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Author Topic Next Topic: Nye, Inyo & Esmeralda Railroad
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Posted - 06/30/2014 :  09:32:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
what a busy week I had last week, today is the first time I got to sit back and take a breath.

Last week I took some time and flew to Richmond VA, rented a car and drove west to visit with Brian Bond. Brian went out of his way to open up his schedule and home to be my host and tour guide for a few days. I also got to see his Deer Creek and Laurel. Also, Brian shared some of his knowledge about narrow gauge and logging and I learned a lot, it was very enjoyable to see his photos and books. If you have not seen the Brian's DC&L check out his post here in the logging and mining forum.

here is a mixed train I ran on Brian's DC&L

later I was running some empty log cars up the switchbacks while a passenger train passed by on the main.

One of the days of my trip Brian and I headed over to Babcock state park in West Virginia, the goal was to explore the area that the Manns Creek operated in. Our first stop was Clifftop to see what was left. The easiest Manns Creek element to find was the old company store, which is still relatively intact, however the post office sections was recently tore down, and by looking at the condition of the main store it might not be too long before it suffers the same fate. I meet a member of the family that owns the store and they said that we could look around the outside of the store but we could not go inside because it is not safe.

we drove around Clifftop a bit to see if we could find any signs of the mines the MC once served, which we did find evidence of old mining activity none of them could be confirmed as MC mines. Brian's keen eye found us the location of the Clifftop strip loading tipple, which is where we found the location of the old mainline from Sewell.

here Brian is walking the main from the strip tipple location toward the company store and car shop area.

there is no sign of the bridge that once crossed Manns Creek (the stream) to the company store so we headed back to find the location of the car shop to see if anything was still laying around. Surprisingly enough after 60 years there is still some stuff on the site, the obvious item was the roof the shay #2.

there was also a shay wheel and some boards that looked like they were on a freight car judging from the hardware on them. We also found a nice piece of rail that still had joint bars still on one end.

We left the car shop location and headed into Babcock park to walk the Narrow Gauge Trail, which is part of the mainline that was converted to a walking path. The path still has ties in some locations and there are a few wheel sets along the path.

the 2.5 mile (one way) hike is worth the walk, it is amazing where this railroad ran. There are places where it is almost straight up on one side of the right of way and almost straight down on the other. Photos don't do justice to how extreme this area is.

One location of interest is "the Junction". The train ends at a wash out which is the location of the cover of the painting on the cover of the Manns Creek book. As you walk down the 6% grade from Clifftop along Manns Creek the mainline (hiking path) turns and heads up Glade creek to a location where the MCRy was able to cross and turn back to head back to Manns Creek. the MCRy crossed a trestle and actually had to go up grade a bit until it reached Manns Creek and the switch that was the junction of the Clifftop main and the line they called "the cutoff", which went to the Landisburg mill.

here is the junction, the line on the right went up to Landisburg and the line on the left went down to the trestle.

we headed back up to Clifftop and drove over to the Grist mill where you can drive on a section of the MCRy logging line, where you can find a very specific rock outcropping. there is a photo in the book of a Climax sitting under this rock.

We left Clifftop and headed down to Sewell. Going to Sewell is a bit harder to do, there are no roads leading to Sewell, you have to hike to it, and if you don't know what you are looking for it would be easy to miss. Even when you are in the right spot it is so overgrown it is hard to find what is left there. We did find what is left of a few houses, the old Sewell road, the coke ovens, and the engine house.

here is the engine house.

the coke ovens are very hard to find, and care must be taken when walking on top of them because there are still charging holes and a broken leg in this location would not be good. It looks as if CSX plowed up the roadbed in front of the ovens which created a dirt berm that hides the oven fronts.

here is an oven door

On another day we headed back to West Virginia to go to Cass and ride the train. There are so many good photos of Cass on line that I did not even take many photos, I just soaked it all in. I did take lots of measurements of the equipment and detail photos for future building. Cass is really worth visiting if you are in the area, the RR is well preserved.

