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titus
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So I was reading, Chili Line: The Narrow Rail Trail to Santa Fe by John A. Gjevre and it mentioned that General William Jackson Palmer's original intention for the D&RG was to span from Denver to El Paso, with a potential extension to the Pacific Ocean via Guymas Mexico. I knew the D&RG was down in New Mexico and halted by agreement with the AT&SF but I didn't realize the famous 3 foot narrow gauge was destined for Texas and beyond. Just wondering -- has anyone ever done any layout planning or building on a "what if" scenario, what if the AT&SF hadn't stopped the D&RG in NM, what would that have looked like? Would we have seen K-27's along side a pacific or gulf ocean front dock?

elminero67
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Parts of General Palmer's vision of building a network of narrow gauge into Mexico came into fruition before that plan er..went south. The most important part of that system was the Mexican National, which went from Laredo to Mexico City. I cant remember if Palmer actually sent out a survey team for the line to Guaymas, or if it was just rhetoric, but Guaymas may be a contender for the "city with the most projected railroad lines" in North America award: On paper Guaymas is the closest port to much of the American interior, ie. Colorado, Kansas etc. The reality of it is that it wasnt that practical. Prior to President Porfirio Diaz there was no stability in Mexico, and even after he came in and created order with an iron fist, crossing the Sierra Madre was extremely difficult-the nearest railroad line south of this projected line required 75 years to construct with 88 tunnels. A railroad line from El Paso straight to Guaymas would be equally tough. Would be very interesting from a historical and engineering standpoint...

Herb Kephart
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Does sound like the inspiration for a "what if" model railroad.

And the pick nitters would have to chew on their tongues---

"well, I don't think that the real one would have-----"

"#*^~*# you-this IS the real one"


Herb 

W C Greene
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I KNEW that Duane would have the historical background on this. We are fortunate to have his opinions and information here.
Like Herbie sayeth-"#*^~# you-this IS the real one"
And what I have been saying for many years-"this IS the prototype"...that will really make them holler, kind of like "My model is missing 2 rivets, well let's see YOURS"!

I think that would be a neat line to model. Big old K locos and a connect with Mexican NG...Most of the big Mexican NG railroads had large 2-8-2's (even one ex D&RGW mike) and even 3 foot gauge 2-6-6-2's, not compact ones like Uintah Mallets, but big old hogs! Yes, you could probably get carried away modeling this and well you should. Go for it!

Woodie

elminero67
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Here's a couple pics of the Northern Sierra Madre where a line from El Paso to Guaymas woud have crossed: The first pic is one of the smaller ranges within the Sierra Madre caled the Sierra El Tigre-one of the most isolated and unknown mountain ranges in North America, and as its name suggests is home not only to jaguars, but also had grizzly bears into the 1980s (I once spent a week hiking around the Sierra El Tigre looking for a rare wild parrett). A railroad through here woud have passed gold, copper and silver mines like the famed El Tigre mine, the largest pine forest in Mexico as well as some of the most productive cattle ranching areas in Mexico:


The west side of the Sierra Madre is much rougher than the east-here is a typical canyon on the west side. Depending on where the narrow gauge would have passed, it would have had to cross 40-80 miles of country like this: BTW, This is the country that inspired my Torres & Prietas, which had a concession to build further into the Sierra Madre, but never did largely because of the Mexican Revoution:

Last edited on Sun Jun 24th, 2012 03:24 pm by elminero67

Herb Kephart
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Only John Allen would consider building a railroad through that!

Herb 

mwiz64
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Shoot, you could easily land a plane there... ;)

Mike

titus
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The funny thing is when I saw those photos you posted I was thinking, "Well that looks a lot like his layout". And then I saw, "This is the country that inspired my Torres & Prietas" so I guess that's a good mark of success for you!

elminero67
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Thanks-this thread has me wondering if I need to extend the Torres & prietas further into the Sierra Madre...

titus
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I had been waffling around trying to figure out how to get Colorado narrow gauge equipment to look "right" on a water front shelf layout and I think I figured it out here with this one. My little side project shelf layout may have just become Guaymas, Mexico. I need to start doing some experiments on stucco style buildings in HO now...

This just became Guaymas....

Herb Kephart
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elminero67 wrote: Thanks-this thread has me wondering if I need to extend the Torres & prietas further into the Sierra Madre...
Do it Duane!


Herb 

Dwayne
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The beauty of a waterside connection is that a narrow gauge layout doesn't need a standard gauge connection. Like Titus, this thread has got me to thinking of a waterside link for the GLR.

elminero67
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This just became Guaymas....


I think you have nailed the vegetation of Guaymas!

W C Greene
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Dwayne-put in a nice swimming pool near the main and you will have a waterside connection. Then we can all come by and go swimmin' and run some trains

Woodie

titus
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Guaymas got some more track installed this evening.

Duane -- What kind of bridges would have been in Guaymas around that time period?

elminero67
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Titus-I have a couple of period pics of Guaymas buried in my stuff, will try to dig them up. The long bridge accross the bay was typical trestle on pilings. I dont know much about the RR tracks in Guaymas itself or exactly where the SP's wharf was. may have to dig a little deeper...

