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Colorado & Southern Narrow Gauge

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Colorado & Southern Narrow Gauge
Posted by CS_NG_Fan on Thursday, July 23, 2009 8:57 PM

Hello All,

I have been a narrow gauge modeler for the last 20 years. Unlike most narrow gaugers, I model the Colorado & Southern. In the mid 1990's I built and fully sceniced Malcom Furlow's San Juan Central HOn3 project railroad, that was based on a series of articles in Model Railroader. I also used many of the modeling ideas in Harry Brunk's series of articles published in the Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette entitled, "Up Clear Creek on the Narrow Gauge" . I have posted several pictures of this layout, in order to generate discussion. This layout was dismantled several months ago, to make room for my "retirement layout", which will occupy a newly finished 12 X 18 ft.train room.

 Would love to hear from other model railroaders who model the C&S NG...let's give the DRGW crowd "a run for their money".

 

 

 

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Posted by nik .n on Thursday, July 23, 2009 9:04 PM

BowBowBowBowBowBowBowBowBowBowBowBow  

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Posted by Geared Steam on Thursday, July 23, 2009 9:07 PM

Good Job! 

Thumbs Up 

 

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."-Albert Einstein

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Posted by twhite on Thursday, July 23, 2009 9:59 PM

Beautiful.  And I mean BEAUTIFUL!!  BowBow

Though I don't model narrow gauge, the C&S has always fascinated me, and I've always thought their locomotives were particularly handsome examples of narrow gauge motive power.  And their route between Denver and Leadville, with all of those branches, was just SPECTACULAR!   

I hope you will post progress shots of your new layout.  

I model Rio Grande standard gauge steam (in a fictional California setting, go figure, LOL!) but I have two C&S standard gauge steamers 'on loan' that I run frequently.  C&S, whether standard or narrow-gauge, had some incredibly handsome steam power.   

TomTongue

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Posted by wedudler on Friday, July 24, 2009 2:02 AM

 Great pictures, thank you. This will be an inspiration.

Wolfgang

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, July 24, 2009 8:27 AM

Awesome layout!  I also followed the MR articles by Furlow and built a small HOn3 layout fifteen or so years ago.

Great stuff!

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Posted by Packers#1 on Friday, July 24, 2009 1:44 PM

 I once wondered about going to Nn3, but decided agaisnt it due to how far into regular N I am. I do love the look and feel of narrow gauge railroading thoguh, and your layout certainly captures it.

One other thing: I would have purchased a kit for a C&S mogul or consolidation, I gforget which, if I had amde the swap to Nn3, lol.

Sawyer Berry

Clemson University c/o 2018

Building a protolanced industrial park layout

 

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Posted by CS_NG_Fan on Sunday, July 26, 2009 6:11 AM

 

Thanks for the kind words guys. Here is the current trackplan for the new layout. Like most model railroaders my "wants" far outweigh the space available, so compromise is inevitable. On this new layout my criteria was as follows:

  • Como yard, roundhouse, turntable, and tall timber coal trestle
  • Logical location for my model of the Argo Tunnel, even though this structure was on the Clear Creek Branch of the C&S
  • No turnouts tighter than a #6
  • No curve less than 18" radius, with goal being 22" or greaterr
  • Had to have realistic location for at least two large, tall, bridges, one iron (Hell's Gate style), one wood
  • Had to have a logical location for "The Palisades"
  • No hidden trackage
  • No grade greater than 3 percent
Would love to get feedback on this track plan, as nothing, other than the room size, is locked in stone.
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Posted by stebbycentral on Sunday, July 26, 2009 11:05 AM

 It looks like that's one neat layout you have planned there.  I also am a C&S fan, I kind of backed into it as a result of a vacation one summer that took the family to the Georgetown Loop RR.

While there I snapped some photos of the Silver Plume, CO depot, with the intention of modeling it for use with my On30 equipment.  I also picked up a book at a local bookshop titled "Narrow Gauge to Central and Silver Plume" by Cornelius W. Hauck to use as a reference work.



