Volunteer much? MOW NCRY style

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Niles Canyon Railway http://www.ncry.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=541047&module_id=260397

NCRY is an all volunteer organization. There are many different options for volunteers from ticket sales, car repair, train crew, bush wacking and PLENTY for the MOW groups.

There are actually two different MOW groups one on the first Saturday which builds track in the new Valley Section heading East to Pleasanton, CA. The main MOW volunteer group is WEDMOW Wednesday Maintenance of Way where they meet at 8:00 AM every Wednesday (except during Train of Lights (TOL) where they work as train crew and Santa (you will see why).

Many of our volunteers have had previous experience working on trains but not all. Some aspire to be hired by the railroads such as UP but most are retired and wanting to have the cheapest work out gym available. For $48.00 per year anyone can join the PLA (Pacific Locomotive Association) and then you can ride the trains every Sunday for free. While most memebrs do not volunteer at least 120 do volunteer.

MOW is the workhorse of the PLA where all track repairs, painting, graffiti removal is done, where technical repairs are completed on a weekly basis.

Need to lose weight? Gain muscle, slim down for a cruise, tired of fighting for a parking space at a stuffy gym? Well come on out to the yard and get to work!
Smoke Chaser Smoke Chaser was used to follow steam locomotives and put our fires caused by the trains. NCRY now uses her as a transportation vehicle. First there s ALWAYS a long list of TO-DO'S for the MOW crew. After having a briefing session and then moving equipment around to get the right flat cars, the blue room (toilet), compressor car etc... We are all ready to head to our volunteer assignment. Some of the assignments are welcomed while others are dreaded. We have about 6 to 8 regular volunteers so there might be three jobs for the day with three groups heading out onto the track.

Bolt tightening is most likely the least favorite as we have 6 miles of track we run weekly on. Just like the Golden Gate Bridge painting, bolt tightening NEVER gets completed. Once you get to the last ones the time is already started on the first bolts tightened a year or so ago. Every bolt is tightened by hand...... some bolts seem to be one size while two other bolts happen to be a totally different size so wrenches do not always fit two bolts on the same joint.

Morning briefing

Tree cutting....the more it rains they more they grow!

1970 Ford Bucket truck is used to reach high and low branches, There really is so little a person on the gorund can reach with a chainsaw safely. When using the bucket truck it is placed onto the rails by the use of Hi-Rail equipment. Getting it lined up correctly onto the track evenly seems to take time to get the wheels to line up evenly. We do the back hi rail first then the front one.

First thing done is to run the bucket from the bed of the truck to make sure it works with no one inside the bucket. The PTO (power take off) must be set at 2,000 RPMs to actuate the mechanisms correctly.

Heading East to trim trees.

View from the middle seat in the truck as we head down the rails.


Wonder what the drivers on the highway think when they see this coming pretty close and the wrong way towards them? Yes, we are on the rail line but optical allusion is differnet when driving into the canyon.

MOW made walkways for the space between the rails and the roadway. Of course one was put together a bit incorrectly and it was taken back apart at the depot loading area and correctly done.

The NCRY MOW team is a great group of guys!

The Wednesday Warriors group is restoring the inside of the 1949 car. Here is the process so far.

The picture of the red metal is inside the window frame area pointed upwards.

Volunteers are preparing the 999261 Santa Fe Caboose to be painted by Greg the contractor who has already (on his own) painted the WP 713, M200 and SP 1195.

Here are some of the preparations for painting the other side of the caboose. At first those in charge choose to only have the one side painted but upon finishing the new paint was shown to make the caboose look 1,000% better.


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