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Modeling 'The Gilpin Tram' - pt.II
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 Posted: Tue Sep 28th, 2021 03:53 am
591st Post
Keith Pashina

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

Many of the supporting stone retaining walls were hard to view,
due to the thick brush and shrubs.  Now, they are easily viewed.

Along the way, there is this drain built into the stone wall.
The track would have been built right above it.
This is a detail I should build into my layout.


I have picked up the authors' previous 4 books,
and now they have a 5th volume - it should be good reading !

White River Productions just released this book on Shay locomotives,
of course, the Gilpin Tram's 5 Shays are included in the material,
and there is much, much more, in this thick, heavy volume.

With the cold, dark Minnesota winters not too far away,
I'll be able to curl up in a warm spot and have some good reading.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 28th, 2021 04:12 am
592nd Post
Keith Pashina

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

The Cumbres & Toltec is a well-known operating line,
running on the former Denver and Rio Grande main,
between Chama, New Mexico, and Antonito, Colorado.

This is a much more substantial railroad than the Gilpin Tram.
There is a much more built-up right of way, and larger locomotives, etc.

However, this line should be on everyone's to-do list,
because the whole experience immerses you,
into narrow-gauge, mountain railroading.

Here, the heavy working of the locomotive is a joy to hear,
the mountainous scenery moves by at a sedate 10-12 miles per hour,
and the scent of coal smoke drifts back through the cars. 

I am not intending to describe a tour of the railroad and its features,
but I also got a lot of ideas from this line,
that I could include on my own modeling of the 2' Gilpin Tram,
and the modeled, but fictitious, Gilpin, James Peak, and Middle Park.

The right of way was lined with former telegraph or telephone poles.
The wires had been removed, but a few still had insulators in place.
Adding a telegraph line along my mainline would be well worth modeling.

I was fortunate to ride the parlor car, which is coupled to the rear.
I rode the platform for much of the day ! 

Note how the rock cut visually divides the scene.

If I added one similar on my layout,
it is a great way to separate two separate locations. 

Also, note another ubiquitous telegraph pole.

Trees can also divide a scene,
and they don't need to be all that tall, either.

This was on a very tangled, curvy section of the line,
which was is noted as Whiplash Curve.


Another detail,
piles of discarded railroad ties where ties have been replaced.

The Cumbres and Toltec is well-maintained, but the Gilpin Tram,
had track workers and may have had similar details, too.

This is at the top of Tanglefoot Curve,
you gotta love the place names on the narrow gauge !

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 Posted: Tue Sep 28th, 2021 04:22 am
593rd Post
Keith Pashina

Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 798
On my Colorado trip, we also rode the Durango & Silverton,
the former Denver and Rio Grande line between the two named towns.

Once again, we were able to ride in a private car at the rear of the train.
Once again, I spent a lot of time riding the rear platform.

What impressed me was how winding and twisting the line was,
as shown above,

A lot of curves, even in areas that are not the confined rocky areas,
in the narrow areas of the canyon that this line mostly runs through.

There is hardly a straight stretch of track,
once you leave the comparatively flat areas near Durango.

I think the modeling inspiration here is to avoid straight segments of track,
and particularly those parallel to the front of the layout framing.

The twisting and turning is much more visually interesting !


Back in 2007, I built an HO model for my HOn30 layout,
of the Polar Star Mill and ore chutes transfer (to the 3' gauge).

This model was published in Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette a few years ago.

Here is a view of the HO Polar Star Mill and ore chutes transfer,
I had previously built for a former layout. 

I no longer had space or use for this model,
and it had sat on shelves gathering dust.

Kent Blake, owner of the real Polar Star Mill in Black Hawk,
has graciously showed me the mill,
and provided much information on the local history.

So, what better place for this model than at the real mill ?

Here I am with Polar Star Mill owner Kent,
where he will store the model inside the real mill.

That's all for now - more later.
'til next time


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 Posted: Mon Oct 4th, 2021 03:16 am
594th Post
Keith Pashina

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

Yep, I'm talking about dust collecting on the model railroading.

This past summer/early fall, I have been busy doing stuff,
including building several models, but I didn't operate the layout much. 

Today, I noticed the dust that had collected on the buildings,
so I did a little cleaning.

Using a very soft brush, I brushed off the roofs and rock formations.
Then, using another soft brush attachment, vacuumed everything I could,
buildings, track, roads, grassy areas, etc.

I glued everything down securely,
and as far as I know, I didn't lose any figures or little details !

The reason I am doing this fall cleaning now,
is that I am getting ready to do some operating sessions on the layout. 

I am still undecided as to how I want to run operating schemes.

This past winter, I used the car card system,
which has several advantages, but also some disadvantages, too,
such as needing to shuffle cards.

