The On-Line Magazine of Rideable Model Railroading

  NUMBER 160


© October 19, 2010   

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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 completion.

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 ballast.

Bridge span ready to set into place.

Turnout was added in limited space.

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.

Completed siding.

Overview, shipping siding off lower track.

Operators shed installed

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

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