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Perspicacious Pontifications 12/20/10


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#1 laming

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 06:46 PM

All:

Boy, we out-did ourselves in the "Long & Winding Road", didn't we? Ah, but several good things were brought forth that indeed gave me many points to ponder. And ponder I did.

In fact, not only did I ponder... but I also did a bit of exploration of good ol' terre firma... well... in a virtual sense of the word. However, more on that in a bit.

Anyway...

As I've cogitated cognizantly concerning certain criteria (wow... I'm on a ROLL!)... I have come to realize sumpthin': THERE AIN'T NO FREE LUNCHES.

That is, if'n I want to enjoy seeing some of my favorite scenes appear in virtual form, then there's one thing that needs to happen: EFFORT. (No duh, eh?)

But that's not all. There is something ELSE that has been distilled from said rantings of a madman in the "Long & Winding Road" thread.

Namely: I need to do things 'causin' I want to.

Yeah, yeah... I've sort of grasped this concept before... but I think you guys hit the nail on the head and drove it home. To with: I need to work on a project because it's REALLY what I want to do.

Not because I think it's "neat". Not because I think it's something that would "look cool". Not because I think it may "sell", or any other such criteria. Nope... those of you that offered beneficial input said you stayed hooked-up as an MSTS hobbiest because you had a (deep seeded) personal interest in what you're working on. Makes sense.

THAT SO...

Over the past week or two, I done done the cogitatin'... done done the thinkin'... and I think it's safe to state the following: There's three SURE'NUF INTERESTS that have been with me for long, long spells.

And those are, in order of discovery and longevity:

1. The Frisco's Fort Smith Subdivision. Primarily the diesel years. (But I also REALLY have an interest in the TOC19 era of same.) The interest in the FS Sub and Frisco diesels dates back to at least 1970, possibly late 1969. Oh, and this is not only an "interest", but there were "experiences" thereon. Lots of them.

2. The North Arkansas route. Again, two main interests: Their early years (1900's) and their WW2 years. (Specifically 1944.) This has been an interest alongside the Frisco's FS Sub since about 1976.

3. The Colorado Midland. What's not to find interesting??? Rugged terrain, 4% grades, handsome equipment... lotsa' elements to find fascinating! I've had an interest in the CM since about the early 1990's.

I conclude that the above are "stays" in my historical railroading interests. Sure, I've been enamored (and had affairs) with many, many other subjects over the decades (like the Colorado Central, RGS, Rock Island, Mopac, LNE, Rutland, etc, etc)... AND... some of those "affairs" have even been dabbled with in MSTS... but the ABOVE three main interests have been with me the longest, and I always seem to return to them. They are like "old friends", so to speak.

SO... it's obvious as the nose on my face that one(?) of the above lines offers the best chance of sustained interest over the long-term in regards to exerting CREATIVE ENERGY.

At this point, I've got a feeling that the Frisco holds the most personal attachment than either the North Arkansas or the CM. Though I will admit that when the steam bug bites (and I'm sure it will), the CM will be more likely to be picked up for a spell and furthered rather than my dormant North Arkansas route project.

Future steam bug bite aside, it should come as no suprise that I have spent a bit of time looking at what I would be up against should I decide to attempt doing something with my Frisco interest.

As you may know, I already have track in place for Fort Smith (and Van Buren) as well as almost the entire region south/southeast of Fort Smith (about 40 miles north/south and 15 miles east/west, aka the "Coal Belt"), including the lines of the Midland Valley, as well as the Iron Mountain & Southern.

BUT... the above track work is circa 1908.

HOWEVER... that track is already DONE... so why not add to it on the north end? (i.e. The Frisco's Fort Smith Sub.) Thus, when the track is finished, the entire FS Sub would be in place, as well as the lines within the Coal Belt.

This in mind, I added the tiles and terrained them with existing SDTS DEM's I have on my hard drive. Presto: Terrain all the way to Monett, MO.

Then I had the happy idea to try NED Seamless on it. After several evenings of downloaded, DEMEX'ing, and otherwise tinkering, I was successful getting NED Seamless installed on the entire Coal Belt portion as well as all the way north to Monett, MO. Unfortunately, there were mis-matches between the track work already accomplished and the new NED Seamless terrain. It would be WAY too much work to try to harmonize the two. Besides, compared to the CM's Rockies, where the switch to NED Seamless was WELL worth it, the more genteel nature of the Ozarks (to the north) and the rolling land to the south (Coal Belt) the gains with NED were negligible anyway. So, I reverted back to SDTS DEM.

