Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Stanislaus River Bridged!

The Stanislaus River valley is now bridged. Basswood was used to build the various pieces of the bridge.
Seen from the south end, the curved trestle is apparent. This was not in the prototype but was necessary in my model so as to fit in the allowed space.
One project which I have been wanting to accomplish but kept putting off was the long bridge over the Stanislaus River just outside of Oakdale. I had made allowances for the bridge to be almost scale length which worked out to be about 8 actual feet long, obviously a laborious task. I finally decided to do it.
   The bridge is made up of two Howe truss bridges, each 140 feet long plus long trestle approaches on either end of the bridge. Fortunately, I have a period drawing showing the basic dimensions of the bridges plus the heights of the various trestle bents. Three period pictures also exist. The details of this work is in my blog of October 28, 2014.
Built in 1871, the prototype bridge spanned the river until replaced in the late
 To erect the bridge was a bit more problematic. Short pieces of rail were soldered across the rails to keep them in gauge during the next steps of the process. I then cut the plywood pieces of subroadbed which left the flex track hanging in the air. The ties were removed and the bents, now assembled with stringers and ties, were inserted beneath the rails. Similarly, the two truss bridges and piers were also put in place. I had allowed for some slop between the bents and the wood supports in the benchwork. Wood shims were inserted to accurately level and the bridge.
   Before the assembly, the bottoms of the rails were coated with Barge cement which was allowed to dry. After the bridge assembly was in place, a small iron heated the rail, melting the cement and allowing the rail to bond with the bridge.
The upstream side of the center bridge pier. The gap between this part and the plywood will be filled with river bed before the water surface is installed.
One of the features of this bridge is that the upstream side of the center pier has a tapered section whose purpose is to deflect brush and timber from lodging in the pier. This was present in the prototype bridge so I added it into the model.
  The prototype also had some water barrels on the bridge. The Grandt Line barrels are about the right side so those will be used. Before I can finish the scenery in this area, though, the "Elevated Drive-Way" (as an old post card is titled) must be built.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

California Fast Freight Line

Two of the CFFL cars sit in Oakdale awaiting a shipment of grain. I chose to weather the cars a little heavier than normal since they would be fairly old and due for rebuilding.
As I had mentioned in my last blog post (Bridges and Boxcars), I have been working on ten resin boxcar kits. This morning, I put the finishing weathering on them. With the exception of one car, they are all lettered for the Southern Pacific and the California Fast Freight Line. The CFFL was one of many fast freight lines formed in the days following the Civil War. In those early days of railroading, shipping numerous items by rail became problematic due to transshipments due to gauge differences and other factors. The fast freight line was set up to allow shippers to group their items in cars which received expedited services. Of course, an additional fee was charged for this service.
   Merchants' Despatch was one of the first of the lines followed by the Union Line, Empire Line, Red Line, Blue Line, White Line and other colors of the spectrum. In all of these, several railroads furnished cars to the line and received income based on their participation. The CFFL included the Central and Southern Pacific, the Union Pacific, Rock Island, Milwaukee Road and the Chicago & Northwestern.
   By the late 1880s, improvements in rail service led to the disbanding of most of these lines including the CFFL. By 1891, the SP had started to rebuild their cars to include air brakes and more modern (for the time) safety appliances. This included repainting the CFFL lettering to the large circular SP herald. Of course, all of this took time and, in 1895, there were still numerous CFFL cars on the SP roster.These show up in many photos of the era, enough so that I wanted a representative number of cars on the S&C.
Decals for the cars were a combination of Art Griffin's CFFL set and ones using my own artwork. Griffin also has sets for the CFFL cars of the UP, C&NW and CM&StP and they are definitely worth the price. 
The cars were built from Silver Crash Car Works SP boxcars which are well-made and go together easily. Unfortunately, they are no longer available from SCCW but may be on the used market. The trucks were the swing-motion Allen trucks used by the CP and SP and still available through Shapeways. I used Reboxx wheelsets for the trucks which worked fine. The trucks are fairly fragile and do not endure much flexing to insert the wheels. They do, however, glue back together easily with CA adhesive. Couplers are Kadee 711s.
   For anyone interested in more information on the fast freight lines, see Railroad History No. 141. RRH is a publication of the Railway Locomotive & Historical Society ( and is a great railroad history magazine. That issue has an article entitled "Origin & Growth of Fast Freight Lines" by William W. Chandler. The article was initially published in 1889. John H. White's book The American Railroad Freight Car also has some good information.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bridges and Boxcars

