From the depths of the Pecos archives!

On July 23, 2014, I ran a post of B. Smith’s Pecos, TX maps.  Well, B. Smith has found another treasure–a hand drawn map of almost the entire Pecos Valley Southern RR (c. 1970-2012).

North part of PVS RR.  Map by B. Smith

North part of PVS RR. Map by B. Smith

North part of PVS RR.  Map by B. Smith

South part of PVS RR. Map by B. Smith

Astute observers may have noticed two RSD 4 locomotives on the map.  In case you wondered why there is RSD 4 noted in two places on the PVS map, there was an RSD 4 in Pecos for awhile.  It was the Rustler Springs sulphur plant switcher and someone planned to rebuild it.

It was first located at the west end of Pecos, as seen above.  Jan 1981

It was first located at the west end of Pecos, as seen above during January 1981 ©B.Smith photo

It was then moved…

It was then moved to the east end, as seen here September 1981 ©B.Smith photo

It was then moved to the east end, as seen here September 1981 ©B.Smith photo

That's the MP station in Pecos on the right.  The engine was never rebuilt but scrapped instead. ©B.Smith photo

That’s the Missouri Pacific RR station in Pecos on the right. The engine was never rebuilt but scrapped instead. ©B.Smith photo

Stay tuned, rumor has it that B.Smith photo documented a PVS RR run a few days before Christmas of 1978.  Likely more Pecos goodies to come!

One more trip to Pecos (via maps)

PICT0002_3

August 1982. ATSF line in Pecos. ©B.Smith photo

In late June and early July of this year, I did a three part series on operations around Pecos, Texas in the 1970 and 80s.  The series proved to be a very popular set of postings with hundreds of views.  Here are the links to the posts–Part I, Part II and Part III.  On July 21, 2014, 81 views were logged for this series on a single day.

As B. Smith was capturing the rail scene around Pecos, Texas in the 1970 and 80s, he did something really great–he drew the rail scene as well to give context to his superb photos.

DSC_6937

Overview on street map. All of these maps courtesy B. Smith.

This hand drawn map shows some of the industries.  He added a couple of things on the one below.

This hand drawn map shows some of the industries. He added a couple of things on the one below. (Click on to enlarge.)

With additions...

With additions…

Making maps such as these often provides valuable information to give your photos context and aid modeling and realistic operations.

 

Another Patch!

I recently discussed patch jobs on the LCN RR.  See “Patches!”

Well another patch job just arrived on B. Smith’s LCN RR.

DSC_6931_2

UMP 20767 on B. Smith’s LCN RR.

Side view near the elevator.  It is 1990 on the LCN RR and more and more patches are starting to surface.

Corner view near the elevator. It is 1990 on the LCN RR and more and more patches are starting to surface.

The inspiration for UMP 20767 was…

Upper Merion & Plymouth RR #20767 captured in Ontario, CA by Chris Butts in April of 1990.  Copyrighted by Chris Butts and courtesy Railcarphotos.com.

Upper Merion & Plymouth RR #20767 captured in Ontario, CA by Chris Butts in April of 1990. Copyrighted by Chris Butts and courtesy Railcarphotos.com.

Here’s another example of a patch from the UMP RR…

UMP 20750_Belleville, Ont ON_William Crago_1993-07-17_37728

UMP #20750 in Belleville, Ontario on July 17, 1993. Photo copyrighted by William Crago and courtesy of Railcarphoto.com.

Likely more patches may surface in the future on the LCN RR or even the ATSF in Roswell in the 1990s.

 

Patches!

Patches are when a car’s reporting marks and often numbers are changed on a car through the use of blacking out (or patching) the old information and painting over with the new information.

Patches offer modellers a way to individualize their cars and often enhance their realism.  At least a few patch jobs are essential for layouts, say about, 1990 forward.

Below are a few examples and then an HO example from B. Smith’s LCN RR.