BUT... that is done. I am now poised to start northward with track as the mood moves me.

Frankly, given Gaetan's FANTASTIC looking Frisco Equipment Pack... I think that "one of these days", it will be so cool to try to recreate scenes I've experienced onboard Frisco trains in MSTS.

Maybe, just MAYBE... my Frisco memories and Frisco experiences will help to recharge my batteries once I've ground to a stand still for while. I know, absolutely KNOW... that it would be SOOO COOL to be able to recreate a scene that is etched in my mind from my very first trip in a Frisco freight up The Mountain to Winslow, Arkansas back in the early-mid '70s. In my mind, I can still so clearly see that quartet of Frisco Geeps scene now... surely it would be personally rewarding to see it again in MSTS?

I can but hope?

#2 laming

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 07:49 PM

Now this is REALLY strange. I clicked "Post Topic"... and nuttin'. I mean dead in the water.

Shrugged, went to another topic, replied, hit "Post Reply"... nuttin'. Again, DEAD.

So, I gave up and went elsewhere. Now I'm back an hour or more later... and they're BOTH posted!!!

Go figure!!! wacko.gif

#3 Bananarama

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 04:33 AM

This may be due to the recent issues with the SQL database. All seems fine now, however.

Cheers!
Marc

#4 AFracer40m

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 06:43 AM

I really would love to see another diesel era route from you Andre, the A&O is still on of my all time favorites, as well as the Ozark Northern for the steam era for me.

Whatever you decide I'll be happy with, and thanks for all the hard work in the past!!

#5 laming

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 04:47 PM

Well... if'n I fool around and actually do sumpthin' with the Frisco... it's GAETAN'S FAULT!! devil.gif

I'm kidding... but not really. His Frisco Pack has been the missing element (for any MSTS effort) for a long time.

I know the Frisco's Fort Smith Sub ain't the be-all-end-all of railroading... but it sure holds some soft spots in my heart (head?). Consider:

* It was the Frisco guys that started teaching me about railroading. (As opposed to a courtesy cab ride, as was the case with other railroads previously.) The Frisco guys begin the teaching process of how to switch, run engines, basics of the mechanics of engines, track... on and on.

* More times that I can recall, or even remember, I've been onboard Frisco F's, GP7's, GP15's, GP38's, Baldwin VO1000's, and ??. I've been tutored by Frisco Hostler's, Engineers, Conductors, Brakeman, the Roundhouse Foreman, Machinists, Car Men... unbelievable access I was granted for some reason!

* It was the Frisco's Ft. Smith Sub that first baptized me into Mountain Railroading. Though the near 3% climb up The Mountain may not be as spectacular as other lines in the US... that first ride into the Ozarks, and up that climb to the quaint mountain town of Winslow, was the most influential railroad experience to ever happen to me.

I could go on, but the above should suffice. True enough, over the decades since 1970, my modeling activity of the Frisco has been up front and boiling, then put on the back burner, then to return to the forefront... then back to a back burner... etc... but my interest in the Frisco IS a constant. I will always have an interest in the Frisco, the Fort Smith Sub in particular.

So, it would be a natural fit, that of me modeling the Frisco's Fort Smith Sub in MSTS. A completed route would be a huge task... but I'm looking at building "vignettes"... and eventually enough "vignettes" and connecting scenery will exist to where it will begin to look like my memories. Of course, if a section gets completed enough to where it can offer operational potential... the of course I'll offer to any of you that may be interested... but that's a looooong ways off for sure.

Let me leave you with a few poor quality pics that I shot during The Trip (that first mountain run) as well as that pivotal little mountain town of Winslow. These poor quality pictures may not look like much... but boy, oh boy... what memories and experiences are attached to these simple snap shots.

Pic one: Aboard a GP7 as the switching at Van Buren was complete. Fireman Tom Leverett was at the throttle, and he's starting to pull out the slack and begin the trek north to the Ozarks.

Pic two: I'm in the engineer's seat now as I get my first (awesome) look at Bridge 1. According to the Frisco Bridge Record I possess, Bridge 1 is a total of 780' long and almost 120' high. We're doing about 8 MPH in 8 notch... and there's still a bit of climb to go.

