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Construction Progress
From Rail & Wire Issue 68, June 1971

Trackwork has taken the spotlight during the summer months. Work was concentrated on completing the last leg of the wye. After grading and building up of the road bed, ties, rail, spikes, tieplates, track bolts, angle bars and all necessary materials were gathered and work began in earnest. After several weekends work the gap was finally closed. The first piece of equipment that was "wyed around" was done so accidentally when the Commonwealth Edison #4 was switching the private car Ely, dropping it on the west leg. The #4 then went out the east leg in order to get around the Ely and pick up some other cars which would be coupled to the Ely. The completion of the wye marks the culmination of many dreams and hard work. This much needed addition has now made it possible to turn single-ended electric cars and in the case of steam engines, we no longer have to give them back to the Chicago & North Western to take them up to Rockford and have them turned around.

The other track addition during June & July was the laying of 300 additional feet of track in smokey hollow." The steam servicing area, commonly referred to as smokey hollow by members around the property, is in the master plan as part of yard 8. The track was extended 300 feet, using 80 pound rail and is now fairly close to the edge of the south property line of the newly acquired acreage. This additional trackage is needed in order to keep the steam collection together in a central area. The U. P. 428 has already been moved there, and the remaining space will be used for storage of the Louisiana Midland #99 and other acquisitions not yet on the property.

Another trackwork related activity which was started during July was the purchase of three carloads of slag ballast. The three carloads were delivered by the Chicago & Northwestern and were used to pick up the low spots on the main-line between Olson Road and the boot creek bridge. The cars were delivered during the week, and with the help of Commonwealth Edison #4 and a gang of guys, they were dumped on Saturday and Sunday morning and did not interfere with weekend operations. A noticeable improvement in the ride was accomplished by the raising and tamping of the track at the approach to the bridge, a job which the summer employees did during the evening hours after operations had ceased for the day. A big "thanks" to all the hands who pitched in on this project. A side note related to the ballast project was a motion passed by the board of trustees at the July board meeting to purchase on a money available basis, enough ballast to raise and level the entire main line trackage from Olson Road to Karstens Crossing. At $350 per carload, this is a very costly but necessary project. If you'd like to help out on the ballasting project but can't get out to the museum, why not show your support by contributing to the ballast fund on the buck a project page.

From the Rail & Wire Issue 68, June 1971

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