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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Making Tracks

06/09/12 244# 32m
Thursday morning my good orthopaed stuck a big needle in my left-side knee and injected some fluid in an attempt to reduce the fluids in my knee, which seems counterintuitive but he's the Man and he's very good at it, so I took Thursday and Friday off the bike.

Before I go on, here's a link to Stu's (Musings) post, which I think is brilliant, an elegaic transport prequel that asks, 'what if this doesn't last?' It's always good to examine assumptions and foundations, and he writes about the scale of investment based on (personal, multi-car) automotive suburbia and asks, what would happen if that bubble pops? Good reading; not a Cassandra, but food-for-thought especially in light of what we're doing to mass transit systems.

Today I rode 32 miles on the Montour Trail, from Boggs out to Morganza Road where the new trail bridges are being built. Trail conditions were excellent and there were a lot of people out, which is a good thing.

I was emboldened to go out and stand on the Morganza Road bridge, just to see where it's at and because I could. The deck is complete; it still needs side railings and the ramps that lead up to the bridge deck. It's going to be awesome.

I am still marveling at the rail-and-trail being built between mileposts 19 and 21, just north of Venice and Route 50. (It's a Marcellus fracking infrastructure project.) The rail-and-trail is very nice, although I think some spots are going to have erosion problems. Two things really impress me: the lack of theft and the track technology.

There's a lot of supplies stored out in the open along the trail; big creosote-soaked timbers and all sorts of materials. In the place where I grew up, all that stuff would be stolen and repurposed for residential landscaping, so there'd be guards on the site 24x7. It's nice to live where that doesn't seem to be an issue, although I guess that makes me the skeeviest person in the room.

This is a photo of an old-school rail joint, using a "fish plate" to connect the two rail segments, "dog spikes" and "timber sleepers" and I can't make any claim to understand that stuff. Certainly it's an evolved, workable solution that has stood the test of time.

The new track technology is very impressive, because it seems to result in a seamless track. This is a photo of the new track being built around MP20:

It seems like they lay the track down, and then after it's aligned and set in place they place a filler plug in the gap and weld it into one continuous piece. Other than this one gap picture above, there isn't any other interruption in the track for two miles. It'll probably make for a much quieter track, but I wonder about expansion/contraction. If any train gurus have any insight I'd sure appreciate hearing about it.

   June 9, 2012 Week 22
this week:
159 miles
  244#   2nd Qtr 1435 miles
2012: 2450 miles

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