Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum

Car No. 10 Car No. 10


House Track Extension

Trolley Car No.10 is back ... On track!


house track
Here is our end goal, two new turnouts and connecting trackage to the New Carbarn.

To be able to operate our trolley No. 10 into our new Carbarn, we need to install two new turnouts ("switches" for connecting two tracks) at the extension of the House Track. This page has pictures of that operation. You can also see a report on the building of the new Carbarn and one on the installation of the new trolley wire over the House Track which are part of this overall project.

Not shown here is that we did parts of this twice. When we first started, we planned to buy No. 4 turnouts (over $8000 a piece). So we laid out the track centerlines based on that assumption, laid out switch timbers for those No. 4's, and then put one set of rails back so we could keep using the track until we had the funds to buy the turnouts. Then Tony was able to acquire No. 5 turnouts (slightly sharper angle between centerlines), so we had to rip out the old ties and reset new centerlines. More work but we saved a lot of money.

We only need one turnout for the two Stall Tracks, but we decided to install another for an eventual Loop Track while we were here.

This may all make more sense if you look at the Site Plan (click on the image to get full-sized zoomable pdf version).

Site Plan

Our original plan had been to line up Stall One Track of the new Carbarn with the centerline of the House Track. This plan was foiled by the building code requirement that the new Carbarn be at least twenty feet from the Visitors Center.

house track
Here is where we started in Spring 2014,
the Grain Shed has been removed, the New Carbarn will be where the orange fences are,
and we need to install two turnouts between here and the pumpcar.
house track
Eventually there will be a two stall Carbarn here.
house track
We started by removing the rails.
house track
Then we yanked the ties out of the ground with the Boom Truck.
house track
All cleaned out and ready for grading.
house track
The Boom Truck earned its keep on this job.
house track
Dick uses the tag line to control the rail as Larry brings it up to the truck and Dave G oversees.
house track
The rail can swing uncontrollably without Dick's and Larry's guidance.
house track
Is that enough room for a No 5 turnout?

It took some careful detective work to figure out what ties to put where. The turnouts had been tagged somewhat when they were disassembled, but we received five of them so it wasn't always clear what went where. We hoped to use the old spike locations to aid in reconstruction, which mostly worked.

house track
Here we have started poutting down ties and the specialized tie plates.
house track
The points and stock rails are loosely in position.
These turnouts have guarded points and guarded diverging stock rails.
house track
Here goes one of the closure rails.
house track
Sam and Larry discuss alignment issues.
house track
Turnout 5 is in and the ties are laid for turnout 7.
house track
The ties have been numbered and the tie plates laid out.
The string helps keep everything straight.
house track
In the foreground is the frog for turnout 7, and the rest of turnout is taking shape.
house track
We've started spreading stone in turnout 5 for tamping the ties up.
It is tight clearance to the corner of the dock, but this track should only see No. 10, which is a narrow car and will clear it.
house track
TO 5 has been lined and tamped and TO 7 is mostly complete.
house track
Now what do we do?
house track
Tom, Dick, Wyatt and Jordan used pnuematic tampers to tamp up TO 5.
house track
Notice the New Carbarn foundation has been poured in the background.
house track
Track gauges, level boards, jacks and lasers help to get everything right.
house track
Amber and Mark keep up the tamping.
house track
Looks pretty good from here.
house track
More stone to spread.
house track
Here you can see the 'mismatch' (due to the Fire Code requirement) between the House Track and Stall One,
which has been laid in the Carbarn so we can pour the floor.
house track
Looking west.
house track
A crew of UMass Civil Engineering students came out to help lay ties for Stall One Track.
house track
Lots of supervising....
house track
Trying to get it all right the first time. It usually was.
house track
Predrilling the spike holes made spiking easier.
house track
Making sure the ties are evenly spaced.
house track
All the ties for Stall One Track are in place.
house track
Time for more rails.
house track
We bent these rails in place with a chain hoist.
house track
Some of those rails need to be cut to fit.
house track
Spreading more stone so the bent rails wouldn't move the ties over.
house track
South rail is in and spiked. You can see the chain hoist for bending the north (righthand) rail.
house track
Both rails are in and spiked. Betsy watches Rowan and Polly on the first trip into the Carbarn.
house track
Still needs some lifting and leveling, but we want to keep a sag here to keep water away from the Carbarn.
house track
Good enough for a Trackmobile.
house track
More jacking and tamping.
house track
The pneumatic tampers are back-breakers, but still better than shovels or forks.
house track
Two tampers work opposite each other while a third worker forks in stone as needed.
house track
We cross-bonded the rails here, with another wire to the other track for
grounding the power supply once it is moved over here.
house track
We spread barrier cloth before putting down the top gravel fill to keep the stone ballast clean(er).
house track
Meanwhile, all the joints from here to the end of the House Track need to be bonded.
Here is the cart loaded with the hand-cranked drill and bond wires.
house track
Here is the hand crank drill ready to drill a hole in the web of the rail.
house track
We laid 75# rail on its side to make flangeways.
Larry torched out sections to go around the joint bars.
house track
Larry gets Stall Track Two's bed ready.
house track
Ready for ties.
house track
The stacks help to get the 180' radius curve right.
house track
Stone has been placed on the outside of the ties to hold them in place when the rail is bent.
house track
The south rail is bolted up to the Carbarn rail.
house track
The UMass CE students came back for some rail placing, bending and spiking.
house track
We used the hydraulic (hand pumped) rail bender this time.
house track
Bend a little, spike a little...
house track
More spiking.
house track
Closing the gap.
house track
A better view of the rail bender.
house track
When it was first cut this joint wouldn't quite close. A few hours of cooling and it fell right into place.
house track
Ready for the last two rail lengths.
house track
Now Stall One Track can be filled and graded so trucks can access the Carbarn.
house track
The UMass CE's are back for more bending and spiking.
house track
This time we used a hydraulic ram to push the rail into the proper curve.
house track
Getting the last rail ready.
house track
All that's left is some tamping.
house track
The 3TM can go into either stall now.

But we left one spike out, so that on Nov. 1 2015, during Volunteer Appreciation Day,
we could have our very own Golden Spike Ceremony.

house track
President Sam Bartlett made some opening remarks.
house track
Dave G did the honors,
house track
with a golden spike and a golden spiking maul.
house track
Done!
house track
And ready for some inaugural caboose rides.
house track
First 'revenue' trip into the New Carbarn.
house track
These are tight turnouts, the telephoto view makes them look even tighter.
No. 10 squeals going through these curves.
house track
Looking west, the grade crossing has been installed in Stall Two Track.
house track
Compare this to where we started a the top of the page.

So that project is essentially done and paid for, with help from our members, supporters and volunteers. But there is still much trackwork to do on the rest of the House Track, as well and many other projects. If you want to support our future trackwork or restoration projects (caboose CV 4015, PCC car MBTA 3321, Fitchburg and Leominster No. 60) you can Renew your Membership or Join us as a new Member or join our crew of volunteers or make a donation at the bottom of the Membership page.

If you haven't already, you can see a report on the building of the new Carbarn and one on the installation of the new trolley wire over the House Track which are part of this overall project.

Any questions? Contact Sam Bartlett at trolley@sftm.org.


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Trolley Car No.10 is back ... On track!

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14 Depot Street Shelburne Falls MA 01370        413-625-9443       trolley@sftm.org