 

PLCX 28132 in Mobile, AL January 7, 2009 --photo by Todd Templeton (Coutesy http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/)

PLCX 28132 in Mobile, AL January 7, 2009 –photo by Todd Templeton (image courtesy of  rrpicturearchives.net)

PLCX 28188 in Stockton CA March 10 2003 --Photo copyrighted by Chris Butts (image courtesy Railcarphotos.com)

PLCX 28188 in Stockton CA March 10 2003 –Photo copyrighted by Chris Butts (image courtesy Railcarphotos.com)

 

PLCX 28138 at Palmer Lake, CO.  April 16, 2004.  Kent Charles

PLCX 28138 at Palmer Lake, CO. April 16, 2004. Photo copyrighted by Kent Charles (image courtesy Railcarphotos.com)

Recently, PLCX 28138 surfaced on the LCN RR.

Exactrail car patched by B. Smith.

Exactrail car patched by B. Smith.

DSC_6929

Model and photo by B. Smith.

For all you modellers of more recent eras, happy patching!

 

A Primer on Setting Out Cars (and advocacy of “Slow Operations”) — Part III

All right, let’s wrap up the East Job.  

In this concluding post (also see Part I and Part II), we will get the train together to conclude the East Job.

During the narrative offered by Jim, Director of Operations for the LCN RR, think about how pulling pins, connecting air hoses, setting brake wheels, pumping up air brakes, brake tests, unlocking derails, tugging on couples out of kilter, all can (with a little imagination) enrich your scale operations on your layout.

A Primer on Setting Out Cars (and advocacy of “Slow Operations”) — Part II

Last bit of work is picking up two empties at the Sanderson Wholesale Food Distributor. This spur has a derail that must be unlocked and swung into the dirt before we can couple into the cars.

Coupled in, stretched to insure a good joint, laced up, hand brakes knocked off, brakes pumped up, a look around to insure no unloading ramps have been left in place, we see the conductor making sure the brake piston extends when the engineer sets the brakes before pulling the cars out of the spur.

Coupled in, stretched to insure a good joint, laced up, hand brakes knocked off, brakes pumped up, a look around to insure no unloading ramps have been left in place, we see the conductor making sure the brake piston extends when the engineer sets the brakes before pulling the cars out of the spur.

Everything out on the main, switch lined, derail back on, we are ready to back down the main to the rest of our train.  Better hurry, the skies are threatening a bit.  We are beginning to smell a little rain in the area.

Everything out on the main, switch lined, derail back on, we are ready to back down the main to the rest of our train. Better hurry, the skies are threatening a bit. We are beginning to smell a little rain in the area.

"That'll do", CRASH, "stretch'em", That'll do", "set and center" (tell the engineer to set the engine brakes and center the reverser handle because you are going between the cars), connect the air hoses, open the angle cock SLOWLY.  Let the brakes pump off.  "when you're ready take'em ahead".

“That’ll do”, CRASH, “stretch’em”, That’ll do”, “set and center” (tell the engineer to set the engine brakes and center the reverser handle because you are going between the cars), connect the air hoses, open the angle cock SLOWLY. Let the brakes pump off. “when you’re ready take’em ahead”.

When the rear car gets close have the engineer stop the train and set the brakes.  The brakes should set up on the rear car, insuring the trainline is connected all the way to the last car and no angle cocks are closed, except the very last one at the end of the train, unless an end of train (ETD) is used.  Sophisticated ETDs can radio the rear end brake pressure to the engineer and save the conductor the walk to the head end, but the LCN has not sprung for those expensive devices figuring the conductor can walk as the trains are pretty short.  Release the brakes, make sure the brakes on the rear car release, walk to the head end, checking all the cars as you go to insure the brakes have released, all the wheels are on the rails, everything looks good.  And watch out for junk, trash, cactus, anything that may trip you, and snakes that may bite you.

When the rear car gets close have the engineer stop the train and set the brakes. The brakes should set up on the rear car, insuring the trainline is connected all the way to the last car and no angle cocks are closed, except the very last one at the end of the train, unless an end of train (ETD) is used. Sophisticated ETDs can radio the rear end brake pressure to the engineer and save the conductor the walk to the head end, but the LCN has not sprung for those expensive devices figuring the conductor can walk as the trains are pretty short. Release the brakes, make sure the brakes on the rear car release, walk to the head end, checking all the cars as you go to insure the brakes have released, all the wheels are on the rails, everything looks good. And watch out for junk, trash, cactus, anything that may trip you, and snakes that may bite you.

All right, it’s a train.  Enough time spent in Sanderson for a day.  Hope you enjoyed this run on the LCN loaded with a lot of operational tidbits thanks to B. Smith and his layout, the LCN RR.