Pic three: The view coming into the top of the grade at Winslow. Winslow was nothing more than a mountain town that was built at the summit of long railroad grades both sides. Winslow was named after a Frisco railroad official. Can you say "hillbilly"? Everything about Winslow then defined the term "hillbilly". Even the name of their high school basketball team: The Winslow Squirrels.

Pic four: Winslow as I first "discovered" it. There was another little business section behind me and across the tracks, but this little grouping was the one that was the "memory maker" during my inaugural Trip. That two story block building was a general store at the time, owned and run by an elderly gentleman. It had hardwood floors and ancient shelving. Bare incandecent light bulbs hung from the ceiling on their own electrical feed line. Talk about excellent sandwiches! This is where we (crew) went to get our supper for the return trip to Fort Smith. I had a delicious sliced (the owner sliced it) bologna sandwich with pepperjack cheese and all the fixin's! A few weeks after I snapped this pic, the old buildings to the left burnt to the ground.

Well... all for now.

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#6 milepost56

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 05:15 PM

FRISCO Andre, you have to do it, especially in the 1st generation diesel era. Oh how sweet it would be smile.gif smile.gif smile.gif

#7 laming

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 06:22 PM

Kevin:

Like I said, the ol' "Route Of The Coonskin" really is a good fit, given my past experiences with it.

Plus, given the prospect of Open Rails and its wonderful ability to utilize MSTS content... I don't feel like I'm wasting my time to invest it into an MSTS endeavor. Boy, a HUGE thanks to Wayne Campbell and crew for taking this on and moving forward with it.

As mentioned above, I have the 1908 track in place at Fort Smith and parts south... but I want to continue north using that version. Once I reach Monett with the track laying (if not before), I intend to modify existing track as needed to be more in keeping with my era. There will be some anacronistic compromises... for I want to be able to run equiment and operations from about 1964 to 1970, but they will be minor. Doing this will give me passenger trains (1964) and Alco FA/FB's, as well as actually being able to replicate stuff when I was first on hand to experience it (1969-1970), i.e. LOTS of F units and Geeps, in both black and yellow and orange and white.

Anyrate, as soon as my coffee is brewed and I finish this little quip... I intend to pour a cup, start getting out my Frisco references and data (and I have a LOT of data for the FS Sub)... open RE... and see what I'm up against.

Let the journey begin!

EDIT: Might as well throw in a pic I shot during the early 70's at the Ft. Smith service area!

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  • Attached File  FS1.jpg   94.42KB   9 downloads


#8 AFracer40m

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 08:35 AM

This is great Andre, get this project started lol, for me not being to familiar with the area in general, I'd love to run this route, like Kevin said first gen diesels wink.gif

I really like the feel of shortline or branch line routes, pretty sure its because where I grew up and was used to the ole BN locals plus the Dakota & Iowa.



#9 sdmcnabb

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 10:37 AM

Andre,

Great project, will you include the Frisco shops and yard in Springfield, Mo?

Steve


#10 laming

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 02:52 PM

Hi Mark!

Thanks for chiming in! I'm a gettin' started... just off to a slow start. Getting out my data and stuff... as well as taking a look in RE. I will have to adjust the track alignments on the fly, seems that the markers don't precisely fit the terrain. In some cases, off by many meters. Fortunately, I'm very familiar with most locations so I will edit on the fly and lay the track according to the lay of the land as well as using any cut/fill evidence in the DEMs.

If you're thinking "shortline"... well... the FS Sub isn't really a shortline. The Frisco's Ft. Smith Sub was a secondary mainline (of sorts), but in actuality it was a long branch feeder consisting of the Ft. Smith Sub (Monett, MO to Ft. Smith, AR) and the Arthur Sub (Ft. Smith, AR to Hugo, OK/Paris, TX). During my target deisel era's, there were scheduled freights, 24 hour switching at Ft. Smith, switchers stationed at Fayetteville, Springdale, and Rogers, extra freights, passenger trains (in '64), largish engine service area at Ft. Smith, car shops at Ft. Smith... and sometimes 200 cars trains on the scheduled freights up on the north end. Quite a bit happening!

Still, though, in many ways the FS Sub had a "shortline" look to it, in regards to its remote location and isolated nature once away from Ft. Smith/Van Buren and out in the Ozark mountains. It was wonderful.

Hi 'ya Steve!

At this point, I don't have plans to include the Springfield Sub (i.e. go to Springfield). During the years that interest me the most, due to union agreements, the FS Sub was operated via crewing at Monett. (As I recall, this was changed in later years and it was crewed out of Springfield.) So, to prototypically represent the entire FS Sub, I only need to go to Monett. "Only" is a very misleading word!! To complete the line from Fort Smith to Monett will be quite an undertaking in itself!!!

