Posted 23 June 2012 - 11:15 AM
Posted 23 June 2012 - 06:00 PM
I'm still kickin' and causing trouble! During the cooler months I do a lot of motorcycle riding... and that's where I've been of late WHEN I've had some free time and the timing was right. However, our 3-digit heat is arriving now, so I'll be inside in the A/C when I'm home from having to work in it.
This means I'll probably tinker some with my MSTS hobby. That typically means I'll be blabbing here when I do!!
Good to see you and nice that someone NOTICED the silence of late! I wuz beggin' to wonder if'n I'd done been fergotten.
Posted 24 June 2012 - 05:50 AM
I'm still enjoying the North Arkansas, A&O Sub and the Ozark Northern. These are pretty much the only routes I run anymore.
Looking forward to more Ozark RR'n from you in the future!
Posted 24 June 2012 - 07:28 AM
Wow... has it really been eight years since the lil' North Arkansas was released??? Time do fly.
As for me bikes:
There is a thread here showing wife Sharon's new ride... but I never did post a pic of MY new ride! (Been too busy ridin' it as well as workin'.)
Anyway... below you'll see a pic of my new scoot...
Posted 24 June 2012 - 07:30 AM
If you look REAL close in that first pic, my bike's up top of that rock pile that I just rode up. Second pic is looking down toward the location of the first pic. I've ridden this particular mountain range since 1979. They are like old friends.
All for the bike stuff... train stuff next!
Posted 24 June 2012 - 07:52 AM
The stirrings I've had to renew dabbling with my MSTS stuff, have been stirrings to return to my "roots" again, that is, my regional railroads that I find so fascinating, the Frisco in particular.
Frankly, I'm sitting on a gold mine of a route (in terms of lots of operational things to do)... but... I've let it grow (i.e. just kept laying track) to the point that it will NEVER, EVER get completed. I've given up on ever getting it "finished".
HOWEVER... what's goin' through my demented mind at this moment is picking a neat area and trying to make it look "finished". That way, I have some neat stuff to look at when testing/running/whatever in the sim. By some miracle I actually get that segment "finished", I can bundle up the whole enchilada (including the unfinished portions) and shove it out the door for any interested. Of course, typing this, and DOING this... is two completely different things! (Unfortunately!)
There have been a few refinements over the years on my Frisco Lines project, as I would feel compelled to go back in and rearrange track when better data became available to me, which I've done.
However, the biggest thing of late is that I've also made a decision to move it's era back to the late 1880's (there abouts). Doing so will allow me to go back to the denser areas (read: Fort Smith) and simplify it some to reflect the earlier era. (The route was originally envisioned to be 1908. By 1908, Fort Smith was a HUGE town, compared to the rest. Very dense with lots of rails n' roads.)
Retreating to the late 1880's gives me the following elements that are fun things for me:
* Smaller engines.
* Link n' pin couplers.
* More wooden false front buildings.
* More small towns and MUCH smaller cities.
However, it DOES come with a "price": Anachronisms.
That is, I just can't bring myself to rip out track for railroads that weren't there in the late 1880's. Instead, I think I'm going to trim them back, and leave them in for added personal interest.
Besides, there is no "perfect" era anyway, so I figure I might as well keep the things that make me giggle and remove the things that make me frown... right???
There you have it. The latest madness from the ultimate madman.
Posted 25 June 2012 - 04:25 AM
An 1880's Frisco Lines sounds like a hoot!
Railroading in the late 1800's...early 1900's is much more fascinating compared to what exists today.
It would seem railroads had more character (and characters) way back yonder.
Looking forward to updates on this one.
Posted 25 June 2012 - 07:39 PM
I agree 100% about the railroading and railroads of the 1880' - early 1900's having more "character" as well as characters!
Now that our summer temps are in the "miserable" range (107 or so today), once I'm home from the railroad, I have ZERO desire to go ride a motorcycle or piddle around outside in this wretched heat... soo... it could be that I'll tinker with my Frisco Lines route again.
