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Crenshaw Extension

Printed From: Southern California Live Steamers
Category: Railroad Tracks, Layouts and Rolling Stock
Forum Name: Track, Switch & Signal Construction Forum
Forum Discription: Discussion pertaining to track fabrication and techniques, installation methods and switch design as well as signal construction and control circuitry.
Printed Date: Apr 01 2023 at 1:52pm

Topic: Crenshaw Extension
Posted By: tom d
Subject: Crenshaw Extension
Date Posted: Jan 27 2010 at 1:36pm
I thought that I would post some info and thoughts about working on running new track to the end of the old rail bed. From the turn around spot to the end of the bed as far as we can go it is about 520 feet and is open with nothing needing to be removed.
I have asked Kelly why they didn't run track all the way to the end and he said at the time they thought they maybe could go into the park and this was close to a good spot to do that. Unfortunately the park line never came to light and they got tired of working on it so here it sits. He told me if  you guys want to run rail to the end its OK with him, so that got me thinking "maybe we can do something", but the cost would be too high, and  then I  thought, "oh well maybe some day".
Well now we have got some track! This all came about when I bought some cars and parts and Harold bought a locomotive for Jerry Boudreaux from up near Bend, Oregon. He told me after looking at the cub web site that he had a bunch of steel track panels that he would give to the club if I thought we could use them. Well it didn't take me much thought to tell him to go ahead and throw it on the trailer since he was coming down with our stuff anyway. Jerry ended up giving the club 880 feet of steel track panels that where 20 feet long. He had to cut them into 8' and 12' pieces to get them on to the tailer. He did a nice job cutting them so welding them back in 20' panels shouldn't be a big deal. Jerry also threw in some switch frogs and other switch parts. WOW, a big thank you to Jerry for this stuff.
Steel Railroad Track PanelsNow running to the end of Crenshaw is looking like something we can do and the cost is nothing to the club as Harold and I paid for the shipping since it was in with the stuff that we purchased.
Next we needed ballast and Rudy has a good friend that has crushed, used, cement base that we have been using for ballast around the club. I called an old racing car Buddy that has trucks used to haul stone who happens to be located right by the club. I asked him if he would help us out with hauling some of the base and he said "yes, that it is no big deal for him". I am thinking that we got lucky as he is one of the few other race car drivers that I hadn't crashed into big time, back in the day. He still thinks I'm a OK guy. (Obviously he doesn't know me that well.) So now we have ballast for little cost or maybe even free for this project as well as other future projects.
After Tim and I talked to Kelly about the new steel bar type track he pointed out it may not work for the club because he heard from someone that it will wear out your wheels fast and he would not run on it, hmmm? That's not good!
Well I have been looking into using this type of rail  for sometime now and the info I have come up with says, when using bar stock for rail it best to use 3/8" x 1" hot roll steel as it has a good radius on the top. It looks like the rail we got from Jerry is the correct kind of steel. It also says to weld most of your joints, and that is exactly what I was thinking of doing anyways.
I was also thinking Crenshaw is mostly a straight shot to the end so there won't be many side forces on the wheels causing wear on the wheels. I also thought we will only use it to go from where they stopped, just past the wye, to the end, so if someone doesn't want to run on steel bar rail, they can just stop and turn back as we are now doing, as we will not be removing any thing that is already on the ground.
Kelly also pointed out that some of the smaller locos at the club have aluminum wheels and it would be very hard on them, but I would think they wouldn't be going on this track much as they don't go down Crenshaw now.  
LALSM has steel rail and I have run there a lot in the past. I have not seen any wheel wear to my wheels. I did see a man that ran a lot for a few weeks at LALSM with a loco with aluminum wheels and his wheels looked  good when he got done running. I was surprised as I thought it was going to kill his wheels.  
I hope I have pointed out all the facts on this. but I think the big thing is that we now have the stuff to do it. It has not cost the club a dime so far, we have members who will put it in, you are not forced to run on it. Nothing has be done to extend  or improve the Crenshaw line in a long time, we can always change it to aluminum rail later on if the steel doesn't work out but people like the run to the end of Crenshaw, and I think it will be fun to put it in and run on it.
Tom D 

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Aug 09 2010 at 11:12pm
Well in the past few weeks there has been a group of us working on getting some of the new track panels donated by Jerry welded back together and put down on the old Crenshaw railbed.

The first weekend I started on Saturday welding 2 panels back together as Jerry had to cut 5' off the end to fit his trailer. I then ground a 1/8" chamfer on the inside top of the the two rails as there was not much of a radius on them. I then ran a wheel set over the panel when I was done and all looked good. The wheel profile looked like a good match to the grinding job on the top of the rail.

Pulling rail sectionsNext, with the help of Steve, Howey and Phil we played around with some flat cars Rory and I have but we were one short? Well I had got an old riding car from Jerry and the bench seat was high and not very comfortable so Howey and I took the bench off and voila! We now have 4 flat cars which was a better fit.

We tried putting a 2x4 block on each car but found out fast that only a 4x4 block in the middle of the two end cars for the panels to sit on works best. So Howey ran the work train out to the end of the rail on crenshaw and we cleared off the wood chips from the top of the 3' wide strip of old black top next to the fence. The track that has been put down in the past by Joe and Kelly has been put down on the strip of old black top and it seems to be a good base for the track. I was thinking of moving off the old black top with the new track panels but after setting the first few panels down it was easy to see staying on the old black top was the way to go as we put down 40' of new track in only maybe 10 minutes.

Phil and Rory removing mulch from roadbeadAfter talking it over with Steve and Phil we're thinking its best to go straight down Crenshaw on the old black top till we get near the end of the old  rail bed and then come back on the other side of the old rail bed with a return track as it looks like we will have enough of Jerry's track panels to come back a pretty good distance. The other side has some old black top to work with as well but we're thinking it would be a more interesting ride to swerve  back and forth on the old rail bed.

Well since we did all that before noon after some lunch I went back and welded up 3 more panels. Steve, Phil and I went and put them down and wow 100' down in one day!

Day two came and I welded and ground 5 more panels in the morning and Rory,Steve and I went and cleared off the wood chips and set them down. Rory and I came up with a way to connect the old aluminum rail to the new steel so it all lined up good.

Rory grinding track sectionsThe next thing to deal with was the track panels were built with 1/2" pins that slid into a 1/2" piece of pipe that was welded to the end of each rail. We had to heat and use a bunch of WD40 to get the old pins out, thinking we could just use some 1/2" bolts to hold the panels firmly together. But on day two I found that the head of the 1/2" x 7" bolts would not fit in with out jamming on the side of the rail head so we went on to "plan B" which was just put the old pins back in and see how they worked and well they worked great!  The pins fit tight and have to be pounded in with a hammer and hold the two panels together tightly. It was also found to be a fast way to hold the panels together.

Man, now we can put some track down with this system. So back to welding and grinding 4 more panels and the job got easier as Rory got good at grinding and I just had to weld and help grind some. So by the end of day two we had 360 ' of new track down.

On day one we had the side of a big bush that had grown over the fence we had come up to. Instead of  cutting it we just slid a few track panels under it to finish the day. At dinner at Texas Lucy's  Phil said it was too bad we had to cut back the bush that was in the way as it was nice looking and I said lets just try to lift the branches and go under it ? Plant TunnelAfter nachos, a  beer, and some input from a half dressed cow girl about how to deal with it we had a plan. We ended up making a lattice out of some old wood we had laying around and now we have the start of a new tunnel. In time we are thinking the bush will grow all the way over the lattice to the ground. I will put some fire proof board along the top to keep the steam locos from starting it on fire.

More to follow!


Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Aug 11 2010 at 3:44pm

Weekend 2: Saturday-I got to the club early and pulled out ten more pieces of track from the pile. Welded and ground them which makes 5-20 ft panels.  By the time I got done, I had assembled a crew of Steve, Howie, Phil  and myself.  We took the panels out at the rail head and installed them.

We have now reached a point where we can easily see the end of the old rail bed which will be our turntable point. The end of my day at the club ended early as it was my BDay and my wife took me out to a Brazilian BBQ dance show.  Man, that was fun!

Sunday-started midday once again and I got another ten pieces out of the pile. One of the panels I put back together was a bent panel to form the turn to get to the other side of the old rail bed. The group of installers, after some discussions, have decided it's best that we put the track at the other side of the old rail bed, 160 ft from the end. In theory this should give us room for a 20 ft turntable, two tracks and maybe a station at some later time as we will have 8-10 ft of space between the tracks and the park fence.

A group made up of Steve, Phil, Jim B, and myself installed the panels, however we ended up removing one straight panel as it looks like things were going to be too tight to have room for 100 ft sidings before the turntable.  We decided it was best to go back to the yard and get a switch that Kelly had recently donated to the club from his old backyard railway that he had recently pulled up. This switch needs to be rebuilt before we can use it with new ties which we don't have at this point in time, however it was a big help in determining that we will have to use aluminum rail for the s-turn that crosses the old rail bed before the switch as the bent panels we have are too large a radius for the task.

This is the stopping point for now, as we need to wait for the new tie stock. Next, I will play with shimming the track panels so they're level on the old black top and get them to run parallel with the fence then we can ballast the tracks. It may be awhile before we get to this project as we have other track projects with a higher priority that need to be finished before this project, however while we are waiting for the new tie stock we will work on the new Crenshaw extension.

It's really impressive to stand at the end of the current rail head and see Crenshaw Ave.  It's only a little ways off.


Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Oct 10 2010 at 6:05am
10-9-10 Well we are back at it. We welded up 5 some what straight track panels and one with a slight bend, Had Ray, Mathew and Phil to work and getting the pins on the end of each panel lose. This has been a lot of work as they are rusted up really good. A little heat from a torch, WD 40 and a long handle hammer gets them lose, although Ray said his arm was getting sore and was glad we were only doing 6 panels for the day.

