Crawford and Cherokee Layout Update

Discussion in 'Divisions' started by rjthomas909, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Beautiful scenery and right of way. Throw some weathering washes all over those old structures and they’ll look like contest winners from decent viewing distances.
  2. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Thanks Guys,

    Jim, I think you are right about scratch building. It is difficult to find small-town single story stores and such in kit form. I am looking back through the Zalma historical archives for ideas. I am near the end of basic scenery and wiring. I need to start a few structures of better quality and that are right for the times.

    -Bob T.
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  3. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    You got this. Easily within your skill level.
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  4. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Ready to be home for a long Labor Day weekend and some progress on the Crawford and Cherokee. Been decaling, building, and weathering up cars. Here is a string of Accurail hoppers that are a pretty nice model when you need a good number of a certain type.

    (Sorry for the pin in the background. Picture taken using a couple of modules as a diorama).

    Take care all,

    -Bob T.
  5. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Very nice looking train. That would look super realistic in black and white.
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  6. patrick flory

    patrick flory Member

    Do what inept modelers like me do. Stick a clump of lichen over pins like that when taking pictures. :ROFLMAO:
  7. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Photo of 0-6-0 3808, a Proto Heritage Series Model.

    Working on improving depth of focus with a new camera we bought a couple of weeks ago. While a bit over-exposed, I am liking the results so far.

    Photo taken on the South Cherokee section of the Crawford and Cherokee.

    Tips and comments welcomed.

    -Bob T.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
  8. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Merry Christmas Eve All,

    Been spending some time with AnyRail while working up the Parsons Sub plan (see other thread this week). I decided to update the plan for the Crawford and Cherokee to reflect some changes. The Lightning Creek Mine section was a remnant from the original Crawford and Cherokee (v1). It was the only part that I had salvaged. It had also been used as part of the "Weir-Pittsburg Coal Field" switching layout, which had a small double track section with a cross-over representing a small town and interchange. It was built without a 1-inch foam top, and was very flat compared to the other sections.

    Well, that mine section did not fit quite right in the garage space that I have. In particular, when I wanted to set up the Cherokee yard with the mine section as a switching layout on one side of the garage, it would hit the door unless turned at a strange angle. There is also a small concrete ramp in my garage at the location of the mine in its original, full-layout configuration. In short, it was driving me crazy and was simply a forced-fit.

    I attended the South Texas Model Railroad Social in San Antonio on the 14th and offered up the switching layout above to anyone that might like to have it. A young man and his father came and picked it up Saturday, and I am starting the construction of the new modules/sections. The new version will look something like:

    It will fit much better. I will also create a small cantilevered fiddle track to permit switching the Cherokee yard a bit more comfortably. I will also remove the "abandoned spur" track from the South Cherokee section (which is also an attempt to make things fit that just did not work out).

    Comments are welcomed. Will post progress on these sections as they materialize.

    Merry Christmas All,

    -Bob T.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2019
  9. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    OK, this one had been driving me crazy. I was sure that I had seen a map of Cherokee KS that showed the location of the engine house and turntable. I was looking for the reference for a photo that Andre asked me about, and found a map from 1906 in a plat book of Crawford County.


    While it does not have some of the industry spurs that appear in the Sanborn maps, you can clearly see the location of the turntable and 4-stall engine house.


    If you are a SE Kansas Frisco fan (ahem.... @Iantha_Branch) , you might enjoy this and the plat book from neighboring Bourbon and Cherokee Counties found at:

    Bourbon County Atlas, c.1920 -- Includes Fort Scott, KS
    (Kansas Historical Society)

    Crawford County Plat Book, c.1906 -- Includes Pittsburg, KS
    (Kansas Historical Society)

    Cherokee County Plat Book, c.1902 -- Includes Columbus and Weir, KS
    (Kansas Historical Society)

    Take Care All,

    -Bob T.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  10. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Great find Bob. I had no idea that Cherokee had a turn table and round house. I wonder why a location like Cherokee had a 4 stall round house when it didn't really have a need for one, when a place like Pittsburg really needed one and only had a 2 stall engine house. Any thoughts on that?
    Today, the area is completely grown up in brush, but in 1958, the foot print is still visible, see below.

    Attached Files:

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  11. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    I don't have a good answer for that one. I probably need to review the dates for the build-out of the region. Could be to service the collection of coal from the nearby mines and get cars in place for the yard and interchange. It could also be that the roundhouse pre-dated the line into Pittsburg, as the Afton Sub was part of the Border Tier Road to Oklahoma.

    Nice one on the aerial photo, Ethan. I thought you might enjoy the link to the Crawford County plat book. It includes Acadia and some of the areas you mentioned.

    Take Care,

    -Bob T.
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  12. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Frisco Consolidation 1337 on the Crawford and Cherokee. This is a brass model, painted and detailed by Don Wirth. Trailing boxcar is a Westerfield kit built by Jim James.

  13. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Supporter Supporter

    RJ -- That is just such a cool photo of 1337!
    To me - That is what model railroading is about ... NOT running 80 car trains.
  14. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Thanks Sherrel! Don is a master for sure. I am wary of even taking it out of the box, that one!
  15. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Picked up a second (Athearn) Frisco GP-7 at Discount Model Trains in Dallas (Addison) Texas this weekend after the Train Show there in Plano. Need to trade out the couplers and add just a bit of weathering. A couple of different lighting conditions here, depending upon your preference.

