East of the Blue Ridge

Chronicles of an On30 quarry railroad

February 2010

Lots of New Ties

With snow accumulating from one storm to the next, I have begun laying all the track remaining to be built in the area from Ariel Church to the Shops, and on to a connection with the Piedmont trackage.

My piano jig got a real workout, generating string after string of crossties for new track.

Long expanses of roadbed comprise a major portion of all the track on the layout. The seven turnouts required have all been built and are waiting to be installed.

Ties are custom cut to fit the three turnouts that lead to the locomotive servicing area.

This arrangement of three more turnouts lead to the RIP and scale tracks. Just beyond, the crossties for the locomotive shop track are glued and clamped.

Blue tape strings of crossties are dropped on the mainline roadbed. Just beyond is the RIP track, the locomotive service track, the fuel track, and way back against the wall is the hidden continuous run connection from Piedmont.

Gluing down the mainline ties. This latest tracklaying project ate up almost all the ties I had on hand.

Whose Idea was This?

Upon completion of the trackwork at Piedmont Mill, I was able to run trains through a hole in the wall between my office/shop area and the main layout room.

The track through the hole is hand laid, requiring the rails to be spiked to the wooden crossties by hand. As I spiked the rail down approaching the wall from both sides, it became apparent that there was a long stretch of track through the wall that was going to be very difficult to spike. The two factors conspiring to make track laying trouble were very poor access to the hole, and the shallow angle of the track through the hole.

Initially, I had quit spiking when it became aggravating to proceed any further through the hole. This left about 14 inches of track unspiked. Not long afterwards, trains began derailing in the hole. Once I got around to trying to fix the problem, the loose rails were back in gauge again. So, I guess I was lucky that I discovered early that the rails could not be left “floating” through the hole.

I ended up climbing up onto the layout and laying across the Shops Yard roadbed on my stomach, reaching into the hole with a pin vise to drill pilot holes, then inserting spikes with very thin pliers, then pushing them home with a nail set. The ”pushing them home” step of the procedure enjoyed about a 20% success rate. Eventually, the rails through the hole were spiked and glued securely, and I was left to look at the three other holes through walls that I plan to run hand laid track through.