TrainMasters TV: I like spiking, really!

 photo TMTV-RoadShow-TrackIntro_zpsc4ca1e25.jpg(Yes – it was actually jacket weather yesterday – at least yesterday morning. So much for summer: Fall – and train shows – are approaching fast!)

I spent the day yesterday at the TrainMasters TV headquarters, working on the modules I’m building for an upcoming series.

After several work sessions that looked more like Carpentry for Dummies, I’m finally onto something directly railway-related: namely, ties and rail.

 photo TMTV-Roadshow-Tracklaying_zpsfbde9b8c.jpg

I got a lot done in front of the camera – demonstrating how I prep, distress and weather ties (hint: dice are involved) and how I use the wickedly good steel spikes from Proto:87 Stores, which I’ve also used on my Port Rowan layout.

Now that's a small spike! photo Spikes-01.jpg
(Click on the image to read all of my posts in the “Spikes” category)

Here’s how spiking goes:

1 – Roughly gauge the rails
2 – Twist a spike off the fret
3 – Spike one side of the first rail
4 – Twist a spike off the fret
5 – Spike the other side of the first rail
6 – Check the gauge
7 – Twist a spike off the fret
8 – Spike one side of the second rail
9 – Check the gauge
10 – Twist a spike off the fret
11 – Spike the other side of the second rail
12 – Check the gauge

Repeat about 50,000 times – or until you’re ready to shoot caulk up your nose:

 photo TMTV-Roadshow-CaulkNose_zpsbc1b592b.jpg
(Professional clown. Closed course. Do not attempt at home.)

That said, I love to spike track. I find the Zen-like state required mentally relaxing. It’s a great break from thinking about work, deadlines, social commitments, chores, or other things that sometimes cause one stress.

And isn’t that what a hobby is for?

Excuse me while I blow my nose…

Barry Silverthorn is a great host. In addition to putting together a program with first-rate production values, he buys me lunch every time I visit to record a segment. Yesterday, we went to a neat fish restaurant on the water. Thanks, Barry!

Chris Abbott also stopped in to the studio, briefly. He was in the area to visit family, and we had some goodies to exchange. Chris – thanks for helping to unload the vehicle, and thanks for sharing the photos.

Great as always to see you both!

16 thoughts on “TrainMasters TV: I like spiking, really!

  1. Two questions immediately come to mind.
    Firstly, I noticed Barry was wearing shorts whilst you wore a jacket. Is he descended from lumberjacks, or are you a wuss?
    Secondly, how did you dispose of that booger?

    More seriously, how do you make sure that the first rail is in the right place?


    • Hi Simon:
      Barry is a lumberjack. I’m a wuss.
      Who says I disposed of it?
      I use several three-point gauges to hold a pair of rails in rough alignment. I then use the standards gauge – which is about the width of a tie! – to centre the paired rails on the ties I’m about to spike. The ties aren’t all lined perfectly, so I do check for a general line of centre before committing to it.

  2. Yeah, OK. I get the jacket in September thing, even “down” in Kansas… we will need jackets this coming weekend. But do I see toes peeking out of your sandals? HA! Or do you go the Euro-style route and wear socks… tan socks?

  3. Didn’t stay as long as I would have liked; had to steal some time from mum’s birthday weekend to make it at all. Glad I was there to assist with the unloading and initial setup. Even got to play with the buttons on the camera remote! What could be better?

    To add detail to the comparitive narrative, I wore a T-shirt, jeans, and a baseball hat.

  4. For some reason I refused to wear shorts until the age of 23. Now I’m making up for it by wearing them all the time.

    Apparently this thread is mostly about clothes. Yes, spiking is boring.

  5. Handlaying track is its own corner of heaven, so relaxing and refreshing with no need to think about anything else. Got to love it. Just keep checking the gauge and watch the centerline….

    • I found a tie-end line useful when laying ties down. Using 8′ ties, the tie-end line is 4′ from centreline. It’s then simple to sight down the rail while spiking to maintain a straight line. The eye is very critical of misalignment.

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