One of the finished trusses temporarily mounted on the piers. The finished bridge will be assembled on the layout.
The last few weeks have again been hectic with traveling to various events. The annual Virginia & Truckee RR Historical Society was held in Carson City Nevada at the first of October and was great as usual. It's the only place that I know where several early railroaders, both modelers and historians, gather. If you aren't a member, take a look at their website ( The society has a great quarterly magazine and publishes at least one book on the V&T each year.
Built in 1885, the wood structure lasted until the late 1890s. This view looks
 south into Oakdale
When I finally ended up at home, I decided to start construction on the Stanislaus River Bridge. This bridge was built in 1871 and allowed the S&C to enter Oakdale. It had two 140-foot wood Howe Truss bridges and several hundred feet of approach trestle. In amongst all the other things, I started on the two Howe trusses and managed to get them finished. It was not difficult work, just tedious. I started by making a jig so that the four sides needed would match and started cutting and gluing stripwood together. Making the metal tension rods took a little bit longer.
Each bay of the bridge had five tension rods at the joint. Mine were made from .015 inch music wire. Grandt Line NBW
castings cored .020 inches were used for the nuts at either end of the tension rod.
When the truss bridges were done, I started on the wood piers but then ran out of wood. I ordered a huge supply and, while waiting for it, started work on some Silver Crash Car Works boxcars. These are 28-foot cars and follow a Southern Pacific prototype, just perfect for the S&C. I purchased 20 of these a few years back and am just now getting to them. These managed to get finished except for paint. I'm waiting for the trucks to come in so I can paint everything together. This was not a great setback since the wood arrived in the interim. This allowed me to finish the two piers (the third pier is trestlework).
Ten boxcars await paint. The prototype of these cars was built to handle trade for the California Fast Freight Line, a traffic
expediter arrangement between the Central Pacific, SP, Union Pacific, C&NW and Rock Island.
   The jig for the trestles has been made so I will probably start putting the bents together next. More later after the paint arrives and/or the bents get built.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

More Buffalo Bill

One car, two different sides. Artwork by John Ott greatly enhanced the appearance of these cars over my earlier attempt.
As I mentioned in my post on the Buffalo Bill Advance Car 3, I had the artwork for cars 1 and 2 and wanted to build those.  Those cars were a little more problematic as they would have to be scratchbuilt. Fortunately, I had good photos of both cars and could scale dimensions from them. The first thing I learned was that the cars had different lettering on each side. That would make things more interesting on the layout since both sides of the cars can be seen from different parts on the railroad.

Car Number 2 with just as much colorful lettering as Number 1.
The first thing I did was scale out the cars using the wheel diameter as a standard. According to this, both cars were about 50 feet long. Coincidentally, this was the same dimension as the MDC passenger cars. I used the floor and roofs of these cars as the basis. The windows and ends were Westwood parts. For those who might not be aware, Westwood made passenger car kits around the late 1960s. They used a series of windows and doors to build up their car sides. I have a number of these parts and found what I needed among them. Evergreen styrene passenger car siding took care of the sides. The doors on Car No. 2 were built up from .020 thick styrene.
Prototype photos of Car Number 1.
The end beams of the platforms were cut off the MDC floor and Cal-Scale end railings installed. A "possum belly" tool carrier was installed on each car built from scribed styrene. The duckbill roof of Car 1 was an MDC part. The contours of this roof are a bit strange so I used drywall joint compound to fill in the unusual groove on the roof which was then sanded smooth.
   The lettering decals were made from the tremendous artwork developed by my friend, John Ott ( It was adapted in the same way as Car No. 3. Trucks were from Bitter Creek Models (
Prototype photos of Car Number 2.
Now I have three advance cars. How were these used on the prototype? A few weeks before the show was due to hit town, Car No. 1 was sent out with a crew who would paper the town with posters advertising the show. When the job was done, it moved on to the next town on the show's tour. Meanwhile, Car No. 2 was visiting the outlying towns close enough to the show town that residents could join excursions to see the show. Car No. 3 was held in reserve. If another, competing, show tried to play the same town, No. 3 was dispatched on the first train. They would again paper the town, stage some sort of exhibition, anything to draw attention to the Buffalo Bill show instead of the competitor. It should work for some additional car movements on my railroad. In any case, they are nice-looking cars and were fun to build!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Civil War Railroading

