RAGG'S RIO GRANDE SOUTHERN

(CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST UPDATES: 01-13-2017)

This is a webpage presenting the monstrosity in my basement: my Sn3 version of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad. Eventually, I hope to spend more time organizing and adding the information most modelers include on websites dedicated to their railroads. But we all know that life often interferes with our plans, so I'm making no promises....

 

LAYOUT 6

LOWER TRACK: RIDGWAY TO DALLAS DIVIDE; UPPER TRACK: DOLORES TO RICO

A BIT OF BACKGROUND:

I moved to Pennsylvania from Colorado way back in 1979 and immediately started building a home. A very high priority was to have a home with a basement large enough to fit an Sn3 version of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad -- a 162 mile, 3-foot (narrow gauge) line that operated in southwestern Colorado from 1891 until 1951...mostly in Receivership (BROKE!). There are lots of other webpages dedicated to the intriguing history of the little road, but for now I'll leave you to find them.

The basement that resulted is very odd shaped (a drawing to come, perhaps?). It measures roughly 30 x 40-feet with three "extensions" or alcoves of 9 x 10-feet, 9 x 12-feet, and, 14 x 16-feet. It's a good amount of space...until you want to fit a 162-mile long railroad into it. Unfortunately, the basement has a house just as large above it which has taken far longer to build than I expected. In fact, it's not really 100% finished to this day.

Construction of the railroad began in 1993 but progress has been slow due to life's many other little interferences such as having to make a living.

 

TRACKPLAN:

YES, it's finally DONE!!! I've drawn the trackplan in a form where you just MIGHT understand it! Unrealistic? Outrageous? Ridiculous? Yes, all of that and more. But I'm still enjoying it! Click the link to see it, and be prepared that the download may not be as fast as you'd like!

RAGG'S TRACKPLAN

PHOTOS:

In order of importance:

LORI AND MYSELF (A FEW YEARS AGO). I'M VERY LUCKY TO HAVE SUCH AN UNDERSTANDING WIFE!!

In no particular order:

RIDGWAY RND HS

RIDGWAY ROUNDHOUSE AND RGS OFFICE (BOTH SCRATCHBUILT)

 

RIDGWAY YARD

RIDGWAY YARD

 

DOLORES

DOLORES (THAT'S THE ORIGINAL DEPOT I DESIGNED FOR BANTA)

THE BACKDROP IS BY MY FRIEND, DALE KREUTZER

 

MONTEZUMA FRUIT CO.

MONTEZUMA FRUIT CO, (ART FAHIE'S SCENICING WORK!) (A KIT I DESIGNED FOR BANTA BUT WAS NEVER PRODUCED)

 

SILVERTON

TOWN OF SILVERTON "MOCKUP" (LOTS OF "TEST BUILDS" IN PLACE OF FINAL STRUCTURES)

 

SILVERTON BRIDGE

CURRENT PROJECT -- BRIDGE OVER LOS ANIMAS TO SILVERTON (A MODIFIED CENTRAL VALLEY KIT)

 

SILVERTON TT

LATEST PROJECT: SILVERTON'S TURNTABLE (SCRATCHBUILT) (NO ROOM FOR A WYE)

 

TT MECHANISM

TURNTABLE MECHANISM (OLD DISK DRIVE/STEPPER MOTOR/MICROCONTROLLER)

 

RIDGWAY YARD STRUCTURE

RIDGWAY YARD STRUCTURE (ART FAHIE'S SCENICING WORK!)

 

DOLORES TO RICO

DOLORES TO RICO LINE (LOWER); DOLORES TO MCPHEE BRANCH (UPPER)

 

A FEW YEARS BACK WHEN TROUT LAKE WAS JUST ABOUT TO TAKE SHAPE

YES, IT'S A COMPLICTED TRACKPLAN!

 

TROUT LAKE

TROUT LAKE (11-FEET LONG!) (SILVERTON IS ON LOWER LEVEL)

 

A FAVORITE SPOT -- THE LINE HEADING UP TO DALLAS DIVIDE

 

TROUT LAKE VIEWED THE OTHER DIRECTION (LIZARD HEAD IN BACKGROUND)

 

FRAMING UNDER MCPHEE. NOTICE THE "SKYHOOK" LATER DISGUISED BY TREES.

 

STOCK PENS AT LIZARD HEAD

 

LIZARD HEAD DEPOT/WYE (NO SNOWSHEDS!)

 

STOCK CARS STORED AT LIZARD HEAD

 

THE LINE FROM RIDGWAY TO DALLAS DIVIDE (ABOVE SILVERTON)

 

LINE BETWEEN TROUT LAKE AND LIZARD HEAD (RIDGWAY YARD ON LOWER LEVEL)

 

 

HELP FROM MY FRIENDS:

Over the years a few of my good friends lent me a hand and helped rekindled the fire to get this thing built.