So far all I have been able to complete is a couple of modules that set up on a shelf in the basement.  Someday, when I have a house the room, I hope to create a layout that will replicate as much as possible that stretch of track between Georgetown and Silver Plume.  This module contains my depot model, the C&S caboose is a modified Bachman model I based on a prototype that is on display in downtown Georgetown.


The other module is my fanciful vision of what the current museum's engine-house facilities might have looked like had they been around in the 1900's.  Of course, the C&S had no such facilities in Silver Plume.


I have figured out what is wrong with my brain!  On the left side nothing works right, and on the right side there is nothing left!

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Posted by route_rock on Sunday, July 26, 2009 11:28 AM

  Very cool! I liked your version of the San Juan Central! Very well done. Plus I love the On30 pics, that is some great modeling!

 

   I got my engineer card on teh C&S div of BNSF in 2008.My favorite lines were the Kountry line ( I think thats the one from Denver to Leadville) it ends before you get to Littleton these days,but at the end of track there area  few lengths of rail laying inside the gauge with an 1880s date on it!little light rail just laying there.Plus the Golden line is one of my favorites. I found a Colorado Rail annual that was the history of the C&S and found some pictures of Arvada Co. where we used to tie down the train if we were running short on hours.Needless to say its like when your grandpa said " I remember when this was all farmland"Amazing to see how much things change.

 

  As for charm, the C&S is a GREAT little railroad to model.I am proud to say I was a part of its history,even though it was swallowed into the BN I still got to work with guys who were true blue C&S wide gaugers lol.For some reason a C&S engineer is called a Mudduck. Never could figure that one out. But I am proud to be a Mudduck!

Yes we are on time but this is yesterdays train

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Posted by wedudler on Sunday, July 26, 2009 11:29 AM

CS_NG_Fan
Thanks for the kind words guys. Here is the current trackplan for the new layout. Like most model railroaders my "wants" far outweigh the space available, so compromise is inevitable. On this new layout my criteria was as follows:
  • Como yard, roundhouse, turntable, and tall timber coal trestle
  • Logical location for my model of the Argo Tunnel, even though this structure was on the Clear Creek Branch of the C&S
  • No turnouts tighter than a #6
  • No curve less than 18" radius, with goal being 22" or greaterr
  • Had to have realistic location for at least two large, tall, bridges, one iron (Hell's Gate style), one wood
  • Had to have a logical location for "The Palisades"
  • No hidden trackage
  • No grade greater than 3 percent

Would love to get feedback on this track plan, as nothing, other than the room size, is locked in stone.

 

That's a nice layout with a lot of operation potential. 

I don't understand a few points. What's about Jefferson. How long is this siding, in cars??

What's the purpose of those track next to the turntable at Como? You have to run over the turntable?

Wolfgang

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Posted by Margaritaman on Sunday, July 26, 2009 2:05 PM

The SJC was one of the 3 layouts that I had in my mind when I created my current layout.  John Allen's Gorre and Daphetid and Bob Grech's WP were the other two.  Your's would have been a fourth!

Have you seen Charlie's layout?  It will be featured in the upcoming HOn3 Annual.  It's even more fun in person.  He was recently over at my place and I think I inspired him to add more trees!

Charlie Allen's Colorado 1937

 

 

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Posted by dinwitty on Sunday, July 26, 2009 3:12 PM

Looks like trains arriving/leaving run behind the turntable area running the loop. You have also created a reverse loop situation so recall you need a reversing electrical track protectiong somewhere.

I generally like to eliminate the reverse loop situations to prevent the possible shorting out if you run past your electrical ends.  

Having a reverse loop "cheats" your turntable  as you can turn the whole train, if you have a reason for a reverse loop cool, but not having it forces needing the turntable.

A lot of accesses to the turntable, needed? and the 2 track opposite side tracks connection?

Just pointing out what you want to do to operate and think about to help what you want to do.

 

nice work on the previous layout. I am not one upping DR&RGW or any other lines but competition drives ya sometimes heh.

I will be doing some narrow gauge to connect to my mainline system railroads to feed traffic to, an abandoned line that interchanged with the N&W, just "de-abandoning" and it will get more modern power. 

