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Tracking roadbeds via Google Earth.
 Moderated by: Herb Kephart Page:    1  2  3  4  Next Page Last Page  
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 Posted: Fri Jan 17th, 2014 02:07 pm
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jtrain
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To give myself some perspective on my Bard Creek Railroad, I've been using Google Maps to help me identify where the roadbed would be in the real world, if my fictional line had been real. While everyone can see those screen shots on my Bard Creek RR thread under the Large Scale Section; I wanted to test this Google tool for other roadbeds as well.

So I went a little south to track down the Argentine Central roadbed. Now before I continue, I have to say that I have no idea exactly where the line ran. All I know about it is that it went to the top of Mt. McClellan at about 13,500 feet, it had several switchbacks and had an average 6% grade.

Also, since the line was abandoned in 1918 ad tracks tore up in 1920. That means that in largely untouched forest, there exists a roadbed that is approximately 90 years old since abandonment. Once again, I don't know where exactly the line went so I know very little about the ROW.

What I said above is pretty much all I know about the Argentine. after looking in the general area the tracks would e I came across a trail and a road with the name 'Argentine' and so I followed it to the summit of an unnamed mountain (unnamed on Google Earth), and... well I'll let the photos explain the rest:











If I'm right on this, I'm still not the first one to figure out the route, but maybe I'm the first to use Google Maps to find the Argentine Central. Who knows?

--James:java:

Anyone want me to find another roadbed on Google Earth?



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James W.

See progress on the Western Logging Railroad:

http://westernloggingrr.blogspot.com/

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The workbench blog of projects on going in my life.

http://rapidcityrr.blogspot.com

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 Posted: Sat Jan 18th, 2014 10:08 am
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W C Greene
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OK James...look for this...The Silver City, Pinos Altos, & Mogollon RR ran from Silver City to Pinos Altos for a short time and was abandoned in about 1918. This is in the southwestern part of New Mexico by the Arizona border. My late buddy Steve Beck hiked much of the ROW a few years back so there just may be something left. I am under water at a big train show this weekend so computer searches are not an option for me (besides, I am a computer doofus). If you find anything, let us know.

Woodie



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 Posted: Sat Jan 18th, 2014 04:09 pm
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Salada
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Hello James, how's things going after Christmas at Durango ?

If following an old grade on Google Earth also try clicking on every photo icon nearby;  what some people have photographed can be quite useful to RR modellers.
I've found 3 abandoned gondolas and an old loco tender water tank by trying to follow the D&RGW from outer space ! Good for the correct type scenery too, & measuring prototype curve radii.

Cheers                 Michael 

 

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 Posted: Sat Jan 18th, 2014 09:58 pm
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Herb Kephart
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Although we have absolutely no control over when or where the satellites take their pictures, and most will have neither the equipment or the opportunity to do this, let me relate a story about tracking old roadbeds.

The East Broad Top RR's Shade Gap branch had another branch running off it, going south, about a quarter mile from the shop/station complex, which left the branch somewhere in the first valley meadow East of Orbisonia. Reyney and Kyper's book said that it followed the ridge East of the meadow, and eventually ending up nearly in Burnt Cabins. This was built by the McElvey Brothers lumber co, which, as I recall had at least one Shay, but used EBT flats to bring the logs out of the woods. It was pretty obvious to me (but for not for some strange reason to the older locals who were sill living in the town at the time, and might have seen it as kids) that some sort of a switchback was needed to get to the ridge from the meadow--but all I got when questioning about the discrepancy in height was usually a shrug.

A friend and I used to go up to the RR on infrequent weekends to do  volunteer work at the trolley group stationed there--that incidentally run down the old Shade Gap right of way to Rt 522. If the weather looked suitable, we would fly up in his Cessna, landing at a half shut down "airport" North of town.

