Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Casting Call | 7 Comments - Click Here :

    Darel Leedy - As I've mentioned before, Roper and I are busy guys. Unfortunately, my life doesn't revolve around building railroad models. So, continually having something to blog about can be a real challenge at times. But I really do enjoy keeping this site updated with fresh content.
    Recently, I've enlisted the help of friends Derrell Poole and Keith Hayes, who have both posted wonderful contributions to the blog. And I'm putting it out there; anyone is welcome to post here. I've modified the Welcome header on the top right of the blog to reflect this.
    The C&Sn3 is all about the ultra obscure hobby of modeling the Colorado & Southern narrow gauge in Sn3. This includes the history of the line and its predecessors. If you would like to write a post to share your modeling or prototype thoughts and meanderings, drop me a line. Even if you don't model in Sn3, we'd love to have you join us!
~ Cowboy Up!

Enthusiasts in Morrison eagerly await the next C&Sn3 blog update.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Updated Buffalo Plan | 9 Comments - Click Here :

Riverview Depot wasn't much of a structure - more of a shelter. The period was probably the 1920s, as the locomotive has a Ridgeway spark arrester in place. Riverview was apparently the station for access to the Buffalo Park family resort, and I believe was located southwest from this point. Derrell Poole Collection

View of Buffalo from the west looking southeast early 1930s(?). The hotel is long gone, but other structures seen in the earlier view are still apparent. By this time, the highway for automobiles has been cut into the hillside north of the tracks. This is a wonderful look at the through Pratt Truss bridge and its intriguing stone bridge abutments.  You can also see the road bridge over the river at the south end of town. Several cars sit on the spur in front of the stock pens, and there are piles and piles of cut lumber. If anyone has an idea of what the tower like structure is, I'd be interested. Derrell Poole Collection

    Derrell Poole - See the revised plan below (sorry for the poor image quality, as it is a jpeg conversion from a CAD file). After I published the first plan, I realized the station of Buffalo was compressed a little more than I liked (that plan was developed over a year ago), and I noticed there were other compromises I didn't like. I also really wanted Riverview on the layout – all I had was the tank. Then, I was having reservations about the west fiddle yard. Rolling it around seems risky. I still have the east yard, but eventually I’ll build further around the corner and we’ll see what happens then.

    This plan compresses Buffalo only about 20%. It also depicts the town (at least that portion north of the river) a little better and even includes the Hotel. More research, more photos, more detail. Riverview is much more compressed – more than 50% - but at least it is there.

    All of the additional real estate I wanted forced me to get creative with the space I am working in. It soon became apparent with all of the “unrelated” stuff in the south half of the room, I wasn't going to get what I wanted if I didn't find a way to use some of the north half of the room (up is “real” south; Buffalo is oriented correctly with the room where Riverview is looking north). But how could I accomplish this? With a short section of shallow shelf supported by a few studs to the left of the furnace/water heater, I could swing the track back around behind the Buffalo portion or the layout. This would provide the length needed for Riverview.

    The physical space between the two stations leaves plenty of room for a fixed yard – technically a fiddle yard and nominally called Denver. This is of no particular prototype location – just a place to switch up trains and turn engines. The “Denver” yard is fortuitously hidden from the rest of the layout.

    The three bridges happily demonstrate 3 different styles used on the railroad. Bridge 1054 is nothing more than a single span of Pile Trestle. In fact, some documents called these culverts. A span of bridge on a C&S trestle was 16’. These were everywhere and may have made up 80 – 90 percent of the bridges used on the line. The Pratt Thru Truss, no. 1056, was much less common on the line. This one was just less than 100’ in length. Some day I hope to make a brass model of it, but until then a CV 1902 plastic kit will have to do. This bridge also had wonderful stone abutments at either end. The third bridge, no. 1057, was a twin span Strain Beam type, and while there were several of these on the RR, they too were rather rare. Also the River at this bridge will be flowing away from the viewer – unlike the other two crossings.

    I've added contours to the land to suggest some idea of how the land looked along the tracks. I still haven’t fully decided how I will contour the layout. The elevation differences between contour lines is ½” – the thickness of fiber soundboard or ceiling tiles. But I may go with the blue foam. It is more expensive but it is also about ½ the weight. I will still have to glue a more suitable roadbed material to it, as it does not hold any type of fasteners very well. On the other hand, I will have to use twice as many sheets of the fiber board so it may not be any cheaper. But the fiberboard will make a more substantial sub base to the roadbed. Both are going to be messy.  I am going to use as little plaster as possible. I don’t like plaster and may use it only to cast rocks abutments and building parts.

