I've been a model railroader and railfan for well over 60 years now. My interests lie in the steam era and the early diesel era. My modeling has been in HO, but I do have a closet interest in Fn3 :-)
It's been a number of years since I've done any layout construction, and the new Louisiana Central pike under construction is by far my most ambitious effort. Follow along with me on this new adventure of the Louisiana Central.
Mr. William H. Radcliffe recorded this scene of the Rio Grande Southern #22 as she was sitting at the entry to the roundhouse in Ridgway, Colorado. It’s a chilly late fall day in October of 1942, and it appears that the locomotive is being steamed up in preparation for its day of work.
The #22 is the sister of the #20 that we saw in last week’s post, and is one of three 4-6-0 locomotives that were purchased from the defunct Florence & Cripple Creek Railroad in 1916. She was built by the Schenectady Locomotive Works in 1900 as the F&CC #24, and was named “Last Dollar”. The RGS classified her as a “T-19” locomotive in 1921, and she was scrapped in 1946.
Just a brief update on the restoration progress of the train room and shop, the last report of 2022. The doors and cased opening have been installed, as well as baseboards and window trim. Only a bit of shoe mold needs installation once the flooring is down. I pre-painted all of this trim, so only have to fill and touch-up the nail holes.
I’ve contacted several cabinet shops about building the new cabinets for the shop area. Hopefully I’ll have some prices coming in soon. One of the shops told me upfront that they were booked through April of 2023 . . . hope not everyone is that busy!
I made a brief visit to a flooring store to look into my flooring options. I have the unique problem of having to install flooring under the 44 legs supporting the layout. I can remove a leg at a time to facilitate that, but it does limit the type of flooring I’ll be able to use. Since the concrete slab is still covered with the adhesive from the previous commercial carpet installation (something not easily removed), it appears that I’ll be limited to something like floating LVT flooring “planks”. That’s not really a bad option, with the biggest difficulty being how to roll out the under-mat that I’d want to use with it. But I’ll continue this research after the holidays.
In the meantime, I’ve done quite a number of small tasks. While small, all were necessary. The biggest was to complete the electrical installation, with all receptacles, switches and cover plates now installed. I’ve temporarily installed the lavatory on the new cabinet in the restroom so that I could run water through the piping. This turned out as a wise decision, as last Thursday we had a huge cold front come upon us, with temps getting down into the low 20s. The cold is expected to remain for at least four days . . . something we’re not used to in the deep south!
Well, that’s it for now. I’ll post more updates next year as the last of the restoration takes place. Then I’ll turn focus back to building the train layout itself! 🙂
I hope all of you have a Blessed Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
The Rio Grande Southern #20 was a tidy little 4-6-0 locomotive. She was originally built for the Florence & Cripple Creek Railroad in 1899 by the Schenectady Locomotive Works. The F&CC ceased operations in 1915, and the ten-wheeler was purchased second-hand by the RGS in 1916. She was classed as a “T-19” locomotive in 1921, and she was in service until the RGS bankruptcy in 1951.
Soon afterwards she found a home with the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club. The club maintained the historic locomotive cosmetically, and she was placed on display in Alamosa. In 1959 the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, Colorado acquired the locomotive, and she eventually underwent a 14 year renovation and rebuild. She is under steam again, and was loaned to the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad for a short period in the fall of 2021 for a special series of excursions. She is presently back in Golden at the museum.
In July of 1942 Mr. William H. Radcliffe captured the scene below of the #20 pulling a freight train on the RGS high iron in the vicinity of Mancos, Colorado.
The Rio Grande Southern (RGS) was another 3-foot gauge railroad that was created in 1891 by Otto Mears. Unfortunately, after the Sherman Silver Purchase Act’s repeal in 1893, the railroad fell onto hard times, where it remained for the remainder of it’s years. I have a few photographs from the former collection of Mr. William H. Radcliffe that I’ll be showing here over the next several weeks.
I’ll start with this rather unflattering image of RGS locomotive #6. She’s of a 2-8-0 wheel arrangement, and was built by Baldwin in 1881 as a class C-60 (later C-19) for the D&RG as their #246. It was acquired by the RGS in 1891, and then returned to the (now) D&RGW in 1938, where she was scrapped.
This photograph was taken in Durango, Colorado in about 1923 by an unknown photographer.
In July of 1938 Mr. Radcliffe photographed D&RGW 2-8-2 locomotive #497 at rest in the shop area at Salida, Colorado. She is a class K-37, the most powerful of all the narrow gauge locomotives on the Rio Grande.
