NP Boxcars, one of my favorite schemes…

Towards the end, the Northern Pacific had some beautiful boxcars.  Surprisingly, there has not been many of their cars available from the high-quality manufacturers.  My favorite scheme that I wish to highlight, is their pine tree green scheme.

NP #1953 in Poughkeepsie, New York May 29, 1978,  Photo by  William Rogerson, courtesy www.rrpicturesarchive.net

NP #1953 in Poughkeepsie, New York May 29, 1978, Photo by William Rogerson, courtesy http://www.rrpicturesarchive.net

NP #2901 in Vidalia,  Georgia on April 29, 1993.  ©photo  F. Will Martin, courtesy http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/

NP #2901 in Vidalia, Georgia on April 29, 1993. ©photo F. Will Martin, courtesy http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/

It is really one of the classic boxcar schemes from the 1960s.  Many of these cars survived well into the BN era.

NP #5304 in Cajon California on March 25 1978 ©photo by Ron Hawkins

NP #5304 in Cajon California on March 25 1978 ©photo by Ron Hawkins, courtesy http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/

NP #2901 in Pocatello, Idaho.  Photo by Dave Krumenacker, courtesy http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/

Once again, NP #2901 in Pocatello, Idaho. Photo by Dave Krumenacker, courtesy http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/

I hope a company like Exactrail or Tangent takes notice of this glaring void.

The “mystery mine” (or memories of a special place)

 

P & NW RR. in Tokio, Arkansas taken November 4, 1974 by Ken Ziegenbein

P & NW RR. in Tokio, Arkansas taken November 4, 1974 by Ken Ziegenbein

When I was a teenager growing up in the heart of Houston, Texas, Arkansas was my summer refuge.  I’d go visit my Uncle Arnold and Aunt Mollie on their farm near Nashville, AR, not far from Tokio, AR (locally pronounced “Toe-kee”).  I enjoyed hanging around my uncle and aunt and my cousins.  I particularly enjoyed following Uncle Arnold around the farm–working the chicken houses, checking on the cattle and chopping some wood as fall approached.  He was such a fine man from whom I learned much.  Well anyway, near their house–off in the woods–was a mysterious rail line seemingly going off to nowhere.  I had never seen a train on it.  In about 1978, I finally got my mom to take me to explore it.

It turned out to be the Prescott and Northwestern RR.  At the time, the railroad was owned by Potlatch Lumber and mostly served a lumber mill in Prescott, AR.  We followed the line until it stopped in a village called Highland.  I ventured through the woods and discovered at the end of the line some kind of small mining operation.  (Prescott is pronounced locally “Press-cut”)

 

Gypsum mine at Highland, 1961. Belts moved the gypsum fromstorage to rail cars. Photo by Ernie Deane, courtesy of the Arkansas History Commission.

Gypsum mine at Highland, 1961. Belts moved the gypsum from storage to rail cars. Photo by Ernie Deane, courtesy of the Arkansas History Commission.

The image of this lonely, abandoned mine in the middle of nowhere haunted me.  I longed to see it in action.  The P&NW connection to the Missouri Pacific was about 31 miles away.  I fantasized about seeing the tiny P&NW locomotives pulling a string of hoppers through the forests and farms to get to Highland.   

 

Prescott AR March 28, 1980

P&NW RR at Prescott AR., March 28, 1980. Photo courtesy by RailPictures.net ©Sid Vaught

It turned out that the mine wasn’t abandoned, it was dormant.  The mine ceased production a couple of years later, in 1980. Somehow, though, this mine fascinated me and stayed a special place in my mind for years.  Back in Houston, I often wondered if the P&NW had resumed service to the mine.

Recently, I found myself thinking about that mine again.  Sadly, it has practically disappeared.  The line from Prescott to Highland was pulled up in 1994.

Remains of mine (green dots) at Highland, AR.

Remains of mine today (green dots) at Highland, AR.

Ghosts of a wye that once existed just south of the mine.

Ghost of a wye that once existed just south of the mine.

Happily, the P&NW is still around though it mostly services a Firestone roofing plant in Prescott now.

See this link for a video of the P&NW in 2012.  Since 2010, the line has been owned and operated by the Pinsly Railroad Company.

I know this post has little to do with the ATSF in Roswell, but the concept of “special places” is universal for likely all of us.

