Last week was particularly important in regards to several items of interest. First, we actually started running trains – well at least test trains. You can review the previous post for a first hand glimpse of the excitement gripping workers during test runs. These test runs were based on the availability of DCC power on the track. We started at the west end of Philomath (beginning of new helix) and sent power through rails to the top of the helix. This worked out pretty well with the loss of only 1/10th of a volt so we patched up some jumpers to get into Blodgett. That got us clear to the end of Blodgett so another jumper was strung through a hole in the scenery over to a loads in/empties out tunnel portal and twisted together. That got us to the Nashville siding and so on. Amazingly we only had about a ½ volt drop in DCC track voltage with our temporary wiring for 135’ of track.
We also had a “Golden Cork” celebration at 10:30 AM on today. Golden Cork is like a Golden Spike but involving cork roadbed. This means the cork roadbed has been completed for the mainline. Gene, George, and I have been working on this for several weeks. Doug, Larry, Patrick and Lonnie jumped in when we needed help. The Golden Spike ceremony isn’t far off. We just need to turn Doug’s Eagle Creek drawbridge into a fixed deck girder bridge and we’ll have the mainline pretty well finished up. Gene will be cutting in a new switch to the north end staging yard next week.
Golden Cork Documentation
Doug’s Eagle Creek Drawbridge (?)
Larry has been working on a rock liner for the “visible tunnel”. He’s developed a pretty good technique for working in this awkward location. Progress was pretty slow on Monday but by Tuesday he was really cooking. Tinfoil and Sculptamold were flying everywhere. While I was working on the helix track it was necessary to jump out of the way on several occasions.
Larry at his “rock tunnel liner” work station
George finished the logging branch from its connection to the main all the way to the camp at the center wall. We might put an extension on it to provide for a longer run-around. There is also an option to tunnel through the wall and run into the north room for another camp.
George working on the logging branch.
A fine example of advanced DCC wiring for our test run
Sadly, I must report a significant crime at CSME Tuesday. It involved collusion at the highest level. It was premeditated and, although unproven at this time, clearly conspiratorial. The culprits know who they are. A bit of background is required to acquire a full understanding of this dastardly deed. Laying track on our helix has involved 6’ pieces of flextrack nicely soldered together ahead of time by Gene. I come along and lay 4 or 5 of these pieces on the roadbed, make the required cuts, align the ends and solder them together on the curve. This 24-30’ flex track snake (Snaketrakus atlasii) is then set over to the inside of the curve. Upon signal, the crew takes preassigned stations and I lay a bead of caulk on 24-30’ of roadbed. While the caulk clock is ticking, the crew spreads the caulk, carefully picks up the long piece of flex track WITHOUT kinking it or breaking solder joints, and feeds it to me as I lay it in a smooth curve and subsequently press it into the caulk. Mind you, we do this in very long sections and timing and orchestration are of the essence. It is a well- planned ballet – maybe ballet stretches the point but you get the idea. It results in very smooth curves.
This morning we were orchestrating our ballet. The looooooong flex track had been prepared, the crew was standing by, spreading tools at the ready, and I began laying down the carefully measured bead of caulk. This starts the caulking clock running and no time can be wasted. When I asked for the caulking gun I presumed it would have a full tube of caulk – it did not. Furtive glances among the perpetrators revealed a major crime was beginning to unfold.
Running out of caulk after only 6 feet, realizing that time was of the essence and good adhesion demands wet caulk, I had to get another tube immediately. I was gleefully pointed to an additional tube – carefully staged I’m sure by certain nefarious individuals. I galloped over, grabbed the tube, got it into the gun and began running my bead. I ran out again after only a few feet. Jumping Jerimiah!! Not again!! I knew there were new tubes of caulk clear at the other end of the room – a full 80 feet away. I ran north, got a NEW tube and chugged back south. On my return trip I noticed “the crew” all wearing “cat ate the canary” grins. I accused them rather loudly as they proclaimed innocence. Then they all became “over-occupied” with spreading caulk with heads down but I heard a number of giggles and snickers. I think there may have been a comment about some 75 year old guy galloping up and down the room. We just barely got the track down as they slinked away to their respective work areas. I told them I would report the incident in full detail to the highest authority. This narrative makes said report. They are, even after this, however, a really good crew — rascals every one.