Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Blog: Three Years Later | 9 Comments - Click Here :

Roper Then
Roper Now 
    Darel Leedy - This week marks the third anniversary of the C&Sn3 blog. I originally started this blog as a means to motivate myself by documenting the construction of a small Sn3 layout. My first post (The UK Influence), described my reasoning and plans for a layout depicting Dickey, Colorado circa 1920.
    As my progress slowed and I had less and less to write about, I invited fellow C&S modelers working in any scale to also post on the blog (my brother Derrell and I think there might be 5 of us in Sn3!). I've continually updated and modified the blog to be something I thought was missing; a place for C&S modelers and historians to congregate and share information.

    The blog (a free online magazine?) will likely hit 100,000 total views this month (80,000 since opening it to additional authors less than a year ago!), and the new discussion forum has over 8500 views in less than a month. Again, their success depends on your participation. I am very appreciative of those that have contributed a blog article: Derrell Poole,  Keith Hayes, Doug Heitkamp, Robert Boorman, David Steers, Bill Meredith, Lincoln Pinn, Randy Rieck, Don Peterson, Rick Steele and Mike McKenzie. And to all of those participating in the discussion forum; Thank you!

    Along the way, my miniature Australian Shepard; Roper, joined us and shared his uncanny knack for finding and sharing old photographs. He especially loves to be thrown a bone now and then.

Stay Thirsty My Friends

    I am always open for suggestions. So if you think something is missing or could be improved, please let me know. And if you would like to join the fun with your own blog post, just drop me a note. And don't forget to join us in the C&Sn3 Discussion Forum. I swear, of late more new information has been shared there than anywhere else. Enjoy!

~ Cowboy Up!

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Tale of Three Class 60's | 3 Comments - Click Here :

   A big welcome to Bill Meredith. Bill is a long time DSP&P modeler and is well known throughout the South Park modeling community. His post below should be of interest to anyone modifying a Railmaster kit to resemble a South Park locomotive or working with white metal kits.


      Bill Meredith - Greetings All! I thought there may be interest in this job I am doing for a good client of mine in the group. While the RGS did not make it to Leadville to interchange with the C&S, it is Sn3 and the lessons learned here may be of some use to someone.

    The requirements called for three RGS, former D&RG, Class 60 C-16s numbers 3, 12, and 19. The plan was to source two of the locos from existing Railmaster kits which Mr. Poole had made huge and excellent progress on but had to divert to other more pressing jobs. The third was built from castings and nickel silver etchings that I had developed.
At least that was the plan.


    The #19 was built up from the nickel silver etchings and an assortment of brass castings. These castings came from PSC, Tomalco, and from castings that I had developed for projects such as these. The drive comprises of a Faulhaber 1724 coreless motor and a NWSL 36:1 gearbox. I have found this arrangement to be optimal as the Faulhaber tops out at 8,000 RPM at a full 12VDC but with 3x the torque of similarly sized motors. Most can type motors at this size crank at 12,000-15,000 RPM and I wanted a more realistically slower top speed. We were good to go.

    The drivers were built in house using my center castings and stainless steel rims. The tender trucks are an old pair of Tomalco trucks pulled from the parts bin.

    Now Derrell had done the lion’s share of work on one of the Railmasters and the other had really only the tender completed. So I completed this loco as best as I could. I ended up replacing the airpump with an 8” airpump from my collection, the headlight from PSC. The running boards were replaced with nickel silver ones from my scrap box. The rest was stock from the kit. The Railmaster castings are at best ok. Best not to look at them too closely in other words. When they are assembled and painted, a Railmaster can be hard to distinguish from a brass import. The model was plumbed as best as possible and as closely to prototype as possible but as you might imagine, decent photos from that era (ca. 1905) are pretty slim. So we make do.


    Derrell has a pretty good handle on soldering white metal to white metal. It can be done, but a good 60W soldering iron and experimentation is the order of the day. When I say “a good 60W iron” you need to have one with a fairly large tip that can throw off a lot of heat. That is, the white metal will suck a lot of heat from the iron’s tip. The white metal also has a very narrow heating zone between the melting temp of the solder and the melting point of the component you are trying to join.  If you are not careful, the part will melt away into a frustrating blob of a mess.


