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Railroading In BIG SKY Country !
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 Posted: Wed Aug 19th, 2015 02:35 am
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jtrain
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If I haven't mentioned it yet, might as well say it now; I've moved to Montana.

In June, this seemed like a very daunting and exciting opportunity, so I went for it.  While I wasn't sure at first, let me just say that climbing Mt. Sacajawea and seeing Bozeman below me, surrounded by Mountains only matched in beauty by those of Colorado and second to none in grace and magesty, has put any doubts to rest.  Indeed, I'm here in Bozeman for the forseeable future, and that's all right with me.

Of course, natural beauty is a great draw for people coming to Bozeman, but what I'm finding out is that Montana has a very deep and rich railroad history, not unlike Colorado's.  The only difference, near as I can tell, is that there is no tourist railroads and most modelers don't pay any mind to the railroad heritage of Montana.  That said, the evidence is all over the place from the old Milwaukee Road ROW stretching from Harlowton clear across the state to St. Regis and beyond to the mines of Butte to the Montana Rail Link.  there's also Virginia City, The Pioneer Mountains (Montana Southern Railroad), Gardiner/ North Yellowstone entrance, Livingston, the list goes on!

Since June, I've been accumulating a collection of photos of Montana, which I will add to in the coming years.  It seems a shame that these images sit idle in my Computer, gathering pixelated dust, so I thought I'd share some of these images with everyone on Freerails as my collection of photos grows.  This is an ambitious project, but hopefully this thread will turn into a good resource for people looking to find inspiration from the Spine of the Continent.  I'll start uploading pictures and some short commentary immediately.

By loading onto freerails, I'm designating these photos for public use by anyone who views them for educational, personal and non-profit use.  (Just thought I'd add that to clear any copyright questions).

Thanks and I hope everyone enjoys the photos!

--James:java:



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 Posted: Wed Aug 19th, 2015 02:36 am
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jtrain
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These first couple of photos comes from the Fort/Museum in Missoula.  The museum has amassed a collection of railroad artifacts, equipment, and structures.  Most impressive (to me) is the collection of logging equipment.  This first photo is of a rare, Willamette Shay Locomotive.  These locomotives were built near the end of the logging railroad era in the Northwest and were primarily used in the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Montana and Idaho.  The design was supposed to be improved over the original shay design and could pull marginally better loads and use less fuel.  Most of these locomotives were oil-burning, including the one in Missoula.  What's nice about this museum is that you can get up-close and personal with this locomotive.  I have detailed pictures of the drive system, suspension, frame, cab interior, and pilots for anyone interested.



Behind the Willamette shay, there is a log loader and a couple types of log cars which I do not know the names to.  This loader, from what I can tell, would be transported via a flatcar and then unloaded to the ground or mounted onto a platform that would allow log cars to be loaded.  I think this would make a great model.




As seen from the front.



The site contains a few buildings and railroad artifacts plus, obviously, a short piece of track.  Behind the depot quite a distance is a trolley barn that houses a couple of restored trollies and a lot of other info.  The barn was closed last time I was there, so alas, no photos yet.



The depot (and I'm guessing surrounding structures) came from Drummond, Montana.  The depot also houses many smaller depot artifacts and a model train display.



For someone wanting a very interesting subject to model, here it is.  This is a crew transport and equipment car.  Rather than use a very expensive locomotive to haul a few people into the woods, lumber companies often had these cars built, mostly from scratch, in their own tool shops.  Kind of like a Galloping Goose, this car had a small gas engine mounted inside or underneath (not quite sure about that part) and would have a chain drive to one of the axles.  This car could haul an additional trailer car as well as about 20 men plus equipment for a day's worth of logging.  While practices varied company to company, many logging companies in Montana seemed to prefer building temporary settlements (or the occasional rail-based log camp in steep terrain) and would branch out from there, with the tracs varying season to season.  It's important to note that many logging companies, and their employees, came from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan before the White Pine timber stands were used up and thus, many logging practices in the Great Lakes region crossed over into Montana and the Northwest region.

