on the Railroad, 4/25/03
Union Pacific decided to rebuild the railroad that runs through Santa
Cruz. Late last year Santa Cruz County became the train wreck capitol
of the U.S. when we had three derailments in less than three months.
work on the railroad started, I was expecting to see thousands of Chinamen
with coolie hats and pick axes jabbering in Chinese and swinging away
to replace things. Instead of Chinamen, Union Pacific used machines. Not
as interesting as Chinese coolies, but a bit unusual in it's own right.
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are all kinds of small wierd machines that run on the tracks. Note the
bundles of railroad ties piled along the tracks. One of the first machines
did nothing but break open the bundles and position ties for the machines
that followed. The machine in the fourth picture yanks out railroad spikes.
leave the rails in place, but remove the spikes and old ties. The machines
in the next panel reach over, grab a new railroad tie and shove it underneath
the rails. Note the closeup. The final machine drives in new spikes.
cleanup truck has to be the damnedest machine I've seen in a while. It's
a semi truck, on railroad wheels, with both a fifth wheel and a coupler,
and a sleeper cab. It tows a flat car with a small crane that picks up
the old ties to get hauled away. Efficient, but Chinamen would have been
more fun to watch.
final machine that's awesome! It's called a "tamper". It's one
huge self-driven car. In the first picture you see the whole thing. In
the 2nd picture where I highlighted an area, the tamper actually lifts
the track it's sitting on up by 3-6 inches. Hard to believe, but it does
it. On the final two you see mechanical claws that tamp ballast (the railroad
gravel) underneath the lifted-up cross-ties. Again, no Chinamen.
the boats. After a hard day watching them build the new railroad, I noticed
that all the sailboats were out. Nothing to do with the railroad, but
how can you go wrong with sailboat pictures?