2007 Arizona and Pacific RR Current Projects

Arizona & Pacific RR Projects 2007

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          This page of the website follows projects taking place at the Arizona and Pacific Railroad and gives visitors a chance to see the progress that was made in 2007.



          There are always projects taking place on the Arizona and Pacific Railroad. Two of the current projects are the transfer table and the 3 stall engine house. A 21 foot long transfer table is being built to connect a 3 stall engine house to a 80 foot long trestle. The transfer table is designed to appear very much like the A&P RR's trestles with concrete and block pillars which support 4x4 steel beams with railroad ties and rail bolted to the table.

After numerous delays, much frustration and many revisions, we finally received city approval on our architect’s drawings for our first three stall engine house and we've broken ground. The building will be 23 feet 4 inches wide and 40 feet long.



          The concrete and block pillars for the transfer table are complete. They support the 4x4 beam and guide rail that the transfer table's wheels ride on. The 4x4 steel beams of the table have been welded together, the wheels are installed and the structure rolls nicely on it's base. Last weekend we drilled the first 64 holes for mounting the ties to the table. The next step is to tap threads into all those holes and get some primer on the steel.

          The footer trenches for the 3 stall engine house have been dug and the rebar has been bent and tied up. The first city inspection took place this week and the project was green tagged. The next step is to pour the concrete footer.

Transfer table and engine house

View of the transfer table and the engine house

Transfer table

Transfer table under construction

Footer trench

Breaking ground on the engine house's footer trenches


          We welded our extensions on our transfer table, drilled the balance of the 70 holes, welded the bottoms of all the joints, tapped all 70 holes and primed all the surfaces. We also tracked down some reasonably straight 4x4s and cut them to length, filed the corners and drilled the mounting holes for the first 24 of the 35 ties needed for our transfer table.

          In our free time, we moved fourteen yards of concrete from two trucks out in the street in front of the house the 250 feet around to our construction site in the back corner of the rear yard. In all the excitement, I lost track of the number of wheelbarrow loads we moved, but it was somewhere north of 117… We also poured the footer for retaining walls for our new Rock Creek Trestle and the foundation for the rest of our platform steps – more on these projects in the weeks to come. We had help, but it was a still a very long day for everyone involved!

Transfer table and engine house footer

Primed and tapped end of transfer table and engine house footer

One of more than 117 wheelbarrow loads

One of more than 117 wheelbarrow loads is poured



          We removed 40 feet of retaining walls and added 30 feet in different places. This should be the last time we have to remove and replace major sections of our block retaining walls for track realignment – but we have said that before… The stem walls for our new building are up and came out nice in split face block; we wanted to have a solid cut rock look for the foundation. We received our stem wall green tag and were able to grout the stem and start soil preparation for the slab.

Stem Walls

Grouted stem walls and start of soil prep for engine house slab

          We finished the block and metal work on our walkway platform across trestle No. 5. The handrail awaits completion. We added 6 feet in length to the trestle that is now 81 feet long. We painted our additions to trestle No. 5, the walkway platform, transfer table, roller tracks for the transfer table and our sign frame. We also cut, drilled, filed and fitted the balance of the ties for the transfer table.

          Work continues on the new retaining walls on both sides of Rock Creek trestle. Next up is final assembly of the walkway and transfer table, finishing the handrail and continuing the soil preparation for the pouring of the slab.

Rock Creek Retaining Walls

Retaining walls for rock creek



          With the rain, irrigation and Easter there haven't been many work days since our last update. We did however mount the ties and the 2x6 planking to the transfer table.

Transfer Table

Ties and 2x6 planking have been added to the transfer table



          Lots of progress since our last update but unfortunately we won't have new pictures until next weekend. Dave's business trip had him out of the country the past few weekends and he hasn't had a chance to take photos of the Arizona & Pacific's progress.