CHICK SWEENEY, A FELLOW Sn3'r, HAS BEEN A FRIEND FOR NEARLY 50 YEARS.

 

CHICK CATCHING SOME RAYS ON TROUT LAKE

 

ANOTHER HELPER AND LONG TIME FRIEND, ELLIS MEADS. ELLIS DOESN'T LOOK HAPPY, DOES HE. THAT'S JUST HIS WAY.

ELLIS IS A FANTASTIC HOn3 MODELER.

ANOTHER GOOD FRIEND, DOUG CURRIE, CAUGHT WORKING ON ROCK OUTCROPPINGS ABOVE TROUT LAKE

 

GETTING PLASTERED:

It takes a lot of plastering to make a convincing Colorado railroad. Sometimes having help with the job is a good thing....sometimes not:

THE PLASTER CREW (BILL SCOBIE AND DON WAWRZYNIAK) HARD AT WORK

 

THE MIXING TABLE LEG COLLAPSED. FROM UPSTAIRS THE BOSS HEARD THE CRASH FOLLOWED BY AN "OH SH_ _ !!!!" AND DON SCRAMBLED TO CLEAN UP THE MESS.

EVERYTHING WAS COVERED IN BOTH WET AND DRY PLASTER: THE WALL, THE LAMP, THE PHONE, ...AND DON.

 

BILL PITCHED IN TO CLEAN UP DON

YES, WE HAVE A LOT FUN!!!

 

MARCH 10, 2014:

Although it's been a busy (and COLD) winter, I've managed to get a few more things going on the railroad. Here's a few photos:

x

BILL SCOBIE PAID ANOTHER VISIT AND I PUT HIM TO WORK BUILDING SWITCHES IN MCPHEE, OR "MCSCOBIEVILLE", AS IT BECAME KNOWN.

 

x

I QUICKLY LEARNED THAT BILL'S A MUCH BETTER WORKER IF I PROVIDE LARGE AMOUNTS OF HIS FAVORITE REFRESHING BEVERAGE.

AND HE MAY EVEN COME BACK TO WORK AGAIN SOMEDAY....?

 

x

HERE'S MCPHEE AS IT STANDS TODAY. A LARGE SAWMILL WILL GO IN THE UPPER LEFT AND A SMALL TOWN WILL BE LOCATED IN THE LOWER RIGHT. A SMALL ENGINE HOUSE WILL BE WHERE THE FASCIA BUMPS OUT ALONG THE LEFT EDGE. I MAY GET TO THE TURNTABLE YET THIS WINTER...MAYBE NOT. MCPHEE IS AT THE END OF A BRANCH THAT JOINS THE RGS AT DOLORES.

 

x

I'VE ALSO MANAGED TO COMPLETE THE FIVE BRIDGES CROSSING THE LOS ANIMAS RIVER. HERE'S THE BRIDGE LEADING INTO SILVERTON (SEE ABOVE).

 

x

THIS IS A SMALL 4-SPAN GIRDER BRIDGE THAT WILL ACCESS THE ROSE-WALSH SMELTER

 

x

THIS TIMBER THROUGH SPAN TRUSS BRIDGE IS USED BY THE RGS ON ITS WAY FROM RIDGWAY TO DALLAS DIVIDE. LIKE A LOT OF MY TRACKPLAN, IT'S NOT PROTOTYPICAL, BUT IT WAS NECESSARY.

THAT'S BRIDGES 4 AND 5 IN THE BACKGROUND.

 

x

BRIDGE 4 IS ALSO TIMBER AND USED BY THE RGS. IT'S THE HIGHEST AND MOST COMPLICATED OF THE BRIDGES IN THIS AREA. AT THE MOMENT I'M ADDING THE PLASTER MOUNTAIN SIDE AND WILL UPDATE THIS PICTURE SOON.

 

x

THIS IS BRIDGE 5, USED BY THE D&RGW TO REACH SILVERTON. THE BRIDGE IS DIRECTLY BELOW BRIDGE 4 AND IS AT THE HEAD END OF THE LOS ANIMAS CANYON. THIS BRIDGE HAD TO ACCOMODATE AN S-CURVE, SO IT IS WIDER THAN MOST. IT STARTED AS A CENTRAL VALLEY HO KIT, BUT I WORKED TO MAKE IT RESEMBLE THE ACTUAL BRIDGE AT CASCADE.

 

x

AT THIS POINT YOU CAN SEE THREE OF THE FIVE BRIDGES. BRIDGES 4 AND 5 ARE JUST BELOW THE LOWER LEFT CORNER. THE RIVER BOTTOM IS STILL JUST PLYWOOD, BUT SCENERY ISN'T FAR OFF.

