Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tie Project

Having caught the BNSF unloading new ties along the Staples Sub right of way earlier this spring, I have been watching for the start of what appears to be a major tie replacement project. It looks as if the project has kicked off, and major progress is being made. I caught them working on the project today as I passed through Royalton on my way home. The crew had just finished work and was heading into a siding when I stopped.

My first photo was of the "facilites" that are provided to the workers when they are working along the main. I really enjoyed the crescent on the door-it's a nice touch. (Remember, clicking on the thumbnails will open the full size image in a new window)

I grabbed another shot of the biffy as it passed by. This is quite an elaborate setup-looks like a water tank is provided for washing up as well.

The next piece of equipment that caught my eye looked to be a machine that picks up the used spikes. One of the things that attracted me to this was the CAT graphics on the machine-it was the only piece of equipment that I noticed that was made by CAT.

I grabbed a shot of about half the equipment in the siding at Royalton. I couldn't get a much better angle, with all the traffic and people in the area. I didn't want to seem like a psycho railfan to the BNSF people on site.

Next up is what I think is a ballast regulator. If you look closely, you can see the amount of work being done by the brush under the hood on the far end of this machine. There were ballast chunks being thrown all over the place. Definitely something you want to stay clear of, as a piece of flying ballast could make your day take a definite turn for the worse.

Just before I left, an eastbound manifest passed through the area at 25 mph. I heard the radio conversation between the foreman and the conductor and the the train crew promised to keep an extra close eye out for any workers as they passed through the area.

Obviously these shots were taken in high sun with less than ideal light. As the crew passes through the Wadena area I hope to be able to get out some morning and grab better lit shots of this operation.

Given the number of employees working on this project, maybe the best economic stimulus the government could have undertaken would have been to fund even more tie replacement projects. This was impressive, and the crew is making impressive progress, with the project seemingly complete from the Big Lake area all the way to Royalton.

Jim, out.

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