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Posted by CS_NG_Fan on Sunday, July 26, 2009 7:33 PM

First of all, thanks to route_rock for the personal vignette on the C&S.I especially liked the information on C&S engineers being referred to as a "Mudduck". I have done a great deal of research on C&S and had never heard that term before; good stuff.

Great photos of Charlie Allen's layout; many thanks Margaritaman :)

wedudler and Dinwitty, really appreciate the comments on the track plan. The siding at Jefferson is there, just so that I can do some swithing on this part of the layout. The prototype actually had a 'Y' there, with one of the diverging tracks serving a stock yard. A 'Y' just takes up too much room for the space I have available, so I went with the siding instead. Not sure about the question on the length of the siding. Do you think it is too long, too short, or is there something else about it that doesn't make sense?

As for the track plan at Como, it's actually very close to the prototype without using up too much real estate. The tracks on the north side of the turntable were originally covered by the wooden addition to the roundhouse, which burned down in the late 1930's. After the fire the rotary snow plow and other MOW equipment was stored there. The prototype configuration is very similiar, and to get to the tracks you mention, you had to cross the turntable if you wanted to get to them from the south end of the yard. All of the accesses currently connecting to the turntable were there on the prototype.(there were actually a few more on the north side of the turntable, as the roundhouse had fourteen stalls in its heyday (incredible for a narrow gauge operation in the early 1900's.

The tracks that run behind the roundhouse were also there on the protype. When proceeding to the south you could bypass the yard heading to the Fairplay Branch. Trains proceeding to the north either took the branch to Leadville, or returned to Denver.

As for the reversing loop, I freely admit to putting it in there to "cheat the turntable" when I want continuous running. This layout will be wired for DCC, and I plan to use DCC reversing loop sensors, which proportedly work very well to automatically shift power prevent shorts. If using a DCC reverser, do you think it will still be problematic?

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Posted by Margaritaman on Sunday, July 26, 2009 7:43 PM

Last week I saw for the first time a Digitrax reverser at work on a wye.  Wow.  Completely seamless.  Coming from an old block control guy, it was a dream come true.

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Posted by wedudler on Monday, July 27, 2009 1:48 AM

CS_NG_Fan

wedudler and Dinwitty, really appreciate the comments on the track plan. The siding at Jefferson is there, just so that I can do some swithing on this part of the layout.

 

 For me, this would be too short. At a siding you can meet another train. You can run around your train. How long will your trains be?

Think about some scenery. Where's the scenery around Jefferson? 

Wolfgang

Pueblo & Salt Lake RR

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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, July 27, 2009 2:01 AM
All these pictures wet my appetite for narrow gauge - thank you for posting!
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Posted by CS_NG_Fan on Monday, July 27, 2009 7:59 AM

wedudler

CS_NG_Fan

wedudler and Dinwitty, really appreciate the comments on the track plan. The siding at Jefferson is there, just so that I can do some swithing on this part of the layout.

 

For me, this would be too short. At a siding you can meet another train. You can run around your train. How long will your trains be?

Think about some scenery. Where's the scenery around Jefferson? 

Wolfgang

Hi Wolfgang,

Because of the steep grades and the lower tractive effort, typical of NG locomotives, train lengths of 5-6 cars were the norm. As far as train meets go, they were pretty rare on the C&S NG, especially after the downturn in the Colorado mining industry that occured at the end of the second decade of the 20th Century.

I will double check the length of the Jefferson siding to ensure that a locomotive and at least 5-7 cars will fit comfortably.

 As for the scenery at Jefferson, I will have a painted backdrop that closely matches the terrain in this area, a depot, a water tank, and small stream east of the town. Rows of small buildings along both sides of the track are also planned. As for the terrain contours, you can see those in the 3D view I posted previously.  The area around Jefferson is pretty flat, even though is sits at a fairly high elevation. Because of space limitations, the track south of Jefferson actually represents the route to Leadville, so I will have quite  bit of scenery below track level and a fairly long, curved timber trestle between Como and the area occupied by Jefferson. Any suggestions?

