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.

4 Comments - Click Here :
  1. Fascinating! Sometimes the research is more fun than anything else. Its always nice to discover that something you researched is pretty close to the actual thing.

  2. Sometimes it is, Kris. Thanks.


  3. Flaws?What flaws?I don't see any flaws?It looked like you made good use of photo murals to enhance some areas-most noticeably near the area of the overpass,where there is a well recognizable view of South Park.It would seem that Darel could use cropped,colorized portions of old railroad photos of Dickey on his layout.Did you use any photos of Buffalo Peaks on yours?

  4. Cool. According to my G-Grandfather's letters he worked on a Section House being built at Trout Creek Pass in the spring of 1880.