We loaded the panels on to the 4 flat cars string and Mathew ran them out to the end of track. Ray and I uploaded the panels but it was hard to tell were the bent panels need to go so the track heads from the right side of the old road bed to the left side.  I will come back Sunday with a left hand switch that I am working on at home and set it down to see what looks good.

I will also get the small club tractor out there and push some of the wood chips back so we can set the track down on the old rail bed. I need to get all the track set down and roughly lined up as the Boy Scouts will be out for a few days of ballasting at the end of the mouth if all gos well. 

Tom D

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Oct 10 2010 at 8:35pm
10-10-10 Today I was a lone gun for most of the day. Phil showed in the afternoon which was a big help as that's when I had most of the old rail bed cleared off. I took the club tractor down in the morning but it just kept getting stuck so I just moved the wood chips by hand.

I did some ballasting of the old rail and aligning just before the new rail where putting in as it was getting ruff. I then went on to shimming under the steel ties with plastic shims. I did this to every 5th tie and on each side of the joints. I'm thinking the ballast fines will fill under the other ties? If I find some time I might do some more shimming in between.

I found as I worked that we didn't clear enough of the old wood chip ground cover cleared so I cleared back from the tracks so there was room to walk beside the track if need be. I also moved the track we put down in the past away from the fence 45" to the side of the rail. This puts the track on the edge of the old black top.I was thinking moving to track over 10" would help get the turns lined up on the crossing of the old rail bed.

When Phil got there we looked at the old tree stumps, that of course where right where the track needed to go, so we got some big bars and they popped out after some work. We set the switch in place and adjusted the bent track panels  moving  a lot of wood chips. The middle of the old rail bed had wood chips that were 15-20 inches deep at times.

It all looked good after we adjust the track panels a few times. I think we are ready for the boy scouts to start their project.  I need to finish the switches and do some more shimming and aligning, but its looking great.

We are getting a lot of the park walking people looking at our new track and also now getting people in cars driving in the short street next to where the track is going in and getting a good look. The good thing now is, it looks like the wood chips are only a few inches deep on the 145 feet left to clear for the two tracks at the end before the turn table.

Tom D.

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Oct 26 2010 at 9:57pm
10-24-10 In the morning we got a little side tracked cleaning out some of the junk left by the club house but we stopped that (man I'm getting sick of cleaning other members stuff up!)

Rory, Steve and I, Tom D. loaded up the two new switches I had built back at my shop and hauled them to the end of the Crenshaw line. We spent some time running back and forth to get all of the stuff we needed, but we managed to get them put down. We dug out the wood chips where the track crosses the old rail bed and started to ballast the steel track going to the switches.

It was lunch time so we just went out one of the side gates in the fence and walked less then 1/2 a block to Quiznos sandwich shop. This is a great new thing available to club members now that the track is so close to Crenshaw Blvd. There are many food shops just a short walk from the end of the track and your train can be parked behind a locked fence while you are out for a bite.

When we got back from lunch Steve and Phil C had to leave so we went to give them a ride back to the yard. My GP60 wouldn't start so we pulled the body off to take a look. It turns out that the bracket holding the starter solenoid broke so we took an old coat hanger antenna from my radio and we rigged it up to hold the bracket back up and then ran back to the steaming bays. We welded it up and then welded some tabs on the ends of four steel rail panels so that we could bolt the switches down.

When we got back to the switches it started to rain. We didn't think it was a good thing to just leave the switch there unbolted so we worked on in the rain. We looked at the guys playing baseball next to us in the park and saw they were still playing on in the rain, so we did the same.

We had to build a ten foot section of aluminum track panel on the ground to get the switches lined up right and then called it quits for the day/night. I would have taken a photo when we got done but it was just too dark, wet and muddy.

Tom D.

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Nov 14 2010 at 8:07pm
11-14-10 I did a little cleaning up around the compound and then I started to do the ballasting on Crenshaw at the cross over and the switches so its all level and locked down.

Howie got a 1.5 scale car shipped too him a few weeks ago so I turned the shipping box into a ballasting box that goes on a flatcar. Rudy made one of these last year and it has worked out well, so having two will get more done in one trip.

With the ballasting Phil and I did this Sunday we can now run the work train to the rail head. There was a 12-14" drop that had to be ballasted crossing over the old rail bed.

We are are getting close to being ready for the Boy Scouts to come in and do the shimming, lining,  ballasting and leveling of the line. I still have to weld up the rest of Jerry's steel track panels so the boys can get them put in. I think there over 20 more panels to do which is about two days of work maybe one if that is all I do. This next time around I am going to try using an air hammer and some heat to get the line up pins loosened up. Ray came up with this idea after his arm got a good work out the last time. Good thinking Ray were going to give it a try!

Tom D.

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Nov 21 2010 at 10:14pm

11-21-10 Removed the old left hand switch on the Y . I felt this was best since Steve removed the track on the west leg of the Y so they can move dirt and build the new station-souvenir stand.

This makes it so we have to back down the right side of the Y with the work train. The old switch frog was just in bad shape and was making the loaded ballast car jump over the end of the frog.

Removing it was best for now. I will build a new switch and the latest plan is to have  two tracks with a cross over heading up Crenshaw instead of the single track Y we have had in the past.

I hope to get back to track laying on the other end of Crenshaw this week as I have a few days off for Thanksgetting. Wink

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Nov 28 2010 at 7:55am
11-28-10 This long weekend Kelly and Steve rented a large tractor for the club so we can get some of the bigger dirt moving project out of the way. That way we have the site for the new station building ready for the school people.

After looking at the grade coming out of the station going up Crenshaw, it was thought best to use the big tractor to remove all the track on Crenshaw up to the first switch on the passing siding, and regrade the road bed.

After alot of dirt moving, and as always the case at SoCal, the moving of other items, Steve got a nice graded road bed. At the end of the day on Saturday we had most of the track back in with a gap of about 20 feet.  Steve said he would try to get that last 20 feet rebuilt with new stock Sunday if he has time. This will open Crenshaw back up so we can get the work train down to the rail head at the other end.

At the November meeting the members passed a vote to get $1300-$1500 in new plastic tie stock. This was a good step but I was thinking it was far short of what we will be needed so I did some calling and emailing of friends and members and thanks to Rob L. $2000, Jim B. $1250, Mark J. $350, and Howie $250, we now have around $5,350 to buy new tie stock+shipping.

I am going to get with Kelly this week and try to get it ordered. I have to give these guys a big thank you for the club as this will give our track-switch projects a big boost as we are about out of tie stock. Since we are out of tie stuck, and we have Crenshaw opened back up, I am thinking we can get back to working on the track on the other end of the line. Phil C. tells me the Boy Scouts are thinking they will be out in late Jan or in Feb to help us with ballasting  and boy we have a bunch for them to do!

I would like to thank the following people for coming out and lending a hand and or some words of encouragement  with us this weekend: Steve C., Kelley and Joanne Smith, Rob L., Rory H and Donna, Howie, Mark J, Dave Kofal, Rudy, Heather, Tim B, Jim B, Phil C, and myself, Tom D. It was good to see a few faces we haven't seen in a while.

It was a good weekend that sadly ended with the passing of  my friend well know live steamer and club visitor Bruce Ward, RIP Bruce.

More to follow as the new track goes in.


Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Dec 12 2010 at 9:48pm

12-12-10 Well on Saturday after seeing the boys start to pour the cement for the station and the oil pump pad, Howie and I loaded up the work train with tools and headed out. We made a stop to clear out one of the gondolas of some compost on to some of the plants Linda said needed it. This gave us a clean car to use for tools.

We stopped to pick up Max Pena's son Matthew, age 10.  Max was running the cement job so I think it made it a little easier not to have Matthew under foot. We showed Matthew how to run the train and he had a great time.  We are betting Matthew is going to drive Max nuts talking about running trains. Oh its fun to plant a seed! I would have loved to run a ride on train when I was 10 but never got the chance. Now its just great to see kids light up when they get the chance to run one.

When we got to the rail head, we started to clear the area for the two tracks that will be going to  the turntable. After a bit Mark J. showed up, grabbed a shovel, and got to clearing the wood chips and mulch. In many spots the wood chips are 12-14" thick as well as hard packed so it was some work to clear it off. Mark made sure to let us know about this fact. 

Howie worked at getting the steel track panel's pins knocked in after we set them in place. It  took some time as we had to flip the 20' panels from end to end as some of them have a slight bend in them. There was also an old tree stump that we were trying to stay just to the right of, as it is a big one, and we dont think it would be much fun to try to cut down or break out. We got 6 panels down which is 120'. The ground is ruff and we are using some blocks under the panels to get them leveled up. We will have to bring some ballast rock up for this track before we go much further.

On Sunday I got to the club about 9:30 am and got the pieces for 6 more panels out of the pile and started to grind them and weld the two pieces into one 20' panel times 6. Phil C showed up and gave me a hand. This time we used an air gun with a punch on it to remove the rusted in pins, and as Ray though they came right out with little work. Phil was a vary happy camper as he has done a lot of the pin removing in the past on this project and it was a lot of work. Thanks Ray!

We got the 6 panels done than went to the club Xmas dinner and Red Car ride down in San Pedro which was a lot of fun and a great end to the week end.

Phil and I where looking at building some new 20' steel track panels to try out on crenshaw as after talking to Steve about it we may be able to make them for less than 60.00 a 20'panel and that is much less then going with the alum rail and plastic tie way. If any one reading this can help us get a good deal on some 1x2 1/16 wall square tube and some 20' 1x3/8 hot roll bar stock, drop Phil or me an email. We have about 11 more panels from Jerry to weld back together so it will be interesting to see how far back we get on the Crenshaw return track.

Tom D.  

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Dec 19 2010 at 2:50pm
12-18 It was raining  off and on on this Saturday and we had a large group of members that showed up for the run day but there were only 2  public riders, a father and son that came out for a ride in the rain.