(For another site that discusses “slow operations” principles see Lance Mindheim’s excellent site — Voodoo and Palmettos.) 

I say we head to town.  The rain is getting closer and there are a couple of low spots between here and Marathon!  

A Primer on Setting Out Cars (and advocacy of “Slow Operations”) — Part II

Let’s continue on the East Job.
 
But before we set out, a little more explanation on how air brakes work is in order than I gave in the last post. An alert reader pointed out that I left out some details. A more detailed explanation is offered at the end of this post.
 
Picking up where we left off from the July 13, 2014 post
 
The conductor lines the engine over to the main line to pick up the two empty box cars. Besides coupling into the box cars, connecting the air hose between the engine and the first box car, turning both the angle cock on the engine and the box car (it was closed when the cars were brought into Sanderson as it was the last car then), the conductor has to go back to the end of the second box car and close its angle cock and lift the pin lifter to uncouple it from the covered hopper. Never reach over the coupler to close or open an angle cock, cross over the end of the car to get to the side the angle cock is on and prevent body parts from getting caught in the coupler should the car move.

The conductor lines the engine over to the main line to pick up the two empty box cars. Besides coupling into the box cars, connecting the air hose between the engine and the first box car, turning both the angle cock on the engine and the box car (it was closed when the cars were brought into Sanderson as it was the last car then), the conductor has to go back to the end of the second box car and close its angle cock and lift the pin lifter to uncouple it from the covered hopper. Never reach over the coupler to close or open an angle cock, cross over the end of the car to get to the side the angle cock is on and prevent body parts from getting caught in the coupler should the car move.

 
The engine pulls the two empty box cars clear of the switch to the passing track.  The rest of the train from Pecos waits on the main line.  We've been switching for some time now so it's good we didn't block any road crossings with those cars.

The engine pulls the two empty box cars clear of the switch to the passing track. The rest of the train from Pecos waits on the main line. We’ve been switching for some time now so it’s good we didn’t block any road crossings with those cars.

Shoving the empty box cars into the Lazy W Ranch spur.  Yeah, the angle cock on this end of the box car should be closed, but don't those scale width wheels under the box car look good.  Plastic ones that came with a car kit from a long gone manufacturer back in the 1980's.  The LCN wishes it could  have obtained more--  never had derailment problems with them.  However, Exactrail and Athearn do make pretty good scale wheels today.

Shoving the empty box cars into the Lazy W Ranch spur. Yeah, the angle cock on this end of the box car should be closed, but don’t those scale width wheels under the box car look good. Plastic ones that came with a car kit from a long gone manufacturer back in the 1980’s. The LCN wishes it could have obtained more– never had derailment problems with them. (However, Exactrail and Athearn do make pretty good scale .088″ wheels today.)

The conductor sets the hand brakes on the empty box cars before cutting away.  Those high brakes wheels tell you how old you are getting.  Can't believe all box cars and hoppers had them back in the good old days.  Close the angle cock on the engine, lift the pin lifter, and lets go pick up a couple of loads of volcanic rock down at the other end of Sanderson.

The conductor sets the hand brakes on the empty box cars before cutting away. Those high brakes wheels tell you how old you are getting. Can’t believe all box cars and hoppers had them back in the good old days. Close the angle cock on the engine, lift the pin lifter, and lets go pick up a couple of loads of volcanic rock down at the other end of Sanderson.

The volcanic rock loads were shoved in from this end so the angle cock needs to be closed, might as well do that as we go by on our way to the other end.

The volcanic rock loads were shoved in from this end so the angle cock needs to be closed, might as well do that as we go by on our way to the other end.

We back into the loads from the other end.  If there is any doubt about the coupler pins dropping we'll tell the engineer to stretch them to verify a good joint.

We back into the loads from the other end. If there is any doubt about the coupler pins dropping we’ll tell the engineer to stretch them to verify a good joint.

Once the cars are laced up (air hoses connected, angle cocks checked for being open) and the hand brakes knocked off, we pump the brakes up on the cars, then do a brake set to verify the brakes on the cars are working before pulling them out to the main track.

Once the cars are laced up (air hoses connected, angle cocks checked for being open) and the hand brakes knocked off, we pump the brakes up on the cars, then do a brake set to verify the brakes on the cars are working before pulling them out to the main track.

