NEW NEWS 2009
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DECEMBER 30, 2009
2010 SIGNAL DEPARTMENT POCKET CARD CALENDAR NOW AVAILABLE
The Signal Engineer has ready the 2010 Signal Department Pocket Card Calendars. When he is around where you are ask him for yours. The calendars indicate this years Shop Work Day (April 17th), Signal Roadway Worker Training and Exam (May 1st), Annual BBQ (June 5th), Signal Training Day (September 18th), Recertification Exam (November 6th) and Annual Dinner (November 19th). Also noted are Planned Signal Inspection Days and Holidays. On the back (not shown) is indicated, by month, which inspections are due and what Signal Activities are planned. To see the rear view CLICK HERE
If you are a Friend of the Signal Department and would like your own copy of the SSRR Signal Department Calendar just send an email to the Signal Engineer email@example.com indicating your name and address. While the supply lasts he'll send you one by snail mail.
HAVE A GREAT 2010!!
DECEMBER 28, 2009
FIRST QUARTER 2010 SIGNAL DEPARTMENT INSPECTION SCHEDULE
The Signal Department Advisory Committee has decided to evolve the Scheduler assignment into a three month (By Yearly Quarters) revolving assignment starting in January. All Signal Department personnel will receive a request for availability from the first quarter Scheduler Signal Maintainer Dave today. Please review the potential inspection dates (which Dave has added to our Web Site Calendar [Click on Calendar on the left] via Google) and let him know as soon as you can your availability. We have also added, for your convenience, the dates and times of the known SSRR Training classes in 2010. There is one day that our potential inspection schedule conflicts with one of the SSRR Classes. That is with one of the Brakeman classes on Saturday, March 6th. There are two sessions of the Brakeman training and only one session need be taken.
DECEMBER 26, 2009
NEW TOP PHOTO ON NILES SIGNAL WEBSITE
Go to the Web Links button here to the left and then click on Niles Canyon Railway Signal Department. When you get to the site take a look at the new Top Photo in the lower right. It is their F7 - WP918 leading the Train Of Lights. Great Photo, taken just at dusk I will guess, with WigWag working and train in the background. The colors are super. Take a look!
DECEMBER 24, 2009
DECEMBER 21, 2009
POLAR EXPRESS - MURPHY'S LAW (VARIANT) - COME TOGETHER!
The twelve days of the 2009 season of the Polar Express are finally over, however, with an incident on the last day. The incident also demonstrates the power of the most popular variant of Murphy's Law: "If anything can go wrong, it will, and it will happen at the worst possible time in the worst possible place." And that is precisely what happened yesterday on the last day of the 2009 Polar Express season. After operating 134 Polar Express trains (over three seasons) basically on time, the 135th train after having left the station on time, did not return on time. Here is what happened and you will notice how Murphy's Law was at work:
The 3:00 PM train was loaded and departed the platform, more or less, on time. After moving no more than 300 or 400 feet, however, the last car in the consist 2902 (El Dorado) uncoupled from the car ahead, the 2175 coach. The 2902 was still on the lead to the platform and the 2175 was on the Main Line. The disconnect occurred right at the south cutout which is a rather tight radius. The Road Foreman of Engines (RFE) arrived quickly and took charge. With the train crew, Brakemen, Conductor and engine crew, the RFE attempted to re-couple the two cars. Several times this was tried but to no avail. The radius of the curve was just too tight (Murphy's Law in Action). At this point the RFE sent a standby crew to start locomotive 209 and to position it behind the 2902. While that was being done the Engineer of the Polar Express suggested shoving the compete consists north back onto the platform lead to a point where the coupling could be made. The RFE, however, was leery of this procedure because the lead track slopes down heading back to the platform and the 2902 could coast on its own away from the consist (Murphy's Law again). Another crew member suggested using the hand brake on the 2902 to provide a resistance to movement as the shove backward might take place. RFE decided to try this maneuver but ordered the air brake hoses to be connected between the 2902 and the 2175 in an effort to provide control of the 2902s brakes. This procedure was attempted, however the 2902 accelerated faster than the consist, even with the brake set. The air hoses separated and the consist and 2902 went into emergency stop (Murphy's Law again). In the meantime the standby crew had brought up locomotive 209. As soon as the consist recovered from the emergency stop 209 coupled to 2902 and pulled it back to the straight track at the platform. The consist followed and the coupling was made. The train still could not depart, however, because the electrical connections between the 2902 and the 2175 were found broken and had to be repaired. The train was 49 minutes behind scheduled when it finally left the platform the second time.
And Murphy didn't stop there! When the 3:00 PM Polar Express finally did get to the North Pole Murphy was there to greet them. At the North Pole Santa's consist is located on an auxiliary track. The auxiliary track is cutoff from a siding which is cutoff from the Main Line. The Polar Express locomotive, the Granit Rock 10 (GR10), uses the siding to run around and couple to the opposite end of the consist prior to pulling it back to the platform. Late morning, each day, a crew using a diesel locomotive moves the North Pole consist from the Museum's Central Pacific Passenger Station, where it is stored at night, to the auxiliary track. During this movement and set up of the North Pole the north cutout of the auxiliary track is lined to the auxiliary track and blue flagged. When the work is complete the cutout is lined so the siding can be used and the blue flag is removed. When the 3:00 PM Polar Express locomotive (GR10) crew attempted to make the run around they found the auxiliary track cutout lined to the cutout, blue flagged and locked with an unfamiliar lock (Murphy's Law in action again!). GR10 then contacted the RFE.
Here is the rest of the story: When the 3:00 PM Polar Express left the platform the second time the RFE, being intuitively skillful, instructed the standby crew of locomotive 209 to start and ready locomotive 2030 (Large diesel locomotive capable of pulling the Polar Express consist). Upon being contacted by the GR10 and advised of the situation the RFE, per normal operation protocol, contacted the Trainmaster and advised the Trainmaster to take control of the situation. [This is a good time to remind you that the GR10 is a steam locomotive and steam locomotives require plenty of water to make steam and to operate. The GR10 normally takes on water after each Polar Express trip. That is a 1.5 hour duration and one round trip. At this point the GR10 was about 2 hours into the water cycle. (Murphy's Law sneaking up again)] Trainmaster then instructed GR10 to reposition itself at the front of the consist and begin to shove back to the platform. Then he instructed the all ready readied 2030 locomotive to proceed toward the North Pole and meet the Polar Express, couple to it and pull it and the GR10 back to the platform. This procedure not only saved water consumption by the GR10 but also allowed the consist to move at a speed greater than 5 MPH (Shoving speed is maximum of 5 MPH). Murphy had one more little problem for the Polar Express as the air brake systems on locomotive 2030 and GR10 are not compatible and the GR10 had to be disconnected and moved back to Old Sacramento on its own.
The final outcome of this battle was score four for Murphy and zero for the Polar Express. The 3:00 PM train was delayed leaving the platform 49 minutes, the 4:30 PM train was delayed 54 minutes, the 6:00 PM train 47 minutes and the 7:30 PM train 36 minutes. During the first Polar Express season in 2007 we operated 42 trains in 9 days without delays. During the second Polar Express season in 2008 we operated 48 trains in 12 days without delays. This season we operated 44 trains in 11 days without delays. Finally, after 32 days of operation and 134 trains we met Murphy and had 4 delayed trains. We have probably learned something from yesterdays problems and will attempt to minimize those particular situations in the future, but, Murphy will always be waiting for us.......................
DECEMBER 18, 2009
PROGRESS AT Q AND R STREET PROJECT - MASTS INSTALLED
Yesterday and today a crew from Railway Signal Construction was on the Q/R Street Project site again. First time in quite awhile. They installed the four masts for the two crossings including flashing lights, railroad signs and gongs. They also installed one instrument cabinet, at R Street, and several underground pull boxes. Because the grade crossings are so narrow the masts, at this time prior to landscaping and other architectural elements like hand rails and benches, look a bit large and out of place. Perhaps in another three months we'll have a couple of new working systems? Completion date of the project is now March 31, 2010.
DECEMBER 13, 2009
NILES CANYON SIGNAL DEPARTMENT NOW HAS AN ARCHIVES PAGE ON ITS WEB SITE
Niles Canyon Railway Signal Department Signal Engineer Curt sent an announcement that there is now an Archives Page on their web site. Check it out by CLICKING HERE.
DECEMBER 8, 2009
DECEMBER MONTHLY INSPECTIONS COMPLETED
All of the December Monthly Inspections have been completed. A Signal Crew consisting of Signal Maintainers Al and Chuck and Student Signal Maintainers Joe, Randy and Bill did the honors this day. All systems passed inspection and no problems were found.
DECEMBER 3, 2009
POLAR EXPRESS TRAINS START TODAY!!!
The Third Annual Polar Express Train Ride Season starts today. Polar Express Trains are scheduled at 3:00 PM, 4:30 PM, 6:00 PM and 7:30 PM on December 3rd through the 6th, December 10th through the 13th and December 17th through the 20th. Several Signal Department members have volunteered to work on the event in various capacities. Children of All Ages ride the Polar Express. For more information about the Polar Express CLICK HERE!
NOVEMBER 22, 2009
MONTHLY INSPECTION COMPLETED AT SUTTERVILLE ROAD
Signal Maintainer and EIC Al along with Student Signal Maintainer Jim completed the November Monthly Inspection of Sutterville Road on the 22nd. The system passed the inspection and no problems were found.
NOVEMBER 20, 2009
ANNUAL SIGNAL DINNER
The 5th Annual Signal Department Dinner was held at the Aviator's Restaurant at the Executive Air Port on Friday evening November 20th. The dinner was set up by Recreational Director Al with a lot of support from Student Signal Maintainer Bill (Thanks Guys!). The food was great so was a cake (see the second photo from the left) brought by Al and Kathie (Big Thanks!!!). After dinner the Signal Maintainers were presented their Recertification Certificates. A 15 Year Pin was presented to Signal Maintainer Al as well as a 5 Year Pin to Signal Maintainer Chuck. Certificates of Qualification were given to Signal Associates Dave and Eric. The General Manager of the SSRR, Dick, had been retained to speak to the group this evening regarding the future of the SSRR. Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, he was not able to attend. Finally, Men at Work photos were given to the Department Member's spouses or significant others with some laughter to go with them. The Signal Engineer had a great time and hopes everyone else did too! Happy Holidays!!
NOVEMBER 19, 2009
MONTHLY INSPECTION AT CAPITOL MALL
The November Monthly Inspection at Capitol Mall was implemented by Signal Maintainer and EIC Paul and Student Signal Maintainer Bill this day. The system passed the inspection and no problems were observed.
NOVEMBER 14, 2009
BROADWAY AND FRONT STREET MONTHLY INSPECTIONS COMPLETED
Signal Maintainer and EIC Chuck and Student Signal Maintainer Bill completed the Monthly Inspections of Broadway and Front Street today. No problems found and both systems passed inspection.
NOVEMBER 7, 2009
ANNUAL RECERTIFICATION EXAMINATION
Seven members of the Signal Department took the Annual Recertification Examination this year, including the four active Signal Maintainers and three of the five Student Signal Maintainers. The Signal Engineer said, "Seems to get easier every year." I'm not sure is that is how the exam takers seemed it to be. This was the fifth Annual Recertification Examination. First given in 2005 the examination was suggested by Signal Maintainer Al several years before that. Finally a vote was taken of the Signal Department personnel and it was decided to institute the annual exam which each active Signal Maintainer must pass to stay certified. Way to go guys!!
