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Big Update 7/29/12


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#1 laming

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 08:06 AM

Wow. Given the heat (don't wanna' do NUTTIN' outside once home from work)... I've been pounding the virtual spikes like a madman.

Consider:

Since my last route update, I have laid 50 miles of rail, including three signficant rail towns. As of now, the mainline rails of the St.L & SF reach from Rogers, AR, (MP 332.7) to the north (time table east) to Talihina, I.T. (time table west) to the south. My last stint of rail laying extended the rails from just south of Maney Jct, I.T., (MP 431.7) all the way to the Division Point town of Talihina, I.T. (MP 483.6).

Thought it good to give you an update and show you some of the progress!

First stop: Poteau, I.T.

This is my home town! Unfortunately, the only rails that survive are the north/south rails of the Kansas City Southern. However, as you can see, when you go back over 100 years... things were quite different!

What you're seeing:

A: Indicates the St.L & SF rails through Poteau. There is quite a bit of onesy-twosey industry to be located along the sidings/etc. "Main Street" will front and run parallel with the St.L & SF rails to the northwest about where the "A" is on the map.

B: Crossing at grade with the Kansas City, Pittsburg, & Gulf. (Now the KCS.)

C. Interchange yard with the KCP&G. There was a signficant amount if interchange traffic between the St.L&SF and the KCP&G.

D. The Poteau & Cavanal Mountain RR. This was a shortline railroad that ran up to Cavanal Mountain to mine the high quality coal that was (is still) there. I drive part of their road bed everytime I leave/return to our house! Gotta' include it.

E. One of the many coal mines nearby. There are more south (time table west) of Poteau.

F. The KCP&G mainline.

In addition to all of the above. I have learned over the past couple years there was ANOTHER railroad that entered Poteau via trackage rights over the Frisco. It was originally called the Choctaw & Arkansas and was owned by the KCP&G. It had a few miles of mine trackage heading east from the town of Bonanza, AR. Bonanza was located on the St.L&SF (and is modeled on my Frisco Lines route)... so the StL&SF accomodated the A&C with trackage rights to Poteau for interchange with the KCP&G. Interesting!

Next up, Wister, I.T....



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#2 laming

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 08:10 AM

Wister, I.T.

Now you're looking at Wister, Indian Territory.

The St.L&SF crossed the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf RR at Wister. Again, significant interchange took place at Wister. Oh, and leaving Wister headed time table east on the St.L&SF? 1.05% for about a mile. Takes a while to get started and get over that with a heavy train headed east!

Next: Talihina, I.T.

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#3 laming

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 08:18 AM

Ah... TALIHINA, Indian Territory!

The local Choctaw Indians actually gave the name to the town, though they didn't intend to. The name "Talihina" (locally pronounced "TOWEL-uh-HEE-nuh") is a pale face slurring of the Choctaw words "tulla" (meaning "iron") and "hena" (meaning "road"). To the Choctaws, the unusual looking roadbed/trail was an "iron road". Thus, the name "Talihina", actually means "Iron Road" in Choctaw... the Choctaw's way of saying "Railroad"! Amazing the things you learn researching rail history.

Talihina was wild n' wooley in the late 1880's. (As were most of the towns in Indian Territory.) I hope to reflect that in some way. Talihina was a Division Point in the late 1880's. Helpers were needed to surmount Winding Stair Mountain (which was actually a pass over a mountain range by the collective name of the Winding Stair Mountains). The grade north (time table east) was a paltry 1% - 1.5%. However, the south bound (time table west) grade was a killer with nearly 3% grades. Thus, helpers worked both sides of the grade, operating out of Talihina.

Though the climb on either side was shorter than the 7-8 mile torture up Boston Mountain in the Ozarks, it was tough enough that helpers were needed... thus the isolated wild and raucus town of Talihina, I.T. was born!

Well... that's all for now. Gotta' run off to church. More later!!!

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#4 zhilton

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 01:48 PM

Did the Poteau & Cavanal Mountain have an interchange with the KCP&G/KCS or were they a "one railroad" operation?