The other method is to use a switchlist system.
I like the switchlist system called 'Switchlist',
it is a free download, and has a good news group with lots of tips.

Examples of some of the lists it generates are shown above

However, it is for Mac operating systems only,
but there are several similar ones that can run on PCs. 

This one has several advantages,
amongst them the lack of having to shuffle papers,
but a few disadvantages, too.

So, the next round of operating will be with 'Switchlist'.
I'll post photos of the trains I'm running and switching operations soon !

'til next time


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 Posted: Mon Oct 4th, 2021 02:54 pm
595th Post

Joined: Mon Dec 10th, 2012
Location: Boonville, Missouri USA
Posts: 878
Neat photos.

Neat narrative.

Neater layout now that the dust has been dealt a blow.

See y'all later, Forrest.
Screw the rivets, I'm building for atmosphere
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 Posted: Wed Oct 6th, 2021 03:24 am
596th Post
Michael M

Joined: Thu Jan 26th, 2017
Location: San Bernardino, California USA
Posts: 1938
Put a piece of pantyhose between the brush and the nozzle on the vacuum cleaner. 

It will catch any loose details that you might suck up.

Nye, Inyo & Esmeralda Railroad
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 Posted: Fri Nov 19th, 2021 05:30 pm
597th Post
Keith Pashina

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

Well, twisting around that old colloquialism,
I did get a big package delivered by FedEx today,
and guess what was inside !

John Coker of Coker Railroad Art painted this beautiful watercolor,
of Gilpin Tram Shay #4 with a short train.

He and I had been discussing this idea for some time,
and we worked out arrangements at the Narrow Gauge Convention,
in Hickory, North Carolina this year.

John kept me apprised of his progress,
and the completed painting was ready to ship this month !

Next, I'll be picking out the matting and frame for this painting,
and it will then be hung in a place of honor,
in our living room when that's all done.

If the painting looks vaguely familiar to you, it should.

It was based on the photo image above,
showing Shay #4 with a  work train on the Banta Hill branch. 

John agreed to several, ahem, enhancements that I requested,
swapping out the work train cars and workers with an ore car and flatcar,
and I also asked for caboose 0400 to be at the end.

Oh, and we added a typical mine on the hillside,
that otherwise wasn't in the original photo.

All for now.


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 Posted: Sat Nov 20th, 2021 12:15 am
598th Post
Derek McGuckin

Joined: Thu Jul 12th, 2018
Posts: 49
Beautiful painting !

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 Posted: Fri Dec 3rd, 2021 02:19 am
599th Post
Keith Pashina

Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 798
A Belated Thanksgiving To All Of You

As you probably noticed, the Freerails website was down for several days.
Fortunately, the site was able to fix the problems and get Freerails up again.
I am very thankful for the Freerails site, the fact that the site is hosted for us to use
(and it's free, just as the name says)
and the opportunities to view others work and meet other modelers online.
Life is good !

What I've Been Working On

In previous posts, I mentioned the general layout cleanup,
and setting up for operations.

Well, I was getting the locomotives ready to go,
and I started tinkering with one, and one thing led to another, and well...

Locomotive #10 is a Minitrains 0-6-0T that I slightly modified.

I added a few details and new paint,
otherwise, it's close to the original model.

This loco is Battery Powered Radio Control,
and I decided to replace the battery with a slightly larger one.

I was able to find a little bigger space in the cab, above the motor.

So, while doing this, I started working on tidying up the wiring,
replacing the charging plug, etc. etc.

Well, if I was going to tinker with one locomotive, I might as well work on two,
as I can work on one while something dries, and so forth.

So, I started converting a Minitrains 2-6-2T,
based on a  Baldwin trench railway locomotive used in WWI.

I was able to find a space for the battery in the boiler and sidetones,
and replaced the cab with a freelanced enclosed on.

This is still a work in progress, but it is coming along nicely.

Model railroad progress will be slow for the next couple of weeks,
as I decided to build an HO scale model of my daughters house,
load it up with LED lighting, some Santa Claus, reindeer, and other figures,
and well, you get the idea.  It's a fun diversion.

I'll post more on the loco progress,
and get around to posting some actual pictures of operations on my layout. 

Until then, enjoy Freerails !
We're fortunate to have this excellent resource.


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 Posted: Fri Dec 3rd, 2021 07:38 pm
600th Post
Herb Kephart

Joined: Thu Jul 19th, 2007
Location: Glen Mills, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 5873
We are indeed fortunate Keith.

Over the years, we have had several times when things looked very black.

The latest seems to have been solved by members,

and we owe them a large vote of thanks !!


Fix it again, Mr Gates--it still works!"
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