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West Texas operations

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West Texas operations
Posted by Alex on Sunday, August 20, 2017 10:32 PM

Hi everyone,

I'd like to model a small west Texas based yard in N scale circa 1963. My questions are;

What rail companies/lines were being used at this time?

what type of switching locomotive is suitable for this era? (prefer diesel)

Which industries were operating back then?

Is there anything actually available for this region/era in N scale?

 

I am from Australia, so it is a long way from home. But I imagine the layout being very flat and focused on the end of a yard (fork layout) 

whilst it won't be 100% prototypical, i'd still like an idea of the real deal.

Any help greatly appreciated, thanks. 

Tags: 60's , Texas , West texas
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Posted by BMMECNYC on Monday, August 21, 2017 9:38 PM

Hello and welcome,

Alex
what type of switching locomotive is suitable for this era? (prefer diesel)

Yes a diesel,  what type would probably depend on the railroad.

Since you were not too specific on the actual location.

Check these wikipedia articles that show main line route maps, might get you started:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atchison,_Topeka_and_Santa_Fe_Railway

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Pacific_Transportation_Company

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago,_Burlington_and_Quincy_Railroad

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_and_Pacific_Railway

This one doesnt have a map in it, but operated in Texas:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_Pacific_Railroad

This one is kind of northern part of Texas (but on the western edge):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago,_Rock_Island_and_Pacific_Railroad

At the bottom of these wikipedia links is a list of class 1 railroads operating post 1954.  There may be other railroads that ran through the area.  You could look on google maps to get an idea of the topography of the area.

 

 

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Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, August 21, 2017 11:12 PM

I grew up in El Paso Texas from 1949 to the mid 60s, the predominant railroad was the Southern Pacific.
 
Most of the SP mainline locomotives in the late 50s were Alco PAs, the local switching was done using SW-7s to SW-9s and one SW1200.  In the late 50s early 60s they had a slug of SD7s and SD9s.
 
The Alco PAs replaced the steam articulated locomotives for freight in the mid to late 50s.  I remember it taking 5 diesels to pull the 80 or so cars up the 1.2 grade going north, one steam AC-9 easily pulled 80 cars up that grade.
 
I was lucky, we lived next door to the SP Yard Super and he gave me run of the SP Yard during the summer school breaks.   
 
A really good SP reference site is the ESPEE Modelers Archive.
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
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Posted by DSchmitt on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 12:44 AM

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by Alex on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 6:39 AM

Thanks for the help, I appreciate it and think I've got what I need to get started.

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Posted by peahrens on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 8:21 AM

"West Texas" does need narrowing down.  We lived in Odessa for 6 years.  Odessa and neighboring Midland are commonly referred to as being in "west Texas".  But my recollection is that Midland is so named as it was 1/2 way from Fort Worth (Dallas Neighbor) to El Paso.  El Paso is still about a 6 hour drive. west,  from Midland.  So you might want to narrow down your area.

When we were about to move from Baton Rouge, Lousiana, to Odessa I took a trip to Odessa first.  The kids asked, "what's it like?"  I said. "flat".  They said, "it's flat here (near Baton Rouge)".  I said, "you can really see it out there".  IIRC, Odessa is on, or near, the east end of the Chihuahuan desert, and El Paso is near the west end.  In either event, you will need some tumbleweeds, for sure.  You have to avoid them on the roads as the west TX wind blows them around.  Maybe you can automate some! 

The terrain is not always flat, flat.  Just west of Odessa, there is a significant "rim" dropoff (it has a name) to a lower elevation, east of Pecos.  But the elevation from Odessa a 2900' rises to 3740' at El Paso, which also has nearby mountains.  Smaller towns around Odessa include Wink, Kermit and No Trees (any town could have claimed that name first).  Just east of Midland is Stanton, "Home to 3,000 friendly people and a few old soreheads!".  An interesting billboard to model.  Odessa / Midland are the larger towns in that area (Abilene, farther east, is barely west TX) and the heart of the Permian Basin oil / gas area, certainly a main industry in your era. If you are interested in TX history I encourage a reading of Michener's "Texas".  One statement noted that to understand TX history you mainly needed to understand 3 things: ranching, oil and high school football.  So your modeling might include a ranch, some mandatory windmills, oil drilling rigs and pumpjacks, and a 20,000 seat (smaller in your era) football stadium.  If Odessa, you could include the meteor crator and the world's largest jackalope statue.  If Pecos is included, model the famous cantaloupe farms.  Between Odessa and Pecos is Monahans, famous for its sand dunes.  Between Pecos and El Paso, there ain't much except Fort Stockton, a junction from El Paso that splits for roads east to Houston or NE to Dallas/ Ft Worth.

Here's a link to a USA deserts map:

http://www.ducksters.com/geography/us_states/us_deserts.php

Here are some fun image links, for the town with and without "railroad" included:

https://www.google.com/search?biw=1366&bih=638&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=odessa+texas&oq=odessa+texas&gs_l=psy-ab.1.0.0i67k1j0l3.103885.104598.0.107277.9.5.0.0.0.0.209.357.0j1j1.2.0....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..7.1.208.ib3Mx5Ccq58

https://www.google.com/search?biw=1366&bih=638&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=odessa+texas+railroad&oq=odessa+texas+railroad&gs_l=psy-ab.3...47542.51300.0.52953.13.10.0.0.0.0.125.785.9j1.10.0....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..5.2.196...0j0i67k1j0i8i7i30k1.x-zoGNCBp_k

https://www.google.com/search?biw=1366&bih=638&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=fort+stockton+texas&oq=fort+stockton+texas&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0l2j0i7i30k1j0i5i30k1.39905.44763.0.49129.28.19.0.0.0.0.143.1978.1j16.17.0....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..14.13.1538...0i67k1j0i7i5i30k1j0i13k1.M7eOGJ13Q3E