Si.
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Cool track layout Titus.

I like the crossing to the pier/jetty.
( well I think pier/jetty, it's not there yet ! )

Looks fun.

Si.

titus
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Thanks, and yes that will be wharf/pier at some future point. I thought the crossing was neat but my Blackstone C-19 has trouble going over it without stalling (the K-27 does fine though).

The track plan itself is a modification of Iain Rice's "Roque Bluffs", originally designed for Proto:87. Rice's original was 12 ft long with a 3-4 ft staging area. He also included a smaller sketch of an "extended" version that was 15 ft. long. I took the extended 15 ft area and compressed it down to about 10-11 ft which has the spurs and such come out about right for narrow gauge.

Instead of the 4 ft staging area I have a single track removable cassette that will duck behind the backdrop (not built for the left most section yet). I also added n extra run-around track for some more operational interest. I've always admired Rice's track plans so it's fun to finally be building one, even if I made a few modifications of my own to it.

Model Railroader actually released the first article, which includes the original track plan, as a free "bonus" to entice people to subscribe. It can be viewed here: http://mrr.trains.com/~/media/Files/PDF/Layout%20planning/2011/MRP%20bonuses/Roque%20Bluffs_Oct03.ashx

elminero67
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I agree, the trackwork looks great, alot of good switching possibilities.

It appears that the good stuff I have on Guaymas and Sonora are buried in the attic...when I was putting the Sonora Narrow Gauge book together I had started doing research on all of the proposed railroads in Sonora and was going to include a chapter on them. I also considered expanding the book to cover all of the railroads in Sonora, similar to the late David Myricks "Railroads of Arizona" or Railroads of Nevada" series.In the end the project was just overwhelming; I was working full time and commuting 200 miles each way to grad school. The Sonora book was intended as the first in a series, but in the end, book sales have not covered the expenses of putting it all together, so there is not likely to be a "Narrow Gauge of Chihuahua" book in the near future, even though there is even better narrow gauge action in Chihuahua.

One of the questions people might ask is why the port of Guaymas is the site of so many schemes. As mentioned, the Gulf of California is the closest Ocean port for locations south and west of Kansas City, including Colorado, Az etc.. But while it appears to be a great destination on maps, it does have limitations: Namely the pesky Sierra Madre mountains and the fact that there are very few good ports in the Gulf of California. Most of the bays and inlets north of Guaymas are sandy and shallow, coupled with the large tides in the Gulf, made them impractical for large ships. While all of the proposed railroads mentioned Guaymas as their destination, there really isnt that much room for railroad yards and shops in Guaymas itself-the Sonora Railroad ended up putting all of the facilities/yards and shops a few miles south of Guaymas at Empalme. Over the course of time Empalme became legandary to railfans as the shops had such a wide variety of equipment and were known for keeping obsolete and rare equipment running long after other railroads had moved onto newer equipment, such as the former D & H PA-1 locos.

Heres a vintage view of Empalme looking accross the bay to Guaymas. As you can see, not much in the way of plants or greenery!

elminero67
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I have better maps somewhere, but this circa 1890 map gives and idea of the geography of the area:

elminero67
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Early promoters of Guaymas claimed that Guaymas would soon compete with San Francisco as the premier port on the west coast. The promoters may have used typical Victorian exaggerations, but 100 years later the future of Guaymas is bright; the port is busy and the economy is booming, complete with Home Depot, McDonalds and all of those wonderful things capitalism has brought us...here is some switching action in Emaplme when I was down there last year:

titus
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Thanks for the additional pictures. The scenery in Empalme was fairly close to what I was envisioning. The two things that I noticed that were different was the construction of the building (I can't quite tell if that's metal siding or boards) and the fact that you can't see the ties because they're completely covered over with dirt.

I spent some time yesterday "exploring" Guaymas with google maps to get a sense of what my backdrop might look like, what color the dirt was, etc. I was surprised to see a number of california palms, though I'm assuming those came later and aren't indigenous.

As far as my layout, I finished a lot of small tasks which "feels" like it added up to a lot of progress: Under the table turnout throws, fascia knobs, lots of misc wiring and electrical work, finally mounted the DCC plate, etc. I posted a longer blog post with details about all of the boring parts of building a railroad if you're interested in the nitty gritty. http://somerailroad.blogspot.com/2012/06/lots-of-infrastructure.html

Bill Fornshell
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I like the story behind your layout plan and the terrain.

I checked out your blog and then had to trace it back to see what you were using to hold the layout sections. Nice idea using the keyboard stands. How is that working? How tall will they adjust to?

They look like something I would like to try.

titus
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Yes, those are scissor keyboard stands under the layout which I bought from amazon for $25 each. It kind of sounds like a lot when you say, "It will cost $50 to hold this layout up", but honestly after I buy all the wood, glue, and hardware to build them myself I feel like the cost is fairly close.