The General in the Kennesaw museum.
One of my long-time interests has been the Civil War incident called The Great Locomotive Chase. Ever since seeing the Disney movie in 1956 (I was very young then), I have wanted to visit the area where the raid took place. Last week, I finally had my chance. My wife, Becky, is a quilter and one of her associations held a convention in Chattanooga. While she was learning more about her hobby, I was roaming the Georgia countryside looking at antebellum railroad depots (several still survive!) and locomotives.
   Both the General and the Texas (two of the locomotives used in the raid) are still in existence and preserved in Kennesaw and Atlanta respectively. The Kennesaw museum, The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, is where the General is situated and has a great display on the raid. Also, very nicely, it is located adjacent to the tracks of the old Western and Atlantic Railroad and just about 100 yards from where the train was stolen on April 12, 1862. Both of the engines have changed considerably from their Civil War era appearance but the restorations are probably the best that could have been done with the information at hand.
The Texas as found in the Cyclorama building in Grant Park.
  The Texas is located in Grant Park in Atlanta in the same building with the Battle of Atlanta cyclorama. It is not as nicely restored as the General but it is still preserved.

Erected in 1890, the graves of the executed members of the party surround the monument.
Chattanooga is the home of a Veterans' Administration cemetery and contains many of the soldiers killed during the battles for that city. In 1890, the surviving members who participated in the Great Locomotive Chase erected a monument to their comrades in the raid which contains the names of all who were there. The seven members of the party who were executed as spies are buried adjacent to the monument.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Buffalo Bill Rides Again!

John Ott's great artwork resulted in this car built from an MDC passenger car kit. Note the wood blinds in the windows.
One of the many weaknesses I have is for circus advance cars. These are the cars which moved ahead of the circus to plaster the advertising posters over every barn and building side they could find. The cars were usually decorated very gaily since they were a rolling billboard. Way back in the March 1995 issue, Railroad Model Craftsman published an article of mine on how I built cars 1 and 2 for the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. The cars themselves were scratchbuilt but used commercial dry transfers. I was able to fiddle with the transfers a bit to get a couple of different colors and I still use them on the railroad.
  Recently I discovered that there was a Car No. 3. John Ott ( had turned up a prototype photo of the car and had made some artwork for the lettering. His car looked fantastic so I asked if I could use the artwork to make a similar car. He generously agreed. The result is my Car No. 3. It is basically a Model Die Casting coach. Very little was done with it other than to replace the truss rods with nylon fishing line and use body-mounted couplers. Intermountain wheels also replaced the kit's plastic ones.
Eager employees of Bill Cody stand before their rolling office.
    The hard part of the car was adapting John's art into a usable decal. While I use an Alps printer for most of my decals, it just doesn't do very well with colors which morph into other colors as are on the lettering. If I used an inkjet, the decal would not be opaque enough and the car color would show through greatly changing the appearing. Some of the decal would disappear altogether. To solve this, I printing a white decal on the Alps and applied it to the car. This provided my opaque undercoat. The colored part of the decal was then printed on inkjet decal paper. Aligning the color decal with the already-applied white one was a little tricky but I think the result was worth it.
   With this done, I am enthusiastic about building new versions of cars 1 and 2. I have new and better artwork for them as well, thanks to John. You should take a look at his website when you get time. He's done some interesting things building cars and structures.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Beginning . . .

