2013 Arizona and Pacific RR Annual Report

2013 Arizona & Pacific RR

Annual Report

Five S-16's

Arizona and Pacific Railroad panorama

          This is the tenth year I have written an annual report and every year as I look back on what we accomplished during the prior twelve months, I think it’s been one of the busiest years ever on the A & P. This year isn’t any different; it was a very busy year.

Construction Projects in 2013

          We typically describe construction projects in this context as brand new construction as part of or adjacent to the right-of-way. We didn't really have any projects that met that description this year. We did quite a bit of work rebuilding all of our curves and transforming the curves into a series of track panels instead of individual rails. This project was designed to keep our gauge consistent even in the seasonal temperature changes that historically have caused rail creep issues on our tight curves.

          Previously, as the rails grew and shrank in length with temperature change, the gauge was affected as each rail grew and shrank independently from one another. We placed gauge bars throughout the five curves on our layout. We can't stop the seasonal rail creep, but the intention is to have the rail move as a panel so the gauge won't be impacted.

Track Panel

Gauge bars placed in the curves

          In December, we sanded, restained, resealed and repainted our water tank. The staves of the tank, retaining rings, legs and cross bracing, soffit, ladder and even the frost box was sanded and refurbished. The tank was originally completed in 2005. She should look good for several more years.

Water Tank

The water tank was re-finished in 2013

Maintenance Projects in 2013

          We serviced our 9 switches. We lubricated where needed, adjusted the springs, cleaned debris out of the frogs, wings and points and cleared gravel ballast as necessary. We tightened, and in some cases replaced with longer ones, the four mounting lag screws on the foot plate of all the switches.

          We lubricated the turntable center bearing and the four large wheels that roll on the ring rail. We also lubricated the four large wheels of the transfer table. Each of the wheels has a zerk fitting; some of which are readily accessible and some which require some flexibility… Twice a year we service the turntable and the transfer table.

          Monthly we work on checking the gauge and regauging the curves when necessary, lubricating and maintaining switches, tightening tie plates and replacing ties. It isn’t exciting, or photogenic or sexy, it just needs done. There is always something that needs done on a railroad. From painting to lubricating to routine track and train maintenance projects to keeping batteries charged, there is always something demanding your time.

Acquisitions in 2013

          I acquired a medium sized used generator that we have placed on Gon 203. We have used it several times along with the welder and various tools as we performed maintenance work throughout the year. It is nice not dragging extension cords for as much as 125 feet to get to some of our work areas.

Gondola 203

Generator on gon 203

Shop Projects in 2013

          The lack of new construction projects was more than made up for with the number of extensive shop projects undertaken during the year. Many of the smaller projects don't get mentioned in the monthly or annual report.

S-16 “Sandusky”

S-16 Sandusky

S-16 Sandusky

          We replaced the batteries in our 48 volt electric S16, the Sandusky, as they just wouldn’t hold a charge under load any more. They were the original batteries that we placed in the engine in March of 2008. They haven’t really held a charge properly for the past few months. We get three summers and about three years on our car batteries in Phoenix as a result of the extreme heat - after that you are on borrowed time. It looks like we might do a little better than that on the locomotive batteries, but after four years, it appears they are on borrowed time too. We cleaned the battery cables that didn’t look as good as they once did and cleaned and repainted the battery tray as well. I had forgotten how heavy eight of those 6 volt deep cycle batteries are… It is great to have the Sandusky back on the rails and in good shape.

S-16 Sandusky

The Sandusky at the water tank

S-16 Sandusky

The Sandusky poses in the front cut

S-16 Red River

Red River

S-16 Red River

          The only significant project on the “Red River” this year was we added wiring to the engine and tender. We wired a "coach light" circuit to light up lights in any car it might be called upon to lead. Previously, Dave had wired each of our other four engines for this purpose and we finally got to this one. The "coach light" circuit is hot with the front headlight.

Red River

S-16 Red River in the Fall

S-16 Tucson


S-16 Tucson

          The Tucson received quite a bit of attention this year. We cut out the pilot beam and the front sections of the right and left running boards that were damaged years ago and replaced them. The pilot beam is now solid steel instead of hollow.


Replacing the pilot and the left running board on the Tucson

          We completed some electrical work on the Tucson. We installed six pin trailer connections on both the engine and tender. Dave fabricated a pig tail to connect the two. We also installed a six pin connector on the rear of the tender. We painted it black so it will not be as noticeable or eye catching in the future. Dave completely rewired the entire tender and rewired parts of the engine accessory package – headlight, dash lights, tender light, running lights and the related switches. Everything works great!!!

          She also received a comprehensive tune up as she had started running rough under load. We couldn’t determine for sure if the problem was electrical or fuel related.