On the way out of town Brian and I headed up to Durbin to see an operating Climax locomotive, which was in the shop but a worker gave us a guided tour. Almost more interesting than the locomotive was our tour guide, he was 19 years old, he left his home in Pennsylvania after high school to be a fireman on a steam locomotive and he ended up in Durbin West Virginia to fire on the Durbin Rocket.

here is the Climax in the shop getting some new rivets in the boiler.

I said goodbye to Brian and headed back to Richmond to stop by Mark Chase's house and see his On30 layout. At Marks house a few other Railroad Line members stopped by as well. He got to spend a short time talking, having lunch and operating Marks layout.

I left Mark's house and flew back to Minnesota, and the next day David Stewart visited my layout. David has a huge O scale standard gauge model railroad in Colorado, his layout can be seen here.

Because I my busy trip not much happened on my layout. I did get all the tracks laid on the rest of the layout but I still need to get a bridge deck built to reach this area. Summer is finally here in Minnesota so the railroad will take a back seat to other things for a while

I did sit down and hauled out an old Bachmann On30 tank car that I had. I took the tank off and modified it a bit to match an EBT tank car, then I tried something new with the paint job. I picked up some AK Interactive Heavy Chipping fluid and wanted to give it a try. I painted the tank car base color Taymia Flat Brown, then I sprayed on the chipping fluid. After the chipping fluid dried I sprayed Poly Scale flat aluminum on the tank. When the silver paint dried I used water and a tooth pick to chip off the silver paint. with that tried I used some thin rust paint to add some streaks. I still have some stuff to do but this was a fun fast project to do.

here it is so far.

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Posted - 06/30/2014 :  10:14:00 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You had a dream trip who need a beach vacation, I went to Cass many times and walked the why at the top and found all kinds of great pictures. It looks like you have enough photos to get ideas for years to come. You sound like you have found a lot of new friends that love trains too what's better then that. Tom

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Ray Dunakin

Posted - 07/01/2014 :  01:36:33 AM  Show Profile  Visit Ray Dunakin's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Great pics and story!

Being mostly familiar with desert areas, I'm often amazed at how completely overgrown some of these other sites can get just a few short years/decades after being abandoned.

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Posted - 07/01/2014 :  8:37:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Very interesting tour, thanks for sharing. I quite enjoyed it.

Nice rust peels on that tank car!


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Posted - 07/01/2014 :  9:53:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Interesting picture I took


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Posted - 07/01/2014 :  10:34:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I added a handrail on the tank car similar to the EBT tank car (their's was steel), it is not glued in because I am not sure I like it. I think if I were to keep it I would need to lower it. Opinions?


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Posted - 07/02/2014 :  6:59:45 PM  Show Profile  Visit quarryman's Homepage  Reply with Quote
[quote]Originally posted by Coaltrain

I added a handrail on the tank car similar to the EBT tank car (their's was steel), it is not glued in because I am not sure I like it. I think if I were to keep it I would need to lower it. Opinions?


I like how your tank car came out. Are you getting your A-K Interactive Fluid from an American supplier?

As for the railing, Charles Goodrich had an article in the August 1998 NMRA Bulletin titled "A Logging Tank Car." The railing Charles put on his tankcar was supported by posts in the post pockets like yours, but the railing itself was a cable threaded through holes in the tops of the posts. The cable railing looks good, you might want to give it a try.


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Posted - 07/02/2014 :  7:19:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I get the AK stuff from a local hobby shop. Honestly, it did not seem to work any different than hairspray. The next time I do this treatment I will for sure use a solvent based paint for the base coat, the acrylic base coat I used was too fragile once I got it wet for chipping.

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 07/02/2014 :  10:06:43 PM  Show Profile  Visit on2rails's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Great stuff Jeff, and you guys were only less than 3 hours from me. Maybe next time huh?