    The biggest challenge, and one of arguably the most sensitive components, was joining the running boards to the boiler. Given the weight of the loco and the fact that most of us will pick up the loco via the running boards, it’s imperative to insure as solid a bond as possible. This took some work.
The all Railmaster loco is to become RGS #12. The pix show the locos almost ready for paint preparation so if the loco seems a little unfinished, it’s because several of the components were placed for the purposes of some quick and dirty photos.


    When I started RGS #3, the idea was to build it up as the #12 was built using mostly Railmaster components. After some effort, I canned that idea and went with using an etched nickel silver boiler, smokebox, and cab that I had in the spare parts bin.

    Nickel silver is a truly wonderful material to work with that has some very interesting properties. Unlike brass which allows the heat to travel through the material when soldering, nickel silver dissipates heat almost immediately. This means that it heats up and cools quickly. It is now very easy to solder parts together while holding them with your fingers. How slick is that? A simple temp controlled soldering iron is more than ample for the large components and the smaller castings. A resistance soldering unit is required for attaching the large brass castings as usual.

    The nickel silver etchings also provide a greater level of crispness to the model. This is apparent in the paneled cab sides and the rivet detail. For the domes, the Railmaster domes were epoxied in place and the stack was the Railmaster part but drilled out and secured using a 00-90 machine screw.
Other details on the #3 include a PSC headlight, brake cylinders and levers, injectors, throttle, Johnson bar, steam turret, and brake valve. The parts from my custom parts bin include the cab support, 8” airpump, and smokebox front.

    The remaining white metal castings will go on to a better and more useful existence in that I will be melting them into boiler weights and any traces of these kits will be removed from the workshop environment.


    While there are a few more components to add to the 3 and 12, they are mostly done and the plan is to complete them over the next couple of days. After which the paint prep, sandblasting, and cleaning shall commence. The owner has very specific requirements for the finish that will result in three very striking models. The models will be painted with Scalecoat Black and the boiler jacket will be painted a non-blue shade of American Iron that is similar to polished burnt iron. No blue tint, but rather a grayish metallic finish. Lettering is aluminum leaf. All three locos will be equipped with Tsunami DCC and sound with Current Keepers to sustain operation over questionable track. But of course as I look at the models now, I see several more details that need to be added…  there is always something!

    That wraps things up for now. If there is interest, I will post some pix of the finished locos prior to delivery. If anyone has any questions, please fire away.

Bill Meredith

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Operating Leadville | 7 Comments - Click Here :

Boomer Engineer/Conductor Darel Leedy drags a cut of coal cars through Leadville.

    Keith Hayes - About once or twice a year, I try to invite Darel over to operate Leadville. I have made some progress on the layout and it had been a while since he has seen the it. Plus, we had some catching up to do. Plans were made and he came over early in January. Of course it snowed, as it always snows when Darel visits.

    In order to prep for the visit, I cleaned all the track and ran the locomotives back and forth to find last minute shorts and track issues. Naturally, everything worked great. At the previous two operating sessions, I created some short switch lists on scrap paper by hand. For this session, I took the time to create a more realistic form. I combined the lettering from a Form 31 found in Klinger’s “C&S High Line Memories and Then Some” with a Monon Switch List in Koester’s “Realistic Model Railroad Operation.” It was a great improvement, though I have not seen such a C&S form myself (hint: someone post some images of C&S paper and rules, please!). 

    After some catching up, Darel and I got to work. The session starts with a C&S freight just arriving from Denver, and the D&RGW local arriving from Salida. Each train has a locomotive and six freight cars, plus a caboose. On this occasion, the Denver passenger train was spotted on the C&S Depot track, so no cars could be spotted there. Darel chose the C&S job, and I reviewed the setout locations with him. And we got to work. 

    The whole point of building the models and recreating Leadville is to operate the layout, and Darel is a willing and patient participant in these ‘shakedown’ sessions. Though C&S 74 was a star performer after I cleaned the track, it repeatedly stopped. Darel diagnosed this to the tender wheels, and some added weight helped for a bit, but it looks like I really need to add some ‘keep alive’ boards to the locomotives. Though I am not fond of tearing into brass locos, I promise I will throw caution to the wind and perform a couple installs. 

