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Meet The North Arkansas...


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#1 laming

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 10:49 PM

For the sake of those that perhaps have no idea what is currently in the works at VSC, I thought I'd post a few pics of the current project, spread over several posts over the next few days or so.

This first route is based on a prototype that had a varied and colorful life. During the era this route is based on, the official corporate title was the St. Louis & North Arkansas. However, it was most commonly refered to as the "North Arkansas" from about the 1900's on to the end of its existance.

This route is really going to try something very, very different... and something I haven't seen tried before in a commercial offering: It is set in the year 1901.

This means there will be all sorts of operational nuances, as well as vast visual differences between this route and one that typifies a more contemporary era. Train movements, switching, lots of things, were very different "back then". I hope to capture many of the elements of railroading during the Iron Horse years that I have gleaned from my many years of rail history research.

Another very different aspect is this route is being modeled during the southeastern expansion of the North Arkansas. This will mean much of the freight being hauled in significant quantities will be rail, ties, and such building supplies.

The 33 mile mainline is very picturesque with some interesting switching potential in the compact towns. There are two branches, one of 2 miles to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and the other about 3 miles long to Berryville, Arkansas.

Well, enough text for now... here's a pic to start things off. What you're looking at is a place called "The Narrows":

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#2 laming

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 12:20 AM

Just happen to think... you might get a kick out of seeing the real place...

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#3 asciibaron

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 05:54 AM

That looks great. I'm very excited to see what other gems will be along the route. The turn of the last century was indeed a golden age in railroading. Many lines began to rationalize their physical infrastructure and began to expand single track ROW's to double track. They also upgraded bridges as the larger power was coming into use. A small railroad of this type makes for a great alternative to the heavy haul mainline action of modern railroading.

I'm curious what equipment is available for this era. I have always wanted to model 1850's B&O complete with Mud Diggers and barrel coal cars. Maybe MSTS is the best way to realize that dream. Scratchbuilding just got a whole lot more interesting...

It's interesting to see the level of detail increasing with each new release, whether it's a route or piece of equipment. This route looks like it will up the ante for railroad modeling.

-steve

#4 ckawahara

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 09:42 AM

Hi Andre!

A terrific idea. Will be one of the first in line when it's released.

Craig

#5 laming

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 11:36 AM

Steve:

Currently there are freeware models available for the 1900's, but the era you're talking about would need to be custom built. Sounds like you need to get crackin' on a 3D program!

Craig: If you've not had any exposure to historical railroading via the many textual/pictorial publications... you are in for a new experience! Many aspects are quite different than contemporary railroading.

One of the things I like about that era is that no place was Someplace, back then. Case in point: Today the area depicted below is merely trees with a dirt road (the old RR roadbed) running through it and nothing else. In 1901, the town of Pender was a going concern!

Andre

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#6 ckawahara

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 11:50 AM

QUOTE(laming @ Jan 5 2004, 10:36 AM)
If you've not had any exposure to historical railroading via the many textual/pictorial publications... you are in for a new experience! Many aspects are quite different than contemporary railroading.


Went to Google to do a search on St. Louis & North Arkansas seeking "textual/pictorial" publications. No Luck. Looks like you are going to have to enlighten your soon to be many users with a lot more tid-bits.

laugh.gif

#7 Acela2020

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 03:36 PM

wow, that looks great!

#8 Gixxer86

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 03:46 PM

Looks great Andre!So much great stuff,so little time!

#9 laming

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 04:18 PM

Thanks for the hoots and hollers, fella's... sort of like hollerin' "sic-em" to a coon hound, though. smile.gif

Bear in mind that thus far all pics posted were taken in RE. Much more clarity and smoothness in the sim, depending on one's vid card, that is. However, RE grabs are so quick/simple with complete flexibility to move the cam as desired.

Craig: You're likely not going to find much info on the North Arkansas on the 'net. There was only one book devoted to it, and that book was published in '69. It was re-issued in '82. I have the '82 reissue. Using that, my personal explorations of the existing roadbed, and my association with two tourist lines that used portions of the roadbed has had to suffice for my interpretation of the North Arkansas. Fortunately, though, my wanderings have unearthed some anecdotes from regionals that lived during the later part of the North Arkansas' life span.

One of the neat things about early railroading was what I call "onesy-twosy" industries. That is, instead of huge sprawling complexes, there were "micro-industries everywhere. Industries that would ship/receive maybe a car or two a day. Plus, the trackage of the day was more customer friendly. That is, a line wouldn't hesitate to build a spur or short branch if they felt sufficient car loadings was in the offing. Some of the track used in such situations was also interesting.

When you have an entire route sprinkled liberally with such as the above, it makes for some excellent switching scenarios.

For the North Arkansas, as it grew and developed into its fullest stature, given the verdant timber growth found in the Ozarks, timber products proved to be staple freight item. There was sawmilling, stave bolt plants, barrel plants, tie cutting plants, wagon spoke mills, lumber mills, furniture mills, etc. Almost anything that had to do with timber.

Below is an example of a larger sawmill found on my interpretation of the North Arkansas at the town of Walden.

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#10 laming

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 04:21 PM

And here is an example of a much smaller open air mill... usually called a "Peckerwood mill".

All for now!

Andre

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#11 ckawahara

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 05:48 PM

What would have been the motive power for this RR?

Craig

#12 laming

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 01:37 AM

During this time frame, the North Arkansas used 3 new ten wheelers, and an ancient a 4-4-0, and equally ancient 2-8-0. Eventually, 2-6-0's, newer 2-8-0's, 4-4-0's, and even 2-8-2's joined the roster.

Andre