The Sierra Nevada Mountains can be seen from the line of the Stockton & Ione. In August, most of the grass on the foothills is dead with some contrasting bushes and trees.
Many of you may have noticed that the Stockton & Copperopolis has had no backdrop other than a painted sky. The main reason for this is that I have been wary of trying to do any painting of hills, trees, etc. In school, art class never really interested me and I have had little in the way artistic training. A few years ago, though, I attended a clinic put on by Dave Biondi of California. He is an excellent artist and gives good explanations of what he is doing and why. We had the opportunity to talk for a while and I eventually purchased a DVD showing how he paints California type foothills. After reviewing this DVD, I finally felt somewhat confident in trying my own hand. If things went wrong, I had plenty of "sky" paint to correct the mistake.
The Amador Coal Company mine will be located in Ione. Hillside scenery will be added to the left and right sides of the mine building and blended in with the backdrop.
 Today, I painted part of the backdrop along the Stockton & Ione line. There were no structures as yet so the painting would be easier. Here are the results. I still don't consider myself an artist but at least I feel I can do some justice to the backdrops of the layout.
The mine building is left from my last layout in California. It will be re-
purposed into the Amador Coal Company's headquarters.
   Over the last few weeks, I have also managed to install lighting and valence along the S&I. It's starting to look like a railroad!
   Next comes the backdrop behind Ione City at the end of the line.
   By the way, if anyone is interested in the Dave Biondi DVD, it is entitled Painting California Foothills and Forests and is a two-DVD set. It is available from Daryl Huffman's website.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Colorado (Model) Railroading

Harry Brunk's model of the Georgetown Loop on his UC&N RR in Cheyenne. Platforms allowing viewing from different angles.
Over the last week, my wife and I have been in Colorado. Quilt Colorado, an annual was being held in Longmont this year so we decided to go. I told her that I could probably find something to do while she was enjoying her convention. As it turned out, I found a lot to do. The first day I traveled up to Cheyenne, Wyoming where Harry Brunk's fabulous Union Central & Northern Railroad now resides. It is on a second floor of the old Union Pacific depot and is being nicely restored. If anybody is not familiar with the UC&N, the books Up Clear Creek on the Narrow Gauge 1 and 2 can provide you with plenty of material to digest.
One of many small scenes in Blackhawk on the UC&N. These structures were
The layout was removed from the trailer in which it lived and was spread out with larger aisles and additional sections being added. Eventually, the railroad will extend all the way down to Golden including a Beaver Brook scene. I was told that Harry comes up to Cheyenne occasionally to help out with the work. It was really great for me to see a railroad whose construction I have followed for the last 20-30 years.
   On the way back from Cheyenne, I stopped in at the Greeley Freight Station Museum. It contains a very well-done model
Wider aisles allow better viewing of large scenes like Idaho Springs shown
railroad which occupies about 5,500 square feet. I am a little skeptical of museum type layouts but this one was done to a high standard complete with mini-scenes and very realistic scenery, bridges and rolling stock. There is a "club" which consists of volunteers who run the museum and explain things to the public. They also get to operate the railroad on certain days of the month. Set in 1975, the railroad can accommodate 85-car trains. It's worth a visit if you are in the area.
An overall view of the Oregon Central & Eastern, the freelanced railroad in the Greeley Freight Station Museum. 
The next day I journeyed to Colorado Springs and visited some of the Colorado Midland and D&RG related sites. Visiting Palmer Lake was something I had wanted to do for some time. I was also able to get some photos of some structures which might find a place on the S&C. All in all, I did manage to find something to do.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Another New Locomotive

The Calaveras on its first day of work. The number on the headlight lens is so that opposing engineers can tell which engine they are meeting if it is dark.
As I mentioned in my last post, there was another engine in the works named Calaveras. This is for the county of that name in which Milton and Copperopolis are located. For Engine No. 23, I decided to build a loco which had been order in the 1870s but had been updated in the 1890s. To do this, I used another of the Model Engineering Works V&T moguls and replaced the smokestack with a capped stack. The engine already had the extended smokebox (which followed the prototype which went through this conversion) so this was easy. After it was remotored, I painted the loco a Brunswick Green which I hope is similar to the color used by Baldwin in that period. The lettering is based on Southern Pacific lettering styles of the late 1880s-90s using a multi-colored three-dimensional approach. I still have to add some jewels to the classification lamps but that will be done shortly.
Almost all of the S&C freight locomotives carry a wire rope cable for use in emergencies. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

New Locomotive on the S&C

The newly wiped down Stanislaus waits patiently at Oakdale for the day's work to begin.