    D&RGW 278 was not short free, either. The pony truck must be mounted in a slot, as the assembly appears to slide back in forward moves and the wheel shorts on a couple diverging turnouts. Maybe a little clear film will help?
The first task is assessing the switch list and planning the moves. Being familiar with the layout is a plus. In my case, I used this opportunity to switch the Arkansas Valley Smelter. This is a complicated move as the coal track is on a switchback, requiring some thought staging the new cars, pulling the empty cars, and spotting the fresh loads. 

    Consequently, it can take some time to get the first spot completed. It took both Darel and I almost an actual hour between arriving at the terminal and getting our first cars spotted. I think this is attributed more to the length of the sidings and perhaps having about 4-5 too many cars on the layout. 

    When designing the layout, I tried to balance the number of leading and trailing industries, while deferring to the prototype layout. As we operate, the use of tracks is becoming apparent, and some names are starting to stick. Though the prototype C&S yard had four tracks, I only modeled three: the main, what I am calling the arrival track, and the freight house track. 

    Having two railroads in Leadville provides an opportunity for an interchange. In my case, this is a short connection adjacent to the C&S Depot. If I were doing it again, I would provide four car lengths between turnouts as a place for set-outs. As it is, transferred cars have to be spotted either on C&S or D&RGW track. At the start of the session, I had five C&S coals on the D&RGW track I had to work around. Fortunately Darel picked these up rather quickly! 

The Grand Poobah of Leadville (Mayor Keith Hayes) switching.

    This was the first time I had the short stretch of track past the eastern-most switch at Leadville, so the C&S loco can now run around trains. This greatly aids the C&S crew in switching, and Darel made good use of this humble start of mainline during our session. 

    In fact, he tended to work his train from the east end of the yard, often moving long cuts of cars back and forth past the Depot. It was great fun to watch! 

    If you don’t read Model Railroader, Andy Sperandeo has had a great column, “The Operators.” One of Andy’s most valuable tips is to spot cars just past the clearance point. Sawing back and forth can take a while, and working cuts of cars just past the clearance point saves time. Though at Leadville there are also the numerous street crossings to contend with. As scenery progresses, and operations become more consistent, I will become more militant about keeping the street crossings clear during switching. 

    After about two hours of operating, we both had most of our switch lists completed, and had little time left of the clock besides. It was a fun session and both showed the merits of the plan and areas to attend to. While I am anxious to start the CaƱon campaign, I also have a number of maintenance items to attend to, like those pesky ‘stay-alive’ boards. And, while completing some building signage will aide in identifying industries, I need to give some thought to labeling tracks on the fascia. The switch lists worked well: the fact that we were both fully occupied for the better part of two hours JUST SWITCHING is sobering considering plans to extend the main line and add a helix to a lower level. How long will it take to do just a little switching and make the run up the High Line to the pass? There is also now incentive to get the turntable and roundhouse in place. And backdrops. The list does not end.
It was great to see Darel, and I had a fine time. Who says you can't operate on the narrow gauge?

Keith Hayes
Modeling Leadville in Sn3

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

More "St. Charles" Side Door Dump Cars | 4 Comments - Click Here :


    Lincoln Pinn - Brother Derrell’s recent comments on C&S narrow gauge side door dump cars prompted me to post some of these cars modeled in On3 by my friend Bob Stears in Billings, Montana.

    After being inspired by brother Derrell’s article and plans for these C&S dump cars in Model Railroader, Bob built a styrene master and commissioned several dozen uni-body resin castings with the help of master resin caster Doug Junda. These one piece body castings were then built up by Bob with the instillation of Grandt Line brake rigging and detail parts, side stirrups, bronze wire grab irons and Kadee On3 couplers. Custom water slide decals were designed by Bob’s friend Bill Meredith using the Corel Draw computer program and printed by Rail Graphics, Inc.

    Although BLW offered very nice wood and metal On3 Ready to Run models of these C&S dump cars many years ago, Bob choose the more economical and creative route to produce his fleet of these unusual C&S dump cars.