          The rail has been installed on the transfer table and the first of two locking mechanisms has been fabricated and attached to the west end of the table. The east mechanism will be installed after the engine house has had it's concrete floor poured and it's rail installed.

          The planks have been installed on the walkway that crosses the east end of trestle #5 and the block steps leading up to the walkway have been completed.

Transfer Table

Rail has been installed on the transfer table and some of the walkway planks are in place

          Rock creek is nearly complete. The soldier course has been installed on the retaining walls, the river rocks have been placed and the creek bed has been cemented.

          Old wooden Trestle #1 which spanned rock creek has been demolished to make room for the engine house. A steel replacement trestle has been constructed and now spans the creek a very short distance from where the original trestle stood. A new switch will be installed on this trestle that will provide access to the engine house. This link takes you to a map of the right of way .

          The dirt sub-floor for the engine house has been compacted multiple times and is now ready for gravel. We've built up the ground on the north side of the engine house to span the gap between the engine house and the existing right of way with tons of dirt we got from our newest re-landscaping project.

          We've begun to re-landscape the backyard section nearest the back door of the Superintendent's house. That section of grass has never received irrigation water and it's difficult with just underground sprinklers to keep it as green as you'd like when the summer temperatures regularly hit 115°F. The existing grass was removed and several hundred square feet of ground was lowered about a foot by shovel and wheelbarrow. This lower elevation will allow the new lawn to take advantage of irrigation water during the hot summer months. Trenches were dug and underground sprinklers were installed for times when irrigation isn't available. We'll replace the lawn in a few weeks when sod becomes available. This project also provided much needed dirt for spanning the gap between the north side of the engine house and the existing right of way.

          I realize it's not a photo of the A&P RR progress but I did capture this photo of the elevated train last week when I was in Bangkok Thailand. It'll have to do until I can get over to John's house next weekend...

Bangkok Thailand

View of the elevated train in Bangkok Thailand



          As we mentioned last week we've made good progress on the walkway across the two sets of tracks on trestle #5. The block steps at the southern end are complete, the wooden planks have been installed, the handrail has been welded in place, it's primed and ready for final painting.

Walkway and transfer table

Walkway across trestle #5 at west end of transfer table

Walkway across trestle #5

Walkway across both tracks

          In the upper right corner of the picture above you can see in where the re-landscaping project to accomodate irrigation and get dirt is taking place. Bags of topsoil are stacked to be spread, leveled and rolled prior to the installation of sod. In the picture below the locking mechanism on the west end of the transfer table has been installed and awaits paint.

Transfer Table Locking Mechanism

Transfer Table Locking Mechanism

          The soldier course of blocks is complete on both sides of rock creek. The steel fabrication for the new trestle is completed but still needs paint. The holes for bolting the ties to the steel have been drilled and tapped and a few ties were attached to make sure the trestle was at the correct height when the pilons were sunk in concrete and buried in gravel. The north end of the creek where the irrigation valve is, has been cemented and river rocks were sunk in the concrete beneath the trestle.

Rock Creek

Rock creek and the start of old wooden trestle #1's steel replacement

Rock Creek Irrigation Water

Reverse view of rock creek with a little water at the bottom



          Despite the intense Arizona summer heat, we're continuing to make progress on the various projects taking place on the Arizona and Pacific Railroad.

116°F in the shade

116°F in the shade of the patio. The temperature of the gravel we're working in is ~140°F

          Since our last update, gravel and sand has been poured into the floor of the engine house and vibrated multiple times. Three sections of rail have been roughed into place, set at the correct elevation, gauged and welded. Angle iron has been welded beside the rail to ensure a 1" gap for the wheel flanges between the rail and the concrete floor of the building. A rebar lattice work is being constructed to ensure the rail can't move during the pouring of the concrete floor.

Track being prepared for concrete

Track being prepared for the pouring of the concrete floor

Engine House Floor

View of all 3 tracks in the engine house floor

          In addition to the work on the floor of the engine house, the sod has been laid and the re-landscaping project behind the superintendent's house is complete.