All:

Anyrate... I hope to plod along and see some track moving toward the Ozark mountains over the next few days.

OH... and what would a reply be without pics??????

Below you'll find a couple pics, one for sure taken by my old friend Mike Condren. Without further adieu, here's a couple FS Sub pics to browse and help you get familiar with "my" FS Sub line...

First pic: Set of Alco FA's heading north on the northern edge of Van Buren.

Second pic: A FA1 idling in the sunshine at the Fort Smith service area. Behind the FA is the brand new Car Shops built in '64 and in operation by '65.

Frisco Trivia Time: Do you notice anything "different" about the FA's?



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#11 billmoyer

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 02:55 PM

Hey everyone!!!

If you haven't already read it, take a look at the "Long and Winding Road" topic!

Andre is doing this for Andre! We are just spectators!!

While we may, at some point in the future, benefit from his "love", the current goal is to do this for the man! Don't get your credit cards out (yet)!

Bill

#12 laming

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 04:49 PM

Perceptive you are Bill!

As I plod along, posting pics and such along the way, I will do my best to remind everyone that there is zero time schedule. This 'n the CM are my hobby routes. And, like most hobby things, they may/may not ever see daylight.

An unexpected upside: Many of the generic "fill in" city buildings I will be creating for Fort Smith can also be used in the same capacity at Colorado Springs on the CM! (And vice versa, too.) Always nice to kill two birds with one stone, eh?

Though I really am not setting accomplishment "goals", I may be better off to get my track laid all the way up to Monett just to make sure there aren't any "issues" with terrain and such. However, that's a tall order. Perhaps just past Winslow would be a good place to stop and take a break from track laying?

HOWEVER... I also think it would be fun to build key structures that are important to me at such places as Fort Smith, Van Buren, and what have you. SO, as soon as I tire of laying track, wherever that may be, perhaps it's off to TSM and build some stuff?

Who knows? OR... better yet... what does it matter? (Boy... I like this hobby thing!)

FWIW: The rails are leaving Van Buren, and have arrived at the crossing of Flat Rock Creek.

Now, it would be a SHAME to post a reply and NOT include a Frisco pic, right??? That so... below you'll see the prototype scene.

BTW, do you note the white flags? Yup, an extra freight. Also, count the cars. Talk about a PERFECT MSTS "train": Short with modest power on the front (easy on the FPS), but said short train is near tonnage for the power vs The Mountain... so once the train hits Schaberg, it will be a tough grind the rest of the way up to Winslow!

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#13 milepost56

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 08:15 PM

Andre,
Your question started the memory section of this boys hard drive between the ears and closer inspection of the pictures netted the following. Frisco repowered there FA's with EMD 567 power plants and the dual exhaust stacks indeed show that as to be true. Whats unique is that they used the original Alco cooling system which was often changed out when these rare conversions were in the shop. The Rock Island did atleast one at Silvis which had a funky roof line due to the installation of EMD cooling fans and radiators.

#14 milepost56

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 08:16 PM

Those spark arrestors are a dead give away. I don't know if the EMD conversions were done at home or sent to EMD wink.gif

#15 laming

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 08:30 PM

You're sharp as a tack an' twice as flat-headed there, Kevin! wink.gif

Right you are: Those are repowered FA's. The Frisco sent them off to EMD at La Grange, IL to have it done. The program was abandoned once some of them were in service for feeling that the returns weren't going to be worth it. Thus, some of the FA's ran out their miles with 244's still in them. Below you'll find a pic taken 4/64 by Gordon Mott that illustrates a 244 powered FA in Fort Smith.

Also, an AE pic of the Van Buren area. As of tonight, the rails are now several miles north of Van Buren. wink.gif

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#16 dcarleton

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 04:30 PM

QUOTE(milepost56 @ Dec 22 2010, 9:57 PM) View Post

Those spark arrestors are a dead give away. I don't know if the EMD conversions were done at home or sent to EMD wink.gif


According to the Diesel Spotters Guide, Frisco FA1 units 5200-5219 (except 5210 and 5214) FB1 units 5300-5311 were repowered by the railroad with 567C prime movers.

