Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dec 29 Post b

Hi again,

Wanted to break the posts up due to the number of pictures involved.

So here is the revised Deck 1. 
  • Items of note: Denver yard is now a real yard.  Keevan helped me on spacing tracks, now each is 3" center to center.  Added Turntable, Roundhouse, Car Shop, and Machine Shop.  Any one who has good info on these around the 1900-1920 era please let me know.  
  • Reverse loop added.  Watched the Green Frog DVD's on Jim's D&RGW and Rio Grande Southern and he had them so trains could run while talking to people and open houses.  Doubt I'l have any open houses but would like an unattended mode.  I like the sound of the engines running while I work on other parts.
  • The Smelter was reversed, given a yard (it will see most traffic next to Denver).  I'm hoping Keevan, Duncan and David can help me make the yards workable.
  • Golden changed little.
  • Big change in the middle Peninsula added back.  As discussed in previous post, this took the place of the helix.  I like this better and it adds almost 30 feet of scenery area.  The Clear Creek valley has beautiful terrain to model.  The climb is a steady 3% or a little more.
Deck 2 (Tier 2)

Items of note:
  • Idaho Springs and Blackhawk are now reversed.  Duncan recommended this as the orientation I had before had the person looking from inside the mountains.
  • The Gilpin Tram was reversed as Central city is on the deck above Blackhawk
  • Dropped the C&S switchback to Central City, just did not have enough depth.
  • Aisles generally are now 24-28"
  • All decks have same width for the respective Peninsula.
Deck 3

  • GeorgeTown has moved to the middle to allow room for the loop.  Silver Plume is now on the back wall over Idaho Springs.  Central City is now to the front.
  • A reverse loop was added at Silver Plume.
The good, the bad, the ugly - All in all I think this design is much better.  However there are drawbacks:  The design requires several removable sections spanning the door, also GeorgeTown now has a nod under.  I think these are acceptable compromises, only time will tell.  I suspect no plan survives the build without modification.

Thanks for reading, Cameron

Update 29 Dec

Been too long on the updates.  Family was out of town and I spent free time trying to install a built in Microwave / Convection oven.  Why does everything take 2-3 times longer than we think it will.

On the actual building front, not alot got done.  That is probably a good thing as I reoriented the layout and dropped the helix.  This created a few problems, Deck spacing on the middle peninsula being the biggest.  I think it is sorted out, the middle pen. is the hardest to support and is also providing the majority of the grade from deck to deck.  Put in a support wall with l-girders and the displayed portion will be only 9-12" on each side.  With this minimum depth it should make the 11-13" deck to deck separation acceptable.  See examples below.

On Deck 2 you can see Forks Creek to the extreme right.  The blue square are the support legs, either 2x2 or 2x4.  The lime green places represent scene dividers (scenery to separate views).

I also received good advice from Keevan and Duncan.  Duncan was the driving force spurring me to reorient the towns of Blackhawk and Idaho Springs.  Keeven really helped me out on the running aspects and recommended switching to #6 turn-outs.  The folks at fast-tracks were great, they changed my order for the jig will be a code 55 #6.  I will use up the code 70 and Shinorah switches I have on the Denver section.

I'll post the new design in a separate post.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Work continues

Took Tuesday off and got most structural items complete.

  • New Door installed
  • Carpet installed
  • All wall insulation done
  • About 2/3's of roof insulation done
  • rerouted wiring
So now I'm all set to begin benchwork in a serious way.

Was able to get a Brass 2-6-0 Mogul ordered.  It is brass, and already painted as C&S #9.  Nice looking unit.  Will need to be regeared, probably a new motor and I want to add DCC.  Moguls did alot of passenger work and make a nice addition to the 2-8-0's.

Duncan gave me some really cool ideas on layout to change orientation.  I'm looking at those to see if I can incorporate them.

Hope to have a couple pictures soon to show beginning point and progress to-date.

To Everyone, Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lower Deck Begun


Today was a good day, alot got done.  The floor and layer was completed and more tempered hardboard installed.  Begun building the benchwork for deck 1.  Moved more stuff out of the Train Shed and installed more insulation.

Wife is taking the family to her parents for Holidays plus off work a couple extra days so I should get some real work done.

