Denver NNGC Notes: Two Afternoons in Leadville

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Denver NNGC Notes: Two Afternoons in Leadville

Jim Courtney
I was given the opportunity by our own Keith Hayes (mayor of S scale Leadville, Colorado) to hang out and run trains in Leadville on Thursday and Friday afternoon. My role was to keep some trains moving so Keith could greet visitors and answer questions.

On Thursday, Daryl ran the C&S freights into Leadville via the "Highline" and I ran the D&RG switch job, with a little C-16, spotting and pulling cars from D&RG spurs in Leadville and making deliveries to the C&S yard. The switch crew took a whole lot of "coffee breaks", so's to greet and chat with many of the visitors, many being frequent posters on this Forum. It was a great afternoon of two-mile high railroading. Stupidly, I had left my camera back at the hotel.

On Friday afternoon, Craig Symington handled the C&S business, and I was assigned to the Denver to Malta accommodation train, making numerous round trips down to Malta, to connect Leadville passengers to the Scenic Limited, the Prospector and the Mountaineer.

The usual equipment on the "Malta turn" was D&RG motor car number  592 . . .




. . . but once again the damn thing had broken down -- those gas engines don't seem to like 10,000 feet of altitude. There is a rumor that management is going to rip out those gas engines soon and send the car to Aspen, as a mere combine, for service on the Aspen mixed.

So, some narrow gauge equipment had been sent up to Leadville from Salida, over the invisible but lingering third rail, to protect the Malta turn:




Motive power was little T-12 number 174. Passenger accommodation was on baggage-coach-caboose number 215, a refugee from the recently abandoned Pagosa Springs branch.  The little narrow gauge car still wears red paint, and has yet to have its cupola removed and re-numbered 212 -- it will end up being assigned to the Silverton branch.

I had remembered to bring my camera Friday, and the 215's cupola looked like a good vantage point for picture taking. So, I assigned myself the roll of brakemen on the numerous turns down to Malta.

On one return to Leadville I took this series of photos:


As we approached the D&RG yards in Leadville, I took this view looking up Hemlock Street from the D&RG crossing. Its the late 1930s and as the region begins to recover from the Great Depression, activity is beginning to pick up in Leadville.



A little further along, I was able to get this photo of the C&S brick depot just to the east.




Arriving at the D&RG freight depot (the third rail no longer goes down to the main D&RG passenger station) there is not much activity in the C&S freight yards, just a solitary, lonely caboose.



The only two passengers on this north bound "turn" have detrained.



I walked down the D&RG yards and found the caboose from yesterday's bi-weekly Salida-Leadville narrow gauge train, waiting for tomorrows departure south to Salida. That spectral third rail allows a variety of D&RG narrow gauge locomotives to visit Leadville, including big K-37s, if you can believe it.



A view from one of the many ore loading platforms in Leadville. The C&S freight house is in the distance. Not sure about that alien life form on the platform, looking over things up Poverty Flats.



At the end of the day, after the last Malta turn had tied up, I climbed up on the D&RG water tank, and took this overview of the D&RG and C&S yards in Leadville.


I want to thank Keith for inviting me over. The two afternoons in Leadville were a fantastic experience!

Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Denver NNGC Notes: Two Afternoons in Leadville

Mike Trent
Administrator
Great pics, Jim, when I was there on Thursday, I spent all my time talking and fiddling around and never took any pictures so thanks for doing so on Friday. The guys in the shop here in Dickey are working on both #74 and #75, getting minor kinks out for winter. Both were having the usual poltergeists visiting on Thursday. #74 should be ready tomorrow, #75, depending on who you ask, well, never. But that's life on the narrow gauge.
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Re: Denver NNGC Notes: Two Afternoons in Leadville

Mike McKenzie
In reply to this post by Jim Courtney
Was nice to finally meet you in person Jim. Didn't visit a great number of layouts but saw a nice variety, but Keith's is the only one I went to twice, just something about it makes sense to me. Very cool.

Mike
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Re: Denver NNGC Notes: Two Afternoons in Leadville

Gavin Hince
In reply to this post by Jim Courtney
Was that you Jim?  I visited on the Friday, but didn't take the chance to say hi - sorry.

Keith's layout is fantastic, and his plans for a second deck are amazing. I do think it will be a huge challenge to built the lower-level scenes underneath the existing layout, which is quite deep through the Leadville section. I suspect a hard hat will be mandatory!
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Re: Denver NNGC Notes: Two Afternoons in Leadville

Keith Hayes
In reply to this post by Jim Courtney
Thanks Jim for the nice post, and thanks for all the kind words from everyone else. It was great to meet everyone who stopped by: we had about 400 visitors over two days. Patrick Tillary reported they had just under 2,000 register for the convention.