Never realized the grade south of Talihina was that tough. I know from Wister South/West on the RoW they had some decent grades, but for what ever reason south of town never dawned on me. Though I've only been in that part of I.T. a handful of times

#5 laming

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 02:28 PM

You ask a very difficult question, there Zack. (Good question!)

I have one written source that indicates the P&CM had a connection with the KCP&G/KCS. From that one source, one would tend to think they had a physical connection, and they may have. However, the only map I have indicates their connection was with the Frisco at Poteau, and accessed the KCP&G/KCS via the connection that is modeled as above. Also, the line went through some name changes, so that's another element that makes it tough to decipher some of the data. (One of them was the "Poteau Coal & Mercantile".)

Also, it's easy to confuse the P&CM with the Ft. Smith, Poteau & Western. The FtSP&W connected with the KCP&G/KCS at Shady Point, and ran generally southwest to the north slope of Cavanal Mountain at Calhoun to mine coal there. The FtSP&W survived longer than the P&CM. The big mine on the P&CM had two deadly explosions in the 1900's. The second one was bad enough that the mine shut down shortly after that.

As for the grades over Winding Stair:

Like I said, the climb over Winding Stair is not nearly as visually dramatic as the climb to Winslow (where you're looking down on at the hollow below and have three huge trestles) but is still quite a climb from Bengal to the top of the grade at Compton.

As you can see, all this rail activity crammed into the Ozark and Ouachita mountains... and rails were the only way to move the freight. This is one of the primary reasons I enjoy learning about the link n' pin era. There were lines (seemingly) everywhere.

BTW: Did you work today?

#6 TheGrindre

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 04:18 PM

One of the things I find interesting about all this is that it's all right here in my own backyard.

:-)

#7 zhilton

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 09:49 PM

QUOTE(laming @ Jul 29 2012, 3:09 PM) View Post

You ask a very difficult question, there Zack. (Good question!)

I have one written source that indicates the P&CM had a connection with the KCP&G/KCS. From that one source, one would tend to think they had a physical connection, and they may have. However, the only map I have indicates their connection was with the Frisco at Poteau, and accessed the KCP&G/KCS via the connection that is modeled as above. Also, the line went through some name changes, so that's another element that makes it tough to decipher some of the data. (One of them was the "Poteau Coal & Mercantile".)
Knowing the general lay of the land...you'd think if there was an interchange...there would be some fills & cuts still around after all these years. Time to dig through some Sanborn maps.
QUOTE(laming @ Jul 29 2012, 3:09 PM) View Post
Like I said, the climb over Winding Stair is not nearly as visually dramatic as the climb to Winslow (where you're looking down on at the hollow below and have three huge trestles) but is still quite a climb from Bengal to the top of the grade at Compton.
Sort of like another active grade geographically east of the Winding Stair. You don't realize just how much they've climbed until you find a place where you can see the drop or look at a topo map.
QUOTE(laming @ Jul 29 2012, 3:09 PM) View Post
BTW: Did you work today?
Nope, I was playing trains last week. I think it was Mikie & Steeltrap today.

#8 laming

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 06:57 PM

Rick:

Yup. There's a lot of interesting historical railroads in your home state. Did you know there was a 3' narrow gauge railroad (common carrier, not a logging railroad) just south of you that was built during 1875-1876, wasn't std gauged until 1893, and some of its roadbed w/std gauge rail still sees trains daily? Yessiree... you're gonna' have to get out more! laugh.gif

Zack said:

QUOTE
Knowing the general lay of the land...you'd think if there was an interchange...there would be some fills & cuts still around after all these years. Time to dig through some Sanborn maps.


I have had limited success unearthing early Sanborns. None for the Poteau area. Bear in mind the era I'm talking, this region was still the Choctaw Nation, I.T. I don't know if Sanborn mapping company ventured into settlements in Indian Territory? Anyway... if you score... be sure to share!