OCTOBER 26, 2009
Q/R STREET UPDATE
concrete was place for the pad that the Q Street Instrument Case will sit upon
late last week. The R Street pad has not had the concrete placed for it.
The contractor has also started to place the concrete for the Promenade walking
area. They have started at the north end by the Circle of Lights and are
working their way south. Completion date is still January 31, 2010 as far
as anyone knows.
OCTOBER 25, 2009
MOW VEGETATION REMOVAL AT SETZER SPUR SCHEDULED FOR THIS TUESDAY
Are you interested in removing a few tree limbs while enjoying the sunshine and helping out the SSRR? The MOW Vegetation crew will be working on the Setzer spur this Tuesday. If you would like to join the fun contact the Vegetation Commander or the Signal Engineer. You must have Part 214 Roadway Worker training to participate.
DON'T FORGET TO CHECKOUT MOW UPDATES!!!
Each week the MOW Management Team publishes a MOW Update which is a written report, usually with photographs, of what was going on with MOW during the week and what they will be up to during the next week. The MOW Team allows the Signal Website to post those Updates. Check out the the Blue Line above! MOW is always looking for volunteers. If you are interested in outdoor activities or interesting shop work contact the MOW Team...............
OCTOBER 24, 2009
TWO CALL OUTS TODAY
Big Thank You to Trainmaster Joe and Crew Dispatcher Joann for all their support!!
The Signal Engineer, having a great day photographing Boy Scouts, was called out twice today. The first call out occurred at 11:30 AM as the crew of Train 1240 spotted the White Light was dark at Front Street. A burnt out lamp was found and replaced. The second call out occurred at 1:38 PM and came from Our Guy Eric assigned as Brakeman on Train 1240. He reported observing the cable, that feeds the three lights on the gate arm, separated on the west bound gate at Capitol Mall. Upon investigation it was found that the receptacle and cord cap pair on that gate arm had been disconnected by vandals. The pair was cleaned, re-engaged and taped. No forms were available such as Lone Worker Statement of On Track Safety and Signal Maintainer's Log so the Crew Center computer was used to retrieve them. Simply go to this website and click on the "The Office" tab. All Signal Department forms are now available there!
TRAIN 1240 SPOOKOMOTIVE MEETS THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA AT CAPITOL MALL TODAY!
Spookomotive Train operating north found several thousand Boy Scouts at the
Capitol Mall Grade Crossing this morning. The scouts were returning to
Raley Field after having marched from there to the Capitol Building earlier.
At the Capitol they conducted ceremonies to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of
the Boy Scouts which is happening this year. Our own Signal Maintainer
Paul was involved in the planning of the event. Over 6000 Boy Scouts were
anticipated to attend. Here is Our Guy Paul photograph as he was hiking
back to Raley Field (Notice he is a VIP - Well we already knew that!!)
OCTOBER 23, 2009
THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETS AGAIN......
The Signal Department Advisory Committee comprised of Al, Dale, Paul, Dave and Chuck (left to right in the photo) met for the third time this year and discussed many Signal Department related subjects. The committee lent their agreement to a Position Description for a Senior Signal Maintainer assignment, which will be a promotion; a Signal Trainer position, which the department certainly can use and a new Section Two for the Department Regulations. All of these recommendations and ideas must now be presented to the General Manager and approved before becoming effective.
OCTOBER 22, 2009
SIGNAL MAINTAINER CHUCK PROMOTED TO CONDUCTOR IN OPERATIONS
General Manager Dick announced
the promotion of Our Guy Chuck to Conductor last night during the Management
Signal Maintainer Chuck, who joined the Signal Department Crew in January 2005 and Certified as a Signal Maintainer in August 2006,
became an Operations Crew member as soon as his Docent class graduated in May 2004. As time progressed he became a Student
Brakeman and was promoted to Brakeman in August 2008. Shortly after that he was drafted into the Student Conductor class.
CONGRATULATIONS AND WAY TO GO CHUCK!!!
OCTOBER 16, 2009
CAPITOL MALL ANNUAL INSPECTION COMPLETED
The days Signal Crew consisting of Paul as EIC, Dave, Joe, Jim, Bill, Marc and Dale implemented the Annual Inspection at Capitol Mall today. No significant problems found and the system passed inspection. This was Marc's first journey to the cantilever to do the preventative maintenance on the gongs and he loved every moment of it! Paul demonstrated some of the tests modes of the Solid State Crossing Controllers and everyone was involved with trying to measure the Tip Light Voltage with the True RMS AC + DC volt-ohm meter. The Signal Engineer treated the crew to beans at Willies and when the General Manager found out he came along too. A Great Day was had by the crew today............ Question: What has 35,000 horsepower and burns 28 gallons of diesel fuel a minute?
GRADE CROSSING PANELS INSTALLED AT Q AND R STREETS
The track contractor installed the grade crossing panels at Q and R Streets today with some minor trouble. As you can see from the photos to the left the concrete used to make the panels is kinda rusty red. That is so they will hopefully match the rest of the landscape accents. In the center photo you can see an odd almost square shaped chunk of the steel that surrounds the two large plates has been spliced. This square shaped pieces are not steel that are an insulating material so that the panels will not shunt the track. In the last two photos, the ones just to the left here, are shots of the problem. At Q Street the panels do not butt up each other well and have left a gap. It did not matter which way the contractor installed and moved around the panels the gap always showed up. They didn't know what to do about other than "sleep on it". We'll know later what the fix will be of course....
OCTOBER 15, 2009
Q AND R STREET PROJECT UPDATE
There has been some progress at the Q and R Street Crossing construction site. The base, reinforcing steel and forms are in place for placing the concrete for the slab that will be surrounding the instrument cases. The track contractor has straightened ties, raised rail and tidied up the ballast. In the photo on the far left is what used to be the SSRR R Street railroad bridge. One can see that it has been paved and safety fencing has been installed. As far as we know the completion date for the project continues to be January 31, 2010.
OCTOBER 6, 2009
WEED WHACKING AND TREE TRIMMING MP 12.4 TO 12.8
Signal Department members Al, Randy, Joe and Dale had fun again with Mike the Weed Killer on the right of way south of Freeport. A lot of mowing, with the industrial mowers, and tree trimming, with electric chain saws on a pole, was accomplished today. Mike takes a crew there almost every Tuesday. The trees are just starting to show signs of Autumn, the berries on the berry bushes are starting to turn and the grapes are ripe. With these mild days it is a pleasant location to be and with friends it turned into a great day! If you want to see what the south right of way looks like and experience what future passengers will one day experience contact Mike and come on down with him one of these days.
OCTOBER 3, 2009
ANNUAL INSPECTIONS OF BROADWAY AND FRONT STREET COMPLETED
A Signal Crew consisting of Chuck, Dave, Jim, Joe and Marc completed the Annual Inspections at Broadway and Front Street today. The inspections went well with both crossing systems passing. Later in the day a light locomotive with Signal Maintainer Al as the engineer assisted with the timing tests. It was a long day, everyone had a great time and all was well. Thanks for a Job Well Done crew!!!
OCTOBER 1, 2009
RECERTIFICATION EXAMINATION TRAINING MATERIALS POSTED
The 2009 Annual Recertification Examination (Number 005) Training Materials have been posted to the Mirra Machine by the Signal Engineer. All Signal Maintainers must take and pass the exam in order to remain Certified. Student Maintainers are encouraged to take the exam as a training experience. Everyone that is planning to take the examination should down load the Training Materials and start reviewing them now. The Warning System Section is 100% new and the format for training has been changed. By starting to review now you will be allowing yourself plenty of time to review all of the material. The Examination is scheduled to begin at 9:00 AM on November 7th. It will be held in the Big-4 Conference Room. Go for It!!
SEPTEMBER 29, 2009
OCTOBER INSPECTIONS SCHEDULED
Signal Engineer Dale acting in behalf of Signal Maintainer and Scheduler Al (On vacation in Oregon and Washington and actually operated a GP7 on a friendly tourist railroad.) while he is laid off has scheduled the Annual Inspections of Capitol Mall, Broadway and Front Street. Assignments were sent out today. Check your email! Capitol Mall with Paul as EIC is scheduled for October 16th (Students: Jim, Joe, Marc & Bill). Broadway is scheduled for October 3rd with Dave as EIC (Students: Marc & Joe) (Maintainers: Chuck & Dale). Front Street is scheduled for same day as Broadway with Chuck acting EIC (Students: Joe & Marc) (Maintainers: Dave & Dale). Have a great time out there and be Safe!
SEPTEMBER 28, 2009
THE SIGNAL ENGINEER HAS COMPLETED THE 2009 RECERTIFICATION EXAM
The Signal Engineer has completed development of the 5th Annual Recertification Examination and is in the process of developing the training materials which will be posted to the Mirra Machine in a few days. This years Recertification Examination, the fifth in the annual examination series requested by the Signal Maintainers, will be held on November 7th in the Big Four Conference Room. For Signal Maintainers this examination is mandatory and must be passed to continue to be certified. Student Signal Maintainers are encouraged to also take the examination as a superb learning experience. Watch for the announcement of the training materials being posted to the Mirra Machine.
SEPTEMBER 19, 2009
NCRy SIGNAL DEPARTMENT VISITS SSRR SIGNAL DEPARTMENT
Photo by Randy and Dale
Left to Right: Paul, Tom, Steve, Eric, Dale, Mike, Paul, Dave, Curt, Rex, Missing: Randy who took photo
Eight members of the Niles Canyon Railway Signal Department traveled to Sacramento today to visit the Sacramento Southern Railroad Signal Department. The purpose of the visit was to participate in the Annual Training that the SSRR Signal Department was having. (See the next article.) The NCRy "Signaleros", as they are known back home, were right on time allowing the training to be so too. Coffee, donuts and hand shakes were had and the training then took place. After the training, which was in the Stanford Gallery, the crews had a quick lunch while enjoying a photo slide show provided by SSRR Signal Maintainer Chuck of his recent trip to Alaska and riding on the White Pass and Yukon RR. After lunch the fun started. First the crew was provided an Extra Train made up of locomotive 2030 and the MKT passenger car. The operations crew was made up entirely of SSRR Signal Maintainers with Conductor Steve, Engineer Al, Fireman Chuck and Brakemen Dave and Paul. The Extra Train moved south behind Scheduled Train #5. It slowed for visual inspections of the new Q and R Street crossings and of the Broadway crossing. The train then took the Miller Siding and the group, after a Safety Briefing (On-Track safety was Approach/Warning with Student Signal Maintainer Marc acting as Lookout.) the group walked to an inspection of the Front Street crossing. While there Scheduled Train #6 moved north. The Extra Train then moved to Baths were the 2030 ran around and then shoved the consist into the second siding. They then waited for Scheduled Train #7 and then followed Train #8 back to Old Town, however, stopping at Capitol Mall. The group again disembarked under the same On-Track Safety and inspected the Capitol Mall crossing. The group then boarded the train and moved to Old Town. Next the group walked over to the Signal Shop which is located in the old SP Boiler Shop. NCRy Signal Engineer, Curt, had arranged to transport, in his car, a Wabco gate mechanism that NCRy has given to the SSRR and he, Dave and Dale drove over to the shop with the mechanism. With MOW Sandy driving a forklift the mechanism was tucked away in a safe place and then SSRR Signal Maintainer Paul provided a short tour of the Signal Shop the SP Shop building and the transfer table. The crew then walked back to the Museum and Paul provided a great tour there too. The Signaleros left about 5:45 PM. It was a great day for all the Signal Guys!!!
