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More Rare Photos 1/19/11


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#1 laming

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 07:57 PM

If you've browsed my VSC forum for any length of time, you should full well know by now that I have three main weaknesses:

1. The Frisco in my region (and historical railroading in my region in general).

2. The Colorado Midland.

3. Colorado narrow gauge.

As for interests 1 and 2, obtaining pictorial records, trackplans, engine and equipment rosters, anecdotal info, all in pre-printed (and high dollar) hardbound is as easy as eBay, Amazon, and used/new book dealers. I have shelves full of those two subjects.

It's that first subject that is hard to find pictures and information concerning. Now understand that Mike Condren, Gordon Mott, Lou Marre, and a few others, documented the diesel era pretty good. For modern steam, Charles Winters and a few others did a good job. No, the dearth I'm talking about is early stuff, mainly. Pics and information on the early years of railroading in these parts is very far and few between.

Well, every now and then I root up a nugget concerning the most obscure of my pet interests: Rail history/artifcats from my region.

I offer them below for your perusal. What you're looking at is possibly the only two known photographs depicting a portion of the rail facilities at Huntington, Arkansas, circa 1890's. I know, not much is evidenced in these... but what is there really piques my interest.

Up first is the overall shot of some of the rail facilities at Huntington. Frankly, I'm a bit perplexed in understanding the arrangement of track that is going on here. Obviously, to the right and curving around the peak of the hill and on out of sight is the main, and a pass and a back track.

However, the long tangent between the main and the mine building? Could be a supply track and a place to spot coal for the powerhouse? (Why would they spot coal at a coal mine, though?)

It would appear that the brakeman is "clubbing" the loaded car down the incline toward the connection with the main, or to a small holding yard between the mine and the main?

Next pic is a closeup of the mine itself. What a wonderful structure full of character! Notice the very low height on the loading conveyor? Better not run the engine in too far! Also note how DANGEROUSLY close the two tracks are spaced. May only be an optical illusion, but there appears to be NO WAY a man could ride the side of a car into that spot!

If any of you have ideas as to what we're seeing here, or you may notice some detail you find interesting, please share it here!

In all, both of these photos are just dandy's that really whet my appetite for more to surface. Ah well... dream on!

Said it before... I'll say it again: Really a shame it takes so long to create route content for train sims. There are SO many projects I'd love to build!

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#2 S. Weaver

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 06:58 PM

Oh my! Excellent shots, Andre. I like the random wheelset in the first photo.

#3 laming

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 07:53 PM

That's a yepper on the wheelset. LOVE that coal structure, too. Shucks... I like it ALL.

Did you notice how barren things were "back then"? That is a help in the ol' object count realm.

FWIW: After discovering the above jewels (as well as receiving some "new" maps from John Dill), I have gone back into my old Coal Belt project begun editing the tracks in the towns to reflect the new data. In fact, as of tonight, MY version of Huntington, Arkansas now has a facsimile of the track as depicted above!

#4 S. Weaver

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 01:25 PM

Yeah, what's up with the "scorched earth" look? My best guess is that for much of the population, coal was too pricey, except on Sundays. biggrin.gif With all those stoves and all that kindling, things didn't have the chance to grow up like they do nowadays. This isn't just an Arkansas phenomena. I see it in old pictures in PA and other regions as well.

Like you said, it's wonderful for the object count, even though it might offend people who expect the lushness of today's ROW's.

#5 laming

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 05:57 PM

Hi Steve:

In the case of the Ozarks, most of the timber was good hardwood. Several things caused the hills to be denuded the first decade or two:

1. First cuttings were made for use as cross ties for the railroad building through.

2. If the stands of hardwood were significant enough, saw milling soon followed. (Such as was the case on the Frisco's St. Paul Branch.)

3. Local "peckerwood" sawmills produced lumber to be consumed locally. (Mine buildings, mine timbers, houses, main street buildings, etc.)

4. Finally, the slash and scrub trees were used for firewood and furnace wood.

The above pretty much took care of nearby forests for the first twenty years or so!

Now, as to that TOC19 "look"...

As you well know, during the 1880's and 1890's... engines were still quite ornate and spit polished. As the engines of those years began to age and they migrated into the 1900's... most of the "main line" stuff of the 1880's and 1890's was now relegated to hard work on feeder branch lines and such. The new stuff was pulling the varnish and longer and heavier freight trains.

Thus, whereas the 1890's Ozark Northern and Colorado Midland locomotive roster reflects the fading "spit n' polish" era that is so fascinating... should the Coal Belt ever see the light of day, I would want the "work-a-day" engines switching the yards, coal mines, and on locals, etc, to be grittier elder statesman on the roster from "days gone by". That is, covered with coal dust... not a great deal of shine... just hard working old engines finishing out their years in the coal fields, or in helper service, that sort of thing.

Below you'll find a couple examples from the 1908 (or close to it) era that nicely illustrates what I'm talking about:

First up is a pic from Winslow, Arkansas. These same class of engines as these two would be seen in the Coal Belt. In the case of this Winslow pic, these 500's are being used in helper service from Chester to Winslow. However, again, they nicely portray the "gritty" look I'm talking about.

Next up is a Frisco Mogul at Bessie, OK. No varnish here! Just "tough-as-nails" working men and a no-frills working engine.

It could be soooo neat to have such a line in MSTS.

Ah, as once was said about model railroading (in our case V scale modeling):

"One of the most enjoyable aspects of model railroading is in the dreaming."

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#6 S. Weaver

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 05:47 PM

The deforestation followed a similar pattern in PA, though starting with Northern White Pine and Hemlock ...

Here's a photo of Jack's Narrows along the PRR soon after the first wave of logging. The scrub that replaced the conifers can be clearly seen.

Attached File  jacksnarrows.jpg   26.62KB   216 downloads

Love that Winslow helper photo! Bring on the gritty locomotives!

#7 laming

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 08:48 PM

STEVE!!

I missed your last post somehow. That is a SUPERB old postcard picture! Love that PA landscape in it.

We are soooo blessed to live where we live... aren't we?

#8 S. Weaver

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 09:06 AM

QUOTE(laming @ Feb 25 2011, 10:29 PM) View Post
... We are soooo blessed to live where we live... aren't we?

Roger on that, boss. Old iron and history everywhere, if you know where to look.