Operations Support September 20th-21st, 2003

Hurricane Isabel was still roaring up through Canada, as we made this 10th visit to the DS&N.  The power had gone out the day before, but thankfully was restored in time to support our activities on the bright and sunny Saturday created in the wake of the great storm of 2003.  Crews were bound and determined to make this trip too, because it was with much anticipation that we expected to complete the outer loop, and enable continuous running.

Here we see the first 4 panels in place coming up Pikes Summit grade.  
The MP 100 marker has been relocated slightly due to an alignment change.

News had come down that the grade crossing at MP 100.1 was poured, and that enabled all the track to be laid.  The track shop had the necessary number of panels prepared, and our crew set out immediately on Saturday to install them.

The grade crossing is about to be occupied!

Thanks to the efforts of B&B foreman J. Miller, the grade crossing base was level and keen, making track laying across it easy.

As the last full section of track is laid on the grade crossing, the crew is only moments away from cutting the final piece and fitting it into place.  Visible is the Milwaukee chop saw which has greatly facilitated the installation of track.

Now the moment of truth is at hand, as the last rail joiner is put in place.  Ceremoniously, each member of the full time track crew inserts and tightens the bolts.

Everyone has gathered to witness this triumphant event.

Track worker M. Agne shows no particular emotion as the east and westward expansions meet.

East meets west in this precursor of the eventual "Golden Spike".

The completion of track work for the main however, is tempered by the fact that the victory lap will have to wait.  The Superintendent has initiated ballast work ahead of schedule, and the main line is blocked.  This ballast work is in preparation for the new workshop and tunnel to be built on this section.

This 100' tunnel will be built by the B&B foreman to the same high quality standards that the two overpasses were built to.

While the ballasting was underway at MP 120, the track crew returned to Pikes Summit grade to level out the track there.  Problems with work train performance indicated that the grade needed to be optimized, as there was a severe dip which made the approach too steep in the middle of the hill.  Large quantities of stone were deposited to raise the track to the acceptable level. 

As the day waned, the line was cleared and the work train made that first lap around the pike.  Oh what joy not to have to back up! 

Sunday dawned foggy, but the moisture soon burned off, and the first eastbound revenue train took to the Pike Summit grade.  Engineer M. "Turtle" Agne is at the throttle.

Extra 2200 East crosses the new grade crossing with horns blaring.

Here we are, on board, and crossing the fresh ballast.

Other work that took place this weekend, included paint work to the overpasses.  Here we see a B&B employee happily painting away.  A total of 70' of new line were laid, with the first 50' on the mainline, and the other 20' on the West Pike subdivision, beginning at the yard limit switch.  Ballast work also progressed in the MP 80 area.  Now that the fall season approaches, most of the work will focus on ballasting for winter, and repairs.  Completion of the railroad is slated to occur next spring, with a grand golden spike ceremony.

Here we see the "Rock Runner" being loaded with choice stone for transport to the Delta Division.

Back to the crewroom