--James:java:

Last edited on Wed Aug 19th, 2015 02:58 am by jtrain



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 Posted: Wed Aug 19th, 2015 03:45 am
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jtrain
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Another spot I found in the region was a museum up by Flathead Lake, south of the town called Polson.  The museum, The Miracle of America Museum, is definitely worth a look for anyone interested in railroads, maritime, Americana, and old cars. Trains, of course, was what I focused my camera on and thus I have some images to share:



I have no idea why this locomotive has two stacks, but it looks sweet!  You can even climb inside the cab of this one, although the steel is quite slippery when wet thanks to decades of rust and grime.  Here's a shot of the front:



Something tells me this locomotive was used in the backcountry due to the spool on the right, the big pilot, adjustable coupler, handrails, etc...  There's no build plate as far as I can tell.



Also on display is a diminutive Plymouth switcher, 3 ft gauge (or thereabouts)  that you can also climb into, although it's not much of a view from the cab of this thing.  From what I can gather, these little engines would be used in the lumberyard, transporting cars full of fresh cut lumber and readying them to be trans loaded onto standard gauge cars by cranes or horses (probably cranes by the time this engine was being used).



Large scale modelers might want to note that this engine's frame looks nearly identical to that of a Hartland Locomotive Works 'Mack' engine.



This one's for Uncle Bob, a homemade train set meant for kids to ride on.  Since it was raining, the train was parked inside the "tunnel" which looks more like an extended dog house.  up front is a pair of F unit diesels.  Even though it's not a narrow gauge representation, it sure looks cool, and simple.



This contraption you don't see everyday in restored condition, it's a velocipede!  Basically a bicycle on rails, this thing was lightweight, easy to build and use, cheap, and was perfect for track inspectors, doctors, foreman, etc...  Of course, more commonly we see these:



Rail speeders.  This is a Fairbanks Morse M model of some kind.  Needs restoration of course, too bad the owner is unlikely to part with it otherwise I'd buy it and join NARCOA.  oh well, opportunity will come...



Those were the big pieces of railroad equipment at the museum, but there's plenty of small artifacts, tractors, aircraft (including an F4 cockpit, and a F8 Crusader and a couple of helicopters).

--James:java:




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 Posted: Wed Aug 19th, 2015 08:01 am
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Kitbash0n30
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jtrain wrote: I have no idea why this locomotive has two stacks, but it looks sweet! I can't specifically answer that question about that locomotive, but here is something I expect to be relevant to the beast's general nature,
http://blog.modernmechanix.com/fireless-steam-locomotives-pull-big-loads-for-industry/

“Fireless steam loco-motive! Impossible!” hoots the skeptic. “The very words contradict themselves!” And yet it is true. Fireless steam locomotives — a thousand of them in use in Europe and more than a hundred in the United States —without boilers, fireboxes, grates, ash pans, or tubes, are pulling heavy loads back and forth in the short railway systems of private industries of America and other lands and have been doing it for almost sixty years. Like the half-nude and sweating men who feed the furnaces and oil the machinery deep down in the bowels of a great ocean liner while feasting and music and dancing goes on in the brilliant salon far above, these fireless locomotives have gone about their work almost unknown, unseen, unsung, for nearly a lifetime. What makes the wheels go ’round? How do they work? Don’t they run down?



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 Posted: Wed Aug 19th, 2015 09:42 pm
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Lee B
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I'm familiar with fireless cookers, having seen one operating (North American Rayon 0-6-0 # 1 at Elizabethton, TN) several times as a kid.
jtrain wrote:


The site contains a few buildings and railroad artifacts plus, obviously, a short piece of track.  Behind the depot quite a distance is a trolley barn that houses a couple of restored trollies and a lot of other info.  The barn was closed last time I was there, so alas, no photos yet.
I love this shot, it looks like the tracks just keep going like they would have.



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 Posted: Thu Aug 20th, 2015 01:34 am
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jtrain
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Thanks for the info and kind words Kitbash and Lee B!

