Author Topic: Colorado Midland Railway Engineering Report  (Read 86608 times)

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Dave V

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Colorado Midland Railway Engineering Report
« on: December 22, 2014, 11:46:41 AM »
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I've decided to enter the Railwire micro-layout pool with something a little different...  I have a 2.5' x 5' space currently occupied by my son's Apex, NC CSX layout.  He's lost interest in it so it can be recycled.  All the Unitrack, structures, trees, and details will be removed, by the fine 2.5' x 5' benchwork will be salvaged.

The layout will be based on the Leadville, CO area, where the Colorado Midland and Denver & Rio Grande had standard gauge trackage (and the Denver, South Park and Pacific-later Denver, Leadville, and Gunnsion, then Colorado & Southern had narrow gauge).  The era will be very flexible, so from the mid-late 1890s through the beginning of World War I.

For those not familiar with the Midland, it was a standard gauge railroad built like a narrow gauge one.  It headed west out of Colorado Springs through Ute Pass and Eleven Mile Canyon and across the South Park.  From the South Park to Buena Vista via Trout Creek Pass, it paralleled the DSP&P narrow gauge.  From Buena Vista it turned north to Leadville following the Arkansas River (Leadville eventually ended up on a branchline connecting at the now gone Arkansas Junction).  From just north of Leadville the railroad began its assault of the Continental Divide, tunneling under Hagerman pass at just shy of 12,000 feet above sea level.  From there it descended the Fryaing pan River valley, eventually reaching Glenwood Springs.  It operated a branch from Glenwood to Aspen.

My version will use what can be found of the Roundhouse/Athearn old-timey stuff like the 2-8-0s and the 36' cars.  It won't be exact from an equipment perspective, but I'm really looking at a vignette more than anything.

Track will be code 55.  Yeah, code 40 (or lighter) is probably more realistic, but code 55 will do fine.

Two plans that come to mind:

The first is the Laurel Highland Railroad:

https://books.google.com/books?id=sKUetsS-SpMC&pg=PA42&lpg=PA42&dq=laurel+highland+track+plan&source=bl&ots=O15ESacOKY&sig=yarLV1cYeiJXS62RxpLJNuPPZCg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=PkqYVPjsO8K2oQSg8oGICQ&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=laurel%20highland%20track%20plan&f=false

The second is the Rock Ridge Central built by Model Railroader in 2002.  Both are HO 4x8s, but can fit nicely in 2.4 x 5 in N scale.

The downside to the Laurel Highland plans are the curved turnouts which are much tighter than the Atlas ones.

The other huge challenge will be equipment.  Athearn made a few RTR Colorado Midland items, but they're impossible to find:



Consequently, I will need lots of custom decals...  Any ideas or pointers?
« Last Edit: December 22, 2014, 11:51:13 AM by Dave Vollmer »
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Cameron_Talley

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Re: Colorado Midland Railway Engineering Report
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2014, 11:59:21 AM »
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If you weren't familiar with it, Model Railroader did a whole series on Leadville back in the 80s.  88-89 or so? I think the title of the series was "Leadville: A Mining District you can model."  There were several articles and plans.  You might look for it at the library or online archives.

Dave V

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Re: Colorado Midland Railway Engineering Report
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2014, 12:35:18 PM »
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My father has a full collection of MR starting with the 1940s...  I'll ping him.
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bbussey

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Re: Colorado Midland Railway Engineering Report
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2014, 01:04:29 PM »
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I suggest setting up a search with email notification for the Athearn items.  They probably turn up there a little more frequently than you realize.

Custom decals can be contracted from number of sources.  However, if you have "camera ready" vector artwork, the cost and turnaround from Microscale is more than reasonable.  You get a lifetime supply of decals, but the low total cost of the project supercedes that.  Most likely around $250 or so for the mini-size sheet.  If you pack everything in the artwork that you will need, it works.

And no, ESM won't be offering any turn-of-the-last-century models or schemes.  8)

Bryan Busséy
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CVSNE

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Re: Colorado Midland Railway Engineering Report
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2014, 01:11:34 PM »
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Will be following along.
Ah yes, the Rock Ridge Central - the last project layout I was directly involved in when I was on the staff.
Dreamt up during one of our Saturday night movie nights - we were having trouble coming up with a theme for the project layout...we knew we didn't want to have to make a lot of trees, so that meant "out West".... and the movie was..... well, you can guess the rest.
Modeling (or attempting to model) the Central Vermont circa October 1954  . . .

wcfn100

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Re: Colorado Midland Railway Engineering Report
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2014, 01:18:19 PM »
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I understand that track planning isn't always the most fun thing to do, but I'd at least identify some signature scenes and make sure you can work them in.