Harvey took a look at the track plan and suggested some changes so I'm looking them over to see if I can make that work.  His does call for an extra deck for Silver Plume so that may be an issue.

With Harvy, Keevan, Dave and alot of advice from the boards I think I'm feeling more confident.

Some of items of interest:
  • broke down and got the turn-out kit from Fasttracks, so I'll use the Shinora turn-outs I have for the staging and build new for the rest of the layout
  • Ordered some BullFrog snot to help my locomotives handle the helix.
  • Tested my c-19 on a approx 3.5% grade 18-19" radius curve it it handled 6 cars (no Caboose).  quick test, I'll try test again adding a few more cars.  No Caboose at this time built so that will have to wait.  Will retest when the Snot gets in and see if it makes much difference.  If I can get 8 cars plus Caboose I will be very happy.
  • Got the Stairway to the stars book on the Argentine Central in.  Great book.  If I get to do Silver Plume this has enough info for me to model the climb to Mt. and if I can get more ideas on the Tram I will try to include that too.
Lest I forget, Hope everyone has a Happy and safe Holiday(s).

Friday, December 16, 2011


One of the goals to the new layout is to make it operationally sound.  By this my hope it that it will both be much more reliable than my previous layout (I made alot of mistakes in designing and building it especially in track laying) and have a realistic feel to trains running with a purpose.  The San Juan Central is beautiful but was very limited in my opinion to any type of realistic operations.  Like most I suspect, running trains in a circle gets boring fast.

Requirements:  Able to operate with 1 -3 operators, could expand to more if needed.  Due to size of building Dave suggested an outward opening door onto a small deck where people could relax, have a drink, and talk without being confined to the layout itself.  Plan on building a short walkway from our home deck to this small deck so you don't have to walk in dirt of mud.

To that end lets look at traffic flow:
  • The primary traffic is ore to mills, concentrated ore to smelter and to a lesser extent finished minerals in ingot form to Denver to market.  This lends itself to alot of Gondola and Box car traffic.  Starting with deck ore will flow from Silver Plume (and beyond) and Central City by Gondola.  I'm not sure the ratio of raw ore to concentrated ore, will have to research, but I would expect at least 3 times.  The Smelter is sized for about 18 box cars of concentrate daily.  this should drive at least 54 loads of ore to the mills.  So at this point we should be able to realistically run many loads from mines to mills.  From Mills we will have 18 loads minimum to the Smelter in W. Denver.  Total flow 72 cars with associated return of empties, so about 140 cars.
  • Supply traffic.  When I went to the 31st NNGC in Hickory there was a great class on prototype mine operations.  Along with many great ideas, one item really stood out, according to the presenter, for every 1 load of ore out, there were 3 loads of supplies brought in.  This included items such as timbers for reinforcing tunnels, chemicals, tools, machinery and additionally personnel.  If that ratio were to hold true, this would generate a small amount of passenger traffic, reefer traffic (food), and box car, flat car and gondola traffic.  Using the 54 car ore load figure from above, this generates about 150 car loads of varied traffic.
  • Secondary Traffic - it appears from various sources that considerable traffic flowed into the upgrade cities in the form of food, supplies, clothing, and people.  Other traffic included cattle and tourist excursions.  This adds alot of varied traffic and gives opportunities for specialized trains heading to Georgetown and beyond.  It was not unusual to have 3-8 car passenger trains making the long climb to Georgetown with traffic proceeding to Silver Plume and Mt. McClellan.  Coors also did a thriving business sending beer both upgrade, and to Denver.
All told there seems to be enough traffic t support many more cars than we can realistically run.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Track Plan Part 3

Deck 3 is the big question mark.  As with all things there are pro's and con's:
  • Cost, Deck 3 will add significanly to cost
  • Height, this will be from 62" to 72", too high to work on or view without step stool
  • Complexity of bench work, that high will mean alot to work out on support.
  • Cosmetic impact on Deck 2.
  • Really adds run time for operations
  • Adds considerable traffic from mines, passengers and excursion cars
  • Addition of several key landmarks like: Georgetown loop, Silver Plume, Argentine Central (seen as Shay to Mt McClellan, Aerial Tram, and even Lumber (Lumber mill existed for a time at end of track).
The ultimate decision will probably be made after Deck 2 is built, I can then see how much a 3rd Deck would take away from Deck 2.