Several times I flew south, looking to see if I could see any sign of the old ROW, particularly in the winter--it would have been completely hopeless with leaves on the trees--with no luck at all. This was in the late '60's, and if I recall the McElveys quit in '22 so a lot less time had elapsed than what the above thread is involved with. I figured that the track, and what little grading that was done was so light, being that it was only to last till the timber in the ridge was all cut (5 years?) that all signs if any, had been removed in the return to nature.

One night when were going to leave, we found the whole plane cover by a heavy coat of frost, so it was wait and see if the sun the following day would take care of the frost removal. Daylight came, the frost evaporated and we set off. As I recall, we were carrying some heavy pieces back home to work on--we were probably 200# over max gross with half tanks of fuel (and would have to get more fuel on the way home) so the plane was slow to gain altitude, so we flew down the valley, on the West side of the ridge, which was still shaded from the early morning sun-- and there, on the side of the ridge was a white mark where every tie had been. An overnight snow shower had blown snow into every depression left by a tie, and the rest of the ground was 90% clear. Couldn't see anything in the meadow, evidently plowing had long since done it's thing there, but the track bed on the side of the ridge was as plain as a white zipper on a brown coat. Someone had built a house atop the location of the upper switch, but the lower ones location and the track in between was there--and of course it was one of the times I left the camera home.

Herb



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 Posted: Sun Jan 19th, 2014 12:54 am
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jtrain
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Woodie,

I've had one heck of an afternoon taking up your challenge. By the looks of it, there has been a lot of suburban sprawl in Silver City to the pint that most of the ROW on the south end of the line has been obliterated. However, in the more mountainous Northern half of the route, the ROW is preserved either by having an existing road use the same route or by simply having cuts and fills along the mountain side which show up as highlights and shadows.

There are still a few pieces of about 1/8 to 1/4 mile length I'm not certain about. In order to make sure I had as much accuracy as possible, I went with Internet search which brought photos and a map of the hairpin turn area. While the hairpin turn is impossible to see from the air, I pin pointed it's location by using a map from a previous free rails thread:



I used the large 'W' on the side of the hill as a reference and Pinos Altos Rd to the large W to gauge distance.

After I got Google Maps as close a possible to scale and location of the map above, I proceeded to pin point certain areas of the rail line and viola!

I'll post some other closeup shots that I used to mark the route in detail. The map below shows everything for the north end of the line.



The line is a challenge because the soil appears to erode quickly, there's about 200% more foliage between the old map and the current Google Map images, New housing has tilled up the old ROW in several places. Not to mention I'm looking for the ROW of a 2 foot gauge line which left a significantly smaller footprint than a standard gauge line or even a 3 foot gauge line.

However the route has some great advantages I'd love to see more when tracking ROW's. Firstly, many roads in the old aerial view are still there and follow the exact same route which make for some easy reference points. a few of the old mining structures are still standing, or their foundations can at least be seen. Most of the mines being next to the track, they act like checkpoints when mapping the ROW. The large W really helped determine a lot of the ROW since it is so prominent.

Shadows also remain roughly the same, unlike places such as the Black Hills or Minnesota where differences in foliage and season make for vast differences in what is seen through Google Maps.

The south end of the route, I hate to say, is very difficult and/or impossible to make out due to all the new housing. I found hints and pieces of the ROW in Chloride Flats, but I can't make any connections. to CF and the hairpin turn area I managed to find.

Also, it looks like you could still walk the Northern half, or use a Bike or small JEEP for much of the way, I don't see any fences or houses in most of the area.

--James:java:



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James W.

See progress on the Western Logging Railroad:

http://westernloggingrr.blogspot.com/

Other Blogs:

http://apartmentrailroad.blogspot.com

The workbench blog of projects on going in my life.

http://rapidcityrr.blogspot.com

A blog
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 Posted: Sun Jan 19th, 2014 01:03 am
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jtrain
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Michael,

All I've really been doing is reading through the materials I bought during the trip and editing more photos; not to mention catching up on sleep.

Nice find with the D&RGW rolling stock on maps, Rail cars aren't easy to find unless you look close.

