Friends COS calendar

A subset of the Friends of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with the mission of preservation, restoration, and interpretation of CTSRR historic assets. The Springs group is primarily involved in restoration. See below for blog archive of older postings. For a brief history of 470 please click the link below to the Friends website.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Finally.....also on 11/21/09

John Engs announced that the Friends has been awarded a Car Restoration Award by the Tourist Railway Association, Inc. for the restoration of Piledriver OB.
The happy (and hamming) group working this day posed with the plaque.


Craig started dismantling the interior to get an idea of what will be needed in the way of custom moulding, and I guess because he was curious as well.  He removed some of the interior panelling as well as framing around a window or two.  The window hardware is very basic and should not be difficult to replace.
Rosemary had the fun job of scraping old paint and varnish from the panelling.  The only good thing is that when you walk through the car it falls down on you, so it is no longer firmly adherent.
After more panelling has been removed, we can see the construction of the wall between the windows.  The cross-pieces were held in place by moulding which was glued in place, but the pieces are free-floating now.  Craig removed six of the vertical pieces between the windows, and discovered the NUMBER 470 written on three of them.  So, apparently the mystery of the original number of the car that we have been calling "0252" has been solved.  This would indicate that this car is the last of the series that was built.  Hopefully, we will find more documentation as we go forward.
Finally, this is a view of the icebox (who remembers when all refrigerators were called "iceboxes"?) that was installed later when the car was used for maintenance of way.  After the asbestos was (professionally) removed, dismantling was begun revealing the insulation used, i.e. wood shavings.

A Good Day

11/21/09  Today we began work on the foundation  for the protective structure for the car (and us) by laying out the footprint and the stakes for the holes for the frame poles.  Bob thinks the line looks pretty good, but is wondering how he is going to move that rail.  Actually, the plan is to use the rails to anchor the frame poles, rather than pouring concrete, in part to make the building more easily moved if and when necessary.
The next step is to drill the holes using the "helicopter" for the poles.  The "big boys" did the first one and the "little guys" finished the job.
Luckily we got all the holes drilled and covered, because the weather hasn't been very cooperative since.  The structure will extend beyond the car on this end to provide some covered work space in addition to the area in the woodshop (aka pod), which is rapidly diminishing because of the workbench, power tools, etc.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Got Piles?

Piledriver OB put on several demonstrations at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, CO, on two weekends recently.  On October 10-11 and 17-18, again assisted by locomotive 346 and Museum personnel,  OB was put through her paces.  Some metalwork was done by the museum to the weight guide near the lower part of the mast where the weight had been binding.  The donkey engine behaved fairly well, although will require some attention to keep it operating smoothly.  Otherwise, there were no glitches, except for near frostbite to operators on the first weekend.

Above, left, OB comes to the worksite behind 346.  The Golden Museum is building a portion of a trestle using the same techniques as was used during the time of this equipment.  We will drive the pilings for this trestle, and Museum volunteers will complete it at a later time.  After some switching to get 346 behind OB, and attaching steam lines, etc. she is ready to operate.  First we raise the mast, above right.  Points have been cut on the pilings to facilitate driving.

The mast braces are secured by the efficient ground crew, and we are ready to proceed.

The mast raising cable is disconnected from its drum on the donkey engine, and the lifting cable is attached instead.  A pile is hooked to the cable, and raised into position for driving into the ground.

The locomotive has moved OB forward to the end of the track where the trestle is being built.  After careful alignment of the piling, the weight is raised approximately 1-1/2 feet and allowed to drop.  If it is raised too high, the pilings tend to split.  Some guidance with straps, etc. is required to keep the piles straight.

At the end of the day (actually 4 days), below, right, we had set four pilings for the trestle, plus a practice one  further back along the track.  John is getting the rhythm down, and it is quite an experience to see and hear the operation of OB.

Thanks to Glenn Hall for help with the photos.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

OB Got Steam?!! 09-17-09

We are at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, Colorado with Piledriver OB attached to their beautiful old 346 steam locomotive.  This is to be the second time for a successful raising of the mast and smashing of a watermelon.  OB is at the front of a maintenance of way train put together by the Museum, and was planned as a learning oportunity for the crew as well as a demonstration in conjunction with the Narrow Gauge Convention.
On the left, the mast is up and secure.  The weight was initially lowered from the upper portion of the mast to act as a weight to help raise it.  There was some binding of the weight in the track in the upper mast which will need attention, but it eventually was positioned properly.  The watermelon is in place ready for the drop.

