2011 Arizona and Pacific RR Annual Report

2011 Arizona & Pacific RR

Annual Report

          I think it is fair to say that 2011 was one of our busiest ever on the A & P. I didn’t have the opportunity to travel to any out of state railroads this year, but used that time to get some additional projects completed here.

          Once again this year, it was a pretty even balance among construction projects, shop projects and other projects.

Construction Projects in 2011

          We added seven sets of block steps in the back yard to provide better access to various parts of the A & P. Four of these sets of steps have handrails; a fifth set will have handrails added next year.

          We added three additional wood plank walkways across the train tracks in various places to improve access and safety.


Walkway from Verde Jct to the loading platform

          We modified trestle No. 5 to provide easier access to the switch stand on that trestle.

Switch Stand Platform

Switch stand platform on trestle #5

          We lengthened our loading platform by 7 feet; it is now 52 feet long. It has been extended two of the last three years.

          We added 2 hose bibs near the railroad right-of–way in opposite corners of the backyard that allows us to water trees and other vegetation as well as wash railroad equipment without having to drag a couple hundred feet of water hose across the yard.

          We completed the tongue and groove ceiling in the engine house. It took almost three months of a couple of nights a week working until past midnight and a half day Saturdays and all day Sundays to get the ceiling, the clerestory areas and all the trim completed. It’s been a long time since I did that much work working with my arms above my head; partway through the project I was thinking that a sheetrock ceiling would have been just perfect… Now that it’s finished and I have some blood flowing to my arms and hands, I’m very pleased with the look and the way it turned out.

Engine House Ceiling

Engine house ceiling

          We built a block patio area roughly 20 feet by 9 feet in between trestle No. 5 and trestle No. 2 that we are calling Verde Jct. It is shaded by two trees in the summer and provides a nice place to sit and relax and watch railroad activity or just sit and swap railroad stories.

Verde Jct

Verde Jct during construction

          We completed the preliminary phase of the speeder trestle realignment project.

Maintenance Projects in 2011

          I feel as though I own more property than I did at this time last year as I added 61 tons of granite to the yard in November and December… About half of the gravel was used in the front yard on a conversion project from grass to desert vegetation and desert landscaping. More than 120 cactus and low water usage plants were planted. It will definitely give the railroad a different look in the front yard this coming summer. The balance of the gravel was used in a sidetrack leveling and ballasting project in the back yard.

Desert Landscaping

New desert landscaping looking East

Desert Landscaping

New desert landscaping looking West

          In addition to the routine track and train maintenance projects, there is always something on a railroad that needs refinished, repainted or replaced (wood). We sanded, stained and resealed the water tank and also resealed the wood in the two park benches that serve the waiting area near the engine house. Our original 60 gallon barrel behind the engine house was also resealed. We could let these projects go longer, but to really keep the wood looking nice in this hot and dry environment it needs to be resealed every 12 to 18 months.

Water Tank

The water tank was refinished in 2011

Shop Projects in 2011

          We made considerable progress on both the S-16 Bumble Bee project and the G-16 project this year, but neither is quite finished. We also worked on a number of other projects in the A & P Shops this year.

S-16 Bumble Bee

          There remain a few cosmetic tasks to complete and then disassembly and painting but the Bumble Bee S16 is a far cry from the frame and cardboard boxes of parts we moved into the shop in November of 2009. It really was a comprehensive rebuild if there ever was one.

Bumble Bee

The Bumble Bee S16 Arriving at the A&P RR in November 2009

          Over the past two years, the power trucks, tender trucks and the transmission were rebuilt. The Wisconsin engine had been rebuilt previously, but the fuel pump needed replaced and the carburetor overhauled after sitting in storage for several years. Part of the air cleaner was missing as were the mounting brackets; we located the missing air cleaner parts on Ebay and fabricated the brackets.

          The engine and the tender were rewired and replumbed. New gauges, fuses and sensors were installed. The headlight and tender light assemblies were reworked. A battery tray, brackets for the alternator and a mounting rack for the compressor were fabricated.

Bumble Bee

Getting ready to install the motor

          A shifting lever for the transmission was designed, fabricated and installed. The entire exhaust system was fabricated. The pilot was extensively rebuilt.

          Large sections of badly damaged or rusted sheet metal was cut out and replaced. Extensive sheet metal work was completed on both the engine and the tender. A coal bunker was fabricated on the tender. The bell and whistle assemblies were rebuilt, all the missing false drive wheel assembly parts were fabricated and that assemby reworked and rebuilt. The handrails and staunchions were reworked and parts replaced.

Bumble Bee

Bumble Bee S16 brass

          A new compressor, alternator and fuse box were installed.

          We fabricated the pilot beam support rods, mounted the new smokestack and modified the smoke box breast plate to closely resemble the prototype including the stay bolts. We replaced two small damaged brass bands around the boiler with three wider ones. There were other smaller projects on the Bumble Bee that are just too numerous to mention.

Bumble Bee

The Bumble Bee S16

          It was personally very rewarding to have the Bumble Bee back on the tracks and running after more than twenty-five years of inactivity. One of my favorite parts of this hobby is taking a S16 or G16 that is not far from the scrap pile and bringing them back to life.

Bumble Bee

The Bumble Bee S16 in May 1996

Bumble Bee

The Bumble Bee S16 operating at the A&P RR in 2011


          We also made considerable progress on the rebuild of our G-16 No. 582 this year.


G16 number 582 Circa 1997

          We still have No. 582 up on the rack and she hasn’t seen the rail yet, but we aren’t too far away. We started the rebuilt Wisconsin engine for the first time since it has been in the G16. She sounds great rumbling through those headers; those of you who have ever been around a G16 know exactly what I’m talking about!

