Arborway T.T. and Northwestern

Friends of the ATT&NW News

June 2, 2015

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June 28, 2014

Alex Beams got together a crew to work on a good-size track project near Woods Valley Wye. Friends of the Railroad in attendance were Fred and Kathy Vergenz, Steve Haack, Mitch Houk, Zach Gillihan, Alex Vaughn, Jerry Fritschle, and Mike Walsh.

Everyone except Alex V. had arrived by 9:00 so they took the work train down to Woods Valley cut-off to begin work, Alex coming along soon after on #86 speeder. The day's project was to raise and tamp 150 ft. of track in the Bradford pear trees below the cut-off, and Alex B. was soon directing the others in the moving and cranking of jacks while he read the laser surveying equipment and Mitch, Steve, and Alex V. tamped in the necessary ties to hold the track in place with the new pneumatic tamper.

With the re-elevation roughed in over the whole span of track, lunchtime was called and everyone headed for the Pick n' Shovel Cafe at Meramec Springs. Once back from lunch, Alex B., Steve, Mitch, and Alex V. took turns completing the tamping, then #17 was unhooked from all but the bottom-dump hopper and piloted back to the shop by Jerry for a load of ballast. One carload (approx. 6 tons) was more than enough to take care of the track in question, and the crew made short work of dressing the ballast after which a run was taken down to the Meramec Loop to see Zach and Mike's progress on getting the second Griswold crossing signal functioning. Mild heat, an intermittent breeze, and a full cooler of water and Gatorade on site knocked the edge off of the uninhibited sunshine and taxing nature of the work at hand, and all the Friends had a good therapy session with fellow train addicts!

April 26, 2014

Friends of the railroad present for the April workday were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Mitch Houk, Fred and Kathy Vergenz, Bill Rose, and Alex Vaughn. The day was graced with mild weather, allowing the crew to get out on the line for a change. The day's project was installing Alex B.'s reinforced joiner bars at several bad joints around the Meramec Loop, so once everyone arrived they loaded onto the work train and Mitch piloted #17 down to the work site. Once there, the generator and air compressor on the work train were fired up and everyone went to work replacing the joiner bars and re-tamping the affected ties with the new air tamper. One bad tie was found along the way which was replaced, and after doing 7 affected joints it was time to head back to the shop for lunch. After lunch the work train was shortened to only the side-dump hopper and work caboose, and then everyone headed back down the line, Alex B. in the loader tractor. The crew then spread and dressed 2 loads of ballast over the area they'd replaced the joiner bars earlier, and called it a day.

Make sure to check the Progress Photos section for pictures of the day's goings-on, and come out to the Arborway and join the Friends some time!

February 15th 2014

The February workday was spent in the shop due to the weather. Friends in attendance were Alex and Chance Beams, Steve Haack, Mitch Houk, Alex Vaughn, and Mike Walsh.

Over the course of the day, Steve finished up the hardware for the cupola windows on caboose #0306 and Mike continued working on making several new parts for the other Griswold crossing signal mechanism. Mitch cleaned a ground throw mechanism for painting (which will go at the switch for the fuel tank track at the roundhouse) while Chance painted the targets for it as well as a few other components for another signal, and after Mitch finished cleaning the mechanism Chance painted it, as well. In the meantime Alex V. helped Steve with the caboose hardware for a bit before tackling the stripping, cleaning, and repainting of the cast cabinet for the Griswold. During breaks from painting Chance helped Alex V. in the work on the cabinet, and Alex B. bounced around advising and assisting everyone throughout the day. The crew went into Steelville for lunch at Subway, then resumed work until late in the afternoon when the caboose windows were done, all the parts of the ground throw were painted and ready for re-assembly, and the cabinet has been stripped, cleaned, and given a fresh coat of paint. Make sure to check the Progress Photos section for pictures of the day's work.

January 25th 2014

The workday was limited to indoor tasks due to outside temperatures, but the crew got plenty accomplished nonetheless. Friends of the Railroad attending were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Alex Vaughn, and Mike Walsh.

The day's biggest project was updating the air brake hoses on the Bell Gardens equipment to a more practical arrangement of the quick-disconnect fittings between cars. Alex B. had already moved a short string of the cars into the shop, so Mike started changing over the fittings on the ends of each car while Alex V. assembled all the rubber hoses and air couplers. In the meantime Steve and Alex B. worked on the conversion of #0306 caboose's cupola windows, so that they will hinge open for better ventilation. After lunch (excellent chili and sides, provided by Mike) Mike and Alex V. were done with the first string of Bell Gardens cars, and used #216 to take them to the car barn and bring back another set of cars. After repeating the process on yet another string of cars, all the Bell Gardens passenger equipment was updated. Steve continued work on the caboose windows, fabricating and machining several of the parts needed for the latch and prop mechanisms to hold the windows open.

At quitting time the crew had converted the brake hoses on 12 cars and #216, leaving only a few odds-and-ends piece of rolling stock and locomotives #325 and #452 to be converted. Steve didn't finish the caboose windows, but made good progress. Take a look in the Progress Photos section for photographic documentation of the day.

September 27th-29th, 2013

On the weekend of September 28th the ATT&NW hosted its 6th annual Fall Run Days gathering. Friends of the railroad from near and far, as well as many visitors, came out to enjoy the railroad and spend time with other enthusiasts. Quite a few Friends came out earlier in the week to help prepare for the weekend, cleaning the facility and equipment, finishing up a few last-minute projects, and knocking numerous odds-and-ends tasks off the continual to-do list that a place like the Arborway generates.

Friday, the first official day of the gathering, was set aside for several track work projects that would be accomplished more efficiently with the sizeable crew present over the weekend. Zach Gillihan headed up a small crew which finished the installation of two dwarf semaphore signals on the main line at the station - train crews can now see the position of the switch at the upper end of Deer Ridge tunnel before departing the station. Alex Beams took #17, the work train, and another crew over to the inner loop to raise some track around Cedar Pond trestle, trying out his new air tamper in the process. (While the tamper still needed a few bugs worked out, it quickly put the guys with boots and shovels out of business!) After finishing up at Cedar Pond and eating lunch in the Stout building (provided by Cindy Beams and CC Bakes catering) the better part of the crew went down to Panhandle Ridge to raise low rail joints on the track between there and Wooden crossing. At the same time a small force took #27 and the side-dump hopper to align some track within the Panhandle Ridge yard limits, and finished out the day's work by dumping and dressing several loads of ballast on the mainline at Tower Ten, finishing just in time for the supper bell up at the shop. Thanks to the volunteers and good weather all day, several big maintenance items were checked off the list!

Saturday brought what everyone anticipates most about the event: operations! As in years past, various trains ran continuously from about 10:00 AM until suppertime, with plenty of opportunities for everyone to run the variety of equipment. Carey Williams, from the House of David railroad in Benton Harbor, Michigan, arrived in the late morning with his 1908-built 4-4-0 Cagney and one of the House of David's original wooden coaches, and was soon stretching the little coal burner's legs on the inner loop. CC Bakes provided lunch in the Stout building, and Chance Beams and Alex Vaughn had the miniature stationary steam table set up with its array of single-cylinder puffers and tiny belt-driven machinery. Night runs had been planned, but rain moved in just about suppertime so the trains were put inside and everyone retired to the Stout building for food, several presentations, and a few videos including Yard Goat Images' recently released DVD from last year's Run Days.

Sunday morning CC Bakes served a fine pancake breakfast in the Stout building, after which operations began again. Lunch was provided by Frisco's Bar and Grill. Carey W. loaded up his equipment and headed back to home base in the early afternoon, but trains continued running until late in the afternoon. After the trains were tucked back into their resting places everyone retired to the shop to wind down from the fun and laugh at all the highlights of the weekend. It was another great, safe weekend of trains, friendship, and fun! There are plenty of photos and a few videos from the weekend in the Progress Photos section, and if you haven't come to a Run Days yet keep an eye on the railroad's Yahoo! Group and our Facebook page for next year's dates so you can attend!

August 10 & 11, 2013

On the 10th friends attending were Alex Beams, Jerry Fritschle, Alex Vaughn, and Mike Walsh. The recent trend of daily thunderstorms held off for the day, affording sun and moderate temperatures. Everyone had arrived by just after 9:00, and the first order of business was to take #17 and the work train down to River Road crossing to work on the new Griswold crossing signal. Once down at the worksite Alex V. and Jerry began painting the mechanism cabinet for the signal while Alex B. and Mike installed the crossing bell on the side of the control cabinet. The bell was soon ringing away and the painting done, so the crew took the upper "hoop" off of the signal and headed back to the shop to refinish it. By the time the crew got back to the shop it was lunchtime, so everyone went down to Meramec Springs.

After lunch Alex V. and Mike set to stripping/cleaning the hoop with wire brushes, after which Alex primed it while Mike disassembled another Griswold mechanism to troubleshoot it. Meanwhile, Alex B. and Jerry reassembled the light assemblies for the signal and mocked up the new cross bucks. By the end of the day the hoop had 2 good coats of primer and the mounts for the cross bucks installed, all the light heads were assembled, and the extra mechanism was freed up and turning nicely.

On the 11th Zack and Nick Gillihan where out at the railroad, working with Alex B. installed the upper hoop, lights, cross bucks and finish everything else up to complete the restoration and installation of the rotating stop sign Griswold.

See the Progress Photos section for photographic documentation of the day.

June 15, 2013

A productive day graced with good weather and a good crew. Friends of the railroad in attendance were Alex, Mark, Cindy, and Chance Beams, Steve Haack, Mitch Houk, Alex and Jenny Vaughn, Mike Walsh, and Caitlin McMurphy.