    IMG_0388 (3).JPG IMG_0386 (2).JPG

    OK, that's it for this weekend, I promise....oh, wait, it's a three-day weekend....I take it back.

    -Bob T.
  16. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Don't ever stop posting photos of your rail equipment and layout, you have a very inspirational set up. Some things that you do come together real quick and you make it look easy. Keep up with the great work, looking forward to seeing your progress.

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  17. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Hey Frisco Friends,

    One final report from this busy three-day weekend. Today we hosted Frolin Marek and Tom Crosthwait from here and San Antonio to see the layout and discuss some ideas for operations.

    Frolin (among many other things) organizes the quarterly "South Texas Railroad Socials" ( here in town. Tom has a nice layout and is a big contributor to the local SAMRA club ( We had a nice discussion about some minor changes that might better enable 3-4 operators to stay busy for a couple of hours.

    In order to show them around, and run a few trains, I set up the layout as it exists today:

    (Part of Weir City is cut off in this image). Most of the structures are still stand-ins, and from the old layout.

    (Edit: This is the Weir City side).

    You will notice that the mine branch is gone (I am rebuilding to fit the space better). I am still running using the Digitrax DCS 52 (Zephyr something), with a Withrottle server running through JMRI. The DCS52 has built-in USB. Frolin brought me a used DCS150 from a yard sale, so maybe back running with that again.

    One thing we did was check current draw with a meter that they brought, one specifically for DCC. I was concerned that with all of the powered switch machines, my 3Amp DCS-52 might be over-taxed. Fortunately, I don't think I am even cracking 1A at max (with 2 sound locos).

    We decided that a nice option might be to add a bit to Weir City and expand the brickyard with a 3-ft extension:


    The Historical Aerials has a 1958 image showing the brickyard with a couple of kilns and group of structures. It would have been about 1/2 mile to the south with a track snaking around from N-S to entering the brickyard from the west. Not sure when it appeared, but hey the Weir Branch did not last too long, and my version to town was replaced by another branch from the Parsons Sub further toward Pittsburg at some point.


    Anyone have a subscription there to get a clear image?

    This should allow a couple of significant improvements: A job just for the brickyard can be added with a 4-6 car train, and the longer tail track will make it much easier to switch out Weir City with a ~6-car train. Right now, anything more than a 4 car train is a switching puzzle if several spots are occupied and include turning the locomotive.

    Well, need to get module/section building. All put away for the car to get in the garage now:


    Are those casters great or what?

    Take Care All. Have a great week. Will miss Workshop Wednesday because of work. See you next weekend.

    -Bob T.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
  18. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Thanks to Ethan (@Iantha_Branch ) for assisting in these Crawford and Cherokee research finds:

    Cherokee (1950)

    Cherokee (1950) -- Zoom in on Station

    Weir City (1950) -- Shows spur down to brick yard:

    Weir City (1950) -- Brick yard:

    Many Thanks,

    -Bob T.
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  19. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I really like the progress you have made Bob. You have an incredible layout.
    I'm glad I happened to stumble across that collection of photos on one of my deep dives.
  20. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Sorry for a partial repeat, but adding a few notes here regarding the new Weir City brickyard section for the Crawford and Cherokee.

    In an effort to expand operation possibility to the layout, I have been adding another industry on a new section at the south of Weir City. The idea is to find an meaningful way to have another train, with a purpose separate from the industries in town.

    It turns out there was a brickyard (earliest I can find is 1909) in the south part of town until the late 1980s or so. It was still there when I was working at the Weir grocery store (Simone's IGA) in the late 1990s, and workers would come in for lunch, as we had a deli with sandwiches and hamburgers.

    Here are a few historical items in addition to the photo that Ethan found above:

    I have been able to find a couple of write ups from a history professor at Pittsburg State University, summarizing industrialization in the area:

    Crawford County: From Coal to Soy Beans, 1900-1941 & Walther Vol 11 Num 2.pdf?sequence=1

    INDUSTRIALIZATION IN SOUTHEASTERN KANSAS, 1870-1915 & Walther Vol 14 Num 2.pdf?sequence=1

    It turns out that Robert K. Ratzlaff was my freshman history professor back in the 1980s. These have a few photos of the area's brickyards, etc. (see page 10 of the latter, for example).

    I have been trying to make sense of the photos and took Tim Moran's (on MRH forum) advice regarding the Sanborn maps....Jackpot!



    The University of Kansas collection has 1909 and 1915 maps with the brickyard. ?type=edismax&cp=ku-sanborn:root

    Neat stuff, including a tramway to the clay pit, and a few other structures for inspiration. It also notes that the fuel source was coal, although the history papers mention natural gas being used in the area for industries.

    It appears that the 1909 map does not show the railroad reaching the plant, but there are tracks in 1915.

    I have been modeling as a double-track spur in order to have capacity for ~6 cars on a short section and certainly closer than 1/2-mile from downtown. The layout section is constructed and wired up as of this posting. Ready for some track painting, terrain forming, and scenery.

    Take Care All,

    -Bob T.
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2020

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