The rain let up and the sun started to come out  so we pulled out the flat cars and loaded up the 6 20 foot track panels, added a few riding cars for members, then headed out for the rail head. As we were riding out the Crenshaw line we passed Mark J walking back for some lunch. He told us that he had been working on clearing the wood chips and was getting close to the turn table site.

When we got to the rail head we unloaded the track and set the straight panels in place and set the bent ones to the side. This was the first time to the new end of the line for a few of the SCLS members and they were very impressed with how it was all coming together. They are looking forward to running all the way to the end when we get done.

We all headed back for some chili and corn bread made by Daisy and Robert and it sure was good. After lunch Mark J, Phil C, myself  Tom D and the boys Wyatt and Blake headed out to the rail head. Mark got to work clearing to the turntable the boys worked on clearing from the switch back towards the windshield wiper table after Mark showed them how to do it the right way. I pulled a lot of the big weeds as the ground was soft from the rain then went to work getting the panels lined up for the turn table.

I found I need to weld up some more track panels so that I can play with lining up the two tracks. Tim B was asking how long the turntable would be and after some head scratching we decided I'm going to try to fit a 22 foot long table in. We may try to get a little longer when we get to setting it all up as Tim seemed to think his loco and support cars will be right at 22 feet long as a unit that will have to be turned all at one time. Man that 3 3/4" scale stuff is big.

Well we worked till it just got raining too hard and man it got muddy fast but fun for the boys. Still working on getting more ballast stone dropped at the club in the next few weeks.

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Dec 28 2010 at 8:22am
12-26-10 Well with Xmas on Saturday and a lot of rain the week before we didn't get anything done until Sunday the 26Th. Mark J. and Howie went out and worked at clearing more of the wood chips off the old paved strip that gos back to the windshield wiper turn table. There are only a few old tree sumps, but they all seem to be just half way across where we are thinking of putting the track, so we have been adjusting where we put the track to get around them.

Mark said he came up with a plan and some tools to remove the stumps as he said he thought it would make it better in the long run not to be going around them and having to get off the old pavement as its a smother base and it makes for a lot less work clearing the wood chips.

Wyatt and Tom D cleaned up around the steaming bays and a few members and guests came out to visit. We tinkered with and ran the steamers around. We had 3 running this time and a few battery and gassers. A lot of fun just running around.

After a bit Wyatt ran, and I road out the Crenshaw line to see how Mark and Howie where doing on there project for the day. It was a good run for the little steamer that Wyatt is learning to run as it is a hard one to fire. We got to the "Mistletoe Tunnel" as marks been calling it, and they had Howie's new speeder, a work car and one of the new  skeleton log cars that Tom D built for Mark J. parked. They had cut up some tree branches that had come down in one of the windy days a few weeks back and it worked out they where a nice size for a scale log for the new cars. They also had cleared a few hundred more feet of wood chips with Mark's new "super wood chip clearing tool", a snow shovel? It seamed to work well for the job. They also got one of the big stumps cut down so the track can go straight on though that spot.

 I helped a little at the end and I can tell you that was some hard work they did. I have the last 11 steel track panels from Jerry to weld up, hopefully this week, and we can get them down on this new road bed that Mark J and Howie opened up.

Still working on geting some stone for the ballasting of the new track, hopefuly this is not going to become a project stopper.  

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Jan 02 2011 at 5:49pm
On Wednesday  Tom D got back out to the club and welded up 6 more panels, 120feet total and hauled them out to the rail head and set them out. There are 6 more left to weld up at some point soon.

On Saturday Mark J when out and cut down about 1/2 of the tree stump that is in the way of  the, soon to be built, turn table. Since we got the new tie stock in Steve C and Tom D were side tracked on getting the track panels built and set down for the two new parking sidings on the inner loop. We got 150 feet down for the weekend total. 

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Jan 10 2011 at 7:02am
1-8-11 Howie went down Crenshaw and did a lot of trimming of the trees and hauled back 4 large loads of brush and haul it to the city dumpster in his truck. He then went back to the rail head and put in the pins on the joints of several panels that Tom D had set out.

Still working on getting ballast rock dropped at the club. Maybe this week something will happen as Kelly S. needs some for his project so two peolpe working on this may make it happen.

Tom D.

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Jan 17 2011 at 11:00am
1-16-11 On Sunday Tom D. welded up four of the last six 20 foot track panels and Phil happily had his last go around with knocking the pins lose on the end of the panels. Steve was busy building 15' track panels out of aluminum rail and plastic ties for other projects on the steaming bays, so the welding was done on the transfer table and then loaded on the flat cars. It turned out to be a lot less lifting and in turn much easier on or backs this way [too bad we didn't do this sooner!].

Phil and Tom after fixing a bad rail joint at the gate, took the four panels down to just past the "Mistletoe Tunnel" and set them in place on the opposite side of the old right of way, on the new road bed cleared  few weeks back.

We then went to the spot were the turntable will be and did some measuring and head scratching and it looks like we will have a 23 foot turntable at the end of the two tracks for the locos and their support cars to turn on. This will be a large turntable for a live steam railroad, but we need it for the 3 3/4" scale RMI type locos we have at the club and we are thinking it will stand out and be easier  for people riding by in cars on Crenshaw Blvd. to see.

So now the plan is to put a 12' aluminum track panel just before the turntable as that will make it easier to adjust the track leads to mach up with the turntable. Phil and Tom then loaded up three 20 steel panels left there and ran them back up the line to the return track rail head.

We are now about 50 feet from the windshield wiper turn table so we are thinking we may use some of Steve's new track panels to get the return track tied back in. At some point we will replace this with new steel panels that we are planing to make.

Phil and Tom then went back and wielded up one more 20' panel and made two short 5 foot panels and one long 15 foot panel that have pins on one end and joint straps weld to the other end so the alum rail can be bolted on to it. These will be used for the turn table leads and to go just before the switch on the return track that goes in to the main line switch by the windshield wiper table. That is the last of the steel rail on hand we got from Jerry B.

Well good news! We have lots of ballast rock now, Tom D got an old sprint car racing friend, Steve Alexander, who has a 15 ton 10 wheel dump truck to drop 4 loads of crushed recycled cement base with a plan for a few more loads to be dropped soon. We used to get this stone for free but now we are paying around $120.00 per load which is still a very good deal and Steve is hauling it to us for free! So A BIG THANK YOU TO STEVE ALEXANDER for his helping us get this stone as I was starting to think this project was going to not get done.

At the club meeting the members voted $1000.00 for ballast. We will now have a good supply on hand for the many little projects that go on at the club that need this stone to be completed. A thank you to the members as well.

Well the boy scouts should be out in two weeks to do a lot of ballasting of track so in the next few weeks I'm going to try to get all the new track and stuff they will need ready for them so we get the most out of there help.

Tom Downing

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Jan 24 2011 at 9:36pm
1-24-11 On Saturday the 22 Howie and Tom took the last 4 pieces of steel rail down to the rail head. The plan was for Howie to knock the pins in on the ends of the steel panels and then work on leveling out the hump where Mark and he removed the tree stump a few weeks back. This would allow the track to lay down smoother and flatter.

Tom took the power blower and cleared the leaves and small twigs from the tracks and then shimmed the track panels between the old asphalt and the bottom of every third steel tie making them level from side to side. We are thinking this should make for a lot less work when the boy scouts do the ballasting next weekend.

I played around with trying to get the steel panels all in a straight line and it looks OK now and should look great after its ballasted. Steve showed up with the little club tractor and moved a lot of the dirt and wood chips out of the way and knock the hump down a lot, but Tom and Howie worked hard to brake out the last of the raised up old asphalt to get the track panel the sit flat.

By this time the boys, Wyatt and Blake went to help out and they seemed to have a good time as when we broke out pieces of the asphalt a lot of big black bugs would run all over the ground. They put a lot of the bugs in some empty old water bottles we had and they told us this was so great, hmmm to be nine again.

About this time Phil showed up and we moved the last of the rail panels into place and did a bit of adjusting to get all the panels to line up to where the turntable will be and on the end of the return track so we start the turn back in to the main line switch that will be right next to the switch for the windshield wiper turntable lead.

It looks like we will have to use about 40 feet of Steve's new track panels to get to that switch which Tom still needs to build. We are thinking that we will build some more steel panels and switch them out at a later time. Tom still needs to shim some of the track but other than that it looks like where ready for the ballasting crew next weekend.

On Sunday Mark had made up his own work train and headed out to remove the last of the tree stumps that are in the way of the turntable. He had a tuff go of it as it seems the bees have moved into one of the stumps and there was a war between Mark and his bee killer spay and the bees. At some point Charlie jumped in to help in the war but it looks like one big back bee thing that just would not die won this round  but Mark is making plans for round two next week!

Meanwhile Rory and Tom loaded up the first load of five of the new 15 foot aluminum track panels onto the flat cars, and took them down the Crenshaw Line to where the switch was for the passing siding that Steve and crew built last summer.

The plan was to work our way back installing new track for what will be the out bound track from the station. The goal was to get to the gate by the Red Car with two tracks so we would have lots of track down for the boy scouts to ballast next weekend.

We got  12 panels down and ended up with two panels down just past the gate. Rory, Steve, and Phil did some looking and head scratching and we got the track ruffed in on the line up of the track past the red car. This track still needs some adjusting but it is looking good so far. This will make a long run of two tracks before it goes down to one track all the way to the windshield wiper turntable.

Last week I got a new rail bender form Eton so Steve is going to build some new 60 foot radius track panels so we can start to get the track tied back in to the station switch. This week Im going to build some plywood boxes to go on the flat cars so we can hopefully have three ballast trains running next weekend.

Tom D.

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Feb 02 2011 at 10:12pm
2-2-11 Well it was quite a weekend for the railroad as Wyatt Comon, who was working on his Eagle Scout project along with his boyscout friends and their families got a lot of ballasting done. We have been planing this weekend for sometime, so it was good to see it all turn out well.