The day's project was spreading ballast below Panhandle Ridge, and once everyone arrived at the shop around 9:30 they headed out to the worksite; Mitch ran #17 with the work train, with Jenny and Chance in #27 with the side-dump hopper, and Alex B. in the loader tractor. After arriving at River Road crossing, Mark began work on the sensor circuit for the new Griswold crossing signal at the crossing while the rest of the crew waited on #27 to arrive with the ballast so they could start dumping on the outside of the uphill track. With Alex B. supervising and running the loader tractor, Chance and Jenny in #27, and everyone else trading off with shovels, rakes, and brooms to dress the new ballast, the crew had dumped and dressed 3 carloads (approx. 12 tons) by lunchtime. After lunch, Alex V. relieved Chance in #27 and work resumed as before until the crew dumped two more carloads which brought them up to Wooden crossing at Peyton’s Point. With some ballast left in the hopper Alex V., Chance, and Mike ran #27 up to the upper end of the Panhandle Ridge yard to patch up a few small spots with the remaining rock, and after the cleanup crew had dressed the rest of the ballast everyone packed up the tools and called it a day. All totaled, the crew dumped just shy of 20 tons of ballast over roughly 1,100 feet of track. Another great day of therapy for miniature train nuts, with some good exercise thrown in, to boot! Photos of the day’s activities can be found in the Progress Photos section.

April 20, 2013

The April workday was held on the 20th, which turned out to be a clear, warm day perfect for the day's task. Friends in attendance were Alex Beams, Alex Vaughn, and Jenny Vaughn.

The project for the day was repainting the roundhouse doors, so once everyone arrived the supplies were loaded into the farm truck and everyone went over to the roundhouse to get started. The old, flaking paint had to be scraped and brushed off, which took the crew until lunchtime to do 4 doors. Having gotten the doors thoroughly cleaned and taped off before quitting, after lunch at Meramec Springs they broke out the paint and brushes and by about 4:00 the four doors had a good coat of fresh paint, and it was time to clean up the place and call it a day.

Check out the Progress Photos section to see a few photos of the finished product.

March 16, 2013

The workday was devoted entirely to building a small retaining wall just below Deer Ridge tunnel in Copper Canyon, to prevent silt and debris from the sandstone canyon from washing down onto the tracks and roadbed. Friends of the Railroad present were Alex, Mark, Cindy, and Chance Beams, Steve Haack, Mitch Houk, John Caples, and Alex and Jenny Vaughn. Also on the day before John and Carol Haake help Alex B. get all the supplies lined up and some initial prep work done.

Work began shortly after 9:00 when Alex V. and John pulled the work train out of the shop and everyone boarded for a ride down to the worksite. Alex B., John, and Carl had laid the first layer of ties (16-foot lengths of the 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" plastic ties used throughout the railroad) the day before, so Saturday's crew had a head start and went right to work cutting and drilling the ties, then lag-bolting the layers of ties together and, once the final height of four ties had been reached, driving 4-foot long pieces of rebar through the stack of ties and into the ground to anchor the wall. Everyone traded off doing the various jobs and in a flurry of ties, hardware, hammers, drills, air hammers, impact wrenches, cords, and air lines, they were roughly half done with the 75-foot wall by lunch time. After an excellent lunch of chili and cornbread prepared by Cindy, work resumed just as a cooler wind started to blow and the wall was finished around 4:30. After picking up all the tools and moving the work train to take a few pictures, the crew called it a day and headed back to the shop.

As usual, everyone had a good time and much was accomplished. Awesome job by everyone thank you all for the help. Be sure to stop by the Progress Photos section to see the finished product!

February 16, 2013

The February workday turned out to be a day of sunshine and relative warmth. Friends present were Alex Beams, Zach and Nick Gillihan, Mitch Houk, John Caples, Jerry Fritschle, and Alex Vaughn. There were also several visitors there, including Jerry Stinebring from Illinois and Mitch's father and several friends.

Most everyone except Zach and Nick were beginning work in the shop at 9:00; John and Alex V. repainted an unserviceable switch stand that will be used as a display piece somewhere on the railroad and Mitch, Jerry, and Alex B. worked on repairing/refurbishing several switch stand indication lamps. Around 9:45 Zach and Nick arrived with the main project of the day: a 1920's Wabash crossing signal. In need of complete restoration, the signal was moved from the truck to a flat car which, with #17's help, was pushed into the shop where disassembly began. As soon as parts started coming off the signal Mitch fired up the sandblasting cabinet and went to work cleaning the rust and paint from the parts, while Alex B. ran the Bridgeport mill, Jerry S. stripped the paint from the cast iron cross buck placards over on the workbench, and everyone else worked on stripping everything off of the main pole and fighting with (and, in many cases, breaking off and drilling out) the many rusty fasteners encountered. By lunchtime most of the components were stripped from the mast, which was a good stopping point for everybody to head to Steelville for something to eat.

Arriving back from lunch, work resumed on the disassembly and refurbishing. Zach took the light "buckets" apart and cleaned up the reflectors and light sockets while Alex V. and Nick removed the rest of the brackets, etc. from the pole, Alex B. took over sandblasting for Mitch, Jerry F. fought with some stubborn slot-head screws on one of the light fixture faces, John drilled out more broken off bolts in one of the light housings, and Jerry S. finished stripping the cross bucks. By late afternoon everything was stripped from the signal mast and most of the other disassembly finished, and some of the cleaning and refinishing had begun.

As usual, everyone had a good day of "therapy" with fellow train people. See the Progress Photos section for pictures of the day’s work!

January 12, 2013

With less than hospitable weather the Friends spent most of the day in the shop. Friends attending were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Mitch Houk, Jerry Fritschle, and Alex & Jenny Vaughn.

Today's project was the refurbishing and reassembly of the signal heads used on the Upper Loop signal system. Alex B. and Steve Haack had already taken most of the signal heads off their posts, disassembled them, and sandblasted, primed, and repainted the metal targets and hoods beforehand, so the crew's job today was to clean and reinstall the light fixtures and lenses into the repainted targets. Alex B., Steve, Jerry, Alex V. and Jenny were all there around 9:00, with Mitch arriving soon after that. First thing, Jerry, Mitch, and the Vaughns began disassembling and cleaning the light fixtures and lenses while Alex B. and Steve took the speeder and its 4-wheel flat car out on the upper loop to retrieve the rest of the signal heads from their positions. Work in the shop progressed quickly, and soon there were quantities of each color fixture ready to be reinstalled into the targets which Steve began doing when he and Alex finished their work out on the line. Jenny had to leave for work in Steelville at 10:30, and everyone else went to lunch around 12:30. Re-assembly resumed after lunch and continued through 4:00 or so, when all the repainted targets were assembled and all the lights from the still-rough signals had been removed, cleaned, and were ready to go in the rest of the refinished targets, which Alex will have repainted soon. All in all, we cleaned and re-assembled 23 signal heads at the end of the day - not a bad day's work! Take a look at the Progress Photos section to see photo documentation of the day.

July 28th, 2012

Friends-072812 FriendsCrawford Electric Cooperative held their company party of around 130 people at the ATT&NW. Friends of the Railroad there that day were Alex, Mark, Cindy, and Chance Beams, Mitch Houk, Steve Haack, Don "Tennessee" Angles, Jerry Fritschle, Alex and Jenny Vaughn, John Caples, and Carl Haake.

A few Co-op employees were there early to prepare lunch for everyone, most of the Friends were in the roundhouse by 9:30 firing up and cleaning #801, aside from Jerry, Tennessee, and a few others who assembled a train of the Bell Gardens equipment behind #325 and brought it up to the station. #801 was ready by 10:30, and after picking up its train at the car barn it was brought up to the station beside #325. The rest of the guests began arriving little after 11:00, and trains started running about that time. Both trains ran regularly until just after noon when all the guests, as well as the crew, took a break from the 97-degree heat in the Stout building for some nourishment. Operations resumed a bit before 1:00 and continued until about 3:00, with Jerry and Alex Vaughn on #325's train and everyone else trading among different duties on #801. All the trains were put away by 4:00, after which everyone went inside out of the heat for the evening.

There were small heat-induced signaling glitches at Ozark Mountain tunnel and Tower Ten at different points over the day, but aside from that everyone had a great time and it was good to be out running the trains again!

May 19, 2012

Friend's members present were Alex Beams, Zack Gillihan, and Melissa Kopp. The project for the day was to modify and restore an old Chicago subway signal to be installed at Ridge Road Wye do to a problem with an existing signal that was removed a few weeks ago. The work day didn't get going till around noon, at which time the signal was stripped down, cleaned up, lens colors changed / rearranged and put back together by Zack and Melissa while Alex fabricated a new mounting stand. All this work was completed around 4:30 then the signal was taken out to Ridge Road Wye installed, wired up, and put in service. Alex later in the week repainted the signal head to finish up the project. Check out the progress photo page for pictures and the signal page.

April 14, 2012

Friends present for the April workday were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Mitch Houk, Fred Vergenz and Kathy, Art Jennrich, Bill Rose, and Alex Vaughn.

By around 9:00 everyone was at the shop, and after checking the radar and confirming that the forecasted rain was indeed imminent, everyone went to the roundhouse to fire up #801 for the first time this season. Alex tutored Art in the fire-up process while the others took turns assisting in the firing and cleaning of the engine. After the fire was lit and only needed watched as it built boiler pressure Art helped Alex V. clean the tender trucks and air tanks, while Mitch polished the brass, Alex B. greased all the appropriate points on the engine, and others cleaned the wheels/running gear with Go-Jo. Steve arrived mid-way through the fire-up, and helped on cleaning the engine as well. By about noon #801 had built a good head of steam and the rain had stopped, so she was pulled out onto the turntable to finish steaming and for Mitch and Alex B. to test the air compressor. That was done by 1:00 or so, and with everyone getting hungry #801 was pulled back in the roundhouse, shut down, and tucked away so the crew could go to lunch.

