AuSable’s rolling trains came to a halt in 2017 when it was found the AuSable Valley trestle had been compromised by a wood munching bug.
Mr. Costello has a long history as a Railroad enthusiast. It all started as a kid when he learned from some of the best small gauge train operators engineering the train at Brackinridge Park in San Antonio, Texas. It has been a long journey up and down miles and miles of track to Fairview, but the indomitable task of bringing our beloved train back to life is now forefront in his mind.
“The process to redesign the trestles and obtain approval of the redesign from the state of Michigan, has taken much longer than anticipated,” Costello said. “The design was finished at the end of March and approval from the state was obtained at the end of April 2018. We need to find about $50K to buy materials and complete the work.”
The top half of both trestles need to be replaced.
“We are replacing the wood beams with steel that will last 100 years or more and will be free from insect attack. We are also adding a walkway for an escape route should the train ever experience a problem while on the trestles,” Costello said.
Full guard rails will be added in case a wheel jumps the main rails. This is a safety feature found on all modern large railroads and will bring the trestles up to current amusement ride standards.
“I should note that this in no way should be taken as a criticism of the original trestle design that Howard Schrader paid another professional engineer to design 20+ years ago.
“Now that we know the type of wood needed to hold the weight of the train is subject to decay and attack by insects, we will move to steel beams.
Costello said standards change and evolve over time.
“We are looking to the future with this project, so this railroad keeps running for generations to come.”
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