They have a total of 5 height positions you can set them at. Right now I have them set to the 2nd tallest position which is around 3.5 ft. tall. I haven't taken them all the way up to the highest but I'm guessing that'd be around 4 ft. I should note that the taller they are configured the closer their feet get together and the less stable they become.

One thing I didn't expect about them is that I ordered the first one to see what it was all about. Overall I was pretty impressed. It was cost efficient, made from lightweight aluminum, easy to open and close, and collapsed into a compact form. I bought the 2nd one a few months later and used Amazon to re-order the exact same model. Well apparently the company changed the product slightly during that time. The new one has an extra height position, and instead of making all the positions match they rounded out the difference. This makes it so that only two of the settings on each unit actually match up height-wise. I guess the rule of thumb here is buy what you need at the same time so that doesn't happen to you!

As for what I think of them -- Overall they're pretty good and probably better than what I would have built. They are stable left to right but a little tippy front to back as they're sitting on carpet. Obviously they'd be more stable on a solid surface.

Where the layout is standing right now there will eventually be two bookshelfs purchased and set there. At that point the layouts will live on top of the bookshelves and I'll keep the stands in the closet for when I want to take the layout places to display it. When that happens, I think there will need to be a little extra work done on a way to give things some more stability. I was thinking of using Velcro straps or zip ties to secure the sections to the legs. Something to that effect would need to be done to make sure that a viewer doesn't accidentally bump a section off it's stand.

Overall if I was to build another portable layout I think I'd use these again but would somehow incorporate into the benchwork some kind of design where the stands actually fit into or snapped into the benchwork somehow. At that point I think it'd be a hard option to beat.

Also, I should mention I got the idea to use the keyboard stands from Woody. If you've seen woody's outdoor layout he's using some kind of tripod to hold up each section. It make me start looking around for something lighter and easier than wood to work as layout legs.

Last edited on Sun Jul 1st, 2012 01:27 pm by titus

W C Greene
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Good move on the stands, looks like they will do the job. And yes, when you buy one thing and need two, or three, etc., then buy them all at once! I bought several tripods at once, went back a couple of months later and had to "settle" for different tripods since (I guess) somebody bought all the others a couple of months back!
You should have no problems, especially inside. Some have questioned my using tripods but after several years of snow, hail, rain, 60 MPH winds, all the other stuff...the layout still stands.
Your layout looks great, you will have a ball operating it.

Woodie

titus
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Built and painted the backdrop today. It's removable. The hole on the left is for the train to pass through to the staging cassette. I'll cover it up with scenery or structures.

Si.
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Hi Titus

Just dropped in for the latest.

Your backdrop looks great.
Seems to have an exellent gradation from top to bottom.

The curved benchwork edge is a real plus as well.
All very inspiring indeed !

Yeah...Iain Rice is pretty clued on track-plans.
I've pinched a few of his from the Net...
...and bunged them in my 'cooking pot' !
( could be a very slow simmer though )

I have to say that I always felt that without a run-around loop; you ain't got a track plan.
I mean OK...'Inglenooks' are interesting as well.
( love yours Broadoak ! )

But Woodie has blown away all my track-plan pre-conceptions totaly, with his 'pole switching' Texas style !

Had always known about the 'flying switch'.
But somehow never came across pole switching, till now.

Think I saw it some years ago, as it happens, in some Westside Lumber Company stuff; but never put 2 & 2 together to make 5, and realised you just need a single switch spur, if you have a pole.

Anyway...
...marvelous progress Titus.
Keep it coming !!!

Cheers

Si.

P.S. Elminero, thanks for the pics.
especialy the sepia Mexico, 1 page back; great stuff.
I guess all the cactus, got turned into Tequilla !!!

SPV
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Titus,

I have to say, more often than not in my opinion, layouts designed to make something unusual work (such as D&RGW narrow gauge in a waterfront scene) are too much of a stretch. But yours is a brilliant exception! And the workmanship looks superb! Really looking forward to watching this layout come together. Will the rest of the basement layout follow the same theme?

-Chris

titus
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Chris --

Will the rest of the basement follow the same theme? Probably not, though who knows. I had previously started on a basement layout about a year ago (thread here: http://freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=3752&forum_id=51&page=1) but realized after the fact that I had clearly bitten off too much. I've decided instead to spend the next year building small modules; one to three section layouts where I can try out ideas and techniques, perhaps even change scales, themes, or locales, all within the scope of small and relatively inexpensive projects.

The one you see here is my first go at this, and so far I've been happy with it's progress. I think with today's media about model railroading it's easy to flip through a magazine and think that a huge basement layout is what everyone should go for. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to get there some day, but I've realized it's something I need to build up to rather than jumping in to. There's still a lot for me to learn and with each project hopefully I'll understand more about my own railroad tastes -- for example, I'm starting to see a "waterfront" theme developing in almost everything I do, which probably means that should be a big component of my basement layout whenever I get there. Discovering those things is part of the fun I suppose.

Also this actual shelf layout, the D&RGW in Guyamas, was actually designed to live in my loft, where my wife and I's desk/computers are. It's long and slender to run along the wall and hopefully will provide some fun switching operation inside the house.


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