It was mostly sunny by the time lunch was finished, and after checking the radar again to make sure no more rain was on the way the crew moved everything out of the shop so it could be cleaned. Both Alex's tackled the shop itself, first sweeping the worst of the dirt off the floor, then using a shop-vac to clean the flange ways in the concrete beside the rails, and finally washing, soaping, and rinsing the floor and using squeegees to remove most of the water. At the same time Steve, Fred, Art, Bill, and Mitch washed the two coaches (which had been stored in the back part of the shop all winter), then pulled the larger of the two Bell Gardens trains out of the car barn with #216 and cleaned the dust, spider webs, etc. out of the cars. After finishing cleaning the train, they took #216 and the train around the upper loop several times. The Alex's were finished cleaning the shop soon after that, Alex V. took the trolley out for a run between #216's trips. Alex B. and Mitch soon hitched a ride on the trolley, which then followed #216 around the upper loop watching the now-operational block signals change as #216 cleared the blocks ahead of them. After a few more times around the trolley was put away, as well as the work train, after which #17 was used to pull #801's train out of the car barn to the mainline where both Alex's (Alex V. In the cab, Alex B. watching the train) did a series of brake tests along Lake Side to ensure the new coaches' brakes were operating consistently with the rest of the train. Jenny Vaughn, Jerry Fritschle, and Ellen Fritschle arrived during this, and took a ride behind #216 before it was put away. It was about 7:30 before all the trains were put away, and with the railroad buttoned up for the night everyone headed to Frisco's in Cuba for supper. It was a great day to be at the railroad, and much was accomplished. Keep an eye on the Progress Photos section for pictures from the workday and other events!

March 18, 2012

Friends of the Railroad in attendance were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Mitch Houk, Alex Vaughn, and Ellen Fritschle. Today's job was some track work just below Ozark Mountain tunnel. Mitch, Alex V., and Ellen took the work train, pulled by #17 with the side-dump hopper tagged on the front of the locomotive, and Alex B. took the loader tractor so the hopper could be replenished from the ballast pile near Miller Crossing. Alex B. had already dumped and dressed some ballast along the downhill track between the tunnel and Miller Crossing, so the crew finished dressing that ballast first thing. Steve arrived around 11:00, after which he began sorting out and labeling the maze of wires in the signal cabinets for Ozark Mountain tunnel's ABS system. The crew completed the dressing of the previously-spread ballast just in time for a rain shower that, although short-lived, was long enough to send them back to the shop for lunch. After lunch everyone returned to the tunnel, where the work train was left near the tunnel portal and, with Mitch running #17, Alex B. operating the hopper, and Alex V. keeping the gravel flowing into the hopper doors, ballast was dumped on the outside of the uphill track from Miller Crossing to just outside the tunnel. The work train was then hooked back up to #17 and pulled onto the downhill track, and then everyone went to work with rakes, shovels, and brooms dressing the uphill track. Most of the roadbed was dressed by just after 4:30 when another rain shower signaled quitting time, but some still had to be left for Alex B. to finish up another day.

Aside from occasional showers and dealing with wet rock, it was a beautiful, warm spring day, and it was taken good advantage of with two hopper-full's of ballast dumped over approx. 350 feet of track. Good job, crew!

February 18, 2012

Friends in attendance were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Mitch Houk, Jerry Fritschle, Chance Beams, and Alex and Jenny Vaughn.

Everyone arrived around 9:00 they began discussing the recently completed safety test, a 143-question test designed by Alex B. and Steve to certify a good understanding of the rule book and general operations and safety procedures. Steve, Jerry, Mitch, and Alex Vaughn decided to try their luck at the test, giving Alex B. and Steve insight as to how it needed to be tweaked. By the time everyone finished their tests it was time for lunch, so Chance and Jenny went into Steelville to get pizza. Once everyone had eaten, both #17 and #27 (with the work train and side-dump ballast hopper, respectively) were fired up, and with Alex B. running #17 and Jerry in #27, everyone rode down to Arbor Way to do some track work near the crossover above the tunnel.

The first order of business was to straighten ties that had slowly worked out of square with the rail on the uphill track. Mitch went to work tapping the ties back in place with a sledge hammer while Steve and Alex V. cleaned up the ballast around the straightened ties and Alex B. and Jerry spread some ballast along the ends of the ties with #27. The ballast hopper was depleted shortly, so Alex and Jerry went back to the shop for more ballast while Steve, Mitch, Alex V., Chance, and Jenny finished up straightening ties and began moving the old, clean granite ballast from between the two tracks to the outside shoulders of the grade. #27 soon arrived back with another load of ballast, which was spread between the tracks in place of the clean rock. With all the ballast spread, #27 was parked out of the way while everyone used shovels, rakes, and brooms to dress the roadbed back up. With that done, it was time to call it a day and everyone loaded back up on the trains and returned to the shop.

Once again, another fun and productive day at the railroad, activities will pick up as the weather improves, so keep an eye on the website for more updates and photos!

January 21, 2012

Friends of the Railroad present were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Zach and Nick Gillihan, Mitch Houk, John Caples, Jerry and Ellen Fritschle, Alex and Jenny Vaughn, and Jared Childress. First thing on the to do list, Alex Beams and Zach began installing a phone line in the ground floor of the station for a credit card machine at the vending area that is planned to go in the bay window of the station for this year's events. Mitch and Jerry went to work in the shop stripping and repainting one of the station's benches, while John, Steve, and the young people reorganized and moved books and other items in the station. Jenny and a few of the others went into Steelville to get pizzas for lunch, after which they went back to finishing up the phone line installation and other misc. things around the station and shop.

It was great to be back at the railroad accomplishing things with fellow train people! Check back often for more updates on activities and accomplishments.

December 17, 2011

A small work day. Friends in attendance where Alex Beams, Steve Haack, and Jerry Fritschle. The project for the day was to get the 801 all cleaned up and finish winterizing for the year.

Some of the other winter projects that have been done or in the process are installing new boiler checks and shut off valves for the injectors on 801, adding lights that shine on the injectors for night running, fixing a mechanical lubrication problem on 801, servicing 27, building a ventilated paint booth in the shop, finishing the upper loop signal system, installing a relay signal inside Ozark Tunnel going downhill, and cutting the sides open on the Hillcrest gondolas.

September - October 2011

The ATT&NW's Fall Run Days were held on September 30th through October 2nd, and was once again a great time of "therapy for miniature trains nuts", as someone said of the Grand Scales convention in 2007.

A number of people from out of town had arrived earlier in the week to help prepare for the weekend, Friday was the first official day of the event and it was used as a workday to chip away at a number of projects around the railroad. Over the course of the day Friday the Friends dumped ballast in several places with 27 and the side-dump hopper, unspiked, removed, and re-bent rail from several curves on the inner loop with the help of the big hydraulic rail bender to remove kinks, repainting the water tower ladder, roundhouse doors, and a number of mileposts, polished 801 in preparation for Saturday's operations, and various other things that needed done. Fred Eisner of New York arrived in the afternoon with his freshly-completed 2-4-0 #88, which was unloaded at the shop and towed to the roundhouse by 27 for the final steps before it's first-ever fire-up on steam. (It had been run on air several times before.) That evening after supper a safety meeting was held in the Stout building, after which a number of people went back to the roundhouse to assist Fred with a few problems he'd run into on 88 ultimately resulting in a very entertaining, man-powered, 12:00 AM boiler wash/slosh that included Fred E., Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Don "Tennessee" Angles, and Mitch Houk, as well as quite a supportive audience.

Saturday morning after breakfast F7 325 was brought out to the mainline with a short train, and 801 followed around 11:00. This year, 801's train was a bit longer and heavier than in years past due to the addition of two fully-enclosed wooden coaches built by Uhrich Locomotive Works and delivered in August. 17 and 27 were on the Art's Inner Loop Transfer Service (inner loop) most all day, and frequent trains out on the mainline provided plenty of rides for the large number of people in attendance. Several new engineers were given time to run the diesels and work toward their qualification, as well. Fred Eisner continued working the bugs out of his engine over at the roundhouse and had it on the turntable steaming on coal by mid-afternoon, but then found a valve timing issue and decided to call it a day. (Note: Fred's engine looks stellar, and we're looking forward to seeing him back next year to finally run the "Cricket", as it was nicknamed that weekend, over the railroad.) In the early evening operations were suspended for supper, several presentations, and a few songs by the Ozark Alliance, then everyone loaded back on the trains for a few great night runs behind 801 and 452.

Breakfast was served in the Stout building on Sunday morning, after words a number of people went over to the roundhouse to clean 801 before bringing her out for the day. GP9 452 was also brought out with a train, but traded for 325 in the afternoon after it had a small mechanical issue. The 88 was towed from the roundhouse back to the shop to be loaded for the trip back to NY in the early afternoon. Another day of sizeable crowds kept the trains running regularly until early evening when everyone began cleaning up from the weekend and putting the trains away. The Bell Gardens trolley 1911 was taken around the upper loop and inner loop a few times later in the evening, but wound up being towed back to the Stout building by 325 after its batteries went dead. This year's Fall Run Days were no different than past years; plenty of "fellowship" with fellow hobbyists, great times, and many memories. See you all again next year!

On the weekend of October 8th, Boy Scout troop #677 came out to the railroad once again to learn about railroad operations, safety, infrastructure, and work towards earning their Railroading merit badge. They arrived Friday evening and stayed until Sunday morning, during which time they enjoyed train rides behind 801, lined track and rehabbed roadbed at Woods Landing Wye, were treated to a presentation on general railroad technology (both past and present), procedure, and safety by superintendent Alex Beams and Union Pacific's Gary Rolfes, as well as other various activities. The Scouts got a special treat on Saturday night when they rode to Meramec Loop behind 801 and 325, had a bonfire on the gravel bar below the loop while the trains stood by at Meramec Station, then boarded the train again for the return trip. It was a great weekend for the Scouts as well as the Friends of the railroad, and we hope to see them back again soon!

August 13 & 20, 2011

On Saturday the 13th Jenny Vaughn, Steve Hacck, and Alex Beams spent the day side dumped and dressed around 18-20 tons of rock all around Meramec Loop. Long hard day but it looked good at the end.

On Saturday the 20th friends of the railroad in attendance were Alex Beams, Zach Gillihan, Mitch Houk, Alex Vaughn, Ellen Fritschle, Nick Gillihan, and recent recruit Kara Grayson.

