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Modeling the Gilpin Tram Part I
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 Posted: Thu Nov 15th, 2012 01:05 am
   
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Keith Pashina
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Yesterday, I posted several photos of the real Gilpin Tram bridge and culvert sites.  These are very easy to model - some twigs, rocky fill soil, and carved plaster, and you're in business.

The real Eureka Gulch crossing was interesting - Eureka Street was on the western outskirts of Central City, and at this location, the tram crossed the gulch in front of one of the city water reservoirs.  Being resourceful, the railroad built their first water tank at this site.


Here is  photo of the Eureka Gulch as it looks today:


The yellow arrow points to the bridge crossing.  In this photo, the grade curves from the right front edge to left center.  On the front ridge edge, do you see that black pipe sticking out to the ground?  That is the filler pipe remnants, marking the location of Gilpin Tram's second water tank.

Here is how I modeled this area in HOn30.  The stone building in the background is one of Central CIty's water reservoirs, and can also be seen in the photo above.




My layout has several small "Gilpin-like" bridges along the route.  Here is a small bridge near the Woods Mine.  Shay #3 is pulling ore loads from the mine.  In the background, the rest of the train waits on the siding next to the Buckley MIne.


Further up the line, the route heads up towards James Peak on the Gilpin, James Peak, and Middle Park  Railway - this is the fictitious extension of the Gilpin Tram, using one of the paper railroad names - a line chartered, but never built.

Here is Shay #6 (the real Gilpin Tram never had a shay numberered 6) crossing Elk Creek on a small bridge.




Next, a little farther up the North Branch of Clear Creek, the narrow canyon widens out. Here is Shay #3 pulling a train of empties across a small, unnamed draw.



The cribbing was built from wooden toothpicks, with the ends chopped off, then painted with acrylic paints.  Very simple and easy to build.


Keith

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 Posted: Fri Nov 16th, 2012 08:39 pm
   
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elminero67
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Thanks for posting those-ive never been to Central City, and looking at your pics it is really hard to visualize the historic landscapes as so much has changed. In that first picture on this page, is that one of the old mills?

also, that dry stacked retaining wall is a beauty-the craftsmanship it takes to dry stack a wall that high and have it last 100 years is impressive.



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 Posted: Fri Nov 16th, 2012 11:45 pm
   
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Keith Pashina
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I agree, the Central City area looks so different with mature trees everywhere. It was so barren in the mining days.

No, the first picture I posted was at Eureka Street, and the stone background is one of the city water reservoirs (the other one I know of still stands, also, and is very close to the Schoolhouse (now called Coeur D'Aelene) mine. Basically, a corrugated roof over a big hole in the ground!

Keith

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 Posted: Sat Nov 17th, 2012 06:33 pm
   
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elminero67
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your pics have me thinking that I might have to order the "new" Gilpin book-



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 Posted: Sat Nov 17th, 2012 06:37 pm
   
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W C Greene
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Duane-git out yer checkbook! I ordered directly from Sundance & got it in a few days. YOU NEED THIS BOOK...the droids are not the ones you seek...

Woodie



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 Posted: Sat Nov 17th, 2012 08:25 pm
   
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elminero67
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Your probably right, need to stop being such a tightwad. Now I'M stealing Keiths thread....btw, any more Central City pics your willing to share?



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 Posted: Sun Nov 18th, 2012 12:24 am
   
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Keith Pashina
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Woodie is right - the Gilpin Tram Era by Sundance is well worth the money - you won't regret owning one!

Black Hawk is where the Gilpin Tram had its shops and yards to serve the mills and transfer sidings.  Black Hawk itself was a colorful town, with many interesting structures.


The "Bull Durham" building was the former Frick carriage works - Frick was a teamster backer who opposed the Gilpin Tram when it was first built.  The building has survived, now part of the local casino trade.

Much farther up the hill, well, actually in Central City, there are still several mines to view.  At least 3 have been restored/preserved.  One of them is the Couer D'Alene Mine, which many modelers now as  a previous building kit offering.


That's well-known modeler Joe Crea in front of the big doors.




Down at the bottom of the hill, along Clear Creek, the Gilpin Tram had its enginehouse and yards.  The photo below is well-known, and shows the engiehouse, a former barn.  Note the trestle curving around the left side - that's the main line up Chase Gulch, which needed to dodge around a large outcropping.


This is the same location today - nothing remains, not the enginehouse, trestle or any signs of grade.  I think the creek itself was re-routed many years ago for highway construction.  Joe Crea and I poked around the site, and all we found to indicate the Gilpin Tram was here were a few firebrick from a boiler and miscellaneous pieces of metal siding.

The enginehouse would have been in the trees immediately below the large rock outcropping.




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 Posted: Sun Nov 18th, 2012 12:35 am
   
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Keith Pashina
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Just downstream of the Gilpin enginehouse site was Black Hawk and its many ore processing mills.  After passing the Hidden Treasure, Midas, Humphrey,  and Meade (Gunnell) mills, the Gilpin Tram reached the site of the Polar Star mill, which was immediately next to the ore transfer chutes to the Colorado & Southern 3' gauge. 


In this photo, the bottom center of the photo shows a string of 5, C&S coal cars parked on the siding next to the ore transfer chutes.  Two Gilpin Tram ore cars can be seen on the ore transfer trestle above, still loaded. 


At the bottom center photo edge, two C&S coal cars are parked on the siding next to the Gilpin Tram transfer - two Gilpin coal cars are parked on the track where coal was hand shoveled from the 3' gauge to the 2' gauge.

 

Black Hawk lies in the valley beyond the Polar Star Mill.


This is the same location today as the photo above.  Almost everything has changed, but the Polar Star Mill still remains, and is well preserved.


The Polar Star Mill is privately owned, and the owner recently restored the exterior and the roof.

 

The Gilpin Tram track unloaded ore from a trestle above the doors.  Metal chutes were hung from the trestle to load into one of the 8 ore doors.  These doors were also used to unload ore from horse-drawn ore wagons.  The Polar Star, like several other mills, was built before the Gilpin Tram was built, and had to be modified to accept rail traffic.


Here is my HOn30 model of the Polar Star mill, showing the same end of the mill as in the photo above.  The trestle has a broad span to allow horse-drawn wagons to go underneath.  The metal-clad enclosure is a warming shed, with steam pipes inside to thaw out frozen ore cars of ore to be dumped into the mill.

Keith

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 Posted: Sun Nov 18th, 2012 09:10 am
   
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Bernd
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Keith,

I'm finding this thread very interesting. Thank you for posting.

One question. The mill you show, what kind of machinery was used to process the ore. These don't look like your typical western stamp mills that I'm used to seeing.

Bernd



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 Posted: Sun Nov 18th, 2012 10:49 am
   
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Herb Kephart
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Great photos, Keith--and a VERY nice model!


Herb 



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