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Health Ace
6851 posts
Today we mowed several miles for the owner of a section of track that's in use. We also had to cut a tree that had fallen across the tracks. We were hoping to be able to make a pleasure ride for another 30 miles along the same track after we finished the mowing but were unable contact the proper authorities for the permissions we needed.

Saturday I'm going on a Fall foliage ride out of Fryeburg ME that will be 80 miles total. My wife is looking forward to that. I guess it will be a good chance to check out my car for leaks. It's supposed to rain all day, sometimes rather hard.

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Well first I wish you a good time. I'm interested how much does it take you to cross 80 miles? I'm not sure how fast those thing go.
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Health Ace
6851 posts
How long it takes really depends on the circumstances but this run is planned for a single day.
This one is supposed to be a "foliage tour" but it looks like it's going to raining all day and pretty hard at times.
I think I'll spend a little time today sealing potential leaks.

Last weekend they had a 2 day run on Cape Cod that was less than 30 miles one day and about 40 the other day.

I hear there are a lot of paved over grade crossings on this one. Now that's obviously the opinion of the speaker. To me a lot would be half a dozen. To someone else two or three might be a lot. The problem with traveling on abandoned/inactive track is grade crossings are not maintained for the convenience of the rail traveler. If they haven't been paved over so we have to get out and push the cars across, we usually have to stop to clean the sand out of the flangeway. Also, some people who live near the tracks don't like us using them and they intenionally do things to pack those flangeways or put things on the rails that would derail a car and there are always trees that fall across the tracks.

A couple weeks ago we broke our mower when we hit a large rock that was hidden in the tall grass between the rails. It was a large cube shaped thing that took two of us to move. We weren't between any ledges, so it didn't fall from up above. Someone had to place it there. It was in a short section where the grass was very tall and thick. It tore up the mower pretty bad. Destroyed one of the blades and its bushing mount, and even bent the deck. Of course it burned up the drive belts before we could shut it down. There are people out there who simply aren't very nice.

These are family runs so there are a lot of old men with weak bladders, women with tiny bladders, and kids, so they usually plan for plenty of stops. Tomorrows run includes some fun stops at historical places and RR museums and of course the noon lunch stop.

Most of the tracks we use are old and have not been maintained in years, so 20 mph is usually a fast spot on the tracks. We got up near 30 mph on one run that is over tracks that are used by a scenic rail road. At 20 mph in high gear I have my throttle in the idle position.

My car was built for the Canadian National Railway and was delivered to Acheson, Alberta, Canada on 11/9/82. I'm not familiar with their tracks but I think they have some rather long stretches of wilderness up there so they may have used cars that were capable of 60 mph or more. I think mine would probably go that fast. The biggest problem I can see is that it wouldn't take much to derail one of these little cars and going on the ground at 40 or 50 mph doesn't sound like something I'd want to do.

One of the famous wrecks in song, Ben Dewberry's Final Run, was caused by two kids who put a spike on the rail. For some reason they were never prosecuted. In most of those old songs they were always "running wide open without any fear" which made for a good song but it just wasn't true. The "Old 97" that went off in Virginia happened because he lost his average (air). That could have been the engineers fault for running fast and using the brakes too much but the engineer, Steve Brody, was a well respected engineer in his mid 30s. However he was a substitute for the regular engineer and wasn't familiar with that run and the train was already an hour late when he took it over. It was a mail train and the RR had to pay a penalty if the mail was late so he probably had some pressure on him to make up the time. "Old 97" referred to the train number not the engine. The engine was brand new, with only a couple weeks of service.
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Well that is a nice speed. You have time to see everything around you.
It's not nice for people to put these things in tall grass.
As I can see you really have the complete history in your head. :-)
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Health Ace
6851 posts
Well we had a good run. Left at 8 and got back about 4:30. It rained all day so I found out that the leaks I sealed worked out pretty well. The only leaks I have left are over the doors. I haven't found any material that will make a good rain gutter to put over them. Someone tried to seal them with some type of weather stripping but that doesn't work because the body and the doors are all fiberglass and don't fit well.

Leaks aren't really that important because you spend so much time outside the car that you're soaked to the skin anyway.

Kind of surprised to find only 5 of us running. A long run like this is usually quite popular. Two cars belonged to the organizers one was a buddy of one of them so there was just me and one other guy who came for the ride. Maybe it was the rain that scared them off. The guy I used to ride with before I found my car had a favorite saying that railroad men are tough, we ride in the rain. He has an open car. I guess we don't have as many real railroad men as we thought.

The guy who told me about the crossings was RIGHT. There must have been over a dozen grade crossings. About half were covered with sand ahd gravel so we had to stop and dig our way across. most of the ones across paved roads had no rails to cross on and we had to hump the cars up onto the asphalt and push them across. We PO'd a lot of drivers because we had to flag the crossings and some of them found stopping for us was a severe inconvenience. But equally as many stopped for us before we flagged because they wanted to watch our cars.