    The C&S had ten of these dump cars – probably converted from C&S narrow gauge “St. Charles” coal cars. Bob has built twenty of these On3 cars to represent ten of these C&S dump cars as they would have appeared in 1905 and 1930 respectively.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lincoln Pinn

Sunday, January 11, 2015

New Layouts Added | 0 Comments - Click Here :

   Thanks to Don and Rick, we have added a couple more layout pages with links that can be found below the header at the top of the blog.
    If you would like to add your South Park/C&S layout (regardless of scale), drop me an email by clicking on the Moderators profile on the right side of the blog.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Doings in Billings | 8 Comments - Click Here :

    Lincoln Pinn - After seeing what brother Derrell is doing with his Sn3 “Type II” C&S coal cars, I thought I would share with the group what my friend Bob Stears is doing up in Billings, Montana.

    Billings is a hot bed of HO Northern Pacific mania. Bob is alone up there championing the Colorado narrow gauge cause. I stopped by Bob’s place while on my way home from a long road trip this past fall and spent an afternoon with Bob in his “shop”. I put the word “shop” in quotations since it is really one bay of his garage with work benches lining one wall and the rest of the space packed full of models in display cases, tools, styrene, detail parts, model building supplies, his rather pathetic On3 “shelf layout” and anything his wife wants “out of the way”.

     Anyway, Bob has been producing an On3 a fleet of high quality single piece resin castings of all the C&S cinder cars and coal car types (except “type III” which he gets from Grandt Line). Bob has scratch built all the masters for these various On3 C&S coal cars and cinder cars in styrene and had them professionally cast in super high quality resin under the watchful eye of master resin caster Doug Junda. The result are single piece “body castings” of these cars which are really nice. The bolsters, coupler pockets and under-body detail included in each casting so all Bob needs to do is hang the brake gear, put on some grab irons, paint and decal the cars. So far, Bob has dozens of these C&S coal cars and cinder cars moving through his cluttered and disordered shop. Most of the cars carry C&S block lettering livery using  the decal sets Bob and his friends Bill Meredith and Doug Junda jointly produced for “The Cimarron Works Decals, Inc.”. When it is all said and done, Bob will have several dozen On3 “type I” and “type II” On3 C&S coal cars ready for use – all with full underside brake detail and nice weathering.  Bob has already built up a baker’s dozen of the Grandt line On3 “type III” C&S coal cars. All run on San Juan trucks with metal PSC wheels. A couple of Bob’s On3 coal car castings escaped from Bob’s “shop” and were sold by “The Cimarron Works”, but I understand these are long gone.

     Something that really caught my eye were Bob’s On3 C&S side dump cars converted from “type II” coal cars. Bob had one of these C&S side dump cars at the 2014 Kansas City NNGC contest and apparently no one really caught on to how cool it was. But, I sure did! Holy smokes! I couldn't believe that someone had actually built a model of one of these super cool narrow gauge side dump cars. The C&S had ten of these side dump cars numbered 0200 -0209.  Of course Bob has had at least ten of these On3 “type II” side dump cars cast up and now under construction. If the C&S had ten of these side dump cars, then Bob has to have ten On3 versions as well. No sense arguing with him about it. It’s just how he is. While the C&S apparently had built many more of these side dump cars,  the majority of these “type II” narrow gauge side dump cars were leased to the CB&Q Black Hills operation. Some of these “type II” side dump cars apparently survived to the end of C&S narrow Gauge operations. Attached are photographs of one of Bob’s side dump On3 cars along with several uni-body resin castings.

    Using this casting process, Bob is amassing quite a fleet of C&S coal cars – probably close to forty On3 C&S coal cars in block lettering livery when it is all said and done. Bob assures me that next up for his mass production mania are C&S “type I” and “Type III” boxcars – most in block lettering with a few of the “type I” boxcars in “C&S Roman” lettering.

    When I asked Bob why he has been cranking out such a fleet of On3 C&S coal and cinder cars, and moving quickly to build a fleet of On3 C&S boxcars, all I got back from Bob was a blank, slacked jawed stare. Ultimately, after shuffling his feet and staring at the floor, Bob mumbled something about building a real layout based on Leadville mining and mill operations. No trees mind you, just settling ponds and tailing piles interposed between the smelters and mills. Hence all  the coal and cinder cars! Now I understand! When I inquired about the fleet of boxcars Bob is working on, he looked me square in the eye and said “ice”.

Anyway, I will post more of Bob’s efforts in the coming weeks, if the mood strikes.

Lincoln Pinn

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Roper's Snapshot Saturday No.30 | 5 Comments - Click Here :

Courtesy Robert Boorman Collection.

Courtesy Robert Boorman Collection.