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Helmut F
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My post over in On30 has helped to bring to light some issues I need to investigate/decide before I really start purchasing a lot of stuff.

I plan to do all/mostly steam depending upon era.  I have been thinking 1880-1900 or 1920-1940 time periods.  Of course if there are other interesting time periods that keeps things simpler, I am good with that especially to start out.

I also need to select an area of the globe.  I think my current motive power says US, or maybe North America - but if I exclude the 4-4-0 American I think Porters were shipped around the world?  Or maybe Australia is a viable option?

My current motive power is one 4-4-0 American and two 0-4-0 Porters for which I will be making/purchasing/bashing tenders.  I really want to add a Climax to the mix, but I might be holding off until I am further down the road and settled with my plans and actually do enjoy model railroading.  ;)

My current intention is to have a fairly flat layout against a cliff (yet to be constructed) with 2-5 mines tunneling into the cliff and producing output that needs to be moved.  The ore will need to go to either a yard for further destinations (with possible crossload to other cards/other RR) or a processing plant with unloading, processing, loading for shipment out.  All owned/started by an angel investor (modern term, that was probably not used in the old days).  Depending upon how things go with construction I might have a tourist/mountain resort on a mountain lake or it can be added later.  That will be my basic layout to start, the area is about 50ft. x 2-4ft. (it varies along the length and depends upon how much granite I might need/want to hack out of the slope).

Future plans are adding a logging operation and to connect/add to the line with a lower valley section with a livestock operation and an interchange at one or both ends (i.e. bridge two other railroads, maybe with a zig zag over the 'mountain' to connect the two other RRs at each end of my line).

It was brought up in my coupler post that there are several things that are dependent upon era, but I am so new that I really do not know what those things are.

Please recall that I am mostly interested in running/operating, not super attention to detail.  However, if those details assist in operating the RR in the manner of the selected time period and are not overly onerous or difficult due to the scale (On30) I am all for it!

Please school me on the operational and equipment considerations I might need to make.  I expect this thread might grow beyond my 'help select a scale' thread!

Last edited on Sat Oct 8th, 2016 04:40 am by Helmut F

NathanO
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How close do you live to other model railroaders or clubs in your area? If any of them do operating sessions you can attend that might give you an better idea of what to plan for your layout.

Nathan

Helmut F
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Nathan, great idea that is probably easier to think about than execute for me. I am really time limited, but I also see the value.

Thx.

oztrainz
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Hi Helmut,
Any of those listed locomotive could be found on a US based narrow gauge railroad The Porters could probably have been reboilered by the timeframe set for your later period. and the 4-4-0 would be starting to show its age. The Climax would probably be the newest design on your projected locomotive fleet.

Prior to Wold War 1 there would be little or no internal combustion power available. World War 1 provided the kickstart for "reliable?" internal combustion engines and mechanical transmissions that could be adapted to rail power. This stuff did start to appear on rails from the early-mid 1920's and would probably have used small locomotives with 0-4-0 or 0-6-0 wheel arrangements.

Some period giveaways-
1 - The introduction of steam turbos and electric headlights and cab lights would probably have been after World War 1. Prior to that lighting would have been kerosene or maybe calcium carbide (certainly from Europe and used underground in mines by WW1). Electric lighting could be easily "retrofitted" to your older locomotives - provided that the "boss" would pay for it. ;)
There is also no reason why kerosene or carbide could not have hung on until WW2 or later with a "skinflint" boss. The size and shape of the headlight and the presence or lack of a steam turbo are the obvious giveaways.You need a suitable backstory to cover your locomotive's "Look".

2 - size of rolling stock towed by the locomotives - Prior to WW1 most rolling stock on an industrial mining railroad would probably have been smaller 4-wheel rolling stock. Larger bogie gondolas that hauled more could only have been justified if the mines were putting out more than could be handled by the smaller wagons. Given the smaller sizes of your selected locomotives, the smaller sized wagons are probably more appropriate fro the amount of "grunt" available to move the wagons.

3 - Labour utilisation - Prior to WW1 labour was relatively cheap and plentiful, so teams of workers barrowing or shovelling from one wagon to another at the interchange probably would have been used. This changed after WW1. the amount and cost of labour expended in shifting cargo between the standard and narrow gauge tracks was one of the things that killed narrow gauge railroads.

For your consideration,

jtrain
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Keep in mind that part of the beauty of model railroading is that you really aren't limited to one railroad or era, you can model pretty much anything you want as long as it can be scratch built or purchased.

