A&MRB&T Co.

Discussion in 'G Scale' started by kenmc, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Frisco.org Supporter

    Just as he did for our HO Birmingham Terminal layout by building the union depot for Camellia Park, my friend and craftsman/artist Dick Schultz has outdone himself by providing the centerpiece attraction for our G scale layout. It's a 1/32 model of the Rock Island interlocking tower that used to stand at Muscatine, Iowa. Called Culver Tower (station code DY), it was the subject of a several great articles in Trains Magazine in 1986. Marsha and I used to rail-fan there before it was torn down in 1978; it was my introduction to the Rock Island in its last days. I needed a tower at Bridge Junction between the RI and MP on the A&MRB&T Co, so we thought this would be a good one. It is a twin of the Rock Island tower at Saginaw TX, just north of Fort Worth.

    Dick began by making detailed plans of the tower from photographs; then he proceeded to totally scratch build the structure and fully detailed and lighted interior from styrene. He actually had to make a special sharpened round tool to punch out the individual "fish scale" scalloping for the sides.

    The "stage presence," as they say in theater, of this piece is really impressive. We now have to move out smartly to build the layout so it can have a context.

    Enjoy.

    Ken McElreath
     

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    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
    w3hodoug, RogerRT, klrwhizkid and 6 others like this.
  2. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Very nice!
     
  3. timothy_cannon

    timothy_cannon Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Love it! Here is my future G scale project. It is going to be SL-SF/StL&G 388. Not exact but close enough. Maybe I can get track-age rights on the A&MRB&T Co!
     

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    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  4. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    You said it, brother. I've always had a soft spot for interlocking towers, perhaps because they could be so varied, and perhaps because of what they represent, e.g. one railroad's connection to the rest of the nationwide web of rails. At any rate, the modeling's pretty exceptional.

    I'm intrigued by the gangway that leads from the tower stairway to roughly diesel locomotive walkway level. I don't think I've ever seen such a thing. Wonder what its purpose was for in the prototype world?

    Best Regards,
     
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  5. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Frisco.org Supporter

    Since every Rock Island train passing this location received train orders, the gangway saved the operator's having to descend all the way to the ground each time to hand up orders to the engineer and the conductor. This tower was a very busy place where he had to really hustle to keep up with all of the manual operations, recording of train passage times and telephone calls from train crews, three dispatchers and other nearby locations.

    I loved the interlocking and on-line towers because I could go in and connect with a very human side of railroading that is no longer possible.

    Ken McElreath
     
  6. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Makes good sense, Ken. Thanks for the additional insight. I'm surprised more roads didn't add a similar treatment to their towers.

    Best Regards,
     
    gjslsffan likes this.
  7. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Frisco.org Supporter

    The power for the Cotton Belt's "Memphis Blue Streak Merchandise" is now done, and I have really enjoyed customizing the Aristo GP40-2 and U25B for the job. Although the track isn't yet in place in the West Memphis yard, I do have the backdrop painted, so I thought I'd post photos of the units, ready to depart for Pine Bluff and Corsicana Tx for a fast connection to the SP for El Paso and LA.

    Enjoy.

    Ken McElreath
     

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  8. timothy_cannon

    timothy_cannon Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Very, Very nice!!!!!!!!!
     
  9. Looks great Ken.
     
  10. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Very nice, Ken.
     
  11. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Frisco.org Supporter

    For Tim Cannon, particularly, here is my Cotton Belt GP9 yard switcher. The prototype engine was assigned to the Illmo yard in the early 1970s, where I photographed it. It was a lot dirtier than this, though.

    Enjoy.

    Ken McElreath
     

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    gjslsffan and rjthomas909 like this.
  12. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Frisco.org Supporter

    An early 2020 update regarding progress on the A&MRB&T Co. G scale layout.

    Although I am nominally modeling Memphis TN ca 1965-1975, I have already corrupted that purity with the Rock Island interlocking tower and other items that are attractive to me. At this point in my 70 years of modeling, if I like something, I can incorporate it into the layout to improve its interest without pangs of guilt.

    The latest case in point is my Memphis Union Station. The prototype was a stub-ended affair, and the railroad side was very bland and uninteresting, compared to the street side. So Dick Schultz and I conferred what we should do. I love the Burlington Station in Omaha, seeing it every time we ride the California Zephyr to Denver. So I approached Dick about modeling it, particularly since he is a Burlington Railroad modeler.

    Here is the result at present, since I couldn't wait to finish the umbrella shed and ballasting to take photos to share. Only half the building is modeled; a mirror doubles the symmetrical building and scene. The other new building Dick finished is in actuality the Memphis Union Station power plant, adjacent to the engine house.

    Enjoy.

    Ken McElreath
     

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  13. Amazing Ken. Incredible modeling.
     
    gjslsffan likes this.
  14. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Frisco.org Supporter

    The first section of the A&MRB&T Co. layout that is now "finished" is the Rock Island's Fourth Street Yard in Memphis. Here are some photos I took to commemorate the event. Doing ballasting and ground cover in G scale was quite intimidating at first, but I am actually looking forward to working on other sections after my first dive into this section. I am using two grades of kitty litter for ballast, plus some regular sand and Woodland Scenics foliage materials and lichen. I am hoping to establish the equivalent level of realism and detail that I have enjoyed in HO scale. So far it's a fun and interesting experiment. One has to be a scrounger to find appropriate stuff in unexpected places, just as in the earlier days of HO modeling, before everything became available "take and bake."

    Ken McElreath


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    Last edited: Jul 4, 2020
  15. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Frisco.org Supporter

    At the stub end of the yard I have installed a Third Street overpass with a mirror underneath, to give the yard some depth instead of running into the wall. I am very pleased with the results; the scene opens up quite nicely, making my small yard seem much more extensive. I have salvaged an end of a gondola that I cannibalized earlier to deceive the eye, plus a 40 foot TOFC flat car to make a "smoke and mirrors" 86 foot car more appropriate for the 1970s time frame. You can see where the mirror is, if you look for the shadow line just beyond the (first) overpass.

    Ken McElreath

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    Last edited: Jul 4, 2020
  16. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Looks really good, Ken!
     
    rjthomas909 likes this.
  17. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    That is some very clever modeling there Ken!
     
  18. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Frisco.org Supporter

    Here are some photos showing the yard populated with rolling stock and locomotives in the servicing area. Just as with the prototype Fourth Street Yard, the yard switcher has to move the cars in cuts onto the main line to make up an outbound consist, then the engines and caboose are added for departure. Reverse for arrivals. Great model operation. There's a prototype for everything.

    Ken McElreath

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  19. gstout

    gstout Member Frisco.org Supporter

  20. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Frisco.org Supporter

    Just in case you're wondering what the young man walking home from school is looking at, this is it. The fire department has been called to put out an engine fire in the Pontiac. And isn't that a gorgeous machine? One thing I'm enjoying is working the forced perspectives of having various scale items in the scene (like General U S Grant, you "do the best you can with what you're given"). The vehicles in the background are 1:32 and the ones in the foreground are 1:24, while the trains are 1:29. It actually works, and the mind doesn't seem to "mind" the mixing of scales. G "scale" is not as sensitive to these things as HO.

    Enjoy.

    Ken McElreath P7010042.JPG P7010044.JPG P7010055.JPG P7010056.JPG
     

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