Tom D built two large end dump cars using two car frames he had built for riding cars, but hadn't made the seat part yet, so that worked out well. On Friday Tom took the cars out to the club and then fixed the two older end dump boxes so they had doors on them to insure that the ballast wasn't falling on to the tracks and derailing cars as this has happened in the past.

This gave us 4 big cars for ballasting for one train and then we had a old small side dump club car, two old club work gons, and two of Rory's 4' bottom dump hopper cars for train #2.

Tom spent some time going threw the yard switches cleaning, lubing and adjusting so there would hopefully be less derailing of which there has been alot of lately in the yard. Tom then went out to the end of Crenshaw and shimmed under every third tie and on both sides of the joint ties on the return track and where needed on the inbound track.

On Saturday Wyatt, his mom and dad Mark met Phil, Tom, Mark J, and Howie at 8 am to get set up for the ballasting of Crenshaw it looked to be a nice day in the high 60's and sunny. Mark J. pulled his SD45 out and pulled the 4 big end dump cars around and Tom used the club tractor to fill them up.

By this time there were 5-6 scouts ready to work so we went to where the new steel rail starts on Crenshaw and Tom gave the scouts a quick demo on how to ballast track and tamp as needed. Tom went back to run the tractor to load train #2. Howie stayed with the scouts to lend a hand, answer any questions and work the radio to help keep the trains lined up at the rail head. By the time Tom got back to the tractor Phil had the club SW1500 fixed as it had to have a new piece made for the control rod so it was easier to run.

Tom filled Phil's train and he headed out to the rail head. Looking at the pile of ballast we had on hand I was thinking we didn't have enough, but it turned out we had just the right amount to get the job done.

All went well and as the day passed more scouts and their families came and left but they had a good size crew all day. They stopped for a hot dog and fixin's lunch provided by SCLS and made by Robbert, and man them hotlinks where good!

After a few more train fulls of ballast, one of the scout twisted his ankle,  when we were loading at about 3:30 so it was a good time to call it quits the day.  By this point they had got the track ballasted all the way to the end where the turntable will go and started on the return track.

On Sunday we got started about 9:00 am and it was starting to rain lightly on and off and cool down to the low 60's to high 50's. We added one of the big cars to train #2 so the unloading times would be closer to the same. After Howie knocked in the last four pins on the last two steel panel's and the return track was ballasted Tom came and looked over the ballasting job and had just a few low spots that had to be lifted and more ballast added, otherwise it looked to be a nice job done by the scouts.

Today we had Rory running the tractor loading the trains so that freed up Tom and Steve to look at lining and leveling of the track as the scouts ballasted it. By mid morning the boy scouts moved back down Crenshaw to ballast the new track installed last week by the gate and red car. This went much faster as the run time for the trains was cut in haft and it looked like there was more scouts on hand to work.

It seemed like lunchtime came up fast so Wyatt's mom ran out and got pizza for the large crew on hand. After lunch we broke the crews in to two groups and tom took some of the scouts and had them do regrading under the trees and ballasting of the new parking siding on the back of the inner loop.

Boy on this day the weather was changing by the minute it would be sunny then start to mist or rain and would be doing the opposite thing just a few hundred feet away but the scouts worked right on through it and as boys do at times, seemed to like the challenge of it.

At about 1:30 the scouts were done and were off to get some train rides behind the club steamer and Tim's big 3 3/4" steamer. A few tried there hand at the throttle  and it was a well deserved reward for all of their hard work.

After the scouts left Tom, Howie and Rory graded, set,aligned and ballasted the two switches to the parking sidings and did a little aligning and leveling of the one siding that was ballasted so they could try it out with a train. Mark, Charlie, and Phil got all the work cars put away which was a bit of work as some had to be taken apart in order to be stored away until next time.

Well the weekend total was around 75 tons of ballast moved by train and dropped by hand. Which gave us about 1600-1700 feet of track all ballasted and aligned. We will need to go back and do some more aligning and leveling in the next few months as all this new track starts to set in.

Next tom will build the switch for the return track by the windshield wiper turntable and 3 more for the cross over and siding by the red car. We are looking at and starting to plan for a 23 foot gallows type turntable made of steel for the end of Crenshaw. Man, this will be a looker for all the train nuts out there if all goes well.

A big thank you gos out to Wyatt Comon, his family and the Scouts of Troop 586 for all their hard work and their donation of $775.00 dollars, which will go a long ways in helping pay for the ballast to be brought out to the club.

Wow! What a weekend, now I'm going to get a good rest for a week and then get right back at it.

Tom D

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Feb 09 2011 at 1:16pm
2-8-11 Last weekend we didn't get much done on Crenshaw, but Mark did work on getting more of the tree stumps the are in the way of the turntable removed. He is also making some good headway on this and the good news is that the bees and some kid of big black flying thing seemed to have left the stumps. Mark seems to think he is at a point were we maybe able to pull out what is left of the stump with the club tractor so we may try that this coming week end.

Rory, Howie and Tom worked on getting  two electric switch machines installed one on the new parking sidings and one on the cross over switches on the inner loop side of the switch sets. Tom had installed one of the switch stands on the switch to the new parking siding a few weeks back just before the run day to see how the location of the stand would work out.

We got ten of these RMI stands and machines used from Steve at S&S Railroad up in Salt Lake City, UT to tryout at SoCal and they were paid for by Howie, Mark J, Rob L and Tom D. They didn't cost the club anything  as these guys just though it would be easier and more fun to run your train with a few electrically operated switches at a few places on the layout.

At the run day it evey one could see and agreed that the one switch stand Tom installed was too close to the track and would have to be moved back from the track as some riders would try to grab the switch stand as they rode by and it. It also looked to be very close to some of the lager riders knees, so we replaced the 5/16 throw rod with a new three foot long piece and put in five foot long 2x4s from the switch stand to the rail. This moved the stand back from the track a lot and it looked good. I am thinking Steve had them close to the track so you could work them manually from the engineers seat and not have to get off your riding car. When we got these machines a few mouths back Phil and Steve C had tested all the machines to see if they worked as they were used. Tthey fond we had seven good ones and there are in three that need  some replacement parts to make them work. They also took one of these machines apart to see how they were set up inside. So we were glad to see Phil show up at the club and give us a hand at getting one of them set up to work with a tap type button on post which Steve had given us with the machines.

As we had put the first one in the way it came to us, there were no springs on the rod going to the points of the switch so we found that you could not back though the switch without derailing as the points would not move, so we put some springs in and that part of the switch worked good.  Rory and Phil adjusted the throw on the stand so the indicator handle was easier to see were it was set.

We than found that the springs in the indicator handle were to short and stiff so we replaced them with ones Tom D luckily had with him that were for another project out at the club. After playing with the settings for a bit of time it  seemed this set up will work for SoCal.

Howie and Rory then replaced the machine on the switch that works the loop return switch on the cross over switch set with one more of the "new to us" machines. We were thinking it would be good to have on run day at that point on the layout so if the station was full with trains loading you could just tap the button on the post and go around the inner lop one more time and not have to just sit in line and wait to unload.

Howie, Rory,and Tom worked well after dark to get it all setup and working good with a 12 volt power pack Howie had. It was so much easier to flip the switch by just hitting the button. However; the next day after thinking about it we thought it was best not to use it on this run day as any rider on the train could hit the button and make the switch points move which could derail a train and that would be vary bad.

Phil came up with the idea and is in the process of getting the parts for a system of using a fast-pass pay type wand and reader. This is the same type of wand that is used at some of the gas stations out here in SoCal. So on run days the tap button will not work and the engineer will just wave the 2 inch long wand within three inches of the tapper post sensor and the points on the switch will flip and we will not have to wary about any riders flipping the points on the train as it goes though the switch.

Sunday was the SoCal public run day so we didn't get anything done on Crenshaw that day but we did have a good time and great weather for running trains as we hauled 1700 riders  from 10:30 till 3:00 at So Cal.

Oh well I hope I didn't run on for too long that's all for now,

Tom D 

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Feb 14 2011 at 8:44am
Saturday 2-12-11 Mark, Tom and Dale went down to the end of Crenshaw with the club tractor and pulled the big stump out of the ground that Mark has been working on for a few weeks now. Mark had a big chain and we picked up the stump and hauled it back to the windshield wiper and set it down  there. In this location its out of the way and is something to look at. We may cut it up and haul it away at a later time.

After pulling the big sump out, Tom worked with the tractor filling the hole left from the stump and then removing 3 more smaller stumps. At this point we stopped as the ground was getting soft and we were thinking the tractor would get stuck.

We are thinking we will get some rain this week which should harden up the ground and we can go back and get the turn table spot cleared of all the wood chips and stuff so we can start to lay out the ring rail for the turn table.

After talking to Phil at this point were thinking the turntable will be six feet wide and 22.6 feet long with the top of the gallows cross bar 6.6 feet high. Next I will have to do a little fund drive to get money for this project. I am thinking it will take 3 or 4 hundred dollars to get the turntable built.

A few weeks back we had a visit from Terry Woolsey from Wichita, Kansas to see for himself all of the work done on projects at the club. He said that he has been fallowing us on the forum and liked what he saw. Thanks for the pat on the back Terry.

I will start a new post on the work we did on Sunday at the club as it didn't have any thing to do with Crenshaw so check it out as it is the start of a interesting project.

That's all for now. Tom D   

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Jun 27 2011 at 9:46pm
On 6-19-11 Phil and Tom replaced 30 feet of track by the red car about where the old switch to the  Y was. Tom tried to get the old track in line but this meant pulling the track out to scrape the road bed down so we thought it was best to put in two new track panels as the old track still had wood ties.

We set the old track we took out to the side to save it in one piece and we will use it on one of the sidings we are going to build at some point.

On 6-26-11 Tom took the hand held gas powered weed cutter and took down all the weeds from the return switch to just where the new steel rail starts. This was a long ways, and lot of work, but it had to be done to get the line opened back up as it was very overgrown with weeds that were bigger than the trains!  Phil did his best to rake the cut weeds off the track so we can run work trains, but there was so much cuttings it looked like we will have to haul some of it away.