In Part III, we will finish the run.  However, before I finish this post, below is a chance to learn a bit more on air brake operations.  Spotting a car and making up trains is hard work in the real world! (I haven’t even mentioned about lugging on couplers when they aren’t lined up.  Talk about hard work!  Those things are heavy.)
__________________________________
 
How do air brakes work?  (A more technical primer)
 
The brakes on a railcar apply when there is a reduction in the train line air pressure, a break in the train line occurs, or the car is being uncoupled from because air in the air reservoir on the car is directed into the brake cylinder by the triple valve and pushes out the brake piston.
 
If you bleed all the air out of the air reservoir on the car, the brakes release and cannot be reset until the air reservoir is charged up again.  So if you want to kick cars (the engine shoves them up to a speed judged fast enough and someone running along side the car lifts the pin lifter, the engine slows, the cars will continue to roll into what ever track the switches are lined for, stopping either when they hit cars already standing on that track, or someone on the rolling car sets the hand brake, a very common technique in a flat rail yard) you have to bleed the cars off so they will roll.  A good switch crew can have three or four groups of cars rolling simultaneously into different yard tracks when kicking cars.  Before radios the hand signals for signaling how many cars in the cut and into which track they were to go was pretty elaborate. 
 
A car spotted on a siding can bleed itself off gradually as air seeps around the brake system seals.  If the seals are in poor condition or there is a lot of dirt around the seals the brakes can release in a matter of days, or hours, or even minutes.  The hand brake is an independent mechanical system from the air system.  Setting the car’s hand brake will keep the brake shoes on one axle from releasing even if the air brake system bleeds off.
 
Pumping up the air when a car or cars have been coupled into is filling the air reservoirs on all the cars and the triple valve releasing any air pressure in the brake cylinder.
 
The triple valve is described as being so named as it performs three functions: Charging air into an air tank ready to be used, applying the brakes, and releasing them.
 
  • If the pressure in the train line is lower than that of the reservoir, the brake cylinder exhaust portal is closed and air from the car’s reservoir is fed into the brake cylinder to apply the brakes. This action continues until equilibrium between the brake pipe pressure and reservoir pressure is achieved. At that point, the airflow from the reservoir to the brake cylinder is lapped off and the cylinder is maintained at a constant pressure.
  • If the pressure in the train line is higher than that of the reservoir, the triple valve connects the train line to the reservoir feed, causing the air pressure in the reservoir to increase. The triple valve also causes the brake cylinder to be exhausted to the atmosphere, releasing the brakes.
  • As the pressure in the train line and that of the reservoir equalize, the triple valve closes, causing the air pressure in the reservoir and brake cylinder to be maintained at the current level.

A Primer on Setting Out Cars (and advocacy of “Slow Operations”)

This post and the next two will serve as a primer on setting out cars and illustrating the benefits of “slow operations” or better put, “realistic operations.”  I like slow operations because it is more realistic and makes a small or medium layout like mine seem big enough.

To illustrate the above, we will once again hang out on B. Smith’s outstanding LCN RR layout.

Ready to ease into realistic operations?

Great!

Then let’s follow the LCN crew on the East Job in the fall of 1990.  Be careful out there.  It is dry. Be careful with fire and also keep an eye out for rattlers.  Better wear some sunscreen too.  It is a scorcher today.  As is often the case, there a thunderstorm in the forecast, but we’ll believe it when we feel the cool rain and smell the countryside awaken.

The captions will give us the narrative of Jim, the Director of Operations for the LCN who will accompany us.

DSC_6901 (1)

We catch up with the train as it approaches Sanderson. The Lazy W ranch has requested a couple of empty box cars to load with bagged manure. As luck would have it, two empty box cars are on todays train from Pecos and the crew has instructions to spot them on the Lazy W Ranch spur in Sanderson next to the freight house, which is leased to the Lazy W Ranch for storage. Here we see the conductor dropping off the engine as the train rolls ahead slowly. Not all railroads permit train crew to dismount moving equipment.

DSC_6901

The conductor radios the engineer to bring the train to a stop when the place to make the cut in the train gets to him. He may have to ask for some pin (slack) if the engineer has the train stretched dragging it to a stop with the train brakes set. The conductor had better remember to close the angle cock on the last car being cut off or everything will go into emergency when he pulls the pin lifter and tells the engineer to take’em ahead.