Here are some more photos of the outing:
ANNUAL TRAINING DAY WAS FULL OF NERDY STUFF!
Annual Training in the Stanford Gallery
The Signal Department 2009 Annual Training was held today with twenty folks in attendance: Eight from the Niles Canyon Railway Signal Department, Eleven from the Sacramento Southern Railroad Signal Department and a speaker from Motorola. Eight training modules were presented plus a great set of slide photos provided by Signal Maintainer Chuck of his recent trip to Alaska. This year the Signaleros from the NCRy Signal Department participated in the training both as students and as instructor as NCRy Signal Engineer Curt provided a great module on Interlocking Relays. After the training the group went on a tour of various SSRR and Museum facilities (See article above). All the presenters did a terrific job and we all learned a bunch of new stuff. Way to Go Everybody!!!
SEPTEMBER 12, 2009
ONE WEEK TO ANNUAL TRAINING DAY AND NCRy SIGNAL DEPARTMENT VISIT
Only one week to go until our Annual Training Day. The following Training Modules will be presented:
Electrical Hazards for the Maintainer by Jim
Thermite and Bond Wire Welding by Randy
Lightning Protection of Signal Equipment by Paul
DC Electric Motors by Eric
Interlocking Relays by Curt of the NCRy
Motion Sensors and GCPs by Al
Radio 101 by Dave
Safetran MS-2000 History Key by Dale
Alaska & Yukon Railroad Pictorial by Chuck
Also coming for the event will be several members of the Niles Canyon Railway Signal Department.
After the training in the morning the combined crews of SSRR and NCRy will board an Extra Train and take a tour of the right of way stopping at some grade crossings for inspection along the way. After the Extra Train tour the NCRy crew will be given a tour of the Signal Shop and the old SP Boiler Shop and a special tour of the Museum.
Don't forget to bring a sandwich. Chips, fruit, drinks and goodies will be provided by the Signal Engineer.
SEPTEMBER 6, 2009
SEPTEMBER MONTHLY INSPECTIONS AND ASSIGNMENTS SCHEDULED
Current Signal Department Scheduler Al has made the assignments for this months inspections. Sunday, September 20th Dale and Marc will do the Capitol Mall Inspection and Dave and Randy will do the Broadway and Front Street Inspections. On Thursday, September 24th Chuck and Bill will handle the Sutterville Road Inspection. Have fun Crew!
SEPTEMBER 4, 2009
SIGNAL DEPARTMENT ANNUAL DINNER LOCATION ANNOUNCED
Signal Department Recreation Director Al, Student Signal Maintainer Bill and Signal Engineer Dale met with the owner of the Aviator's Restaurant yesterday and inspected the facility to see if we could have our Annual Dinner there. All agreed its a good place to have it. You should have all received a note from Al today asking for your RSVP. The small committee selected Tri Tip, Chicken Supreme, Herb Roasted Potatoes, Rice Pilaf and Zucchini & Squash as the buffet menu. Stasrting time will be the usual 6:00 PM. The Aviator's Restaurant is located in the terminal building at the Sacramento Executive Airport. Mark your calendars!!!
AUGUST 30, 2009
MONTHLY REPORT POSTED
The Signal Engineer posted the July 20909 Monthly Repot on the Mirra Machine today. Check it out.
AUGUST 28, 2009
BROADWAY BOND WIRE REPAIRED
A Signal Crew consisting of Al, Joe and Dale replaced the broken bond wire found at Broadway yesterday and placed Broadway back in service at 11:00 AM. MOW was able to repair the joint last night without much trouble and in fact sent photos of the repair to the Signal Engineer (Great Team Work!!!) This was Joe's bond wire baptism and he looked like he was having a good time!
AUGUST 27, 2009
CALL OUT AT BROADWAY
The Signal Engineer received a call from the General Manager today at 9:48 AM with the news that the gates were down and the lights were flashing at Broadway - But no train in sight. Park Rangers, Mike and Steve responded to direct traffic and the Signal Engineer and General Manager responded. Upon arriving the Rangers had found the trouble: A broken rail joint on the west rail in the Island on the south side of the grade crossing. The rail contracted, broke two joint bolts and moved about 3/4 inch south. In the process of moving the bond wire was broken. The Signal Engineer took the system out of service and the General Manager advised MOW Management Team member John. John indicates they will make the joint repair this evening.
AUGUST 26, 2009
JABOOM STREET GATE ACCESS IS LOOKING BETTER
The Signal Engineer attended a meeting today facilitated by Museum Director Paul and Park Maintenance Chief David. The meeting was also attended by several personnel from Operations, MOW and the Shops. Paul explained that there is a limited number of keys available to open the Jaboom Street gate. Up until this time there have been several State Parks and Museum Foundation employees who have been issued some of those keys. In an effort to make those keys available to volunteers who need access to the Shops those employees with keys will be requested to hand in the keys and receive a secret code instead. The employees will be able to open the gate by using the key pad on the gate control device. The keys turned in will then be redistributed to volunteers on a needed most basis. It is possible that the Signal Department may be a recipient of one or more of those keys. Volunteers will not be issued secret codes because they are not as easy to contact as employees in case the codes are changed. Stand By for future updates. If you need access now contact the Signal Engineer or Signal Maintainer Paul who are in possession of the first two Signal Department keys.
AUGUST 25, 2009
MOWING TIME SOUTH OF FREEPORT
I WANT YOU ON MY TEAM!!
MOW Vegetation Control Employee In Charge Mike wants more Signal Department Personnel on his Team! Four Signal Department members volunteered to help Mike today mowing and trimming trees from Mile Post 11.1 to Mile Post 11.5. Can't type out his exact words (because I can't remember them) but he is really happy with the team effort displayed by the Signal guys helping him out and having fun. Signal Department personnel Al, Randy, Joe and Dale enjoyed the work, the scenery, the fun (motor car ride) and the camaraderie. Mother Nature is always demonstrating her power from Mile Post 10.0 (Cliff's Marina) to Mile Post 15.56 (Hood) by growing more stuff: weeds, tree parts, grasses, berry vines, bushes and shrubs. Mike is in constant battle with her spraying, cutting, mowing and sawing his way to a tie every year. If it was not for this effort, by Mike and many others that support him, the southern section of our Main Line would be lost to the elements of nature and possibly lost forever. The Main Line area there is always beautiful with farmers field crops, orchards, wild lands, lakes and sloughs. We have some photos on this web site. Click on MOW Update to the left. Scroll down and click on "See what the Main Line looks like south of MP 10.00:" The next work day is scheduled for September 1st. If you can make it, try it out. You'll probably be really glad you took the trip!
AUGUST 21, 2009
JABOOM STREET GATE ACCESS IS RETURNING
The Signal Engineer was provided two Jaboom Street Gate keys, which will allow the Signal Department access to the Signal Shop with our vehicles, by Museum management. Although we do not have a process for sharing the keys yet one will be worked out. If you need use of a key now contact Dale or Paul.
PHOTOS OF VISIT TO NILES CANYON SIGNAL DEPARTMENT POSTED TO MIRRA MACHINE
The Signal Engineer has collected photos from Dave, Joe, Paul and Dale that they took on the recent visit to Niles Canyon. All the photos have been posted to the Mirra Machine and invitations sent out. If you did not get an invitation and would like to view the photos please contact the Signal Engineer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Niles Canyon Signal Engineer Curt has sent, by snail mail, photos taken by he and Signal Maintainer Tom to the Signal Engineer and as soon as they arrive will be posted to this Folder. A LOT of super photos.... Take a Look See!!
AUGUST 20, 2009
2010 SIGNAL DEPARTMENT CALENDAR PROPOSED
The General Manager and the Management Committee are starting to work on the 2010 SSRR Master Calendar. The proposed 2010 Signal Department Calendar submitted to the General Manager is as follows:
April 17th - Work Day in Shop and
May 1st - Part 214 Roadway Worker Safety Employee In Charge Training and Examination [Group Photo Backup]
June 5th - Annual BBQ at Miller Park
September 18th - Annual Signal Department Training
November 6th - Annual Recertification Training and Examination
November 19th - Annual Signal Department Dinner
Please Mark your 2010 Calendars NOW!!
AUGUST 18, 2009
SLURRY PLACED AT Q STREET
Railway Signal Construction's crew continued with the project today placing slurry at Q Street. Just a little more underground conduit work and this part of the project will be complete. The crew will soon start to place all the underground traffic rated pull boxes and fix them in place with concrete. Once that is completed they'll be going back to the shop to begin assembly of the Q Street Instrument Case and the R Street Instrument Case. Looking Good!
AUGUST 17, 2009
SLURRY PLACED AT R STREET
Railway Signal Construction placed slurry over the conduits in the trenches at R Street today. They also installed the foundations at Q street and are almost ready for the slurry there. Slurry at Q Street is planned for tomorrow. According to Flintco, who is installing the concrete pads that the Instrument Cases will be on, those pads should be completed within the next two to three weeks. it is beginning to look like something now!
AUGUST 16, 2009
NCRY SIGNAL DEPARTMENT IS WORKING HARD AGAIN
SSRR Signal Engineer Dale received an email from NCRY Signal Engineer Curt today with a couple of photos and an explanation of what they have been up to. They have started their rebuild of their Bond Street Warning System. That's the crossing just east of Sunol with the Lunar Lights facing the right of way. Yesterday they replaced the south bound gate arm and lights. Check out the photo on the far left. Inside a junction box they found what is in the photo on the near left. As Curt explained; Now we know what Signal Nuts are. I originally thought it was a bunch of Signal Department Volunteers..........
AUGUST 15, 2009
JABOOM STREET GATE STILL CLOSED TO THE SIGNAL DEPARTMENT
Still no word on when the Signal Department will be provided a means to access the Jaboom Street Gate entrance to the Signal Shop. If you need to get something heavy from the Signal Shop, that can't be transported by walking it out, then contact the Signal Engineer or the General Manager. Don't attempt to carry anything heavy! Your back is more important than a signal working. We can place a Warning System Out Of Service but we do not want you Out Of Service!
AUGUST 14, 2009
SUTTERVILLE ROAD MONTHLY INSPECTION COMPLETED
EIC Signal Maintainer Chuck and Student Signal Maintainer Joe used an On-Track Safety method we don't often use today when they implemented the Monthly Inspection at Sutterville Road. They used Inaccessible Track. Maintenance of Way has been working on the Main Line at MP 3.1 and left a rail section out so that set up the north end of EIC Chuck's Working Limits. The south Working Limit was South Land Park Drive because the tracks at the grade crossing are paved over. Chuck wisely recognized this situation and used it to his advantage. The Warning System passed inspection and no repairs were required.
AUGUST 12, 2009
WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS AT R STREET
Railway Signal Construction has finally been given access, per the construction schedule developed by Flintco the General Contractor, to restart the installation of the underground conduit systems at R Street. The initial underground conduit system installed in a hurry in mid April (In an effort to get SSRR Excursion Trains in operation) and installed prior to the laying out of the grade crossing was found to be off set several feet. Revisions had to be made before the rest of the conduit system could be installed. To facilitate this work a section of drain line was removed. All conduits are in place on the south side of the R Street Grade Crossing now and waiting City inspection. Upon approval by the City Inspector the conduits will be covered with a slurry mix and then the drain line will be repaired. We hope to see a lot more or Railway Signal Construction now.......
