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A Lil' Peek 2/5/11


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#1 laming

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 09:25 AM

Thought I'd share a little peek at one of my favorite projects: The Frisco Line's Mansfield Branch in the Coal Belt region.

Remember the Coal Belt region in the western Arkansas region had three major railroads penetrating it: The Frisco, the Midland Valley, and the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern. (WHICH, by the way, I have almost ALL track complete in the Coal Belt region for all of these railroads... AND... enough Rock Island RR track at towns to have effective interchange and AI traffic potential! Eat your heart's out. tongue.gif )

ANYWAY... back to the current topic at hand...

Below you'll find a couple of AE maps depicting the Frisco's Mansfield Branch between Jenson and Mansfield. Most major points, and what have you, are noted on the maps themselves. What the maps don't show is the hill n' dale nature of the line, as well as the grades present on some of the coal spurs/branches. The grades aren't terribly severe... but I do recall laying grades over 2% at some of the mines when I was laying rail. Try getting a heavy cut of gondolas loaded with coal up out of a hole like that! (Or getting them down the grade safely with 1900's era air brakes!)

Also, Jenson was noted to have simplistic engine service facilities as well as a modest yard for empties in/loads out to the north/south Frisco main line. It was also recorded that during the 1900's era the Mansfield Branch kept five full crews busy out on the line daily. That's a bunch of mine traffic for a 17.9 mile branch. Oh... and the Rock Island had trackage rights over the line to Fort Smith to the tune of four trains a day. In fact, there were EIGHT scheduled passenger trains a day on this line in the 1900's! Add to this mix the five coal switchers plying the line and working the spurs, along with any extras to/from Fort Smith to Mansfield... and there's a bit of traffic potential in this one lil' segment of railroad!!

Anyway... this is what I have been piddling with when not trying to learn 3D Canvas. For example, last night I completed the updates around Montreal. There are now two more significant mines at Montreal that I learned about the past few months!

All for now... talk to you later!!

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#2 laming

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 08:49 PM

Hi All!

Been havin' fun laying rail through my most favoritest places. laugh.gif

Don't know why, but lately I've really had the burn to further the rails on my pet project. I reckon' it's no longer just the "Coal Belt"... for it is fast leaving that area and getting into the heaviest of the Ozarks. In fact, the map I created last night (see below) is already out of date by about 11 miles! That means the main to the north goes off the current map! Yeah, I know, I can really slap the track down when the fever's flung on me! OH... and the rail heights above the creek beds are spot on.


As of a few minutes ago, the rails arrived at the helper town of Chester, Arkansas. Taking a break at the moment, for I need to dig out some of my data that I've amassed over the years for Chester. Got to locate and place a turntable, small yard, long pass track, coal shute, water tank, depot, and some small industries. Chester was a neat place "back then". Pic 1 illustrates a quiet summer afternoon during a lull in the activity at Chester.

The Route Of The Coonskin, circa 1900's is really getting a boost over the past while! The "snipes" have really been workin' their tails off! (Pic 2!)

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#3 S. Weaver

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 09:53 AM

Chester, the little store with the games of chance, no? biggrin.gif

#4 laming

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 05:48 PM

Yup, that's the place! Sad news, though, Steve: The Chester store burned a couple weeks ago. sad.gif

The interior was damaged severely, however the basic structure, being rock, is okay. Everyone is hoping they're going to rebuild.

As for Chester...

Tonight I get to recreate the "Chester that was"! biggrin.gif

I am fortunate in that I came by a hand drawn map of Chester that was drawn as Chester existed in 1948. Much of the original track arrangements, original railroad structures, original town structures from the 1880's-1900's were still in place on the map, though some of the town structures were abandoned (such as the livery stable, etc.) and some of the rail facilities were modified. (Such as the coaling facilities perhaps?)

If you'll look closely at the above Chester pic... you can discern the coaling trestle/chute as well as a plume of steam (pop offs?). Can you find the two?

#5 S. Weaver

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 12:22 PM

Safeties between poles one and two, and three and four. Coal dock between two and four (five?).