When a railroad would do such a conversion they would typically replace the engine and generator together. The existing G.E switchgear would be retained, which meant that it would have to handle the current supplied by the EMD power plant. Fortunately the output (going up through the notches) from the EMD equipment was similar enough to the original ALCO-G.E. equipment to facilitate the conversion. It was up to the railroad to figure out how to power the cooling system, either using a direct drive from the crackshaft or by some other means. On units rebuilt at the factory, typically EMD would install their own cooling system.

These Capital Rebuild programs were an attempt to bend business economics in favor of the railroad because an existing piece of equipment could be depreciated a second time. On the other hand the cost of doing so was large enough that it was hard to justify, especially after the builders started giving trade-in credits toward units with significantly higher horsepower.

David Carleton
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#17 laming

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 05:57 PM

Hi David!

Thanks for the input! Your post made me go back and take a quick refresher course on the ins/outs of the Frisco's Alco F roster. Here's what I found:

Unfortunately, the Diesel Spotters Guide is not comprehensive in regards to the Frisco FA's and the repowering program.

There was a total of 32 FA1's, and 16 FB1's. Of those, the following were repowered:

FA1's: 5200-5209, 5211-5213,5215-5219.

FA1's 5210, 5214 and 5220-5231 were not repowered.

The straight Alco FA's lasted until:

5210 - 3/65
5214 - 7/63
5220 to 5222 - 7/63
5223 - 12/61
5224, 5225 - 7/63
5226 - 3/65
5227 - 7/63
5228 to 5231 - 3/65

Alco powered FB1's:

5312 - 2/66
5313 - 7/63
5314, 5315 - 3/65

Also, the Frisco FA/FB repower program specified 16-567-C diesel engines derated to 1500 HP so as to use orginal GE electricals.

The above according to "Frisco Diesel Power" by Louis A. Marre and John Baskin Harper. (Interurban Press, 1984.)

Ah... the FRISCO... even though they had a pretty straight-forward 1st Generation roster... it was not without it's foibles and thus interest!

#18 milepost56

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 06:57 PM

QUOTE(dcarleton @ Dec 23 2010, 5:11 PM) View Post

According to the Diesel Spotters Guide, Frisco FA1 units 5200-5219 (except 5210 and 5214) FB1 units 5300-5311 were repowered by the railroad with 567C prime movers.

When a railroad would do such a conversion they would typically replace the engine and generator together. The existing G.E switchgear would be retained, which meant that it would have to handle the current supplied by the EMD power plant. Fortunately the output (going up through the notches) from the EMD equipment was similar enough to the original ALCO-G.E. equipment to facilitate the conversion. It was up to the railroad to figure out how to power the cooling system, either using a direct drive from the crackshaft or by some other means. On units rebuilt at the factory, typically EMD would install their own cooling system.

These Capital Rebuild programs were an attempt to bend business economics in favor of the railroad because an existing piece of equipment could be depreciated a second time. On the other hand the cost of doing so was large enough that it was hard to justify, especially after the builders started giving trade-in credits toward units with significantly higher horsepower.

David Carleton
D. Carleton Rail Books

Thanks for doing the leg work Dave. I have every edition of the Diesel Spotters Guide series and just didn't have the time then to go roaming. They are great books with some amazing information, I bought the first one when it was just released and read it like the other releases from cover to cover.

#19 laming

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 09:43 AM

MERRY CHRISTMAS Everybody!!!

We've got a LAID BACK day today... got a fire cracklin' in the fireplace... daughter and grand daughter are to arrive later this evening, then it will be "Christmas Time" for the young'in.

Anyhoo... I'm fixin' to open RE and rework some Frisco track in the Ft. Smith yard. Got to pull some of the 1908 track and plop in a TOFC yard for the 60's era.

Fret not, though, I have saved a 1908 version so I can refer back to it should the time ever come in the future that I want a back-dated version of the 60's route.

ANYHOO...

What would a reply/post by yours truly in a Frisco thread be without a FRISCO PIC????

Right: Incomplete.

THAT SO...

Below you'll see a pic of a Extra 5032 North pulling what looks to be predominantly a coal train. (There was still a good coal business coming out of the Coal Belt portion south of Fort Smith.) Note the Fayetteville switcher on spot on one of the house tracks? That's a Baldwin VO1000.

Hmmmmm.....

Maybe I can twist Gaetan's arm for a VO1000 model eventually? smile.gif

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#20 AFracer40m

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 12:50 PM

Merry Christmas to you Andre, I'm really enjoying how excited you are starting this little project of yours!

That last pic you posted, wow talk about classy!