Note:  I have slides of my experience with the P&NW RR in the late 1970’s and I may post them in the future if I have them digitized.

 

One cool flag…

Image

The flag of New Mexico consists of a red sun symbol of the Zia on a yellow background. The colors are said to honor the flag of the Aragon Crown and reflects to colors of the modern day flag of Catalan in Spain.  A flag bearing similar colors was reportedly carried by the conquistadors exploring New Mexico in the 1500s.

But the flag’s history doesn’t begin in 1912, the year New Mexico became a state.   The original state flag is shown below.

Image

Original flag of New Mexico from 1912 to 1920. Image by Josh Fruhlinger.

The Daughters of the American Revolution encouraged New Mexico to design a contemporary and unique flag in 1920. A contest to design the new state flag was won by Dr. Harry Mera of Santa Fe. Mera was an archeologist who was familiar with the sun symbol of the Zia Pueblo.  The symbol has sacred meaning to the Zia related to the life significance of the number four.  

The salutation to the flag still reflects this connection to one of the original cultures of New Mexico– “I salute the flag of the State of New Mexico and the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures.” 

The beauty of old covered hoppers…(and a commercial plug for Tangent Scale Models)

I love to watch freights go by with a wide variety of covered hoppered, especially those with paint jobs reflecting their 1970 and 80s original owners and leasors.  I was in Harper’s Ferry, WV, recently hiking and watching trains pass through a beautiful setting.  I saw oil trains, auto trains, coal trains, steel trains, but my favorite of all was two merchandise trains loaded with covered hoppers and box cars.  Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park is a great park and hosts the world renown Appalachian Trail National Scenic Trail among others.  The history of the site is very rich.

In addition to great hiking, beauty and history, here’s a small sampling of the rail action I saw.  More to come in a future post.

CSX 3008 crossing the Potomac in Harper's Ferry, August 6, 2014.  photo by C. Hunt

CSX 3008 crossing the Potomac in Harper’s Ferry, August 6, 2014. –photo by C. Hunt

CSX 861 leads a freight across the Potomac as the sun baths the beautiful valley below.  photo by C. Hunt

CSX 861 leads a freight across the Potomac as the sun baths the beautiful valley and river below. –photo by C. Hunt

Former AGP covered hoppers rolling through Harper's Ferry in a little drizzle, August 8, 2014.  photo by C. Hunt

Former AGP covered hoppers rolling through Harper’s Ferry in a little drizzle, August 8, 2014. –photo by C. Hunt

OK.  Speaking of covered hoppers…I want to do a product endorsement.  I don’t do many, but I may do more in the future.  I want to talk about Tangent Scale Models.  I have not been paid to do this. Quite the contrary, I have given a lot of money to Tangent Scale Models for their fine products.

Tangent Scale Models produces the finest scale models of covered hoppers in the hobby.  Exactrail and some Athearn Products (particularly, Athearn Genesis) are also excellent, but the level of detail on Tangent’s is typically a hair better.  (I do, however, recommend Athearn Genesis scale trucks with .88 wheels or Exactrail’s outstanding fine scale wheels.  Exactrail’s wheels are made in the USA).

Tangent 4740 covered hopper on my ATSF in Roswell layout.

Tangent 4740 covered hopper on my ATSF in Roswell layout.

Tangent 4740 on my ATSF in Roswell layout.

Another Tangent 4740 on my ATSF in Roswell layout.

I will highlight a recent product, Tangent’s 4750 covered hopper.

It comes in a number of great schemes.  Below are some prototype photos from Tangent’s great website of some very recent releases.

PTLX 14636 Fridley MN 1991

PLTX 14163 in Fridley, MN 1991. –©photo Tangent Scale Models. Copyrighted image courtesy Tangentscalemodels.com.

Cargill

PLTX 33036 in Taunton, MA 1974. –©photo Tangent Scale Models. Copyrighted image courtesy Tangentscalemodels.com.

UP

UP 75204 in McAleister, OK 2002. –©photo David Lehbach. Copyrighted image courtesy Tangentscalemodels.com.

Here are some photos of the beautiful models.

UP-3.4.1200.logo_-475x237
PTLX33036-3.4.1200.logo_-475x237


Percival

I wish they were made in the United States and some modellers may find them a bit expensive, but the result is breathtaking.  I would rather have fewer, highly detailed models.  With my emphasis on slow operations, the viewers sees the cars quite well.  These cars hold up to very close scrutiny!

