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Crenshaw Extension

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tom d View Drop Down
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    Posted: Jan 27 2010 at 1:36pm
I thought that I would post some info and thoughts about working on running new track to the end of the old rail bed. From the turn around spot to the end of the bed as far as we can go it is about 520 feet and is open with nothing needing to be removed.
 
I have asked Kelly why they didn't run track all the way to the end and he said at the time they thought they maybe could go into the park and this was close to a good spot to do that. Unfortunately the park line never came to light and they got tired of working on it so here it sits. He told me if  you guys want to run rail to the end its OK with him, so that got me thinking "maybe we can do something", but the cost would be too high, and  then I  thought, "oh well maybe some day".
 
Well now we have got some track! This all came about when I bought some cars and parts and Harold bought a locomotive for Jerry Boudreaux from up near Bend, Oregon. He told me after looking at the cub web site that he had a bunch of steel track panels that he would give to the club if I thought we could use them. Well it didn't take me much thought to tell him to go ahead and throw it on the trailer since he was coming down with our stuff anyway. Jerry ended up giving the club 880 feet of steel track panels that where 20 feet long. He had to cut them into 8' and 12' pieces to get them on to the tailer. He did a nice job cutting them so welding them back in 20' panels shouldn't be a big deal. Jerry also threw in some switch frogs and other switch parts. WOW, a big thank you to Jerry for this stuff.
 
Steel Railroad Track PanelsNow running to the end of Crenshaw is looking like something we can do and the cost is nothing to the club as Harold and I paid for the shipping since it was in with the stuff that we purchased.
 
Next we needed ballast and Rudy has a good friend that has crushed, used, cement base that we have been using for ballast around the club. I called an old racing car Buddy that has trucks used to haul stone who happens to be located right by the club. I asked him if he would help us out with hauling some of the base and he said "yes, that it is no big deal for him". I am thinking that we got lucky as he is one of the few other race car drivers that I hadn't crashed into big time, back in the day. He still thinks I'm a OK guy. (Obviously he doesn't know me that well.) So now we have ballast for little cost or maybe even free for this project as well as other future projects.
 
After Tim and I talked to Kelly about the new steel bar type track he pointed out it may not work for the club because he heard from someone that it will wear out your wheels fast and he would not run on it, hmmm? That's not good!
 
Well I have been looking into using this type of rail  for sometime now and the info I have come up with says, when using bar stock for rail it best to use 3/8" x 1" hot roll steel as it has a good radius on the top. It looks like the rail we got from Jerry is the correct kind of steel. It also says to weld most of your joints, and that is exactly what I was thinking of doing anyways.
 
I was also thinking Crenshaw is mostly a straight shot to the end so there won't be many side forces on the wheels causing wear on the wheels. I also thought we will only use it to go from where they stopped, just past the wye, to the end, so if someone doesn't want to run on steel bar rail, they can just stop and turn back as we are now doing, as we will not be removing any thing that is already on the ground.
 
Kelly also pointed out that some of the smaller locos at the club have aluminum wheels and it would be very hard on them, but I would think they wouldn't be going on this track much as they don't go down Crenshaw now.  
 
LALSM has steel rail and I have run there a lot in the past. I have not seen any wheel wear to my wheels. I did see a man that ran a lot for a few weeks at LALSM with a loco with aluminum wheels and his wheels looked  good when he got done running. I was surprised as I thought it was going to kill his wheels.  
 
I hope I have pointed out all the facts on this. but I think the big thing is that we now have the stuff to do it. It has not cost the club a dime so far, we have members who will put it in, you are not forced to run on it. Nothing has be done to extend  or improve the Crenshaw line in a long time, we can always change it to aluminum rail later on if the steel doesn't work out but people like the run to the end of Crenshaw, and I think it will be fun to put it in and run on it.
 
Tom D 


Edited by PhilC - Jan 31 2010 at 5:06am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tom d Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 09 2010 at 11:12pm
Well in the past few weeks there has been a group of us working on getting some of the new track panels donated by Jerry welded back together and put down on the old Crenshaw railbed.