Next there are 3 or 4 joint sets that need the new sliding type joiners installed so the rail can move and not make a kink in the track. Also there are some aligning and leveling needed,  then we will get the track back in past the new depot and we well be able to run trains back down the Crenshaw line.

Tom D


Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Jul 04 2011 at 8:11am
7-2-11 Tom D removed the old joint plates and bolts and re-cut the gap on the end of the rails. New Train Mountain type joint clips were installed on 6 sets of rail joints that were binding up and moving the track in to a big S turn in the track, called a heat kink. This new type of clip is much like the rail joints used on H O model train track and seems to be working well for us.

Charlie came along to see what I was up to so I showed him how to level the track and had him start leveling the track past where the joints were being worked on. It was hot out and he got about 25 feet of track leveled and came back and said he didn't think track leveling was something he liked and was a lot of hard work (it was hot out and we were in the sun so it was a little ruff) so he and Phil went back to the steaming bays and did some much needed work on the club steam locos and that was in the shade so that was a good thing.

Mark J and Howie went out and trimmed back all of the tree and brush branches back away from the track and worked at removing more weeds all the way to the end of the track.

Tom D worked at leveling the track from the red car all the way to the switch where the track goes from two tracks to one track, which is about 500 feet. It will need more leveling work to be done but its a lot better to run on now.

On 7-3-11 Ray, Howie, Tom and that hard working, good looking guy Steve,  moved the piles of new wood for the depot project to the side so that we can start to get the 60 foot radius track panels built and installed. That will make it a lot better for the club members to run down the Crenshaw Line loco first and not have to back their train down the line.

At the pot luck dinner-night run a few member made runs down to the sidings at the end of  Crenshaw and had a lot of fun. Robert and Ben derailed in two spots out on the line and marked the spots so we can go back out there and work on leveling out the track.

We will keep working on the track mainly from the depot to the windshield wiper table and get that track back in good shape so that we can use it on run days. We may work at adding a passing siding at the top of the hill with the wood tied track panels that we have removed from the main line lately.

We are thinking that with this passing siding when running two trains on the line if your heading out on the Crenshaw track, and you don't see a train coming down at you, past that siding, you can continue heading on out on the single track part of the line and the returning train can just wait at  the passing siding switch. At this point in time you cannot see the other train once they get past the top of the hill on the line, and there can be a long wait for the outbound train as the train in front of them gets turned around to come back in this will also make it so we can run three or more  trains down the Crenshaw line more safely.

Tom D       


Posted By: Dining with Ms Daisy
Date Posted: Jul 18 2011 at 9:07pm

Last Saturday Night Run after the potluck was the first time I made it to Crenshaw since we became members.  I really enjoyed the two trips and THANK YOU Tom for pushing and leading the effort to lay out the tracks all the way to the end of Crenshaw.  Ben and Robert always seem to manage a trip or two during night runs and now I know how special it is (well, except for the smelly cats!)

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Aug 01 2011 at 10:00am
Well, we got the track installed from the depot to the red car and started to ballast it. We are out of ballast and it looks like it will be a little bit time wise before we get more. The good thing however is that it will be a lot and it will be free so we will just wait. We have been test running on the new track and it feels OK. We still need to do some leveling out on the Crenshaw line before we start hauling riders down to the windshield wiper and back but we are getting there.

At this point we are thinking it would be best to put a 120 foot passing siding at the top of the hill on Crenshaw so the train going out can keep running out on the line if he dosnt see a train coming back down the line and there is away to pass a train at the top of the hill. That should make it so we can run 3-4 trains down Crenshaw if need be on a runday. 


Posted By: Steve C
Date Posted: Aug 01 2011 at 8:33pm
Cool, ordered the llast few parts for the F-7 from mdm locomotive works today! I have been meaning to do that for over a month now. All the parts are painted and there is about an hour of work left on assembly of the second truck! Just have to make some time in the shop now!

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Aug 15 2011 at 1:23pm
0n the Sunday 8-7-11 run day we hauled public on the Crenshaw line up to  the windshield wiper and back with Howie's train. It was great to be back up and running on the Crenshaw line as it has been along time since we have done that.

The club got great feed back from the riders. This feat was accomplished with a lot of work from a small group of members that had some free time to put into the project.

On Saturday 8-6-11 Howie and Tom scraped up the last of the ballast and put it down on the Y track by the the red car. Man, we had just enough rock to get ballast down on all of the new track. We had to work around Max, Kelly and their two man crew that were working on the roof boards and trim of the new depot. That was a good thing, as its great to see they are moving along on that big project.

Tom D lined and leveled all of the track on the Y and then worked on the track all the way out to the new softball crossing, which is about 30 feet before the windshield wiper tun around table.

Tom worked until about 830 at night thinking if he got it done we may try to run some trains on the line the next day. Steve and Howie came out the next morning before the start of the run day and with the leaf blower machine  blew off all of the build up that was on and near the track.

The only bad thing was at some point when we where not running the Crenshaw line all the time, the lock on the turn table disappeared and it looks as though some people had some rough fun riding the table back and forth as it bent the stops and latches that line the table up with the track when you are turning a loco. Steve tried to hammer them back. He did get them a little better then they were, but they will need some heating up and bending to get them back so they are correct.

When Howie was turning his loco on the table he just had the conductor hold the table lined up with the track and all went well for the run day.

Steve also checked out a few old wood ties in a few spots before the run just to be sure all was right with the older track on the Crenshaw line. At some point we will have to go along this older part of the Crenshaw line track and replace every 4th tie a few times till we have all plastic ties on the line. Another option is that we may make some 20 foot all steel panels to replace some of the older track. The steel track takes the abuse that we think comes from the kids at the school next door a lot better but the new type plastic ties are much easier to work with and don't cost as much per panel. Well  time will tell on that item.

Tom D   


Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Sep 04 2011 at 6:29am
9-4-11 Howie, and Tom took out a high spot on the return track that was bugging Howie when he ran his train over it. We also raised a few low spots, did some aligning and leveling. We need some more ballasting rock so we can do some more and keep this track real straight and level as is settles down.

Howie and Tom then had Tom's son Wyatt join them and they worked on getting the spring loaded laches on the windshield wiper turntable to work right again. Howie had his new 4" battery grinder with him to try out and we started to try to make the notch in the spring loaded tab wider so it would fall in the tab on the table allowing the table and the tracks to  line up.

After grinding and trying to get the correct angle with the grinder, Tom tryed just beating the lever tab down over the tab on the table to try to get the slot to spread out some. Well  it worked so the frist side was done. Then Tom went on to tighten the bolt holding the end of the track down and got his finger jammed big time between the table and the track. Ooooch!!! Looks like it split his nail in half and ripped some of the skin off the bottom of his finger. Oh well things happen so after a break they went on to the latch on the other end of the table which was fixed more quickly by doing a little grinding and hammering,. Howie took some oil and lubed the wheels and ring rail.

That pretty much ended the work for the day as Tom's right hand figer needed some time to heal up. The Crenshaw line however, is ready for the Sunday run and maybe we will try running two or three trains down there. It will work if we get the timing wright or at lest it will be a good test for the train crews.

Tom D.   


Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Oct 21 2011 at 6:07pm
10-21-11, Well, we got one truck load of ballast stone so we got to work one after noon and with the help from a few members and there friends, ballasted over 500 feet of track on the Crenshaw Line that runs past the ball field. This part of the line has needed re-ballasting for some time now.

Next, Tom D built a new left hand switch and with the help of Shane-o, installed it just before the ball field crossing. They also put down about 40 feet of old wood tie mainline track that was previously removed from in front of the water tower. This track was removed as part of our track renovation project to remove all wood ties from the two main line loops.

We replaced a few rotted wooden ties and this track should be good for a slow speed passing siding. There is some more old wood tie track laying around at the club that we will try to rehabilitate to use the track for this passing siding.

Tom D is also done with building a right hand switch so the length of the passing siding will depend on how much old reusable track we find, or, we get some help with buying some more plastic tie stock. When this passing siding is done we will be able run three or four trains down the Crenshaw line on a run day. Tom D has these switches set up so padlocks can be used to keep the switches aligned so there are no head on collisions.

Kelly Smith has also donated some old battery powered signal lights so at some point after a lot of bonding wires and some insulator joints are installed, we can have block segments with red lights on the line to help keep the trains in order which should be fun to run a train on.

Next  Tom will be building a switch for the return track coming back from the end of the line to tie in by the windshield wiper turn table. We also need to build about 30 feet of new track which should use up the rest of the plastic tie stock onhand form the last order. Then it is time to build a 22.5 foot turntable. Tom D   


Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Oct 25 2011 at 10:27pm
On Sunday 10-23-11, Tom Downing took the tape measuring wheel that Steve Claude had dropped off a few months ago and ran it along every bit of track we run on at SOCal and came up with a total of track on the ground of 6786 feet. That includes sidings, yard, and main line.

The Crenshaw line came out to 1775 feet of track, the new track from the windshield wiper down to the end and back up to the return track to where it stops is 950 feet, with about 30 feet left to put down to the switch  at the windshield wiper. So when it's done it will be almost a 1000 foot run down and back.

After doing all that walking around Tom got to work and cut some 1 1/2 x 3/4 shims to go under the rail on the baseball crossing pad. This was done to get the rail head up above the crossing boards, as the other older crossing looks to have settled and some locos are hitting the crossing board as they go over them.

Tom replaced some rotted and missing ties on the last panel before the crossing, and then installed the rail on the crossing. At about this time Phil Cohen came walking up the roadbed and jumped in and gave Tom a hand and they cleared 40 more feet of the old wood chips and leveled the gravel and set 4 more track panels down. Then Tom installed the joints and ties under them.