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Posted - 07/03/2014 :  09:49:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's too bad, there is still a lot to see and I want to head back down there, next time for sure we will meet up. I forgot you live there and did not remember until I was back at Richmond and your name came up. It would be fun for all the Virginia / West Virginia guys to meet up some time, there were a few at Mark's house, it is nice to put names with faces

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 07/03/2014 :  10:38:54 AM  Show Profile  Visit on2rails's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Anytime you can make it out, I am up for a day in on the "New"......and in the Gorge!

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Posted - 07/22/2014 :  2:24:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Not much happening on the RR these days, I am working lots of overtime at my day job, good for the wallet but bad on the hobby time. It is hard to return from a trip with lots of new ideas and have to put them on hold. However, I did spend a few minutes in the layout room testing an idea, one of which may have me taking “two steps back”, I’ll explain.

While visiting the remains of the Manns Creek engine house in Sewell with Brian bond I discovered how incorrect the Schomberg kit I had planned to use really is. Before I decided to use the kit Brian had pointed out that it was slightly compressed in all dimensions, not enough for most people to notice but when used on an On3 layout the engine door openings are really tight. I decided that it was close enough and after I test fit it with my largest locomotive I discovered that if I just raise it up a small amount it would work well.

While at the site of the engine house a few other differences had shown up that I never noticed before. Other than the compressed dimensions the main noticeable difference is the construction materials, the Schomberg kit represents a structure built from fractured stone blocks, the prototype structure is actually made up of many small stones. I am not sure how I missed this when looking at photos but it is very obvious once you notice it.

Another issue I was having is the smooth inside walls of the kit. The kit is cast in a very hard plaster which made carving interior stones very difficult. Brian had a good suggestion to use some embossed sheet material to simulate the stones on the inside.

Last night was sitting in the layout room when I had an idea, I wondered how hard it would be to carve my own engine house walls from Balsa Foam. I had a piece of scrap Balsa Foam on the bench so I started to play around with it. I carved a section of the engine house door and some stones. The carving went very quickly. Then I covered the carved foam with acrylic gesso. This morning I just dry brushed some colors on it making little effort to match the actual color, I was just dry brushing to see make the details pop so I could judge the appearance. I was very happy with the results and have decided to pursue carving my own engine house, which brings me back to the “two steps back” problem.

The problem I am having is I already built a floor and spaced the tracks for the Schomberg kit, however if I am going to go through all the trouble of carving a new engine house I really should do it to scale so the proportions look better with the On3 locomotives, which means I will have to remove one of the tracks so I can move it over two scale feet. I will also have to build a new engine house floor. The prototype engine house had a dirt floor but I want a wood floor to had shelving and tools in one of the stalls.

Here is the test section of wall after just a few minutes of carving.

here is the wall sitting next to an actual stone taken from a collapsed section of the engine house wall. I took the stone to get the correct color. I was amazed how many stones were used and how small some of them were.

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Posted - 07/22/2014 :  2:52:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit visman48's Homepage  Click to see visman48's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
I am interested in what you are doing here with the engine house. I have a stone engine house too, its hydrocal, but not carved inside except one wall. I am wondering if they would have left the wall exposed, except maybe in the use of brick. Would they not have studded it up and used 1X material to cover up the rock wall, to include tool and storage shelves? Just wonder out loud, that is the story I am going with.


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Posted - 07/23/2014 :  06:20:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I did a little more testing with the stone wall, I think I am going to have to find a way to seal the wall, it has the wrong surface texture and it shows after painting. I have an idea I am going to try, then I will work out getting the correct colors.

On another note, I also picked up a large sliver of a Manns Creek railroad tie. While hiking down the gorge I had the thought that it would be fun to cut some ties from a real MC tie and replace a section of track on my layout with real MC ties. Last night I cut one On3 tie from the real tie.

I also scooped up a bag of "ballast" from a section of the old MC roadbed in Clifftop, which I am going to sift and use.

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 07/23/2014 :  1:27:59 PM  Show Profile  Visit JoebTX's Homepage  Reply with Quote
That's pretty neat!

Joe Batson MMR#475

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