    I've spent the last few days getting my tools ready. My saw and joiner are all set up and the router will be mounted shortly. Hopefully I can start cutting wood this weekend.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Modeling Trout Creek Pass | 4 Comments - Click Here :

    Uncle Bender's pictures in the previous post were taken on my now, long gone layout based on Trout Creek Pass. Since that post, many have inquired about the layout, and asked if I could provide a little background.

    Trout Creek Pass was perhaps the loneliest part of the South Park Line. As the railhead came down the Pass toward Buena Vista in late 1879 and early '80, it was all a-bustle. But after that, industry was sporadic at best. These included mining, lumbering, agriculture, and livestock. Initially, timber was the primary product but that quickly dwindled. Mining of Dolomite used as a flux in smelting was pretty big too, and there was a large quarry above Newett for that. There were other mines as well. They came and went. The railroad passed thru several ranches, including Hess and Megee's. These produced both livestock and hay.

    When the Colorado Midland built thru in the late 1880's, the two lines competed for what traffic there was, but also seem to have cooperated. For a short time at least, there were scheduled transfers at Dolomite (Newett) where the two lines closely paralleled each other. The Midland also caused the name of Hill Top on the DSP&P to be renamed to Bath. Reportedly this name of the English town had something to do with British Investors.

    As a layout, I believe mine was the first of Trout Creek Pass (in any scale). And while flawed, I believe it presented as much information as any publication to date. Most publications breeze thru Trout Creek Pass in their descriptions, with CRRM Rail Annual No. 12 having perhaps the most overall information. There are VERY few photos of the entire route between Como and Buena Vista - let alone the pass itself - so this lack of layout representation isn't surprising.

    To model Trout Creek Pass, I had to dig! The process was a consummate exercise in "connect the dots"!" In fact, the layout itself proved to be one of the biggest DOTS! Nothing like putting together a model of something to really become intimately familiar with it (which is one of my biggest pet peeves with Ready to Run models - you learn NOTHING from them!) This is because the layout asked - no, demanded - answers to questions. I had to seek out from what raw data I could find.

    The lack of photos made it all the more compelling to visit the various sights, and in the process I looked closely at McGees, Newett, Hess, Bath, Longs Creek, and as much as possible Platte River (which is on private property). My friend in Buena Vista, Ken Graczyk, has been very helpful. Especially in understanding the stations of Hess and Platte River. This points out another source of information we don't all have access to - local newspaper archives.  Ken figured out that there was a Sawmill located just above Hess around the big curve toward Bath. You won't see that on any maps.

    At the risk of repeating myself, one of the biggest thrills I have in doing a layout is the discovery of the history surrounding the prototype. I do miss the layout. Ken is working on an Article of the area, and I hope to see that one day. It should be very enlightening.

Derrell Poole

This is the original plan to my Denver Layout of Trout Creek Pass. It was also published in the April 2006 Issue of the "Bogies and the Loop" along with a description of my intent. I got as far as the left hand wall that included Newett up to Bridge 1034. From Thompsons tank to Gunnison fiddle yard (under Platte River) was not built. A new plan of this layout would reflect many of the specifics that became apparent after I built much of the layout. For instance there were sidings on both sides of the big curve at the bottom of the hill north of Newett (one just north Of Newett and another upgrade from the curve above the Hess Ranch - apparently a Sawmill - neither of which show up on the ICC maps.) That is TYPICAL of this road - much more was there than we know about!

Bath, also known as Hill Top and Divide at various times, was located at the top of Trout Creek pass. The different colored lines were drawn based on different sources of information. But the tracks in most cases are pretty evident on the ground. I found all of the wye switches for the C&S and the tail switch to the Colorado Midland. In fact the tail of the Midland track struck me as being double tracked. Don’t know if it was. Up is North and the C&S trackage is one of the red colors.