The first weekend I started on Saturday welding 2 panels back together as Jerry had to cut 5' off the end to fit his trailer. I then ground a 1/8" chamfer on the inside top of the the two rails as there was not much of a radius on them. I then ran a wheel set over the panel when I was done and all looked good. The wheel profile looked like a good match to the grinding job on the top of the rail.

Pulling rail sectionsNext, with the help of Steve, Howey and Phil we played around with some flat cars Rory and I have but we were one short? Well I had got an old riding car from Jerry and the bench seat was high and not very comfortable so Howey and I took the bench off and voila! We now have 4 flat cars which was a better fit.

We tried putting a 2x4 block on each car but found out fast that only a 4x4 block in the middle of the two end cars for the panels to sit on works best. So Howey ran the work train out to the end of the rail on crenshaw and we cleared off the wood chips from the top of the 3' wide strip of old black top next to the fence. The track that has been put down in the past by Joe and Kelly has been put down on the strip of old black top and it seems to be a good base for the track. I was thinking of moving off the old black top with the new track panels but after setting the first few panels down it was easy to see staying on the old black top was the way to go as we put down 40' of new track in only maybe 10 minutes.

Phil and Rory removing mulch from roadbeadAfter talking it over with Steve and Phil we're thinking its best to go straight down Crenshaw on the old black top till we get near the end of the old  rail bed and then come back on the other side of the old rail bed with a return track as it looks like we will have enough of Jerry's track panels to come back a pretty good distance. The other side has some old black top to work with as well but we're thinking it would be a more interesting ride to swerve  back and forth on the old rail bed.

Well since we did all that before noon after some lunch I went back and welded up 3 more panels. Steve, Phil and I went and put them down and wow 100' down in one day!

Day two came and I welded and ground 5 more panels in the morning and Rory,Steve and I went and cleared off the wood chips and set them down. Rory and I came up with a way to connect the old aluminum rail to the new steel so it all lined up good.

Rory grinding track sectionsThe next thing to deal with was the track panels were built with 1/2" pins that slid into a 1/2" piece of pipe that was welded to the end of each rail. We had to heat and use a bunch of WD40 to get the old pins out, thinking we could just use some 1/2" bolts to hold the panels firmly together. But on day two I found that the head of the 1/2" x 7" bolts would not fit in with out jamming on the side of the rail head so we went on to "plan B" which was just put the old pins back in and see how they worked and well they worked great!  The pins fit tight and have to be pounded in with a hammer and hold the two panels together tightly. It was also found to be a fast way to hold the panels together.

Man, now we can put some track down with this system. So back to welding and grinding 4 more panels and the job got easier as Rory got good at grinding and I just had to weld and help grind some. So by the end of day two we had 360 ' of new track down.

On day one we had the side of a big bush that had grown over the fence we had come up to. Instead of  cutting it we just slid a few track panels under it to finish the day. At dinner at Texas Lucy's  Phil said it was too bad we had to cut back the bush that was in the way as it was nice looking and I said lets just try to lift the branches and go under it ? Plant TunnelAfter nachos, a  beer, and some input from a half dressed cow girl about how to deal with it we had a plan. We ended up making a lattice out of some old wood we had laying around and now we have the start of a new tunnel. In time we are thinking the bush will grow all the way over the lattice to the ground. I will put some fire proof board along the top to keep the steam locos from starting it on fire.

More to follow!


Edited by PhilC - Aug 10 2010 at 12:18am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tom d Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 11 2010 at 3:44pm

Weekend 2: Saturday-I got to the club early and pulled out ten more pieces of track from the pile. Welded and ground them which makes 5-20 ft panels.  By the time I got done, I had assembled a crew of Steve, Howie, Phil  and myself.  We took the panels out at the rail head and installed them.

We have now reached a point where we can easily see the end of the old rail bed which will be our turntable point. The end of my day at the club ended early as it was my BDay and my wife took me out to a Brazilian BBQ dance show.  Man, that was fun!