Thunderstorms had rolled through the area just after daylight that morning and it was still raining as everyone arrived around 9:00 AM, so the crew talked and caught up on recent happenings in the shop while they waited for the rain to stop. The rain subsided after an hour or so, after which the crew went about the day's assignments. First thing, SW1200 #17 and the work train was brought out of the shop and run down to Ridge Road Wye where Alex B. and Zach attempted to re-aim a CPL signal so it could be seen better by train crews as they approached the double track beside Bell Lake. It was determined that some different lenses (which were not on hand at the time) were needed, so the signal was put back together and the work train backed down to Woods Valley Wye for the crew to do some track lining on the high fill just below the wye. Returning from lunch the crew resumed the track lining, on the mains from Woodsvalley cross over to Arborway cross over. Once both mains looked good everyone hopped back on the work train and went back up to the shop to get the Davenport #27 and the side-dump ballast hopper. The hopper was loaded with ballast and was taken back down to the afore-mentioned area below Woods Valley Wye, Mitch at the throttle. The crew spread the load of ballast on both sides of the uphill main Mitch ran the locomotive while Alex B., Zach and Nick helped the ballast out of the hopper and Alex V. and Ellen came along behind dressing the road bed. After the whole load was dumped everyone pitched in with rakes and brooms to put the finishing touches on the new ballast before quitting for the day. It was, once again, a great day of fun and productivity at the railroad. See the Progress Photos section for a few photos from the day.

May 21, 2011

Friends of the Railroad attending were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Mitch Houk, Jerry Fritschle, Chance Beams, Ellen Fritschle, Alex and Jenny Vaughn, and new "recruit" Jonathan Southwood.

The 17 and part of the work train was taken down to Ridge Road Wye to see part of the recently-completed Upper Loop signaling system in operation. (Note: The signal system looks very good!) It was after Noon by the time the signal demonstration was over. After lunch, the rest of the work train was hooked up and the crew went down the line to the upper end of Ozark Mountain Tunnel where they replaced kinked joiner bars with new reinforced jointer bars. By the time that was finished it was late afternoon, so the crew loaded onto the work train for a run around the railroad at about 5:30. They discovered an unexpected surprise at Meramec Station where recent storms had blown a large tree across the tracks, bending several rails and wrecking some of the road bed, the crew went to work clearing the tree and rebuilding the roadbed and the track was open again by around 9:30 that night.

It was a long and warm day for the crew, but everyone enjoyed it and left with a well-deserved sense of accomplishment. See the Progress Photos section of the website for photo from the day's activities.

February 19, 2011

Friends of the Railroad present were Alex Beams, Zach Gillihan, Nick Gillihan, Alex and Jenny Vaughn, and Jared Childress, and visitors Mike Walsh and Brad George were also there. The first order of business was to bond mainline 2 (the mainline closest to the shop and station) from the switch outside Deer Ridge tunnel to Ridge Road wye. All the necessary supplies were loaded on speeder #86 and its 4-wheel flat car, and it was pulled out of the shop and onto the mainline. There were plenty of things to do, and everyone traded off grinding, cleaning, loading, and shooting molds, and moving extension cords, distributing bond wires, etc. Things moved along nicely, and by the time Zach and Nick returned from picking up the Casey's pizza in Steelville the crew was well past the yard lead crossing in front of the Stout building. Bonding resumed after lunch, and in about another 1 1/2 hours they had reached the signal bridge just before Ridge Road wye, which was the stopping point for the day. After cleaning up all the bonding supplies and putting the speeder back in the shop, everyone worked on a few misc. things in the shop. Alex B. and several others worked on assembling a large CPL, putting the colored lenses in, while Zach cleaned and repainted a smaller CPL and Jared, Alex V., Jenny, and others disassembled a crossing gate light assembly.

Yet another enjoyable and productive workday. Good job, crew!

January 22, 2011

The first workday of 2011 was held on January 22nd, and was spent a number of odd jobs around the shop. Friends attending were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Jerry and Ellen Fritschle, and Alex and Jenny Vaughn. With everyone there, work began - Jerry, Ellen, and Jenny's first task was cleaning and painting some parts of one of the Bell Gardens stock cars, while Steve and Alex B. began installing a the radio in F7 #216, and Alex V. cut up bar stock to be used in Alex B.'s special kink-preventing joiner bars. Alex V. finished cutting a batch of bar stock by around 12:30, and helped Steve for a while in detangling a very large pile of wire he'd gotten sidetracked on. Jenny and Ellen took a break to go get lunch from Steelville a little after 1:00 PM, while Alex B. worked on #216's radio and Jerry began painting the prepared areas on the stock car. Jenny and Ellen got back with lunch at about 2:00, and everyone took a break to eat, after which wiring up the radio on #216 and painting the stock car resumed. Jerry, Ellen, and Alex had to leave around 3:00, and by the end of the day Steve and Alex B. had finished installing #216's radio, and Jenny completed the painting on the stock car and put all the bolt-on accessories (ladders, etc.) back on.

Everyone had a good time, and several things were checked off the to-do list. It was great to be back at the railroad again!

August 2010 – January 2011

The rest of August and a good portion of September were spent on installing more anti kink jointer bars and other track work on the mainline. More work was also done on the upper loop signal system from Woodsvalley Wye to Ridge Road Wye. Some on the wiring was started on the Cedar Pond side of Woodsvalley Wye and the friends of the railroad got all the track between the wye's bonded. All that's left is installing insulated joints and finish the wiring to get red and yellow block protection up and running. Most of the focus in September was doing track work on the inner loop. With a lot of help from the friends and the newly designed ballast cutter made the work easier to get the track back in shape. The ballast cutter was the lawn mower from the Bell Garden's Railroad which was used to contouring the road bed, with a few modifications it now plows the clean rock away from the ends on the ties and leaves a nice trench for rock with fines to be dumped hold the curves were they need to be. There are several pictures and a video of it working on the website. Work was also started on redoing the rule book for the railroad. The 452 was torn down for major truck and hydraulic work.

September 24th – 26th was the fall friends meet there were many in attendance and the weather was great. The 24th was used as a work day for everyone, which included finishing up work on the inner loop, work on Woodsvalley Wye, and side dumping rock along the right of way. The guys from Greenville Illinois brought there G-15 back equipped with all new wheels matching ATT&NW standards. After a few minor problems were solved with the help of George Cotner, they had a blast stretching her legs out on the main line. After all the work was done and belies were full Alex Beams put on a safety meeting and Bob Ristow did a signaling class for everyone. Then key people involved with the railroad had a meeting to go over the new rule book being put together. The 25th and 26th were spent running trains everything was pulled out and took turns running around, many people got chances to run the engines, some for the first time and some to get qualified. Saturday night was a night filled with lots of good food from everyone, music, and night runs behind the 801, 325, and the G-15. Of course the trolley was out running around late at night for the train crews to relax. To top the whole weekend off Sunday night Frisco's Bar and Grill in Cuba catered dinner for the crew then it was time to unwind from the busy weekend. Everything went very smooth with no problems.

October was a busy month for running Judy Woods had a couple of private parties that the 801 and Trolley were out running around. Some minor track work was done and more work on the 452. There was no friends work day in October. On October 15th after lots of revising the official rule book for the railroad was finished and posted. Go to the rules page for a copy.

November 6th and 7th Boy Scout Troop 677 in Wildwood, Missouri were out to work on getting there railroad merit badge. Gary Rolfes (for Union Pacific) and Alex Beams put on the merit badge class with many demonstrations including track tools / equipment, shop / roundhouse tour, how steam engine works, and rail bonding. The scouts also had a work project which was washing the windows in the round house; there was also a 5 mile hike through the woods. In the later part of the afternoon some of the friends work on bonding rail and got all of main one bonded. After the sun set on Saturday the boy scouts were treated to a few night runs behind the 801. There were about 70 scouts total for the weekend.

Most of the Woods family was out for Thanksgiving and the 801 was fired up for a few runs. Shortly after that Alex Beams and Steve Haack winterized the 801 and everything else was put away for the winter. As for December and January the 452 was put all back together with new bearings on the torque arms, new cotton waste in the journals, hydraulic motors tested and shaft seals replaced, hydraulic pump rebuilt, and several other repairs to get everything back up to working order. We had a nice water leak in the farm side of the shop floor which required about 6'x6' 3 foot deep hole in the concrete, fun project. George was getting tried of working in a pond. Alex Beams built 3 FRED'S one for the back of the trolley and two for the back of the Bell Garden's stock cars, the 216 got new chains, spring rubbers, new sprocket, and all checked out. There several new pictures from the last few events and projects on the progress photo page and a few new video clips.

August 8, 2010

The railroad hosted an employee and customer appreciation party for Frisco's Grill & Pub of Cuba, MO. Friends present for the event were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Don "Tennessee" Angles, Fred and Kathy Vergenz, Zach Gillihan, Alex and Jenny Vaughn, Jerry and Ellen Fritschle, Mark, Cindy, and Chance Beams, and John and Kristi Caples. Also, Tennessee, Jerry, Ellen, Little Alex, and Jenny had come out earlier in the week to help prepare for the event.

First thing Sunday morning, a large part of the crew was in the roundhouse working to polish and steam up #801 while Tennessee, Mark, and a few others were in the yard arranging the day's trains with #17. The guests started arriving at about 11:00 AM Chance, Jenny, Little Alex, Ellen, and Kristi supervised the parking of cars, while Cindy ran the registration table. Trains began running shortly after guests started arriving - #801 with its train, and #452 with a train of the Bell Gardens equipment. Crews on both trains rotated fairly often, with Alex B., Fred, Steve, Tennessee, Mark, Zach, and Jerry running both trains throughout the day. Conductors also swapped out frequently. Frisco's began serving food right around noon, and left it out all afternoon for the guests to eat as they wanted.

Due to heavy, nearly-full trains and 100-degree temperatures, GP9 #452 began having problems with overheating in the early afternoon and #17 was used on the Bell Gardens train for the rest of the day. Around 6:00 PM or so, things started winding down and the trains were put away shortly after that. #801 went back to the roundhouse to be put to bed while Tennessee, Little Alex and Ellen used #17 to do some switching to put the work caboose and one of the work flat cars, which had been on #801's train, back on the work train. Everything was put away by about 8:00, and, after the long day they'd all had, everyone retired for the evening.

