the Pettiebone crane on part of the table. Somehow, some of the wood ties became cracked. This issue soon opened the door for other issues. When our RS3 locomotive was placed one the table to move cars around, the one end would dip down about 7-8 inches. This would cause the engine to have to climb to the track near the roundhouse. We started the project with hopes to replace the bad ties. Now the project has taken on bigger issues. For the first time since the table was built, the wheels have been turned. They are all nice and round now. This will allow the table to rotate smoothly now. Also, the housing for these wheels will allow for regularly greasing. Next week, I’ll post pictures of our turn table.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I've been a huge slacker lately. I have plenty to share from a new and fresh view of railroading, kind of.

I'm now in learning how to become a brakeman. There is a different side of railroading that I have been exposed to.

A lot more to come really soon.