The #497 has an interesting story behind it. She is one of ten class K-37 locomotives that were built using components from standard gauge locomotives. In 1902 Baldwin constructed for the Denver & Rio Grande the class 190 2-8-0 locomotives (later re-classed to C-41 after rebuilds). These were used as the starting point to build the new class K-37 locomotives. Using their boilers, along with new 2-8-2 frames and wheels supplied by Baldwin, the D&RGW constructed the new class K-37s in their Burnham Shops located in Denver. The #497 was built in 1930 from former standard gauge locomotive #1003. She was retired sometime in the 1960s, and in March 1981 she went to the Durango & Silverton tourist railroad. In 1991 she was traded to the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in exchange for their K-36 #482. The latest I’ve heard, she is stored serviceable – her flue time expired at the end of 2003.
Yet another milestone has been reached in the flood recovery efforts: all of the building walls have been primed and painted. The shop (hopefully) will soon be receiving new cabinets. The floor tiles reveal the footprint of the original cabinets.
In addition to the cabinets, the next step is the installation of the doors, and the trim-out. Flooring will follow that.
Mr. Radcliffe was in Durango, Colorado in September of 1950. While there he recorded this view of the simmering Rio Grande locomotive #478. With the locomotive coupled to its train, and its tender piled high with coal, it appears that it will soon be departing for its daily run. The train is likely the San Juan, and it will be headed for Alamosa, Colorado.
The #478 is another of the class K-28 2-8-2 locomotives built by Alco in 1923. She still exists today and is on display at the Durango & Silverton Railroad. She is scheduled for a re-build soon, and will be placed back in service.
There are three class K-28 locomotives preserved, the numbers 473 (which we saw in last week’s post), 476 and 478. All are located on the Durango & Silverton.
Note the camp car in the background, used in work train service.
In July of 1950 Mr. Radcliffe spotted D&RGW 2-8-2 locomotive #473 with it’s train in Silverton, Colorado. The #473 is another of the class K-28 locomotives built by Alco in 1923. She is still in service today with the Durango & Silverton Railroad.
In the late 1940s Hollywood noticed this locomotive and it was featured in several movies. In an unfortunate attempt to make it look older than she was, she was adorned with a fake “diamond” stack, and a box headlight (an attempt to make it appear as a kerosene light). They also applied what became known as the “Bumblebee” paint scheme. The locomotive cab and the tender were yellow with black stripes. The headlight was yellow, and the smokebox and cylinder head covers were aluminum.
The train appears to be ready for it’s run, with the tender piled high with coal. It looks like a man and his young son have engaged the engineer and fireman in conversation prior to their trip.
A major milestone has been reached, with the drywall installation and finishing completed! In my last couple updates I showed hanging the drywall with the help of my (now) skilled helpers, Wayne Robichaux and Ron Findley. For the finishing, which included taping, floating and texturing (to match the upper half of the walls), I surrendered to a professional. I had spoken with a few pros several years ago, and none were interested in the job because of the extra difficulty of working below the train layout benchwork, and all the “special requirements” that I had. Fortunately I was able to find a fellow who was willing to undergo this project, and here are a sampling of photos to show the finished result.
In a few more days (after I’m sure the texture is thoroughly dry and hardened), I’ll start the painting process with primer followed by a couple coats of color. At that point, only some trim will be needed to complete the walls.
A pair of D&RGW 2-8-2 steamers are patiently waiting as their trains are prepared for departure. The location is Antonito, Colorado and the date is August 10th of 1940. The train at left, headed up by the #470, is the San Juan. At right, locomotive #471 is in charge of a mixed train (both passenger and freight) that is headed for Santa Fe, New Mexico. Antonito is where the branch to Santa Fe leaves the Rio Grande’s mainline.
Both of these locomotives are a class K-28, and were built by Alco Schenectady in 1923. The K-28s are easy to identify with their cross compound air pumps mounted on the front of their smokeboxes. Both of these locomotives would be sent to Alaska for service on the White Pass & Yukon railroad, this soon after the entry of the United States into WWII.
D&RGW 2-8-2 locomotive #464, another of the K-27 Mudhens, is helping a train of cattle cars get over the mountains. In this slightly out-of-focus view, we see the train on it’s journey between Placerville and Dallas Divide, Colorado. This image was recorded by Mr. Radcliffe on October 8, 1950.
The #464 was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1903, and she still exists. Withdrawn from service in August of 1957, she was officially retired from the Rio Grande in 1962. According to the Locomotive Wiki, in 1973 she went to the Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park in Buena Park, California, but wasn’t successful there as it had trouble negotiating the tight curves. In 1981 she was sold to the Huckleberry Railroad in Genesee Township, Michigan and underwent restoration in 1989. She hauled tourist excursion trains there until being taken out of service in late 2019. #464 is currently awaiting a future overhaul. The photo below is from the Locomotive Wiki website.
Black and white image by William H. Radcliffe, collection of Jack C. Shall
D&RGW 2-8-2 locomotive #456 is simmering quietly waiting for it’s next assignment. She’s a class K-27 locomotive which were affectionately known as “Mudhens”. She was built by Baldwin in 1903. The date and location of this image are unknown.