So what can I say about this North Arkansas Thang? Though it may seem I'm quite flighty... I'm really not.
(At least, that's what I tell myself!
Actually, though, stop and think: For the most part, the projects I flit to and from that you read about on this forum the past several years, all concern my dependable interests. Namely:
* TOC19 railroading in the Ozarks.
* TOC19 railroading in the Rockies.
So, when I'm in an Ozarks mood, and want to work on a route, that easy. It's either: Frisco (especially the St. Paul Branch), the North Arkansas, or the Black Mountain & Eastern.
When I'm in a Colorado mood: CM, or narrow gauge!
Now, about that North Arkansas Thang...
This internet thing is simply amazing. For more than two decades, my North Arkansas literature/data was very limited. Then the internet thing happened. Though it took it a while to take off, once it did, the information exchange and growth simply exploded. Via the wonders of the internet, I now have a North Arkansas folder on my hard drive that contains nearly 500 megabytes of prototype info/pics and etc! The Frisco Lines folder is about the same, maybe a bit bigger. There is a Yahoo email list devoted to the North Arkansas, and the archived website is getting ready to be reactivated. (Us North Arkansas Yahoo's are going to fund it via donations!)
Who'd a thunk this back in 1976 when I first became interested in the more-than-obscure North Arkansas?
Because of the internet, since my creation and release of the North Arkansas in 2004, my database has grown to include:
* Copies of the prototype track charts for the entire 360 mile line. (Dated in the late 1930's.)
* Sanborn maps for strategic locations, including Eureka Springs as it was in 1892, 1909, and 1914! (Plus 1930's using the above mentioned track charts!)
* Pictures of almost every locomotive that was used on the line.
* I have photo map access that shows traces of roadbed that were previously not noted on updated topo maps. (Such as between Beaver and Seligman.)
* Detailed maps of the yard, shops, and industry spurs of Harrison... including notes on when tracks came/went!
* More info and tidbits as well as photographic scenes.
Anyway, because of all the data and information I have amassed since my release of the North Arkansas route in 2004... it should come as no surprise that over the ensuing years, I have tinkered along and my basic North Arkansas route has grown.
In fact, the rails now run from Seligman to Harrison, some 70 miles or so. Over those years, when I would work on the route, it was always rewarding to see another segment of rails extended as the virtual North Arkansas ever so slowly comes to life via MSTS.
I must admit, that "one of these days", it is a goal of mine to have the North Arkansas' track modeled reasonably accurately from Joplin to Harrison. This will include heavy remakes of existing towns on the as-released North Arkansas to bring them in line with prototype and the better data I now have. (In otherwords, I'm undoing, or will be undoing, the towns that I significantly enhanced for the released North Arkansas route, instead I'm trying to have them reflect the actual town more accurately.)
I'm also realigning main line curves to better reflect the degree of curvature used on the prototype. When the released North Arkansas route was created, I only had MSTS default track pieces to work with. The extension was converted to XTracks a few years ago, so now I can go back along the main line and model the curves more accurately.
Anyway... enough typing for now. I thought you might enjoy seeing what has been accomplished off and on the past few years when I've been on a kick with my "North Arkansas Thang".
First up: A simple pic showing the mainline twisting and turning among the tumbled hills near Alpena, Arkansas. By the way, speaking of data I've learned about the North Arkansas... I learned that zinc was shipped from Alpena, as well as Harrison! Note how the track adheres to the markers nicely.
(To be continued.)