AUGUST 11, 2009
SSRR SIGNAL DEPARTMENT VISITS NILES CANYON SIGNAL DEPARTMENT!
Photo by Randy and Paul
Left to Right: Curt, Dave, Dale, Dave, Dan, Steve, Chuck, Jim, Paul, Al, Joe, Bill, Missing: Randy who took photo
Eleven members of the SSRR Signal Department traveled, via Amtrak, to Fremont on this day to visit the Niles Canyon Railway Signal Department. We were met at the Fremont Amtrak Station by Curt, the NCRY Signal Engineer, and Dave a NCRY Signal Maintainer. They transported us, by auto, to their Niles Station where we were met by an Extra Train headed by NCRY SP1423 pulling a Coach 315 and Open Viewing Car 1830. We were met by Signal Maintainer Tom and Dave's wife. We boarded and moved east along the NCRY Main Line toward Brightside, where the NCRY Yard is located and Sunol. Along the way, which is through the beautiful Niles Canyon, we stopped several times to inspect Semaphores on the right of way and grade crossings protected by Wig-Wags. At Brightside Yard, where we met NCRY Signal Maintainer Steve, we were provided a guided tour through the entire facility inspecting the engine shop, steam locomotives, various cars in various steps of restoration, Signal Shop, future Signal Office and a magnificent Bone Yard containing a Big Bunch of Semaphores (Yes. We kept Al under control.). Upon completion of the Yard inspection we again boarded the Extra Train and proceeded east toward Sunol. We stopped again along the way to inspect more Semaphores! At Sunol we stopped at a park and enjoyed a great lunch. We each brought a sandwich of choice and other goodies were provided by the NCRY Signal Department including home made apple pies baked by NCRY Signal Maintainer Dave (Yum! Yum!). After lunch we boarded the Extra and headed east on a special treat to the End Of The Line where most folks are not allowed to travel. At the end of the line is a connection to the UP Main Line. The NCRY Main Line continued from that location toward Pleasanton, however that section of track is out of service and the train could not proceed further. SP1423 then shoved us back through the Canyon to the NCRY Station. We were provided transportation back to the Fremont Amtrak Station where we boarded the 3:33 PM train to Sacramento. Our Hosts were gracious, informative and beyond generous. We all had a Super Great Day and have met some Super Great Friends! What a Ride!! Big Giant Thank You to the NCRY Signal Department and to the Operations crew who volunteered to operate the Extra Train!!
AUGUST 9, 2009
CONSTRUCTION TO START ON SIGNAL INSTALLATION AT R AND Q STREETS - AGAIN
Don of Railway Signal Construction called to let the Signal Engineer know that Flintco, the General Contractor on the River Promenade Phase I Project, has finally scheduled the signal work again and Don and crew will commence work on Monday, August 10th. Hooray!!
AUGUST 8, 2009
CAPITOL MALL AND FRONT STREET MONTHLY INSPECTIONS VIA ETO AND TRAIN ORDERS AGAIN
A Signal Crew comprised of Signal Maintainer Paul as EIC and Student Signal Maintainer Bill implemented the Monthly Inspections at Capitol Mall and Front Street today. Just as the crew did the previous Saturday the On-Track Safety selected was Exclusive Track Occupancy (ETO) with Train Order because Scheduled Trains were in operation. This was also the EIC's first time using ETO while Scheduled Trains were in operation and three different Engineers were operating the locomotive. The name of the game was "Communication, Communication, Communication"! Although last Saturday's adventure using ETO with trains in operation went relatively smoothly today's adventure did not. The big difference?: Two inspections instead of one. Here is what happened: The Train Order was written to cover both inspections indicating Working Limits of MP 0.25 to MP 1.70. The crew set up first at Capitol Mall and set up Working Limits with red flags at MP 0.25 and MP 0.40. Train #1 requested permission through the Working Limits before leaving the Station and was given permission without incident. Train #2, however, was a different story. Train #2 upon approach MP 1.70 tried to reach EIC Paul by radio and was unsuccessful. Therefore Train #2 held at MP 1.70 until EIC could be contacted through the Crew Center. Train was 15 minutes late. Trains # 3 and #4 ran under same Train Order, however, by the time Train #4 arrived at the Station a new Train Order had been written for Front Street only. EIC Paul acquired a different radio and communication seemed to be a little better after that. I think we learned that we should probably have a train order for each of the Working Limits that is going to be set up. Inspections went well as both Capitol Mall and Front Street passed inspection. Good Baptism for both Paul and Bill!
AUGUST 5, 2009
TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF JABOOM STREET GATE
The Guards that keep a watchful eye on the Jaboom Street gate entrance to the Signal Shop have been removed from duty there. There are no longer guards available to open the gate for Signal Department personnel and therefore Signal Department personnel must either park in the Museum Parking Lot and hike over to the Shops or find a MOW Department member with a key that will be willing to meet at the gate and let them in. The reason for the changing of the guard responsibilities was not known. Hopefully this will be a short lived inconvenience and access by vehicle will be allowed again soon. In case of a Call Out contact the Signal Engineer, the General Manager or the Park Ranger.
AUGUST 4, 2009
ONE WEEK UNTIL THE NILES CANYON VISIT!
Looks like the trip is on! The SSRR Signal Department has been invited to visit and explore the Niles Canyon with the Niles Canyon Railway Signal Department on August 11th. Twelve members of the department are planning to take the trip. We'll be leaving Sacramento at 7:00 AM via Amtrak Capitol Corridor Train and upon arrival at Fremont will be met by Niles Canyon personnel with transportation. It will be a whole day trip with the group arriving back in Sacramento sometime after 6:00 PM. We'll let you know in week what we get to see. They've been warned to keep an eye on Signal Maintainer Al and make sure he doesn't try to take home a Semaphore!
AUGUST 2, 2009
THE SIGNAL ENGINEER PUBLISHES THE FIRST TWO SIGNAL DEPARTMENT "BRIEFINGS"
The Signal Engineer published the first of probably many to come Signal Department "Briefings" today. Briefings are one or two page documents published by the Signal Department and either sent to Department Members and interested others via email and/or posted to the Mirra Machine. Their purpose will be to provide Signal Department personnel with relevant information on the operation of the Signal Department and other SSRR information of interest. Until now the type of material that will be published in the Briefings has been sent out via email and then lost in the ether of each of our computers. Briefings will have a number and a place to be filed. On the Mirra Machine will be a reference document so that searching for a particular Briefing might be a little easier. The first published Briefing, Number 2009-001, was simply a document explaining what a Briefing is and in the future what Signal Department Bulletins will be. The second Briefing was a discussion on "Protection Of Signal Department Personnel Using Exclusive Track Occupancy On-Track Safety With Trains In Operation". We are going to try using these documents for awhile. If they do not work out, are not effective and not efficient we will stop using them and develop some other methods.
AUGUST 1, 2009
BROADWAY MONTHLY, STUDENT TRAINING AND EXCLUSIVE TRACK OCCUPANCY
Signal Maintainer Dave and Student Signal Maintainer Jim both received some training on Saturday as they did the Monthly Inspection and One On One Training at Broadway. This was the first time for EIC Dave using Exclusive Track Occupancy as his On-Track Safety during a Schedule Train Operation Day. It went pretty well and the train was kept on schedule. Take a look at Dave's volt meter in the first photo on the left.... That's a Big One! Dave, besides training Jim on the Broadway system also trained him in one of Dave's favorite pass times: Weed Killing. Jim looks pretty good with a hoe... Just the right amount of stoop. Broadway passed inspection. Everything is good there.
JULY 29, 2009
Q/R STREET INSTRUMENT CASES HAVE ARRIVED AT RSC
Signal Department Q/R Street Project Manager Paul and Signal Engineer Dale traveled to Railway Signal Constructions shop in Sacramento to inspect the new Instrument Cases for the Q Street and R Street Warning Systems. The cases were manufactured by Safetran and are of aluminum construction. Many of the components required to assemble the systems have also arrived. Don of Railway Signal Construction, in red shirt in the photos at the left, plans to assemble the cases and components in his shop before moving the units to the job site. Ah... Progress... We love it!
JULY 28, 2009
ALL ABOUT CIRCUITS FOUND BY SIGNAL MAINTAINER PAUL
Signal Maintainer Paul was looking for a web site that might be used to help students learn a little more about basic electricity and basic electrical circuits. He Found It!! Check out www.allaboutcircuits.com. We have added a link to it on our Web Links page right at the top so it will not get lost. Take a look and you'll probably find something of interest to you including many video lectures that are well done and easy to follow.
JULY 27, 2009
FOURTH PLANNED INSPECTION DAY ADDED TO CALENDAR BY SIGNAL ENGINEER
The Signal Engineer has added a fourth planned inspection day to the three already scheduled. The day added is the third Sunday. The following days are now the planned inspection days each month: First Saturday, Second Friday, Third Thursday and Third Sunday. There are two reasons to add the fourth day: 1. One of our students is not available on the other three days due to employment responsibilities and 2. Because the Signal Engineer would like the Signal Department to be visible on weekends during Excursion Train operations. On weekends we can attend the Operation Crew briefings and let the crew know what we are doing. This gives the Car Attendants an opportunity to then point us out to passengers as the train passes us working.
The new Scheduler for three months starting in August is Signal Maintainer Al. You will be receiving a request for availability from him in your email soon.
JULY 25, 2009
THE RETRONAUTS ARE DRUMMING UP
The Surf Band, The Retronauts, have been performing at The Village at the Sacramento Gateway shopping complex in the Natomas area and the Signal Engineer with his SWMBO went up to have a listen. Dan the drummer was not there and taking his spot on the band is John the drummer (Who we were told did not know the songs) who was great! Dan Yee, the drummer, has had to step down due to family commitments. It was hard not to see Dan's smile but John the drummer was a good act and the band sounded great! Check out their website: www.theretronauts.com. You can find out where they will be performing by clicking on ""Gigs".
JULY 23, 2009
NILES CANYON RAILWAY SIGNAL DEPARTMENT VISIT BY SSRR
The Niles Canyon Signal Engineer and the Signal Department crew have invited the SSRR Signal Department personnel to a visit of their plant and property. A date has been set, August 11th, and a preliminary itinerary has been planned. All SSRR Signal Department personnel that plan to participate should let the Signal Engineer know by end of day Friday, July 24th. This is a super special event and all personnel are urged to attend.
JULY 22, 2009
THE MIRRA MACHINE IS UP AND ON LINE!
The Mirra Machine is finally back up and on line with most all the files and folders it had prior to the backup computer revisions. Those of you that are on the Mirra invite list should, by this time, have received your many, many invitations. You can continue to use your same account user ID and same password to view the Mirra Machine contents. Simply go to www.mirra.com and follow the instructions.
JULY 14, 2009
NILES CANYON RAILWAY SIGNAL ENGINEER MISSES MONTHLY INSPECTIONS!
The Niles Canyon Signal Crew implemented Monthly Inspections last Saturday but sans Signal Engineer Curt. Where was Curt? To see click HERE!
Can you say Zepplin!!!
