Rail Track Layer, Clyde Iron Works

Rail Track Layer, Clyde Iron Works, Photo 1
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The weekend of November 8-9, 2003 saw the arrival of the Clyde Track Layer #134, built in November 1923 by Clyde Iron Works of Duluth, Minnesota. The Track Layer was obtained by the Northern Counties Logging Interpretive Association from the lands of Louisiana Pacific Corporation near Big Lagoon, where it had been operated by Hammond Lumber Company. It is believed that the Track Layer was originally purchased by the Mason County Logging Company of Shelton, Washington. Records indicate that the machine is one of only two Clyde Track Layers existing in the world, the other being at Collier Memorial State Park near Chiloquin, Oregon.

Rogan Coombs of Fortuna undertook the project to restore the Track Layer, utilizing the expertise of Roots member Ed Bertolini to oversee the restoration. Eureka Boiler Works was contracted to restore the steam engine and subframe. North Coast Fabricators of Arcata was contracted to restore the balance of the Track Layer and prepare the entire unit for assembly.

Rail Track Layer, Clyde Iron Works, Photo 2

On Friday, November 7th, three North Coast Fabricator trucks arrived at the Roots work facility with the disassembled Track Layer, along with a crew composed of owner Tim Crowley, Ted McKenzie, Neil Grissin and Danny Pollock. In spite of the untimely arrival of a monsoon for the weekend, a crew of Roots volunteers gathered to assist in the project, including Bert Bertolini, Jim Bruggere, John Bradley, Chris Baldo, Ed Vikart, Percy Daniels, Vrain Conley, Gene Roediger and Dorothy Roediger. Bill Daniel of Daniel Steel brought a 15 ton crane from Ukiah, Willits Redwood Company provided a forklift, and we made ample use of Big Bertha, our Eureka Southern crane. The Track Layer was mounted on the 16-wheel moving car, which will provide storage for 1 /4 mile of track. By Sunday night a cold and wet but thoroughly satisfied crew departed with the assembly of the Track Layer all but complete.

By spring of 2004 we will start training a very unique 18-person crew to operate the Track Layer.

from the Roots of Motive Power newsletter, December 2003