Sanderson, 1968

By B. Smith

(Note: B. Smith is embarking on an exciting new chapter for his LCN RR layout.  Rather than just operating in 1990, he will be embracing multiple eras while maintaining reasonable efforts to present prototypical rolling stock, vehicles, etc.  He and I have been having numerous philosophical chats on this as we explore ways of thinking on the subject.  I too am experimenting in this area, but with a smaller range of years [1979 and 1981, pre-Rock Island shutdown, post-SLSF-BN merger].  Likely much more to come on this, but meanwhile, enjoy a recent session on his LCN.  Don’t be surprised if you see a glitch or two as we work the kinks out. )

We arrive in Sanderson just as the LCN local arrives.  The year is 1968.  The LCN still operates a steam locomotive.  Today’s consist are two box cars for Big Bend Wool and Mohair and two empty open top hoppers for scoria loading.  (I have the wrong side of the fourth car facing the camera.  The consolidated lube plate shows.  I’m not used yet to considering which side of the car faces out.)  (Note:  We are experimenting with dual era cars being detailed for different eras on different side.)

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The crew cuts off the caboose and two empty hoppers.  The LCN is having problems getting open hoppers from the class ones and operates an eclectic assortment of second-hand hoppers to serve the scoria shipper.  The empty hopper when the train departed earlier in the day has been loaded.

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The two loads for Big Bend Wool and Mohair are run to the east end and cut off on the main.

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The locomotive then backs to the water plug to fill its tender.

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After filling the tender the locomotive backs down the siding to the loaded hopper after the brakeman flags it across a crossing.

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In Part II, we’ll complete the run and tie down for the evening.

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A Rails West book report

I periodically share books that I find particularly good.  Here is a short installment in the series.  Both are older books, but very much worth acquiring if they are of interest to you and you can find them.

Tumbleweeds and Fast Freights

This book does a phenomenal job of capturing the ATSF in the State of New Mexico in the 1960-90s.  McMillan captured many nooks and crannies of the State that are rarely documented, many of which are long gone now.  Having lived in NM in the early 1990s, I really enjoyed seeing the places he documented as they were in the 1960 and 1970s.  This is an indispensable reference for modelers interested in the ATSF in the Southwest.

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The photography is superb.  Below are a couple of random pages.  McMillan captured a ton of ATSF action but also often captured the surroundings.  His photos really evoke the essence of railroading in the “Land of Enchantment.”  Buy the book to see these photos in their full glory.  You can purchase from the author here.

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Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad in Color

Readers of this post know the west of the Mississippi orientation of this site, but I do like a few eastern roads, such as the Wabash, Western Maryland, Penn Central and the DT&I.  You will see these roads represented in the rolling stock that visit the Rails West layout.  I have wanted the book below for some time and finally found it for a good price.  I am not disappointed in the least.  It is spectacular.  The subject matter, vivedness and clarity of the photos are great.

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Most of the photos depict 1970s action (some 1960s and 1980s) and share a lot of rolling stock as well as locomotives.  It is great for someone like me who models the late 1970s-early 1980s.

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The mine in the above photo inspired the IMC mine served by the C&C RR on my layout.  If you like the DT&I or even just 1970s railroading, buy this book if you can find it. Unfortunately, it is out of print but you can buy it used or a digital copy from Morning Sun Books. You won’t be disappointed.  Like Tumbleweeds and Fast Freights, this book captures the context for the trains as well so you see a lot of rail-related structures, industries, scenery and rolling stock.

For more on books, see my September 23, 2016 post entitled, Ton Ten (actually 12) railroad books.

The gold standard for me is still–

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As I wrote last year–

Southern Pacific in Oregon — I love this book.  The photography is stunning and it really focuses on my era, the late 1970s-early 1980s.  The pictures are crystal clear and very vivid. This has to be one of the best pictorial railroad books ever produced.  Sadly, the company that produced this book is no longer in business.  Their Northwest Passages book on the Burlington Northern is a close second.

I hope one day soon, I can share with you an excellent book entitled–

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Ship it on the Frisco, an all color book on Frisco operations across the system.  It was such a photogenic railroad that this book will be written soon I hope.  There are a few decent books out there on the Frisco, but none that matches the quality of the above books. Oddly enough, the closest I have seen is Burlington Northern and its Heritage by Steve Glischinski.  It had a small but great chapter on the Frisco.

As always, my “go to” book dealers are–

Overland Hobbies in Indiana owned by Brian Marsh

and

Arizona Hobbies in Arizona owned by Randy Curtin

Brian and Randy offer great prices and are both great to deal with!

Happy reading and railroading!