Since I was the #2 car on the way out I got plenty of exercise doing the digging and my wife ended up flagging all the crossings. Only had to cut up a couple trees that had fallen across the tracks. On the way back the new leaders got to do the flagging but they didn't have to do any digging because I already did it on the way out. Life just ain't fair.

This was a good test for my heart. I'm still here, so the old bypasses must still be working well.
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Wow this was quite and adventure for you. I also thought that there will be more cars (regarding your expectations). But like you said maybe they were all scared of rain.
Why didn't you let someone else to do the digging? Were there younger guys?
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Health Ace
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Maybe they were smarter 8-|

There were a couple younger guys but they were in the rear cars. We get pretty spread out for various reasons. One thing we had to contend with was locked gates across the tracks that had to be closed and relocked after we passed through so the last car was usually quite a way back because he had to get out and lock the gates. The gates are part of fenced in areas where no human is supposed to tread. Only card carrying environmentalists are allowed to step on the ground in those areas. Apparently they have feet or shoes that are non polluting and non environmentally destructive. We were not supposed to step off the RR property in those areas.

Also because it was wet, we kept a good distance between cars for safety. Wet steel wheels on wet steel rails do not stop well. Due to the distance we had to cover that day we got up to pretty good speeds where the rails were good so we allowed longer spacing for that.

When we came to a crossing the two of us in the lead usually had them done before the rest caught up.
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Well rain is bad for stopping. Especially with steal wheels. :-)
So the car is still fine? Getting all wet all day.
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Health Ace
6851 posts
The cars are built for it, and I've never worried about me melting either. XD
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Well all day on rain would bring me to bed next few days, I can guarantee that. :-)
I always get colds when I get soaking wet when it rains. My body is just not strong enough for that. :-(
Well you had your wife next to you, it seams that she took good care of you. :-)

When is the next run?
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Tomorrow would be the regular day for the "Thursday Group". That's the name the club has for us. The guy who got me into this is part of that group and now that I have my own car, so am I. It's about 6 to 8 guys and one girl now, who for various reasons, usually get together on Thursdays to ride. We're the oldest guys in the club so Thursday is a good day for us to get together when the others are working. We tend to be the workers of the club because a small group can actually agree on how to do something. We don't have the problem of 50 different opinions about how to do a job so nothing gets done.

Our token girl just bought a car this Summer and she was at the engine house attempting to unload it from her trailer onto the rails for the first time on a Thursday morning when we got there. There was a problem because the ramps she got with the trailer looked like they weren't made for the job. I think whoever she got it from in NY just tossed something on the trailer that looked like railcar ramps. One of them actually broke under the weight of the car, so we used mine to get her car off and on that day. I told her where to get some of the channel iron I used to make mine and she was all set the next week. She has been coming with us quite often but not all the time.

The guy I used to ride with was actually a brakeman on the B&M RR when they operated on the tracks we use. So he's kind of the "real" railroad man in the club.

I'm wet right now. It's raining this morning so I figured it would be a good time to go out and wash the mud and dirt from last Saturday, off the railcar. The rain softened it up and I wanted to get it off before it dried again.

There was an email yesterday from the club president who wants to have a cookout and a foliage run on our rails this Sunday, which is our monthly meeting anyway. That will give me a chance to see how my video camera works on the mount I installed on the side of my railcar if we don't go tomorrow.
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Is it hard work for a girl to work on the car?
If I understood you well, you did almost all the repairs on your own car, right?

Sundays really do seam like the best days for this kind of activity.
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Health Ace
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Yeah, we have to do our own repairs. Sometimes we get together for things that take two people. The trick is getting under the car to work on the bottom. I put the ends of my loading ramps on cement blocks, level with the trailer, so I can roll the car off the trailer and have it up in the air to get under it.

She seems to be up to it. Every time I see her, she's done something to improve her car.

The first time she went with us we had to stop to clean out a washout under the rails that was caused by beavers. They had blocked up a culvert and the water washed out around it on both sides. The ties had dropped off the rails into the washout and were now blocking the flow and collecting brush and weeds. We had to lift a platform that the snowmobilers built across the area between the rails to get at the stuff underneath and clean it out. She jumped right in with the rest of us, digging it out.

Clearing out the beaver's handiwork has been a regular chore for us at several places along the tracks. The first day she came with us was the last time we had to do it. They never repaired the dam we breached nor did they plug up the washout again. I guess we outlived the beaver. The washout and the dam should have belonged to two different beavers though and neither has been repaired. Beavers are very territorial so a dam will belong to THE beaver who uses the pool it forms. The washout and the dam held back two separate pools. I can see one of them dieing of old age but not both at the same time.

We would have known if the state had trapped them out of the area and most likely one of us would have heard about it if someone shot them. People who do that usually talk about it. It's not illegal to shoot them but they didn't bother us that much. Clearing out their handiwork gave us something to do on our way to the diner at the end of the tracks.
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Do you have to get a hunting license for beavers? I know they're not protected but I do know that on occasion that they have to monitor that sort of thing. Is that true?
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Health Ace
6851 posts
No license but they have to be on your own land.
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