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Field Trip 1/21/06


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#1 laming

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 08:28 PM

As mentioned in another thread, today was a preliminary field trip to the region of the proposed "next one": The Rock Island's "Hot Springs Branch".

I'll post a few pics of the surviving prototype scene as well as some anotation along the way.

First up: Grades.

As you can tell from the below pic, the line's narrow gauge heritage is showing through in flying colors... the grades are steep and plentiful, and the curvature can range in the tight to riduculously tight range!

Here's a pic of the north end of the Malvern north yard area... check out the way the grade breaks on the descent!!

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#2 laming

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 08:31 PM

Now we've turned around 180 degrees from the above pic... and looking upgrade... as you can see... it gets steeper!

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#3 laming

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 08:33 PM

Now we've turned back around, and walked around the curve in picture 1... we're now looking down the grade toward Malvern proper and the connection with the UP. Bear in mind there will be much more track and industries in the target era of 1969-70.

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#4 laming

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 08:39 PM

Next we skip over to a place called "Butterfield". In the target era of 1969-70, Butterfield was a very interesting wye junction between the RI's Little Rock Main and the Malvern line. Also thrown into the mix is trackage rights for the Missouri Pacific. In 1969-70, this out of the way place called Butterfield boasted the following:

* Three track yard w/crossovers on the Little Rock Main leg.

* Two track ore loading tipple inside the wye.

* A two mile spur up near 4% grades to a huge strip mining operation w/mine trackage.

* A three track yard on the Hot Springs Main called "Rock Siding" to serve the rock crusher/gravel operation.

* A spur with two tracks to the rock crushing operation.

Busy place!

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#5 laming

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 08:46 PM

I'll leave you for now with a turnaround and a look from Butterfield down the Malvern Main. You're standing where the east leg of the wye used to be.

The area is very picturesque and has glorious pine trees everywhere you look.

However, it's not all rural. There will be huge complexes that received rail service. Some of these complexes have multiple tracks. (Reynolds Aluminum had something like 10 tracks?) All that can reasonably be included will be represented, though the structures will have to be simplified for the sake of inclusion into MSTS.

In all, I think I've selected a winner. It will be fascinating to switch the industries, and given the grades, very challenging to switch/operate upon. It will also have interesting equipment to use, as well as... shoot... there's much to tell over the coming weeks.

All for now! Perhaps I'll share more pics later.

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#6 laming

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 09:00 PM

Did I mention a switchback? (Okay, so I fibbed about the above being the last for a while! blush.gif )

I don't know what role this switchback connection with the Mop (at the time) played into the scheme of things Rock Island circa 1969-70... but I will find out when I interview my long time friend that worked this line during that time.

Anyway... more grades as you can see!

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#7 zhilton

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 09:41 PM

Isn't this branch now a short line spun off from the UP? I can't remember...but it seems like it was part of the Arkansas Midland (ARMD) at one point. Looking at those grades I started to have flashbacks... blink.gif ....Seligman Hill. Oh boy, sure hope those RS3 pull just as well as their C420 cousins on the A&O. laugh.gif

#8 laming

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 10:07 PM

> Isn't this branch now a short line spun off from the UP?

Correct you are.

> I can't remember...but it seems like it was part of the Arkansas Midland

Correct again!

> (ARMD)

Now this is the weird part: The reporting marks that were seen today was AKMD. AK? Alaska?? blink.gif

Go figure. rolleyes.gif

> Looking at those grades I started to have flashbacks... ....Seligman Hill.

LOL! Though the gradients may be close... the roller coaster profile of the RI Hot Springs Branch is beyond definition. I will do my best to simulate the undulations, steep ascents, etc. Boy, the A&O and this route will be two totally different examples of shortline railroading.

> Oh boy, sure hope those RS3 pull just as well as their C420 cousins on the A&O.

Hate to disappoint you BUT... won't pull like a C420. My understanding is that the RS3 models were good pullers for 1600 HP units (in comparison to their contemporaries), but of course, would not be eqauls to the C420's.

I still think operating on this thing in MSTS will be an absolute hoot.

#9 zhilton

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 11:34 PM

Two out of three ain't bad! laugh.gif Hmm, not the top performers like the C420 you say. Oh man, sounds like another one of those lines where we'll beat our heads against the monitor as the train rolls backwards down the hill because the "hogger' spent too much time hanging his head out the window listening to the 244 pull it's guts out...and not watching what he's supposed to be doing. Hey Rod...go ahead and start stock piling film for your camera; your going to need it! laugh.gif

#10 august1929

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 05:42 AM

Andre, Love the cut in the second last and the general view in the last.

Very evocative.

Rod

#11 S. Weaver

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 03:59 PM

Love the pines. Hope the handbrakes are tied down on those cuts.