OK Railroad Museum Tracks


Bill Wasinger
 

For those interested, here is the Daily Oklahoman
story Wes L. referred to

<http://www.oklahoman.com/cgi-bin/show_article?ID=662150&TP=getarticle>

Accompanying photos can be seen at:

<http://www.oklahoman.com>

Crew refurbishes railroad for benefit of new museum
By Robert Medley
Staff Writer

Bob Hussey saw something that made him stop his
road-grading vehicle in the middle
of the abandoned train tracks.

He swung his stocky frame out of the cab and hopped to
the ground. Hed seen just a
small, rusty piece of metal sticking up from the dirt.
He bent over and brushed the dirt
off and uncovered a railroad tie plate with two
dangerous spikes. The steel artifact that
had lurked under dirt once held train tracks in
northeast Oklahoma City.

Hussey and his crew are rebuilding the same tracks for
the Oklahoma Railroad
Museums passenger train. The rusty spikes keep
puncturing tires of the workers
pickups. He tossed it out of the path.

Weve had four or five of them stick in tires, said
Harry Currie, president of the
Oklahoma Railroad Museum. The museum, under
construction at 3400 NE Grand Blvd.,
is scheduled to open in July.

Currie stood on the old track that once was built on
beds of black coal cinder. The
distinctive smell of train tracks mixed with
smoldering brush piles on a cloudy, warm
April day. The track hasnt been used for about 40
years. He pointed to some of the
abandoned steel tracks that were manufactured in 1906
by L.S. Co., of Buffalo, N.Y. The
leftover steel can be used again.

The track once again will wind through neighborhoods
north of the Carverdale
Addition and connect with track that was once used for
rail cars that hauled sugar to the
old Braums location at NE 63 and Bryant Avenue,
Currie said.

The work on the tracks should allow another train to
run soon from Bricktown near
Stiles Avenue to the museum grounds at NE 30 and
Grand, just off Hobby Horse Drive.
The Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking
Authority approved the work
because the project will improve the abandoned track
landscape, Currie said.

Museum volunteers raised about $15,000 to replace
1,600 feet of missing track between
NE 10 and NE 16 west of Page Avenue and east of
Miramar Boulevard. Crews lay 130
feet of new track a day.

John Torres, 19, lifted a spiked rail mallet over his
head and swung it down. He
connected with the head of a rail spike plink
driving it into wood, tightening
down the steel rail. Two helpers used a pinch bar to
keep the line straight as he swung
again and hit another spike. Plink.

That right there is the old-fashioned way of doing
it, Currie said.

Currie worked as a fireman and brakeman for Rock
Island Railroad as his summer job
when he was in college in the late 1950s. He didnt
have to drive spikes, though.

Torres and his brother Francisco Torres are getting
paid to drive spikes during their
eight-hour shift. They wear leather gloves and
protective glasses to keep metal chips
out of their eyes.

When you said, Ive been workin on the railroad
youd been workin on the
railroad. Trust me you get the full effect of it,
Currie said.

Museum organizers havent decided what kind of
passenger train to use. They could
decide on a trolley car, Currie said.

This will give us an entry into Bricktown, Currie
said.

It is going to be another attraction for Oklahoma
City visitors. And that is what it is all
about, Currie said.

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~!~!~!~!~!~!~!~!~!~!~!~!~!~!~!~!~!
Oklahoma - Our tornadoes go to F6!

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