I have several iterations of this map as I developed it over several field trips, the ICC Valuation map and information provided by others (including a map that I've forgotten who drew it). This map was my final version and I think it is about as accurate as anyone can expect. On one trip Patrick Tillery stumbled upon the foundation of the Section House – after I built my model. While I had the location off a bit the dimensions and footprint of the model were surprisingly accurate. I used the B&B books for dimensional and addition information. That was a lot of fun – the field trips and the model building.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Story of Great Uncle Bender | 13 Comments - Click Here :

    You know how it was when you were a kid and your relatives talked about their ancient relatives and the good ol’ days? Well that’s about what I have to work with here. As near I recall of this third hand information, Uncle Bender, was my father’s mother’s uncle on her father’s side (but I couldn't swear to that). His name was English, and so was my Grandmothers maiden name. His real name was actually Benjamin (I think), but apparently everyone called him Bender. No one knows why.

    At the Turn of the Century (that is the 20th Century), Bender English was a young man very enthused about photography. He resided in Arkansas somewhere. I probably heard where once, but that is part of the 80 percent of what you hear that you don’t retain. So, Arkansas. I do know he was a schoolteacher from one story I heard, but that might have been after his trips to Colorado.

    Around 1909 to 1910 or so, he traveled to Colorado several times. That was before he got married (actually I’m not sure he ever was married, but then I couldn't say he wasn't either). The reasons for his trips have never been clear to me. He may have been going to school. I guess he had a couple of degrees. While he was there he took a bunch of photos, but most of them would be of no interest here. He did travel around on the C&S a bit and in particular the South Park. Somewhere there is a journal on his travels, but the devil if I can find it right now. The photos I’m sharing with you here are of the few days he spent at Bath and the vicinity of Trout Creek Pass. These Photos don’t include anything from the Colorado Midland (too bad) tho I’m sure he took shots of that Railroad too. I have to admit I only have a small portion of his collection. My “other” relatives each got some of portion of it as well.

    As I said, in the teens Uncle Bender was a schoolteacher somewhere in Arkansas. I’m not sure what grade or grades he might have taught (not little kids I’m sure). Then around 1918 (he was too old to go to Europe for the war, but may have had some connection to that) he went back east (New Jersey I think) and it was while there, he contracted influenza and apparently didn't survive. His belongings somehow went to my Great Grandfather (his brother) and then some of that to my Dad’s mom. I have other relatives who worked for the C&S around or out of Trinidad on my Dad’s side, but they are all gone too. So I acquired these photos and as many of the railroady shots as I could.

Enjoy his photos!
Derrell Poole

Bath Colorado – September 1909. Uncle Bender encountered a drover or a wrangler moving a few head of horses south of the yard at Bath. Said his name was Old Bill, and he worked for one of the ranches in the South Park. In the background were the 2-story section house and an engine on the wye. At the right of the photo was the Handcar shed.

This is actually a cropping of the previous photo. The Midland tracks would be between the tail of the wye and the trees in the background.

There is no explanation why this engine is running light up grade above Longs Creek. There was a 170-degree loop over Longs Creek. In this view I believe we are looking south. It’s a pretty stiff grade as the road has come off of the South Park and is climbing to the Pass.

No. 5 is on freight duty in this view and passing under the Midland overpass. We are looking more or less North East.

The tail end of this freight passes under the CM bridge. This view is on the other side of the CM ROW.

This is a pretty high angle shot and I've always thought Bender must have set up his camera on top of the Privy to take it. In the background you can see thru the underpass looking South East. The Depot at Bath was boarded up at this point and all of the business conducted out of the Section House. There was a coal shed next to the Depot across from the Section house and apparently the coal from the car has already been unloaded. In the background you can see a recently rebuilt Caboose so there was a train either sitting in the yard or perhaps slowly passing thru as Bender took the shot. Wonder who the damsel on the porch was?

The tail end of a short train creeping up the hill toward Bath from the east. It looks like the caboose is No. 304 (which would be renumbered 1006 in 1912). It looks like there is a lantern in the cupola portal. This is probably getting toward dusk and the lamp would have been the rear warning light. As far as I know only 304 had this feature.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Modeling Leadville | 11 Comments - Click Here :

    My friend Keith Hayes got more than he bargained for when he replied to the post about Derrell Poole's plans for Buffalo. I thought his reply was so good, that it was worthy of it's own blog post. Here, Keith provides additional details and photos of his Sn3 layout based upon Leadville during the later years of the C&S. Thanks for sharing Keith!

