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Western Railroad Discussion > NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair


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Date: 06/03/14 23:57
NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: sliderslider

The Burdell Siding, once the site a vibrant moving scale operation, lies like a patient on table, just east of Highway 101 north of Atheron Rd. in Novato. It is has become the focus of the contractor's that are building the SMART railroad, and new concrete ties are being delivered twice a week to the three mile section of track, even as the old siding is being torn out.








Date: 06/04/14 00:01
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: sliderslider

The NWP/SMART row runs alongside a large area of reclaimed marsh on the east stretching out to the Petaluma River. To the west is 101 and places such as the Buck Center for the Aging and world-famous Birkenstock, the most famous product of Novato.

There is a small area of office space and two storage places as you move from Atherton up along Binford and out into the pasturage area.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/04/14 00:38 by sliderslider.








Date: 06/04/14 00:07
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: sliderslider

AT MP 30, which is measured from the Ferry Building in SF, you can really see the work beginning on the patient. Numerous heritage culverts in here dating to before WWI, have been or are about to be removed from the ROW. Work has been done by Stacy-Herzog the SMART contractors and it has been done quite speedily.

To west is Olompali State PArk which bears the oldest house north of San FRancisco in California, an adobe structure built by the local native americans, known as the Miwoks, in 1776.

In pic 3 you can see the dismantled south end of the siding with it's dwarf signals at bottom right.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/04/14 00:39 by sliderslider.








Date: 06/04/14 00:14
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: sliderslider

Burdell, the area which is the siding's namesake, is named for James Burdell who lived in the adobe house before building a large Victorian mansion on the site of another adobe structure there.

Burdell was no stranger to rictuses, being a dentist. And in the days before novocain, going to the dentist was no Saturday afternoon ice cream parlour trip.

Much like the ROW is now being dissected, so was the land, and of course the hippies made the mark hippies made everywhere--starting a cult in the old mansion and eventually burning it to the ground when the wiring failed.

In picture 3 you can see old Mount Burdell area overlooking the scene.

Novato is really a marvelous city, nature-wise.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/04/14 00:41 by sliderslider.








Date: 06/04/14 00:22
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: sliderslider

The siding runs for a mile up to a motion scale that measured a single truck at a time, and created reports to be forwarded to points on the national rail system for the crews to pick up as they wended their way east.

There was a station at Burdell with a milk platform and what not. This was located south of the ranch road where these concrete ties have been staged over the past two weeks. The ranch road is located where this turn begins to straighten out and the siding enters the scale zone. Along the path of the entire siding signal towers with blinking lights guided trains into the scale track to proceed at correct speed for weighing.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/04/14 00:42 by sliderslider.








Date: 06/04/14 00:25
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: sliderslider

There are perhaps no extant photos of the scale in operation. At least not to the knowledge of collective internet.

There are some fine photo essays at nwprr.net and even a construction picture or two. Search that site for burdell.

As you can see, these scale building and siding sit in the sun like a tooth in skull in a ditch. This building housed a printed and communications equipment in addition to the scale device.

No one really knows when it was built, but it was probably sometime in the early seventies.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/04/14 00:36 by sliderslider.








Date: 06/04/14 00:30
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: sliderslider

Here is a picture of the underside of the scale plate with the risers that ultimately weighed the truck as it passed over the plate. The scale had powered spring switches, none in use now.

There is a really excellent photo essay of this scale here, with a lot of explanation of how it worked: http://nwprr.net/photo/albums/burdell-scale-2013-12-08

Each picture has comments left by the author explaining things.

Pic 3 is looking south down the scale and main line.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/04/14 00:32 by sliderslider.








Date: 06/04/14 00:34
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: sliderslider

The switch at either end of scale was powered spring switches with dwarf signals indicating which way the switch was turned.

Just north of the siding is a single tracked trestle over a tidal slough.








Date: 06/04/14 00:35
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: sliderslider

PIc 1 is the dwarf signal at the north entrance of siding. And pic 2 is a scrap of grafitti scrawled on the wall of the scale shed.






Date: 06/04/14 04:54
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: DFWJIM

Great set of photos! Was the Burrell siding ever used as a passing siding?



Date: 06/04/14 07:18
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: Torisgod

Beautiful photos and faintly humorous photo-essay. Counter-intuitively, the black and white adds a very vivid effect to it.