Although it was hot, another great time was had by all!

July 9th, 10th, & 17th, 2010

Activities at the railroad on the weekend of July 10th actually covered two days, rather than the usual Saturday-only workday. Friends in attendance over the weekend were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Jerry and Ellen Fritschle, and Alex and Jenny Vaughn.

On Friday, Jerry, Ellen, and little Alex arrived just after 8:00 AM. After picking a few items from the to-do list, they, along with Alex B., took the work train down to the Cedar Pond area to bond a few rail joints that had been left unbounded because of questionable rail segment/joiner bar arrangements when Steve, Zach, and Alex V. bonded that stretch of track in early June. That was done in short order, after which the crew moved down to Woods Valley Wye to install several modified rail joiner bars there to correct kinks at several joints. That took a bit longer, and by the time that was finished it was time for lunch. Once back from lunch, the crew took the work train back down to the lower end of Aiddan's Alley to restore the super elevation to about 280 feet of curved track there. At first, Alex B. and Ellen worked the track jacks while Jerry and Alex V. tamped ties. After Ellen got the hang of using the jacks, Alex B. joined the other boys in tamping. Ellen and little Alex had to leave early, but the crew got a good start on the job by quitting time.

The next day - Saturday - Jerry and Ellen could not be there, but Steve Haack and Jenny Vaughn were. The crew for the day, consisting of both Alex's, Steve and Jenny, was in Aiddan's Alley by about 10:00 AM and resumed the track work that was started the day before. Jenny ran jacks while Alex B., Alex V., and Steve tamped track, and things went on in pretty much the same way most of the day. In the early afternoon Jenny finished with the jacks and began straightening up the ballast with broom and rake. After all the tamping was done in the late afternoon, Alex B. took the work train back up to the shop and brought Davenport #27 back down with the side dump ballast hopper. Little Alex ran #27 as big Alex directed the ballast spreading and Jenny and Steve straightened up the roadbed. When the ballast was spread, #27 was taken back up to the shop and #17 brought back down with the work train, and everyone worked on putting the finishing touches on the roadbed until a small group of Steve Haack's friends arrived, then the whole crew called it a day and went for a trip around the railroad with the guests on the work train.

The next weekend was the usual third-Saturday workday. Friends of the railroad present were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Zach Gillihan, Alex Vaughn, and a new recruit, Jared Childress. The task for that day was to re-align the section of curved track between Miller Gate crossing and Panhandle Ridge.

Everyone arrived rather early, and after introducing Jared to the rest of the crew and showing him around a little, they all took the work train down to Panhandle Ridge to begin the day's task. First thing, Zach, Little Alex and Jared used a tape measure and paint marker to mark off 5-foot increments on the rail for correct spacing of the string that would later be used to determine the proper curvature of the track, then Alex B., Steve, Zach, and Jared used a 10-foot length of string to help determine how far off the current curve was. After collecting that information, the real work began - Steve and Zach manned the string while Alex B. supervised and Alex V. and Jared used track bars to re-align the track. Things continued pretty much that way until lunch, and resumed after lunch although everyone traded off on the different jobs throughout the afternoon. By the end of the day, the outer (or inbound) track had been lined all the way from Panhandle Ridge up to Miller Gate. A job well done, once again! Photos will be posted in the Progress Photos section shortly.

June 24-25, 2010

While not a scheduled workday, Alex and Jenny Vaughn came out on Thursday and Friday to help Alex Beams, George Cotner, and Wilbur Ness raise 440 feet of track in Ozark Mountain Tunnel.

First thing Thursday morning, everyone loaded onto an abbreviated work train - consisting of speeder #86 and the 4-wheel flat car - to go down to the tunnel. Once in the tunnel, Alex B. used the surveying transit to determine what track needed raised and how much, then did some calculating, and began directing the raising of track. Alex ran the surveying equipment while George moved and operated track jacks and Jenny read off the numbers. Wilbur and Little Alex came along after them and tamped enough of the ties to hold the track at its new elevation until the rest of the ties could be tamped. About half of the raising was completed before lunch, and after the crew got back from lunch the rest of the raising was completed and the crew started tamping in the track. Both Alex’s, George, and Wilbur tamped while Jenny straightened up the disturbed ballast. By the end of the day Thursday about 100 feet had been tamped.

On Friday Alex B., Alex V., George, and Wilbur were in the tunnel by just after 8:30 AM and resumed tamping. By lunch another 200 feet of track was tamped, and even though Little Alex had to leave during lunch, the rest was completed by the end of the day.

All in all, 440 feet of track was raised and tamped over the two days. Another job well done!

June 5, 2010

Today's activities at the railroad were a mix of work and play. Friends present were Steve Haack, Zach Gillihan, and Alex Vaughn.

Pretty much first thing, SW1200 #17 and the work train were pulled out of the shop into the yard, #17 was unhooked from the train, and Alex took a trip around the railroad to inspect the right-of-way, turn on signals, etc., while Steve made up a 3-car train with F7 #216 for a small group of guests that were coming out for a train ride and tour. The guests arrived around 9:30, and everyone boarded the train for a ride at about 10:00. After the ride, several of the guests were given a tour of the shop, station, roundhouse, and the car barn. A couple of the very young guests got a short ride in Davenport #27 before leaving, which they thoroughly enjoyed.

After all the guests had left, the crew went to lunch. Once back, Zach Gillihan took the #17 and the work train down to the Woods Valley Wye/Cedar Pond area, and the crew went to work bonding rail from Woods Valley Wye to the beginning of the Tower Ten block. That was finished by about 4:30, and the trains were then put away and everyone cooled down and talked in the shop for a while before leaving. It was a fairly warm, train-filled, and productive day, and a very good time was had by all.

April 17, 2010

The April workday actually turned out to be more of a run day, as a group of about thirty guests came out to see the railroad and enjoy a few train rides. Friends of the railroad attending were Alex Beams, Alex and Jenny Vaughn, and Ellen Fritschle.

After all the "Friends" arrived at the railroad, we all set to work dusting and cleaning the station/museum. That was finished quickly, and the crew then went to work making up a train for the guests before they arrived. Little Alex ran GP9 #452 from the shop over to the car barn with the help of Big Alex, Ellen and Jenny as switchmen and brakemen. After the train, consisting of 7 cars and a caboose, had been assembled and pulled up to the station, Little Alex, Ellen and Jenny went down the line on speeder #86 turning on the signals at Copper Canyon, Aiddan's Alley, and Woods Valley Wye before trains started running. The guests had started arriving by the time they got back to the station, and directly everyone loaded up for a ride around the railroad. After the ride, some of the guests had a picnic lunch on the grass near the water tower, after which they were given a tour of the roundhouse by Alex B. When that was finished, everyone went on another trip around the railroad before they left.

Later in the afternoon, after the train was put away and #452 had been fueled and parked in the roundhouse, Alex B. and Jenny did several misc. things in the shop while Alex V. and Ellen finished giving the mileposts on the upper loop a first coat of new white paint.

A fun, eventful time was had by all, and the guests certainly enjoyed the train ride. The weather was beautiful, also! Make sure to check the photos section for photo documentation of the day.

April 6-11, 2010

Fred & Kathy Vergenz from the Whiskey River Railroad in wisconsin came down. Wednesday we went out and helped Alex install a new color position signal light at Woods Valley Wye. Thursday Alex Beams cut some boards for the bottom of the side dump ballast car, to keep the ballast out of the shoots that are not being used. We tried out the car and spent the rest of the day laying ballast (Wilber, Fred, & Alex Beams). On Friday, Alex Beams, Fred Vergenz, Alex Vaughn, and Jerry Fritschle helped get the 801 serviced and hydro-ed. Then we made four test runs where everyone had a chance to be in the cab for a trip or two. On Saturday Alex and Fred de-winterized and cleaned the roundhouse. We also washed the Bell Garden's gondola which was repaired in the shop this past winter. Late that afternoon, we surprised Kathy by taking her out for a cab ride in the 27. Kathy was made a student engineer on that trip. She was all smiles and excited! That evening, Dan Busse came out with video clips for us to look over. Alex Beams and Fred Vergenz tried to help Dan pick out some of the best clips to be used in a Friends DVD. Dan spent the night and then on Sunday morning, got the chance to engineer on the work train for two trips. Kathy and I took a ride with Dan and Alex. Dan being the engineer of the 17. That ended our wonderful week with the long drive home to Wisconsin. You-tube video I shot during my vacation at the ATT&NW RR.

February 20, 2010

For this workday, the crew did several miscellaneous activities around the railroad. Friends present were Alex Beams, Jerry Fritschle, Alex and Jenny Vaughn. First off, Alex assigned Jerry and "Scooter" (Little Alex) some switching chores in the yard. F7 #216 was used for this task, with Jerry running and Scooter acting as switchman. After a few hours of switching, much of the Bell Gardens rolling stock was re-arranged into two new train sets and put back in the car barn. After lunch, #17 and the work train were pulled out and run over to the grade crossing near the yard lead in front of the station where the grade crossing needed minor modification. That went smoothly, and after the work train was put away everyone went to work on track hardware supplies (joiner bars, joiner bar bolts, etc.) in the shop. Alex modified a number of joiner bars by welding extra pieces of bar stock onto them, while Jerry cut those pieces with the band saw and Scooter and Jenny worked on assembling special bolts for insulated joints. The weather turned out very nice and the crew had a fun and productive day, once again. Pictures of the day's activities are in the Progress Photos section - check them out, as well!

January 23, 2010

The crew did some routine maintenance and replaced brake shoes on the Bell Gardens' Northwestern Pacific #52526 cordwood car. Friends attending were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Alex and Jenny Vaughn, and Jerry and Ellen Fritschle.

The first task was disassembling the trucks, which had already been started by Alex B. Alex, Jerry, Little Alex and Jenny continued the disassembly while Steve machined one of the axles (which had been damaged by a malfunctioning bearing) and Ellen "documented" with Jenny's camera. Alex B. took care of replacing the brake lining on the shoes, and after Steve finished the axle he helped with putting the trucks back together. Everybody chipped in for a good lunch of chili and accompanying sides. By the end of the day both trucks were cleaned, checked and repaired where necessary, lubricated, re-assembled (with new brake shoes) and put back under the car.