The Plan:

Starting at the Top

Central city

  • The Tram will provide a means to move ore from several mines to Blackhawk to be milled.  Supplies will flow back up to Central city and then be taken to the mines.
  • Central City will have several hopefully representative buildings to place the location.
  • Option to bring C&S regular line up switchback to station.
  • I really like the Gilpin Tram and this lets me create a replica that adds operational and scenic fun.  The deck is at 68" so it will require a step up.
  • Provides the loop and a portion of the city to model.
  • The location is iconic
Silver Plume
  • Provides end of track and a nice town with several landmarks
  • Building a platform as seen in 1910 will provide interchange for Argentine Central and will justify both ore and excursion cars
  • The Aerial Tram which only survived about 2 years gives an excuse to model a really cool structure.
  • There is also a Aerial Tram in Silver Plume to a Mine above the City.
Thats alot to think about.  Next it might be worth looking at operational opportunities.

Track Plan Part 2

So far we have laid out the overall plan and the housing structure for the layout and the Deck 1 Track Plan.  Now for Deck 2.

Deck 2 is the largest and contains the most recognizable portions of the C&S Clear Creek Division. 
  • Here traffic from Denver and Golden proceeds up the scenic leg which will include Beaver Creek and 2-3 major land marks: Mother Grundy, Inspiration Point and possibly hanging rock.  Whether We can fit in Elk Creek is an open question.  The upgrade climb begins with the 5 turn helix (estimated), crosses a 3 ft lift out section for the doorway and then enters the scenic section.  This section is about 15' and leads to Forks Creek. 
  • Once at Forks Creek we split left for Idaho Springs, and right for Blackhawk.  
  • Proceeding to Blackhawk we see a rough track plan with an option for a 3' switchback to Central City.  The 50 Gold Mines Mill will both recieve and generate alot of traffic with the Tram coming down from Central City with ore and Gondola's or Box Cars taking the concentrated ore to the smelter.  
  • To the left of the 50 Gold Mine Mill will be Gilpin Tram Tracks.  Keevan is helping me sort out Hon30 Shay's and cars to use.  Railway Recollections makes some nice cars but they are hard to find a dealer for.  I found one in Canada and also talked directly to Railway Recollections and they will sell direct, though they prefer to use dealers.
  • The Gilpin Tram will use a switchback with 5-6% grades to reach Central City on Deck 3.  This is the only part I am sure will be on the third deck.  Central city will consist of a portion of the city and 3-4 notable mines.  Right now I have the Quartz Hill from Wild West, and am looking at 2-3 more from them.  Classic Miniatures makes the Gold Mine and occasionally you can find Coeur D'Alene on e-bay.  They go for about $100 bucks so pricy.  More on this in Deck 3.
  • The Deck 2 will also have a New York Mill and a Gilpin Tram house for the Shays.  Probably will have 1-2 working Shays and maybe a couple static.
Idaho Springs
  • The other fork at Forks Creek proceeds to Idaho Springs.  Along the way we pass the Argo Mine & Mill.  Looking a Harry's plans I think at least for several years I will use the Banta Pro Patria kit in its place.  I will need a long time to build Argo and my scratch building skills are not up to that level yet.
  • The line then doubles back using a 19" radius on a trestle to approach Idaho Springs.  This splitting of the middle leg really adds space and running distance and lets me include more points of interest.  There will be a wall down the middle of  the leg so you will never see both sides.
  • The loop is the only portion of the old layout I intend to use at this time.  The Trestle is one of my first kits and the cliff looks nice.  Is it prototype?  Nope, but neither is a blob.
  • Idaho Springs still needs lots of work on the city, right now it is just a sign.
  • From there we will go past the Hukill & Stanley Mines.
  • At this point I can either go up to a third deck, or stop here.
  • With Stanley, Hukill and a few other mines I can generate alot of ore, and the Argo Mill can process to concentrated ore for shipment to the Smelter.
 Deck 3 next

Track plan

The first real hurdle we all face is turning our dream layout into reality.  There are huge "wish lists" that would require we all have 50 x 100 builds for layouts.  I suspect for most of us, that is just not going to happen.