After a month of working on it, the Stanislaus, No. 29, has joined the locomotive roster on the Stockton & Copperopolis. I had been waiting for a couple of new brass imports to come in but it finally became evident that they weren't going to show up.This prompted me to come up with two more engines from other sources. The Stanislaus is the first of the two. Both are based on Model Engineering Works imports of the Virginia and Truckee's number 20, the Tahoe.
   When the model was originally imported, it was based on the Tahoe as it now exists in Pennsylvania's railroad museum at Strasburg. It has an extended smokebox resulting from a conversion to coal as its fuel but is fitted with a balloon stack. I decided to cut off the excess smokebox to convert it back to its original appearance. While doing this, I also decided to give it a Radley-Hunter smokestack. Both the traditional balloon stack and the Radley-Hunter were suitable for wood-burners. A 16x20 can motor was substituted as well.
A wood load for the tender hides the Tsunami decoder.
Due to the configuration of the tender, the best place for the Tsunami TSU-750 decoder was in the fuel bunker. This was covered with wood to help disguise the decoder. A sugar cube speaker was used in the tender.
   The painting and lettering was based on the original Baldwin paint scheme for the Tahoe. Readers of my other posts may notice that the name Stanislaus appears frequently. This is one of the counties through which the S&C operates and where Oakdale is located. The next engine should go together a bit more quickly. It will represent a similar mogul which has been converted to burn coal and repainted in a paint scheme more typical of the late 1880s. It will be named Calaveras for another of the counties in which the railroad runs.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Last of the Wagons . . . For Now

Building four drays is not much more difficult that building one so I now have a supply for Stockton when that city needs them.
One of the more interesting or, perhaps, unfortunate tendencies I have is to get sidetracked by arcane technology. If you have been reading this blog, you can see that wagons have been the latest of those detours. It has been fun but the railroad needs more cars, locomotives and everything that goes into a layout, so this will be the last of the wagons for at least a while.
Taken at Old Sacramento, this example of a prototype dray
was used as the basis for my models.
These peculiar-looking vehicles are called drays and were designed to haul heavier cargoes, hence their low-slung design. Because of this design, they were mostly used in cities where the streets were smoother than the roads encountered away from town. Old photos of Sacramento, San Francisco and Stockton show many of these vehicles so I decided to build some. The inspiration comes from photos I took several years ago at Old Sacramento. They weren't quite enough to build a good model so I contacted my friend, Kyle Wyatt of the California State Railroad Museum, who was able to give me additional information.
Most of the drays are lettered for actual drayage firms operating in Stockton in the 1800s. This one, however, was named for a friend.
There is not much to the construction. All of the parts are of styrene except for the wheels which are SS Ltd.'s small and large wagon wheels. They matched pretty closely to the size of the prototype and had the hefty appearance needed. The long side stakes fit into stake pockets. I had first thought of using manufactured stake pockets but they are much too large so I built these using a styrene rod cut to the right length. The stake was just attached at the top of the "pocket."
Easy loading is the advantage of a dray over a straight wagon.
They are small enough that the lack of a hole in the empty pockets is not really noticed. The lettering is mostly for actual drayage companies operating in Stockton during my era. Horses are now on order from Jordan Products so I can provide some power for the drays.
  The next project will be two more locomotives which are now sitting in pieces on my workbench awaiting new motors, decoders and a paint job. By the way, take a look at a new blog on the Southern Pacific ( It should prove interesting.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

More Wagons and Stagecoaches, Too!