JULY 10, 2009
JULY MONTHLY INSPECTIONS COMPLETED BY CREW
A Signal Crew Consisting of Signal Maintainers Al & Paul, Student Maintainers Joe & Marc and Signal Engineer Dale conducted the Monthly and Quarterly Inspections for the month. All systems passed inspection. Before the crew split in two to the various crossings the entire crew, less the Signal Engineer, adjusted the Vertical Spring Buffer and the Power Up Control Spring Contact Cam on the West Bound Mechanism. These adjustments were a follow up to the repairs made to the mechanism on June 12th. When the crew arrived at Front Street they found a surprise! See next article....
FRONT STREET EAST BOUND MAST & MECH NARROWLY ESCAPES WIPE OUT - AGAIN!
When the crew arrived to do the inspection at Front Street today they found evidence of another near miss of the East Bound Mast, Mechanism and Gate. It appears the driver of a fast moving vehicle west bound on Front Street lost control crossing the oncoming lane of traffic and hit the curb. From there the vehicle proceeded west, with at least one shattered wheel, toward the East Bound Mast. As luck will have it, the vehicle then veered slightly to the north missing the mast. In 2007 a similar accident occurred. During that accident the vehicle struck and severed one of the bollards on the north side of the mast and bent a second one. Signal Maintainer Al suggested several bollards be installed between the track and the East Bound Mast in an effort to slow down any future vehicles that may target the mast. The Signal Engineer agreed and has sent a report and request for approval to install the bollards to the General Manager.
JUNE 25, 2009
CITY HAS BEGUN PLANNING FOR "S" AND "T" STREET CROSSINGS
The City of Sacramento has retained Walker Macy, Urban Design and Planning and Landscape Architects of Portland, Oregon, to develop the planning and/or preliminary designs for Phase II of the River Promenade project. Phase II will construct two of the additional crossings planned for the Promenade and move the Clunie Siding. The four planned crossings are: S Street, T Street, U Street and a yet to be named crossing between the Pioneer Bridge and Broadway. The Phase II crossings are S Street and T Street. The crossings will be pedestrian and bicycle crossings only similar to the currently being constructed Q Street and R Street crossings. The Clunie Siding will be moved south. The north cutout will be between the Pioneer Bridge and Broadway and the siding will extend south the same length as it is now. The current siding, before the temporary revisions made for Promenade Phase I, was a siding long enough for an excursion train consist (643') and then a lengthy spur (1200') with MOW containers at the south end of the spur. Current thinking is that the new siding will have the south cutout at the extreme south end (no spur) with a crossover someplace in between. The south cutout will end up being someplace between Broadway and Front Street and the Broadway Grade Crossing will become a two track crossing, the same as it was fifty years ago (second track still remains embedded within the pavement today). Where the MOW containers will be, with this scenario, is not understood at this time. Long term plans envision the Clunie Siding and the Miller Siding becoming one long siding with crossovers. This long term plan, of course, would mean revising Front Street into a two track grade crossing. Stay tuned......................
JUNE 24, 2009
UP STREAMLINER ON SSRR MAIN LINE AGAIN
A Union Pacific streamliner is back in town. It arrived on Monday the 22nd shortly after the Disney Tour Train departed. The train consists of six lightweight streamliner cars (Cheyenne, City Of San Francisco, Omaha, Harriman, Overland and 207) and locomotive number 4908. The train is in Sacramento to be used by UP as a meeting place with various people that they do business with. The over 50 year old UP Streamliner bus that the museum operates is on hand to move UP personnel and visitors to various destinations. The train will be leaving Friday so if you get a chance to come to the museum before then go around back to the Main Line and have a look.
JUNE 19, 2009
DISNEY TOUR TRAIN IS HERE!!
The Disney A Christmas Carol Tour Train is visiting Sacramento and is located on the SSRR Main Line west of the California State Railroad Museum. Free tours are available to the public on Saturday, June 20th and Sunday, June 21st. For information about the train click here.
JUNE 15, 2009
NILES CANYON RAILWAY SIGNAL DEPARTMENT WEB SITE
Niles Canyon Railway Signal Engineer Curt sent me a great heads up: They have started up a web site. Click on the Web Links button on the left and then click on Niles Canyon Railway Signal Department. The Volunteers there have been accomplishing a lot in the last year or so and you can see some of it on the web site. Check out their nifty inspection car in the lower right hand corner today (The photo there appears to change often.). CHECK IT OUT!!!!
SEND IN YOUR FAVORITE RAILROAD WEB SITE AND WE'LL LINK OURS TO IT
Send the Signal Engineer your favorite railroad related web site and we'll add it to our Web Links page. Thanks everyone....!
JUNE 13, 2009
WEB LINKS PAGE FINALLY SET UP --------
The Web Links button finally does something on our web site. Check it out......
JUNE 12, 2009
JUNE MONTHLY INSPECTIONS COMPLETED - SOME REPAIRS REQUIRED
A Signal Crew of five implemented the June monthly inspections with all systems passing inspection. The crew did find, however, a spring buffer on the west bound gate mechanism at Capitol Mall way out of adjustment. When clearing the gate was striking the stop on the wind bracket before falling back into clear position. Signal Maintainer Bill noticed this when he heard the gate crash into the bracket. Further investigation found that the gate was damaged by consistent rubbing against the wind bracket. The crew determined that the Vertical Spring Buffer was out of adjustment. The spring buffer was adjusted and the gate no longer rubs against the bracket.
A scheduled repair was also implemented. On November 4, 2008 a Signal Crew replaced a severed bond wire on the Miller Siding north cutout frog which is connected to the rail with stanpins. The Department had no stanpins in inventory so the repair was only made temporary. The Signal Engineer submitted a Requisition for stanpins and they recently arrived. The crew replaced the old reused stanpins with new stanpins completing the reapair started last November.
Check out these photos of the crew that day:
-- To see more photos go to Mirra
- Don't have an account? --
-- Contact the Signal Engineer --
ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETS
The Signal Department Advisory Committee
(members are: Al, Paul, Chuck, Dave and Dale) met today and discussed
several items. Some of those items were: -
Review of the Scheduler assignment and how it appears to be working. All positive comments.... We may add the third Saturday as a planned scheduled day because we want more experience working during train operation and because it is difficult for some of the working crew to volunteer on weekdays. The assignment or position of Lead Trainer was discussed at length. There are several ways to proceed with this idea identified. Paul and Dave have volunteered to do some additional analysis before we make a firm decision on how, exactly, to proceed. Revisions to the Signal Department Regulations were discussed as well as some suggested Signal Department assignments yet to be developed and evaluated. Chuck advised that there is someone at the CSRM or SSRR coordinating SSRR shirts again and he plans to find out who that is. Maybe we can finally replace some of our worn out stuff... Lastly there was a discussion about topics to cover at our annual training scheduled for September 19th. If you have any ideas contact the Signal Engineer. Next meeting: September 11th.
JUNE 6, 2009
SIGNAL DEPARTMENT ANNUAL BBQ WAS A LOT OF FUN!!
We all had a lot of Fun at the Annual Signal Department BBQ. It was again held at Miller Park, however this year we invited guests and had some Great Entertainment! Department Members and guests starting arriving about Noon and soon afterward were listening to Surf Music, partaking of BBQ Burgers (Prepared by Chef Al and Chef Helpers Carrie and Robyn) and watching the SSRR Excursion Trains chug on by. To see who helped out click here. The sign, in the second photo from the left above, was set up by Signal Maintainer Chuck so Excursion Train passengers would know what they were viewing was an SSRR event. Thanks Chuck! Big Other Thanks to all the men and women that helped out and to the band.
The band is the Retronauts. Signal Engineer Dale met them in Esparto while they were playing for the Almond Festival and wished right then they could be retained to play for the Signal Department. It all worked out and they did! Check them out at: www.theretronauts.com
More photos to be posted on the Mirra Machine soon!! (Above photos by Robyn, Dave and Dale)
FROM THE SIGNAL ENGINEER: THANKS FOR COMING AND MAKING OUR ANNUAL BBQ FUN AND SUCCESSFUL!
JUNE 5, 2009
SIGNAL DEPARTMENT ANNUAL BBQ IS TOMORROW!
Ready? Set? Almost Go.....! Don't forget your beverage and your chair. We'll be starting about Noon. See you tomorrow!!!!!!
JUNE 4, 2009
CAPITOL MALL CASE HAS LEGEND PLATES - FINALLY
The Signal Crew (Paul and Dale) installed the legend plates on the Capitol Mall that the Operations Department had requested. The project is almost complete with some minor revisions still left to be completed. Sometimes it takes time and perseverance to get something 101% complete. Thanks Crew!
JUNE 1, 2009
ANOTHER SAFETRAN INSTRUCTION MANUAL POSTED
The Signal Engineer has posted the Safetran Model 3000 GCP Grade Crossing Predictor Instruction Manual on the Mirra Machine. The new crossings at Q Street and R Street will use the Model 3000 GCP and all Signal Department personnel should be come familiar with it. If you do not have access to it from your Mirra account let the Signal Engineer know.
MAY 30, 2009
ANNUAL BBQ ONLY ONE WEEK AWAY
The Signal Department Annual BBQ is next
Saturday only one week away. Remember to bring your own beverages and
Also to remember: If you are an Operations Crew Member be sure to layoff!!!
MAY 29, 2009
Q/R STREET PROJECT UPDATE
CSRM management met with Sacramento City staff and CPUC personnel to discuss the necessity of gate arms on the Q Street and R Street crossings currently under construction. A decision was made to not install gates at this time and continue with the 20 MPH train speed limit south of MP 0.6. After the crossings have been placed in service CSRM, City staff and CPUC will evaluate how pedestrians react to the train operations with the use of only flashing lights and gongs. The evaluation will be used to determine if gates should be installed or if the train speed limit should be changed. The signal systems have been designed and are being installed to be gate ready.
The Signal Engineer and Project Manager Paul have been working closely on the design of the signal systems with Railway Signal Construction. Current plans call for changing the specified motion sensor at each crossing to a grade crossing predictor. This change will minimize the length of time a pedestrian is waiting for a train after the flashing lights and gongs activate (Thus reducing the pedestrians anxiety level and thoughts of crossing the tracks when a train is known to be approaching.). A significant amount of the underground conduit was installed in April. Most of the equipment to be installed within the Instrument Case is on order and should arrive within 60 to 90 days. The Instrument Cases will be assembled at Railway Signal Constructions facility in Sacramento.
MAY 27, 2009
SUTTERVILLE ANNUAL COMPLETED
The Annual Inspection of Sutterville Road Crossing System was completed by a Signal Crew consisting of Paul (EIC), Chuck, Marc and Dale. Assisting with the cantilever work was John from Railway System Construction. The system passed inspection. Now if we could just get some trains down there................
MAY 25, 2009
MONTHLY REPORT POSTED
The Signal Engineer posted the April 2009 Monthly Report on the Mirra Machine today. Have a look.................
MAY 14, 2009
MONTHLY INSPECTIONS COMPLETED FOR MAY - ALL OK
A Signal Crew consisting of Al, Paul, Bill and Jim implemented the May Monthly Inspections on the 14th. The Signal Engineer was watching over their shoulders while lots of training was administered by Al and Paul. Students Bill and Jim had a good learnen'. No problems were found and all crossings passed inspections and tests. Great Job Crew!!
MAY 9, 2009
ANNUAL PART 214 EIC TRAINING AND EXAMINATION HAPPENED!
