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Railroad tracks


justfred
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Just thought it would be appropriate to post a warning about railroad tracks. Caches placed near active railroad tracks are now verboten - but I notice that a lot of the benchmarks I look up are located a few feet from active tracks.

 

Legally as well as safety-wise, you don't want to be anywhere near railroad tracks. Bad news all around. After reading up on it, my inclination is, aside from no tresspassing signs and fences, keep at least 50' from the tracks, preferably 150', unless you're obviously on safe ground (a parking lot or sidewalk, for example).

 

Perhaps it would be a good idea to post a note when you seek a benchmark and it turns out to be on railroad property; that's what I've been doing.

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We didn't find it but didn't search too hard once we saw where it likely was. Wasn't the tracks that scared us off, it was the thick undergrowth, 90+ degree weather and our lack of proper clothing for such a venture. We will likely try again once the weeds have died back. I did have to wonder though, this area had obviously had gravel added (there's a name for gravel under railroad tracks but I'm blanking on it right now). The benchmark was described as being inserted in a concrete post. Is this something that the railroad people would leave standing or is it possible it is buried under gravel? I don't remember the exact date, but it's been 30 or 40 years since it was last located. I don't mind looking again, just wondering if there's any chance of it still being there.

 

GeoMedic - team leader of GeoStars

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I never meant to give the impression that we'd be digging in the gravel! I was just wondering if it was worth returning for a second look once the weeds died back. I didn't know if the people working on the railroad would notice a benchmark and try not to bury it or if it was more likely to be buried or destroyed. If it's buried, it won't be found by us!

 

GeoMedic - team leader of GeoStars

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Good to know you weren't thinking of digging. WHEW icon_smile.gif

 

The gravel is called BALAST. As I understand the process, the ties are placed down to maintain the distance between the rails. The rails are anchored to the ties to prevent them from moving around and to maintain a continuous and constant distance between the rails. The balast is then spread along the right of way, between and around the ties to fill all the voids and maintain the distances between ties and rails etc. The balast is then tamped down and compacted to further strengthen the entire structure. Keeps everything in place.

 

I would think that if the marker was on a reasonably high post that it shouldn't be burried. If you think about it, the depth of the balast would have to be no higher than the ties. Unless the whole road bed was raised over time the post should still be the same distance above the ground. Remember, the waypoints provided with markers is not always accurate. They can actually be quite off. You might want to check all the different directions like distance from crossings etc. or from a nearby station to verify that you are looking in the right location. You mention a lot of seasonal growth from brush and weeds etc. Maybe it would be a good idea to check again when the vegitation has died off. The marker might be there but bushwhacking to find it might be making it too difficult to find. It, of course, could be possible that the marker was destroyed or removed during other maintenance of way work.

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Good to know you weren't thinking of digging. WHEW icon_smile.gif

 

The gravel is called BALAST. As I understand the process, the ties are placed down to maintain the distance between the rails. The rails are anchored to the ties to prevent them from moving around and to maintain a continuous and constant distance between the rails. The balast is then spread along the right of way, between and around the ties to fill all the voids and maintain the distances between ties and rails etc. The balast is then tamped down and compacted to further strengthen the entire structure. Keeps everything in place.

 

I would think that if the marker was on a reasonably high post that it shouldn't be burried. If you think about it, the depth of the balast would have to be no higher than the ties. Unless the whole road bed was raised over time the post should still be the same distance above the ground. Remember, the waypoints provided with markers is not always accurate. They can actually be quite off. You might want to check all the different directions like distance from crossings etc. or from a nearby station to verify that you are looking in the right location. You mention a lot of seasonal growth from brush and weeds etc. Maybe it would be a good idea to check again when the vegitation has died off. The marker might be there but bushwhacking to find it might be making it too difficult to find. It, of course, could be possible that the marker was destroyed or removed during other maintenance of way work.

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RE: MY POST OF MAY 17, 2002 - TRESSPASSING

 

YOU WILL NOTE FROM EARLY DISCUSSION CONCERNING THIS VERY MATTER OUR LEADER, MR. IRISH ADDED THE DISCLAIMER WHICH IS DISPLAYED ON ALL BENCHMARK INFO SHEETS WHICH,WAS IN PART, AS A RESULT OF MY POINTING OUT THE SERIOUS PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH TRESSPASSING ON ANY ACTIVE RAILROAD PROPERTY.

 

MICKYD

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Note that in Indiana, it is a Class B Misdemeanor to trespass on railroad rights-of-way unless you fall within a few very narrowly defined groups of people. One of those groups is registered land surveyors, which gets folks like survey tech off the hook - provided he's actually doing surveying work and not just hunting benchmarks - but leaves the rest of us benchmark hounds out in the cold, figuratively speaking.

 

warm.gif

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Well, I respect SEPTA property as well as SEPTA buses respect red lights, the safety of other road users, or anything else, but I'll say that so far all the benchmarks on RR property I've logged or failed to find, so far, save one, have been in areas normally accessible to the public.

 

The one (KV1839) was beyond a newly-erected decorative fence, there's pictures on the benchmark page. I don't really think it's too out of bounds to cross that fence.

 

In any case, just about everything's illegal nowadays, and even if it isn't, wandering around with a camera taking pictures of little disks and other markers on bridges and stuff is bound to get you marked as a terrorist anyway. May as well enjoy yourself before they come to take you away.

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