Tor in Eugene



Date: 06/04/14 11:32
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: Kimball

Looks like the scale was only about 5 feet long? About equal to the gauge, by eye? Maybe it weighed only one axle at a time, not one truck? What commodity was being moved in such volume to require this scale? And what happened to that business?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/04/14 11:34 by Kimball.



Date: 06/04/14 11:46
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: sliderslider

Kimball Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Looks like the scale was only about 5 feet long?
> About equal to the gauge, by eye? Maybe it
> weighed only one axle at a time, not one truck?
> What commodity was being moved in such volume to
> require this scale? And what happened to that
> business?


that's right! one axle at a time. I don't why I said truck. IF you look you can see the diagonal cuts in the rail on either side of it.

There was a whole lot of gravel, rock, aggregate shipped south on this line. And I think back in olden days you had to charge by weight, not carload, requiring the scale.

There was previously a scale down at Ignacio yard which appears in the SPINS booklet as late as 1970. So this one here was probably built after that. But definitely earlier than '74 because there is a NGS monument in the concrete wall of the scale mounting.



Date: 06/04/14 11:53
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: spnudge

Burrell had a spring switch at each end. North or East bound were lined down the main. The "signals" shown are switch point indicators that told the engineer that the switch was lined up the main.

The South or East bound trains were lined into the siding to weigh. The switch point indicators would show the switch was lined for the move. The tall single light signals were Lunar. If your speed was 4 mph the light would be steady as you weighed. If it started to flash your speed was starting to increase so you slowed it down a bit. They wanted you to weigh the train without excessive buff or draft. There were not any block signals involved.

Nudge



Date: 06/04/14 13:41
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: Railbaron

spnudge Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Burrell had a spring switch at each end. North or
> East bound were lined down the main. The "signals"
> shown are switch point indicators that told the
> engineer that the switch was lined up the main.
>
> The South or East bound trains were lined into the
> siding to weigh. The switch point indicators would
> show the switch was lined for the move. The tall
> single light signals were Lunar. If your speed was
> 4 mph the light would be steady as you weighed. If
> it started to flash your speed was starting to
> increase so you slowed it down a bit. They wanted
> you to weigh the train without excessive buff or
> draft. There were not any block signals involved.
>
> Nudge


Actually SP did a strange swap at Burdell. Since westward trains were superior to eastward trains they changed the designation of the tracks at Burdell so what used to be the siding (the track that got the scale installed on it) became the mainline and what used to be the mainline became the siding. On top of that the "siding", which was the old mainline, had a maximum speed of 35 mph (if memory serves me correctly) because of the spring switches and the "mainline", which was the old siding, had a maximum speed of 10 mph, 4 when weighing. I would have to check one of my old NWP ETT's but I believe there was even something in the special instructions that specified eastward trains would use the "siding", but don't quote me on that.



Date: 06/04/14 13:54
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: sliderslider

I'm loving the conflict of ideas, the back and forth here. Good Novato knowledge here!


Here's a good burdell post with more good knowledge: http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?11,1366456



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/04/14 14:13 by sliderslider.



Date: 06/04/14 15:32
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: upkpfan

Why all B & W pics? Color is better. upkpfan



Date: 06/04/14 18:43
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: sliderslider

upkpfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Why all B & W pics? Color is better. upkpfan

ok I'll stop posting b&w



Date: 06/04/14 19:49
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: kingman

sliderslider Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> upkpfan Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Why all B & W pics? Color is better. upkpfan
>
> ok I'll stop posting b&w
Oh I don't know , the B&W evoke a feeling of nostalgia, almost like your looking back in time to a bygone era. I kinda liked it. next time post both .LOL Im making work for you.Good shots I love the NWP since I stumbled onto Schelville about 4 or 5 years ago on a trip to sonoma. wineries.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/04/14 21:33 by kingman.



Date: 06/04/14 21:16
Re: NWP's Burdell Siding: Rictus of Despair
Author: sliderslider

kingman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> sliderslider Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > upkpfan Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > Why all B & W pics? Color is better. upkpfan
> >
> > ok I'll stop posting b&w
> Oh I don't know , the B&W evoke a feeling of
> nostalgia, almost like your looking back in time
> to a bygone era. I kinda liked it. next time post
> both .LOL Im making work for you.Good shots I love
> the NWP since I stumbled onto Schelville about 4
> or 5 years ago on a trip to minima. wineries.

Yeah I agree. It removes the time element almost in a way. Also, pictures of tracks work really well in balck and white. Distances show well.

But Novato does have some beautiful colors so you have to do color, too, to balance it out.



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