With Prototype chosen (C&S - Thanks Harvey), the scale and gauge determined (HO narrow gauge 3 foot), and the era chosen (1910-1917 to allow for Gilpin Tram amd also possible Argentine Central). it was time to face reality, space.

As seems to happen, providence smiled and 2 friends entered the picture.  David Bugg who is a local friend, and Keeven, a fine gentlemen I met through the HON3, D&SP and other discussion groups.  Each as provided oppertunities to test ideas and give constructive feedback.  Keevan after seeing my ambitious plan reminded me to KISS (keep it simple).  after 15 iterations and a 3D model I've come up with what I hope is a workable plan.

It consists of 2 (with a possible 3rd) decks.  Joe Fugate (Model railroad hobbyist magazine) has a excellent set of videos he made that helped quite a bit.

Tier 1
Has a staging area representing West Denver with a turning wye under the helix.  The star of the show will drive alot of the traffic, over 18 box cars or Gondolas or concentrated ore from mills upgrade.  It will also use many supply cars of lime stone, coke and coal.  from there I have some undefined room to add some switching, a support town and then some scenery to make the distance to Golden seem longer.  Golden is inspired by Keevan and will include a Coors plant, hopefully the house and gardens, engine facilities, coal, and passengers.  from golden we go up grade to the helix.  current plan is 20 - 22" 3% grade (testing to be done to ensure it does not need to be larger, this impacts door position.  I ordered bullfrog snot for my locomotives to ensure they handle grade.  Use 2 c-19's and 1 k-27 from Blackstone.  I know the k-27 is not prototype but it was my first engine, gave to my 12 year old son as a birthday present.  So it will do duty from Denver to Clear Creek.  Back Story is it will have been leased by handle increase in traffic between Denver and the split, with c-19's taking over at fork's creek.

My existing layout has a trestle with 3-4% grade on a 19" radius so it makes a good "real world" test for the bullfrog snot.  Since NG trains tended to be short (8 ish cars) I dont see a problem.  Keevan raised a godo point, brass oco's may not handle 18" radius.  I'll have to do some testing, if he is correct (I suspect he is), then I'l limit myself to BlackStones plus brass shays for tier 2&3.

Will post tier 2 & 3 next.

Physical Facilities

My first layout was roughly 12 x 12 and based on the famous San Juan Central of Malcolm Furlow.  While his modeling is fantatic, I found operations too limited.  My first thought was to add wings and extend out to 12 x 22 incorporating Blackhawk and Idaho Springs.

This created alot of issues: confusion over what line I was modeling, space, and traffic flow.

Solution:  Start from scratch.  Harry Brunk's UCN had been a source of inspiration for years.  While attending the Narrow Gauge convention I also met Duncan Harvey who did a great talk on the C&S.  After some more planning I was set on my new direction - C&S.

Being this was such a large undertaking I had to search out a new home for the layout.  We had a large storage building (12 x 22) which might just do the trick.  After some analysis I found it needed improved floors, more wiring, and insulation.  Since it is not heated I also will need to add a small heat pump.  Home Depot has a self contained unit that does heat and A/C and works on 15 amps.  Have had one for almost  year and it works nicely.

Flooring was next, subfloor was 3/4 ply (treated) on a 24" center frame.  Covered this with 1/2 OSB reversing the gaps to insure good coverage.  Feels strong and is pretty smooth.  It is 90% done.  The struggle is more cleaning out the space as opposed to building.  My old Layout is still up though I am taking off the added wings to reduce footprint.

Walls insulation is going well.  Using r-13 faced with 1/8 tempered board over it for both covering and to hold backdrop.

Roof was not insulated so working that now.

For room lighting currently 4 100w compact fluorescent (23w actual).  Specific deck lighting will be a work in progress.

We are close to beginning benchwork.

Thanks Cameron



This blog is to share progress on the Denver, Golden & Clear Creek Railroad.  This is my second layout and is a freelance-prototype of the C&S Railroad Clear Creek Division set in the time frame of 1910 - 1917.  Comments and suggestions are always welcome.