DSC_6903

Proceeding into Sanderson with a loaded covered hopper and two empty box cars, the conductor brings the train to a stop, closes the angle cock on the engine, lifts the pin lifter, and cuts the engine free of the three cars.

An angle cock (below).

20140616_180029

See angle cock at the top of the rubber (black) air hose. It is open on this car so it cannot move. The brakes are engaged since there is no air to disengage the brakes. This is why you need to pump up the air whenever you couple up to a train car. This pumping up the air permits the car’s brakes to disengage. Taking time to pump up the air, especially on a long train, adds realism to your operating sessions. Taking time to think what you’d do as a brakeman (and engineer), enriches your operation sessions.

The light engine moves ahead over the road crossing, the conductor lines the switches of the crossover and brings the engine back down the passing track and flags the crossing.       

The light engine moves ahead over the road crossing, the conductor lines the switches of the crossover and brings the engine back down the passing track and flags the crossing.

The conductor has lined the engine into the Lazy W Ranch spur track and is directing the engineer to couple into the first of two tank cars that need to be moved so the empty box cars can be spotted.

The conductor has lined the engine into the Lazy W Ranch spur track and is directing the engineer to couple into the first of two tank cars that need to be moved so the empty box cars can be spotted.

With the air hoses connected and the angle cocks opened between the engine and the tank car, the conductor releases the hand brake on the tank car.

With the air hoses connected and the angle cocks opened between the engine and the tank car, the conductor releases the hand brake on the tank car.

Now both tank cars are coupled to the engine, the air line hoses connected and the angle cocks opened between the two tank cars and the conductor releases the hand brake on the second tank car.  The angle cock on this end of the tank car should be closed but no one makes HO scale air hoses with closed angle cocks.

Now both tank cars are coupled to the engine, the air line hoses connected and the angle cocks opened between the two tank cars and the conductor releases the hand brake on the second tank car. The angle cock on this end of the tank car should be closed but no one makes HO scale air hoses with closed angle cocks.

Just as Jim told us, the angle cock would be closed on the end car on the above photo because that creates the pressure to keep the brakes disengaged.  If you saw the above scenario in real life, this train would never move because all the air pressure would escape out the end air hose.

The tank cars are moved to the passing tack.  The crew could have held on to the tank cars (kept them coupled to the engine) but there wasn't enough room on the main track where the rest of the train had been cut off from and the switch for four cars.  The reason the crew did not leave enough room was to avoid blocking a road crossing.

The tank cars are moved to the passing tack. The crew could have held on to the tank cars (kept them coupled to the engine) but there wasn’t enough room on the main track where the rest of the train had been cut off from and the switch for four cars. The reason the crew did not was to leave enough room was to avoid blocking a road crossing.

We will take a break for now, and get back with Jim in our next post as we continue checking out the East Job.

Until next time…

 

Did Hemingway really pick Cubero, New Mexico to write a novel about the sea?

hemingway

Ernest “Papa” Hemingway in 1958.

Legend has it that one of my favorite novelists went to one of my favorite states to write.  The legend is that Hemingway stayed at the Villa de Cubero Tourist Courts in Cubero, NM to write Old Man and the Sea.  Now, I have stomped around a number of “Papa’s” haunts in Paris and Key West.  He liked exotic venues for his writing.  Not sure I buy this one, but I suppose it could have happened.

old-postcard1

Postcard of the Villa de Cubero “De Luxe” Tourist Courts.

The store is still nice.

Hemvilla

However, the tourist courts have seen more “de luxe” days.

CuberoMotorCourt-500

How did I learn of this legend?

From one of the best “forgotten places” sites out there–City of Dust.

If you haven’t checked it out, you are missing out!

Anyway, this site recently had a post which led me to this great post on the legend.

crop

Could this have been Papa’s room? –photo from http://www.dukecityfix.com/profiles/blogs/the-cubero-adventures

I could try to summarize the post, but I likely wouldn’t do it justice.  Not sure El Diablo Puerco is translated correctly, but other than that minor detail, it is a great post.  The author(s) did a great job describing the legend and their exploration.

Pretty sure you’ll enjoy it.  Make your own decision.