Seeing that you are modeling On30, and I read phrases such as "livestock" I'm immediately thinking that you should look into western narrow gauge, specifically Colorado.  You don't have to model anything specifically, but a really great railroad could be made by taking the best Colorado narrow gauge has to offer and applying it to an On30 freelanced railroad.

That would be my suggestion, but of course you should model the region and era that appeals to you the most.

Good Luck!

--James

Last edited on Sat Oct 8th, 2016 08:05 am by jtrain

Helmut F
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James,
Thanks for the input. I think the livestock idea came from the western cattle drives to the railhead. :)

But I am also trying to work with my landscape, which is quite rocky and barren, except for the GIANT native baccarus (two of them are probably coming out). That is where the mines idea comes in. I have done some research tonight and it seems some minerals went to pit mining right after the turn of the last century, along with foam separation of the minerals from the pulp (are hobbies not great! what you can learn about so many different things). This method was particularly used for copper, and by products that could be obtained were silver and gold and it was also used to keep other unwanted minerals out of the product such as zinc (although zinc was also mined).

So I should decide if I want to model a pit mine or the normal hole in the ground mine that most associate with mining.

More to research!

Last edited on Sat Oct 8th, 2016 08:25 am by Helmut F

NevadaBlue
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To me, the most interesting mining 'method' is tunneling and underground work in general. That is where I worked for years, and still love to snoop the history of it. The flotation of minerals was used in almost all metal mining and is still used. No matter if you model a pit or underground, most of the surface stuff is the same. Remember that pits were generally HUGE compared to underground workings. I am talking about the surface disturbance, it will take up most of any reasonable layout to model a pit copper mine.
My layout is not large, but it currently has 5 portals and a planned shaft with headframe as well as a gravel pit for road 'metal'. Look that one up...
I would love to see a good pit mine modeled, but for most of us, I think that s simple portal or headframe will give us the ability to model a 'mine'.
Can't wait to see what you decide.

Last edited on Sat Oct 8th, 2016 08:11 pm by NevadaBlue

Helmut F
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Ken,
will do. I might have enough room to do a pit mine since it is outside and a smaller scale. I will do some reading about and see how large and what equipment would be used in the 1910-1930 time frame.

jtrain
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Well you could do a pit mine if you like, all you need is a shovel ;)

I wouldn't fret too much on doing it perfectly in line with history.  There are places such as Cripple Creek, Colorado where underground mines are still used (and was 100% shaft mines before WWII).  Cripple Creek also had both standard and narrow gauge railroads servicing the area.  Think of a really big hill (10 miles across) loaded with gold and silver, and that is Cripple Creek, Colorado.

Then there is Silverton, Colorado, in the San Juans.  Silverton also used shaft mines as opposed to pit mines.  Pit Mines didn't take off until large diesel machinery was being built.  One of the earliest uses of pit mines in the US was Northern Minnesota where the Iron Ore and taconite was all over the northern hills.

So to answer your question, I guess it comes down to what your trains will be hauling and how much space you have.  If you are modeling an Iron ore mine, and you have the space, a pit mine is possible.  But if you are modeling a gold or silver (or coal) mine, you'd be better off building a traditional shaft mine.  I've got photos if you want them, just PM me.

Good Luck!

--James

jtrain
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If you want to know how big these pit mines are, here's a photo of one in the Great Lakes region of the country from the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission:



And if you ignore the environmental/political stuff, the PDF probably has some info that might be helpful for your questions:
https://gis.lic.wisc.edu/wwwlicgf/glifwc/web/Mining/Taconite_v2012-01-20a.pdf

That mine is probably about a mile across and easily 800 feet deep.  In O scale that would be 110 feet wide and 16 feet deep!  I don't know about you, but I think I'd rather build model buildings than dig a 16 foot hole in my backyard, but that's just my opinion.  No doubt it would be cool if you did a pit mine though, I just don't think most people would be willing to sacrifice that kind of space, even in the backyard.

--James

Helmut F
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Thank you James, I will let you know.

Upon researching I am appalled at the environmental impact of mines - especially in the early days. Kinda makes me not want to model one! Maybe I will model a placer type gold mine to ease my conscience a bit. :) Then my RR can serve the boom town it creates.

Still, the technological development of steam engines, trains, railroads, and all the other things that enabled is amazing (makes you want to capture some of it). If one sits and thinks about how far the human race has progressed in the last 200 years it is just dumbfounding; and then the debate comes on TV and screws the pooch there.

