Here's what we did for the month of July and August of
2009 working on the railroad track. July and August weren't
nearly as hot this year as most years and we had a good
amount of rain.
July is always hot and even hotter as the sun bakes
the gravel, ties and rails. Rail temperatures can reach
120 to 130 degrees on a clear, hot sunny day in the summer.
Watch for heat kinks!
14 Early morning cut out a 14 foot piece of rail and
installed a plug. We cut 6 inches off the west end rail,
then put in the plug and drilled the 2 back holes in the plug
and east rail so the welders can come and weld the joint.
After that we hauled 4 loads of gravel to the area where
they are long wall mining under. Regulated the gravel.
Back at the unloader we tried to repair a switch point where
the bolts were rusted and broken from the coal laying
around them. The bolt holes in the rail had been snipped
years ago by torch and now the rail is cracked.
15 Determined to put in a new 39 foot piece of rail through
the switch. Went on the hunt for heel blocks but couldn't find
any. Greased the work heads on the tamper, then tamped about
4,000 feet from curve 18 to curve 15.
16 Went up to curve 17 and put a plug in on the west end,
turned out nice, we have a hydraulic rail saw which works
great off our rail truck. We also have a Honda gas powered
rail drill which I can drill a hole through a rail with
a good bit in about 20 to 25 seconds. The plug comes out
cool enough you can pick it up with your hand. After that
tamped curve 19 and the long tangent west of it. About
4,000 feet, curve turned out really, really nice. Then
picked up a barrel and about 20 half kegs of used spikes.
17 Started out slow bosses can't make up their mind
what they want to do. Took tamper and ran through curve
18, 17 and 16 which is where the next long wall move
will be and gave it a raise of 3 inches. It rained so
hard after I was done it was incredible, didn't do much
the rest of the afternoon except grease the tamper.
18 First thing replaced a stick of rail at curve 21
that was getting flat and spalling, added extra anchors.
Plotted, tamped and lined curve 23 which was in dire
need of tamping. Super elevation was 3.5 inches to begin
with and we took about inch and half out. Dumped stone
on top, then tamped again, it looks real good now. We tried
to replace a broken flipper on the jack beam and only
got about half way through the project when we became stumped
on how to get the slides to come out enough to replace the
pin on the flipper cap without burning off the bracket
that holds on the clamp up/down limit switch. Tomorrows
Driving the final spikes in the big rail change out
19 Boss cut new flipper cap so it would just go over
pin and told us try it. We put the parts on the jack beam back
together and the first clamp the new flipper shot
out and destroyed the air cylinder which held it.
Put the old flipper back in and new air cylinder. Then the
clamp on the right side of the tamper wouldn't come
up so finally figured out the clamp bolts were loose
and the top on had run out so it wouldn't allow the clamp
to rise. Got that fixed. Problem we have had for a month
with the inside left work head not coming up after it's
insertions when it's in production. Factory guy told us
we had a bad switch. We changed the switch and it still
didn't work, so spent 2 hours tracing voltage and testing
and still didn't find out why it won't come up, so back
on went the jumper wire. Picked up 10 sets of joint bars from
where the welders field welded joints. Bolted 13 joints
between bridge 9 and 10. Went back to base and filled the
fuel cell up and ran back up to the milepost 8 siding and filled
the excavator up. Back to base and unloaded the joint bars
and stocked the truck up with 4 kegs of bolts and 1 of spikes,
16 hours today.
21 (12 hours) Tamped curve 49 it was so hard filled with mud
that what normally would take an hour took 2 1/2 hours
to tamp. One vibrator motor was loose and tightened it
up, then a slide guide for the work heads came loose,
3 work heads would stay down and only 1 came up between
index. Then an o ring went bad on one of the baby
accumulators. Got done the first time, dumped rock on
the curve and tamped it again, second time only took
an hour and 15 minutes. Filled the rock car back up,
greased the tamper and tried to fix the accumulator leak.
For years they had a dogleg on the west side of curve 49,
set the curve up on the computer so it took that out,
curve turned out beautiful in the end.
22 12 hours tamped like a maniac today, no breaks.
West side of bridge 3, long tangent into curve 19 and out
on the other side. Curve 17 through 16 and long tangent out
on the west of it, finished the day lifting a low spot
going in to curve 28. Fueled the tamper. Today was the
first time we used the new tongue. It is 30 feet and
with what we have already, now gives us a chord length
of 100 feet. Does a great job lining and surfacing, picks
up stuff we were never able to with the one tongue.
23 12.5 hours, tamped curve 51, new rail had been installed
on the high side by a contractor. The curve was way out of
whack with dog legs on both ends of it. I fixed it up and
it now looks great, fixed the dog leg out of it that had been
there for years. Hauled a load of stone and dumped it
on curve 19 tangent, loaded the rock car back up. Picked
up a whole truck load of used spikes and tie plates and
took them to the storage area, loaded 6 weld kits on the
truck for the welders tomorrow.