After not having a workday since October, it was great to be back at the railroad working on the trains with friends. Photos are in the Progress Photos section - make sure to check them out, also!

December 2009

Alex Beams started working on the last two Hillcrest gondolas that needed to be serviced and have truck modification done. Also George Cotner started working on rebuilding and restoring the old Railroad Express Wagon that was rotting away in the parking lot. Other winter projects will include servicing all the Bell Gardens cars and repainting the Bell Gardens caboose.

November 22nd 2009

Steve Hacck, Alex Beams, and Jerry Fritschle took part of the Woods for one last ride behind the 801 and a picnic lunch before everything was put away for winter. The weather that week was not too good but on Sunday the weather was beautiful.

October 16th - 18th, 2009

This was our annual friends' meet and it was a great weekend. Several friends of the railroad were in attendance from as far away as North Carolina, New York, Colorado and several other states in the Midwest. The guys from the American Heritage Museum in Greenville IL brought their G-15 with all new wheels matching most 15” gauge standards and got to stretch her legs out all weekend on the main line. Also Fred Eisner from New York brought his work in progress 15” 2-4-0 to show off. Not much went on Friday, few trains were running and most everyone showed up so time was spent on unloading and getting everything ready for the weekend. Friday night we had a nice cook out and everyone sat around telling old railroad stories. Saturday and Sunday were tons of fun with trains running all around and several people showed up for train rides. There was a nice pot luck dinner Saturday night. Afterwards we made several runs with the 801 which made for some awesome shots in the cold weather.

September 12th & 19th, 2009

On the 19th friends Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Jerry, Ellen Fritschle, Lee Tennant and Kristi Jenkins side dumped rock from River Road crossing all the way back up to the Wooden Crossing. This section of track was kind of tricky to side dump there’s not much of a bank to walk along while dumping and dressing the rock. A total of 7 car loads which is about 28 tons of rock.

On the 12th friends Alex Beams, Zach Gillihan, Jerry, Ellen and Laura Fritschle worked on putting the inner loop back together. Last month Alex took several joins apart in the inner loop were the track was kinking in the curves, kicked the rail aside so the rail could expand as it heated up. We then bared the curves around and cut out the extra rail and bolted everything back together. Hopefully this will help keep the curves were they need to be.

August 15, 2009

This workday Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Alex and Jenny Vaughn, Lee Tennant and Kristi Jenkins line both main lines from Panhandle Junction to the Wooden Crossing. It was a lot of work but boy does the train ride good through there now.

July 9, 2009

Rather than the usual practice of workdays being held on Saturdays this last workday was on a Thursday, as railroad superintendent Alex Beams had to be out of town that Saturday. The project for today was spreading ballast on several curves around the railroad. Friends attending were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Wilbur Ness, George Cotner, Alex and Jenny Vaughn, Jerry Fritschle, Lee Tennant, and Dave Neubauer.

Pretty much first thing Alex Beams, George, Wilbur, Little Alex and Jenny, and Lee went to spreading ballast in Copper Canyon. (Davenport #27 and the side-dump hopper were used all day for this task.) Wilbur ran the engine while Alex B. directed him and helped the ballast out of the doors from the outside, while Alex V. stood on the walkways on the car and helped the ballast down to the doors from the inside. Lee and Jenny came along behind and straightened up the freshly dumped ballast with brooms and rakes, while George stayed up at the shop to run the front-end-loader-equipped tractor for loading of the ballast into the hopper. Shortly after work started, Dave Neubauer arrived and helped Alex V. with getting the rock down to the doors inside the hopper. Jerry Fritschle arrived several minutes later and began helping Lee and Jenny with cleanup. After spreading rock at Copper Canyon and Cedar Pond, everyone headed for lunch. After lunch, Dave Neubauer had to head back to St. Louis, but Steve Haack arrived and everyone went back down to Cedar Pond. After Cedar Pond, the crew did some spreading around Woods Valley Wye and finally a few places in the Miller Gate/Panhandle Ridge area.

Once again, a productive and fun day was had by all. Good job, crew!

June 20, 2009

The main assignment for the June workday was re-spiking a section of track in Aidan's Alley. Friends members present were superintendent Alex Beams, Alex and Jenny Vaughn, and first-time workday attendees Lee Tennant and his fiance' Kristi Jenkins. After Lee and Kristi arrived, everyone took the work train down to Aidan's Alley and started in on the task at hand. Alex B., Alex V., and Lee began drilling new holes and hammering in new spikes, while Jenny and Kristi distributed spikes along the grade where they were needed. About noon everyone got back on the train and went for a run down to the Meramec loop and back to give Lee and Kristi a tour of the railroad, then all went to lunch. After lunch, work resumed and by quitting time approx. 90 feet of track had been re-spiked.

Certainly a HOT and fun day was had by all. Make sure to stop by the photos section for photos.

May 30, 2009

Assignments for this workday were various track maintenance jobs, and bonding some rail. Friend's members attending were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Zach Gillihan, Alex and Jenny Vaughn, Jerry, Ellen and Laura Fritschle, and Dave Neubauer.

The first project for the day was replacing a few ties at Rock Cellar. That went well, and after lunch at Meramec Springs the crew worked on raising about 70 feet of track near where the ties were replaced. After raising, tamping, lining that section cleaning things up, everyone got on the work train and Jerry ran the SW1200 #17 and the work train back up to Woods Valley Wye/Aidan's Alley to finish bonding rail in Aidan's Alley. Work progressed quickly, and the rail was finished bonded all the way down to the switch at the wye in no time as par of the upper loop signal project.

Once again, a productive and enjoyable day was had by all! Make sure to look at pictures in the progress photos section.

Winter 2008 – May 2009

During the winter of 2008 and into first part of 2009 a lot of time was spent doing brake and truck modification to several pieces of rolling stock. Two of which were repainted and re-lettered ATT&NW. General maintenance work was done to the steam engine 801 and to all the diesels. Work was also done on several other small projects in the shop.

This spring, The Friends of the railroad have been out several time and helped with many projects. They bonded rail on the upper loop for the signal system, got the full size crossing gate at the shop working, and did some general maintenance around the railroad. Summer projects will involve track work (raising, lining, and ballasting), installing a full size crossing at Miller Gate down by the 800’ tunnel, and bonding more rail on the upper loop.

In April we had two big events. On the 18th the bluegrass band The Ozark Alliance had a CD release party for their new CD titled "Steam Powered Bluegrass" featuring the 801 on the cover. There were about 170 people at the event, plus the railroad crew from the Whiskey River Railroad in Wisconsin, and several other railroaders. The 801 was fired up, along with a couple of the diesels. Trains ran all afternoon ending with dinner, a concert, and a huge rainstorm (fortunately in that order). On the 25th a Boy Scout group from St. Louis came out and worked on getting their railroad merit badges. About 69 scouts and 35 adults camped out and spent some time tightening joiner bolts and driving in loose spikes.

November 22, 2008

For the November workday, Friends worked on bonding rail and installing insulated joints for the yard crossing gates. Friends attending were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Zach Gillihan, Mitch Houk,and Alex & Jenny Vaughn. Also, Jerry Fritschle, from the WF&P R.R., came down with Steve Haack.

After showing Jerry around the shop/roundhouse, the work train was pulled out of the shop and down to where the crew would be working. While little Alex got the needed supplies off the work train and started grinding spots for bonding rail, Alex B. and Steve began trying to figure out the previously installed sensors on the tracks that are in concrete, to see if they would be usable as part of the crossing circuit. When little Alex finished grinding, he, Mitch, and Jerry started taking track joints apart that needed to be insulated while Alex B. and Jenny bonded rail. Around 1:00PM everyone went inside for a while to have lunch, which was provided by Alex and Jenny V.

After lunch, Steve and Jenny began checking and testing photo sensors and wiring in the shop yard while Alex B., Alex V., Mitch, and Jerry went to work on putting the rail joints back togetherwith the new insulated hardware.

Another good and productive day had by all!

October 2-5, 2008

Thursday of the Run Days was largely spent doing various projects around the railroad in preparation for the weekend. That morning, Tennessee, Jenny Vaughn, Ed Taylor, and Mark Pfeifer went around the railroad oiling switches with #17 and the work train while Tony Cusick and Alex Vaughn polished some of #801's valve gear and Alex Beams, Steve Haack, George Cotner, and Wilber Ness worked on some odd ball projects. When everyone got back from lunch, they went over to the inner loop to work on aligning some track. After the problem spots were worked out there, Steve, Ed, John Woods, and Alex & Jenny Vaughn went back over to the shop and washed the trolley set, the work caboose, and SW1200 #17. Alex Beams changed the wheels on the trolley set's power car, with Steve helping him some later on.

Friday morning Fred Vergenz, Tony, Mark, and Alex & Jenny set to cleaning and steaming up #801 over in the roundhouse. Tennessee, Alex B. and Art Jennrich, along with Michael and Linda Dunn, took the trolley down to the Ozark Mountain Tunnel to check the clearance between its roof and the tunnel's roof then came back up and went a few times around the inner loop. After the trolleys were parked, Tennessee directed Little Alex in pulling the F-units out of the roundhouse and coupling them together, after which they went over to the car barn to put a train together. When that was done, Davenport #27 was started up and used to pull 801's train out to the mainline in preparation for bringing 801 out. Everyone went over to the roundhouse just before 11:00 AM for a safety briefing before trains started running. Alex Beams briefed everyone on general safety/operating rules, special signal instructions, and other points of interest before everyone went their own way and trains started running. The first train out on the mainline, around 11:20, was F7's #325 and #216 with seven of the Bell Gardens cars. By the time that train arrived back at the station, #801 was out on the main and coupled to its train. Those two trains occupied the mainline most of the day, also Don Wirth took the GP9 #452 out for a few runs later in the afternoon and visitor Carey Williams taking his "handcar" of sorts around the main behind #801's train once.