          We had a major setback mid-year when our two Bendix hand valves were lost in shipping while being sent to CA for rebuilding. We eventually found another one complete and parts from three sources with which we assembled a second one. We obtained the parts and rebuilt the second set ourselves.


G16 instrument panel and rebuilt Bendix hand valves

          We rebuilt the transmission shifting mechanism. We modified some of our earlier plumbing work to place fittings and hose connections in more accessible areas.

          We solicited help from one of our creative fabrication buddies who designed hood hinges for us. We still need to fabricate the two hood rods and clips and cut off the original hood brackets.

          Another really skilled design and fabrication friend of ours designed and built a parking brake system utilizing the brakes and brake shoes already in place on the G16. We don’t have it installed yet and there will no doubt be a few bugs to work out, but I think it will add an additional safety feature to its operation and I am pleased with the concept.


G16 number 582 during restoration

          We obtained one of the two gas tanks and some knobs and switches we need for our G16 B Unit restoration.

          We completed additional minor projects on the G-16 that are too numerous to mention.

Other Shop Projects in 2011

          Arizona and Pacific engine No. 2 also received some attention during the year. The original sheet metal housing for the eight battery tray worked fine, but it was really just a first effort mock-up to see what would work and what we really needed. I was ready to fabricate one that was both more aesthetically pleasing and had some additional functionality. We made several changes from our original mock-up. The changes included a recessed mount for the battery charger cable, repositioning of the parking brake shaft, a spring closed access door for the cable head to the battery charger cable and a new brass handle and a name plate.

          We also welded closed the original bell cord hole and moved it farther to the outside of the bulkhead so that the bell cord now misses the sand dome. This bell cord hole was about an inch closer to the center of the bulkhead than any others I have seen and the bell cord rubbed the paint off the side of the sand dome.


Arizona and Pacific engine No. 2

          I know it doesn’t sound like much, but I had two weekends getting everything done the way I ultimately wanted it…

Engine House and Collections

          We mounted and displayed several of our Allan Herschell and Miniature Train Company catalogs, photographs and advertising literature in the display cases in our engine house.

S-16 Display

S-16 literature and photo display case

          We added a Vintage Freestone Railroad sign to our engine house collection and display.

          We mounted and have on display two Allan Herschell switch stands (one a right hand and one a left hand) in the engine house. We acquired the switch stands unused and in their original 1960 shipping crates a few years ago. The shipping labels (April 1960) are also on display.

MTC Display Wall

MTC/Hershell display wall

          We added another unusual variation of a Miniature Train and Railroad Company torque wrench to our engine house collection and display. For those of you who may not know, P.A. Sturtevant the founder of the Miniature Train Company was the inventor of the torque wrench. From the late thirties through 1956, the purchaser of a G12 or G16 train received a complimentary torque wrench with the train. Several different styles were available over the years and we have some of those styles on display.

          We added two builders plates to our collection of park train builders plates this year. The one is off an Ottaway 12 inch gauge steam engine and the other is the front button off a 24 inch gauge Crown Manufacturing steam engine. I am very excited about both acquisitions.

MTC Display Wall

Builder's plate display

          We added three additional corner display shelves in the engine house that are also whitewashed alder to match the other display pieces.

          Our MTC track gauge had sat on the floor in the engine house for the last year or so since its restoration. We made a display stand for the gauge and its handle so it is now mounted on the wall high enough that the gauge and its face can be easily seen.

          We fabricated mounting brackets for brooms and dusters and added three storage shelves for different fluids that are used frequently in the engine house.

Miscellaneous Projects in 2011

          We built a brick and steel pedestal to mount and display a steam locomotive bell that we acquired during the year.

Locomotive Bell

Locomotive bell

          We fabricated a wall mounting bracket for a large fan that is now mounted in the front of the engine house over door number 2. The fan can be directed toward whatever area we are working in and the air movement can be felt all the way across the engine house.

          We rebuilt the patio behind the A & P Superintendent’s house.

          We fabricated four exhaust fan covers for the ceiling in the engine house. I still need to get them powder coated and then mounted.

Acquisitions in 2011

          We obtained a sandblasting cabinet that will allow much of the small sandblasting projects to be performed “in-house” instead of being sent out.

          We added seven full size switch stands to our full scale display. The stands are from a variety of railroads including the AT & SF, D & RGW, Nevada Northern and the Cumbres and Toltec RR.

Switch Stands

Switch stand display

          We were gifted a beautiful brass locomotive bell that we have on display. Thank you Malcolm!

          We purchased an additional 60 gallon wooden barrel that sits behind the engine house and adds to the ambience out there.


Behind the engine house

Travels in 2011

          We didn’t have quite as much time to visit railroads this year, but still managed to get out a little bit. The railroads we visited in Arizona were:

          The out-of-state railroads we had the opportunity to visit were:

Visitors in 2011

          We had the opportunity to host many friends and guests during the year and look forward to more of the same next year.

Plans for 2012

          We had a very productive year in 2011 and have lots of plans for 2012 and beyond including:

          We started our A & P RR website in June of 2002 not knowing if many people were interested in large-scale trains, the construction of our railroad or our shop projects. Since then, our website has been visited nearly 84,000 times and many have shared their thoughts and ideas. Some months our projects and thus our updates are far more interesting than others.

          Of the 100+ updates I have done over the years, the one that has received the most response to date wasn’t about the railroad at all, it was the one last year that included information and photos of the music video that was filmed on the A & P. Apparently guys like pretty girls in bikinis – who knew …smile.

Music Video

Music video filmed at the A&P RR in 2011

          Have a Great New Year and Happy Railroading Everybody!

Bumble Bee

Arizona and Pacific Railroad 2011

You can view previous Arizona & Pacific Railroad Annual Reports by clicking here

Back to The A&P RR Home Page