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Modeling 'The Gilpin Tram' - pt.II
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 Posted: Thu Nov 28th, 2019 04:03 am
511th Post
Keith Pashina

Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 798

Yes, during the my visit to Colorado earlier this month, we did celebrate Joe Crea's birthday.

The inside joke is that anytime we visit, we usually get together with other Gilpin Tram modelers in Denver,
Joe Crea, Darel Leedy, Doug Heitkamp and Mike Pyne, and usually at a Mexican restaurant.

Regardless of what day and month it is, we end up declaring it to be Joe's Birthday,
and have the singing, wearing of the silly hat, and dessert!

Joe is a good sport and plays along.


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 Posted: Thu Nov 28th, 2019 04:24 am
512th Post
Keith Pashina

Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 798

As my little layout project moves forward, my Black Hawk scene is coming along nicely. 
Now that I have mostly finished the "downtown"  Black Hawk area, it was time to start work on completing a large unfinished area,
where I had room for a large industry - a boiler works and machine shop.

I had always liked the look of the various machine, foundry, and boiler workshops in Black Hawk and other areas in Colorado. 
I also had purchased several machine tool kits from various suppliers that I wanted to include in a model. 
So, it was time to begin planning how to build and model this scene.

I don't have to invent any ideas,
all I really needed to do was to look at prototype industries to get some inspiration.

Black Hawk several industries that could be modelable - in this map, there is,
the MacFarlane Machine Shop, the Boiler Works, and the Rocky Mountain Machine Shop (part of the Bobtail Mill Complex )
in just this confined area

The Black Hawk Boiler and Sheet Iron Works building,
was in the center of the Black Hawk town retail area, and next to the C&S tracks

The Bobtail Mill complex incorporated this building, which was the former Rocky Mountain Machine Shop building. 
I like the rough wood siding on the buildings and large square-section brick smokestack.

The MacFarlane Machine Shop/Foundry was served by the C&S off of a spur.
This wood-framed building is sheathed in metal siding.

There is lots of neat detail here,
numerous windows to allow natural light in, roof cupolas over furnaces and other tall equipment,
and note the parts laying around that were to be repaired or to be shipped out,
a variety of wheels, a boiler front, and other components

Up the mountain, in Central City, MacFarlane also owned this machine shop.
This building is a neat stone-walled structure with several additions, some of metal-clad wood siding.
This building has been restored and used by the Central City Opera House association

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 Posted: Thu Nov 28th, 2019 04:37 am
513th Post
Keith Pashina

Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 798

Here is another view of the MacFarlane works in Central City.
I like the somewhat haphazard layout of the building, as various building additions were constructed

Another building to admire is the Idaho Springs Machine Shop Annex Building,
a simple wood-framed structure, yet with a lot of interesting details

Earlier this year, I toured the Knight Foundry in Sutter Creek, California.
This 1880s complex has some very interesting metal-sided shop buildings.

There are numerous windows for natural light inside,
and the shapes of the buildings clearly say "manufacturing industry"

At the Knight Foundry, across the road from the buildings I showed you in the previous photo,
is the blacksmith shop of similar construction.

What caught my eye in this photo is the outside storage rack for metal bar and rod stock,
this is a scene begging to be modeled.

Back in 1989, I visited the Quincy and Torch Lake Railroad in Upper Michigan, and saw their machine shop ruin.
This stone walled building still had parts of the heavy wood roof trusses in place and even some of the machinery.
This facility halted mining in 1945! 

Lots of ideas to consider and sort out,
but some general ideas were forming as to what I wanted to build.


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 Posted: Fri Nov 29th, 2019 05:56 pm
514th Post

Joined: Sun Apr 7th, 2013
Location: Brandon, Mississippi USA
Posts: 54

Another nice set of photos. 
The stone and brick walled structure have a great texture.
With all the info on the Bob Tail Complex,
it could be modified to fit in the second dormer.

So will need to review all past posts to collect info to start the process. 
Thanks for the data.
Doug and Michelle were down for Thanksgiving, I got the story on Joe’s birthdays.
They just departed heading home. 

Talk about silly hats, I have your hat photo.  
Be save later.


Monte Peaeron
Brandon, MS
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 Posted: Sat Nov 30th, 2019 09:26 pm
515th Post
Keith Pashina

Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 798

Modeling the Bobtail Mill in 1/2" scale?
That would be an impressive model.

I always liked that mill, with its tangled complex of buildings,
variety of construction materials, and proximity to the town.