Sunday-started midday once again and I got another ten pieces out of the pile. One of the panels I put back together was a bent panel to form the turn to get to the other side of the old rail bed. The group of installers, after some discussions, have decided it's best that we put the track at the other side of the old rail bed, 160 ft from the end. In theory this should give us room for a 20 ft turntable, two tracks and maybe a station at some later time as we will have 8-10 ft of space between the tracks and the park fence.

A group made up of Steve, Phil, Jim B, and myself installed the panels, however we ended up removing one straight panel as it looks like things were going to be too tight to have room for 100 ft sidings before the turntable.  We decided it was best to go back to the yard and get a switch that Kelly had recently donated to the club from his old backyard railway that he had recently pulled up. This switch needs to be rebuilt before we can use it with new ties which we don't have at this point in time, however it was a big help in determining that we will have to use aluminum rail for the s-turn that crosses the old rail bed before the switch as the bent panels we have are too large a radius for the task.

This is the stopping point for now, as we need to wait for the new tie stock. Next, I will play with shimming the track panels so they're level on the old black top and get them to run parallel with the fence then we can ballast the tracks. It may be awhile before we get to this project as we have other track projects with a higher priority that need to be finished before this project, however while we are waiting for the new tie stock we will work on the new Crenshaw extension.

It's really impressive to stand at the end of the current rail head and see Crenshaw Ave.  It's only a little ways off.



Edited by PhilC - Oct 10 2010 at 7:06pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tom d Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 10 2010 at 6:05am
10-9-10 Well we are back at it. We welded up 5 some what straight track panels and one with a slight bend, Had Ray, Mathew and Phil to work and getting the pins on the end of each panel lose. This has been a lot of work as they are rusted up really good. A little heat from a torch, WD 40 and a long handle hammer gets them lose, although Ray said his arm was getting sore and was glad we were only doing 6 panels for the day.

We loaded the panels on to the 4 flat cars string and Mathew ran them out to the end of track. Ray and I uploaded the panels but it was hard to tell were the bent panels need to go so the track heads from the right side of the old road bed to the left side.  I will come back Sunday with a left hand switch that I am working on at home and set it down to see what looks good.

I will also get the small club tractor out there and push some of the wood chips back so we can set the track down on the old rail bed. I need to get all the track set down and roughly lined up as the Boy Scouts will be out for a few days of ballasting at the end of the mouth if all gos well. 

Tom D


Edited by administrator - Oct 10 2010 at 9:23am
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10-10-10 Today I was a lone gun for most of the day. Phil showed in the afternoon which was a big help as that's when I had most of the old rail bed cleared off. I took the club tractor down in the morning but it just kept getting stuck so I just moved the wood chips by hand.

I did some ballasting of the old rail and aligning just before the new rail where putting in as it was getting ruff. I then went on to shimming under the steel ties with plastic shims. I did this to every 5th tie and on each side of the joints. I'm thinking the ballast fines will fill under the other ties? If I find some time I might do some more shimming in between.

I found as I worked that we didn't clear enough of the old wood chip ground cover cleared so I cleared back from the tracks so there was room to walk beside the track if need be. I also moved the track we put down in the past away from the fence 45" to the side of the rail. This puts the track on the edge of the old black top.I was thinking moving to track over 10" would help get the turns lined up on the crossing of the old rail bed.

When Phil got there we looked at the old tree stumps, that of course where right where the track needed to go, so we got some big bars and they popped out after some work. We set the switch in place and adjusted the bent track panels  moving  a lot of wood chips. The middle of the old rail bed had wood chips that were 15-20 inches deep at times.

It all looked good after we adjust the track panels a few times. I think we are ready for the boy scouts to start their project.  I need to finish the switches and do some more shimming and aligning, but its looking great.

We are getting a lot of the park walking people looking at our new track and also now getting people in cars driving in the short street next to where the track is going in and getting a good look. The good thing now is, it looks like the wood chips are only a few inches deep on the 145 feet left to clear for the two tracks at the end before the turn table.