Lighting the pot for a field joint weld
24 13.5 hours, got the welders ready and on track
to weld 5 joints, had 5 trucks hauling ballast in,
bolted both rails at milepost 11.5 for about 1/10th of
a mile. Took a couple of the guys back on to the shower
room since they didn't want to work over. Came back and
hauled and dumped 1 load of ballast on curve 17 and 16.
Picked up and loaded a 50 gallon barrel of tie plates and
4 kegs of anchors then unloaded them back at the harbor.
25 14 hours: finally got to run the regulator, Sam
tamped a place where they had cribbed out mud under the
track, I dumped rock then regulated it. Took another
load of ballast down to curve 51 and regulated it, then
ran another load of ballast up to curve 17.
26 16 hours: only 2 showed up today and in the afternoon
Denny had to go run the train. Tamped curve 61 then cleared
the regulator and rock car off the main tracks at the
siding so the train could pass. Hauled 5 loads of ballast
and regulated all that, broomed curves 15, 14, 13, and 23.
Spent the rest of the evening loading scrap into the
dump truck so the contractor could take it away.
27 Day off
28 13 hours: filled all the greasers and turned them back
on, cleaned up excessive grease around them - greasy job -
ha ha ha....still waiting on a power block to fix the
greaser at bridge 8. Picked up 4 kegs of used spikes at
bridge 2, the 2 plugs we cut out a couple of weeks ago
and the rail we replaced and took them to the storage
area, cleaned up around the storage area.
29 Day Off
31 13 hours: took a ride and did a track inspection,
fixed one elbowed joint on curve 46, replaced several
missing bolts. Easy morning! Replaced 2 small accumulators
on the tamper, greased it and tamped curve 58. The liner
went hay wire with the needle boomeranging from left to
right, will swap receivers and see if it fixes the problem.
Cleaned excess gravel from the switch at bridge 14,
cleaned out under the throw rods at the load out switch.
Trackmobile 4250 we use to haul our ballast car which is
the blue car behind it.
August 01 13 hours: Finished tamping curve 58, tamped
curve 62, cleaned out crossing, hauled load of ballast
to curve 58, loaded ballast car back up, cut down tree
that was hanging over rail at curve 58. Talked with
Larry Case the Tamper guy about problems we are having with
02: 16 hours: tamped curve 58 turned out really nice this
time, got the liner working on the left side, was a bad
receiver. Did some maintenance work on the regulator.
Shaped the shoulders on several curves, hauled and dumped
two loads of ballast and regulated the stone. Picked up
10 cans full of coal from bridge 9 and unloaded them.
03 Day off - mailed tamper parts back to Kanza Services
04 Day off
05: 13 hours: walked track doing inspection from
milepost 8 to bridge 7. Replaced bad bolts on joints
on Bridge 2 and curve 21 tangent going in to the
underpass 2. Put on about 30 anchors on curve 17 and
curve 10. Sawed off a long tie to even it up with the
rest of the ties. Fixed a tie plate that had a spike
under the rail on curve 12, replaced all the bolts in
a loose joint at the load out area. Picked up two big pieces
of pipe and hauled them to the milepost 8 storage area.
06 13 hours: replaced bad bolts on bridge 11,
finished bolting on tangent between bridge 9
and bridge 10. Picked up 2 55 gallon barrels
and 4 kegs of bad tie plates along with bad anchors
and spikes and took them to the milepost 8 storage area.
07 Took day off
08 13 hours hauled and loaded 4 loads of ballast to
curves 11, 12, 16, 17, 28 and 29.
09 16 hours Loaded ballast car and dumped rock on
curves 19, 18 and 50. Regulated the rock. Cleaned the
yard switches, picked up tie plates and leftover junk
from the rail change out job at the unloader. Measured
rail on curve 18 for future change out, repaired joint east
of underpass 2. Took some time and reviewed the previous
track clearance policy, need to make a new one up.
11 10 hours: tamped curve 18, plotted and tamped curve
24. Did some routine maintenance on the tamper and
replaced missing chair bolts, fueled the tamper and
12 14 hours: had 5 gravel trucks hauling in today, signed
their weigh slips and stockpiled the stone with the big
Case 721E Loader total 470 tons. Mechanic from Cummins came and
we installed a new injector pump on the tamper. Changed
oil and filters in the regulator and tamper, had to make
a run to the mine to get enough engine oil. Put the new sensor
on the left side of the tamper that Kanza
Talked with Larry Case about an oil leak on the tamper
and a jumper wire he had installed on the engine
oil sensor switch.
