Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tamping for a better ride

Many different disciplines are required to prepare for the Museum's operating season.  After a winter shutdown, there is a certain amount of work re-activating the locomotives and coaches, but the bigger effort is performing annual maintenance.  Maintaining track, bridges, and signals require significant resources to inspect, repair and maintain.  Statistically, most railroads each year will invest about 60% of their resources into those three areas.

For the Museum's track and bridges, the last 12 months have been busy.  Substantial reconstruction of bridge 35's east pier, installation of more than 750 ties (including 500 feet of reconstructed track at Snoqualmie Falls) and surfacing of more than a mile of track are among the year's highlights.

During the last few weeks, crews have been changing ties and surfacing track in North Bend.  Surfacing is a slow process that uses a ballast tamper, jacks, and a good set of eyes!  The tamper is a Jackson that was delivered to the Northern Pacific Railway in the 1950s.  Before track tampers were introduced, men with tamping bars performed this work.

Check out the dip in the track in the first photo below, and how Mark S. and Brandon P. made it disappear in the second.  Come up to Snoqualmie and ride the train this coming Saturday, April 4 and check it out for yourself!  First train departs Snoqualmie at 11:30 AM.


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