A&P RR Trestle and Transfer Table Construction

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Trestles and Transfer Table

The Trestles and Transfer Table





Arizona and Pacific Railroad Trestles and Transfer Table

          My property was once part of a large farm and I am grandfathered in with irrigation water rights on the property. This means every 14 days most of the year and every 28 days in the winter, I am eligible to fill the backyard with water from our lake and canal system at an agricultural rate. This is great for the trees and all of the vegetation, but submerged ties and railroad rail would be a problem. I brought in hundreds of tons of dirt and rock and elevated the perimeter of the back yard well above the water level to keep the mainline up above the water. I had to make a decision about the turntable lead and the tracks into the engine house. I could bring in additional material and elevate all of that area too or I could build some low trestles to keep those portions of the track elevated. I thought it would be a more unique look if I built a series of low trestles and went that route.

          We have five trestles in the back yard. Our first trestle, no. 1, spans rock creek where our irrigation water enters the property. Trestle no. 1 has gone through three incarnations. Each was very solid and functional, but changes of a few feet in the location of the mainline and later the addition of a switch necessitated the later versions.



Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Trestle #1 First Version





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Trestle #1 Second Version





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Trestle #1 Third Version





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Trestle #2





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Trestle #3





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Trestle #4



          The longest of the trestles and the one that gets the most attention is no. 5 at 65 feet long. It also contains a harp switch stand and the start of a siding. We started work on this trestle in September of 2005. We had already built the turntable lead trestle (no. 2) and trestles no. 3 and 4 in the same style so we knew what we wanted and how to go about it, but the turntable lead trestle is only 24 feet long, no 3 is 14 feet long and no. 4 is only 16 feet long. Trestle no. 5 was not only longer than all of our other trestles combined, it had a switch right in the middle of it, a pedestrian walkway integrated into its design and a curve into the turntable. It would be an interesting and daunting project.



Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Trestle #5 during construction



          The vertical steel posts are 4 x 4s with ľ inch thick walls as are all the horizontal steel components. The posts are buried 4 feet under the ground and each pair of posts are tied together with flat bar and several pieces of rebar. Then four feet of concrete was poured up to ground level. You might wonder why I went so deep with the posts and concrete. Well 18 times a year the back yard is filled with 10 inches of water and I didnít want anything moving, shifting or settling over time so I went deep.



Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Posts for trestle #5 are set in 4 feet of concrete





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

The posts that will support the 65 foot long trestle #5





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Setting blocks to hide the posts & form the pillars



          I wanted something that looked unique and not just posts or posts and cinder block. My friend Ruben Camarillo and I came up with the design of the pillars and we have maintained that theme throughout the rear of the property. The pillars are stair stepped on all sides which took longer to build, but that attention to detail also gets noticed.



Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Forming the pillars





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

The block pillars are filled with concrete





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Some of the block pillars are completed



          Each of the trestle ties are attached to the horizontal beams on which they sit by bolts that are threaded into holes drilled and tapped into the steel beams. It took us several weeks to complete each trestle, but I think we captured the look that I envisioned when we started.



Arizona and Pacific Railroad

A view of the steel frame prior to tapping hundreds of holes





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Each tie is bolted into the tapped steel frame





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Rail and side boards were added to the trestle





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Trestle #5 in Autumn



          The pedestrian walkway and the transfer table are built of the same steel with which we built the trestles.



Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Steel frame for the pedestrian walkway





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Constructing the pedestrian walkway across trestle #5





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Pedestrian walkway across trestle #5



          The transfer table came about when the City of Peoria planning and zoning commission required that the engine house sit ten feet farther from the rear property line than I had originally planned. It was a little bit of an engineering challenge. I designed a few different versions of the transfer table and then had my mechanical engineering friends run the numbers for me. I needed at least twenty-one feet to fit the S16s and the span was much longer than the trestles which have support posts every ten feet. I added a third horizontal beam to the design to help carry the weight. At twenty-one feet there was minimal horizontal deflection; if I lengthened it to twenty-three feet like the turntable, I would need a fourth beam and heavier steel. If I added a fourth beam and heavier steel, it would be too heavy for one person to comfortably move with an S16 sitting on it. After several calculations and much thought, I decided that the twenty-one foot long version was just right for this railroad and we spent a few weekends building it.



Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Trestle #5 leads to the transfer table to the engine house





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Transfer table frame





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Ties and side boards were added to the transfer table frame





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Arizona and Pacific Railroad engine Phoenix on the transfer table



          We finished trestle no. 5 in early 2006 and completed the transfer table in May of 2007. We added the center walking planks to the transfer table several years later in March of 2014.



Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Walking planks were added to the transfer table in 2014



          Many people have commented on our large Arizona and Pacific Railroad sign and logo. Originally, I planned to have a three way stub switch all as part of trestle no. 5. The main spur from the turntable would run into stall no. 3 and the center and left runs would access stalls two and one. The spur that is located just to the rear of the engine house was originally going to access stall no. 2 and the base of the A & P logo sign was going to support the rail that would have accessed stall no. 1. When the location of the building changed and I had to build ten feet farther from the rear wall, I moved the location of the structure several feet farther east and closer to the side property line. The main spur now lines directly into stall no. 1 with the transfer table accessing stalls 2 and 3.



Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Arizona and Pacific Railroad sign



          It seemed a shame to jack hammer out the beautiful foundation and posts that was originally planned to support the rail into stall no. 1. It also wasnít going to be easy with so much steel and concrete in the ground. It seemed like a great place for a logo sign to be displayed and we converted it into the base for our sign. Of course, I had to design a sign and have it fabricated. The sign was a big project by itself with each letter laser cut and then welded on by hand and it is two sided. The sign gets a great deal of attention, but few knew (until now) why it sits back there where it does.



Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Arizona and Pacific Railroad sign frame





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Arizona and Pacific Railroad sign during construction





Arizona and Pacific Railroad

Completed Arizona and Pacific Railroad sign











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