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Posted by CS_NG_Fan on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 6:22 AM

stebbycentral

 It looks like that's one neat layout you have planned there.  I also am a C&S fan, I kind of backed into it as a result of a vacation one summer that took the family to the Georgetown Loop RR.

While there I snapped some photos of the Silver Plume, CO depot, with the intention of modeling it for use with my On30 equipment.  I also picked up a book at a local bookshop titled "Narrow Gauge to Central and Silver Plume" by Cornelius W. Hauck to use as a reference work.

So far all I have been able to complete is a couple of modules that set up on a shelf in the basement.  Someday, when I have a house the room, I hope to create a layout that will replicate as much as possible that stretch of track between Georgetown and Silver Plume.  This module contains my depot model, the C&S caboose is a modified Bachman model I based on a prototype that is on display in downtown Georgetown.

 

Nice work on the On30 modules! This is an excellent way to build for the future. When I was on active duty in the USN I was moving every three years and was just too busy to build a layout. What I did, was use that time to build as many structures as possible. Structures are by far the most time consuming portion of building any layout.  I also found out that my great eyesight didn't last for ever, so now I have lot's of highly detailed structures that I would have a tough time building "with these old eyes". I also did a lot of rolling stock that required scratch building. As soon as I break out the camera I will take a shot of my C&S NG work train, that includes steam wrecker 099, boom car 078, and outfit car 025.

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Posted by R. T. POTEET on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 12:23 PM

IMPRESSIVE! VERY IMPRESSIVE!

I have always maintained that were I to ever go back to HO-Scale -- and I have outlined in other posts why that is a future possibility -- I would either go to Narrow Gauge or wire; I'm not sure how feasible either of those ideas are. With the space available to me I am more likely to go to a layout heavily oriented towards switching.

Still I did enjoy your photographs of your C&S. Keep up the good work! 

From the far, far reaches of the wild, wild west I am: rtpoteet

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Posted by CS_NG_Fan on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 1:24 PM

R. T. POTEET

IMPRESSIVE! VERY IMPRESSIVE!

I have always maintained that were I to ever go back to HO-Scale -- and I have outlined in other posts why that is a future possibility -- I would either go to Narrow Gauge or wire; I'm not sure how feasible either of those ideas are. With the space available to me I am more likely to go to a layout heavily oriented towards switching.

Still I did enjoy your photographs of your C&S. Keep up the good work! 

Thanks for the kind words.

Here's some thoughts on sacle. When I first got into model railroading I started out in HO standard gauge, modeling steam in the first half of the 20th Century. Like many who first start out in the hobby, I decided to model a freelanced railroad, complete with "tongue 'n cheek' name. I also bought just about anything that struck my fancy, as long as was from the proper era. I loved NG, but was scared off by the fact that just about everything had to be craftsman kits, or scratchbuilt, so I soldiered on in HO standard. After about a year, it dawned on me that everything I was building looked alot like Colorado NG, so I decided to quit kidding myself and make the plunge. Choosing a prototype also made it easier to decide waht to buy, and appealed to my history major background.

When it came to to selecting a prototype, I just fell in love with the Ridgeway "beartrap" stacks sported by C&S locomotives, and the the boiler mounted, external airtanks that are so common to this prototype. Choosing HO scale was the easy part, as Nn3 was unheard of in those days (too small for my liking anyway), and the cost of modeling the C&S in Sn3 or On3 was just too high for my meager Navy pay.

The problem with HOn3, IMHO, has always been the poor running characteristics of brass locomotives in that scale. C&S prototype equipment is very small, even by NG standards, so finding a good running locomotive, with solid slow speed performance, was a real challenge. The new Blackstone Models have gone a long way to rectify that situation, but up until now, no C&S prototypes have been forthcoming. The DRGW C-19 release in late 2010 will help some, as all three of the locomotives they plan to release were leased to the C&S for operations on the South Park Branch in the late 1930's.\

With the debut and recent popularity of On30, I was tempted to make the shift, but you use up real estate fast in this scale, and it would have meant having to give up on alot of time, effort and expense that I had put into my HOn3 empire...so I decided to stay with HOn3. I sometimes question that decision when working on a small model "with these old eyes".