These last 4 panels were in much better shape and didn't need any ties replaced, so that was about 55 feet more track down to add to the list. Tom had just finished building the right hand switch for the end of the siding in his shop that morning and had hoped to get it installed but we just ran out of time. So hopefully next weekend we can get that switch and a few more track panels in and do some ballasting to the new track.

I don't know if we will get the new passing siding all done for the next run day on 11-5-11 but we will try if we don't run out of ballast stone first. Tom put a call into his friend Steve A and he sad he will try to drop and load of ballast before the weekend, well see ?

Tom has also started to build the left hand switch that goes by the windshield wiper for the return track coming up from the end of Crenshaw. We will need to also build three or four more track panels as well, and then comes all the fun of installing them.  The wood chips are a good 12" to 18"deep in the part of the old road bed and will have to be cleared first. But we will get her done and it will be great fun for all of us at SOCAL to run on that new track.

Well that's all for now.

Tom Downing



Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Nov 30 2011 at 5:11pm
11-26-11 Tom Downing built a new #8 left hand switch using the first of 6 steel frogs that Jerry Boudreaux made and gave to the club and the first of three sets of points that Joe Manzo made and gave to the club [thanks guys] .

The switch was built for the track coming back from the end of Crenshaw extension that will tie back in to the main line just before the windshield wiper. Howie and Tom hauled the new switch out to the location cut the track and installed the new switch sounds EZ but it wasn't.  This job fought us all the way.

Howie had some new battery tools that helped big time otherwise it would have taken a lot more time to do. Tom got out Rory's two bottom dump hopper cars, filled them with ballast rock and with Phil's help hauled them out to the switch and ballasted the new switch.

We took the piece of track removed from the main line for the switch and hooked it to the new lead coming off the switch and ballasted it. Tom then cleared a lot of the wood chips for about 30 feet to where the end of the track is coming back from the end of the line. It looks like it will take 2-3 new track panels to close the gap and a lot of ballast stone as the ground drops about 12-14 inches as it crosses the old rail bed.

Looking at the layout  of the two sidings at the end of the line it maybe best for trains to use the left side for the down track after the windshield wiper and the right side as the return track that way the trains have a straight run into the switches at the end instead of a tight "S" turn they have been trying to make. There is still a lot to do but we are getting there.

This was switch number 14 that I have made for the club and I am getting them so they are very smooth to run  though. I've learned lots of little things about building switches and it has been a lot of fun for me.

Tom Downing  


Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Jan 03 2012 at 7:59pm
Well Tom Downing with help from Howie, Phil, Rory, Wyatt,and Blake got the new passing siding opened up and it was used on the 1-1-12 run day.

It is about a 200 foot long siding so it is a long one. The new siding has changed SCLS. In the past the Crenshaw Line could only run one train. Then we double tracked the red car end of the line and started to run two trains. Then we tried to run three trains but it wasn't an easy thing to do. Now with the siding opened up, we at one point had four trains running the line, however running 5 trains can be done when the crews get more used to the set up and get the timing down, so they are not all bunched up on the line.

Signals are in the works and once they are up and running all trains can go up Crenshaw.  I would think we can run a few more trains if we have the riders and the train crews to do so. The only thing that has come up is with more trains running on the line, Tom found a few soft spots in the road bed and  four switches had the gage on the points a little to wide. That was an easy fix. Tom also had Wyatt and Blake put spray lube on the joints to see if it keeps the long straight track from getting heat bends in it. At this point it seems to be working.

Ray and Mathew came out one day and put one more train load of ballast stone in just past the new down track switch past the windshield wiper. Looks like maybe two more train loads of stone and 2 1/2 more 15 foot track panels and that track will be tied in.

Boy! It looks like the club will have to buy a lot of weed killer as we have a huge cop of weeds on the track this year. We put weed barrier mat down under all of the new track that we have installed in the past year, but it didn't work and it seems like there is more weeds where the mat is then where there is no mat ? Well looks like that plan didn't work out,well thats all for now.

Tom Downing


Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Jan 18 2012 at 6:53am


   Saturday Howie and tom downing built 4, 15 foot track panels then made up a work train with 4 ballast cars and two gons with tools. They filled the ballast cars up and put two track panels on top of the cars and backed up Crenshaw so the two end dump car where facing outbound. That way the ballast cars can be just backed down to where to track stops and the stone can be pushed off the cars to fill the 14" deep low spot and it seemed to work good, after one small derail on the old Crenshaw return switch. After the first trip down and the cars and were emptied tom and Howie went over to the farmers market and got some BBQ sandwiches and they were good.

   The farmers market is held every Wednesday and Saturday till 1:00 in the parking lot just on the other side of the ball fields from where the Crenshaw line is and there’s a gate in the fence near were we were working so it all worked out good. there’s always been a dream at the club to run the SoCal tracks over there and back thought the park and back to the club and there looks to be a somewhat clear pathway to do it, but it’s just a nice dream at this point.

   After lunch we went back and got one more train load of ballast and one more track panel. After that train was unloaded we were starting to run low on daylight but it looked like we only needed two more cars of ballast stone to get the track bed up to level and with rain forecast for the next day Howie and Tom decided to go for it and work in to the night.

   After getting the stone dumped we removed the three track panels we had put down to empty the cars we relayed the track from the end of the steel rail on the far side of the gap back to the switch. This was done so there would be a full track panel first after coming off the steel track and we wouldn’t end up with a joint in the turn close to where the steel rail starts. After we got the rail put back in Shane and Phil showed up with Shane’s kids and they unloaded the last car of ballast which was good as Howie and Tom were about done and didn’t think they were going to get it done. Boy that was one long day of work.

Tom Downing

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Jan 18 2012 at 9:08am


Sunday afternoon Tom Downing went out on Crenshaw with a small work train of two gons with tools. He installed 2x4 ties under the joints where the 15 foot track panels come together on the track that was installed on Saturday. He then adjusted the track panels so there was a nice S bend to it from the switch to the steel rail he then leveled the track across the rails and worked at getting the track level from the switch to the steel rail but there’s so much fill, 14 " in spots that we have found out in the past that it’s going to need leveling few times as in time the ballast will compact.

At this point the sun had gone down and it as getting dark but, where the steel rail starts is also where the street lights start on the street next to the railroad so he had light to work. Tom finish the day by raking off some of the ballast laid down by the boy scouts last year so we can see the tops of the steel ties and there was a lot of leaves and small tree branches that had built up on this track as we haven’t been running on it for the past year. Boy this track looks good now!

Tom worked the track all the way past the two switches where the two sidings begin and stopped for the day as it started to rain, good thing he brought his rain coat for the wet ride back to the yard. Next time tom will look at the placing of these switches, as Rory said the old rule of thumb is there should be one car length between these two switches as it makes a double S-turn in a long train and it may derail. So tom is thinking of moving one switch down towards the turn table, and one 20' track panel but we will have to measure the length of the siding and we may end up moving the upper switch which is a lot more work, but in the end it will be for the best, well, time will tell.

Tom Downing


Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Jan 24 2012 at 8:50am


Sunday afternoon Tom Downing set up a 3 car work train, made up of two gons for tools and one long flat with an end dump box on it. Tom filled the end dump with a load of ballast rock and ran it out the new track, that was installed last weekend and added some ballast to the sides of the rail bed to help keep the track in place. We had a few small rain storms but the track didn’t look like it had settled much maybe when the trains start running on it the track will sink a little.

Then Tom took the train to the switch set down at the end of the line and realined the switches and lubed the moving parts of the switches. He then raked all the stuff off the left track and set the side to side level so we can run trains all the way to the end. Although a few members have already ran on the rough track.

Tom then pulled all the large weeds next to the tracks some were dead ones from last year and some were new green ones, most were two feet high and very thick, but it was a good time to pull them as the ground was soft from the rain we had here last week. Tom put the last of the ballast from the end dump car on to the right side track and then filled the empty car with some of the bush he had piled up. It looks like the right side track will have to come up 6-10 inches to be closer to the height of the left side track, but we were thinking to get this track to drop down after the switch and then go up from there to the turntable, which will make the track level as the ground around it, since the track is going downhill maybe 1-1.5% at this point. Its was getting dark so Tom worked at clearing the return track back to the tunnel and called it a day. Next weekend Tom is hoping to get some help to haul some ballast to use on the two end sidings and haul all the dead weeds and tree limbs that have piled up along the Crenshaw right of way back to the bush pile set up by the club house. If there’s time it would also be good to build a frame to hold up the live tree limbs that make up the tunnel.

World Famous Tom Downing


Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Feb 02 2012 at 11:54am

Saturday 1-28-12

   We had a work crew made up of Donna, Howie, Rory, and Tom. The day started with trying to get some small projects done around the club grounds. Tom got two gallonss of weed killer concentrate at Wal-Mart to try out. Tom started spraying the infield loop of track and then Rory took his turn and got the rest of the main part of the club layout sprayed.

    We than setup a work with the clubs green sw1500, Rory’s two bottom drop hoppers, two end dump boxes on Rory’s and Toms flat cars, and the two old Little Engines gons with tools and a riding car. Rory and Howie spotted the train on the drive way water siding and Tom took the club tractor and filled the cars with ballast.
    Then different members from around the club that were working on different projects sat down and had a nice steak and rice lunch made by Robert, which was a nice surprise. Robert sad he had read on here how Tom was out on Crenshaw working by himself and felt it would be good to come by and BBQ up some steaks to say thanks for the hard work, and it was much appreciated thanks Robert.
    After lunch we ran the work train out to the end of Crenshaw and dumped the ballast on the center track of the two passing tracks at the end of the line. I was thinking it was going to take a lot of ballast to get the two tracks up to the same level. But after dumping the four cars it doesn’t look like it will. It might only take one more train load and it will be good to go till we get the turn table in and need to adjust the track for that.
    Next we filled the empty cars with the bushes and weeds that Tom had piled up last weekend and hauled it back to the brush pile set up by the club house. Tom sprayed around the tracks with some weed killer as new weeds are starting to grow on the tracks, at some point we will have to run the club tractor down to the end of the line and fill what looks like will be several train loads of old wood chips. Then run it back to where the new depot is as the wood chips are too thick by the end of the track and you have to step up on a hill of wood chips when you get off the train.
    At some point  in time, down the road we would like to put a few gates and a loading platform at the end of Crenshaw, but we will have to see if the park people are O K with that first. There’s still a lot of weeds to be hauled back to the pile as we would like to get Crenshaw clean looking and plant a few tree along the right of way to make it a more enjoyable ride on the hot days.
    On Sunday 1-29-12 tom came out in the morning and sprayed weed killer on the Crenshaw line tracks from the depot to the switch where the two tracks meet going out. Steve Claude stopped by for a bit to replaces some burnt out lights in the station.  There is a big crop of weeds on this part of the line so it looks like some weed whacking will need to be done. We’re hoping the weed killer helps keep the weeds down.