On May 9th the third Annual Signal Department Part 214 EIC (Employee In Charge) Training and Examination was administered to six crew members by the Signal Engineer. Two other crew members participated in a make up session held on May 11th. The crew met at Front Street for field training. Crew had to fuel up first so while signing the rest register devoured breakfast sandwiches from Bel Air courtesy of the Signal Engineer. The Signal Engineer handed out a new Safety Chart with a schematic diagram of the SSRR trackage with Mile Posts on one side and a Working Limits Diagram on the flip side. Group discussion of Working Limits was followed by a short lecture and demonstration by Signal Maintainers Dave and Paul on Radio Rules. A funny exercise was lead by the Signal Engineer during which the crew was asked to point in the direction of various land marks along the trackage (EIC crew members are required to know the physical layout of the territory they are working in.). The usual 440 feet contest was held with Paul and Dave tying for closest cone to 440 feet. The Signal Engineer then held a second contest. All crew members within 50 feet of the 440 foot goal received a lapel pin (SSRR Signal - 440 FT). The group then moved to the Big-4 Conference Room where additional discussion and the examination was held with donuts (Fuel) provided by Signal Maintainer Paul. Signal Department Friend Jeff took photos of the field training. Click here to see some of them. You can also go to the Mirra Machine to see all of Jeff's photos he took of us that day.
MAY 7, 2009
ANNUAL SIGNAL DEPARTMENT PART 214 EIC
AND EXAMINATION IS ONLY TWO DAYS AWAY!!!!!!
Saturday the 9th is the day our Annual Part 214
EIC Training and Examination is scheduled.
Meet at the CSRM Parking Lot at 8:30 AM. Be sure to bring the following:
For Field Training:
Φ Hard Hat Φ Vest Φ 2-Way Radio Φ Orange Cones Φ Red Flags Φ
For Classroom Training:
Φ Calculator Φ Laminated Part 214 Flow Chart Φ
See you there!!!
APRIL 25, 2009
TWO SIGNAL MAINTAINERS AWARDED THE MCKEEN AWARD LAST NIGHT!
Retired Signal Maintainer Fred
(Center in Photo) and Signal Maintainer Al (Right in Photo) both received the
McKeen Award at the Annual Volunteer Banquet last night. The award is given annually to a SSRR crew
member and recognizes their dedication and commitment to safety, skill and public service.
This is only the second time in the history of this award, which was first given in 1988, that two
awards have been made the same year. Fred, who is currently an Engineer on the SSRR, is a
retired SSRR Signal Maintainer having been active in the Signal Department during the 1980s and
the early 1990s. Al, who is also an SSRR Engineer, is a current Signal Maintainer in the SSRR Signal
Department. Traditionally, the previous years McKeen Award recipient, provides the Presentation Message
which introduces the new years recipient. Last year the recipient was Signal Engineer Dale and so he
was privileged to make the presentation. That means that this year all three men involved are current or
previous members of the SSRR Signal Department.
CONGRATULATIONS FRED AND AL!!!!!!!!
(Photos thanks to Signal Maintainer Paul and Friend of the Signal Department Jeff)
APRIL 24, 2009
FIRST TRAIN ON NEW SECTION OF TRACK TODAY!
About 2:30 PM today the SSRR Operations Crew,
with Retired-Signal Maintainer Fred as Engineer and current Signal Maintainers
Chuck and Dave as Brakeman, moved a passenger consist with SSRR 2030 in the lead
onto the new section of track MP 00.59 to MP 00.90. The track contractor
was putting the finishing touches to the track system as the consist approached.
When the high ball was given Engineer Fred eased the SSRR 2030 forward onto the
new track starting just south of the Circle of Lights and slowly moved it though
the new section. Several passes were made through the new right of way
with each pass at an increased velocity. Only a couple of minor dips were
noticed by the train crew which the contractor H&H Engineering will remove.
This means that we will be able to operate Scheduled Trains tomorrow, the first
Excursion Trains for 2009.
APRIL 20, 2009
SSRR SOUTH OF MP 10.00 IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE - SEE PHOTOS
Recently part of the Weed abatement crew rode the right of way from MP 10.00 to MP 15.50, that's from Cliff's Marina to Hood, to inspect the effectiveness of recent weed spraying. During that time some photos were taken. Some of those photos are available on this web site. It is a beautiful place this time of year with lots of green and many things in bloom. To see the photos go to MOW UPDATE and follow the note at the bottom.
APRIL 19, 2009
ONLY THREE WEEKS UNTIL PART 214 EIC TRAINING AND EXAM
Hopefully, you have all been reviewing the Training Handout, Part 214 Rules Booklet, SSRR Roadway Worker Safety Training Manual, Signal Department Regulations, Revision E, Signal Department Regulations, Revision E, Appendix 105, SSRR Rules and Regulations, GO 2009-6, SSRR Timetable 14 and have or are planning to visit the Main Line to update your understanding of it's physical characteristics. The Training Handout on the Mirra Machine has been revised. The latest version is Revision B. See you in three weeks!
APRIL 19, 2009 WEEKLY MOW UPDATE POSTED
Checkout the latest MOW Update. Just click here!
APRIL 18, 2009
Q/R STREET PROJECT - ON A SCHEDULE AND GIVEN A HIGH BALL!
The Q/R Street Project is progressing now and we are planning to operate trains to test the track on Friday, April 24th. That means, of course, unless something not good happens we'll be operating Scheduled Trains on Saturday, April 25th. The photos just to the left were taken this morning about 11 AM. The photo on the far left was taken from about MP 00.80 looking south. In the foreground is the Clunie Siding north switch. This section of track is just about complete. The photo in the center is looking north about MP 00.70. This is how far the contractor, H&H Engineering, had progressed from the Circle of Lights after starting at 6 AM. The rails from MP 00.70 to MP 00.80 will probably be placed on ties in the afternoon which will complete the installation of rail. The photo on the right was taken from about MP 00.68 and is looking north. Henry, the H&H Engineering Man In Charge, indicated that he was pretty sure they would not be working tomorrow, Sunday, even though they have been authorized to do so by the City. Monday he plans on bringing in a steady stream of trucks with ballast and will start raising the track. We are definitely looking better!
APRIL 13, 2009
SIGNAL ENGINEER POSTS PART 214 EIC TRAINING MATERIAL
The Signal Engineer announced today that the Training Handout for the Part 214 EIC Roadway Worker Training and Examination scheduled for May 9th has been posted on the Mirra Machine. To down load your copy click on the "DOWN LOADS" button to the left and look for the folder titled "SSRR Part 214 Examination Training Material on the Mirra web site. Any questions? Contact the Signal Engineer.
APRIL 10, 2009
Q/R STREET PROJECT -- PROGRESS AND TRACK!!!
Progress!! - We have some track back!! Thanks for photos and report from Robert, The State Parks Architect.
A section of the main line from the new Clunie north switch south to the existing main line is shaping up nicely. H&H Engineering's crew placed the ballast, ties and rails yesterday and today. Monday they plan to begin install of the piece of Clunie Siding that is still missing and then they will start installation of the remaining ballast and raising the track to proper grade. Still no official word if the Signal underground conduit installation will begin on Monday as planned. Maybe we'll be operating on April 25th as planned!! Thanks for the photos Robert!
CAPITOL MALL WEST BOUND GATE REPAIRS SCHEDULED FOR MONDAY THE 13TH
Railway Signal Construction plans to complete their project to replace the old Instrument House at Capitol Mall with an Instrument Cabinet on Monday the 13th. Part of the contract involved modifications to the west bound gate system. The materials for the modification recently arrived. The Signal Engineer has coordinated the work with the Operations Department and with Tower Bridge Operations (Tower Bridge uses SSRR west bound gate to stop vehicular traffic prior to bridge opening). The Signal Department plans to make some revisions of the gate itself at the same time.
APRIL 9, 2009
CHECK YOUR CALENDARS - PART 214 EIC TRAINING AND EXAM ONLY A MONTH AWAY
Our annual Part 214 EIC Training and Examination is scheduled for May 9th. Be sure to mark your calendars. The Signal Engineer has yet to announce a starting time. Training materials should be available on the Mirra Machine next week some time. Watch for the announcement on that. Signal Maintainers must take the training and past the examination to continue to be certified. Student Signal Maintainers are not required to take the training or the examination but it is recommended especially if they expect to take their certification Examination before May 2010.
APRIL 8, 2009
Q/R STREET PROJECT UPDATE
There is progress at the Q/R Street Project again............ Ever so slowly. Check out the two photos on the left. The one farthest left was taken just about where the new Clunie north switch will be. It shows the right of way looking south. What you see is sub-ballast! The next photo taken from about the same location as the first shows the right of way looking north. You can see that the sub-ballast still has a way to go. The area north of that is where the R Street crossing will be and is where the underground drainage system begins and must be installed prior to sub-ballast installation. After the drainage and before the sub-ballast will be the signal underground conduit system installation which is now scheduled to begin on Monday the 13th. The area that has the sub-ballast will get ballast, scheduled for the 9th and then H&H Engineering will install the track between the north Clunie switch and the existing main line to the south. The third photo is State Parks Project Manager Robert checking to make sure the slope required has been developed for proper drainage. We could use him on the Signal Department Team to keep us honest............. Stay tuned for more updates soon.
APRIL 5, 2009
MOW UPDATES NOW AVAILABLE ON SIGNAL WEBSITE
The MOW Management Team has agreed to allow The Signal Volunteers to post Weekly MOW Updates on our Web Site. It is usually published on Sundays or Mondays and the Signal Engineer will make an attempt to promptly post it to the Web Site. Now, those folks not on the MOW distribution list will also have access. The MOW Update format was recently revised and includes photos as well as text. This is another great example of the teamwork between MOW and the Signal Department.
APRIL 4, 2009
MONTHLY AND QUARTERLY INSPECTIONS FOR APRIL COMPLETED
A Signal Crew consisting of Bill, Chuck, Dale, Dave, Jim and Marc implemented the Monthly and Quarterly Inspections on April 4th. All Systems passed inspections and tests. We brought our lunch and had a picnic (Do men have picnics?) by the lazy Sacramento River. The new scheduling process seems to be working well. Today we accommodated three Signal Maintainers and three Student Signal Maintainers. The crew split up into three groups as suggested by scheduler Paul with Dale and Bill at Capitol Mall, Dave and Jim at Broadway and Chuck and Marc at Front Street. After Beans the total crew converged on Suttterville Road. After completion of the inspections the Signal Engineer treated the crew members to ice cream at Vics - Yum! Yum!
Q/R STREET PROJECT UPDATE
A meeting was held with City staff, CSRM management, Flintco and several subcontractors and engineers on Friday, April 3rd. Several items were on the agenda but foremost was to answer questions about various engineering elements of the project so it can move forward. Tentatively the schedule indicates installation of underground Signal and power conduits and drainage lines within the SSRR right of way the first part of the week beginning April 6th. Following the installation of those components the grading/civil contractor will finally begin the process of installation of sub-ballast and ballast for the SSRR Main Line tracks. If this occurs, as planned, the anticipated April 25th date for first Scheduled Train operations of the year is likely to happen.
APRIL 3, 2009
SIGNAL MAINTAINER PAUL MEETS OLIVER CROMWELL
Signal Maintainer Paul and wife Nancy are vacationing in England and has sent back some photos of interest. The first two photos on the left are of the very last steam locomotive built in England the Oliver Cromwell. It just happened to be on the lead of an Foamer Excursion train and came through a station while Paul was there. Here is a link to more about it: Paul's Link to Oliver Cromwell that Paul sent along with the photos. General Manager Dick also dug up this link to more about the locomotive: Dick's Link to Oliver Cromwell . The other photo is in Windsor, England. It is Paul at the local station where there is an old locomotive on display named the Queen. Gee. Do you think Paul is having a great time?!?