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Posted by C&S_hogger on Monday, December 7, 2009 9:09 PM

Very interesting discussion. If I may stick my nose in here in the interest of history; 

C&S_ng_Fan said

"Because of the steep grades and the lower tractive effort, typical of NG locomotives, train lengths of 5-6 cars were the norm."

 I may have a little info of interest. Around the turn of the century the C&S appears to have generally run 14 - 16 car trains with as many as 4 locomotives and sometimes more for power. In 1903 the rules changed to forbid more than 4 locomotives because of complaints by train crews that engine crews benefitted finacially over them (I don't recall their exact reasoning - but that's why the rules changed). I've also read accounts of trains as long as 40 cars in the '30s particularly connected with the ice traffic for Maddox.

The length of train was limited by the engine's ability to move the tonnage over the ruling grade - typically 4% sometimes a little more. For instance a D class locomotive (from a 1902 timetable - in 1906 these became B-4-D and B-4-E classes) was limited to just 120 tons between Mt. Princeton and the Alpine Tunnel. Presumably if you had 4 locomotives for the engine you could move 480 tons up grade. There was quite an influx of new equipment at the time so many cars could load out to 25tons but there were still a lot of 20ton cars. As you can see this is almost 20 cars if they were all fully loaded 30' modern cars. Of course you probably didn't have 4, D class engines in your train but even if there were one or two Cs (B-3-C and B-4-C) you still had well over 450tons capacity.

 What really limited the length of train was the freight that was available. But the railroad wasn't built with the anticipation of low traffic. Its sidings were designed around the anticipated length of trains of high traffic.

 The siding at Jefferson was listed as over 3000 feet. This probably included the wye and it's tail. Each locomotive was about 50 feet long and each modern car about 32 feet long over the couplers. If we include a caboose the total train length with 20 cars is roughly 860 feet. So you see the railroad did anticipate trains quite in excess of this length.

Naturally we are limited by our layout space and just how much railroad we can handle. The layout plan provided by C&S_ng_Fan is a very interesting one and obviously well thought out. I'm sure the length of siding at Jefferson and all the stations were a compromise. On my layout my sidings are designed to hold a 10 car train with three locomotives. This was a compromise or compression of the 4 locomotive, 14 car trains I saw representation of shortly after the turn of the century. In S scale this equates to 8 feet. I have perhaps a little more room than some of you but I chose an area that was about as lonsome on the South Park as you can get and my focus of operation is on the helper service over one of the road's stiff passes. At the top of the hill is the ubiquitous wye for turning the helpers from either direction. My layout is DCC and I use the electronic short devices without a hitch. It's so natural to turn an engine on the wye that you don't even think of shorts.

 I'm really glad to see all of this C&S stuff. There really aren't very many of us, it seems. It doesn't matter what scale, the modeling is great and the road is the best. Thanks for sharing. Maybe I'll try to share some photos.  

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Posted by CO-HOn3-MI on Sunday, January 31, 2010 9:27 PM

Hi All,

Late to the party, just saw Charlie Allen's layout in the HOn3 Annual.   When I did a Google search I found this thread and forum.  Liked all the comments and the other photos Margaritaman posted of Charlie's Colorado 1937 layout.  Liked the near vertical rock faces and how he used them to frame areas of interest in the Colorado 1937 layout.  I'm doing a HOn3 D&RGW layout in a 6X16 room in my basement.  This has caused me to do 2 foot wide modules.  I also am doing Bragdon foam castings over blue foam.  Charlie or anyone who has seen his layout under construction, I was wondering if any one had pictures showing how the foam was layed, glued together and then the Bragdon foam rock casts applyed.  It seems that the large rock scenery blocks are very tall but not very deep. It gives the illusion that the scene is much deeper that it really is.  I would be interested in seeing how Charlie or someone else did this because I also like rock work but it can't be very deep on 2 foot modules.  Pictures would be appreciated.  Thanks in advance.

Dex Decker

Dex Decker
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Posted by G&SPEL on Sunday, January 9, 2011 7:25 PM

You have combined aspects of my two favorite narrow gauge model railroaders...  Malcolm Furlow's articles got me into narrow gauge and Harry Brunk's articles got me into modeling the C&S Clear Creek Line. I like your model of Argo. I'm working on the same structure and know how difficult putting together all that timber is.