Sod has been installed

Freshly installed sod behind the superintendent's house



          There's been quite a bit of progress on the A&P RR since our last website update. The summer monsoons are here and the temperature has dropped to just over 100°F. The humidity has risen from 7% to 60% so it's a bit muggy but it's no longer 140°F in the gravel. I didn't have a thermometer that went above 120°F until the peak summer heat had already been broken so this is the best picture I could get... until next summer.

132°F in the gravel

132°F in the gravel. Cooked ham anybody?

          We completed tying and welding rail, rebar, I-beams and angle iron the weekend of the 21st and were ready to have the concrete floor poured the following week.

Rail welded to I-beams

The rails were welded to I-beams to keep them from moving during the concrete pour

          After a few final adjustments, we poured just over 16 yards of concrete on the 27th. Two cement trucks, a pumper and a few hundred feet of hose were needed for the pouring of the floor

Cement truck and pumper

The first cement truck and pumper arrive on the scene

Pouring the Floor

Pouring the concrete floor of the engine house

Concrete Floor

Concrete floor of the engine house viewed from the transfer table

Reverse View

Reverse view of the engine house's freshly poured concrete floor

          We are waiting on delivery of our door frames and blocks, but hope to have both wall lifts and those two inspections completed by the end of August. We also hope to have the roof trusses on site before we head to the Miniature Railroad Convention in Steelville, MO September 14-16.

          Prior to pouring the concrete floor for the engine house we installed sod beneath the transfer table. The BOB-sod we planted thrives when the temperatures at night are in the mid 80's. In just 2 weeks it's difficult to tell the grass hasn't been there all along.

Transfer Table Sod

BOB-sod thriving beneath the transfer table


          Our door frames and blocks arrived two weeks ago and we started on our first four foot lift not long after the materials arrived. We have three of the sides completed to the maximum height prior to our next inspection. With some luck this week, we will get the front wall finished to the same height working a couple of evenings after work. We are still hoping to get an inspection this week that will allow us to start on the second lift (next four feet vertically) the weekend of August 25. It is finally starting to look like a building…

4 foot walls

3 of the walls have been constructed 4 foot high

4 foot walls

Northeast corner of the building with rock creek in the foreground



          We had our inspection on our first lift and received our green tag to proceed with grout and Zonolite insulation on the first four feet of our walls. We completed those tasks and have finished three of the four walls to the eight foot level. We still have a few hours more work on the front wall around the three train doors to get that wall completed to the eight foot level. Then we have another pre-grout inspection before we can grout, insulate, place our anchor bolts and add the final four feet of block to the east and west ends of the building. I am so ready to be done with block and concrete work for a while and be able to clean everything up…

8 foot walls

3 of the 4 walls are now 8 feet high

          We have several railroad signs we will be adding in the months ahead. We recently installed one near the pedestrian walkway which will access the loading platform.

Stop Look and Listen

Stop Look and Listen sign near the pedestrian walkway

          We have had several people ask us why we have gone to so much extra work and expense to raise our roadbed, elevate our turntable and transfer table and build lengthy trestles when we live in the desert. Well I am lucky enough to live in an area that has “grandfathered” water rights with irrigation. Every 14 days in the Summer and 28 days the balance of the year, my property is flooded with 12 inches of water from one of our Arizona reservoirs. The average annual rainfall in the Phoenix area is only 8.4 inches so having 12 inches of water every two weeks in the hot summer is of great benefit to the grass, plants and trees on the property. It just makes building and operating a railroad a little more work, but well worth the extra effort. Here are a couple of photos of the water starting to fill the back yard.