#6 laming

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 07:52 PM

QUOTE(S. Weaver @ Feb 15 2011, 2:03 PM) View Post

Safeties between poles one and two, and three and four. Coal dock between two and four (five?).


That's what I think. Don't know if we're correct or not.

All:

I did the best I could on the track at Chester. My data was at variance (imagine that), so I interpreted it as best I could!

However...

<<< LOUD DRUM ROLL HERE!!! >>>

I have made some GREAT progress since the above update.

Below you'll find an updated map of the overall progress on my Frisco Lines obsession... er... I mean route. wacko.gif

Compare it with the maps above... and you'll get an idea of just HOW FAR I've pushed rails through the Ozarks over the past week!

I'm tellin 'ya... I am REALLY enjoying working on this lil' project. It is very personally rewarding to be recreating THE most influential rails in my life. Plus, giving-in to my fascination with the TOC19 era and doing it as it was in the 1900's is adding immensely to the operational potential as well as boosting my personal gratification.

Man I dig that TOC19 stuff!

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#7 laming

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 07:54 PM

While I'm at it, here's a quick map of Fayette Junction...

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#8 scottb613

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 06:58 AM

Go - John Henry - go...
wink.gif

Nice work sir...

Regards,
Scott

#9 laming

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 08:18 PM

Thanks Scott! Like I said, I am REALLY enjoying this labor of love.

All:

Seein' as I'm here, I might as well update you...

Below you'll see what's been added since Fayette Jct:

* Fayettevlle proper.

* Ozark & Cherokee Central branch (will be extended far enough to allow O&CC AI traffic.)

* McNair (Connection with, and to the interchange with, the O&CC.)

It's over 1% upgrade from Fayette Jct all the way through Fayetteville proper. Also, the O&CC descends on 2.6% grade from their joint access to the Frisco depot at Fayetteville to near where their rails pass under the Frisco.

Oh yes, and last night I relaid about 50% of Fayette Jct to more closely resemble the prototype!

This is good stuff, Maynard!!!

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#10 laming

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 08:26 PM

And here is a closer look at Fayetteville proper. A few points:

* The entire area is on a northbound grade exceeding 1%. Better be careful when switching!

* There's no way to convey the small area all this is crammed in, as was the prototype.

* On the north end will be a wooden vehicular (horse n' buggy) bridge directly over the ladder switch.

* There will also be rail bridges on the climb from Fayette Jct to Fayetteville proper.

* There are still some industries that I have not identified as yet. When I do, they will be placed accordingly. If not, I'll make something up. tongue.gif

Next: Lay track to the East Fayetteville (MP 351.9) switching area... then it's off to Johnsons (MP 347.4), Springdale (343.1), Rogers (332.7)... eventually Monett (MP 281.9)????

laugh.gif

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#11 laming

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 09:13 PM

Rails are now through Springdale, Arkansas, MP 343.1!

Along the way between Fayetteville and Springdale, the rails passed through such glorious places as:

MP 351.9 East Fayetteville (Pass track car capacity 40, auxiliary track 36)
MP 347.7 Gulley (15 cars)
MP 350.1 Lilburn (10 cars)
MP 347.4 Johnsons (Pass 41, other 9)

Plus, there's a 2+% quarry spur w/runaround near Lilburn.

Springdale is on a plateau of sorts, and the rails will be on said plateau until north of Rogers, MP 332.7. Soon after Rogers, though, it hits the Ozarks again, this time twisting and turning and running the ridges for quite a spell with a profile to match.

Welp... all for now!

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#12 laming

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 11:20 PM

Gettin' a mite sleepy... blink.gif ... so think I'm ready to call it a night and leave the virtual Ozark Mountains.

Seein' as this is a labor (obsession?) of love... I'm really trying to make it as accurate as practical. Of course, there ARE inaccuracies and compromises... but I guess that's to be expected. At least I've tried to keep them minimal. However, the overwhelming majority of areas it's as dead on as MSTS will allow.