Over on the inner loop, Art Jennrich, Ed Taylor, and other friends/visitors were running and Davenport #27. Many less experienced engineers got to drive, stopping along the line to pick up and drop off imaginary cars at various "customers" of the "Art's Inner Loop Transfer Service Railway" and practicing radio communications. Throughout the day different crews were switching in the yard, making up or re-configuring trains as needed. By 6:30 PM the trains had been put away for the evening, and everyone went over to "The Cabin" for supper. Judy Woods cooked a delicious meal, and after everyone had finished eating John Woods persuaded Michael Dunn and Alex & Jenny Vaughn to play a few songs - needless to say, most were train songs. Tennessee threw in some humor, also, to top off the entertainment.

Saturday morning, the "steam team" (Fred Vergenz, Alex Beams, Josh Rawls, George Cotner, John Caples, Ed Taylor, Tony Cusick, Bill Rose, and others) fired up and polished #801 while Yardmaster Tennessee directed the making up of a Bell Gardens train with the F units. SW1200 #17 was used to cut the work caboose off the end of the work train, and those two pieces were parked beside the car barn for later use on the inner loop. The F units and train (7 cars) were up to the station by about 10:00 AM, and the first train out was pretty well loaded; but, with both units under full power on the way back up (Tennessee running lead unit #325, Alex V. running trailing unit #216) a reasonable speed was maintained. Around 10:40, #801 and its train were pulled up to the station.

Trains on the mainline ran fairly regularly throughout the day, with many different volunteers/friends running different trains. On the inner loop, everyone who wished took turns running #17 and #27, practicing switching and radio communications between the two locomotives. Lunch, cooked by Steve Haack and George Cotner, was served in the Stout building in the early afternoon. Later in the afternoon the F7's were traded for GP9 #452 on the Bell Garden's train, and #17 was hooked up to the work train and run on the mainline some.

For supper that evening, Mark and Cindy Beams deep-fried two turkeys and others brought side dishes to round out the meal. The Ozark Alliance (Alex & Jenny V. and parents) played a few songs while everyone ate, and after they finished the #801 was fired back up for the night runs. #801 departed first, with #452 following it a bit later; each train took two trips down to the Merrimac Loop. Everything was put away by about 10:30 PM, and a few people stuck around a talked well later than that.

Sunday was very much like the rest of the weekend the 801, 452, and 17 ran around the mainline most of the day. While the 27 with Art as the instructor ran around the inner loop all day. Everything raped up around 5:00 and some of the train crew sat around the shop after everything was put away and told stories and relaxed. All and all it was a good, safe, and fun weekend you couldn't of asked for any better weather. Hopefully we will do something like this next fall.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

John Woods hosted the celebration of his 50th high school class reunion at the railroad on Sept. 27th. Approximately 45 guests attended. Friend's members present were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, and Alex & Jenny Vaughn.

First thing, before the guests arrived, all the "Friends" readied the #801 to be pulled out. Alex B. got there around 7:30 AM to start steaming up; Steve arrived around 8:30, and Alex & Jenny got there about 9:00. The #801 was pulled out of the roundhouse about 10:30, watered and fueled up, then run over to the car barn to pick up its train and pull up to the station. Before the guests arrived, all the Friends went for a test run since #801 hadn't been around the railroad since late June. The guests arrived around 11:30AM and after one run, the guests ate lunch (catered by Pearl and Cecil) while the crew went about putting a few more cars in the train. At first, the train didn't have enough passenger cars to seat all the people, so the Bell Gardens handicapped car was cut in to the middle of the original train and the two enclosed cabooses (#0306 and #9255) were swapped for the work caboose and the flat car w/straw bales.

After the train was hooked back up in its new configuration, the crew grabbed a quick lunch. Then everyone loaded up and went for another ride - this time, everyone that wished to go was able to fit on the train. When they got back, some of the guests took a tour of the roundhouse and shop before they left, around 3:00PM. After that, the crew took #801 for a few runs around the railroad, Steve Haack at the throttle for the first time, before the train was put away.

The guests applauded each time the train stopped for them to de-train, so I guess we did something right! Photos...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The projects for the Sept. 20th workday were washing the passenger cars and working on insulated joints and hardware for the Upper Loop signaling system. Friend's members attending were Alex Beams, Josh Rawls and his girlfriend Jenni, Alex Vaughn and Jenny Vaughn.

Pretty much first off, Alex and Jenny V. set to work washing a string of the Bell Gardens cars and GP9 #452. After they were finished with those, the rest of the BG cars were brought over from the car barn and washed. Josh Rawls and Jenni were in the shop machining/assembling special bolts for the insulated joints. Alex B. did misc. things - worked on Davenport #27, insulated a joint outside Deer Ridge tunnel, and helped with washing cars. While the second string of BG cars was being washed, it started raining. After pulling the GP9 and cars in the shop and out of the rain, Alex and Jenny V. helped Josh and Jenni with the hardware for a while. When the rain let up, SW1200 #17 and the work train were pulled out, and the Friends - along with John Woods, his grandson Aidan, and a few friends - went for a train ride. (Josh and Jenni had to leave after the ride.) #27 was used to pull the big cars (the 5" scale equipment) over to the shop and Alex, John Woods, and Alex & Jenny V. washed and cleaned them all up.

Another fun (and comparatively clean) workday - good job, crew! Photos...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Was spent bonding rail from the top of Deer Ridge tunnel through Copper Canyon and down to Aidan's Alley. Friend's members attending were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, and Alex and Jenny Vaughn.

Alex Beams, Steve, and Jenny were preparing molds and bonding rail while Little Alex went ahead of them with a grinder and ground a spot on each side of each joiner bars where the bond would be. Before lunch, the crew got the rail bonded through the tunnel and a little ways down Copper Canyon. After lunch, it went a fair bit faster and by the time the crew called it a day about 1000 ft. of rail had been bonded, which ran down to the signal at the upper end of Adain's Alley. After all the bonding equipment was packed up, Steve got his laptop out and everyone hopped on the work train for a ride down to the Ozark Mountain tunnel. After making a few system adjustments to the signals for the Ozark Mountain tunnel with the laptop, everybody enjoyed a ride to the loop and back to the shop. Another fun and productive workday!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Was spent on the Entrance Gate Signal Light project. Friend's members attending were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Josh Rawls, Zach Gillihan, Mitch Houk, Chance Beams, Alex Vaughn and Jenny Vaughn. Weather was hot (with a little rain) but very good.

First on the agenda was to dig two holes, approx. 2 ft. wide, 2 ft. long, and 3 ft deep, near the entrance gate. (Concrete will be poured in these holes to mount the signal posts on.) Alex V. and Mitch Houk went to work on one hole, while Alex B., Josh Rawls, and Chance Beams started on the other one. Little Alex and Mitch finished first (less rock to dig through on their hole) and, after a rest, spelled the others working on the other hole. After both holes were dug, Alex B., Steve, Josh, Zach, and Chance started lining out conduit that would run to the holes while Mitch and Little Alex built two concrete forms. While some of the crew finished up the conduit work and wire pulling, the others took a rest, helping when needed. Jenny V. was "documenter" for the day, mainly taking pictures.

All in all, another productive and fun workday!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Was mostly spent working on various projects around the railroad. Friends members attending were John Woods, Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Don "Tennessee" Angles, Zach Gillihan, and Alex and Jenny Vaughn.

Alex Beams, Zach and Steve spent the majority of the day working on finishing one gate of the yard crossing gate project - wiring the cabinet, running wire and conduit, putting the gate together, etc. Tennessee, with the help of Little Alex and Jenny, finished installing a crossing signal on the track that crosses the road past the Stout Building. They also ran a few trains around the railroad, entertaining several guests that John had invited over to the railroad. Robin Vaughn made chili, which Jenny prepared and served. Zach brought a Gooey Butter Cake and several others contributed, also. Another productive and fun time was had by all!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

This Saturday's "activity" (it wasn't really an officially scheduled work day) was mostly spent repairing/cleaning signals to be installed in various places around the railroad. Friends members present were Alex Beams, Don "Tennessee" Angles, Zach Gillihan, Steve Haack, and Alex and Jenny Vaughn.

Don Angles, Zach Gillihan, and Alex Vaughn cleaned and repaired the grade crossing signal, and also installed it on its stand near the entrance to the yard. Alex Beams also worked on several different pieces of signal equipment - welding, heating, repairing seized bolts, etc. Jenny Vaughn helped out in general, along with keeping Alex Beams' dog, Rebel, company while the guys worked. Jenny also prepared the meal (beef stew) brought by Robin Vaughn. Some pictures are posted in the photos section - be sure to check them out!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Most of the day Saturday was spent running trains. Friends members attending were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Josh Rawls, John and Judy Woods, Don "Tennessee" Angles, Fred Vergenz, Art Jennrich, Alex and Jenny Vaughn and Mitch Houk. Also present part of the day were Kathy Vergenz, Carolyn Jennrich, and Dennis, Robin, and Allison Vaughn.

Through the morning the 801 only made one run before it was forced inside by rain. After everyone got back from lunch, Tennessee took #17 (with the work train in tow) around the railroad several times while 801 was being steamed up. Once 801 was ready to roll, everyone except Steve, Josh, and Little Alex took a ride behind 801. Steve, Josh, and Alex went ahead in Steve's truck to scout out good places from which to video 801, and also paced it above the Ozark Mountain Tunnel on its way back up. Pretty much the rest of the day was spent running 801 and #17. (Note: this weekend was the first time 801 had been steamed up in 2008.)

After the trains were put away, Judy and John set about grilling hot dogs and hamburgers while Fred, Art, and Alex Beams put the 801 away for the night. Kathy and Carolyn had prepared baked beans and other goodies, and Judy had brought some other trimmings to round out the meal. The food was delicious, and The Ozark Alliance (Alex and Jenny Vaughn and family) provided some bluegrass music at the request of the birthday boys, Tennessee and Art. Altogether, another great day had by all!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Friends-Mar 15, 2008
This Saturday Josh Rawls, and Alex Beams bonded the rail and installed insulated joints for Tower Ten crossing. The new Wig Wag signal that was purchased from Roll Models during the convention was installed earlier in the week by Alex and Wilber Ness. We finished connecting everything and wrapped up that project. Steve Haack finished up all the loose ends and debugged the Ozark Mountain Tunnel display model that he built for to demonstrate how the signal system works. There are a few new photos and a new video showing the work done at Tower Ten crossing.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Friends-Feb 23, 2008
This work day was spent on the Car Barn signal project, installing wire and occupancy sensors for the searchlight signals in the back of the Car Barn. ATT&NW Friends members present were Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Josh Rawls, John Caples, Zach Gillihan, Alex Vaughn and Jenny Vaughn. Also attending were Kristi Caples and Nick Gillihan.

