Keith Hayes - Though the Rio Grande's third rail was removed between Salida and Malta in 1926, providing my C&S layout an interchange with the D&RGW creates some operating interest in Leadville. One of the large D&RGW customers was the Arkansas Valley Smelter, which is located down the hill near Stringtown, just below the old Colorado Midland grade. (the D&RGW freight depot has been moved to the site, if you should visit.) The end of the layout includes a Rio Grande staging track for the connecting train to Salida; part of this job is switching several industries, including the Arkansas Valley Smelter, which serves as a visual foil to hide the open staging track.
The overall scene as the operator would see it. The car card box fits nicely within the form of the brick building on the right. The Assay Office is on the left. Some low open storage bins will probably fill the space between. Or maybe a truck scale.
The inspiration: All that remained of the cluster of structures at the Yak Tunnel in California Gulch in 2012. This too, may be gone now. The Yak drained a number of mines located in the gulches further north and was served by the Colorado Midland.
I wrote previously about this project in September 2014, "An Exploration Into 3D Printing".
In towns like Leadville, the wood buildings burned down in early fires and were replaced by brick structures, like the Yak Tunnel. Searching for a suitable kit yielded the Dayton Machine Company kit in HO manufactured by Walthers. The problem is that the small windowpanes are a dead giveaway to the scale.
The previous post described my foibles designing and ordering the various windows and doors for this project. The model has a clerestory and the sides are four masonry bays long, about 12” actual. The site for this building is a bit more than two car lengths long, and I have a second need—a place to hide a car card box. So, I cut the sidewalls and spliced them together. The walls were painted a rust color (my preference for brick), and some watery light gray paint wiped in for mortar. The walls were assembled, and I got some stout Evergreen strip styrene to reinforce the corners and provide a brace at the bottom of the clerestory.
The model had a continuous clerestory window, so I had to make new 3d print castings to form one in S scale. The castings were assembled on a couple pieces of styrene strip. All the windows and doors were painted black, as that seemed the right thing to do. Once the paint was dry, I glazed the windows using clear styrene and canopy glue. New roofs were constructed out of .040” black styrene, and a heavy rib was glued to the clerestory roof. The corrugated metal is from Wild West.
I used Tom Troughton’s method to build the platform. The base was cut from 1/8” tempered hardboard. I drilled holes for 3/16” square posts, painted the base brown, and glued the posts in from the bottom. The platform is scale 2” x 10”, though the real thing would have more likely been decked with 4” x 10”s—bars of bullion are heavy, you know. Cross braces were added between posts under the deck.
I added a couple numbers above the two track doors to indicate car spotting locations. This should provide some operational interest for the train crew. When I designed the layout, I created a switch back at the smelter for a coal storage building. Train crews will have to pull the cars at the warehouse, then go into the stub track to pull the cars from the coal track. The operation is reversed to spot new cars at the coal bin and warehouse.
Raggs To Riches recently issued a kit for a Silverton smelter in HO—it included an eye catching Assay Office, and I asked Joe Fuss if he was planning to make the office available in S scale. True to his word he did, and that meant I had to buy the kit. It is a fun build and has a neat form, and some great details.
To complete the scene, I ordered some crates from Scenery Unlimited, and some Arttista figures to create a card game taking place on the back side of the building, beyond the watchful eye of the boss.
With this area taking shape, I am moving back into town to complete some of the structures there.
Leadville in Sn3