Tom Downing

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Mar 11 2012 at 10:18pm
3-11-12 Saturday Rory Hawkins and Tom Downing built a new framework to hold up the bushes that make a tunnel over the track located about 100 feet down from the windshield wiper turn around point.

Phil Cohen and Tom had built a light frame out of some old 1x4 and 2x4 but it was falling down as the bush is now getting big. I think it was also getting some help falling down from the local kids, Oh well.

Rory and Tom got what was left of the wood pile for this job which Tom had brought out to the club a few months back as some of it got used for other jobs going on at the club.

Rory set up a work train and they went out with Tom's son Wyatt running Rory's S12 loco to the tunnel and removed what was left of the old frame and took some measurements. They then went back to the yard and while Tom ran Wyatt to a school class down the street, Rory loaded the wood and some bricks on the train.

When Tom got back he cut 4, 4x4 beams to 6 foot long and also cut some 2x4s, 24" long with 45 degree cuts on the ends for braces on the top of the post. Tom then had to run and get Wyatt from his class. When they got back they all went out to the tunnel and set up the post with a big 12 foot long hard wood 4x6 that tom found laying around at the club which made a great header. They then ran a 2x6x12 along the fence with a 2x4 post on each end. They then cut 2 ea., 2x4 cross beams and screwed it all together. We had a battery saw with us to cut the 2x4s, and that worked great for the job.

When that was done, Tom made a list of wood to be purchased. Rory and his girl friend Donna ran to get lunch for the group and Tom ran to the Lowes' down the street and got some 4x4x12s, 2x4x12s, corrugated metal roofing sheets and some pilaster post bottoms so they could get the job done. After lunch Wyatt ran his brother and mom around the club on the club's SW1500 while Rory and Tom set two more posts and put the pilaster bottoms under the post they had put in before lunch.

Tom and Rory then put on the braces with the 45 degree cut ends on the post tops connecting them to the headers. They then put in a few more cross beams and set the 24" wide metal roofing on top. This was done to try to stop the random sparks from the steam locos from setting the under side of the bush, which is the top of the tunnel, on fire.  And we all know that would not be a good thing.

By this time it was getting dark, so we cleaned up and put the train away. There is still some bracing that needs to be put on and the 2x4 post need to be wired to the fence post, but it looks good at this point and the bush is growing fast so the sides and ends should aslo fill in fast.

The large wood beam should hold the weight better this time and should be "kid proof" but we will see on that one.

We are thinking of building one more12 foot long frame about 12 foot from the end of the tunnel the we had just built as there is one more big bush growing over the fence at that point. That would make it so when you ride up the line and you go though a 22 foot long bush tunnel then a 12 foot long clearing and then back in to a 12 foot long bush tunnel. I have just got to keep the other well meaning members from cutting the bush limbs before I get the frame built to hold them up.

Oh well will see on that one,

Tom Downing      


Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Mar 25 2012 at 1:24pm
Well tunnel number two is up! This all happened as Howie called me (Tom Downing) on Thursday night and asked me, "if I had the time, could we work on the Crenshaw line Saturday" as he had the time.  So on Saturday after my son Wyatt and I ran around and got some parts for my race car project, we got to the club about 9 am and Howie was already working on a few of his own projects. Linda was also there working on her gardens.

I had a few things that needed to be done before we did the Crenshaw work. I put a new light sensor on the new yard light Steve and I put up a few weeks back, as it was staying on all the time. It took three trys to get it working! As it turns out the other two light sensors in the box I found in the club work shop were no good!.

After droping Wyatt at his Saturday school class I ran to Lowes and got a new one and it worked great. About this time, Steve C showed up with his son Nicholas to take a walk around the club as Nicholas has just started too walk, and take a train ride on the F7.

Kelly Smith and His son Jeff also showed up to check how a test piece of crown molding looked on there depot project.  I also had to jack up and shim up one side of Rory and my car barn ( Shipping Container), as the pin on the door lock was not fitting on the  new door lock we put on after getting broken into last year. Howie ended up doing the shimming job as he was waiting for me as I had to take a break from the job to run down the street to get Wyatt from his class.

Howie had the work train all set up and we then cut up a few 2x4s for the 45 degree braces for the tunnel then Howie drove the train as Wyatt and I cleared the downed branchs off the track out to the tunnel which we had built a few weeks back.

You may ask why we are building one more tunnel? Well there is a line of large bushes growing over the fence next to the track and If we build a frame with a roof the bush grows over the fance and the frame and than hangs down over the sides making a tunnel or snow shed for us to run the trains though. It also gives us a brake form the sun which can get very hot in the summertime.

This second frame is about 20 feet further up the line from the first one we built and is 12 feet long. The line of bushes between the two tunnels  is starting to grow up, but is just getting to the top of the fence so were thinking we will come back in the fall and build another  frame to fill in the 20 feet between the two tunnels.

Well we got all the wood laid out and came up with a plan on how to build the tunnel but it was lunch time. So we all went over to the farmers market which is in the parking lot just on the other side of Wilson Park from ware we were working.  Howie got a chicken stir fry thing and Wyatt and I got some chicken tacos. We came back and eat some of it but went back to work after eating only a few bites as we just wanted to get the job going after all of the running around we had been doing all morning.

We set up the 2x4 frame against the fence and dug the holes though the wood chips for the pilaster to set the 4x4 post and header on the right side of the tunnel. About this time Phil C came walking up the Crenshaw line and Wyatt had to walk back to the yard to get the F7 out and give his mom, my wife Maria and his younger brother Everett a ride around the club before he had to go with them to his violin class.

It didn't seem to take too long to get the cross pieces for the  frame  cut and up and the two pieces of 12 foot long corrugated metal roofing set on top when Wyatt showed up with the F7 with his mom and brother as riders so we had them do a run though the new tunnel to test it out and get their feedback on it.

On the new tunnel we had built we put the roof all the way across the top and on the older tunnel we had only put one piece in the middle of the top thinking it would stop any sparks from the steam locos for setting the underside of the bush on fire. But our test riders sad they liked the tunnel with the full roof much better as theres no little branches hanging down from the top of the tunnel.

Well now things started to get funny, as it seemed,  we needed a little humor to break up all the hard work going on. Maria asked for Wyatt's and my left over tacos from lunch as he was getting hungry so I gave the box with them in them to her and being a Mom the first thing she does is open the box and tries the tacos to see how they taste, and as shes taking a bite we told her they were good but  look out mine was a little HOT but it takes a minute for the heat to kick in ( yes maybe a little late on the HOT warring ). I told Maria the lady I got the taco from had mild, hot, and "OOO la la",and that was "OOO la la" as I like it hot, and of course she says it can't be that bad I can take it Boys. Well as a minute goes by she said "hey that bit I took is starting too get hot" and phil said "we have bottled water with us do you wont one" and I said "I didn't need any water with my taco you just got to man up and take it" and she says "no I'm fine I have water with me but I don't need it BOYS, we need to go back Now". So Wyatt backs up to the wiper turn table and she says "how long is that going to take we need to get going back NOW" and I tell her just a minute and we will get the loco turned and they well be on there way.  She looks at me and says, "TOM THAT TACO WAS WAY TOO HOT, THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU AND THIS HOT STUFF THING". So I ask do you need me to get you a water and she says "no I have one on the riding car somewhere but I'm OK!" and I can tell he shes not looking OK and by now Phil and Howie are starting to laugh.

Well we get the loco turned and they head back down the line and I tell Phil and Howie lets see how far they get before they stop as I saw her bottle  of  water  was in the front of the riding car and shes in the back and I know that taco heat is coming on and there is no way they are going to make it back with out her needing water. Well we just keep looking as they went back and they got maybe 3/4 way which is maybe 800 feet and we see  her start waving her hands around and Wyatt hands the water back to her and shes drinking it and shaking her head.

Well after that Phil and I went back to the yard to cut some more 2x4s for braces,  got one more piece of metal roofing that Tim had left over from a project and brought out to the club for us, and got my impact driver to put the screws in as they were going in very hard in the dry wood we were using for the braces.

Howie had stayed at the tunnel and pulled a lot of the big weeds that were growing around the tracks out there. OK now comes the Love story  part of the day: When we got back  I told Howie he would fall in love with the impact driver and he said we had been using my drill all day and it had been good we will see about this impact driver thing. Well I think he did, as he put most of the braces up by himself with it, all the screws to hold the roofing on and said he was going to stop and buy one like it on his way home. Wow!

After talking with Rory Friday he suggested  I clean out all the wood chips from around the tracks in the tunnel so there is just gravel, thinking it will reduce the chance of fire, so I did that and it just looked a lot cleaner in the tunnel.

Next howie and Phil put the tools back on the work train as  I pulled more big weeds working my way towards the end of the line before it got too dark. We went back and put every thing away locked up and Phil and I went to Texas Looseys for some burgers and beer.

Well next I think we will go back and put more metal roofing on the top of the first tunnel we built so the roof is fully covered and add some more 45 braces to the post. Next we will start to get the turn table built and reset the track on the Y by the new depot.

