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Re: Just got my copy of AM. Narrow Gage Railroads

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  • Christopher Blackwell
    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
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 3, 2001
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      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.

      Christopher Blackwell
      Deming, New Mexico
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