Least ways that's my hope!
Posted 25 June 2012 - 08:09 PM
One of the elements I enjoy about railroading in the 1880's-1890's would be the engines. There was an amazing amount of variety during that time. I like the simplicity of their appliances along with their elegant styling. The engines of the 1880's - 1890's were beginning to be more utilitarian looking (compared to their 1860's counterparts) BUT... still had "style". I offer a pic of SLSF #44 below (a Baldwin Ten Wheeler built in the year 1879) as an example. This engine was still very much in service during the 1880's and 1890's. It likely kept its diamond stack well into the 1880's or 1890's. Talk about "character"!
The other picture was taken at Talihina, Indian Territory (which became Oklahoma) about 1887 - 1888. The SLSF had only been in town a year or so, but already you can see the growth its arrival has spurred. I love the "boom" experience and overall optimism that railroads typically brought to a town/region as they arrived.
Speaking of the SLSF in Indian Territory... you ought to read some of the recorded anecdotes I have in my SLSF books!!! Wow! It was some wild n' wooly country "back then"!
Yup, "one of these days", I'll have to post one of the most hair-raising SLSF Indian Territory incidents I have in my books/notes.
G' night all!
EDIT: This goofy software has reversed the pics. Oh well... you get the idea!
Posted 04 July 2012 - 12:44 PM
Had a great visit with a fellow regional rail/coal historian this past Saturday. I met John Dill for lunch here at my home town, then afterward we went up to my house to look at goodies that he brought (unpublished historical documents/etc) as well as me introducing him to V scale and my virtual rendition of the regional "Coal Belt" that he has studied for several years.
BTW, he brought me an issue of his newly published book "Sebastian County Arkansas Coal Mining". (He used some of my photographs therein and this was my complimentary copy! It's a 300 page VOLUME of information and photos!)
Anyway, he was ultra impressed with the ability of MSTS offers to recreate historical railroading. We just may have a new V scale "MSTS" convert on our hands!
That said, as we discussed this n' that... I came to the conclusion that there are still many coal mines and tracks that "need" to be modified/added to my rendition of the Coal Belt area. There was simply an unbelieable amount of coal mining that went on in the region, with rails lacing the area in a staggering way. Amazingly, this region was pretty much overlooked by historical photographers and such. Scant few photos (in comparison to coal mining in the Appalachians/Alleghenies).
To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, take a gander at the AE screen below. Note the various annotations thereon.
Bear in mind that one section (Montreal to Mansfield) is only 8.5 miles. The other portion of the 17 mile branch (Montreal to Jenson) has almost as much coal/industrial activity. In addition, consider:
* I've learned there was a switchback with even more mines located on it that peeled off at Huntington and was basically northeast of the existing concentration of mines/tracks currently depicted at Hungtinton. (See map below.)
* The mines at Arcoal need to be UPSIZED compared to how I modeled them. (I have now seen pics and track maps of said mines.)
* There was a sizable brick plant with rail service between Huntington and Mansfield. (Saw the pic!)
Like I said, this segment (the Mansfield Branch) of my mega-Frisco Lines project has much potential as a mini-route.
WHERE can I find bottled "Double Doses" of creative energy? Anybody know?????
Posted 04 July 2012 - 07:41 PM
Reason? Well... as I have been talkin' n' typin' here the past few days... I'm sort'a gettin' a'hankerin' to tinker with my MSTS stuff again... on account of some of you guys talkin' here!
I done went and opened RE tonight and ta-da! I now have the newly discovered switchback spur in Huntington laid that I just learned about last Saturday during John's visit. See pic below!
The Mansfield Branch of my mega Frisco Lines route project is REALLY looking good for a mini-route candidate. Hmmmmmm.
I've been compiling some texture maps from the Ozark Northern engines to use for repainting purposes. Yup... plan on repaintin' some St.L & SF (Frisco) engines "one of these days", and the comparison maps will help me know how Jon mapped the Ozark Northern engines.
