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Modeling 'The Gilpin Tram' - pt.I
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 Posted: Mon Jul 25th, 2016 07:25 pm
   
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Bill U
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A string of these and of the steel reinforced earlier cars would make a great "what if" post WWI Gilpin Tram line.

Bill Uffelman

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 Posted: Thu Aug 4th, 2016 02:23 pm
   
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darrylhuffman
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Somehow I just found this thread a few days ago. Took me a while to get through all 921 posts.

I appreciate all the time and effort that has gone into supplying us with this great information.

I look forward to building several of the mines shown in the posts.

Thank you all for your dedication and zeal.



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The search for someone else to blame is always successful.

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 Posted: Sat Aug 6th, 2016 11:23 pm
   
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Keith Pashina
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Darryl - glad you're enjoying this thread - there's lots more to come!

The past 900 or so posts have mostly dealt with an overview of the Gilpin Tram, and then a very lengthy mile-by-mile tour from near the enginehouse to the ends of the various branches.  However, so far, we have looked only sporadically at the Gilpin Tram in Black Hawk - now it's time to go visit that area.


Shay #3 is parked in front of the enginehouse in Black Hawk, while the crew proudly poses for their photo

CONSIDERING BLACK HAWK
 
My HOn30 Gilpin Tram layout has been under construction for some time now.  Although there have been some diversions here and there, I have been making steady (but slow) progress. So far, I have finished six different mines, all models of actual mines in the Gilpin Tram, and a little bit of “regular” mountain scenery.





 So far in this thread, we have more or less explored all of the main line and branches. Now, it's time to take a closer look at Black Hawk - the extensive area shown in red in the map above



Of course, the whole purpose of the Gilpin Tram was to haul gold ore down from the mines, and supplies back up to them. Most of this traffic either originated or terminated in Black Hawk. So, my next big project will need to be Black Hawk. But, how should I go about modeling this town? This area was where the Gilpin Tram’s enginehouse, shops, and yards were located. The Colorado & Southern 3’ gauge Clear Creek line served Black Hawk, and was the start of the fabled switchback climb to Central City.  Black Hawk’s greatest fame came from the large number of ore processing mills, and it was renowned as “the City of Mills.”



Black Hawk has great modeling appeal, and I intend for it to be the center of activity of my model railroad


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 Posted: Sat Aug 6th, 2016 11:28 pm
   
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Keith Pashina
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Downtown Black Hawk - an iconic Colorado scene I hope to model

Mike Blazek summed up the appeal of modeling Black Hawk best, in his Workbook #29 – Black Hawk, he writes, “Black Hawk offers yards as close to those of any big city as any three footer had to offer. For a mile or so, the railroad followed the North branch of Forks Creek and its canon, and immersed itself on both sides with a grand assortment of mills, associated buildings, stables, stores, saloons, houses and trackages of different elevations. There were narrow and wide mills, long and short mills, mills of stone, corrugated metal and lumber, mills with sloping roofs and flat roofs and abandoned mills with no roofs at all. There were short and long, high and low timber bridges and landmark quality iron bridges…and there was a lot of 3’ trackage as the C&S intertwined with the little and extremely neat Gilpin Tram two foot gauge.”



As I plan how to model Black Hawk, reality unfortunately starts to intrude. The space I have to model this town in limited to an L-shaped space about 7’ x 3’, and the whole scene will be on an 18” wide shelf. With these space limitations, I am immediately forced to consider what parts of Black Hawk to model? Well, some of the most interesting parts that would be nice to model include:
 
·       Gilpin Tram enginehouse
·       The warming house used to thaw ore cars
·       Downtown store, hotel, and light industry buildings in Black Hawk (this is a huge list of buildings, but I’ll need to pare it down to what I have actual space for)
·       Dual gauge 2’ (well, actually HOn30) and 3’ gauge (HOn3) trackage
·       Ore chutes transfer to the C&S
·       Ore processing mills
·       Boiler works or machine shop
·       An ore sampler
 
I am building my layout for operations, and so Black Hawk will need to support several industries I can switch cars to, some yard space to handle trains, and whatever else I think I will need.




Scenes like this appeal to me - a town in a narrow canyon, with roads and buildings at different levels. The buildings are a variety of wood, brick and stone construction. This is Black Hawk, looking east and downhill from the road to Central City


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 Posted: Sat Aug 6th, 2016 11:37 pm
   
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Keith Pashina
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The enginehouse area is one of the sections of the Gilpin Tram that absolutely need to be modeled


GILPIN TRAM ENGINEHOUSE AREA
 
Well, one of the key scenes I model will need to be the Gilpin Tram’s enginehouse area. Besides the enginehouse, the small yard, wye, water tank, and shops were located here.
 
The Gilpin Tram referred to their enginehouse as the “roundhouse,” but there was nothing round about it. The Gilpin Tramway purchased and modified a former horse barn on the north side of Black Hawk, about 1/4 mile north of town.  In the narrow Clear Creek Canyon, there wasn’t much real estate available for railroad tracks and buildings, so reusing a conveniently located barn fit in well with the Gilpin Tramway’s inexpensive construction philosophy.  





The enginehouse, after it had been recently converted from a barn. There is one enginestall at this time, for the one shay locomotive on the line. The trestle is the start of the mainline up Chase Gulch. This trestle was eventually filled in

 
Inititally, the former horse barn was modified by cutting in a door for one locomotive stall at the west end, for the Gilpin Tramway’s first and only locomotive.  The enginehouse also appeared to be clad with metal siding around this time. 