As for the P&CM: The roadbed-turned-road is very easy to discern from downtown Poteau all the way to the foot of the climb up to my house. If you're ever down this way I can give you the guided tour... OR... if coming from Fort Smith, head on in toward downtown. As you near the downtown area, turn right at the stop light next to the car wash (which is on the SE corner of the jct). Once turned west on the road, that's the roadbed. You can then drive the roadbed pretty much all the way to the point where you turn uphill to make the final climb to my home. Of course the new bypass pretty much obilerated the old road/roadbed at the bypass overpass area near Polk Creek.

QUOTE
Sort of like another active grade geographically east of the Winding Stair. You don't realize just how much they've climbed until you find a place where you can see the drop or look at a topo map.


You got the idea. However, the DEM terrain indicates the Winding Stair terrain is more up close and personal, as well as bit more dramatic, than the KCS climb up Rich Mtn.

All for now!

EDIT: Forgot to add that while searching the internet for the historical items concerning LeFlore County (where my home town of Poteau is located), I discovered that a new book has been published and released this month called "The Birth Of Poteau". Amazing! Approximately 420 pages 300 photos. Mostly dealing with the early decades of Poteau... right up my alley! Needless to say, the book was duly purchased and should be headed my way in a day or so!



#9 sstyrnol

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 12:34 AM

I must say, I am astonished by the diligence and accuracy you put into recreating this. I guess it must be quite hard to get at all that reference material. I remember a German vendor trying to recreate a route set in the late fifties, early sixties and then decided in a late development stage to push the route into the late sixties due to large scale track realignments that happened in that area ca. 1965 and very few reference materials being publicly available for the time before.

I guess that is due to the fact that in those days in Germany, everybody was about the future and did not care much about preserving things of the past. Also the old structures got ripped up very quickly to make room for new developments.

Anyway, getting off topic here. I got this topic bookmarked and will be following your progress quite closely! This looks to be a labour of art and love! smile.gif smile.gif

Keep it up! happy.gif

#10 laming

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 03:29 PM

Hi Sebastian!!

Good to see you here. It's been a looong time. Lessee' what'cha said...

QUOTE
I must say, I am astonished by the diligence and accuracy you put into recreating this.


Well, as mentioned in some previous threads about the Frisco Line project: There WILL be "anachronisms". It's been my experience (trust me, there are a LOT of unfinished routes on my hard drive) that it's a cold hard fact that it's just not possible to have a route completely accurate, regardless of the era. And when you're talking about an era over 123 years ago that ran through an obscure portion of the US... and further hampered by lack of photographic documentation and scant few written records... well... you can see what I'm up against.

Plus, I have also chosen to purposely include some anachronisms simply because the subject of the anacronism itself is of interest to me. Case in point, there are at least a couple of railroads represented in this mega route that came along later than the late 1880's... but they are important to me (i.e. I am also interested in their history), so I included them.

Ah well... it is what it is.

QUOTE
I guess it must be quite hard to get at all that reference material.


Boy, you said it. I have been rootin' around and diggin' up stuff since the mid-1970's. My manila folders weren't very full until the advent of the internet. Since then, for the most part I've traded manila folders for virtual folders... and some of them are chocked full of tidbits and documentation! This internet thing is amazing.

QUOTE
I got this topic bookmarked and will be following your progress quite closely!


Great! It's always enjoyable to read one of your posts.

QUOTE
This looks to be a labour of art and love!


Definitely a labor of love. MSTS gives one the magical ability to recreate a long-gone era that one may be interested in and even resurrect railroads that are long-gone. However... it's a lot of work. So, it helps if others enjoy the process with 'ya.

Welp... all for now.

OH...

I've turned up another minor nugget for this project. I hope to share that later... but I gotta' do some scanning first.

#11 laming

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 05:03 PM

As threatened... another trivia tidbit!! tongue.gif

I've turned up a few early-era pics of some of the towns along the Frisco Line project, mainly from Fort Smith north. Nothing earthshaking, mind you, but at least it's some pics. Armed with what I do have, when I arrive at a town that I have some pictorial evidence concerning, I hope to do a "creditable" job of reflecting the "look" and feel of said town. Those where no pics have been found: I'll do the best I can.