Keep on hammerin' on those keyboards... you never know what you'll stir up!
Posted 05 July 2012 - 04:47 AM
Wow...a lot of railroading on the Mansfield branch!
Looks like there are interchanges with the Rock Island at Mansfield and the Midland Valley at Montreal.
This eight and a half mile section alone provides a lot of potential. Which direction would the coal from the mines flow?
Seems the Frisco is becoming my favorite railroad!
Posted 05 July 2012 - 10:52 AM
Let's look at your questions n' comments one at a time...
Yup, there is. During the early boom era, there was a lot to do on the 17.9 mile branch. There were FIVE St.L & SF crews that worked the Mansfield Branch. (Apparently stationed out of Hackett City.) Plus, the Choctaw Coal & Railway (to become part of the Rock Island) had trackage rights over the Mansfield Branch to run passenger trains to/from Fort Smith over the branch and the St.L & SF's North/South "Texas Line" to Fort Smith, Arkansas. (I'm not sure if the CC&R ran freight over St.L & SF via the trackage rights.)
Some of the mines put out tonnage in the 6 figure range. That's a lot of coal to ship out on 20-30 ton coal cars! (A mine producing about 100,000 tons per year equaled about 3,300 loaded 30 ton cars per year!)
That is correct, plus the St.L & SF Mansfield Branch crosses the Midland Valley again at Hackett City. (See map below.)
Bear in mind that the map above is only about half of the Mansfield Branch. Below you'll see a map of the rest of it. Total miles for the branch was 17.9 miles, Jenson to Mansfield. Very "do-able"... IF I can get the creative energy to apply myself to putting scenery in place and creating the needed 3D structures.
All directions. Much of it would go to Jenson for forwarding on the home rails of the St.L & SF's Texas Line (suspect the bulk would go north once there). There would also be some to go to the CC&Rwy. at Mansfield, as well as some going to the MV RR. During the brief heyday of the Sebastian County (Arkansas) Coal Belt... it shipped an amazing amount of coal. Don't forget... we haven't touched base on the MV's operations in Sebastian County, nor the Iron Mountain & Southern's... all of which has track laid on my version of the Frisco Lines! But those are definitely stories left told another time.
Welcome to the party, pal! I've had a "thing" for the Frisco since about 1969 or earlier. My original interest was the contemporary Frisco of the time. However, since my discovery of steam in about 1976, my primary interest in the Frisco has ever so slowly migrated back to their formative years during the 1880's and early 1890's. Just so much "character" in that era.
Admittedly, the Frisco of the 1880's and 1890's doesn't have the razzle dazzle of the Colorado railroads and the Frisco's regional boom was caused by minerals that were black, not gold or silver. Neither were their engines as bedecked and adorned as were those of the affluent railroads of Colorado during their boom, however, the Frisco had its own charm and ruggedness that is unique to the line. It was truly "backwoods" railroading through the Ozark and Ouachita mountains of Arkansas and Indian Territory. (I.T. became Oklahoma in 1907).
Once you venture out onto their north/south "Texas Line" (the Mansfield Branch connects with it at Jenson), there were lots of mountains to the north and south, which included two helper districts.
* The helper district a looong ways north of Jenson up and over the Boston Mountain range between Chester and Winslow, Arkansas. The Helper Station was at Chester, Arkansas. (All of this is modeled already. In fact, the virtual rails reach all the way to Rogers, Arkansas, and includes the St. Paul Branch of the Frisco!)
* The one well to the south of Jenson over Winding Stair Mountain in Indian Territory. The Helper Station was at Talihina, I.T. (This is not modeled YET... but I would love to get the rails that far south!) Oh, and the name "Talihina" (pronounced "Towel uh HEE nuh") comes from the Choctaw Indians. Their word "tali" meaning "iron" and "hina" meaning "road". "Iron road": Railroad.