Tom D.


Edited by administrator - Oct 10 2010 at 8:49pm
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10-24-10 In the morning we got a little side tracked cleaning out some of the junk left by the club house but we stopped that (man I'm getting sick of cleaning other members stuff up!)

Rory, Steve and I, Tom D. loaded up the two new switches I had built back at my shop and hauled them to the end of the Crenshaw line. We spent some time running back and forth to get all of the stuff we needed, but we managed to get them put down. We dug out the wood chips where the track crosses the old rail bed and started to ballast the steel track going to the switches.

It was lunch time so we just went out one of the side gates in the fence and walked less then 1/2 a block to Quiznos sandwich shop. This is a great new thing available to club members now that the track is so close to Crenshaw Blvd. There are many food shops just a short walk from the end of the track and your train can be parked behind a locked fence while you are out for a bite.

When we got back from lunch Steve and Phil C had to leave so we went to give them a ride back to the yard. My GP60 wouldn't start so we pulled the body off to take a look. It turns out that the bracket holding the starter solenoid broke so we took an old coat hanger antenna from my radio and we rigged it up to hold the bracket back up and then ran back to the steaming bays. We welded it up and then welded some tabs on the ends of four steel rail panels so that we could bolt the switches down.

When we got back to the switches it started to rain. We didn't think it was a good thing to just leave the switch there unbolted so we worked on in the rain. We looked at the guys playing baseball next to us in the park and saw they were still playing on in the rain, so we did the same.

We had to build a ten foot section of aluminum track panel on the ground to get the switches lined up right and then called it quits for the day/night. I would have taken a photo when we got done but it was just too dark, wet and muddy.

Tom D.


Edited by administrator - Oct 27 2010 at 8:21am
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11-14-10 I did a little cleaning up around the compound and then I started to do the ballasting on Crenshaw at the cross over and the switches so its all level and locked down.

Howie got a 1.5 scale car shipped too him a few weeks ago so I turned the shipping box into a ballasting box that goes on a flatcar. Rudy made one of these last year and it has worked out well, so having two will get more done in one trip.

With the ballasting Phil and I did this Sunday we can now run the work train to the rail head. There was a 12-14" drop that had to be ballasted crossing over the old rail bed.

We are are getting close to being ready for the Boy Scouts to come in and do the shimming, lining,  ballasting and leveling of the line. I still have to weld up the rest of Jerry's steel track panels so the boys can get them put in. I think there over 20 more panels to do which is about two days of work maybe one if that is all I do. This next time around I am going to try using an air hammer and some heat to get the line up pins loosened up. Ray came up with this idea after his arm got a good work out the last time. Good thinking Ray were going to give it a try!

Tom D.


Edited by administrator - Nov 14 2010 at 8:42pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tom d Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 21 2010 at 10:14pm

11-21-10 Removed the old left hand switch on the Y . I felt this was best since Steve removed the track on the west leg of the Y so they can move dirt and build the new station-souvenir stand.

This makes it so we have to back down the right side of the Y with the work train. The old switch frog was just in bad shape and was making the loaded ballast car jump over the end of the frog.

Removing it was best for now. I will build a new switch and the latest plan is to have  two tracks with a cross over heading up Crenshaw instead of the single track Y we have had in the past.

I hope to get back to track laying on the other end of Crenshaw this week as I have a few days off for Thanksgetting. Wink



Edited by administrator - Nov 21 2010 at 11:10pm
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11-28-10 This long weekend Kelly and Steve rented a large tractor for the club so we can get some of the bigger dirt moving project out of the way. That way we have the site for the new station building ready for the school people.

After looking at the grade coming out of the station going up Crenshaw, it was thought best to use the big tractor to remove all the track on Crenshaw up to the first switch on the passing siding, and regrade the road bed.

After alot of dirt moving, and as always the case at SoCal, the moving of other items, Steve got a nice graded road bed. At the end of the day on Saturday we had most of the track back in with a gap of about 20 feet.  Steve said he would try to get that last 20 feet rebuilt with new stock Sunday if he has time. This will open Crenshaw back up so we can get the work train down to the rail head at the other end.