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Neat little structure in Roswell, New Mexico to model and more…

I love buildings like this.  Not easy to model, but what character!Roswell

Roswell near Roswell Wool

Roswell near Roswell Wool 4Here you can see where the tracks used to service the structure.

Roswell near Roswell Wool 2

Unfortunately, Rancher’s Supply appears quite closed.

However, for you more modern modelers, next door is a modern gem.  Note the orange and white building next door to the right?

Roswell Wool 2

It is Roswell Wool.  It is still a going concern.

Roswell Wool

Sadly the BNSF no longer a has an active spur to it, but you can see where it once ran and the doors that were possibly used to load boxcars at one point.

Hard to know how long Roswell Wool has been at this location.

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Right down the track to the north are a lot of warehouses that were at one time used for shipping agricultural traffic as well.

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On this map the blue circle depicts those warehouses.  The black circle shows were the old ATSF passenger and freight station once stood (a portion still remains).  The red circle shows where the Rainbo Bakery sat that served as the model of the bakery on the Rails West layout.  You can still see the concrete pad where the flour silos once sat. (The rectangle with the 8 holes, click here for a post on the bakery that once operated in Roswell.)

Like many western towns of any size, Roswell is full of building crying out to be modeled.

Take Artesia just to the south of Roswell for instance…

Oh well, that may be a subject for a future post.

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Time for a little operating…

The local came into town pretty light today.  As is often the case, the yard crew in Trinidad did an iffy job of blocking.

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Three empties for the C&C RR interchange and two loads for Carrizo Springs.

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A couple of recent Rails West projects are featured.  A re-worked Accurail kit to depict a GN double-door boxcar.  I weathered it, cut the ladders down, removed the roofwalk, added lube plate, wheel inspection and ACI decals, replaced trucks, installed grab irons, stirrups, scale wheels and pin lifters and brake hoses.   It was about a 3-month project with many, many breaks.

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All in all, I’m pretty happy with it.  Not perfect, end ladders clunky, but it is close enough.

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I also re-worked an Athearn BN 40 footer.  I did most of what I did to the GN boxcar, but I did not replace the grab irons.  Again, close enough.  I wanted a couple of double door 40 footers to serve as backups when no 50 footers were available for the sawmill on the C&C RR.  They will be rare visitors, but I like the idea of having a few 40-foot boxcars still on the layout.

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Again, a bit clunky in a few places, but overall acceptable.  Weathering hides a lot!

Forty footers are fading icons from the rail scene in my era, the late-1970s and early 1980s.

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The two work pretty well together.

We might as well check out the rest of the small consist.

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Here’s an empty for loading at the sawmill too.

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Here is a load of beer for Hernandez Distributing and the CPLT box is a load of plywood for Foxworth Lumber (team track in town).

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And lastly, the venerable CB&Q caboose that frequently makes the trip over from Trinidad.

The crew will make their set outs and grab a bite at Paul’s Mexican Food.  They’ll grab the empties from Western Warehousing and the empty Frisco box from Hernandez Distributing and beat it back to Trinidad hoping to beat the 12-hour clock.

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Maps (and planned structures) of the Rails West layout (Conclusion)

In Parts I and II of this series, I shared overall maps and described my structures in place or planned for the east side of Carrizo Springs, the primary town of the layout.  In this post, we’ll explore the west side and outskirts of Carrizo Springs.

Here is a close up of the area we’ll cover–

Layout map Mar 2017 II_carrizo II

Going from east to west (towards the interchange with the Carson & Carrizo RR), I’ll discuss each structure.

Paul’s Mexican Food

This structure is undetermined, but I can share a picture of the inspiration in Carrizozo, NM.

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Paul’s Mexican Food, Carrizozo, NM, circa 2007–©photo by C. E. Hunt

This restaurant in the early 1990s had the best red enchiladas and green chili cheese burgers.  It was old school all the way and some of the customers really wore spurs!  It was magnificent in my eyes.  Note the cool swamp cooler out the side of the structure.  Little touches like that give your structure a real regional identity and help create a more authentic sense of place.

Yucca Bar and Grill

This place is the fuzziest in my mind.  I absolutely love this structure (also) in Carrizozo, NM.  I am not sure I’ll do this place, but I’d like to.  It is still a question.  It will involve serious scratch building.  Here is the real structure–

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Yucca Bar and Grill, Carrizozo, NM, circa1993–©photo by C. E. Hunt

Above is how the place looked in the early 1990s.  Note iconic sign still there!

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Yucca Bar and Grill, Carrizozo, NM, circa 2007–©photo by C. E. Hunt

This photo and the next two were taken around 2007.

