Willow Creek & Orchard Valley Railroad

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Gra2472
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:02 pm
Location: Monte Rio California

Re: Willow Creek & Orchard Valley Railroad

Post by Gra2472 » Wed Sep 02, 2020 6:06 pm

We didn’t get evacuated thank goodness. It was really nice and quiet here for several days. Thanks for your service!

As for the railroad, thanks, it coming along a piece at a time.

I’m working on the mogul at the moment. I just peeled off the jacket and found the builders markings. It has a code boiler built by Winton in 1973. The working pressure stamp says 170psi! I think 120 will do nicely.
7.5" Allen Mogul
3 x 7.5" West Valley Baldwin Westinghouse Electrics
The Mrs. wants her railroad around the house!
G. Augustus
Monte Rio, Ca.

Pontiacguy1
Posts: 1215
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:15 am
Location: Tennessee, USA

Re: Willow Creek & Orchard Valley Railroad

Post by Pontiacguy1 » Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:24 am

Well, at least you know where it came from. And having a 47 year old boiler is a pretty darn good lifespan, I think. The Allen locomotives are a bit over-powered as it is, raising the pressure would only make it that much more slippery, so I don't know why someone would want to rate that boiler to do that. Maybe just going above-and-beyond?

Gra2472
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:02 pm
Location: Monte Rio California

Re: Willow Creek & Orchard Valley Railroad

Post by Gra2472 » Thu Sep 03, 2020 5:17 pm

Yeah it was a nice surprise to see that it is a code boiler. From what I have found, Winton boilers were code boilers. I can't see running at 170 psi, but its nice to have that factor of safety.
7.5" Allen Mogul
3 x 7.5" West Valley Baldwin Westinghouse Electrics
The Mrs. wants her railroad around the house!
G. Augustus
Monte Rio, Ca.

Gra2472
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:02 pm
Location: Monte Rio California

Re: Willow Creek & Orchard Valley Railroad

Post by Gra2472 » Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:16 am

Good morning folks. Work is slow this morning so I thought that I would share my progress on my home railroad.

Things are progressing well. In the past few weeks I have been splitting time between working on locomotives and rolling stock, or building track.

The track foreman has been whipping his crew mercilessly the last few weeks. The temporarily laid yard and main track around the front of the house and across the driveway has been rebuilt. The yard switch was moved and rebuilt from a curved, to a standard #5 turnout. The curved turnout was an experiment with mixed results, that resulted in moving it a few feet back and rebuilding it.

The next project was determining how to get across the walkway to the house. My wife and I discussed it at length, where she even suggest a drawbridge. A fair idea, but more work than it was worth. Of all of our ideas, the simplest won, and not by committee. I simply took a shovel out to the front yard to test the soil for digging. As it turned out, the front yard is pretty easy to dig. Not soft, but easy to get a shovel through and dig out big chunks. Kind of like digging through a hard cheese. I just started digging, and in an hour I had the trench cut 30 feet across the front yard. Well that settled that. Two more days of work and I had another 100' of main track in place, and a crossing at the walkway. Often, the K.I.S.S principle is the best solution.

I have found that for my own purposes, I prefer laying track right on the ground as opposed to building panels. I can build 20' of new track in an hour, just sitting on my flatcar and scooting along spiking ties and bolting up rail. The curves come out nice and smooth, and I don't kill my knees.

A few weeks ago the track crew caught up with the grading crew and work was halted. Well you can imagine the calamity. The track crew sitting around while the grading foreman got an ear full from management. (Not really, there was just a discussion between my wife and I about renting equipment to get the job done.) We rented a mini excavator from Home Depot the next weekend and got to work. Those little excavators are a hoot to play with! A tree, some very tenacious roots, and a number of old (ancient) stumps were removed first. Once the forest had been subdued, the right of way was cut through a modest berm in the back corner of the property. This being done, grading was completed from the end of track to the head of the planned "Fox Den" trestle, thus finishing most of the shovel work.

The next phase is the construction of Fox Den trestle, but there are several engineering problems to solve. Most stemming from the fact that we live in a redwood forest, and trees have roots. Who knew huh? I will be fighting with roots for weeks. Is there a merit badge for that? Anyways, things are moving forward and I hope to have the railroad "completed" sometime early next year. I have been toying with the idea of having the golden spike ceremony on Christmas day if the track foreman can whip the bridge construction crew into shape.

The future department is also looking for suggestions for a simple turntable design. As much as the shop foreman would love to have an inground hydraulic motorcycle lift as a turntable, management is resisting due to cost.

1. Looking from the crossing up the new main track to the yard switch.
2. Looking from the crossing around "Out of Plum" curve around the plum tree.
3. Our local FRA inspector checking on the new grade.
Attachments
main track 1.jpg
main track 2.jpg
RR cut Titan.jpg
7.5" Allen Mogul
3 x 7.5" West Valley Baldwin Westinghouse Electrics
The Mrs. wants her railroad around the house!
G. Augustus
Monte Rio, Ca.