This Matteson & Company stage was built straight from a Jordan kit. The decals were from Art Griffin ( 
Lately, the different types of wagons and carriages has been interesting me as much as billboard freight cars. There is a lot of variety in both areas and they are both fun. Jordan Products, and others,  make a number of very nice wagons and carriages and those alone will furnish a nineteenth century railroad but there are a number of common horse-drawn vehicles that aren't represented. The last couple of weeks have been spent trying to reproduce some of these.
While the passengers dither, the driver is obviously eager to start his trip. The horses seem to be indifferent.
One of the biggest needs on the S&C is for stages. Stagecoaches met the trains at Milton, Burnett's, Peters, Oakdale and Farmington. Passengers changed from the steamcars to the stage to get to the mining communities of Sonora, Jamestown, Angel's Camp, Murphy's and the rest. While Jordan makes a beautfiul Abbot & Downing Concord coach, most of the California stages were what was lovingly called "mud wagons." This name came from two of its characteristics. The mud wagon were more heavily built than the Abbot & Downing coaches and, thus, better suited to the rougher California mountain roads. They were also cheaper by about half but were also more open affording little protection for the passengers from the mud and dust thrown up by the wheels. They could stand up to muddy roads but at the expense of a good part of the road landing on the passengers.
Wagon makes had builder's photos taken just as car and locomotive
manufacturers did.
 My version of a mud wagon was based on an M.P. Henderson design. Henderson was located in Stockton and made wagons used throughout the West. I used a Jordan stage as a base and adapted the running gear to suit the sturdier coach. The body was scratchbuilt from styrene. Some of the Jordan parts were used such as the luggage rack on the rear and the railings around the top. The lettering was based on a photo of an actual Guerin & Nevils stage. That company served both Milton and Oakdale during my period and was a good choice for me.
   Harnessing of the coaches was done as described in my post of January 23 ( Harnessing one horse is not too bad, two is a little harder but six is a bit much. I'm sure they were hard to drive as well.
A surrey is a great carriage to go for a Sunday picnic. This couple is on their wagon complete with a picnic basket and what looks like a bottle of some adult beverage.
The two-seater buggy was probably the most common carriage in the 1890s, at least according to the photos I have seen. The second most common seems to be a four-seater surrey. Jordan makes a great buggy kit but no surrey. I spliced two buggies together to get the body and made a top complete with fringe out of styrene.
A housewife negotiates for a bottle of liniment from the Watkins salesman. J. R. Watkins had many different kinds of wagons and are still in business today making such things as vanilla extract. None of it is now delivered in wagons, however.
 The last wagon I attempted this time around was a commercial sales wagon, sometimes known as a milk wagon. It was designed for in-town service where the driver would be alighting several times during the day, hence the drop floor. It certainly would not do on a rough road but would work fine on a graded city street. The body of this wagon was scratchbuilt with underbody parts from a Jordan Light Delivery wagon. The decals are from my artwork.
    Next up on the wagon front will be a dray. This was a low-slung cargo-carrying wagon used to move heavy equipment around. I photographed one at Old Sacramento several years ago and will try to reproduce it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Yosemite and Private Railroad Cars

Tacked onto the tail of the Capitol Flyer is the Argonaut en route to Milton. The leaded glass windows are decals applied to clear styrene windows.
Part of an 1870s brochure advertising
the Yosemite "package."
When someone wanted to travel to the Yosemite Valley in the 1800s, the average person would leave San Francisco at 4:00 p.m. on the Stockton steamer. By 7:00 a.m. the next morning, he was on the S&C train to Milton where he board a stage. He changed stages at Chinese Camp, stayed overnight at Garote and then transferred to a pack train and was in the Valley by 2:00 p.m. the next day. Only a two-day trip! If you had a lot more money, you had your private switch to the S&C train, left it at Milton and then took the stage/pack train. Old-timers said there was always a private car or two at Milton awaiting the return of their owners.
   To simulate this on my model Stockton & Copperopolis, a few private cars were needed. Well, at least one. A couple of weeks ago, a visiting operator left me with a Model Die Casting Palace observation car kit. Since I had no other big projects in mind, I put the kit together, made up some lettering and here is the result, ready to be pulled to Milton so its owner can sojourn in the fabulous Yosemite Valley.
The Argonaut blocks F Street while its owner gets a newspaper from the depot. The rear platform awning is paper glued to the car end. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Scenes Along the S&C

Looking down one of the aisles on the S&C. Farmington lies in the distance with Peters at the left.
Recently, a friend of mine and reader of this blog told me that he would love to see overall shots of the railroad rather than just closeups of individual scenes. While I like photos that look prototypical, I can understand his request. We all live in the real world and, after all, the Stockton & Copperopolis is a model railroad so I decided to take a few shots of what the layout looked like to we real people.
   The photos were taken to produce a sort of mile-by-mile picture of what we are building. Just click on the link right under the title photo above or click here. When I have some more scenery, I hope to produce some stereo cards just as they might have done in the 1800s. That's in the future for now, though. I hope you enjoy the tour.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

On to Ione!