FEBRUARY 3, 2016:

An update for this page is long, long overdue. Yes, time flies. It's hard to believe that nearly TWO YEARS have passed since I last posted a picture here. (But a TRACKPLAN has been added in that time!) Following are pictures highlighting the accomplishments made over the last 2 years. It's interesting to compare the newest pictures to those above, noting the progress that's been made. This is especially true around Trout Lake, the Los Animas River near Silverton, and the area of McPhee.

 

RGS Bridge 2

COMPARE THIS PHOTO TO THE ONE ABOVE. THE LOS ANIMAS RIVER IS NOW "FLOWING" AND MANY TREES (MCKENZIE BROTHERS TIMBER COMPANY!) (http://www.mckenziebrotherstimberco.com) HAVE BEEN ADDED. BOTH SIDES OF THE RIVER ARE NOW SCENICED AND THE AISLE HAS FASCIA. IN THE BACKGROUND THE BACKDROP IS SOON TO BE REPLACED. THE TRACK IN THE MIDDLE RIGHT PORTION OF THE PHOTO IS THE D&RGW'S LINE FROM DURANGO TO SILVERTON.

 

RGS BRIDGE 1

THIS IS THE SAME BRIDGE AS ABOVE, BUT LOOKING THE OTHER WAY, THE TRACK IS HEADED TO DURANGO AND ABOUT TO CROSS THE STEEL BRIDGE.

 

B&RGW BRIDGE1

THIS IS THE STEEL D&RGW BRIDGE OVER THE LOS ANIMAS RIVER. THE TRACK IS LEAVING THE CONFINES OF THE CANYON, HEADED TO SILVERTON.

 

SMELTER BRIDGE

IT'S INTERESTING TO COMPARE THIS PHOTO TO EARLIER ONES, ABOVE. THIS IS THE BRIDGE CROSSING THE LOS ANIMAS ALLOWING THE D&RGW TO REACH THE SMELTER. AGAIN, NOTE THOSE NEAT TREES BY THE MCKENZIE BROTHERS! BY THE WAY, THE HIDDEN LINE THAT CONNECTS RICO TO DOLORES RUNS JUST ABOVE THIS SCENE. IT'S ACCESS FOR MAINTENANCE BY HINGED, DROP-DOWN PANELS. FOR CLEARANCE, ALL THESE TREES HAVE BEEN MADE TO BE EASILY REMOVED USING TELESCOPING ALUMINUM TUBING. IT'S A NEAT TRICK AND ONE THAT ALLOWS ME TO REARRANGE TREES WHENEVER I GET BORED.

 

MCPHEE DEPOT

MY FRIEND PETE SMITH PAID A VISIT OVER THE SUMMER AND I TWISTED HIS ARM INTO BUILDING ONE OF HIS OWN KITS FOR MCPHEE. IT CAME OUT GREAT!! THE ANIMAS FORKS HOUSE BEHIND THE DEPOT WAS SCRATCHBUILT BY ANOTHER FRIEND, JOHN CHLEBOWSKI. IT'S GOOD TO HAVE FRIENDS!

 

MCPHEE TURNTBL

I ALSO MANAGED SOME BUILDING: THIS IS THE TURNTABLE IN MCPHEE. MOTORIZED, IT AUTOMATICALLY TURNS 180-DEGREES.

 

TROUT LAKE MINE

TROUT LAKE IS STILL NOT FINISHED, BUT GETTING CLOSER. THIS IS A (FICTITIOUS) MINE I LOCATED AT THE UPPER END. I BUILT IT TO HO-SCALE, PROVIDING "FORCED" PERSPECTIVE. MORE CLUTTER AND DETAIL IS NEEDED. THE TRACK ON THE LEFT IS THE RGS MAINLINE HEADING TO LIZARD HEAD. TROUT LAKE HAS ALSO RECEIVED THE DAM KEEPER'S HOUSE AND THE OUTLET WORKS, BUILT IN S-SCALE.

 

MAUDE MONROE 01

HERE'S WHERE THE SHOWMODEL OF THE MAUDE MONROE MINE ENDED UP -- JUST SOUTH OF THE RIDGWAY ENGINE TERMINAL. THE SMALL WAREHOUSE ON THE RIGHT WAS SCRATCHBUILT USING DON GRIFFIN'S EXCELLENT DRAWINGS (http://clearcreekmodelengineering.org) OF THE MAUDE MONROE MINE AND OUTBUILDINGS. DON OFFERS A GREAT LIST OF VERY AFFORDABLE (AND ACCURATE) STRUCTURE DRAWINGS. CHECK THEM OUT!

