Today dawned sunny and warm - perfect to do a little work on the railroad. Before I could start there was some preparation - as always. I first rearranged the yard, full of pieces we are working on. Then I put away Friday's steel order with the forklift. There was a bunch of pipe to move as well but at last I could get to the stack of rail. Then it was time to bring out the hydraulic press, the new bender and the welder and set everything up. This setup time included putting the hydraulic cylinder into the new bending rig. It was 1:00 pm before I did the first trial bend. I'm happy to report the new bending rig worked perfectly! I love it when a plan comes together!
The process isn't fast however. I first drew out the desired radius onto the concrete, then positioned the bender and gave the rail a tweak, moved the rig 10" down the rail and repeated and so on. It's best to do a little at a time an work up and down the rail until the rail matches the chalked radius on the cement deck. Then the tougher job, to bend the second rail to match the first. It took about two hours to do one twenty section of track and another half hour to move it to the front yard with the forklift and tractor. Since I was working by myself today it took a lot longer than with a team... but with today's practice piece I now know exactly how to do things. Tomorrow we'll do three more curved sections plus some straight sections to finish the track in front of the house and turn the corner up the side yard. Then it's a three hundred and fifty foot straightaway to the back corner of the property. That will go a whole lot quicker!