At the November meeting the members passed a vote to get $1300-$1500 in new plastic tie stock. This was a good step but I was thinking it was far short of what we will be needed so I did some calling and emailing of friends and members and thanks to Rob L. $2000, Jim B. $1250, Mark J. $350, and Howie $250, we now have around $5,350 to buy new tie stock+shipping.

I am going to get with Kelly this week and try to get it ordered. I have to give these guys a big thank you for the club as this will give our track-switch projects a big boost as we are about out of tie stock. Since we are out of tie stuck, and we have Crenshaw opened back up, I am thinking we can get back to working on the track on the other end of the line. Phil C. tells me the Boy Scouts are thinking they will be out in late Jan or in Feb to help us with ballasting  and boy we have a bunch for them to do!

I would like to thank the following people for coming out and lending a hand and or some words of encouragement  with us this weekend: Steve C., Kelley and Joanne Smith, Rob L., Rory H and Donna, Howie, Mark J, Dave Kofal, Rudy, Heather, Tim B, Jim B, Phil C, and myself, Tom D. It was good to see a few faces we haven't seen in a while.

It was a good weekend that sadly ended with the passing of  my friend well know live steamer and club visitor Bruce Ward, RIP Bruce.

More to follow as the new track goes in.


Edited by PhilC - Dec 02 2010 at 2:02am
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12-12-10 Well on Saturday after seeing the boys start to pour the cement for the station and the oil pump pad, Howie and I loaded up the work train with tools and headed out. We made a stop to clear out one of the gondolas of some compost on to some of the plants Linda said needed it. This gave us a clean car to use for tools.

We stopped to pick up Max Pena's son Matthew, age 10.  Max was running the cement job so I think it made it a little easier not to have Matthew under foot. We showed Matthew how to run the train and he had a great time.  We are betting Matthew is going to drive Max nuts talking about running trains. Oh its fun to plant a seed! I would have loved to run a ride on train when I was 10 but never got the chance. Now its just great to see kids light up when they get the chance to run one.

When we got to the rail head, we started to clear the area for the two tracks that will be going to  the turntable. After a bit Mark J. showed up, grabbed a shovel, and got to clearing the wood chips and mulch. In many spots the wood chips are 12-14" thick as well as hard packed so it was some work to clear it off. Mark made sure to let us know about this fact. 

Howie worked at getting the steel track panel's pins knocked in after we set them in place. It  took some time as we had to flip the 20' panels from end to end as some of them have a slight bend in them. There was also an old tree stump that we were trying to stay just to the right of, as it is a big one, and we dont think it would be much fun to try to cut down or break out. We got 6 panels down which is 120'. The ground is ruff and we are using some blocks under the panels to get them leveled up. We will have to bring some ballast rock up for this track before we go much further.

On Sunday I got to the club about 9:30 am and got the pieces for 6 more panels out of the pile and started to grind them and weld the two pieces into one 20' panel times 6. Phil C showed up and gave me a hand. This time we used an air gun with a punch on it to remove the rusted in pins, and as Ray though they came right out with little work. Phil was a vary happy camper as he has done a lot of the pin removing in the past on this project and it was a lot of work. Thanks Ray!

We got the 6 panels done than went to the club Xmas dinner and Red Car ride down in San Pedro which was a lot of fun and a great end to the week end.

Phil and I where looking at building some new 20' steel track panels to try out on crenshaw as after talking to Steve about it we may be able to make them for less than 60.00 a 20'panel and that is much less then going with the alum rail and plastic tie way. If any one reading this can help us get a good deal on some 1x2 1/16 wall square tube and some 20' 1x3/8 hot roll bar stock, drop Phil or me an email. We have about 11 more panels from Jerry to weld back together so it will be interesting to see how far back we get on the Crenshaw return track.

Tom D.  


Edited by administrator - Dec 12 2010 at 10:34pm
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