BY THE WAY, I JUST RECEIVED THE PHOTO BACKDROP FOR RIDGWAY FROM DALE KREUTZER. ONCE INSTALLED, IT WILL MAKE A BIG CHANGE IN FUTURE PHOTOS.

RWS 2015

MORE THAN A FEW OF YOU HAVE ASKED ABOUT THE STATUS OF THE SMELTER. I'M WORKING ON IT. ABOVE IS A PICTURE OF THE TEST BUILD SETTING IN PLACE ON THE LAYOUT. (THE ASSAY OFFICE AND RECEIVING SHED/BINS ARE KITS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE SEPARATELY.) A FEW MORE DAYS OF DRAWING DETAILS REMAIN, AS WELL AS BUILDING THE SHOW MODEL AND WRITING INSTRUCTIONS. I'M HOPING APRIL WILL BE THE RELEASE DATE.

 

BILL MEREDITH

A WORK SESSION WAS ALSO HELD IN JULY, 2015. ABOVE, BILL MEREDITH PAID HIS FIRST VISIT TO MY RAILROAD AND WAS ASSIGNED THE TASK OF CONSTRUCTING SHELVING BENEATH THE MONTROSE STAGING YARD. THE SHELVES ARE NOW COMPLETE (AND FULLY LOADED) AND THE OLD STORAGE ROOM IS NEARLY READY FOR THE RAILROAD'S EXPANSION. THANK YOU, BILL!

 

DAVE THOMPSON 2015 BILL & DON, 2015

DAVE THOMPSON IS SHOWN IN THE LEFT PHOTO LAYING THE TRACK FOR THE SMELTER. IT'S A TIGHT FIT FOR DAVE. DAVE'S AN EXCELLENT HOn3 MODELER AND DOES A PRETTY GOOD JOB WHEN FACED WITH SN3! THE RIGHT PHOTO SHOWS BILL SCOBIE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHICH WAY IS BEST FOR USING A HAMMER AND DON WAWRZYNIAK IS BITING HIS TONGUE. THESE GUYS WERE REMOVING SCENERY IN PREPARATION FOR INSTALLING THE MAUDE MONROE SHOW MODEL.

 

SEPTEMBER 10, 2016:

Now that the Rose-Walsh Smelter kit is finished, I've installed the "show model" on the layout. Here's a gallery of pictures I hope you enjoy. The figures are all from Fun & Games (http://www.scalefigures.com/).

rws-s 01

RWS-S 02

RWS-S 03

RWS-S 04

RWS-S 05

RWS-S 06

As with every structure on the layout, much more "clutter" and "detail" could be added, but there's SO many other things that need to be done!

 

JANUARY 13, 2017:

Good progress has been made on the railroad in several areas over the last several months. Chick Sweeney, Bill Scobie, and Don Wawrzyniak stopped by and we managed to finally get the Ridgway backdrop installed, made by my friend Dale Kreutzer (yes, it's GOOD to have FRIENDS!). In spite of the backdrop being 33-feet long, it was still short at both ends and Dale had to make "extensions" -- reverse images of each end that could be matched up with the original. The splices turned out at least as good as I'd hoped, maybe better! In all, this section of backdrop is approximately 52-feet long! During the installation most of the "foreground" scenery (mostly underbrush) had to be removed and is yet to be replaced. (Just something else to add to the list.)

Backdrop1

I did manage to do a small foreground scene between the backdrop and the engine terminal. It's truly amazing the difference the backdrop makes:

Ridgway sheds 1

Here's a shot of #455 after just leaving the Ridgway yards on it's way up to Dallas Divide. Nothing has been done yet to blend the backdrop into the hardshell scenery, but I think it still looks good:

#455 to DD

Another area that received a lot of attention was Trout Lake. Hundreds of McKenzie Brothers Timber Co. trees were "planted" http://www.mckenziebrotherstimberco.com along with several dozen home-made Aspen. A lot of other things were required to "finish" the scene (including the water!), but I now call it DONE, at least for a while.

Trout Lake 01

The lake is about 11-feet long. There's an access hatch in the middle.

Trout Lake 02

The track in the foreground is heading for Lizard Head.

Trout Lake 03

That's the Dam Keeper's House and Outlet Works. The wall in the background will eventually be removed.

Chick Sweeney surprised me at Christmas with the RGS truck. He wanted me to recreate the scene in Mal Ferrell's Silver San Juan book, pages 346 and 347. Check it out!

Chick's truck

Here's the photo from Mal's book (I hope he doesn't mind!):

Mal's picture

 

That's it for now. The next focus is on laying roadbed and track at Dallas Divide, building a few of the hundreds of structures required all over the railroad, and continuing with blending in the Ridgway backdrop. I might also design a new kit in my spare time. It never ends...but that's the point!

 

'TILL NEXT TIME!

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