Soon-to-be Engine No. 2 of the Stockton & Ione RR arrives opposite downtown Ione City. The real S&I No. 2 was an
0-6-4T while this engine is modeled after the DSP&P's 2-6-6Ts.
From the Amador Times:
Late Monday night, rails of the Stockton & Ione line finally reached our bustling city and the shrieking of railroad whistles filled the night air. Our railroad connection to Stockton and the outside world has arrived.

Another way to put would be that I spent a couple of days finishing the trackwork from what I've been calling Forbe's Crossing to Ione. There's still no wiring; I'm working out any inaccuracies in the turnouts and I had to get things cleaned up for Prairie Rail 2014 which is occurring in Kansas City this weekend. Prairie Rail is an invitational bi-annual model railroad operations weekend. This coming February 21-23, about 120 model railroaders from all over the country are converging on the Kansas City area, each to spend time operating on four of the 29 model railroads participating in the event.
   The S&C will be hosting two three-hour operating sessions during the weekend as will the other model railroads. We've done this before and it's a lot of fun meeting folks from out of state and getting to know them.
   Not all of the work you see in the photos was done in the two days I mention, however. The four turnouts, two of which are 3-ways, were built several weeks ago and were just waiting to be installed. After Prairie Rail is over and I catch up on some of the things around the house that I have been putting off until after Prairie Rail, I can get back and get the track wired. After that, I will have to get serious about getting some locomotives built or modified.
Looking north at the small Ione yard. A diamond has to be built so that the industrial sidings can access a couple of businesses but most of the area will be the townsite.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Stockton & Ione Railroad - Track Reaches Forbes Crossing

A Stockton & Ione work train pushes flat cars with track-laying supplies near the new depot. The Amador Coal Company is at the left.
Stockton Daily Independent - August 20, 1875
In a flurry of activity, track crews of the narrow-gauge Stockton & Ione Railroad laid track from its junction with the Stockton & Copperopolis to Forbes Crossing. Officials of the railroad expect that trains will be running to Ione City by September.

    Well, the above is not really from the Stockton Daily Independent but it shows that some work has been done and engines have been run over the track, after a fashion anyway. There is no wiring as yet but jumper cords do wonders. As a short feeder line for the S&C, the S&I won't be much of a railroad but more of a switching line. Forbes Crossing will be a small town with a coal mine run by Amador Coal and served by the railroad. A short team track will be the only other track there. The reason for this new construction is that the National Narrow Gauge Convention is coming to Kansas City this September and the Stockton & Copperopolis has been asked to be on the layout tours. I figured that there should be some narrow gauge trains running even if there are not very many.
The S&I leaves 3-rail track at the far right, passes through "Forbes Crossing" and will continue to the left.

Looking from the junction, the whole of "Forbes Crossing" is seen. The team track is at the right with the Amador Coal-to-be building at the rear.

    The mine structure used to represent a silver mine on my previous layout and it will be repurposed into the needed coal mine including a new "Amador Coal" sign. The small depot was at Forbes Crossing on the old layout as well and the town may or may not be renamed as well. When I started this project, I did not think that many of the old buildings would be usable on this railroad but, so far, I have managed to reuse several of them much to my enjoyment.
   The track construction is the same as on the main railroad, foam insulating tape with flex track glued to it with silicon caulk. Code 55 is used for the main lines and code 40 for the sidings. The turnouts are all code 55 built from Fast Tracks jigs.

The traveling photographer disembarked from the noon Peters train to capture the image of an 1887 Benz newly-arrived in the neighborhood.

Like most photographers, Mr. Ball uses an 8x10 inch wet-plate camera on which to capture his images. These plates must be developed in the photographer's wagon within a few minutes following their exposure.

On another note, I finished painting a couple of small figures so I put them to use on the railroad.
This elderly woman was painted by grand-daughter Jessica,
7 years old. It was her first foray into figure painting.

It's lunchtime and, before making his deliveries, one of the workers decides to entertain his friends on someone else's piano.