Tom Downing  


Posted By: Steve C
Date Posted: Mar 25 2012 at 7:23pm
These tunnels are looking good. I am thinking maybe we should put one over the passing siding so waiting trains have some shade in the summer. It can get mighty hot down there in the summer waiting for a train. I think our longest train is about 40' so it would have to be a little bit longer to provide enough shade. 

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Apr 11 2012 at 11:04am
4-1-12 Run day, Tom Downing took the weed whacker and spent a few hours cutting the weeds along the Crenshaw line so the trains didn't have to mow though the weeds and to keep the riders from getting hit on the sides by the larger weeds that grew up after the rain we have had here in the past few weeks.

We have been working on ways to get a weed killer that works and doesn't cost a lot and take a lot of time but nothing has worked out for us.

On Friday  4-6-12, Mark Jordan set up a work train and cleared off all the brush and old stump parts that had built up at the end of the line were the turn table will be going in.

Next we will have to level out the ground (after we fix the steering on the club tractor) and figure out were a the center pin and the ring rails will go for the table. Mark said next he will work on getting the two lead tracks that go to the table level this is being done as the ground here looks to be going down hill as lest 1%.

On Saturday 4-7-12 Tom Downing and his son Wyatt removed the track and one switch which make up the turn up to Crenshaw from the main line. This had to be done as a few of the bigger locos at the club didn't look like they were going to make it around the turn with out derailing. The path of the track on the turn we put in was D shaped and had too tight a radius in spots along its route so it had to be relaid.

Tom took the club tractor and cleaned off all the weeds and wood chips where the track was going to be put down.He then set the track back down on the new road bed and started to  adjust it by loosening the tie screws on the inside rail so the track would move a little to fit the new radius of the turn. After playing with the track by kicking it back and forth a few times with poor results in obtaining the correct radius, Tom went and rolled a new piece of rail with the correct radius to use as a guide. Tom used the tightest radius turn at the club that these larger locos run on as a guide when rolling this pieces of rail, hoping that way they will work out when the turn is done.

Well after Tom took a lunch break at Steve's Burgers and helped Tim and Phil with a few other on going projects at the club that day such as cleaning up trash, hauling stuff to the dumpster, and helping unload a new refrigerator for the club. Tom and now Phil Cohen went back to trying to get the track radius to look right.

The big thing that made all this hard was the return track and the outbound track come very close at the end of this turn. We had to Keep moving the start of the turn in the track closer to the main line switch which in turn moved the track closer to the new depot. A few inches each way at the beginning of the turn made a big difference at the end of the 110 foot turn.

About this time Tim Brothers showed up after working all day on other club projects, looked things over and suggested we loosen the screw's on the out side rail of the track panels and get all the ties screwed in back under the joints in the rails. By this time it was getting late in the day and we were running out of light so we picked up and went to dinner at Kings Hawaiian restaurant. I (Tom) had there Hawaiian style prime rib and it was very good.

Sunday 4-8-12 Tom got a good early start and set up a pop-up tent top as a cover from the sun that he could move back and forth over the track he was working on. Tom put all the ties in under the joints tightened all of the screws on the inside rail and then loosened all the screws on the out side rail, he then when back to the switch coming off the main line, in front of the new depot, and started bending the rail using the template he previously rolled.  After working the track back and forth a few times, all finely looked good with the turn.

Tom then removed two more track panels and set the switch back in with one straight panel between the end of the turn and the switch. Lately we have fond that if theres room its best to have one 10-15 foot straight track between the end of a turn and a switch. This switch hooks to a switch on the return track and these two switches make a cross over that makes up a Y track so members can turn entire trains. The switch on the return track will be moved up a few track panels so that it matches up with this switch in the next few weeks, so we have the Y track back up and running.

After getting all of the track installed, the up track turn had about 26 inches between it and the down track from outside rail to outside rail which will work but it will be close for the 3 3/4" scale locos if they pass at that point at the same time. So I think it well be best to put in a "Yield To Oncoming Trains" sign on the up track at this point just to be safe.

Tom started installing 16" stakes (old cut off rail) in the ground on the outside end of the ties about three feet apart all the way around the outside of the turn thinking it will help hold the track in place.  About this time Howie Hueler showed up and went to work tightening up all of the screws on the outside rail. Then Steve Claude showed up and helped Tom and Howie scrape up the old ballast stone from the old rail bed and put it on the reset track.

Steve drove the stakes down flush with the top of the ties. After that Howie and Steve ran the work train over the (new) reset turn as a test and all went well.  They then went down the Crenshaw line and put the big stump that had been sitting by the windshield wiper table since Tom had removed it form the end of Crenshaw line a year or so ago and left at that spot. It was a good size stump maybe 3 feet across wet and vary heavy when removed from the ground, but now it had dried out so Steve and Howie say they had no problem moving it with a flat car down to the bush pile by the club house. While they were moving the stump, Tom stayed behind and leveled the rail from side to side on the track on the reset turn track and replaced the wood chips and some dirt on the inside of the turn to try to keep the ballast stone in place, and make for short step down off a car if someone had to get off in the turn, as that may happen since it is close to the depot.

Tom then started to put stuff away but as there was still some day light left and he moved the flat car dump boxes from the yard to over next to the club house so it cleans up the yard and Tim will be soon putting down track where they were siting so he can get to his car barn.

Tom also moved a lot of stuff to the side of the yard and now and it looks much cleaner. He also emptied the trash cans and removed the last of the trash laying by the side of the club house that was left over from cleaning out the club house a few mouths ago. Hauling stuff over to the trash bin is an ongoing thing as in the past and sometimes now items have been left at the club thinking we could use it for some project that never happened, or it replaces something old with some thing less old and the old items gets left out.

Tom then went back and put the tractor back by the club house then he watered down the new ballasted track on the turn so it will set in before the run day in a few weeks. It was a few long days of doing projects that were not always much fun but we got it  done.

Tom Downing  


Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Apr 17 2012 at 6:48am
On Saturday 4-14-12 Tom Downing moved the crossover switch on the Crenshaw return track to match up with the switch that was moved last weekend on the outbound track. Phil Cohen helped get the track ballasted back in. Tom will have to go back and do a fine adjustment to these switches, but they are good to go for now.

On Sunday 4-15-12 Rory Hawkins and Tom Downing replaced a switch in the yard for the track that is used to store the riding cars and the work cars in the club car barn. Tom built the new switch from parts from an old worn out main line switch. This new switch will remove a tight S turn in the yard that would  often derail cars. Tom will have to go back and put lighter springs in the switch point machine, as the old mainline springs tend to derail some of the lighter cars. He will also try to build a few kick type switch machines for some of the yard switches to replace some of the old non sprung switch machines, and try to reduce some of the derailments we have in the yard.

On Sunday Jim Berryman ran his large 3 3/4" scale RMI diesel over the new reset Crenshaw turn and said all went good.  
Tom Downing


Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Sep 08 2014 at 6:49pm
Well it has been since 4-14 -12 that I last did an update. Other projects at the club and my other hobby of running a race car have stopped me from working on the Crenshaw extension, but we are back at it now.

Myself, Dale, Brandon, and Robert Lee worked at clearing the line from the wiper turn table to the end. Then on the 8-16-14 run day Jim B. and I ran our trains on it for the run day. However, after in the day the switches went out of line causing problems. It looked like it was a heat kink it the rail.

On Saturday 9-6-14 my son Wyatt, me and new member Brandon worked at getting  both tracks cleared off past the switches. We got the dirt and wood chips leveled on both sides of the tracks so someone can walk beside the train if need be. Just a good safety thing I like to do if we can fit it in.

After working for an hour or so it was lunch time and the nice thing about being at the end of the Crenshaw line is that there is a gate in the  fence back 250' from the end for which I have the key. There are many food places just a short walk away.So the boys and I went to Lee's Sandwiches and had some spicy hot sandwiches then back to work.

I cut about 3/8" gap in the rails between the switches then aligned the switches and adjusted them. All seemed good so we staked the switch in a few places to try to keep them from moving around.

Our club VP Phil Cohen came by to help and we worked hard at getting the two sidings cleared and filled the ditches left over ballast from when we put in the tracks so riders can get off the car and turn around and get back on and not fall in a hole or ditch.

I didn't get a photo of when we were done as it was 9 PM and dark. We just had the street lights but boy the weather was so nice that night it wasn't bad being out there working on track. I had brought my folding chairs so we all could sit and take some breaks. If we had a BBQ and some beer we would have been all set! LOL

On the following day,  Sunday 9-7-14 run day, I ran my loco all the way to the end all day. We then had the riders get off and turn around and get back on the cars. Wyatt my conductor, would walk in front of the first car as I backed up the train all the way to the wiper turn table then we would turn the loco as the riders sat on the cars and watched us turning the loco around. We would then couple up and go on for the rest of their train ride. It worked well, but a turn table at the end would be better with less stopping.

Next I will start at building the turn table at the end of the Crenshaw track. We are thinking of a gallows type table. I have looked at other tables guys have built so I have something to go by. Right now I'm thinking of having a center pin in a 12"  cement Sonotube 3' deep, then a 5 or 6 foot rail ring for the weight of the table to ride on  with a 20 foot diameter ring rail for the ends of the table to ride on.  The table itself will be steel 6" channel while the rest of the beams will be wood and just for looks as the steel base will be doing all the work. But this may all change as I build it I guess we will see.

I still have to add one more siding track and after getting the ground all cleaned up down at the end of the track Phil seemed to think there was room for a track on the left side of the two siding tracks now there. I was planning on putting one more track on the right hand side  but it may work better on the left and that leaves us more room for a loading platform if someday we get to put a station in down there.

I think we well get a lot of riders for our trains as it is right at a stop light on Crenshaw Ave and there is a park parking lot right there too. All we would need is a few cement walkways, a loading pad and two gates and we are good to go. We will propose it to the city and see what they say. Time will tell but they have seemed very open to the plan when we talked to them about it.

Tom D   

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