I heard others report that they suffered from burnout preparing for the open house, and I experienced that myself. Plus chance provided three solid weeks of travel for business after the convention, so I have been taking a break.

It is great to see some new names posting. I hope those of you who visited the layout and shared some of your stories of work in progress have the gumption to take a photo of current projects and post them. C&Sn3 now has topped 300,000 passengers since January 2012. Darel reported that the page gets more hits when the content on the main page changes. So those of you who are regular posters, please consider taking some of the content here on the forum and consolidating it to an article for the main page that can then feed the forum in turn. Mail-Express 13 had a habit of derailing in one spot near Indiana Gulch, and I used it as the opportunity to modify a PBL wood beam truck into a cast steel truck. I will share this in article form with Darel soon.

Also, I spent far too much at the giant hobby shop associated with the convention and have been working on a D&RG 4000-series boxcar from Leadville Shops. It has been fun building a wood kit. I will start some posts soon.

The Clinics were excellent. There were three great sessions on the geology, mining and railroading associated with the Little Kingdom of Gilpin. And the Farmer Brothers made a great presentation on their work on 1008: it was great to meet them and see the results of their work and research!

Jim, your photos demonstrate what a difference the photo backdrops make: I clearly need to prioritize some time with Photoshop to complete the backdrops!
Keith Hayes
Leadville in Sn3
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Re: Denver NNGC Notes: Two Afternoons in Leadville

Geoff Hamway
Keith,

As one of the fortunate 400 who visited, let me reiterate my thanks to you for sharing your layout.  I know it's a LOT of work to get ready for and host an open house like this, and I'm not surprised you were a little burned out!  I found it a real joy to visit a visually pleasing and operationally interesting layout in a comparatively modest space (especially because I'm hoping to achieve the same general objective myself).

I think you'll enjoy the TLS 4000 boxcar kit.  I've built 3 of them, as well as 5 of the 24 footers.  It's a pleasure to build a kit that's well-researched and well-engineered, and represents a prototype I can really use.  I've learned a couple of things along the way, though.  First is that the scribed plywood pieces (sides, ends, roof, doors) can reveal some unattractive swirling grain when sprayed with acrylics, and it's quite a lot of work to deal with this grain after the kit's fully assembled.  I prime those parts with a rattle can primer and sand lightly before assembly to minimize the problem.  Second, don't put too much trust in the self-adhesive parts.  I've had a couple of instances where the parts appear to have adhered well, and then a few days later start to lift at the edges.  Use some ACC or other glue to reinforce edges, or scrape off the self-adhesive material and glue normally.

That said, I personally love the kits and am looking forward to building some more.  Since I'm modeling 1905 (after air brakes but before the 1911 safety standards), I have to kitbash just a bit.  Below is one of the finished models.



And thanks again for your hospitality and patience during the layout tour!

Geoff Hamway
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Re: Denver NNGC Notes: Two Afternoons in Leadville

Jim Courtney
Beautiful TOTC boxcar! Thanks for the construction tips, Geoff.

I have a couple of TLS Tiffany reefer kits to tackle (one might even end up that icky green color).  It would be helpful if anyone who has built the TLS wood kits, would share their own construction methods.

Chatting with Bob Stears while he was building up his boxcar test parts, he shared his methods:

--He never uses wood glue.

--He lays out all the wood parts on a big piece of box cardboard, using some masking tape, sticky side up, then gives all the parts (top and bottom) a coat of Dullcoat, to seal the wood.

--He uses a medium viscosity ACC and a long skinny applicator tube to assemble all the sealed wood parts.

--He didn't mention a primer coat but sprays multiple translucent color coats on the car--equal parts of color from the bottle with equal parts "clear" of the same solvent medium. The final mixture, he thins 30-40% for airbrushing (at least that's what I remember him saying).

Keith, what adhesives did you use?  Was your "brown" primer coat acrylic or a lacquer paint?

Inquiring minds want to know!
Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Denver NNGC Notes: Two Afternoons in Leadville

Fatbiker52
Keith and Jim:
We throughly enjoyed all of this thread. It's just amazing how Keith has built a prototypical model of Leadville and it's environs. All I can say is, Keith keep on building.
Fred Cotterell
Superintendent
C&S Kebler pass Subdivision
The Kebler Pass Route