So... the Frisco has been a personal obsession of sorts for decades. It's little wonder that a version has shown up on my hard drive via MSTS! Like I said though, the trouble is, that it has grown into a mega-route and I'm not done laying rail yet!
Sure is fun at times to continue recreating it, though.
Posted 06 July 2012 - 12:48 PM
My new Frisco book arrived in the mail today. It's called "Frisco Folks" and covers anecdotal experiences and happenings from 1849 to about 1961. Cool. Looking forward to relaxing and reading the section "The Early Years: 1849-1896".
All in good time. Got to shuffle off to work in about an hour... in the 100+ degree heat.
Along that line, yesterday at 4 PM on the way to work night shift, I saw various temp readings:
* On one of those time/temp church signs: 115 degrees.
* On the console outside temp thermometer in my vehicle: 110 degrees.
* On the time/temp Arkoma school sign: 105 degrees.
Take 'yer pick!!
Oh, and throw on an additional 10 degrees inside the non-A/C engine cab. Whew... this ain't fer sissies!!!
Posted 09 July 2012 - 08:35 PM
John has been at it again: Loading me up with nuggets of stuff he's unearthed over the years. I now have 1887 Sanborn maps for Fort Smith and Van Buren!!! I also have an 1888 "Perspective" map of Van Buren and an 1887 "Perspective" map of Fort Smith... courtesy of John!
A "Perspective" map is a hand drawn aerial map. Thereon you'll find street names, railroad details, industries w/names, even businesses are located and named!!!
You OUGHT TO SEE Fort Smith in 1887 and Van Buren in 1888. They're essentially little more than overgrown frontier towns!! BOTH have riverboat (paddle wheel/stern wheel steamboat) ports. The rail network in those towns in the late 1880's is much different than it was as I originally modeled it (1908). Basically, there's LESS, which in MSTS means MORE. (i.e. More useful, as in "Activities". Large yards just aren't practical in MSTS.)
I'm getting anxious to start tearing out and reworking track in order to start reflecting this earlier era.
But wait! There's MORE...
The other night from another historian friend (he's ate up with early steam), I received a really, really neat pic via email. (I've posted it below for your examination.)
Know what'yer lookin' at?
True, you're looking at a pic of an original St.L & SF engine. Built in 1880 by Rogers.
Now... what makes this picture so special?
Well... does it look familiar? Look closely.
Think: Ozark Northern #3.
Yup. When Jon Davis created the ON steam roster, he used regional and typical examples for the ON's locomotives on. Ozark Northern #3 is THIS FRISCO ENGINE, including the correct paint! This means that all I need to do is blank out the lettering/number, and reletter/renumber it for the St.L & SF and it's 100% accurate!
Understanding that, it should come as no surprise that I've spent part of my evening tonight creating unlettered texture maps so I can begin to create this class of Rogers-built St.L & SF engines... using Ozark Northern #3!
Now, how cool is all this???
That's right... it's pretty stinkin' cool!
Posted 14 July 2012 - 01:31 PM
Your enthusiasm, as always, is contageous.
Get to work! Oooops, I forgot; this is a "for fun" project for Andre! We'll just have to enjoy your enthusiasm vicariously.
PS - We managed to make it to Chama and get seats on the first run (this season) to Antonito. 484 and 488 took us to the summit. 484 soloed the rest of the way. It was a great ride!!!
Posted 14 July 2012 - 02:11 PM
Thanks for stoppin' by and chiming in!
So glad you had a great time at Chama! I LOVE that place. We had hoped to make a trip out there sometime this year, but so far vacations for the Fort Smith crews are kind of "iffy". That is, IF our new help can be trained in time, etc. Wife and I had hope to slip away second week of September to SOMEPLACE. Just have to wait and see.
As for my pet project:
Trust me: If I EVER get a portion of my Frisco Lines project completed enough to share, I will gladly offer it to all of you. I know it would make a great... no fantastic... route... but boy it is getting huge.
Check back here soon... I'm hoping to share a massive update as to what I've been piddlin' with lately.