Volunteering — Blog Post #2

Volunteering, Niles Canyon Railway
Posted: August 11, 2015 at 4:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

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January 17, 2015

Today I got to go to east with the MOW team to the end of track just east of Verona. This is where the railway is building track towards Pleasanton. We rode in the MOW vehicle called Mongo, formerly of the Union Pacific. We took a small MOW flat car with us, carrying some PVC and metal pipe sections that would later be used for a drainage line near the tracks.

The section of track we were working on had the rails spiked to only a few of the ties. We had to position the other ties, install the tie plates and drive spikes to complete the process. I was shown how to drive a spike using a spike mal. I could barely pick up this large hammer, let alone swing it over my head and hit the spike. Eventually, I was able to drive one spike all by myself. I thought about how many spikes there will be for each mile of track. At this point, others arrived with a jack hammer and the pace of spiking picked up. I used a very long pry bar to hold one tie up against the underside of the rail as the spikes were driven home.

By the time we rode back to Brightside, I was completely exhausted. I am realizing how hard MOW really is. Everything is big and heavy, and there are so many things that have to be done to get a small section of rail ready for use.

Volunteering, Niles Canyon Railway

Daytime doesn’t last as long in the canyon. Brightside at 2:30 pm on a January afternoon.

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