SPECIAL THANKS to volunteers, Cody Cagle, Don Ramey and Phil Raynes
Refurbished antique trucks (wheel sets) are exchanged for worn out wheels on one of the passenger cars in September by our volunteers.
Nov. 21 - Caboose and Railcars Moved (time lapse video)
Refurbishing antique trucks (wheel sets) to replace worn out wheels on one of the two passenger cars. Volunteers Phil Raynes and Joey DeVitto from northern Ohio helping DRG staff member Mark Milbourne (IT director/railroad coordinator).
(l-r) John Furst, Paul Bellamy, Rich Taylor, Willie Tyree, Larry Thompson, O.J. Cain repair one of the passenger railcars.
In late 2001 a large rock fell onto the rails completely blocking passage to the final 1/2 mile or so of the railway through the gorge. While this was not on the restored part of the track, the remaining track had been made serviceable enough to get to the bridges when needed, so this was quite a blow to the DRG RR gang who had worked so hard to get the track passable. Early in 2002, a few volunteers spent a day with wedges and sledgehammers and managed to work a crack open to separate the top 20% or so from the main part. Another effort a few weeks later with a rock buster attachment on a skid loader only got a bit more chipped away and there were no other cracks to use for more splitting. A test hole with large hammer drill and rock bit took a very long time and wore out the bit, so blasting was out of the question unless a giant air compressor and rock drill could be dragged all the way up there (nearly 2 miles). So the rock just sat... and sat... and sat.
In the fall of 2003, an attempt was made to shove the rock with cribbing and large jacks. Although the crew succeeded in jacking and flipping the previously severed top portion out of the way, the main part of the rock remained steadfast.
Enter Alan Wilber and Tom "Raildawg" Falicon, who visited DRG in November 2003 as part of a group of railroad motorcar (small gasoline powered track inspection vehicles) enthusiasts for an outing on their motorcars. Tom had also been part of the first shove attempt. Alan recruited a third motorcar friend, Robert "Hoppy" Hopkins and they returned in March 2004 with a 60 ton hydraulic jack, other tools, and much determination.
On Friday, Alan and Hoppy used the 60 ton jack to lift one side of the rock at a time to allow a rails to be slid under. Then several 15-ton mechanical jacks were dug into the ground and placed at an angle against the rock. With three of these jacks being operated together, the "immoveable object" finally yielded to "irresistible force". Each click of the jacks moved the rock a few millimeters. At times, each jack operator was putting his full weight on the four foot jack handle. It was slow going as the jacks had to be moved and dug in again every few inches. By Saturday evening, the rock was just clear of the outside rail. A final effort on Sunday afternoon put the rock about 5 feet off the track centerline, enough clearance for rail equipment to pass.
So, a BIG, BIG thanks to Alan, Hoppy and Tom. Thanks also to Phil Raynes, Steve West and staff member Mark Milbourne who assisted, and to Tom's wife Mugz who was primary supervisor and cheerleader. Special thanks also to Phil's neighbor, Jeff, for the loan of the 15-ton jacks. Thanks also to Phil, Steve, and Tom for getting the top piece out of the way last fall, and to Johnny Graybeal, Vincent Daugherty and Richard Burleson for the early removal efforts.