I offer the following three random Route Editor views I took a few minutes ago to illustrate just how effective this old gal named MSTS can be! Note the USPhotomaps created and DEMEX placed markers in relation to the finished trackwork!

(Yawn)... that's it for me. Nighty-night all!


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#13 laming

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 10:02 PM

Not one to let the grass grow under my feet... as of last night the rails reached Rogers, MP 343.1!

I am having a difficult time deciding whether there is a gentle curve entering Rogers, or if I'm seeing things in USAPhotomaps. wacko.gif

Sooo... seein' as I'll be in Springdale this Sunday, I intend to make a quick recon trip to Rogers for an onhand "look see".

Thus, track laying north is temporarily suspended. In the meantime... wonder what that St. Paul Branch would look like??? rolleyes.gif

#14 atsf37l

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 02:03 AM

Yer on a roll! smile.gif

#15 laming

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 06:34 PM

Yup, been on a BIG roll of late.

FWIW:

Seein' as I won't be in Rogers, AR until this Sunday, I decided to add tiles and see what happened going south. Wasn't satisfied with a few elements so scrubbed that idea for now, and have worked on my load screen instead.

Oh, and speaking of my load screen: Given the northward extension into the Ozarks, therefore outgrowing the coal belt portion, I decided some time ago that a change of names was in order from The Coal Belt to something more descriptive. Thus, this Frankenstein of a route is now The Frisco Lines.

Below you'll see the "definite maybe" candidate for it! (Click on it to expand it to view full size.)

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  • Attached File  load.jpg   152.66KB   76 downloads


#16 august1929

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 04:32 PM

Wow Andre - somehow I have missed all this. A real empire, especially around the "Coal Belt" region.

That B&W shot of the track & water tower is really evocative. Plenty for you to get your teeth into smile.gif

Rod

#17 laming

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 06:18 PM

Hi Rod!

It is really great to see you here again. Over the years I've always enjoyed exchanging concepts/philosophies/etc with you. Don't be a stranger!

As for my Frankenstein route:

Here a while back we all chewed the fat in a thread or two and the consensus was, that the only way to truly enjoy route building (and sustain interest in the project) is to build something that is PERSONALLY interesting and a PERSONAL passion. Well, look no further. The Frisco in my region (especially the Ozarks), circa 1900's, has been an interest that dates back to at least the mid 1970's.

You could further break that down into the following areas of high interest:

* The Fort Smith District (called Subdivision later).

* The Coal Belt region.

* Frisco's St. Paul Branch.

* The Black Mountain & Eastern, which connected with the Frisco at Combs, Ark, on the Frisco's St. Paul Branch.

As for my attempt at recreating the system in V scale, well, I considered adding to the above the portion of the Arthur District from my route's current end of track (near Cameron, OK) down through my home town of Poteau, and on into the Ouachita Mountains to the helper town of Talihina, OK. However, the further south I go in the route, the more the markers are shifting (or the terrain?) and hence the more hassle it would be to do a creditable job on reproducing said segment, so that idea is being iced for now. I may later revive the idea and at least get to Poteau, but we shall see.

Now, a real given is my fascination with the St. Paul Branch, and the 16 mile Black Mountain & Eastern that connected at Combs, Arkansas.

So, it should come as no surprise that I already have the markers for the St. Paul branch ready to import into the sim, and tonight I intend to create the marker file for the BM&E.

You should recall the BM&E, Rod. It was on one of the beta's of the Ozark Northern I sent to you waaaay back when. At the time, you commented that even though the Ozark Northern was fantastic, the BM&E was going to be even more astounding. Well... you were right. As mentioned before, the BM&E was the inspiration for several of the scenes on the Ozark Northern. This time, though, no protolancing... the BM&E portion (in all its ruggedness) will be PROTOTYPE... including the 5%-6% switchbacks! Though the BM&E never reached its far-flung goals... it was a fascinating study and a worthy candidate to be recreated, and thus preserved, in V scale.