Herb,

Very interesting story and I think that sums up the purpose behind looking for these old ROW's. People build on top of what once was and over time pieces of history begin to disappear. At least with Google Maps, you can look at certain areas and use them as reference points to rediscover what would be normally lost to history.

I'm up for a crack at another ROW.

--James



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James W.

See progress on the Western Logging Railroad:

http://westernloggingrr.blogspot.com/

Other Blogs:

http://apartmentrailroad.blogspot.com

The workbench blog of projects on going in my life.

http://rapidcityrr.blogspot.com

A blog
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 Posted: Sun Jan 19th, 2014 05:56 pm
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Salada
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A couple of RR finds courtesy of Google Earth:

At Pagosa Junct CO. 37deg 02'15.73 & 107deg 11'56.26"W :

-an abandoned gondola, looks like a pipe carrier as car is open ended. Also lots of RR stuff nearby - a bridge, pumphouse & old bldgs.

 At Arboles CO. 37deg 01'17.48"N & 107deg 24'.22.28"W :

 - I first noticed the unusual shadow on the ground; turned out to be an ex-D&RGW tank tender converted to a water tank. Also 2 abandoned gondolas to immediate NWest - also visible in 'Street View'.

As a possible source of ideas for a prototype location I have been attracted to the Pagosa Junct - Pagosa Springs line which looks as though it mostly follows Road No 700 along Cat Creek Road to the San Juan River valley, beside Road No 160 (which may have been built in part on the original ROW ?). They seem to have run a mix of Consolidateds & Shays, mostly 2nd hand.
 However I can't find exactly how/where the P Springs line diverges at or near P Junct. Nor any hint of the terminus at P Springs; the logging branches aren't traceable either.
I've searched everywhere I can think of but I cannot find a track plan of the terminus/yard at P Springs - that could be really useful to me.

If you like a challenge James ??!! - I don't really intend modelling the logging branches so their detail is only of academic interest. Any idea of the steepest grade on the 'main' line ?.

Regards & Thanks                    Michael 

Last edited on Sun Jan 19th, 2014 06:04 pm by Salada

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 Posted: Sun Jan 19th, 2014 07:53 pm
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jtrain
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Google won't bring up the location, but I think I managed to find what you were describing:

Pagosa Junction: obviously a ghost town and possibly on private property as there is a house nearby to the Northwest



Looks to be a whistle stop with a siding for freight and/or livestock (not that there is any evidence of my observations)

And the tank at Arboles, CO. North in this photo is to the left and not to the top.



These locations are what you saw in Google Maps correct?

--James:java:

Last edited on Sun Jan 19th, 2014 07:55 pm by jtrain



____________________
James W.

See progress on the Western Logging Railroad:

http://westernloggingrr.blogspot.com/

Other Blogs:

http://apartmentrailroad.blogspot.com

The workbench blog of projects on going in my life.

http://rapidcityrr.blogspot.com

A blog
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 Posted: Sun Jan 19th, 2014 08:04 pm
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jtrain
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One note, the water Tank at Pagosa Junction is collapsed, and that must have happened between 2005 and 2013. Sad to see. We aren't just modelers, we're also preservers of railroad history.

--James:java:

Last edited on Sun Jan 19th, 2014 08:05 pm by jtrain



____________________
James W.

See progress on the Western Logging Railroad:

http://westernloggingrr.blogspot.com/

Other Blogs:

http://apartmentrailroad.blogspot.com

The workbench blog of projects on going in my life.

http://rapidcityrr.blogspot.com

A blog
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 Posted: Mon Jan 20th, 2014 04:44 am
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Helmut
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What is evident from the satellite photo that this is an abandoned hopper sitting on the siding, and that there are no tracks beyond the switches in either direction.
What can be clearly distinguished, a few hundred feet off the truss to the left, is the trackbed branching off the former main.

Last edited on Mon Jan 20th, 2014 04:46 am by Helmut



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