Re: Just got my copy of AM. Narrow Gage Railroads
- In his history of the Narrow Gage movement he brings out a lot of
things that I would consider basic necessity to creating a
realistic layout. He shows the difference between what the
promoters believed and actually practice. He points out certain
oddities to narrow gage including of going back to what would
other wise be considered more primitive practices in order to
keep the costs down, including following the lay of the land,
barely creating a road bed and using as little gravel as possible,
choosing steeper grades to avoid deep cuts whenever possible
and going around to avoid tunnels and the use of trestles to
avoid high fills and tighter curvature of curves also to avoid as
many cuts and fills as possible. Some narrow gage railroads
started with four wheel cars.
Often the first bridges were wood and extremely flimsy and as
they got older speeds might go down to five mile per hour till they
finally were replaced, sometimes after first collapsing or burning.
Maintanance was often put off till derailments made it necessary,
hence your newly reworked roadbed might also have the
remains of the most wrecked cars of the last derailment there.
Most of these were far from class one even at their best. One of
the first trains on the Denver and Rio Grande was so light that
the wind blew it over at Palmer Lake. Some of their original cars
were four wheeled.
This also reminds me of the many pictures of filling in those
same trestles in later upgrading, and building new grades to
make up for difficult grades, and new routes to shorten runs later
as the railroad has more money. I keep thinking how many of
those scenes would add to the reality of many of the narrow
gage layouts I have seen. In many cases the layouts that I have
seen are far smoother than most real narrow gage railroads that
I have seen pictures of. How about some raw fill on that new
section of track, or a section of track without ballast, to be added
when the railroad has the funds. All of this can be done while
making sure that you railroad is truly well constructed so that you
don't really dump that $1200 narrow gage locomotive onto the
concrete floor. We only want it to look like it might be in danger,
not really endanger it.
Just some more things to consider if you ever design a narrow
gage lay out.
Deming, New Mexico