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Modeling 'The Gilpin Tram' - pt.II
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 Posted: Wed Jun 17th, 2020 05:34 am
561st Post
Ken C

Joined: Tue Jun 16th, 2015
Location:  Calgary, Alberta Canada
Posts: 1095

Take a look at the this page.

Not a time machine as such, but colorization of B&W photos.

I posted a photo of the Noble Five Mill, which had been colorized.

Ken Clark

Kaslo & Slocan Railway
International Navigation & Trading Co
Kootenay Railway & Navigation Co.
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 Posted: Fri Jun 19th, 2020 03:59 pm
562nd Post
James C.

Joined: Wed May 10th, 2017
Posts: 20
Hey everybody, I have not checked in for a little while.

Question for you all.

Just discussing the Black Hawk station.

Realizing that this is way post Gilpin,
has anyone ever came across any photos of the Black Hawk Station,
after the 1930s flood, when the flume was reconstructed.

There are photos of it immediately after the flood,
in 'Narrow Gauge to Central & Silver Plume',
but these appear to be right after the flood and show the ramps.

Looks to me that the ramp supports and the ramps themselves were temporary.

Have any photos of it after the reconstruction surfaced,
and were the ramps there?

Thanks Jim

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 Posted: Wed Jun 24th, 2020 02:33 am
563rd Post
Keith Pashina

Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 798
Jim - regarding your question about the Black Hawk depot.
I checked what images I have seen, and did not find any in the period you were looking for.
Maybe someone else has some images to post?


A time machine? No, but I wish I had one.
I always wondered how a lot of the rolling stock and buildings looked 120 years ago.
We'll probably never know for certain,
but Ken pointed me to some fun online AI software that colorizes B&W images. 

Playing around with the site, I tried several images,
some looked more interesting than others.
Many others stayed looking B&W,
so I guess the AI software couldn't make up its mind, either.

Are these colors representative of what things looked like?
I don't know, with the exception of trees, grass, and mountainsides.
 I did notice is the a splotch of color brings many scenes to life,
and gave me a new appreciation for many of the photos I had always admired,
but only in Black & White.

Since we are now officially into summer (at least we folks in the northern hemisphere),
I think it's time to kick back a little and enjoy some "might of been" imagining about the Gilpin Tram.

Keep in mind that the structure and rolling stock colors are only guesses,
and not based on much more than that.
Set the analytical and scientific parts of your mind aside for a while,
and just admire the next little group of photos.

Colorizing software could not guess at the colors of these cars,
maybe looked like this, maybe there were more reddish.
However, I always liked this photo of C&S cars in Black Hawk.

This image and all others posted here, were previously posted in the Gilpin Tram Threads 1 and 2,
and are nothing new, other than the whimsical colorization of historic images

We've seen this image of the dual gauge yard area in Black Hawk,
where the Gilpin Tram interchanged with the C&S.
The color makes this scene come alive

This is a familiar photo, of a family and their dog enjoying the day next to Clear Creek,
next to the yard area in front of the Gilpin Tram Black Hawk yards and enginehouse

Hard working Shay #2 is pulling empties on their way back to the mines,
in front of the Hidden Treasure Mill in Black Hawk.

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 Posted: Wed Jun 24th, 2020 02:42 am
564th Post
Keith Pashina

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

Here, Shay #1 is taking a work train, with maybe bridge timbers up the line.
It is paused in front of the Meade Mill in Black Hawk.

We don't know if these colors are anywhere close,
to how the locomotive, flatcars, and mill actually looked,
but it does seem plausible.

How would you model this scene?

Even an old reproduction from an old periodical can look pleasing when colorized.
The Gold Collar Mine had a spur down on the mainline, in Prosser Gulch.
The colorization software made the mine siding a light color - this is interesting,
because unlike the common mineral brown or black colors seen on other mines,
there is at least one surviving wall of this mine showing a yellow color!

Parts of the Kansas Mine and Mill in Nevadaville seemed to have survived into at least the 1950s.
This is a lot earlier, back when the Phoenix-Burroughs branch reached the mine and had a coal unloading spur

At the end of the Saratoga Branch, were the 3 shaft houses of the Saratoga Mine.
This was a regular shipper on the Gilpin Tram throughout the life of the railway

The splendid California Mine on the Quartz Hill Branch was a big producer,
until the mine burned and flooded.

I always have liked this scene and would love to model it

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 Posted: Wed Jun 24th, 2020 02:53 am
565th Post
Keith Pashina

Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 798
As you view these photos, remember that this is "all made up."
What you are viewing here is what an online computer AI program guessed the colors were,
this is only a guess, but an interesting study of how things may have looked.

I find that viewing some of these images gets my imagination going,
looking at the photo with my modeler's hat on,
speculating on how things might have been.

How about colors of the cars?
I read a post today on the C&S blog,
where they were talking about C&S and D&RG freight car colors in the 1920s.
Pat Student, a very knowledgable D&RG modeler, weighed in,
and said the earlier color may have been an almost dark chocolate brown.
The later mineral browns were a lot redder. 

I don't think this settles anything about the color of the Gilpin Tram roster colors,
other than giving me license to have some variety in colors that I use.

This is a classic photo of Shay #3 switching the New York Mill, before it was expanded.
I let the AI software choose the colors, but it did a decent job of coloring the rocky hillside behind the mill,
and the yellowish gray stone color commonly used on building walls in this area.
The red wagon color is a nice accent to the scene, something I should model for my layout

Next are a couple of views of the Chamberlain Sampling Works,
and Randolph Mill area in Black Hawk

Even in the stark, cold days of winter,
a little bit of color goes a long way in making this scene come to life.