Pedestrian bridge and rock creek trestle during irrigation

Rock Creek

Rock Creek trestle and enginehouse viewed from the pedestrian bridge during irrigation



          Since our last update we attended the Grand Scales convention in Missouri, visited the Wabash, Frisco and Pacific Railroad, engineered at the Flagstaff & Middle Verde's fall meet and visited several California railroads. The California trip included the RS&T Railroad, the Hillcrest and Wahtoke Railroad and Griffith Park railroads past and present. The Griffith Park odyssey included the Panella Pacific Railroad which has the original Griffith Park equipment, the Griffith Park and Southern Railroad, Griffith Park's LA Live Steamers and "Depot Days" at Griffith Park's Travel Town.

          We've posted photos and brief descriptions of several of those railroads here: Recent Updates

          At the A&P RR progress continues on our engine house project. We've completed all 4 walls to the 8' level, received our green tag for the Zonolite insulation and grout on the second lift. We completed that, installed the anchor bolts and extended both ends of the building up an additional 4+ feet for the roof. The trusses and roofing lumber are now on site and the roof construction will begin soon.

8 foot walls

8 foot walls and completed ends


The trusses await installation


The lumber for the roof has arrived on site



          Progress on the enginehouse continues. The shingles are in place and are a special dimensional shingle designed to look like wood shake shingles. The effect is much better from some angles than others, but they look pretty good all in all. The upper and lower windows have been installed and the flashing membrane has been installed around the upper windows. You will also notice that we have started on the steps up to the main entry. We are really pushing, as time and money permit, to try and finish the building before the end of the year, but it is starting to look like January before we can get it finished. We’ll see how far we can get.

Engine House

The Roof Has Been Shingled


          We have a bit more progress to report. The soffits have been enclosed and the soffit vents have been installed. The round vents at each end of the clerestory roof have been added and the wood siding on that portion of the building is now complete. The steps and hand rail to the main entry door are nearing completion. The mockup of the A & P logo has been added to the end of the building. The final version is very colorful and three dimensional instead of the mockup’s painted letters and ring.

A&P Engine House

The Wood Siding is Completed



          My computer contracted a virus shortly after our last update. After nearly a month in and out of the shop without much meaningful repair success, she was retired and replaced. Our updates should be back on track soon and the annual report should be available the first week of January as usual. Thank you for your interest and patience!

          We had a great deal more success in the last month with the engine house project than the PC… The exterior painting is complete except for the doors and door frames. The door hardware is all on site and will be reinstalled after the doors are painted. The exhaust fans and ductwork have been installed and only await the electrical. We went with two 429 CFM fans and eight inch ductwork. We have the four sets of double doors, the single door, 80 feet of vents in the soffits and the two large round vents upstairs. The mechanical people who calculate these things tell me that the two fans will be plenty; we’ll see and can install two additional exhaust fans if necessary.

A&P Engine House

Clerestory and Trim Paint Completed

          The steps and handrail to the main door are in place. The handrail still needs painted and the sidewalk is under construction. The pad and sidewalk on the north side of the building have been completed.

Front Steps

The front steps are complete and the sidewalk is in progress

North Sidewalk

The north sidewalk and pad have been completed

          Phase one of the building and its permit are complete and we passed our final inspection on that permit on December 11. Our permit for Phase 2 was pulled on December 13. This phase is the electrical. It includes the installation of a 100 amp subpanel, interior and exterior lights, numerous receptacles and the exhaust fans. It also requires upgrading and replacing the main panel on my house and 225 feet of trenching 20 inches below the grade to connect the two panels. Three inspections will be required. We have passed the first inspection, the second is scheduled for December 28 and the final will be sometime after the first of the year.

Electrical Subpanel

100 Amp electrical subpanel to service the engine house

          Phase three of the engine house construction project is primarily aesthetic and includes rock on much of the exterior, door veneers, insulation and some T111 paneling in the clerestory area and some interior painting , installation of the alarm system and some finish work. It will be late Spring before all these items are finished, but we will keep plugging away at it

Rock Facia

The cases of rock facia have arrived on site


The doors have been hung and painted with primer

          Happy New Year Everybody!

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