:P

Last edited on Mon Oct 10th, 2016 08:19 am by Helmut F

Helmut F
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I was typing my post above while you were typing your second.

Regarding your second post, the pit mine in Utah is the largest man-made excavation in the world - The Kennecott Copper Mine.

I did a lot of reading on this stuff the last couple days.  Kennecott has had quite a bit of environmental impact since its creation, but that company is at least doing something to stay off of the Feds hit list.  It is probably not enough, but oh well.

Smelters and concentrators are also quite guilty of environmental pollution, so the whole chain related to mining is culpable.  Also surprising is the treatment of workers and seeming lack of care for well being.  Maybe Ken knows a thing or two about that.

Last edited on Mon Oct 10th, 2016 08:26 am by Helmut F

Ken C
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Helmut

If you decide to go with an open pit mine, Toy Trucker &
Contractor produced a BUCYRUS 70 Ton shovel in O scale, as used for the construction of the Panama Canal. Although standard gauge, it would likely be used to load NG cars.

They can be found on E Bay, at various prices, I have two
at present along with a scratch built BUCYRUS CLASS 24 dragline, and as the area needed is way beyond the space I have, they are display / dust collectors item's.

jtrain
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Yeah, welcome to the industrial revolution, we weren't that eco-friendly a century ago. 

And the labor wasn't much better. Sometime look up the Colorado Labor War.  I could go into a lot of detail about what happened in the 1910's and 1920's, but it gets pretty political.

Still, don't feel any shame for modeling the prototype, what happened happened and we shouldn't run from our past, even if it's terrible by today's standards.

--James

Helmut F
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Well, in viewing available equipment my era selection may be made for me. Am I wrong in that not a lot of O gauge, especially 2 rail or even 3 rail DC capable, is available in early steam models?

I did land a K-line Porter and will see what that looks like when it gets here but I am not seeing a lot of other stuff that is like anything from around 1880-1900?

Remember I would like to start with minimal roadblocks - I am not averse to kitbashing, etc. but if I do not get stuff running sooner the whole thing might run out of steam (pun?).

Lee B
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Helmut F wrote:
I plan to do all/mostly steam depending upon era. I have been thinking 1880-1900 or 1920-1940 time periods.
as probably not used in the old days).

Why not the WW2 years? You can model mining for defense-related materials and can even have WW2 vehicles around the place. It also cuts down on the numbers of male figures and civilian autos (and junk yards) you'd need.
If your concept takes place on the West coast, you can model where a Japanese sub has shelled part of your layout, as well.
So many people talk about how WW2 was a high water mark for the RR industry in the US, but hardly anyone models it.

Helmut F
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Lee,
that is certainly an idea. is it really a rarely modeled time period? seems like it would be popular, is it not quite transition era (which i understood was very popular)?

oztrainz
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Hi Helmut,
Tamiya now do a range of US military vehicles in 1/48 scale that might be adaptable/suitable for a military-run mine for some rare mineral/ore.

For minimal surface buildings, you could go with an adit-type mine (tunnel into the side of a hill) rather than a shaft or open cut mine.

Possible buildings:
1 - Office/Bundy clock/change room
2 - workshop
3 - electrical switch room/lamp house

For electrical power on a WW2 remote site, perhaps look at a mine large diesel motor/generator set? This could justify a tanker for the refueler.

Lee B
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Helmut F wrote:
that is certainly an idea. is it really a rarely modeled time period? seems like it would be popular, is it not quite transition era (which i understood was very popular)?
Generally, people model the 30s or earlier, the 50s or later and ignore the mid-40s. You can't have the plethora of civilian autos, no junk yards and there wouldn't be as many figures out and about.
Look into the magazines and websites on layouts and tell me; do you see the war years being a popular modeling time period? I think you'll find it's not very common.
I've spent the better part of my life researching the 1940s, and my layout is simply an extension of that. For example, when I wanted to correctly model a stateside WW2 Jeep, I had but to walk into my own garage (a mere 30-40 feet from the layout) to look at the 1944 Jeep I take to shows and re-enactments.
Everything I have on my layout is calculated to look correct for the timeframe. For example, my one large industrial building has signs on one door stating the draft designations they aren't accepting applications for (naming the correct designations for those likely to be drafted, and conscientious objects, as most wartime companies wouldn't want them around.


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