APRIL 2, 2009
Q/R STREET PROJECT - PESSIMISTS WIN............. DANG!
Murphy's Law is alive and well in Sacramento. Due to so many compounded reasons the Q/R Street project construction scheduled has again been revised. The revisions include the work of installing the new SSRR Main Line and thus the first day of Excursion Trains has again been changed. The first Excursions Trains for 2009 are now scheduled to depart on Saturday, April 25th. Hopefully this is the last revision to be necessary.
APRIL 1, 2009
SIGNAL WORK AT Q/R STREET PROJECT STARTS - FINALLY
The Signal work at the Q/R Street project has begun (April Fool? - Nope it's real). Railway Signal Construction installed the two conduits that are under the tracks. One at the Q Street Crossing and one at the R Street Crossing. This marks the beginning of the project for the Signal portion. The two photos at the left show Don and John from Railway Signal Construction installing the conduit at Q Street. Shortly after that the R Street was assembled and installed too. Both conduits have been encased in slurry concrete. The first Excursion Trains of the year continue to be scheduled for April 11th, however, that date seems highly unlikely unless the pace of construction work is increased rapidly. On site working today were crews from Royal Electric and Railway Signal Construction. No other construction personnel were working on the site. The Signal Engineer has become very pessimistic at this time so stay tuned....
MARCH 30, 2009
SSRR RULES TRAINING AND EXAM THIRD AND LAST SESSION SCHEDULED!
The third and last session for this season of the SSRR Rules Training and Exam is scheduled for Wednesday evening April 1st beginning at 6:00 PM. All Signal Maintainers must take the training and pass the exam to keep their certification current. Also, any Student Signal Maintainer that anticipates taking the Signal Maintainer Certification Examination prior to March of 2010 must take the rules training and pass the examination to qualify to take the Certification Examination. If you didn't make it to session one or session two be sure to attend this session as it is the last offered this year.
THE SCHEDULER HAS DONE HIS JOB - TAKE NOTE!
Signal Department Scheduler Paul has made the assignments for April Inspections. All Inspections are scheduled for Saturday, April 4th. The following assignments have been made: Capitol Mall: Dale (EIC) and Bill; Broadway: Dave (EIC) and Jim; Front Street: Chuck (EIC) and Marc; Sutterville Road: Dave (EIC) and entire crew. If you are an assigned member of the crew report to the Signal Shop at 9:00 AM and bring your lunch
MOW TEAM VIDEOS ON THE WEB..................
The SSRR MOW Team has posted some of their great videos on a web site. Click on MOW Team Movies and check them out!
MARCH 28, 2009
MONTHLY REPORT POSTED
The Signal Engineer has posted the February 2009 Monthly Report on the Mirra Machine. Check it out and stay up to date within a month.......
ANNUAL VOLUNTEER RECOGNITION BANQUET ANNOUNCEMENTS
You should have received your announcement for the annual Volunteer Recognition Banquet in your mail box recently. This year it will be on April 24th and will be at the Doubletree Hotel beginning at 5:00 PM with diner served at 6:30 PM. If you are going to attended (the Signal Engineer encourages it) be sure to return your sign up card for reservations to the All Aboard Desk before April 10th. This year the attire is "Western Costumes" or casual attire (Boy! We can all do the second one really well!). I wonder what western attired Signal Maintainer outfit looks like? Hope to see you there!
MARCH 27, 2009
Q/R STREET PROJECT CREEPING ALONG
The Q/R Street Project (Also known as the Docks Project or the South River Promenade Project Phase I) has not been making much progress lately. This afternoon, in fact, there was no work going on at all. No construction workers were on the site after Noon. Reason: There are some engineering changes still being made on the drawing board and the General Contractor, Flintco, has put the project in what our Signal Engineer describes as "Productive Delay". Will this effect the first Excursion Trains of the year from leaving the station on April 11th? That's an unknown at this time. Stay tuned!
MARCH 21, 2009
SIGNAL MAINTAINER AL IN THE NEWS AGAIN.............
Signal Maintainer Al spoke to the second section of the Car Attendants Training today, again providing a great overview of what the Signal Department is all about. It seems like Al is everywhere these days! Check out several of the New News items below to be reminded what our most senior Signal Department member is all about............ Al works in MOW (Vegetation abatement and Machine Operator) and Signal Department (Signal Maintainer, Special Events Coordinator [Remember Behind the Scenes Tour], Facilities Coordinator [Coordinating our move from the Boiler Shop], New Radio Section Lead, Advisory Committee Member and Recreational Director) and Operations (Was Car Attendant, Is Brakeman, Conductor, Fireman, Engineer and Trainmaster). Big Round of Hand Clapping for Our Guy Al!!!!!!
ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETS
The Signal Department Advisory Committee (members are: Al, Paul, Chuck, Dave and Dale) met today and discussed several items. Some of those items were: - Reviewed the Scheduler concept for scheduling inspections and agree that we should continue the process. Signal Maintainer Paul will continue with the Scheduling assignment through April. Signal Maintainer Chuck will then take over the assignment for the following three months. - Discussed the merits of having a lead trainer. Two action items came from the discussion: 1. We might want to have some annual training on electrical safety and 2. Signal Maintainer Paul to come back to the committee with an outline of the proposed training process. - We also discuss the new Radio Section. Signal Maintainer Al is gathering information and plans to speak to locomotive shop personnel to determine procedures for working on locomotives and will also develop a proposed budget for the Signal Section. - Another item of discussion was Signal Department shirts. The Signal Engineer will develop another proposal and distribute options to all Signal Department personnel. Next meeting is tentatively planned for Friday evening, June 12th.
MARCH 20, 2009
SSRR RULES TRAINING AND EXAM SECOND SESSION SCHEDULED FOR TOMORROW
The second session of the SSRR Rules Training and Exam is scheduled for Saturday the 21st beginning at 1:00 PM in the Stanford Gallery. All Signal Maintainers must take the training and pass the exam to keep their certification current. Also, any Student Signal Maintainer that anticipates taking the Signal Maintainer Certification Examination prior to March of 2010 must take the rules training and pass the examination to qualify to take the Certification Examination. There will be a third session of the SSRR Rules Training on Wednesday evening April 1st. See you tomorrow?
Q/R STREET PROJECT PROGRESSING - SLOWLY
The Q Street and R Street project progress is slow but steady. The Pile Driver has arrived and is expected to drive the fifteen required piles early next week. The entire 1500 feet of right of way has been cleared and the sub base for the ballast and rails is being developed. The photos shown here on the left are left to right: The Pile Driver being set up. The metal pipe piles with the arrow heads which will be welded to the end of the pile going into the earth (to ease vibrations and help penetration). Part of the supply of new ties. A new frog (probably for the north Clunie switch). We are still assuming that Excursion Trains will operate beginning April 11th which is only 15 working days from today and are keeping our hopes up. Museum management is watching the progress and if necessary will annul the trains on April 11th and April 12th. Project Manager Paul and Signal Engineer Dale reviewed part of the submittals provided by the Signal Contractor for the Q Street and R Street Warning Signal Systems today and plan to meet with the contractor on Monday.
SIGNAL DEPARTMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO MEET SATURDAY THE 21ST
The Signal Department Advisory Committee will be meeting right after the SSRR Rules Training Class on Saturday the 21st. On the agenda: Radio Section and Training.
MARCH 19, 2009
MONTHLY INSPECTIONS COMPLETED AT CAPITOL MALL AND SUTTERVILLE ROAD
SSRR Signal Crew of three with Signal Maintainer Paul acting as EIC completed the Monthly Inspections at Capitol Mall at Sutterville Road today. Both systems passed with no problems. Paul provided some training details for Al and Bill as many of us are still learning the new system at Capitol Mall. Crew members were Signal Maintainers Al and Chuck and Student Signal Maintainer Bill. Way to Go Crew!!!
MARCH 14, 2009
SIGNAL DEPARTMENT RADIO SECTION ON TRACK
A planning meeting was held today in the General Managers office to begin the process of organizing a Radio Section within the Signal Department. The Radio Section will be involved in activities such as inventory of radio equipment, programming radios, preventative maintenance program, compliance with FCC rules, repairs and installation. Signal Maintainer Al has volunteered to head up the Radio Section. Helping and advising Al will be Signal Maintainer Dave who has been implementing many of the SSRR radio requirements on an as needed basis. It was Dave's idea to create and organize a Radio Section to assure sufficient radio resources are available and that all radio equipment is reliable. Attending the meeting was General Manager Dick, Signal Engineer Dale and Signal Maintainers Al and Dave. For more information contact Al.
MARCH 13, 2009
MONTHLY INSPECTIONS COMPLETED AT BROADWAY AND FRONT STREET
A Signal Crew with Signal Maintainer Chuck acting as EIC completed the Monthly Inspections at Broadway and Front Street today. This work was scheduled by the Signal Department Scheduler Paul and is the first time the scheduling process worked without a hitch. Those department members participating were Signal Maintainers Chuck and Al and Student Signal Maintainers Jim and Joe. The Signal Engineer stopped by to pick up the paperwork and snap a few photos and found everyone busy (including resident peacock) with training and inspection work being implemented. Great Job Chuck and Crew!!!!
Q/R STREET PROGRESS
The Q/R Street Project is progressing. The contractors have removed most of the SSRR Main Line and part of the Clunie Siding that is within the project area. Grading has begun on the south end while removal of track and surprises continue to be removed on the north end. The surprises are many but three of interest are: 1. 1000s of granite cobblestones, probably over 100 years old where exposed between the Main Line and the river. 2. Within the cobblestones was a track constructed with girder rails (Like streetcar rail) big and heavy. 3. On the east side of the Main Line a track was found under 10" to 12" of asphalt. The cobblestones were known to exist because core samples had been taken while the project was in design. They must all be removed and transported to a City storage location because they are of historical nature. Next week a pile driver will arrive to begin the installation of 15 piles within the river area. Progress is being made. Stay Tuned.....
MARCH 12, 2009
GENERAL MANAGER ANNOUNCES 2009 FIRST EXCURSION TRAINS DAY ANNULLED
SSRR General Manager Dick has announced today that because of the City of Sacramento's River Promenade project currently under construction the first Excursion Trains of the year have been annulled. The project, originally planned to begin in February, did not start until March 2nd which compromised the scheduled and thus the Main Line tracks will probably not be ready for Excursion Train operation until April 11th.
SIGNAL DEPARTMENT PERSONNEL HELP OUT MOW
It is tree trimming time again south of Freeport on the Main Line to Hood. Three Signal Department personnel volunteered to assist MOW Vegetation Control Employee In Charge Mike. Those volunteering were Student Signal Maintainer Randy, Signal Maintainer Al and Signal Engineer Dale. The first two photos shown here on the left are of the Main Line right of way. It can be seen how effective Mike's weed abatement and spraying program is this year. The next photo is Al shown removing a tree limb and the last photo is mike pruning a tree. The Main Line area south of Freeport is beautiful this time of year and volunteering to help the MOW vegetation abatement team is a great way to get out and see how good looking Mother Nature can be. If you can spare a day to help out call Mike and volunteer; you'll be glad you did!