Couldn't you see something like being modeled on your layout?

I really think someone should model this derelict structure in Mountain City.
Model it in 1:48 or 1:35, bring it to the next National Narrow Gauge Convention,
and you can walk away with First Place in Structures or Dioramas!

Well, that was fun for me to view and post.
I hope you all enjoyed the fantastical colorized images, too.

'til next time,


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 Posted: Wed Jun 24th, 2020 06:11 am
566th Post
Michael M

Joined: Thu Jan 26th, 2017
Location: San Bernardino, California USA
Posts: 1935

In the last photo with the crumbling shed,
looks like there are some interesting signs off to the right. 

Maybe something no longer in business. 

Would also be something nice to add to a scene.

Nye, Inyo & Esmeralda Railroad
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 Posted: Thu Jun 25th, 2020 06:28 pm
567th Post

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

I like your colorization action.
The shed is excellent, may need to think about it.


As I have told a group of West Side color talkers in the past,
if you can tell me the real color from a Black and White photo,
I can get you a very good paying job in a 3 letter organization.

Just let me know, I still have some good contacts.


Monte Peaeron
Brandon, MS
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 Posted: Fri Jul 17th, 2020 02:53 am
568th Post
Keith Pashina

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

In a previous post, Michael suggested trying a white ink pen to make chalk marks,
since I had been unsuccessful using a colored pencil.

Shopping around online, I found a set of 0.4 mm white ink pens.
These did the trick!

They are very easy to use, and their ink lines look about right for my rolling stock.
Here are some of the results...

I found that just making vague scribbles worked fine,
and the marks really don't say anything intelligible.

This works in HOn30,
but the larger scales would probably need to make them legible.


Ready to run rolling stock for the Gilpin Tram, in HOn30?
Until recently, this had never been offered.

Sure, some kits had been offered in previous decades - a caboose, ore cars, flatcars, etc.
And, there are pre-designed offerings in HOn30, 3D printed and available through Shapeways. 

However, Toma Models has recently offered a Gilpin Tram caboose for #400, and in HOn30.
After reading the announcement, I knew I had to get one.  

Well, it arrived this week, and here are two photos of it...

The model comes with trucks and is painted.

I need to add my own couplers and decals,
and I think I'll weather it up a bit, too.

The model appears to be a 3D printed resin model,
as are the Gilpin Tram style trucks. 

Overall, a nice model,
and one I am happy to have on my layout.


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 Posted: Wed Dec 16th, 2020 02:20 pm
569th Post
Jon Dierksheide

Joined: Sun May 27th, 2018
Posts: 33
I stumbled across some YouTube videos from abandoned mine explorers.
It's fascinating, at least to me, to see what old mines looked like. 
The rare historic photos don't really capture it.

Diagrams of side views of mines are flat and two dimensional,
and don't capture the twists and turns as they follow the veins. 
There are a few mine maps showing the twisting tunnels on various levels.
I assume if you are interested in the Gilpin Tram, it would interest you, too. 

A video walking through twisted old mine tunnels or open stopes,
gives a really interesting image of what it was like,
and how mines are built and operated, and terminology. 

The only thing missing is that modern videos (like the photos),
use nice bright lights, instead of a single candle.
So you have to imagine hand drilling on the face with a candle,
or pushing an ore cart down the track in the darkness.

I was on a mine tour in the upper peninsula of Michigan,
and they turned off the lights. 
It's hard to imagine the pitch black darkness,
and a single candle would only be slightly better.

Ever wondered what square set timbering really looked like?

This channel is about the best I have found in terms of being easy to follow,
with good camera work and nice descriptions of the geology.

There are a few others.
Some not much better than guys walking through an old mine with a flashlight,
that tend to be jerky and hard to follow. 

Some spend more time on surface structure and mills (if there is anything left),
and equipment, which is interesting as well.

Once you watch a few, YouTube will find you more of the others.


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 Posted: Sun Jan 10th, 2021 07:58 pm
570th Post
Keith Pashina

Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 798
Thank you Jon, for posting the links to video of inside mines.
Fascinating stuff and it gives me an appreciation for how hard life would have been as a miner!

Time sure flies, too.
I just realized I had put the Freerails site aside for the past half year,
my last post was back in July 2020! 

Well, a lot has happened in the world since then, and a lot has happened in my personal life, too.
The biggest change for me was working hard for much of 2020 setting up a business deal,
near the end of 2020, I sold my ownership in my business, and am now officially "semi-retired".

I'm not totally sure what all that will mean for me,
but I do know it means I now am having more time to do more HOn30 modeling.

In the next several weeks, I will be posting more about what I have been up to.


One little detail I recently added to my HOn30 model railroad were railroad crossing signs. 

Most images, such as the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection image shown here,
show the common railroad crossing sign consisting of black lettering on white-painted boards and posts.

The image above shows one such sign on the main street of Russell Gulch.
A similar sign is shown in photos across the creek from the Gilpin Tram's enginehouse in Black Hawk.

Darel Leedy's  C&SNG website had  an interesting discussion of crossing signs on June 25, 2017.

An unusual crossing sign near the street near the Central City depot,
the signpost is painted white, but the angled cross arms have white lettering on a dark background.

The main street crossing in Black Hawk, over the dual gauge C&S/Gilpin trackage.
The lettering on the signpost is black, and says "Look Out For The Cars".

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