Mark

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Posted by warman on Saturday, April 5, 2014 8:27 AM

You succeeded in improving on the original SJC. Yours makes more sense.  I am interested in the actual track plan you followed, especially how you accomplished the mine run on the backside of the yard. I would like to try and duplicate your endeavors. Thank you for any help your are willing to offer. Fantastic job and thank you for sharing.

Warren

 

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Posted by MATTHEW JENKINS on Monday, April 7, 2014 4:04 PM

Just beautiful man a work of art. Ive been starting to get more and more interested in HO narrow. The only thing i worry about is getting bored with the LOCOs cuz there arent a whole wide range of dif kinds. They seem similar 

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Posted by narrow gauge nuclear on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 1:05 PM

A lot of folks come to the narrow gauge because of the locomotives!  They are often cute and querky.  The C&S signature locos had the odd, boiler top, sideways mounted air tanks that created a real character to them.  I love the narrow gauge as it transitioned to the tall shotgun or straight stack with the "bear trap" cinder catchers and the transition of the giant lantern headlights to the early large electrical headlights.

The great thing about narrow gauge is you do not have to feel obligated to follow any sort of reality.  If you just stay in character to the region, you can do anything that would be reasonable, given the time and geography.  You can modify your engines to bizarre and interesting new specimens with a cover story of..." yeah the D&RGW sent that C-21 to scrappers, but my road bought it from the scrapper's track and saved it".

With old brass now often being found cheaper than modern NG locos, the Blackstone C-19s and K-27 mudhens and Tsunami sounds for the narrow gauge, nothing is there to stop the basher from doing amazing work on an old or new NG locos to make it their roads own unique specimen.

It is an age for the narrow gauge and it is expanding quickly.  When NG sectional HOn3 track appeared, last year, you just had to know the gauge had arrived and new adherents would be coming.

Nice old original post recovery. Way back in 2009 narrow gauge was was just starting to crawl out of the specialist, scratch builder only zone of model railroading thanks to Blackstone in HOn3 and Bachmann's On3 efforts.  Narrow gauge has had its own premier magazine since 1975, but it took manufacturers and MR's to build and enlarge the community.

I would posit that there were always N.G. people out there in their hearts, but it took a few bold manufacturers to bring them out of standard gauge by making reasonably priced, R-T-R locos and cars.  The flood gates then opened.  

 

 

Richard

If I can't fix it, I can fix it so it can't be fixed

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Posted by Jimmy_Braum on Thursday, April 10, 2014 9:47 AM

If I didn't have so much Pennsy stuff, I would do Pennsylvania narrow gauge in a heartbeat.

(My Model Railroad, My Rules) 

These are the opinions of an under 35 , from the east end of, and modeling, the same section of the Wheeling and Lake Erie railway.  As well as a freelanced road (Austinville and Dynamite City railroad).  

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Posted by narrow gauge nuclear on Saturday, April 12, 2014 1:06 PM

Jimmy, I know what you mean and where you are coming from.........I abandoned 30 years of heavy standard gauge HO collected brass and other locos along with many pieces of rolling stock.  The NG bug just bit too hard.  I'm having a blast in this new world of NG, but did save most of my HO scale scenics that were "period correct".

If you like big roads, giant yards, huge engine houses, long trains and big operation, stay out of narrow gauge. 

Narrow gauge is a kind of cute and cozy, tumbledown structure world that the 20th century never seemed to touch in most of its less than stellar trackage.

 

Richard

If I can't fix it, I can fix it so it can't be fixed

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Posted by cacole on Saturday, April 12, 2014 6:47 PM

A former C&S engineer who visited our club said the crew members referred to it in its latter days as the "Creaky and Shaky."

Malcolm Furlow appeared in several episodes of "Tracks Ahead" on PBS, and I especially enjoyed seeing his efforts.  Some of his layouts even used G-scale trains!

Congratulations on capturing that Malcolm Furlow look in your narrow gauge layout.  Truly outstanding work!

 

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