Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Update from the Shuswap...

So we found the S.S. Minnow in an old boatyard near Sicamouse. Gilligan was nowhere to be found.

The weather here gets hotter and hotter. Today was 27 degrees, and it's supposed to be 29, 30, 32 and 34 for the next 4 days. Since the track expands when it gets hot, you can image that trying to cut segments out with a big circular saw would lead to the rail just pinching the blade near the end of the cut. So, we have to work before it gets too hot. Yesterday and today, we got picked up at 5:00 am. Tomorrow, our call is for 4:30. At this pace, by next week, we'll be getting picked up half and hour before we go to sleep. (ba da boom) We managed two segments of rail changed yesterday, by 11:00am, and today did two rail changes before 8:15. So we're getting better at what we do. Here's one of the cres just finishing up a rail change on a curve.

This is a picture as we were setting up for the first change, just before 6:00 am. The track bed sits up a ways as it passes through this field, and the sun just came over the mountains and cast this amazing long shadow of the truck on the high-rail.

And these are frogs. they're the crossover of rail that always exists just up from a switch. Called a frog because if you use your imagination, they look sort of like a frog that is laid out, with his little legs sticking up and down. Probably about a hundred other more reasonable names for such a piece of track, but the Railway has its traditions.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Victoria Day at the Farm

A few days at Woolley Wonderland provided a reminder of how peaceful it is in the country.
May and Sally are learning how to carry children, twin lambs were born, apple trees in blossom, and just listening to the birds and country sounds were wonderful. Thanks Karen, Glenn and Fiona. Love from Gramma

Friday, May 25, 2007

Here comes the Sperry car...

The Sperry Rail Car (SRS) is a contracted lab on wheels that runs an analysis of the rail as it passes over, and can find surface and internal defects in the rail.

We had a poker game on Wednesday night. It was fun. Abe managed to pull off the hand of the night!

At the place with the horned owl, the farmer had some signs of personal opinion of the government. To funny to not take a picture.

And here's me taking a picture in the convex truck mirror.

And it's beautiful here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tuesday's Patrolling

We patrolled track between Salmon Arm and Pritchard yesterday. Cleaned and oiled the switches. Tightened bolt on joints.

Today should see more significant activity: the Track Evaluation Car is meeting us in Kamloops at 10:00, and we'll follow it eastward. It has a whole slew of geometric sensors that detect defects in the spacing, angle, slope, curvature (etc) of the track. It automatically identifies where the defects are severe enough to warrant immediate corrective action. And we'll correct it immediately.

Thursday, the "Sperry" car come through the subdivision, which does non-invasive testing of the inside of the rail, and can find splits, cavities and other material defects. Again, we'll follow behind and fix what it finds. To that end, we've been told our normal rest days of Fri/Sat will be moved to Sat/Sun, since there'll be a couple days of work that the Sperry car finds.

Every day, we do more serious work. I think it's time to find a massage therapist here in town...

We saw a Great Horned Owl sitting atop a flagpole yesterday. very Odd.

This was a wonderful decrepit school house. a bit of a Fixer-Upper.

And before you overreact, this is the tail end of a coal train we ended up following for several miles on the track.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Team Work

Here are my crew mates: Me and Abe and George are on the Salmon Arm West Crew, and Joel, Angela and Clarence are on the East Crew. Toby is a "mobile Admin assistant, and is doing a mix of duties. Ken is assigned to the hoist truck.

All In A Day's Work

So our first full day out on the track was spent inspecting. We followed behind the track Inspector, and looked for trouble spots. We found a number of loos bolts that required tightening. The electronic track inspection car is coming over our subdivision next week, and that will usually find a number of defects that will require our immediate attention. Here are some images from Thursday:

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

How many Arms do Salmon have, anyway?

First day of the strike and we did basic familiarization with the truck, and the hand tools and the hydraulic tools. Tomorrow we'll start doing work for real.

Here's me in front of the truck:

And another view of the truck. In front are Abe and George, who are my crew mates. We're all Trackmen "B".

Then we practiced drilling holes in the web of the rail. This is for bolting two rail ends together.

Then we learned how to cut the rails to length. Just a big gas powered saw, much like a chain saw but with an oversized tile cutting blade on it. I cut through the 132lb rail in aobut 45 seconds. I'm good.

This is a picture of Angela cutting her first rail. She was very proud.

Monday, May 14, 2007

"I'll be workin' on the RailRoad..."

So the strike is on, and I'm in transit today to Salmon Arm. Watch this space for pictures.