However, pics of the south end into Indian Territory are far and few between... much harder to come by than Fort Smith north. (I hope when my new book about Poteau arrives, this pic-poor situation can change... at least for Poteau.)

I am fortunate in that one out-of-print book I have has a picture of a Talihina business, circa 1888. Perfect.

I offer it below. I think it's a cool false front building, complete with an upper level bacony porch on the front and one side! (Did you note that Thomas Bros. also sold COFFINS? Truly a "General Store"!!!)

EDIT: Forgot to mention, the Thomas Bros. also opened a SAWMILL and a COTTON GIN at Talihina quickly after the railroad arrived! Industry to be included in my trackwork!

The pic... and another tidbit to follow...

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#12 laming

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 05:30 PM

And here's the other tidbit...

I've mentioned that railroad pics, or any early pics, of the towns on the south end are very difficult to come by. In all the books I've purchased, pics I've stumbled upon, found in old newspapers, etc, the grand total of Talihina pics with the railroad visible in the pic stands at a whopping: Two.

Yup, two pics.

Sad, isn't it?

Oh well.

Ah... but what a beauty one of the pics happens to be! (I've reposted it below from a previous thread for your convenience.)

Here's some of the things that really grabs me about this pic:

* First thing that grabs my attention: That gorgeous, brand-spanking new St.L&SF Mogul. A real beaut.

* The brand new St.L&SF boxcar. Rolling stock pics are nigh impossible to find! Though the lettering thereon is scrolled in a neat looking arc... that is really diffificult to pull off when texturing.

* The flat-roofed railroad structure between the track the locomotive sits on, and the track the cars sit on. Interesting. Also notice it appears painted in a darker color... oxide red?

* There's some type of construction apparatus on the back track, far right. Does this mean the line is still under construction?

* The tree stumps that are everywhere. Talk about a town being "brand new"... even the stumps from the trees hacked down to make way for the tracks n' town are still there!

* The town itself. Early Talihina, Indian Territory! Now, IF this pic was indeed taken during the construction of the line... that makes it about 1888 instead of the 1890's as captioned. The town itself is everything you would expect it to be: Wooden false fronts, whitewashed structures... "new" look... definitely a small town. But wait... what's that???

Do you see it? Do you see what I'm seeing?

Look verrrrry close at that first false front structure. Now do you see it?

Yup... IF you look closely... you'll see Thomas Bros. General Store from my above post... right there in this pic! So, not only do I have a pic of an honest-to-goodness early Talihina business... I have another pic that shows where it's to be located! Now how cool is that? cool.gif

Pretty cool, I'll say... except...

I haven't a clue how the original town is oriented in relation to the tracks. sad.gif

This much is a given: The main track didn't move over the nearly 100 years the rails passed through Talihina. BUT... that town isn't where the town that I'm familiar with is located. The current town of Talihina (which has some remaining brick buildings) basically sits 90 degrees to the track, and about a 1/4 mile or more from the depot area. THIS Talhina appears to be closer to the tracks and facing the tracks, but slightly angled away from the tracks... and has a right-angle junction to its "street" at the far end. (Note the way front faces on the far building.)

Hmmmm. dry.gif

Scouring the topo map for a clue... I find ONE trace of a road that is slightly angled away from the tracks as this row of buildings appears to be. Wonder if that's a renmant of the original dirt main street?

Ah the fun of research and extropolation!

(Another tidbit to follow.)

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#13 laming

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 05:48 PM

The last Talihina Tidbit...

This is the OTHER early Talihina pic with rails in it that I have. This was taken well after Talihina was done being a division point, and is now merely a helper station. It appears obvious (to me, anyway) where the small yard was located: Note the empty space between the main and the back track on the right. Also, note the two tracks coming into the camera from the left: One of those is the coal track. Coaling stations were located next to what? Yup... engine service. This it is likely that the engine service facilty was over to the left, behind the camera.