I thought I'd make another couple of additions this evening.  Probably the best thing I can describe this topic as would be a Journal or log, so I think I'll go with that.  Anyways, the next place I want to focus on is Butte, MT.  For anyone who has not seen Butte before, think of it as a cross between Hibbing MN, Cripple Creek CO, Lead CO, and Deadwood SD.  A lot of old buildings built before the great depression and many mine shafts litter the mountainside.  All the copper mines form a large arch along the north edge of town from west to east with the easternmost mines being completely destoryed by a large, inactive, pit mine.  On the west edge though, many mines still stand and many artifiacts can be found around town.  At the extreme western edge of town is the World Museum of Mining that has completely restored dozens of the town's original buildings as well as the Orphan Girl Mine, one of the largest original copper mines still intact.  The mine features a number of narrow gauge tracks, all about 20" gauge, a 3ft gauge rebuilt track to represent the transfer process and some short lengths of standard gauge.  I'll let the pictures take it from here:



Narrow gauge tracks can be seen in the lower right with 3ft gauge coming in from the foreground.  Visitors can travel up the stairway in the central portion of the picture to the mine head.  3 elevators big enough for one mine cart would carry 1-3 tons of ore to the top where the cars would be dumped, the ore sorted, and dropped into storage bins similar to the one shown on the left side of the picture.  4 large ore bins, which would have held various grade ore, would unload into waiting narrow gauge cars below.



Here we see an air compressed locomotive, this is perhaps the most common type built for mine usage.  In fact, this locomotive was likely used in Lead, South Dakota on the Homestake Mine.  Aside from about a dozen of these in South Dakota, one in Hibbing
Minnesota and one in Colorado Springs, Colorado, this is the latest one I've come across. Surprisingly, despite so many being preserved, only the one in Colorado Springs is still filled with air and demonstrated.  I guess we can't trust a 100+ year old air compressor.



These locomotives brought and end to compressed air, just as compressed air brought an end to donkeys inside the mines. Operating off of an electrical battery, these locomotives were cheaper, ran further than compressed air, and could haul at least the same tonnage.  the museum has several of these scattered about in various states of disrepair, this happens to be the most complete.  This would be a fine looking model for anyone interested.



This is a molten medal (slag) dump car used in the area of Butte in the large smelters.  This example is standard gauge and, based on the arch bar trucks, is quite old.



Probably my favorite example in the museum is this tiny 0-4-0.



Finally, every year Butte hosts a large music festival which is dedicated to the town's history, culture, and the folk music genre associated with mining, logging, and back country life.  What sets this festival apart from all others is one thing, the main stage is an old mine!  While others rust away, this one will be preserved for as long as Butte has a need for an outdoor stage.




--James:java:



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 Posted: Mon Aug 24th, 2015 08:18 am
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William M
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That slag wagon is usually known as a Ladle in the UK. Used to watch them tipping the slag into the sea from the local steelworks when I was a kid.
Sometimes when the slag had cooled just a little bit more than usual it would come out in a semi molten lump, hit the sea and explode with a hell of a bang.....

Great photos..lots of ideas........

Last edited on Mon Aug 24th, 2015 08:19 am by William M



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 Posted: Fri Sep 4th, 2015 02:30 pm
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Thanks for the pics-the mining museum in Butte (as well as the architecture of Butte) is a must see!



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 Posted: Fri Sep 4th, 2015 02:54 pm
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Herb Kephart
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''I'd buy it and join NARCOA. ''

James, check into the NARCOA rules, before you buy. One rule that they have is wheel/flange thickness. By the time many speeders are retired, their wheels are worn below NARCOA specs. Wheels are expensive--if available.

Also, you need a trailer. riding back and forth on the same piece of trackage can be a bore, after a while

Herb



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 Posted: Fri Sep 4th, 2015 03:24 pm
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Bernd
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Since the fireless cooker has no flues you don't need a common exhaust pipe such as on one with flues to create a draft. Each cylinder exhausts out of it's own stack. They just vented it upwards for some reason.

Bernd

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