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589Re: An Introduction, and a Question

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  • Doug MacLeod
    Apr 16, 2008
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      Dennis:
      Chapter 4, page 38, first paragraph, in Jerry Best's Nevada County Narrow Gauge book.
      Doug MacLeod, Roseville, CA

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Dennis Ivison
      To: NCNGRR@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 9:23 PM
      Subject: Re: <NevadaCoNG> An Introduction, and a Question


      Somewhere in my reading an author said the narrow gauge was referred
      to as "The Golden Road" because of the gold still in the ballast.
      I've been re-reading all my resources to try to find that reference.

      I definitely have enough information now to feel confident in my
      selection, and I really want to thank both Loren and Andrew for
      taking the time to help me out. Getting the proper ballast color may
      sound inconsequential, but I would like to get it right. When I get
      the new pike up and running I'll be back to monthly operations
      sessions, as well as hosting regular layout tours, and I'd like to do
      my adopted railroad justice.

      Thanks again,
      Dennis

      --- In NCNGRR@yahoogroups.com, Loren Miller <rioting@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > AhHA! I knew somebody would be more of an authority on this with
      actual photos and existing right of way, as well as actual historical
      content. Thanks for clearing that up for all of us.
      >
      > > To: NCNGRR@yahoogroups.com
      > > From: andrew.brandon@...
      > > Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 09:10:14 -0700
      > > Subject: Re: <NevadaCoNG> An Introduction, and a Question
      > >
      > > The NCNG used the cheapest material they could as ballast, river
      rock.
      > > If you look closely in NCNG photos you'll notice that the ballast
      > > seems to be very "white" in later years. Since the NCNG ran the
      > > standard gauge gravel spur they had a cheap source of ballast,
      > > uncomfortable to walk on, a pain in neck to work with but
      excellent
      > > for drainage.
      > >
      > > You can see an example of this ballast here:
      > > http://www.ncngrrmuseum.org/pb/images/img18676447aa39e8140b.jpg
      > > It is not the greatest picture but it will give you some idea,
      you're
      > > looking for a mostly quartz ballast with some limestone in there.
      > > Keep in mind that along the NCNG some areas were still "lightly"
      > > ballasted I believe the photo of the You Bet station from Best's
      book
      > > shows this. If I get a chance I'll scan a few shots of the R.O.W.
      that
      > > show the ballasting and upload them to the group.
      > >
      > > -=Andrew=-
      > >
      > >
      > > On Wed, Apr 16, 2008 at 12:13 AM, Loren Miller <rioting@...>
      wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Yes I worked underground for 2 companies. I was hired as a
      welder, but in this business in this area for small companies,
      everybody learns everything. I learned a bit about the geology,
      drilling blasting and what to do with the aftermath. The Original 16
      to One mine in Allegheny, Ca, which is to date the oldest
      continuously working gold mine in the U.S. was what we call a pocket
      mine. This is because the gold occurred in pockets. We would mine
      tons of beautiful white quartz and find nothing in it. This as well
      as whatever rock we blew up was called waste rock, and would be
      either backfilled into the stopes we mined out, or removed to the
      surface and screened, and then sold as road rock. When the quartz is
      exposed to the air, it turns brown. Since the gold only occurs in the
      quartz, it only makes sense to mine that. Mining is expensive and we
      would only want to mine what potentially has gold in it, however,
      sometimes we would have to drift through bedrock, which in our case
      was basalt to get to suspected quartz veins. In the case of the
      Empire Mine in Grass Valley, a couple of years ago, men from our crew
      tunneled a drift some 800 feet to the main shaft so tourists could
      walk a level path into the deeper part of the main winze. (A winze is
      a shaft that is not vertical, a drift is a tunnel that is
      horizontal.) That project was all waste rock, and a lot of dirt. In
      any case, most mines around here were similar in that the tailings
      that were suspected to have no potential for gold would be tossed
      over the easiest hill from the portal as the least amount of money
      would be spent on it's disposal. If you look around you can find mine
      portals and estimate the size based upon the mountain of tailings
      that cascade down from the portal. Most of these will be that dark
      gray color, which you will find also to be the color of the ballast.
      Quartz does not usually have the structural integrity to be ballast
      because it crumbles easy. Basalt is very tough stuff and consumes
      drill bits, and much explosives to break it, as well, it holds up to
      the rigors of supporting railroad ties, doesn't break easily under
      the weight of heavy rolling stock and stays put due to it's sharp
      edges. It is likely to be the ballast of choice for any railroad in
      this area because it is already broken, crushed, and FREE. The
      closest mine to the railroad with a huge pile of tailings would be a
      welcome resource to the railroad company. The mine of course would
      love to have the problem of getting rid of the tailings handled so
      this would have been a marriage "set in stone" Excuse the pun.
      Anyway, if you have the google earth program, you can search the area