During Talihina's days as a Division Point, it boasted a 175 car siding/aux tracks capacity. Breaking that down using time table data:

* Typical pass track length for the Frisco Line as constructed: 35 cars. So, it is reasonable to assume the pass track at Talihina consumed 35 cars of that listed capacity, thus 140 more cars to go.

* Given that most yard tracks were long enough to accomdate building, or breaking-down, a train let's say there were two yard tracks and a through track, each with about 35 capacity: That's 105 more cars. Now we're down to 35 cars.

* 35 cars could be the figure that includes the team track, house track, caboose track, eng tracks, etc, etc. Plausible... but until a map surfaces that includes the rail facilities during the 1880's - 1890's... I'll never know the truth!

Anyway, "my" version of Talihina attempts to reflect the above capacities... and I "think" I hit it pretty close in regards to capacity... even if I did have to "interpret", or extroplate, the details.

BTW: This pic was taken from atop the coaling tower that was built at Talihina to accomodate the size of the locomotives as they continued to get bigger.

So, this ain't really a beaut of a pic... and is the wrong era, actually... but it IS a picture that helps orient things!

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#14 laming

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 06:46 PM

For grins n' giggles... here's a Route Editor screen w/placeholders at Talihina. (Note: All elements to be replaced except the track!)

Close?

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#15 TheGrindre

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 08:12 PM

Surprisingly enough, I did know about that narrow gauge line down south of me. I've considered making a route for it.
My issues with it are that I really don't care about route building. LOLOL I doubt I'll ever get to it.
But, I did look into it. :-)

#16 laming

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 08:24 PM

QUOTE
But, I did look into it.


As did I. (Imagine that?) rolleyes.gif

In fact, I have the terrain and markers in place to Hot Springs as well as track laid at Malvern and heading toward Hot Springs. Was going to model it after having been standard gauged. It is archived on my hard drive and other backup places... just in case. wink.gif

I really wonder if there IS a route I haven't attempted at one point or another!!!! rolleyes.gif

#17 tenore

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 07:51 AM

This is all really cool! Of course the Fort Smith area is really interesting to me.
It looks like the track to the left with the boxcar on it is a stub track.
The picture of Thomas Bros. is interesting. I remember lots of old buildings similar to that when I was a kid around the area. Some of them were in pretty bad shape. Of course they probably weren't as old as this one would be.
Chester is still my favorite little old town, although after going to Marble City it's cool too!
Are you doing anything on the Hartford/Hackett/Bonanza area?

Still haven't heard from UP. The website says my application is under review. Sigh.
H.D.

#18 laming

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 04:25 PM

Hi HD!

Hopefully, the UP will be getting in touch with you soon.

As for the route: Thanks. It's been a labor of love... but it sure is getting big. Plus, I'm trying to go back and rework portions to reflect better information... that can be a bit of a pain.

QUOTE
Are you doing anything on the Hartford/Hackett/Bonanza area?


Ummm... a little bit. (See the older map below.) tongue.gif



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#19 laming

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:51 PM

Amid all the other things going on, when I have a bit of time and in the mood, I've been furthering the rail progress on my Frisco Line project.

Having completed the line south to my southern goal of reaching the Division Point of Talihina, I.T., I had the hankerin' to return to the north end and continue the trek toward the northern goal: Monett, Mo, MP 282.

Standing in my way of making northward progress was Rogers, AR, MP 332.7. The northernmost end of track has been stopped entering Rogers, for a looong time. Well, this past week, I've tackled Rogers and have a version of it laid. I extroploted my 1880's Rogers by lopping off known anacronisms from the 1960 era track chart I have. This will have to suffice until better data surfaces (if it surfaces).

First up, an AE screen pic of the town of Rogers...

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#20 laming

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:53 PM

Leaving Rogers, the rails reached the town of Avoca, AR, MP 327.1, then on down into the hollow to the Brightwater fill/bridge area.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the large fill at Brightwater was rendered in the DEM terrain! Sometimes, elements come together in a scene and the result is a nicely accurate portrayal of a prototype line! I offer the following RE pic for your consideration...



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