Unfortunately, the enginehouse is blocked view by all these shays and people. But by this time, the Gilpin Tram had 3 locomotives, and the enginehouse was expanded to 3 stalls

 
The Gilpin Tram grew over time, and a second, then a third shay was added. So, a second stall was added to the west side of the building, and when the third stall was added, a small extension was added to the west side. The end stall was built slightly wider and taller than the other two stalls, probably when the larger Shay #3 was purchased.
 
There are not too many photographs available of the enginehouse, but Sanborn Insurance Company maps from 1890, 1895 and 1900 also show the roundhouse and its basic dimensions.    The mainline up Chase Gulch started right in front of the enginehouse swung  around a rocky outcrop on a short trestle.   The roundhouse roof had to be notched at one corner to allow the trains to pass by (this trestle was later filled in with soil).  
 
The roundhouse also seemed to be used for repair and maintenance of the shays and cars when first built.  Photographs show wheel sets, lumber and various materials lying in front of the roundhouse.  Two small building additions on the rear (south) side may have been for materials storage or tools.  There are several smokestacks and vents, which suggests to me  that there may have been a boiler, perhaps to power shop machinery. 








Here, we can see all three stalls - there's a hint of more items inside the stalls, but I cannot see any clearer than this highly edited image. Note that the left front edge of the roof has been notched to clear locomotive cabs - by this time the "big" Shay #3 was on the line, and not only did it need a bigger stall than for dimunitive Shays 1 and 2, but it apparently also needed a bit more cab clearance next to the enginehouse, too/ The little shed in front may have been used for flammable materials storage, such as oil, grease, and paint


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 Posted: Sat Aug 6th, 2016 11:51 pm
   
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NevadaBlue
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:moose:



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 Posted: Sat Aug 6th, 2016 11:51 pm
   
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Keith Pashina
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   A small shed, possibly to house flammable paint or oils, sits in front of the enginehouse. It would be a good idea to house flammable materials away from the main building, and this little structure is readily visible in photos.




Shay #1 is ending its service on the tram, and will soon be sold to the Silver City, Pinos Altos, and Mogollon line in New Mexico. Lots of details to look at here, including a flatcar and coal car behind the loco, details of the trackwork, and stone retaining wall for the multi-level track. The red arrow points to the open door of the car repair shop. This seems to be the only photo showing any part of this elusive building!

 
Perhaps as the tram’s business grew, the enginehouse became just too crowded to maintain both locomotives and their growing ore car roster. The Sanborn Insurance maps show a two-stall car shed was eventually built on the west (hillside) end of the enginehouse. It appears this two-track repair shed was built at the ends of the two extended spurs that ran next to the enginehouse.  No good photograph has emerged of this building – the Sundance book, “The Gilpin Railroad Era” shows one of the doors at the far edge of the photo (page 32 of this book).  In the book “Black Hawk” (by Roger Baker, published by Black Hawk Publishing in 2004), Mr.. Baker writes,” the “Gilpin Tramway company have been making many improvements to their depot grounds in the upper portion of the city. West and alongside of the car house, a large plat of ground has been leveled and filled up for a wood yard, for the convenience of the California mine company, limited. The car house, which is a stone structure, is to be heated from the depot by means of a line of steam pipe and an inspirator.”[url=#_edn1][/url] So, if this newspaper account is reliable, the enginehouse was a stone building. 
 
[As an aside, Mr. Baker’s Black Hawk is a great resource, and a book I recommend you look into acquiring. The author also includes a CD with the book with the entire text, in searchable format – a nice touch]
 


This sketch by Joe Crea is the type of scene I hope to include in a model of Black Hawk


Hmmm, as a modeling subject, this looks whole area pretty interesting – a nice little stone car shop repair building built next to the metal-clad former barn.  Well, that settles it – the enginehouse definitely needs to be a part of my layout.




 Three ladies posing on Caboose 400, at the lead to the enginehouse. The two tracks at left branch off the repair shop. Also a good view of a flatcar (note that is has a stirrup step!), and 3 ore cars (is the upper one derailed?). The switchstands are interesting, too. There seemed to be mostly harp switchstands used for turnouts, many missing their targets. But, on the right side of the caboose, one can see a rotary switchstand. Wow!  Variety in trackwork and switch stands - another reason to model this type of scene!




Here is Shay #3 again. This image came from an article in the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers magazine.  Coal cars can be seen parked on one of the upper sidings, on top of a dry laid stone retaining wall, so typical of the tramway. The gentleman leaning against the tender may be Fred Kruse, superintendent of the tramway at this time. Notice that irregular, none-to-smooth trackwork, too. Hey, I can model trackwork like that, without even trying!



There are no remains of any of the enginehouse area buildings at this site today.  They are all long gone, and the site is overgrown with brush.  A few fire brick from a boiler and scrap metal are all that remain.    The present creek seems to have been moved partly into the enginehouse site, probably when Highway 119 was rebuilt.


The enginehouse area today - nothing of the buildings remains today, or even roadbed

Keith

 

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 Posted: Sun Aug 7th, 2016 12:02 am
   
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Ray Dunakin
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Great pics!



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 Posted: Sun Aug 7th, 2016 07:29 am
   
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Si.
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:moose::moose::moose::moose::moose:

Si.



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 Posted: Sun Aug 7th, 2016 04:50 pm
   
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Herb Kephart
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Keith--fantastic!

The pix of number one in post #927, the loco seems to have lost its bell--were that kind of railfans around back then?

You seriously need more space. Can't you negotiate with the head of operations? How about we all send letters explaining how important this is to you (and us)

BTW I deleted a bunch of code garbage from the start of the post.

Herb



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