Success!  (if you like creosote and gravel with your watermelon.)  As you can see, a couple of ties were sacrificed in the process.  The weight was raised and lowered several times, and the only glitches were the cable coming loose from the weight at one point, and some slight binding in the lower track, not completely corrected with grease.                                                          
    We were able to rotate the upper portion of OB on the base 10-15 degrees without difficulty in both directions.  We left in the late afternoon satisfied that everything worked fairly well, and thankful to the CRRM for supplying steam and experienced help with the event.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

OB timeout Thurs. 9-10-09

Time out to install the new truss rod on OB at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden.
We picked up the new hardware this morning, and were fortunate to have help from one of the Museum guys with a backhoe to help raise and position the rod.  Right above, inside the cab the pieces came close enough to engage the turnbuckle.  Left middle, we had to do the reciprocating saw thing again to get things to line up with the plate on top of the corner post.  Right middle, after securing the forward plate to the deck (pardon the nautical terms), and tightening the turnbuckles, the rear plate was easily pulled into place and the bolt straightened and the nuts tightened.  The lower two photos show the (straight) rod now in place, before and after painting.  She is structurally sound again, ready for steam.  More cosmetic work to come.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


One of us (guess who) scrounged kitchen cabinets from a friend who had remodeled their kitchen, and one of us (guess who) got to take his trailer to pick them up and bring them to the worksite.  The cabinets are mounted over the workbench constructed previously from some (scrounged) doors.  The wood shop is taking shape.  Concurrently we are moving the woodworking tools and equipment from the storage trailer to the shop.
Happy campers, no?
We removed the plywood cocoon for exhibition to show the condition of the exterior.  The kitchen area constructed when it was a maintenance of way car is where the windows have been boarded up.  The remainder looks its 100 year age, although much of the wood is fairly sound.

Open House

We have cleaned house and are ready for the open house.  Access to 0252 has been provided with a platform and steps at this end, and a ramp at the other end.  The venture was a qualified success, with some visitors making it around the corner to tour the car, but publicity needs much improvement, not only to direct people to our exhibit, but to attend the event.  The number "15" is a mystery.  It was hanging on the wall inside the car when we opened it.  Another mystery: 0252 is not the original car number for the D&RG.  We hope to find evidence of that during the restoration process.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ready for the Open House

On the right, note the etched clerestory windows.

On Sat. Aug. 22 there will be an Open House at the Trolley Museum and new site of the Colorado Springs Friends of the C&TSRR. Yesterday we worked to prepare to show our new project to the visitors, including cleanup of the interior, building steps and ramps, etc. Things are nearly ready, but for some grounds work and last minute detailing.

The interior was very dirty, with broken glass and other trash strewn around. We encountered asbestos which was sealed off until later when it can be professionally removed. Here are before and after photos of the interior, as well as the "observation platform" for visitors.

The big picture. The truck is gone, and we are moving carefully over to the pit. Amazing how two men can push and pull 40,000 pounds so easily.

Setting it down carefully. This will be the new home for the next several(?) years.

0252 Arrives

Lower left: Angle irons. Lower right: Power line survives. Upper left: Ready to hook up. Upper right: Liftoff. Note the artwork.

Our Pullman sleeper left Chama on Mon. Aug. 10, and arrived at the Trolley Museum that evening. It made it under all the overpasses without problem, but not all the telephone lines. A line at the Museum was a casualty.

Tuesday AM a crane arrived to transfer the car from the trailer to the work site. We installed heavy duty angle iron under the car to distribute the forces on the structure, and placed the lifting straps on these irons. A heavy duty forklift helped with this task. The move went off without a hitch, and the car is resting on ties placed over the rails on the pit.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Actually, prior to glueing, we placed the spreaders between the rails (standard gauge), and aligned them as best we could to the old concrete. After applying the glue, the rails were let down in position and spread and alignment re-checked. They won't support a coal train, but will be quite adequate for positioning 0252.

Meanwhile, the sleeper was cribbed up last week in Chama and due to be trucked to CoS tomorrow (Monday, Aug. 10). It was determined after access was gained to the underside that the sills had more rot than could be seen before, and it will have to be moved more gently. Therefore, a crane has been scheduled to unload the truck at this end. Initially, it will be place on cribbing over the rails until the dollies can be built later.

See John glue. See everyone hard at work. See the rails almost straight.

We're ready

After cleaning up and grading around the old service pit, we began the process of setting rails for a dolly to carry the car to be worked on. The old concrete was crumbling and uneven, but there were track plates set in place previously and those spots were reasonably level. We placed concrete pavers in place where the old plates had been (with some occasional fudging), and glued them down, followed by glueing the steel plate on the paver.

Monday, May 25, 2009

OB Model

It was a long, cold winter according to Craig McMullen who built this model of Piledriver OB. It is a remarkable achievment, with exquisite detail, and many functioning parts. The mast will raise and lower, and the bracing is very accurate. There is a model (but not functioning) steam engine in the cab that can be seen through the open door. He even made a tender car to accompany OB. The photos were taken on Craig's garden railway. For newbies to this site, the real OB was recently restored by the Friends here in Colorado Springs, and was returned to the C&TSRR last year for display. It is planned to be loaned to the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden this summer, arriving in late June.

Moving day

The plan is to build a platform between the trailer and the woodshop that extends toward the pit area on the right. A shelter is planned over the pit as well. Hopefully we will have some protection from the elements eventually. Storage space is planned in front of the trailer (at the left in the photo). The Trolley Museum is planning electrical service to available on the corner of the roundhouse seen next to the pit in the photo.


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