Have you ever noticed how jobs that seem small, often aren’t?

The final 2 sets of driving wheels on the Sierra #3 returned to Railtown last Thursday.  We had assistance from Heavy Equipment Operator Marc Johnston from the Gold Fields District (Auburn Area), and their tractor with a low-boy trailer.  For efficiency, a piece of Maintenance of Way equipment to Sacramento (a tie-shearer) was scheduled for the return trip. 

Just to give you an idea of how a simple exchange of equipment can be time consuming, lets take a look at all of the steps involved in this process. 

First, our Railroad Restoration Leadworker, George Sapp, had to arrange for a track warrant (this is the permission we have to have to be on the main line of the Sierra Railroad, it is required by law, and ensures we don’t collide with other equipment using the tracks).  We needed this because the line runs through the Jamestown yard (Railtown), and we need to run on a small portion of the line when we move from the Tri-Dam shops, to the Roundtable. 

Map showing locations of the Roundhouse, and the Tri-Dam Shops (Maintenance).

Map showing locations of the Roundhouse, and the Tri-Dam Shops (Maintenance).

Once we obtained the warrant, we were authorized to be on the track, effective Thursday morning.  First, several pieces of equipment needed to be moved around to the Roundhouse side of the park, to make room for parts of the Sierra #3 as it was moved out of the Tri-Dam Shop.

Coupling up to the #3 chassis.

Coupling up to the #3 chassis. Then, the tender cistern, the new cistern, and the frame for the Sierra #3 were moved out of the Tri-Dam shops.

 

An empty Tri-Dam shop is a rare sight!

An empty Tri-Dam shop is a rare sight!

The Tri-Dam shop needed to be empty, because the north end of the Tri-Dam is the only location where we have an “open” track, where we can also back up a long trailer.  We needed to be able to push the MOW tie shearer up onto the trailer from this location.

Once the tracks were cleared, we were ready for the arrival of the wheels. 

Danny Taylor, George Sapp and Erik Young conduct a job briefing to devise strategy.

Danny Taylor, George Sapp and Erik Young conduct a job briefing to devise strategy.

Danny Taylor and Erik Young work with forklift to remove the driving wheels from the trailer.

Danny Taylor and Erik Young work with forklift to remove the driving wheels from the trailer.

Once the driving wheels were safely removed from the trailer, the next item on the agenda was moving the MOW tie shearer onto the trailer for the return trip to the Sacramento shops.  This required us to lay temporary tracks  to the trailer. 

Staff get to work laying out the transfer rails to the trailer.

Staff get to work laying out the transfer rails to the trailer.

Next, with a push from the Pettibone forklift, the MOW tie shearer moved up and onto the trailer, where it was tied down and the transfer rails disassembled and put away. 

Final step- pushing the MOW tie shearer onto the trailer.

Pushing the MOW tie shearer onto the trailer.

The final step, of course, was moving all of the equipment back into the Tri-Dam shops, putting the diesels and forklifts away, and returning all parts and tools to their regular locations. 

And that is how a seemingly simple task can take an entire day!

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