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
8 Comments - Click Here :
  1. Very cool stuff.

    I saw the car he had at KC, very nice, and had a chance to talk to Bob as well as Bill and Doug. I've acquired a couple of the Sn3 Leadville Shops cars and the CW 910, in large part to better understand what goes into putting these kits together. Initially not my road or era, but I'm starting to like the C&S (and associated lines) more and more, as well as early 1900 rolling stock and car building practices.

    I'm curious too about the car next to the 0206 in the prototype photo, it's not the same type...

    Mike McKenzie

    1. Mike the car next to 0206 is a former St. Charles (or Peninsular Car Co. ?) built coal (pre type I cars) that were converted to side dumps at the TOC 1900. The first 3 were built in May 1900. My friend and Historian extraordinaire, Hol Wagner, came across a series of articles in the Carbonate Weekly Chronicle Dec. 1900 - March 1901 that seems to disclosed enlightening information on these cars. The Cloud City Mining Company opened a shaft at a location 4 blocks south and ~50' west of the C&S depot on 3 Dec. Being in the middle of town, tailings were an immediate issue and the Company soon negotiates with the C&S to haul the dirt away. The Railroad apparently agreed to do this for nothing. (Yikes this is unusual as they made every stink-king penny scream!) Why? Because they needed the dirt for ballast and trestle fill and, if you recall, they were busy building the Mineral Belt Line at that time. Their explanation was that it saved them the labor of loading the cars and by using these special cars dumping cost were also nonexistent.
      Rick Steele, my other friend and Historian extraordinaire has expressed that he has always had a problem with the term "Cinder Car" and I find that I have to agree with him upon the reasons he has given - that building cars specifically for cinders doesn't seem to hold much merit when one considers that a far better reason would be for track laying and fill work. I think the 3 of us have come to agree and believe that this was exactly the reason for self-clearing cars. As you will note the Cloud City Mining Co. post dated the first 3 cars. But they seem to be a compelling reason for the next 3 built in Jan. - Mar. 1901. Two more were added in April 1902.

      The cars were numbered by simply adding a zero to the front of their original numbers but they were renumbered in July 1904 to 0100 - 0107. A 9th car was converted from coal 4796, an old U&N car the road had acquired in 1896, which became 0108 on Sept.26 1905. If irrc it was built by Peninsular Car Co. - but I'd have to verify that (when I get the time).

      You have a drawing of these cars in the material I sent you. Notice in the photo above that the hinge is much closer to the end of the door than in the drawing. The railroad revised them by the time the photo was taken by moving the hinges closer to the ends of the doors and doing away with the peaked ends of the cars. This probably happened in the late teens when the Safety Appliances were installed.

  2. Link. Tell Bob that it has officially become a cliché; He is an extraordinary modeler. Beautiful work, Bob! If I have somehow inspired you in any way I am truly humbled.

    The Masses are Asses when it comes to recognizing greatness. Take, for instance, the genius painter Van Gogh who did not paint for his generation but for an enlightened generation of his future. Those who read and especially those bold enough to comment to this blog are of that generation!

    Thank you for sharing Bob's work and tell Bob that he has been talking about his C&S ecological "disaster" layout for years! Time to either bleep or get off the pot. I hope he'll be able to work some Global Warming into his layout - to give it authenticity, of course! ROFLMAO!

  3. The 0206 has some interesting and simple doorlatches fashioned from strapiron, pivioted on a keeperbolt on eitherside of the door. The lockplate is nothing more than another section of flatiron secured to the sidestakes.
    I guess in dumping the latches were just banged upwards to open with a shovel tip or possibly a hammer. A very enlightening revelation as to the use of what was described in the CRRA #12. I too am interested in the different door arrangement on the adjacent car, which in the Annual was cropped slightly.

    One thing Derrell, mine rock is waste, put on a waste dump, usually off a dump trestle. Only a Mill produces "tailings" and only waterlogged fines at that into settling ponds (or waterways/creekbeds). :)

    New Zealand

    1. Oh, oops! A slip of the tongue, Chris. I'm sorry...

  4. I posted some pictures of an Sn3 side dump car (04085) in the Discussion Forum.

  5. Excellent modeling. Is there a photo looking down in the interior of the car, and at the interior of the end. I could use a couple of those at Leadville.

    Photos of the mine Derrell refers to show the name on the headframe structure to be the Coronado.

  6. At the last Colorado Midland Quarterly convention in Leadville, Bob wowed the Midland Family with his truly outstanding two door with center ice bunker Hanahran reefers. He does great work but is really in his realm as a researcher.