https://www.google.com/search?biw=1366&bih=638&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=fort+stockton+texas+railroad&oq=fort+stockton+texas+railroad&gs_l=psy-ab.3...6416.13328.0.15133.21.19.1.0.0.0.288.2156.0j14j2.16.0....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..4.3.389...0j0i67k1j0i7i5i30k1.RJlIZdW4iYM

https://www.google.com/search?biw=1366&bih=638&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=el+paso+texas+&oq=el+paso+texas+&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0l4.87839.95948.0.98835.21.16.0.0.0.0.201.1828.0j12j1.13.0....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..8.13.1824...0i30k1j0i24k1j0i13k1j0i7i30k1j0i7i5i30k1j0i67k1.rrSgNZAlAnI

https://www.google.com/search?biw=1366&bih=638&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=el+paso+texas+railroad&oq=el+paso+texas+railroad&gs_l=psy-ab.3...51778.104036.0.105671.27.20.7.0.0.0.230.1561.13j3j1.17.0....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..4.8.554...0j0i13k1j0i67k1j0i8i30k1j0i24k1.bs3LEallUWc

 

 

Paul

Modeling HO with a transition era UP bent

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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 8:21 AM

Alex

I'd like to model a small west Texas based yard in N scale circa 1963.

Well, you won't need many trees, but stock up on rock molds.

What rail companies/lines were being used at this time?

Depending where "West Texas" is, its a relatively small list.

The SP operated from El Paso to San Antonio (more or less along US 90).  The Texas & Pacific (which was owned by the Missouri Pacific) operated from Ft Worth to El Paso (more or less along I-20).  Between Sierra Blanca and El Paso the TP operated on trackage rights over the SP.  The ATSF had a line that went from Ft Worth down to Presidio and south from New Mexico into El Paso.

The SP operated the most trains, followed by the TP/MP and finally the ATSF.  There were also some short lines and branches.  At the international interchange points with Mexico the NdeM would be involved.

what type of switching locomotive is suitable for this era? (prefer diesel)

Any Alco or Baldwin switcher, any EMD switcher up to an SW1200.

Road engines would be F units and engines up to GP18's, mostly high short hoods, PA's and E units on passenger trains.

Which industries were operating back then?

Lead smelting, mining, petroleum, which means drill pipe and steel shapes, cotton, plus consumer goods, lumber, all the international business (grain) and through business (perishables from California to points east).

Is there anything actually available for this region/era in N scale?

Any TP engines or MP blue and grey or any SP "black widow" or Daylight paint schemes.  ATSF would be Blue and yellow, no yellow bonnets, red warbonnet on passenger engines.

I would suggest Alfalfa Yard in El Paso.   It was the SP switching yard and the MP was operating through there.  There is an oil refinery next to it.

The TP yard was downtown (299 Ochoa St) and the SP station and engine facilities were downtown too.  The station is where the Amtrak station is now.  The roundhouse was near Mills and Willow St.

The ATSF came in from the north west and their yards were on the west end of town, near Durango and Paisano.

The International yard, the interchange with the NdeM is near where Stanton crosses the border, the yard to the right and the NdeM bridge to the right.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 8:27 AM

In the 1800's both the TP and SP were building west to El Paso.  The first railroad to reach Sierra Blanca would control the right of way into El Paso.

When they were just a few miles from Sierra Blanca, the SP brought in a train load of beer and gave it to the TP track gang.  Needless to say the SP reached Sierra Blanca first and controlled the route into El Paso.  That's why the TP got on the SP at Sierra Blanca and there is a siding on the TP/MP/UP just east of Sierra Blanca called "Boracho" (which is Spanish for "drunk").

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by NHTX on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 3:07 PM

     Howdy, Alex!   Northern and southern West Texas are very different, with the north focusing on agriculture (cotton, wheat, and cattle) and petrochemicals, while the southern part is more barren and desert in topography.  The south is more mineral oriented with livestock on a smaller scale.  A railroad you might want to investigate would be the Pecos Valley Southern which is a true West Texas shortline.  The main traffic was mining products, oil field supplies and melons grown with irrigation.  The PVS connected with the Missouri Pacific at Pecos, Texas.  A website you must investigate is http. atsfinroswell.wordpress.com.  This site focuses on the things that would interest you.  Good luck!

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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 10:09 PM

The real weird shortline was the Roscoe Snyder & Pacific, which made a living off of bridge line traffic between the ATSF Snyder and the TP/MP at Roscoe.  I say weird because the ATSF and TP/MP interchanged at Sweetwater.  Somhow the RSP convinced shippers that they would provide a better interchange between the carriers.  After the big mergers, trackage rights agreements and the Staggers act allowed contract rates the RSP was pretty much superflous and lost its bridge traffic, becoming a small industrial shortline.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by ericsp on Saturday, August 26, 2017 2:40 AM

If I remember correctly, SP switched to the gray and red scheme in the late 1950s, so there would be some locomotives in that paint scheme.

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Posted by DSchmitt on Saturday, August 26, 2017 5:16 AM

ericsp

If I remember correctly, SP switched to the gray and red scheme in the late 1950s, so there would be some locomotives in that paint scheme.

 

1958

http://espee.railfan.net/58_91.html

 

List of pages on SP paint schemes

http://search.freefind.com/find.html?id=9628440&pid=r&mode=ALL&query=paint+schemes&t=s

 

 

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by Alex on Monday, August 28, 2017 6:57 AM

Thanks everyone!

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Sunday, September 03, 2017 1:46 AM

The Missouri Kansas Texas Railroad or Katy also served the state, what area of Texas are you planning to model?

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