Chat, limestone colors on the Northern Division

Discussion in 'Maintenance of Way' started by jcopilot, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. jcopilot

    jcopilot Member

    Hi, I'm modeling the Willow Springs sub on the Northern Division of the Frisco in 1958 and I'd like to use prototypically-colored ballast. I've searched the Frisco Forum for information on the colors of the chat and limestone and can't find anything specific.

    Since there were limestone quarries west of Springfield, I figure the Frisco got some ballast from there, but what color was it?

    There are several forum threads regarding chat, a waste product from lead and zinc mining which the mines were happy to 'give away' really cheap. Since there was so much lead and zinc mining in the tri-state area (just west of Springfield), I think it's reasonable to assume that the Frisco used a lot of chat on the Northern Division. I've seen discussions on the size of the chat, its source and its characteristics, but never its color.

    And I've seen some photos on the forum, but the color in those photos could be misleading due to sunlight, the camera and photo processing and reproduction.

    Can anyone remember the color of the chat and limestone used on the Northern Division, especially in the mid- to late-1950s?

    Thank you for any help,
  2. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Maybe not the 1950's, limestone, they didn't use much, too soft. Arizona Rock, is about as good as any, I use N Scale. The color, is mainly white, or appears to be white, actually light gray, small amount of light yellow. The mainline rock for Frisco was little more gray and yellow. 1 1/2 to 3 inch. Frisco liked the smaller rock, it was easier to tamp under the ties, as they did much of the work by hand.
  3. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

  4. jcopilot

    jcopilot Member

    Thanks, Bill. So, the chat was a light gray with a little yellow, but what was on the mainline that was more gray and yellow, was it still chat? And the size you mention would seem to require N scale sized ballast on an HO layout.
    Thanks again.
  5. jcopilot

    jcopilot Member

    Thanks, Karl, but I've seen that thread and I can't see where the color of chat is mentioned. There are photos, but they're either black and white or yellowed from age and poor photographic equipment. So, while the thread has good general information about chat, it just doesn't tell me what color it is.

  6. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    The mainline was 1 1/2 to 2 inch, "mainly" light Gray, with little yellow. Chat was also used, on the main, but generally chat is like small chips of rock about 1/4 to 3/8 inches. It was the same color. From a distance, they appear white. The Frisco started to use granite just prior to the 80 merger, from Ryder, Ok, really just to impress a merger. I do use, N scale, ballast, when compared to other railroads, Frisco used way smaller rock, due to "they didn't have many tampers" Large rock, drains water better, but is much harder to get under the ties. A minium lift by a tamper is about 2 inches, making it hard to hand tamp a 3 or 4 inch rock under the ties. As the Section Foreman used to say to us " put that rock up where the ladies ride" Due to poor drainage, Frisco, had a lot of mud spots, so realistic Frisco trackage would have a few spots of light brown mud, under the rail from pumping. Course, being a old Roadmaster, you don't see any mud on mine. Ha !
    Jerry Walker likes this.
  7. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Now for the good stuff, the guy that runs "Arizona Rock" is a modeler and sells N scale ballast tagged Frisco. Now that don't mean much, but if you call him and tell him how much you need, he will grind and match all the rock the same color. That was nice, because, I found it hard to find enough that matched. One store had a couple of bags and you know how that goes. Just tell him Frisco and he knows the blend.
  8. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    I have a couple of bags of Arizona Rock's Frisco-style ballast. Bought some a couple of months ago in anticipation of ballasting track once all the wiring and kinks are worked out. This stuff was used quite a bit on the south end of the Arthur Sub, which is where I model.

    Amusing note- when I got the stuff, my wife took a look at is and remarked "You mail-ordered DIRT???"

    Some folks just don't get it......sigh.....

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