I don't know the road that well, but I can imagine there are several locations that can really set up the whole layout.

Jason


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Re: Colorado Midland Railway Engineering Report
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2014, 01:55:43 PM »
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I really don't like that Laurel Highlands layout.

It might be great if all you want to do is model cliffs and embankments, but it'll be tough to assign an identity to it other than "mountain railroad".

It just doesn't seem to be your style.

I feel like a simple two-scener or three scener, like the JD, with more vertical scenery is much better.

Dave V

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Re: Colorado Midland Railway Engineering Report
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2014, 02:27:18 PM »
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I really don't like that Laurel Highlands layout.

It might be great if all you want to do is model cliffs and embankments, but it'll be tough to assign an identity to it other than "mountain railroad".

It just doesn't seem to be your style.

I feel like a simple two-scener or three scener, like the JD, with more vertical scenery is much better.

Ed,

Honestly, the Leadville area did look a lot like that...  Lots of vertically stacked track reaching dozens of mines.  Leadville sits against the Mosquito Range which has 12,000-14,000' mountains.

I'm looking to do some vertical scenery on this one.  I may not go with the Laurel Highlands, though...  Something similar though.

I'll give you some perspective.  I'm right up against the Rampart Range in northern Colorado Springs.  The Ramparts are tiny by Colorado standards, with most peaks about 9,500-10,000' from a base elevation of above 7,000'.  Yet they would dwarf anything in the Alleghenies.

Leadville, as I said, sits against the Mosquitos, but looks across the Arkansas Valley at the rooftop of North America...the Collegiate Peaks of the Sawatch...that loom to 14,000+ feet above a base elevation of 8,000'.  Vertical doesn't even begin to describe this landscape.

And yet countless ambitious businessmen and engineers said "let's build railroads up there."
« Last Edit: December 22, 2014, 02:33:54 PM by Dave Vollmer »
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Dave V

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Re: Colorado Midland Railway Engineering Report
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2014, 03:08:50 PM »
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I wonder if that Virginian 4x8 MR did would work.  The hopper yard could be turned into the Midland's Basalt engine terminal.

I also would like some wooden trestles somewhere on the layout.  The Midland used both steel and wood.
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conrail98

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Re: Colorado Midland Railway Engineering Report
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2014, 03:40:51 PM »
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I wonder if that Virginian 4x8 MR did would work.  The hopper yard could be turned into the Midland's Basalt engine terminal.

I also would like some wooden trestles somewhere on the layout.  The Midland used both steel and wood.

I re-did that plan in N scale on a 36x80 door if you are interested,

Phil
- Phil

Dave V

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Re: Colorado Midland Railway Engineering Report
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2014, 03:41:31 PM »
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I re-did that plan in N scale on a 36x80 door if you are interested,

Phil

Working with 2.5' x 5'...
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Denver Road Doug

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Re: Colorado Midland Railway Engineering Report
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2014, 04:36:25 PM »
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I actually like the Laurel Highland plan, knowing what I know of that area. (which isn't a ton, but I've driven all throughout that area a few times and researched a bit.)   I can't seem to find the layout plan of the Rock Ridge Central.   Photos that came up reminded me more of Arizona...like the Jerome & Southwestern or similar.   Anyway, sounds like a fun project, anxious to see updates.
NOTE: I'm no longer active on this forum.   If you need to contact me, use the e-mail address (or visit the website link) attached to this username.  Thanks.

glakedylan

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Re: Colorado Midland Railway Engineering Report
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2014, 05:22:05 PM »
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....
« Last Edit: December 22, 2014, 07:46:11 PM by glakedylan »
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Chris333

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Re: Colorado Midland Railway Engineering Report
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2014, 05:27:14 PM »
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One of my early N scale layouts was based on the Laurel Highland plan. It was so long ago the photos were on webshots and gone now. All I have left:





I could re-draw the plan how I used it, but I didn't have any curved turnouts. These were the very first Atlas C55 #5 turnouts ever made.