New Siding for
Eureka Stamp Mill
Elevated siding for a future industry (another
"work in progress").
Written by Rick Henderson
At the end of 2004 when the Eagle Point Railroad reached the point where
the second trestle over Stillhouse Creek would start, a work siding was added
to park tool cars as the bridge was built. After the trestle was built and
track work progressed further down the line, the work siding became an industry
siding. Since this new siding was just downhill from the Stillhouse siding, the
idea of a Stamp Mill to fit on the steep slope between the two tracks evolved.
"Someday", we will add a siding up there for a receiving track and the lower
track would be for shipping, great for card-order operations.
The upper siding concept got a boost when, in 2005, an 11' steel bridge
span was donated to the railroad after it was recovered from the Hickory Nut
& Pole Cat RR in Long Grove IL. Since the slope was steep, a bridge span
would work well to reduce the amount of fill required to install a siding where
it was needed. Again, we would get to it when we could.
Getting around to it proved to be five years later, in the late spring
of 2010. The railroad had several projects going on and limited manpower to
work on them. There was more recently a 1,500 ft2 Educational Center being
built and a major cut through rock to complete a track loop that required over
a year of jackhammer work. The rock cut produced a lot of heavy stone pieces,
ideal for the stone abutment and retaining wall that would be required for the
new siding on a steep slope. Work finally got under way and took about two
months working part time on the project to complete.
Site of future siding
(beyond fallen tree)
Lower section of
retaining wall under construction.
First section nearing
First the retaining wall was started, which is a slow process as you dig
the base into the existing slope and then add layers of rock, fitted together
like a puzzle and backfill with clay dirt and pack tight as you build it up.
The retaining wall was built basically in two 10' sections starting at the
bridge span abutment end and working back to where the turnout ground-throw
would be set. The rock was hauled down from the rock cut and the clay fill was
hauled up from the depot building site's excess pile; all by hopper cars and
from opposite ends of the railroad.
A wood cap was added to the abutment to have something to bolt to the
bridge span. A single three leg steel tube bent was custom welded for the far
end of the bridge span and installed. After the bridge span received a couple
coats of a sealing paint, it was rolled out to the site on disconnects. The
bridge span actually weighs a couple of hundred pounds and was slid out over
the open space and set. Once it was bolted in place, the deck work started.
Siding ready for
Bridge span ready to set
Turnout was added in
Since this industry siding was on a steep slope and we wanted it to look
somewhat authentic, the decking for the industry only covered the track and
walk boards for people on the high side so there is less chance of someone
stepping off by accident. This puts the car on the edge of the elevated dump,
which is very typical.
The decking also includes an open area between the rails to simulate the
opening for dumping from the bottom of the cars. The people side of the decking
has a ramp to the passing track to get on and off the deck for spotting and
uncoupling the cars.
The dump operators shed was added close to the edge of the track on
purpose. This is to prevent locomotive foot pegs from passing onto the deck as
we do not want an engineer pulling out onto the deck and forgetting there was
only one side decked and stepping off the wrong side; yes, it would happen.
This may present a problem for some locomotives in not being able to push the
car far enough or being able to pick up a spotted hopper car. In this case, he
simply uses another car between the loco and hopper.
siding off lower track.
The siding, just 21' in total track length, took a lot of labor to
install. There is 24' of rock retaining wall and abutment stone work along with
the bridge span. It is also about the 60th industrial siding on the railroad
and an interesting card-order assignment. The local crew has to pay attention
to the way-bill to see if they are going to the receiving or shipping track for
the stamp mill because they are accessed from two different track divisions due
to the different elevations.
If you want a siding bad enough, they are possible just about anywhere
along the mainline. Now that both sidings are in, we can build the stamp mill
between them. Another get to it project
Written by Rick Henderson