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Yucca Bar and Grill, Carrizozo, NM, circa 2007–©photo by C. E. Hunt

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Yucca Bar and Grill, Carrizozo, NM, circa 2007–©photo by C. E. Hunt

This place screams out to be modeled!  When I did a post on this building in 2015, a reader gave me a great comment–

This was my grandpa’s bar back in the hey day. I worked there when I was a youngster cleaning tables, sweeping and when there was dances or bands I got to serve beer. WOW try that now!!!!–J. Ortiz

We’ll see if I model it, but I know I should try.

The next three are a little easier and almost guaranteed to be quite good because they are Monster Model Works kits by one of my favorite craftsmen kit producers, Jimmy Simmons.  His kits are AWESOME and yield very good results.

Feller’s Garage

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Gibson’s Body Shop

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Abandoned store (with sign a swinging)

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I know it is a little cookie cutter on the last three, but why not embrace excellence and take it easy sometimes?

The infrastructure at the piggyback ramp will be minimal, just a ramp, a couple of trailers and a few tumbleweeds.

At the far western end of the layout, there won’t be much.  My goal is to subtly suggest a change in ecotype as the country begins a transition into the foothills of the Carson Mountains.  A few trees will begin to appear and signage may indicate the boundary of the National Forest.

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The IMC mine is still under conceptualization right now.

There you have it on the current and future Rails West layout.  I gotta go, I have a lot of work to do!

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Maps (and planned structures) of the Rails West layout (Part II)

In the last Rails West post, I shared a couple of key maps and a little history.  (Click here to see Part I.)

In this post, I’ll share some details on structures and planned structures.  As a refresher, the modeled area is shown again below.

Layout map Mar 2017 II

OK, let’s drill down into the east side of Carrizo Springs.

Layout map Mar 2017 II_ Carrizo I

Taking the structures from east to west:

Agri-West Farm Supply — see this post from 2016 for more.  (See part II here.)img_2506

Hernandez and Sons Distributor (Click here for more, again it was a two-part series.)img_2416

Rainbo Bakery (Much more here, multi-part series.)img_2579

Agri-West Lube and Specialty Oil (under development)

This will be based on a variety of influences, but mostly a combination of former dealers in Marfa, TX along a former SP main line. (now UP).DSC_7570DSC_756816176 Russell410 E El Paso 3 Likely the subject of a post in the near future.

Western Warehousing  (Click here to see the first of a two-part series on this structure.)IMG_2272

Ponderosa Feeds (Click here for more.)img_2657

Carrizo Valley Wool and Mohair (under development)

For a post on an active wool and mohair shipper in Alpine, TX in the late-1970s, click here.

This non-rail serviced structure will be based on multiple influences of a few structures in Texas.

wmohmertzonwmohballinger5478c0b1ae95c.imageunnamed (2)Big Bend Wool and Mohair with two cars spotted in August, 1977–©B. Smith photo

In the next post, we’ll venture towards the western end of the layout.

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Maps (and planned structures) of the Rails West layout (Part I)

BN 1743 Three Forks MT Apr 14 1984 Jim Herold Low Res

BN 1743 Three Forks MT, April 14, 1984 by Jim Herold –©photo C. E. Hunt Collection

The above photo taken in Three Forks, MT in 1980s captures much of what the Rails West layout is all about–short trains in lonely, beautiful country evoking many of my favorite places and scenes across the American West.

To somehow give a larger narrative to the layout and give it context, I have developed a fictitious map of the region.

Big Map II

Only a small portion of this map is modeled on the layout.  (See yellow box.)  Two of my favorite western roads come together in Trinidad and have a shared line out to Carrizo Springs.  I think of it as sort of a “Camas Prairie” arrangement like the BN and UP had in Idaho.  For a detailed history of the lines see my earlier post.  For the most part, the map of above tracks pretty closely with that history with a few tweaks.

Most notable on this map is the richer detail of the short line that goes to Carson State University.  The Carson & Carrizo Railroad operates a line that the SP sold before the 1970 BN merger.  Carson State University bought the line to ensure continued service to the campus.  Coal and food shipments predominate the traffic to the university, but the line also hosts a fair amount of sawmill-related traffic since one of the old sawmills on the line reopened after the C&C RR took over.

Carson State University’s football team, the Cougars, draws a big crowd during the season and the Unversity has thought about running passenger specials to Trinidad so perhaps a little passenger action may take place in the future.  The scenery of Carson National Forest could be a draw as well in the future. The line traverses numerous picturesque gorges and creeks on the way to Carson.

Layout map Mar 2017 II

The map above portrays the modeled portion.  At this time only the track and a few of the structures are in place.  However, it is enough to permit me to have interesting operation sessions and there are enough structures to give my operations a sense of purpose.

In the next post, I will provide details on some of the structures in place and those to come.