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Created 3.8.2005

Another Quickie!

Since most people seem to come here from this page you may have read about Quickie or even of an even Quickier.

Well, here is a Quickie of a different kind.

For her 10th birthday party we decided to arrange something special for my youngest daughter Lotta. Ok, we got a magician which would be special, but that would only last half anhour (yet another Quickie?). If only my engine was more than a pile of casting seasoning among the workshop junk and if only I had a track...

Then it hit me. Hello, Jankke has a portable track and a few engines...what if...what if he would loan it for a good cause?

So, then and there I cellphoned him and made him an offer he could not refuse: come to the fabulous birthday party and by-the-way your track is wellcome too! Actually I begged him to loan the track provided I would do all the work...and oh boy did I do it too!

So here is the story of a Quickie Track.

On the evening of July 27th I drove 100 km to Hanko, where Jankke's family has a summer house. Took me less than an hour to disassemble half (45 meters or so) of his wonderfull Moebius track. Drive back to Siuntio for a good nights sleep. All together six hours for this trip. On the left you'll see Jankke, smiling though his only one is about to embark an a jorney without fathers tender care...
Next morning (28th) at 7 AM I started track works. Previously I had roughly located the place where the track was to be. Our piece of land has, on average, a gradient of about 10% so it is realy not suitable for this kind of activity. A train can bearly cope with 4% gradient, but miraculously I had found a relatively flat patch of diameter about 13 m between some apple trees and the woods. I started works (on the left) from the one spot where the base rock prevented any excavation, as this would define the level of the track. With the help of a laser level I checked the need for excavation / elevation every 5th meter or so and noted down the figures on small note papers.
I then laid down the track on the grass as accurately as possible without actually bolting the pieces together.
By 7:40 AM the track was in place, I even managed to go around the apple trees, which was nice, as the local Ministry of Enviroment would hardly have approved cutting down a tree or two.
Next I improvised some raising blocks from left over bricks to level the track . Here is Lotta contempleting the complexities of track work. By 9:55 AM this was completed.
An embankment was constructed where necessary from crushed stone aggregate (6-16mm) by wheel barrowing some 4 tons of the stuff and pouring it over the track. We, Jankke and I, had speculated that this would be the ideal stuff for track construction as it would not raise any fine sand that could get into the loco works (Jankke had a nasty experience with that at Hyvinkää Rail Museum once) and it would bind nicely together. However, as I'll explain later, this was a mistake.
By Noon or so all the embankments had been built.
It was time to start excavating. There was a stretch of about seven meters that needed some spade work to remove some 40 cm (at highest spot) of soil of mixed variety. Piece of cake, some three hours later at 3 PM I had it almost done.
Oh bugger, at this point I realised that it was not enough to have space for the Quickie to run in the cut, but space was also required to allow the drivers carriage to woble through with some marging.
A quick call to Jankke told me that I needed atleast 55 cm clearance at the height of 8 cm for the gas truck to pass through. So I clamped a piece of wood on one of the goods/passanger trucks so that I could use it to gauge the cutting. I was not going to dig/cut any extra!
Two more hours later at 6 PM the cutting was finaly wide enough with some marging! The soil here is mixture of fist size rock bound together with sand, roots of trees, gravel and solidified clay. Strike as hard as you like and you will dislodge about a tea cup full of it at a time!
Oh boy, was I done in by now!

An to add injury to insult it turned out that there was no way this track would work as the sleepers and rails kept sinking into the aggregate and the crushed stone kept creeping on the rails! All this work for nothing. Oh dear, oh dear and some stronger Finnish words...The problem was that although in theory the aggregate was the right stuff for this job in practice it would have required heavy ramming which would have ment lifting all the rails and bringing in a ram-plate to ram it properly. Of course my marvelous neighbour Pekka has a ram-plate, so no problem, but there just was no time nor energy to do that. The next day was reserved for cooking and finalising the house so I knew the track would not be ready in time. A distaster!
Fortunatyle resque came in the form of afore mentioned neighbour Pekka, as it had done so many times before. While I was enterteining desperate thoughts on where to get and how to cut some timber to manufacture some 250+ sleepers he suggested that "why not use those excellent extra bricks" that I had laying useless on a corner. The very same brick that I had used already to sketch the elevation of the track. Now why did I not think of that? So by 8:30 PM Lotta, my 'guinea pig', completed the first round (seen here at dusk in her pyjamas) of the track on Quickie with only two de-railments!

By 10 PM, some 15 hours after I started, I had finalised the track so that I could complete a full circle without a de-railment. Time for some rest and sleep, before tomorrows cookery stuff! I'll tell you about the cooking session some other time.
On the morning of 30th my potential son-in-law and me did some finall adjustments and on the dot 2 PM as agreed the Engine arrived complete with a driver and all!
And in no time at all we had the steam up and the fun started. We run for hours and in the end all the dads had a chance to try their hand at the throtle.
We even had a point and a siding so that we could run the Litle Beast and Quickie in turns!

And what a luck with weather!

All week long the forecast had been rainy over Southern cost line of Finland and yet Saturday was bright and sunny all through...but then we did surf a lot of weather sites until we found one with a suitable forecast!
And when finally (next day) the last guests had departed Lotta run the Quickie to her hearts content!

I'll end up with Extra Big Thanks for Jankke for loaning the track and showing up with the engine. Must have been nerve whrecking to part with his offspring and give it to my hands...fortunately no LEDs were involded!

regs Kusti

P.S. Now the track is back in Hanko (an other 200 km and six hours Gone West (pun intended) and you may wonder if it was worth the 30+ hours for just one glorious bet it was!