Current Work Area(s)
Once again, it has been a while since our last update, so there is a lot to tell.  Nearly all the plaster
work is finished. The houses and station in River Oaks are in, and landscaping started. Operations
have been running smoothly. It must be time to tear something up......
What's next...
Work continues on structures and rolling stock maintenance.  There are four major areas that are still in need of track and urban planning - Castle Rock
engine service, Castle Rock industrial area, Trinidad mining complex and the Galveston wharf.  Meanwhile, preparing for operating sessions and doing
necessary maintenance continue to be a priority.  There are also acres of ground to cover with dirt, bushes, trees and rocks!  So, what really comes next?  It
just depends on what we feel like doing.  Next update - when we have time.  Thanks for visiting.
It was surprising how quickly we got into the construction rhythm
again.

Much to our surprise, (OK, with all the planning done, it should not
have been a surprise ) once this was accomplished, the new round
and the old round met with less than 1/16" difference in elevation.

Laying new road bed and track was a piece of cake in comparison to
the work we had done.

At the same time we decided to reduce the grade in the helix, we also
decided to lessen the grade on the sneak tracks. This could be
accomplished by increasing the use of the track coming out of
Galveston. The first three or four feet were not on grade, so adding
them in allowed us to make the change.
Before
Open to the world.
Cutting apart.
Going down...
All the way down and regraded.
Cutting plywood arcs - 50 degrees outside.
Round we go.
Perfect fit.
We decided this year we would leave our sailboat and return to Colorado
to continue work on the railroad during the winter months. We had an
ambitious plan. The original helix, connecting the staging yard and Castle
Rock and Galveston yards had long been a difficult climb for several of
our steam locomotives. After much discussion, planning, mathematics, and
hair pulling (notice Dave's head), we decided to add another full round to
the helix. Since we didn't want to disturb the upper level, or the sneak
tracks, and we wanted to salvage as much of the existing structure as
possible, we decided to compress the existing helix, and add another turn
above the upper round.
First up, removing the fascia. Crawling into the helix for the first of
many times, we started trying to determine what exactly was
attached to the helix. Not too bad. Maybe this is doable after all. A
few screws here and there, and the helix is self-supporting. Crawl
out again, and start unscrewing the fascia. That accomplished, it
was time to start.
Holding our breath, we made a cut in the upper round. When nothing fell down, we
proceeded to start the lowering of the existing turns. Removing a few risers at a
time, we succeeded in compressing the existing three rounds. Of much greater
concern however, was regrading the lowest round. Once again, much discussion
and math ensued. We finally decided to just get it going.  There is such a thing as
over-thinking a project.
Who thought it would be a good time to cut plywood
outside?  In Colorado? In winter? Fortunately, we found
some arcs left over from the last helix we built, and so didn't
have to do too many.  And, after a couple of hours, we could
feel our fingers again.
Once the sneak tracks were set, and the helix space cleaned up,
we proceeded to re-attaching the helix fascia. Our operators have
long asked for a way to see into the helix, and so before we set the
fascia in place, we cut a hole and attached a piece of plastic for a
window.



Wiring done. Finally, time to run a train up and down the newly
rebuilt helix. Oops. Thunk is not a good sound. After crawling into
the helix one more time, Dave discovered the problem. A support
piece of plywood hung down too far for the cupola on the caboose.
Chisel and hammer in hand, Dave fixed that problem. Clean up
again. And, holding our breath again, off went the train.

Success at last. Floating the screw holes and repainting done, the newly
rebuilt Castle Rock and Pacific helix is nearly finished. Just a few more
minor details to finish up.  And just in time, as we plan to leave for Texas for
spring sailing weather next week.
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