13 12 hours: went to Atlas shop in Monongahelia to
pick up 2 new power blocks. Loaded barrel and keg of
scrap tie plates and bolts and a junk piece of rail
on the truck. Replaced the power block with a new one
at Bridge 8 but need a new hydraulic line to get it fixed.
Got off at the milepost 8 siding and while unloading
the barrel a hydraulic line ruptured. Tried to fix it
with parts we had on the tamper but it didn't work.
Called the boss and he came down and got the line,
then went for a new hose. After putting the hose on
finished unloading the truck, then tried to clean up
some of the hydraulic oil all over the back of the truck.
14 12 hours Cleaned switch at sand tower, dug out a lot of coal
from under the rail there. Moved the piece of ribbon rail
which is about 300 feet long across the tracks to the
storage area and cut two 40 foot sections off it. Cleaned
Ballast car hooked to the Trackmobile 4250 waiting in the siding for
dumping. I did a nice job loading the car. CCRX stands
for Cumberland Coal Resources Express
15 11.5 hours Loaded 5 loads of ballast and dumped 4 loads on
curve 21, 20 and the tangents between them. took off a half
hour early so I could go to the truck and tractor pull at the county fair.
16 16 hours: loaded, hauled and dumped 2 loads of ballast
on curves 17 and 16 and the tangents. Did spike correct on the
tangent between bridge 9 and bridge 10. Went to the mine for
hydraulic oil. Cut two more sections out of the ribbon rail
they replaced and took them to the milepost 8 siding.
17 Day Off
18 11 hours: Took 2 pieces of the cut up ribbon rail
to the Milepost 8 siding. Cut 4 more pieces out of it,
one cut only took 53 seconds with the hydraulic rail saw.
Unloaded the rail, loaded up a new piece of 132 rail
and took it to curve 18 for when we replace that piece.
Picked up all the signs and cones along the longwall
area and stacked them for future reference at curve 17.
Weed trimmed around the bath house switch and the
switch at the unloader, cleaned out the unloader
switch under the rail. Talked with Greg one of the
locomotive engineers, about track safety.
19 14 hours: Weed trimmed Mapletown storage area,
around the storage area and unloader at the harbor,
and at the Milepost 8 storage area. Took the rest of
the ribbon rail, 4 pieces to the Milepost 8 storage area.
Replaced the door handle and a leaking test fitting
on the Tamper. Cleaned the unloader. Red up around
the storage area at the harbor.
21 12 hours: had 4 ballast trucks running in today.
Tamped curves 24, 22 and 27. Broomed off curve 27.
Got a bit of a late start as it was raining pretty hard.
22 13 hours Pulled bad spikes and put in new ones on curve
24, plus replaced a few bad bolts. Spread ballast on
curve 24, regulated and tamped, spread more ballast
and regulated. Loaded up car and spread ballast on curve
22. Filled up fuel cell on truck, fixed handle on
spiking maul I broke this morning, and loaded a fresh tank
of oxygen on the truck.
23 16 hours replaced section of rail on curve 18, bolted
all joints on south side of curve 24 and replaced every
bolt with a new one. Hauled 1 load of ballast to curve 19
and curve 18 and loaded ballast car. Burned pile of
pieces of wood from the timbers that had been torn up
when the bearing came off the car wheel.
25 Days off
26 13 hours, very hot, by myself. Bolted every joint
and replaced every bolt on curve 10 north side, 14 joints.
Set the rpm on the tamper to max out at 2050, tried to
tighten up leaking fittings. Loaded 4 kegs bolts on truck
and filled fuel cell. Bolted north side of bridge 14 5 joints.
27 13 hours by myself, hot. Replaced all bolts on
16 joints from curve 10 east on the south side. Greased
tamper and fueled it. Cut 6 pieces of rail in half.
28 13 hours had 3 trucks hauling ballast in. Bolted
12 joints on curve 24. MSHA inspector came and went with
him over the truck and tamper. Cut 5 pieces rail in
29. 13 hours Saturday. Plotted and tamped curve 26.
Brought the regulator from the harbor to the milepost 8 siding,
dumped one load of ballast on curve 26 then regulated it.
Tamped the curve again. Finished bolting 9 joints on
north side of curve 24.
30 16 hours, Sunday: Measured rail to change on curve 54.
Dumped ballast on curve 26, regulated and broomed it.
Tamped the tangent between Bridge 9 and Bridge 10, used
the extra 30 foot pole we have, turned out straighter
than it's ever been. Loaded the ballast car and dumped
the tangent, then regulated it. Loaded the ballast car
and turned off the greasers at Bridge 3 and Bridge 2,
fueled the trackmobile and track truck and oiled the
switches at the harbor.
Working on the Railroad
Working Railroad September &