      and find much of what you are looking for. Also, you will probably
      find similar rock used for ballast at any California rail roadbed.
      Try the SP lines in your area. On another note, for history's sake,
      and the history of the SP, my great grandfather used to engineer the
      cab forward ACs from Colfax to Reno. We have the last one of them in
      the California Railroad Museum in Sacramento when you are in the
      area. Quite an impressive museum. http://www.parks.ca.gov/?
      page_id=668 Also, look up the 16 to one mine, as they have by far,
      the best underground gold mine tour in the U.S.
      http://www.origsix.com/ and then there is this site if you haven't
      seen it yet: http://www.ncngrrmuseum.org/index.html?0.2172240024588714
      > > >
      > > > To: NCNGRR@yahoogroups.com
      > > > From: dennisivison@...
      > > > Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 05:01:17 +0000
      > > > Subject: Re: <NevadaCoNG> An Introduction, and a Question
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
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      > > >
      > > > Loren,
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Thank you for the input. Did you work underground? I've been a
      > > >
      > > > firefighter for 23 years and have been in some very dark, tight
      > > >
      > > > places, but when I looked down that mine shaft and thought of
      being a
      > > >
      > > > mile underground I have to admit that it made my legs wobble!
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > I looked around for some tailings at some of the mine sites
      that we
      > > >
      > > > visited and couldn't tell if any of the rocks were tailings.
      We saw
      > > >
      > > > all of the colors that you mentioned, as well as some very
      dark brown
      > > >
      > > > quartz. I took some pictures of each, you know just in case. I
      > > >
      > > > thought of taking some samples, but don't like to "borrow" from
      > > >
      > > > historical sites. We have a hard enough time preserving what
      little
      > > >
      > > > history we have left already. When I modeled the Espee in
      Arizona a
      > > >
      > > > large part of the layout was devoted to copper mining &
      smelting. I
      > > >
      > > > have a retired friend (we were partners for 10+ years) that
      lives
      > > >
      > > > down there, and one time after a phone conversation, I had a
      package
      > > >
      > > > show-up via USPS. It was about 10 lbs of copper mine tailings;
      he had
      > > >
      > > > sifted it down to fine grains and everything! The note told me
      where
      > > >
      > > > he got them, and I suspect that they were probably a mix of
      tailings
      > > >
      > > > and slag...great stuff, I hope he didn't use his wife's flour
      sifter.
      > > >
      > > > For awhile I was reluctant to use them, or even touch them! I
      still
      > > >
      > > > have a bunch of that stuff left. I'm not suggesting that
      anyone send
      > > >
      > > > me another bag of dirt, just knowing the color would be great.
      If all
      > > >
      > > > else fails I'll go with the basalt, it makes the most sense.
      But, you
      > > >
      > > > all know what'll happen...as soon as the last section of
      ballast
      > > >
      > > > dries someone will post a picture.and I'll have guessed wrong.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Thanks again,
      > > >
      > > > Dennis
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > In NCNGRR@yahoogroups.com, Loren Miller <rioting@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Interesting. I live here and have actually worked in the
      gold mines
      > > >
      > > > of the area. Most of the hard rock mines are a quartz vein in
      basalt
      > > >
      > > > and/or serpentine. The basalt is dark gray, the serpentine a
      mottled
      > > >
      > > > green but has no structural integrity. I have not seen the
      actual
      > > >
      > > > ballast from the ncngrr, nor the tailings from the mine you
      > > >
      > > > mentioned. Perhaps somebody can tell you better, but I have
      seen
      > > >
      > > > nothing but gray to dark gray ballast on any tracks here in
      Northern
      > > >
      > > > California, and the basalt is quite hard, has sharp edges and
      stays
      > > >
      > > > put as it locks into place. It is also used on many dirt roads
      here
      > > >
      > > > for the same reasons ans in the quarry industry that sells it
      for
      > > >
      > > > that purpose, it is called "mine rock" for obvious reasons. I
      hope
      > > >
      > > > that helps some. Other people here may have better info and
      more
      > > >
      > > > accurate having done much closer research to the actual ncngrr
      > > >
      > > > tracks, pictures, etc.
      > > >
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      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      __________________________________________________________
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      > > >
      > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > ------------------------------------
      > > >
      > > > Have you visited or contributed to the FILES or LINKS section
      yet? Check them out!Yahoo! Groups Links
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > --
      > > -=Andrew Brandon=-
      > >
      > > ------------------------------------
      > >
      > > Have you visited or contributed to the FILES or LINKS section
      yet? Check them out!Yahoo! Groups Links
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
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