I applaud David Lehlbach and his Tangent Scale Models for bringing this level of realism to our layouts!

(Note:  My comment concerning overseas production is not intended to single out Tangent Scale Models by any means.  Its products have so many individually applied parts that full production in the US would likely be extraordinarily expensive.  Overseas production in the industry is quite common. As far as I know, Accurail and Kadee, which produce nice products are the only companies that currently produces HO cars in the United States.  Exactrail mills its products in the US and has discussed moving full production of some of its freight cars to the US in the future.  Again, the wheels Exactrail produces in the US are remarkable.)



.

Two photographers who know how to capture New Mexico!

Here are a few samplings from my favorite sites and photographers of New Mexico.

They really know how to capture the lonely, beauty of New Mexico.

http://cityofdust.blogspot.com/  (J.M. House)

http://www.vivanewmexico.com/ghosts/ (David Pike)

I captured their comments as captions.  Enjoy!

This is the laundry facility for an old RV campground outside Encino, New Mexico. All quiet now.

This is the laundry facility for an old RV campground outside Encino, New Mexico. All quiet now.  ©photo David Pike

That beautiful church in Taiban (NM) from the side on a rainy evening.

That beautiful church in Taiban (NM) from the side on a rainy evening. ©photo David Pike

So, this is Willard, NM shot on very expired Kodak BW400CN.    Established in 1902, the town is named for Willard Samuel Hopewell, Jr., the son of a railroad builder who arrived in NM in 1878.  Willard is not a ghost town, but for quite some time it has been known for having only one functioning business, the very fine Willard Cantina & Cafe.

So, this is Willard, NM shot on very expired Kodak BW400CN.
Established in 1902, the town is named for Willard Samuel Hopewell, Jr., the son of a railroad builder who arrived in NM in 1878. Willard is not a ghost town, but for quite some time it has been known for having only one functioning business, the very fine Willard Cantina & Cafe. ©photo J.M. House

 

This is another shot of the Williams homestead in Negra, NM. There's not much info out there on Negra, but it was established when the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad constructed the Belen Cutoff around 1905-1906. Apparently the name is a reference to the the black soil in the area. A post office was established in 1909, but you won't find a post office anymore. ©photo City of Dust

This is another shot of the Williams homestead in Negra, NM. There’s not much info out there on Negra, but it was established when the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad constructed the Belen Cutoff around 1905-1906. Apparently the name is a reference to the the black soil in the area. A post office was established in 1909, but you won’t find a post office anymore. ©photo J.M. House

There is much more great stuff on their sites.

 

Christmas run in Pecos!

Well, not exactly Christmas but close.

B. Smith was there to capture a run of the Pecos Valley Southern on December 22, 1978.  This is a bit of a follow up to my July 26, 2014 post, “From the depths of the Pecos archives!

Follow along as B. Smith narrates via the captions.

December 22, 1978 00 The quarry run was two Missouri Pacific hoppers and a Frisco boxcar destined for the fertilizer dealer south of the quarry. ©

December 22, 1978 — The quarry run was two Missouri Pacific hoppers and a Frisco boxcar destined for the fertilizer dealer south of the quarry. ©B.Smith photo

The Frisco car is set out at the fertilizer dealer.

First, the Frisco car is set out at the fertilizer dealer. ©B.Smith photo

After setting out the Frisco box, this was the train to the quarry.  There were a number of loads already waiting at the quarry.

After setting out the Frisco box, this was the train to the quarry. There were a number of loads already waiting at the quarry.  Note the caboose! ©B.Smith photo

And we waited while the two empties we brought that day were loaded.  We then returned to Pecos with all the loads.

And we waited while the two empties we brought that day were loaded. We then returned to Pecos with all the loads. ©B.Smith photo

Hope you enjoyed the (almost) Christmas run of the Pecos Valley Southern.  It was simple, but really kind of perfect, being that the engineer and brakeman may have wanted to get back home early to begin their Christmas holiday.  Maybe one of them was going to make a huge pot of Posole for the holidays.

Posole!  My mouth waters just looking at this picture!

Posole! My mouth waters just looking at this picture!

Here are a couple of recipes.  What a fantastic holiday dish!

Recipe #1

Recipe #2

If a reader has a favorite recipe, I’d be happy to post.  I can’t wait for Christmas!  Maybe I’ll just make some now.