MARCH 11, 2009
SIGNAL MAINTAINER AL SPEAKS TO CAR ATTENDANTS
Signal Maintainer Al spoke to the first 2009 session of SSRR Car Attendant Training on Wednesday evening March 11th. He provided a great PowerPoint Presentation on what the Signal Department is and does and who we are. Thanks Al... Job Well Done!! ps. Al will be giving the same presentation to the second session of Car Attendant Train on Saturday morning, March 21st. Recommend you take the training even if you're not a Car Attendant so you can see Al's work.
MARCH 6, 2009
Q/R STREET PROJECT IS UNDERWAY
The Contractor, Flintco Construction, started construction of the new River Promenade and Q Street and R Street crossings as advertized on March 2nd. A fence has been erected around the job site and some muddy excavations have been attempted. On Monday, March 9th H&H Engineering, subcontractor to Flintco, will begin removing the SSRR Mainline beginning at the southern end of the project. Concrete demolition and removal of asphalt will begin the same day at the north end. If we need to visit the job site we must contact the Flintco on site Project Supervisor and wear appropriate safety gear. Safety gear is: hard hat, vest, safety glasses and job appropriate foot wear. Please contact the Signal Engineer or Signal Department Project Manager Paul before you go to the property.
SCHEDULER HAS SCHEDULED THE MARCH INSPECTIONS
The Signal Department scheduler, Signal Maintainer Paul, has published the March Inspection Schedule. Check you email and let Paul know if you can or cannot make your assignment. Thanks Paul.... Great job!!
MARCH 3, 2009
CONSTRUCTION WORK HAS BEGUN AT Q/R STREET PROJECT
Although it rained quite a lot on March 2nd Flintco Construction started the River Promenade project which will install the new Q Street and R Street grade crossing signal systems. A fence is now up around the entire project site (except for the west side facing the Sacramento River) and some excavation has been started. Rain or shine they're off.......................
LAYOFF ON MAY 9TH FOR EIC ROADWAY WORKER SAFETY TRAINING
If you have not done so already please send a layoff notice to the Crew Dispatcher for Saturday, May, 2009. The annual Signal Department EIC Roadway Worker Safety Training and Examination is scheduled for that day. All Signal Maintainers are required to take the training and examination. Students need not participate, but it is suggested they do so. Training materials will be available on the Mirra Machine sometime during April.
MARCH 1, 2009
SIGNAL ENGINEER POSTS DRAFT PROPOSED DRAWINGS OF Q STREET SYSTEM
The Signal Engineer has completed the first draft of the proposed Q Street Grade Crossing Warning System drawings and has posted them on the Mirra Machine. Watch your email for the mirra.com invitation to those files. Please send your comments to the Signal Engineer quickly as the project construction starts on March 2nd. The drawings are being developed as a means to help Railway Signal Construction develop the final designs which meet SSRR requirements. Sheets 2 and 3 indicate the Q Street Case will be located north of the Q Street crossing, however, review of the most recent 100% drawings provided by the City have relocated the Case to an area south of the crossing. If the case is relocated to the south major revisions will be necessary to Sheets 2 and 3. Railway Signal Construction will begin work on the underground conduits on or around March 11th and will be ordering the Case by the end of the month.
ANNUAL SSRR RULES TRAINING TO BEGIN IN MARCH
Annual SSRR Rules Training begins this month. There are three sessions provided. All Signal Maintainers must attend one of the sessions and pass the associated examination. The sessions are scheduled for: Saturday, March 7th at 1:00 PM; Saturday, March 21st at 1:00 PM and Wednesday, April 1st at 6:00 PM. All sessions will take place in the Stanford Gallery. All Signal Department personnel should have received the study materials for this training. If you did not please contact the General Manager immediately.
FEBRUARY 28, 2009
SIGNAL ENGINEER SPEAKS TO DOCENT CLASS 44!
The 44th Docent Class toured the old SP Shops today. The group was so large it was broken into two section groups. At 1:45 PM the Signal Engineer spoke to the first section of the group. During that time the second section of the group was provided a presentation by MOW. Then the groups switched and the presentations were made again. The 44th Docent Class seems to be energetic and raring to go!
SSRRSIGNAL.COM TO BE PURGED
There is now a years worth of information in the New News section of this web site. The Signal Engineer has decided to keep 12 months worth of articles and photos on the site and will begin purging those materials over 12 months old. If there is anything on the site you want to save for some reason do it now.
FEBRUARY 27, 2009
SCHEDULER HAS REQUESTED AVAILABILITY
The Signal Department scheduler, Signal Maintainer Paul, has requested Signal Department personnel availability for the month of March. Please send Paul a note and let him know what you status is going to be. This is part of the new scheduling procedure developed by the Signal Department Advisory Committee. This is the second month we are trying this scheme. Thank You!
PRE-CONSTRUCTION MEETING HELD FOR Q/R STREET PROJECT
This afternoon at 1:00 PM the City of Sacramento held the Pre-Construction meeting for their River Promenade project. Most project contractors, several City staff and five SSRR personnel attended the meeting. A preliminary first three weeks schedule was presented by Flintco the general contractor. Based on the schedule School Trains will operate on March 3rd and March 6th. All other School Trains are being annulled during March. It is still not clear if the Main Line will be open on April 4th for the first day of 2009 Excursion Trains. It is anticipated that a decision will be made by March 6th whether to annul the trains on April 4th and 5th. Work on the project will begin on March 2nd. The final 100% "for construction" drawings became available for review this day too. Although the Signal Engineer did not have adequate time to review the drawings a glance did indicate that the anticipate location of the Q Street case has been relocated from the north of Q Street to the south of Q Street. More to come..........................
FEBRUARY 26, 2009
MONTHLY REPORT POSTED
The Signal Engineer has posted the January 2009 Monthly Report on the Mirra Machine. The report is often submitted late in the following month to the General Manager. There is a section of the report that provides the General Manager with the number of hours each Signal Department member worked implementing Signal Department related activities. Much of the time is captured on the Rest Registers. However, often department members submit time to the Time Keeper that is not on the Rest Registers and the Signal Engineer needs to report that time. Many times, after the Signal Engineer requests the extra time from the department members he does not hear from them. Until he hears from everyone he cannot complete the report. Therefore, department members, after receiving the request for extra time from the Signal Engineer please promptly report; even if you have no time to report. Thanks in advance.
FEBRUARY 19, 2009
FEBRUARY MONTHLY INSPECTIONS COMPLETE
The Signal Crew consisting of Paul, Chuck, Dan, Jim, Bill, Joe and Dale completed all the Monthly inspections scheduled for February. All systems passed the inspections. We are now scheduling inspections on the first Saturday, second Friday or third Thursday of the month. February 19th is the third Thursday and since the first Saturday was Free Museum Day and the second Friday was rained out all inspections were postponed until the 19th. Scheduler Paul will be setting up for next the March inspections soon.
Q STREET AND R STREET CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN
The official kick off by the City of Sacramento of the River Promenade extension was held today at the Circle of Lights. Various City staff were on hand to explain to reporters and any public folks what the project will entail and when it will begin. Construction is scheduled to begin on March 2nd and be complete by the end of the year. SSRR Operations shoved the El Dorado to the Circle of Lights for the announcements. Our own Signal Maintainer Al was happy as a clam, reported so, because he was the engineer of the locomotive that shoved the El Dorado to its special location. Moving the SSRR Main Line to the east approximately eleven feet to provide room for the new Promenade is scheduled to commence sometime in March. It is anticipated that the track work will take 20 calendar days, weather permitting, and hopefully be complete for the start of the excursion season on April 4th. Several School Trains and Freight Trains will be annulled due to the track relocation work. The Signal Systems for the new grade crossings will be installed later in the year.
PLEASE SEND IN YOUR JANUARY TIME
The Signal Engineer has not heard from several Signal Department members regarding their extra time for January. Please send him a note if you have not even if you had not extra time. The Signal Engineer cannot complete the Monthly report for January until all the extra time is accounted for. Even if you had not extra time please send a note so he won't be waiting for you. The sooner the time reports are in the sooner the report can be completed and submitted to the General Manager. Sooner makes it more timely. Big Thank You!!
FEBRUARY 1, 2009
WATCH FOR THE SCHEDULER'S SCHEDULE
Signal Maintainer Paul, who has volunteered to be the first official Signal Department Scheduler will soon be sending out the assignments for Signal Department members to implement the February Inspections. As a result of the Advisory Committee Meeting held in December and with the approval of the General Manager the Signal Department will be scheduling the Monthly and Quarterly Inspections on a more formal basis. Paul has volunteered to be the first Scheduler. Department members will be asked in advance to provide their availability for the next month on the following days; First Saturday, Second Friday and Third Thursday. Paul will then make assignments based on availability and need. He will also attempt to assure that there is minimum of one Signal Maintainer assigned for each Student Signal Maintainer assigned.
JANUARY 31, 2009
TWO SIGNAL DEPARTMENT MEMBERS SPEAK AT THE SSRR TRAINMASTER/CONDUCTOR SEMINAR
Signal Maintainers Al and Paul developed and presented two presentations at the Annual SSRR Trainmaster/Conductor Seminar at the request of the General Manager. Al's presentation was titled "Signal Department: What it is, What it does!". Al provided a great overview of the Signal Department operations including special things of interest that Trainmasters and Conductors should know. Paul's presentation was titled "Changes Are A'Coming': How Does That Make You Feel?" Paul did a super job of explaining how we react to change and how we can manage change and then he provided part of the presentation he gave at our 2008 Annual Signal Department Training on 'The Euphoria to Despair Cycle". Super Duper Great Job by both Signal Guys!!!
JANUARY 24, 2009
MOW ROADWAY WORKER SAFETY TRAINING WAS HELD
Two sessions of the SSRR Roadway Worker Safety Training were held on January 22nd and January 24th. All Signal Department must take this training to be authorized to work on the right of way. If you missed the training session please contact the Signal Engineer or a member of the MOW Management Team. There will be a make up session
JANUARY 3, 2009
FIRST INSPECTIONS OF 2009 COMPLETED
On January 3rd the first Inspections of the year were implemented by a Signal Crew consisting of Signal Maintainers Paul, Chuck, Dave, Student Signal Maintainers Joe, Jim, Bill and Marc, and Signal Engineer Dale. All systems passed the Monthly Inspections. The tip light on the WB gate at Sutterville Road was replaced as the Students looked on. Everything went well until the new light didn't work. Further analysis found the cable between the mid light and the tip light to be bad and it was also replaced. Good Job Everyone!
JANUARY 2, 2009
GRADE CROSSING STANDARD SPECIFICATIONS FOR STANDARD TYPE 8 SYSTEM RELEASED
Because the City of Sacramento is extending the River Promenade south from the Circle Of Lights two new grade crossings are scheduled to be constructed and put into operation in 2009. Because the City is developing the project and their consultants are designing the project the Signal Engineer with the help of Signal Maintainer/Editor Paul developed a new specification for SSRR Type 8 Grade Crossing Warning Signal Systems. A Type 8 system has flashing lights, but no gates and no cantilevers. The two grade crossings, which will be named Q Street and R Street will be for pedestrians and bicyclists only with no vehicle traffic. The specifications have been forwarded to the City for their use. The new specifications have been posted on the Mirra Machine for Signal Department members to review. The specification is in the folder titled SSRR Signal Standards.