C&S 60 drifts across Hemlock Street during a test run after some shopping at the 7th Street Shops. You can see how effective the forced perspective is in the distance. Dunn's in the background is a Banta kit that is placed in the foreground for maximum effect: it will have a detailed shop interior.
    A general statement about my Sn3 layout; I did not set out to model a specific prototype segment, as Darel and Derrell are, but am more interested in assembling a layout of scenes that I have not seen others model, and in a sequence that makes some operating sense. So far, Leadville has been very rewarding to model and research. And if anything, I have regrets for not having followed the prototype more closely.
    Brother d's observations about operation on the C&S are well stated. The profiles are like that of a camels back with ruling grades far enough apart to give both train crews and the dispatcher headaches. Moving a double (or triple) header over this railroad is more than a satisfying challenge in this writers view than following green lights across the plains in the cab of a Berkshire. (no altitude--er attitude here).
    When selecting my own modeling subject, I briefly considered Black Hawk and Central City. I liked Central for the small yard and the awesome depot. A photo of the engine terminal at Leadville caught my eye, and I realized it was mostly intact and had many of the features I was looking for: an unusual depot (brick, not clapboard), a small yard and a roundhouse. No one has really done Leadville, either. I have also been fond of the railroad operating in the street as at Idaho Springs, and Leadville has a bit of this too. The juxtaposition of mines is a good place setting, and the opportunity to model some housing along Hemlock Street has been an added plus.
    Rick Steele created a great folio plan for me to follow. Though I selectively compressed the plan, and have mirrored some pieces, the yard has all the parts. When Brother D and I have operated just the yard, it has proved good entertainment for a couple of hours, even though I think he grits his teeth when I assign him one of the big Brooks locos that is stabled here.
     As this is the end of the line, I don't have the need for cassettes, though I do have a slightly freelanced interchange with the Evil Empire: it justifies modeling the narrow gauge diamond where the Ibex Branch crosses the main line to Denver.

One neat feature of the Leadville line was the Denver-Leadville passenger train, numbers 70/71. It was typically an RPO-Baggage and a coach handled by a mogul: a neat, tidy train. The layout, though set in 1939, features the operation of this train, seen here leaving Leadville. There are lots of models of old, wood buildings, but very few of stone and brick buildings, and even fewer that have neat SIDES. I am always on the lookout for cool buildings to model, and don't have an issue scratch building something if it is neat enough. The train is passing in front of Joe Hocevar's Bar, which is based on a building we found in Silverton. The sub-structure is 40-mil styrene with Chooch peel-and-stick stone over the top. I ended up hand painting all the stone and the mortar to get the effect I was after. Berendt & Blackburn's mining hardware is in the far background, but that is another story.

Extra 74 has pulled into Leadville from Como. This is the area where the standpipe will be. Photos were generously provided by Dave Grandt, and I hope to model this using a 3D printer. While Leadville is not an exact model of the prototype, I am trying to convey the flavor of it in 1939. Missing from this scene is the section house that will be behind the tender. I also have to screw my courage to the ground and build a real model of the brick depot.

Leadville is constructed on shelf brackets which have been fitted with a wood frame. Track is on MDF splines that are glued, screwed and sanded. Derrell Poole suggested using California Roadbed homosote, and I ordered 1/4" x 1" pieces with no slope. Flex track is glued to this with caulk. I priced out track and determined that flex is less expensive per linear foot than hand laid, plus you get the great spike and tie plate detail. Turnouts are FastTracks #6, all code 70. I cannot say enough about their jigs.

A more recent image with most of the closed cell foam infill ready for scenery. A lesson learned is to install the foam after the homosote but before the track to better fit it and carve in the slopes. All is painted with a brown latex paint, and I usually sprinkle some play sand in to provide texture before scenicing: fast and inexpensive.

This portion of the layout includes a corner section that is always a challenge to scenic. I was inspired by a WWI era image of Leadville showing the many homes on the east side of town. This became Hemlock Street. Many modelers have written about the use of smaller scale models in the background to enhance the sense of distance, but I don't believe anyone has used such a wide range of scales in such close proximity: the structures in the foreground are S scale, and the ones at the rear are N scale with some HO scale in between. This has been great fun to build, and if there is interest, I will be happy to share some tips on how to do this. It is very effective from a variety of angles.

View up Hemlock Street.

View of the D&RGW staging yard and the Arkansas Valley Smelter. This adds a lot of interest to Leadville, and provides an additional job. 

Keith Hayes
Denver, CO.
Leadville in Sn3