I've been admiring prototype machine shops in older days,
the belt-driven machinery creates a busy environment that would be fun to model.

Because there are many nice kits of machinery, hand tools, belt-drive wheels,
and accessories, and general "clutter", modeling this stuff may not be that hard to do.

I had been purchasing various kits and parts for many years,
and now have a variety of models to choose from.

I have visited prototype machine, foundry, blacksmith, etc. shops  over the years,
and have taken various photos that I wanted to reference when creating model able scenes. 

The following photos show some of the details I found interesting.

This is a photo of part of the Knight Foundry in Sutter Creek, California, taken at the NNGC in September 2019.

There is a wealth of detail here - machinery, belt drives to power the machinery, storage bins and racks, wooden wood trusses, etc. 

I don't know what I am looking at here,
but there is a lot to study, whatever this machine is.

This photo was taken at the East Broad Top shops in 2011,
and shows this large machine (a shaper, maybe?).

Several things stand out: almost everything is various dingy shades of gray and brown.

There is a lot of "stuff" or clutter, but it is laid out with a purpose and organized,
it is not haphazardly strewn about.

Also, the shop building has large windows to let in natural light.

The parts the shop is fabricating or repairing are made of metal and HEAVY.

The Knight Foundry has numerous small cranes mounted around the shop,
to swing parts into place, and back onto shop trucks

The belt drive machinery intrigues me, besides basic drive shafts and belt wheels,
there are devices to clutch some of the wheels to a neutral setting.

The belt drive system has a variety of belt widths, wheel sizes, and alignments that add variety.

There are numerous workbenches where hand tools or small pieces of equipment are used.
Once again, the bench looks cluttered, but everything is there for a logical purpose.
Also, the colors are very drab - grays and browns.

I want to try to model some of this on my HOn30 layout


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 Posted: Sun Dec 1st, 2019 12:33 am
516th Post
Keith Pashina

Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 798

I quickly realized that there were far too many machines, structures, scenes, etc. than what I had room for.
I would have to make selections as to what I would actually build.

The real industries in Black Hawk,
they were a foundry or machine shop or a sheet metal & boiler works, but not all three.
Also, none were directly served by the Gilpin Tram.
Realizing that this was a mistake of history,
I remedied this by deciding to build an industry that combined all three types of business,
and would be served by the 3' gauge Colorado & Southerm and the 2' gauge Gilpin Tram.

Now it was time to start building this model.

The goal was to re-create something reminiscent of the scene above,
a bustling industrial model that would have shipments of materials in and out by rail,
room for some interior details, including machine tools, and lots of mini-scenes,
using the various detail parts I had purchased in past years

Here was the space I have available,
which is the area delineated by the black gator board base,
it's about 12" wide and 12" long.

I put some structure mockups on it to see what may fit

I had ended up with two kits of the Woodland Scenics' "Tucker Brothers Machine Shop",
it's main appeal was the well-worn corrugated metal siding  walls filled with lots of little details.

The building footprint was pretty small, so I combined the two kits to make this large building.
I decided to add a wood lean-to addition on one end.

This is the mocking up the building, the long wall is two kit walls glued together.
I needed a new roof, so I built this clerestory roof out of styrene,
and cut-down roundhouse windows from the former Grandt Line

It's easier to do the same step at one time on multiple parts at one time.

In this photo, I had cleaned flash of of castings for machinery, tools and other details,
and also some structure parts.

When I started this, my goal was to clean out a  lot my kit and parts boxes, but I failed at this.
I still had a lot of building kits that I had not used yet nor would use in this model,
and I had more detail parts assembled than I had room for on this model 

So, I set up the portable spray booth and airbrush, and began priming and painting all the parts.
This went pretty quickly, since I painted a lot of similar parts at one time.

That's the progress on this model to date - more updates to follow!


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 Posted: Mon Dec 2nd, 2019 05:49 pm
517th Post
Kevin Fall

Joined: Thu Nov 9th, 2017
Posts: 37

Nice shots of your town.

The details you have throughout your town is what I hope to have in the future.
You've captured the area of what I remember from my visits to Blackhawk and Central City.

Am also enjoying the interior belt drives in the machine shops.
And there can never be too much prototype information on the Gilpin.

Not really knowing how to access the Gilpin grade in my past visits,
I look forward to when I can visit the area again and have access to that trail.

All these parts scattered on your table frightens me.
All that painting!

