Over the past several months, volunteers have been working on several important projects. Check out the pictures below to see whats happening. Remember to check back often to see the progress!
As a part of our equipment organization project, we have begun extending our loop/storage track to reach the display area. This project will constist of laying several hundred feet of track and several switches to connect to the existing display track, a second display track, and the loop track. More pictures and updates coming soon!
As of early December, Hilltop 1 is complete and connected to the east side of the demonstration loop. It's partially ballasted (we ran out of ballast before we ran out of track, but more is on the way). We now have about 2/3 of a mile of continuous track, reaching approximately halfway around the perimeter of GSRM's property.
Our goal for 2013 is to complete the demonstration loop and build two switches in order to connect Hilltop 1 and Hilltop 2 to the loop.
Our primary building is an old trackside structure that was moved in from the town of Kilkenny, MN. In its former life, it was used mostly for commodity storage. After the update is complete, it will represent a depot typical of a small farming community in the upper midwest. Also as a part of this project, the building will be made handicapped accessible. More pictures coming soon!
As of early December, the depot platform is nearly complete. We're in the process of adding curbing and the railings on the handicapped ramp are done. The winter project will be adding a bay window and working on the interior.
Work has been slow this spring, but volunteers have removed the old flooring in the "passenger" and"office" sections of the depot. The "freight" section will be left as is. It turned out the flooring was simply car siding turned upside down. Since it was a softer wood, mostly pine and some cedar, it was getting pretty worn and splintered.
New flooring will be installed as interior work progresses. It's amazing how much dust and dirt can accumulate underneath the flooing over all the years. The subfloor is in surprisingly good shape and volunteers only found one spot by the north door that needs to be repaired.
After moving in several pieces of equipment by truck a few years ago, we are now moving some of them into place to be used in our displays over the summer.
Above: NSP 4 (a 1940 EMC SW1) CB&Q 14534 (an 1871 Burlington waycar) and our 50 ft shop boxcar are seen after being moved to our new siding at the south end of the property. When the siding is completed as far as the depot at the north end, the equipment will be moved up there for display and operation.
We've completed Hilltop 1 and connected it to the loop track. It's not completely finished with ballast and leveled, but we'd like to get SRBX 23 and possibly CB&Q 14534 moved north, if not all the way to the end of the track this weekend (8Dec12). Unfortunately the weather may not cooperate as winter threatens to finally arrive in central Minnesota this weekend with up to 3 or more inches of snow.
If we're successful in moving the equipment, it will be close to electricity and we can start setting SRBX 23 up as our shop car.
When the former Minneapolis & St Louis (UP) line between Merriam Junction and Chaska, MN washed out in 2007, it left three pieces of GSRM equipment stranded at United Sugars where it was stored.
Diesel locomotive NSP 4, CB&Q waycar 14534 and GSRM's shop box car were moved to the museum property in 2009 by truck at the expense of selling GSRM's prized, fully operational, former Green Bay & Western RS3 (it went to a good home and is well cared for - but we were sad to see it go) to cover the cost of the move.
A short section of GSRM's siding was built to unload the waycar and box car and NSP 4 was placed on a short section of track about 75 yards east and perpendicular to the siding where it was easier to maneuver the semi-truck and trailer.
Volunteers started buidling temporary track late summer 2011 in order to move NSP 4 to the siding to join CB&Q 14534 and the shop car.
In the spirit of an old logging railroad, ties and rail were laid right on the ground. A sharp curve was required to reach an alignment with the siding.
Since NSP 4 wasn't yet operational again after moving it by truck, a bulldozer was employed to move it. A gas powered air compressor provided a source of charge air for NSP4's air system so its brakes were available.
Accompanied by a fair amount of creaking, groaning and squealing flanges, the little SW1 arrived at its destination, end of track about 150 yards to the southeast.
Next the track was lifted in panels using the bulldozer blade to pick it up and placed in alginment with the siding.
The whole process started again with the Caterpillar urging NSP 4 along and the compressor providing a means to stop before anything negative happened.
Preperation and teamwork ensured a smooth movement and NSP 4 arrived safely on GSRM's siding in mid-December 2011.
But there are better ways to run a railroad than 100 yards at a time.