Josh Rawls, John Caples and Alex Vaughn did most of the wire stringing, while Alex Beams and Steve Haack worked on making mounting brackets and mounting the sensors. Jenny and Kristi helped out, distributing zip ties and cleaning up. Jenny brought chili, Alex and Steve cooked hamburgers, and Zach and John brought soda and chips for lunch. Jenny was assisted by Kristi in preparing and serving lunch.

After a little tweaking, all the signals worked well! Another productive day and a good time was had by everyone. Be sure to check out the new pictures on the progress photo page of this project and a few others.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Friends-Jan 5, 2008This workday was mostly spent working on the side-dump hopper project. "Friends" members present were Alex Beams, Don (Tennessee) Angles, Alex Vaughn, and Jenny Vaughn. Additional helpers/observers were Robin and Allison Vaughn.

Alex Beams spent most of the day working on the truck bolsters, fabricating shims, etc. Tennessee and Alex Vaughn worked on finishing up the trucks, which involved cleaning; wire-brushing, re-assembling and painting almost all truck components. Jenny Vaughn watched the guys and helped with greasing one of the trucks after re-assembly. She also helped little Allison Vaughn clean up the mess that had been made from the day's activities. Robin Vaughn brought soup and sandwiches for lunch. The main accomplishment of the day was getting both trucks for the hopper finished and on the rails. Well done, crew!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Friends-Dec 15, 2007We tried to have a work day, but due to inclement weather most everyone opted to stay home, not a bad idea. However Steve Haack decided to brave the weather and come out. So Alex Beams and Steve started working on putting together two full size three like vertical signals which will be installed at the entrance gate, to indicate when the electric gate is in operation. They also discussed next year's upcoming projects. This includes finishing the entrance gate, finishing the track indication in the car barn, and getting all the main line crossings signaled, along with other small projects that might come up.

Wednesday-Thursday, November 15-16, 2007

Alex Beams and Zack Gillihan made a run to the Canadian National rail yard in Pontiac Michigan. We left Wednesday night around 7:00pm arrived up there at 6:30am. Got a few hours of sleep, loaded up, and started headed back at 5:30pm. Got back home around 5:30 Friday morning, long trip but everything went good. Except the snow showers we encountered along the lake we didn't care for that too much. Zack had work out a deal with someone at the Canadian National Signal department up there to get a pair of crossing motors, gates, lights, relays, and miscellaneous other thing. The gates are to be installed up by the main crossing at the station.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

This was to be a work day but nothing was done railroad related. Due to all the work George and Wilber did on the railroad this year. Alex Beams and Steve Haack help…… them out getting ready for Deer season fixing tree stands and clearing roads.

Some of the up coming projects for the friends. The rail from Miller Crossing to Pan Handle Junction needs to be finished bonded and crossing gates installed as Miller Crossing. There is a crossing gate to be installed at Tower Ten Crossing, which includes bonding rail and putting the circuit together. Signals to be put together and installed at the electric entrance gate, and continue on with the signals around the railroad as everything permits. There is always rock to be put down and track work once the weather is good.

Monday-Tuesday, October 8-9, 2007

We had the honor of having Tracks Ahead from the PBS station in Milwaukee come down and do a documentary on the railroad. Should air sometime next year they were not sure on the time. We had the honor of Darrell and Don "Tennessee" from the Whiskey River Railroad come down and run some trains. Tennessee did an excellent job of making trains up for the day. Darrell and Alex made some "very impressive" run bys with the 801. Steve Haack and Chris Brophy from the San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad were here to help make sure everything went well.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Smith Barney had their company party at Woodsvalley Farm. We only had about 100 people…… nothing compared to the convention. Alex Beams and Steve Haack ran the 801 all day. Everything went great, beautiful weather and all. Thanks to Alex and Jenny Vaughn for helping get the train ready for the day.

Convention - September 2007

There were many people that helped out the week of the convention helping get all the last minute projects finished. One of the main tasks was completing the elevated tracks in the round house. The aligning and welding was done by George Cotner, Alex Beams, Darrell Klompmaker, and John Caples. Josh Rawls, Ed Taylor, Dan Crean got the tracks all cleaned up and painted just in time to put an engine on them one day before the convention. Darrell Klompmaker, Fred and Kathy Vergenz, Art Jennrich, Don "Tennessee" Angles, Steve Haack, Josh Rawls, Zack Gillihan, Alex Vaughn, Jenny Vaughn, John Caples, Mark, Cindy, and Chance Beams, Mitch Houk, Dave Kessinger and anyone else I might have forgotten to mention by name. They all worked many hours running, cleaning, loading, switching, fixing, firing, and having fun. Tennessee did a great job on making trains up so things ran smoothly. There was a small crew put together consisting of Darrell, Fred, Josh, Tennessee, and Ron Parrish to straighten out a few minor things with the track. Ron Parrish "Darrell nearly tried to work me to death doing track work before the convention." I'm sure he enjoyed it. This was full time railroading from the old days before they had work hour restrictions! Best of all was we ran safe with no injuries and no major problems!

Thanks to all the hard work and long days Alex Beams and Steve Haack put in getting the tunnel signals system working and Darrell Klompmaker who brought the signal heads down the week of the convention. They look great. The whole system performed very well, with no worries about having a "head on" in the tunnel. Ron Moreland and his crew did a great job on finishing the walls and ceiling up in the round house. Robert Klein and Robert Grady must have done a great job at parking everyone. As we didn't hear of any cars getting smashed up. A lot of thanks has to go to George Cotner "farm manager" and Wilber Ness "his assistant" they worked there tails off all year long and at the convention.

Many many thanks to all that were involved before and during the convention we couldn't have pulled it off with out every ones help.

July - September 2007

The heat came in two forms, first was the 100 degree heat that Alex Beams, Steve Haack, Zack Gillihan, and Josh Rawls endured on three workdays to finish the bonding. Steve and Alex will try to remember not to trench conduit in when it's 104 degrees in the shade. The other was the deadline to get the tunnel signal system working for the Convention. This resulted in a few extra days for Steve and Alex wiring control panels and building switch motors. Thank goodness we could run down to Woods Landing on the river and jump in to cool off at the end of the day! In the final days leading up to the convention, Josh made a last ditch effort to get the car barn signals working but ran into an engineering problem that couldn't get solved in time.

April - June 2007

John Bishop has returned to California and Alex Beams has taken over most of his on-site responsibilities. A couple of workdays were held with Alex, Josh Rawls, Steve Haack, and Zack Gillihan starting to bond the rail sections for the tunnel project. Thanks to Fred Vergenz and Art Jennrich from the Whiskey River Railroad in Wisconsin for help bonding rail one weekend in June. We had most of the uphill double-track rail bonded before the heat hit!

March 2007

Steve Haack built a demonstrator of the custom controls to show John Woods, John Bishop, Alex Beams, and Zack Gillihan how the system would work. The latter group had just come back from a trip into Illinois to gather control boxes and signal controls and had filled two pickup trucks and a trailer full. A final decision was made to proceed with the new hybrid system we were designing.

February 2007

John Bishop has announced he will be returning to California and Alex Beams had joined the staff in January. In order to resolve issues raised in the past two months regarding how to wire signals systems, a weekend meeting was held at the railroad. Darrell Klompmaker, Fred Vergenz, & Dave Schleicher from the Whiskey River RR in Wisconsin, joined John Woods, John Bishop, Alex Beams, Steve Haack, & Zack Gillihan.

Our focus had shifted from the car barn to concerns about signaling on the main line. The ATT&NW has some critical areas where the risk to a 20,000# steam locomotive is just too great to take chances with. Fortunately, Darrell and Dave had developed a system based on standard gauge track sensing practice (i.e.: bonded rail) that they were willing to share.

The highest priority was quickly defined as the double track switching through the single track Ozark Mountain Tunnel. It came out that John Woods and John Bishop wanted automatic switching as well as signals. In other words, a true ABS (Automatic Block Signaling) system. The final decision was to use Darrell's and Dave's system as the backbone, but incorporate our own custom controls to perform non-critical functions. Since they are not available in our scale, we will have to build our own switch motors. This project will serve as a test bed for future installations.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Work day was spent installing mounting posts for the track occupancy lights in the carbarn. This involved cutting four 3-inch steel posts and welding a mounting plate on top. We then installed the electrical conduit for the lights and poured concrete mounting bases for the posts, which will also serve as end-of-track bumpers. It took a little longer than expected but we were happy with what we accomplished. Workers for the day were John Bishop, Steve Haack, Josh Rawls and John Woods.

November 2006

Our second work weekend was actually the first where we got something done. The weekend started with Josh Rawls welding mounting stands for the searchlights with the help of John Woods. These lights will be used to signal track status and car position in the car barn. Meanwhile, Zack Gillihan, Steve Haack, & John Bishop started digging holes to set the mounting posts. After a run to Lowes for electric conduit, we ended the day with all posts welded, most of the conduit in the ground, and the cement setting up. This workday occurred during deer season so we also got to see the buck Judy Woods shot!

October 2006

The first official meeting of the Friends of the ATT&NW occurred when Zack Gilliam, Josh Rawls, and Steve Haack came down one weekend in October and met with John Woods and John Bishop to go over some potential projects. We discussed and made some preliminary plans for the entrance gate signal system and signals in the car barn. It was also decided that a Yahoo group would be set up for announcements and general communications regarding The Friend's activities.

The Arborway T.T and Northwestern Railroad Web site launched October 22, 2006

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