Tie Project Update – March 2016

The line is now open between Parkton and Red Springs. The tie installation project and the punch list are both complete. The contractor will have their equipment in Red Springs on the siding, pending further work to be done in the next little while. That being possibly to rebuild the small dirt crossing just North of Hollis Siding North End switch. The Advanced Warning sign and Blue Flag protection have been removed from Hwy 71 Shannon and Wagon Wheel Road.

The track looks great although there will be some hilly spots. You may ask…”why is it hilly or humpy?” The only thing we did was to remove the old ties and install new or relay ties. The next step when doing this process, is to add ballast (rock about the size of a chicken egg) to the areas where we installed ties. The next step after that, is to bring in a tamper, which actually lifts up the rails and crossties in low areas, suspends it about 2 or so inches high, then vibrating forks vibrate the new ballast rock and at the same time, these forks move in and outward, to force the new rock under the low ties. Then the tamper moves to the next tie and does the same thing until that portion is somewhat level. The last thing is to bring in a ballast regulator or broom, which has large rubber fingers that are on a rotating arm. These fingers brush extra ballast rock down and cleans up the area to make it nice and pretty. But, since we don’t have that type of equipment yet, nor any ballast, we will do the best with what has been done.

Use caution when riding through this area, but everything is within acceptable ranges guagewise. There will still be the slapping sound because of the loose joint bars. Until we can get the bolt machine on site, the rail joints will remain loose and make allot of noise as we pass over.

The last thing I’d like to ask……..if anyone plans to ride this in the near future, I’d like to have a plate pickin’ party. What that is…we purchased two pallet loads of tie plates. One and one half pallets were used and there is still a half pallet of tie plates, sitting on a wooden pallet in Shannon. I’d like for those riding this weekend, to please load all those plates that remain on the pallet and take them back to Red Springs and place somewhere on the East side of the new Maintenance of Way (MOW) shed in Red Springs. I also plucked a few plates as I was walking the line today and placed them on the butt end of the East crosstie. You will see those as you ride. FYI…the East is the left rail as you are riding from Parkton to Red Springs. Please pick those up as well. We can reuse them next year of the next series of ties we install.

Thank you everyone for your support and patience on the installation process.

Rick Tufts

                 New Ties

View looking North at Clearwater Road, new ties awaiting installation


Tie Inserter

Tie Inserter doing its thing…installing ties just south of Clearwater Road


Blue Flag

Blue flag protection north of Hwy 71 in Shannon to keep everyone safe during tie work.

 Blue flag means do not pass this point