Have fun,


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 Posted: Wed Jan 8th, 2020 03:19 am
518th Post
Keith Pashina

Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 798

I haven't done a large amount of modeling in the past month,
due to all the fun stuff going on - holidays, travel, seeing family and friends,
and being in a general "taking it easy and celebrating" mode.

However, model building did not stop altogether,
and I have made some progress on the Black Hawk Boiler Works and Machine Shop scene.

I was playing, er, switching cars around Black Hawk, and this was a lot of fun.

But, the large empty lot on the left side of the Black Hawk station grounds,
is crying out to me to get the Boiler and Machine Shop building finished this winter!

After playing with various mockups,
I finally settled on which building kits I would use to make the boiler works and machine shop scene.

I ended up using about 5 building kits, all modified one way or another,
to create the Black Hawk scene

This is a mockup of the boiler works and machine shop, on its scenery base.

I used gator board to support the model, and I will do all detailing on my workbench before mounting it on the layout.

There is still plenty of weathering to do on the structures, but this scene is starting to take shape


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 Posted: Sun Jan 12th, 2020 05:43 am
519th Post
Jon Dierksheide

Joined: Sun May 27th, 2018
Posts: 33
Hi Keith,

Thanks for the posts. Always interesting to read.
The EBT machine shop must be a fascinating place.
That picture of the machine was something I had never seen before.
The machine shop is documented on the internet,
and this photo of it has a name tag of a Horizontal Boring Mill which seems most accurate,
as it appears it could be used for both boring and milling. 

Says it's a horizontal boring machine.
Wikipedia Commons has a shop layout and calls it a slotter (Q in the diagram):

Shop Layout With Slotter

This was the first reference I found and Google failed me. 

There are very few references to what a slotter is,
but it sounds like it is related to a planner or shaper,
and this machine has a rotating shaft (there is a spindle support on the end),
not a back and forth planning motion.
It appears they were used to bore steam cylinders,
and maybe brake cylinders. 

I'm not a steam engine expert,
but it would seem like engine cylinders would not be machined,
after they were put on an engine. 

Do they wear out? 

I don't think in the good old days,
there were ways to build up and re-machine cast iron cylinders,
and I assumed they lasted as long as the engine. 
Or maybe the castings were thick enough you could true them up,
if they wore a little unevenly. 

It just doesn't seem like there would be much need for something just to bore steam cylinders. 
It is the only machine in the shop that looks like it could be used as a horizontal mill,
so maybe there were other uses.

Here are photos of one boring the cylinders of a steam engine in a modern rebuild:

Fig 2 here shows a similar machine,
and at the bottom there is a diagram of one with a steam cylinder:

So it appears it was used to bore steam cylinders.

Here are a couple pictures of similar smaller ones:

A little digression from the Gilpin,
but always fun to see what was done in the back shops of a steam railroad.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 14th, 2020 02:10 am
520th Post
Keith Pashina

Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 798

That is some good information about the East Broad Top shop equipment!

Thanks for posting the links and information regarding the borer/slotter machine.
The HAER drawing link you posted is also handy,
and a great read to see how a prototype machine shop was set up.

There is was also a paperback book published about the EBT shops,
and included great descriptions and photos of all the major equipment.

I had a copy, but seemed to have either traded or given it away.


Work progresses on the HO scale, free-lanced boiler works and machine shop complex.
I now have most completed the various structures, and will begin scenicking the scene base later this evening. 

Here are some progress shots about what I have been up to.

One side of the complex is anchored by this building,
a modified Wild West Scale Model Builders Franke Furniture kit..

Mike Pyne, the company owner/designer, probably intended for this to be a wood-working industry,
but I modeled it as a building addition to the original brick building, needed to house additional scenery.

I moved some doors around, put the small office on a different wall,
and added the steel bar and rod stock storage rack to one side.

This is a nice little kit that goes together nicely

Here's an overview of the kit.

I left off one wall until all of the interior detailing was completed before gluing it on.
The roof had to be modified, too, to make it easily removable.
The kit comes with a lot of nice laser-cut roof trusses.

Here's the completed interior, with various machine and detail kits from several manufacturers.

Not a well-focused photo, but this shows a worker at a lathe,
an attempt to make this look like a busy, prosperous machine shop

One detail part I used was this set of tools and gears that were laser-cut from a dense paper-like material.
Originally from Vector Cut, this company has since ceased business.
I wish I would have purchased more of their stuff when I could!

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