Saving Tower 17

The Disassembly - Day 2

April 27, 2004

Day 2 proved to be quite eventful.  In addition to handling the Tower 17 move, Jim Vollmar was also coordinating the return of the freshly sandblasted and painted US&S Style B semaphores to RRM property.  An uncooperative switch and a train derailment near the site of the Tower also provided some entertaining distractions...

[Click on any image for a larger version.]

Day 2 was a little less productive then one would like.  Started out with Cherry showing up at 10:00am .  The first thing they wanted to do was to install the 2 metal beams which will be used for supporting the 2nd floor of the tower while the 1st floor is being cut away.  These beams are 37 feet long…the tower is 24’-8” long, which means that the beams will stick out from the building at both the North and South ends.  Since the North end of the tower is only 10 feet from the Union Pacific Main Track and the beam would stick out 5 feet from the tower, I felt we needed to contact UPRR to see how they felt about that.  Needless to say, they were not too keen of the idea and wanted to see it for themselves before making a decision.  They finally shown up at the tower around 3:00 pm and took a look.  They agreed to the installation but contacted the Dispatcher to issue a “Restricted Clearance” and a 10 MPH “Slow Order” at the tower (CP SA 36) which will remain in effect until the tower is moved.  Basically, the Restricted Clearance order will not allow anyone to ride on the side of any railcars or locomotives due to minimal clearances.  The 10 MPH Slow Order restricts the speed a trains can travel, usually across a bad section of track or around crews working on the railroad.  These restrictions are for the Union Pacific Railroad only since the BNSF Railroad tracks are not affected by our building beams sticking out from the tower.  Anyway, with that addressed and out of the way work can continue without any interruptions (Hopefully). 

The utility pole located on the South East side of the tower, which use to carry the telephone cables to the tower, has been cut down safely to make room for the tower move.  No Ken, it didn’t fall on the new metal tower building.  [Fortunately, "the cynic" was wrong this time! WebEd.]

Basically, 2 days have passed with minimal progress made to the building itself.  Monday had the Large Relay Cabinet which had to be moved.  Today was the Beam Clearance problem with UPRR.  Hopefully Wednesday will show much more progress associated with the Tower itself.  The Move is still slated for Friday but may slip out due to these issues mentioned above.  Will keep everyone posted.

Russell Straw Keeps the Trains Running!!

For those of you, who have not had the pleasure of meeting Russell, let me give a brief intro.  He is one of the founding members of the Fort Bend Model Railroad Club and has modeled the Sugarland Sugar Factory area in N-Scale.  He has been volunteering some of his spare time at the Tower.  Today, a BNSF train conductor had to throw a track switch manually.  The conductor was really having a tough time turning the switch so Russell lends a hand and saves the day, getting the switch to operate and allowing the train to continue on its way.  Those 1:1 Scale trains are a lot easier on the eyes then those N-Scale Trains.  

Semaphore Signals Arrive at the Museum!!!!

The semaphore signals we got from Oregon have been repainted white and black and were delivered to the Museum this morning.  They will be installed onto their foundations when we can get a “Cherry Picker” crane to lift them into place.  Uticon has one, but it’s at a jobsite and is not sure when it could become available.  Thanks to Jim Blott and Al Goolsby for their assistance assembling the signals.  [Blades and lenses were removed prior to sandblasting and painting. WebEd]

Train “On the Ground” East of Tower 17 !!!

Two gondolas “spread the rails” on the spur track which runs South of the Tower late Tuesday afternoon.  The derailment of these two gondolas is down by the Home Lumber Yard and did not have any effect on work at the tower.  The train was traveling very slowly when the derailment occurred.  Can not tell if there was any damage to the ties.  Track crews will have to repair this section of track.  

That’s all for now.  Thanks to everyone for their assistance with this project.

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