Below you'll find a few pics that I turned up some 2 or 3 decades ago before the advent of the internet. These were dug up via visits to the area, following up on tips/leads, interviews, etc! I have two manila folders full of BM&E stuff!

Anyway, the Frisco runs deep in me... so I dusted off this previous route effort from years ago, updated it (XTracks) and decided to just follow my interests and see where they lead!

May never, ever, get this fully completed scenically, but I trust I will get scenery complete in portions of it. For sure, it's very personally gratifying to see it take shape in RE.

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#18 S. Weaver

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 09:04 AM

Andre, this is just excellent! I just knew you had to do the St. Paul's branch.

#19 laming

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 08:18 PM

Boy Steve, you've been gettin' around on the ol' VSC forum of late, eh? That's good! 'Preciate the words of encouragement!

As for my "Magnificent Obsession" aka "Frankenroute":

(Big drum roll please!!!)

>>>> The St. Paul Branch rails have reached Combs, Arkansas! <<<<

Now how cool is that? This means I can recreate the depot scene above... complete with the pigs rootin' for something to eat! (IF I can model pigs in TSM???)

BUT... as is the case with Rogers, Arkansas, I need to answer a few questions before I can lay track in confidence at Combs. My Sanborns for the Combs area are incomplete. It MAY match the basic arrangement noted on the 1925 Frisco St. Paul Branch track chart... but simply doesn't cover enough of the area to be conclusive.

Historian acquaintance "Tom" of Lowell, Arkansas has an entire evaluation MAP of the Black Mountain & Eastern that I would dearly love to see again (I viewed it over a decade ago). Unfortunately, I just haven't had the free time to do so.

Last week Tom was kind enough to send me his updated textual history essay. (He updated it in 2007 to reflect new findings.) That in itself is a FASCINATING read.

For example: Most of you know those tall trestles on the Ozark Northern? Well... they were lifted straight from the prototype Black Mountain & Eastern, including the one sitting on the rock ledge with a waterfall.

However, the PROTOTYPE was even more fascinating. Take this quote for example:

"Bridge 2 was 303 feet long and only 251 feet from the newly constructed Black Mountain depot. "

Bridge 2 was also nearly 100' to the floor... and there was a small depot within a stones throw of it!

Oh, and how big was the depot?

How 'bout 14.5'x24'x12.5'? Talk about dinky! I also have Freight House locations/dimensions, Tool Shed locations/dimensions, Shop dimensions etc!

I just need a good map viewing to get all these elements in place. When I do get an opportunity to view his BM&E map, I am going to attempt to take digital photos of the entire map so I can have it on my hard drive for reference. At this point, my best chance for a viewing will be March 20th.

Oh, here is further information from his essay about the little mountain town of Black Mountain:

"This depot had a 617-foot siding and a water tank for the steam engine. This probably was the busiest station on the line as Phipps Lumber is known to have operated a temporary mill about two miles from Black Mountain."

A 617' siding equates to about 17 36' cars. Knowing this area well, having hiked it several times, and ridden over the roadbed aboard a trail motorcycle more times than I can remember, you can't imagine how tight the constraints were, and how quaint such a location would have been!

(Sigh). I need to get the questions about Rogers and Combs settled and view that BM&E map.

It's good stuff Maynard!

All for now!

#20 tenore

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 09:34 AM

Man, this is really fun for me to watch, being from the same area. Can't wait for you to finish. I can understand that having a personal interest in an area makes it easier to persevere.
Is Maney Jct in Ok? I know there is a place west of Hartford that we called Rock Island. Is that where it is?
Once I get some more hands on with the MSTS, I might try my hand at the trackage from FS to Paris in the same time frame as yours. I really like the steam era, and your pictures of locations are cool.
I see from the maps that the Phipps lumber location is near where the Cass CCC unit is and that the rail line goes west over near White Bluff. How close was it to where Shore Lake is now?
By the way, downloaded the StL and the loco's late last night, after I downloaded all the upgrades from Steam4me and they look great. Didn't run much because it was late, but am looking forward to running it tonight.
H.D.