Gra2472
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:02 pm
Location: Monte Rio California

Re: Willow Creek & Orchard Valley Railroad

Post by Gra2472 » Sat May 15, 2021 9:46 am

Good morning live steamers

I wanted to share a few photos of the newly completed Willow Creek and Orchard Valley Railroad. It has been a fun and challenging project that I have enjoyed building. It does not show it in the photos, but the railroad is anything but flat. It has three significant grades of about 2% each, with the longest being from the engine house switch to the grade crossing. The curves are a bit tight at about 32' radius. The track is 1" Cannonball rail from the mid 1970's that I got from a family friend. The ties are mix of 12" to 16" 2x3's. I started with 12" length ties as a proof of concept until the boss, my Mrs, gave the green light to build the railroad. She loves it and has invited all of her friends over for rides. The neighborhood kids are over nearly every weekend for rides.

I moved slightly over 12 tons of 3/8 crushed rock for ballast in the homemade hopper car during the course of construction. The last five tons went into the back corner through the s-curve and down towards the shed. I raised the track a little over 12" to ease the grade from 7% to 2% and extended it about 100 feet. That was a tough job shoveling rock but I made 33 trips at 800lbs per load in three days. I do most of my shoveling between 0700 and 1100 before the sun hits the gravel pile.

There are a few upgrades planned over the next few years. I plan to put in a siding along the front yard, and possibly a spur by the wood shed. For now I need to finish the pond and waterfall, and build the loading ramp so that I can have guests bring their locomotives.

For a railroad of only 450' it is fun and challenging little railroad to run.
I will be posting a video on youtube later today.
Attachments
racetrack2.jpg
20210407_231101006_iOS (1).jpg
20210413_212924761_iOS (1).jpg
7.5" Allen Mogul
3 x 7.5" West Valley Baldwin Westinghouse Electrics
The Mrs. wants her railroad around the house!
G. Augustus
Monte Rio, Ca.

Gra2472
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:02 pm
Location: Monte Rio California

Re: Willow Creek & Orchard Valley Railroad

Post by Gra2472 » Sat May 15, 2021 9:48 am

A couple more
Attachments
20210413_234012989_iOS-_1_ (1).jpg
20210415_214103276_iOS.jpg
Last edited by Gra2472 on Sat May 15, 2021 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
7.5" Allen Mogul
3 x 7.5" West Valley Baldwin Westinghouse Electrics
The Mrs. wants her railroad around the house!
G. Augustus
Monte Rio, Ca.

Gra2472
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:02 pm
Location: Monte Rio California

Re: Willow Creek & Orchard Valley Railroad

Post by Gra2472 » Sat May 15, 2021 10:07 am

Here is a video of one of the first trips around the railroad.
https://youtu.be/HSNN-C6fIEc
7.5" Allen Mogul
3 x 7.5" West Valley Baldwin Westinghouse Electrics
The Mrs. wants her railroad around the house!
G. Augustus
Monte Rio, Ca.

User avatar
NP317
Posts: 3035
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:57 pm
Location: Northern Oregon

Re: Willow Creek & Orchard Valley Railroad

Post by NP317 » Sat May 15, 2021 11:06 am

That is a delightful small railroad!
Thanks for sharing, and have fun.
RussN

Pontiacguy1
Posts: 1215
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:15 am
Location: Tennessee, USA

Re: Willow Creek & Orchard Valley Railroad

Post by Pontiacguy1 » Mon May 17, 2021 10:48 am

Who was it, Charles Purinton maybe, who said instead of building an 1800 foot track, just build a 600 foot track and go around it 3 times... the locomotive won't know the difference. Very nicely done! Hope you have a lot of fun with it for a very long time.

OddDuck
Posts: 343
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:00 am
Location: Somewhere south of Mt. Katahdin
Contact:

Re: Willow Creek & Orchard Valley Railroad

Post by OddDuck » Mon May 17, 2021 11:15 am

Very nice landscaping, too! Who says you need a hundred acres and 10000 feet of track? Can't wait to get my "first trip around" video done, good job!
"If you took the bones out they wouldn't be crunchy!" -Monty Python's Flying Circus

Gra2472
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:02 pm
Location: Monte Rio California

Re: Willow Creek & Orchard Valley Railroad

Post by Gra2472 » Wed May 19, 2021 12:03 pm

Thanks guys, much appreciated.
7.5" Allen Mogul
3 x 7.5" West Valley Baldwin Westinghouse Electrics
The Mrs. wants her railroad around the house!
G. Augustus
Monte Rio, Ca.

Kevin S
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:11 pm
Location: Rocklin, CA

Re: Willow Creek & Orchard Valley Railroad

Post by Kevin S » Fri May 21, 2021 9:06 pm

Hey, one of those switches looks real familiar.
-Kevin S.

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