New Direction for Zalma Branch (photos)

Discussion in 'General' started by Jim James, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Or crazy! I’ve pretty well got the wagons and some rolling stock so I can get going fairly quickly. I need to find decals for the Cape Girardeau & Southwestern now. That’ll never happen but I know there is some St. Louis and Iron Mountain decals out there. We’ll see.
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  2. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Welcome to the dark side!!

    You're going to live in a different modeling world now. For example: For rolling stock, you'll likely end up also converting toy train products to make "good enuf" models for use. Such trainset cars as was produced by AHM, Bachmann, Mantua, etc. The Mantua 32' boxcar can be cut down and made into a nice looking little boxcar. Also, there's toy train gondolas from AHM and Mantua that can be used. There are some craftsman kits available for TOC19, but they're usually produced in limited runs and are typically out of stock.

    I've have a few train set cars converted with metal wheels, details, and small knuckles, ready for paint and decals:


    And more waiting in the wings to be converted into "good enuf" cars:



    There's a lot of piddle factor when modeling in the TOC19 time frame. But it's cool. Suggestion: Don't actually try to use link n' pins (they ARE avaiable)... instead consider using the smaller "scale" HO Kadee's with the trip pin snipped off. Works great and looks, well... good enuf!

    Have fun!

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  3. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Excellent collection and good advice. Thanks for sharing both.
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  4. gna

    gna Member Supporter

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  5. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Hi Gary!

    Make like a frog and hop on in! What do you have to loose?

    John Ott has extraordinary skills. I love his printed cars and have dropped hints to him several times that I (and I suspect many others) would be willing to purchase several versions if he would sell them as printable pdf sheets commercially.

    As for the TOC19 era, here's what I find compelling about it insofar as a modeling subject:

    * Small equipment and shorter trains: This immediately enlarges one's layout. Likely, the caboose will not be leaving a town as the engine is passing through another. The short distances seem greater, the short passing tracks are not as short, the small yard holds more cars, on and on.

    * Grades: A layout with grades will suddenly have REAL tonnage issues to move said tonnage up grades. Example: My Ozark layout's ruling grade is near 3% (about 2.9%). A pair of my heavier diesels can lift trains up that grade that are longer than the pass tracks. (10' pass tracks.) Thus, I had to weight the rolling stock in order to have some semblance of "tonnage" issues for my diesel era. Facing a tough grade is the focal point of my layout, for I like helpers and the challenges of moving tonnage over tough grades. Small steam bring you that in spades. For example, on my more level track, the recently retooled little Bachmann 4-4-0 engines can easily handle a train about a dozen cars. Once it hits that 2.9% back breaker, that drops down to about three or four cars and a caboose. Therefore, my steam theme(1) HAS to have helpers... or it would take forever to move tonnage up that mountain.

    (1. My layout is designed to host two different eras: Diesel 1964, steam in the late 1880s. This was the best I could come up with in order to scratch both itches.)

    * Onesy-twosy industries: Micro industries abounded "back then". Short spur industries (couple cars) was common. EVERYTHING moved by rail back then.

    * Places that are nowhere now, had the town of "Someplace" then. Small towns were everywhere. Empty fields or small communities now could be a boom town back when. Here regionally, St. Paul and Pettigrew, AR are prefect examples. Today they are quiet, small towns with few (if any) amenities. In the late 19th century, both towns were booming with hundreds of residents and many lumber mills. The Phipps mill was reputed to be one of the largest in Arkansas! (It's plant steam whistle could be heard for 40 miles under the right conditions!) The town of Pettigrew was called the "hardwood capitol of the world".

    * The rolling stock has so much appeal: Short, small boxcars, small gondolas, truss rods, brake wheels on long brake staffs, etc.

    * I could go on and on.

    SO... if'n yer havin' hankerin's to do this link n' pin era thang... figure out a way to make it happen... you just might be glad 'ya did!

    Best of luck to 'ya!

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  6. gna

    gna Member Supporter

    Well, the biggest hold up is I lack the skills that Jim displays here. That said, the only thing I have to lose is my temper when I mess something up.

    Not that I want to derail his thread, but I'm making small moves toward the TOC19 era. I started looking for the old time AHM/Pocher/Mantua/Bachmann cars. A friend of mine is trying to print car sides, without the success of John Ott, but we're trying. I'm looking at the Bachmann 4-4-0 and 4-6-0, and the Roundhouse 2-6-0 has possibilities, too. It's also getting easier to do research on the era with internet and library resources.

    I already have a rubber era, so why not add another?
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  7. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Right on, Gary! The toughest skill to master is motivation. Always good to get ideas from other threads and don’t worry about derailing. This forum is too friendly to worry about that stuff.
    I will add that the early early era of railroading has always been at the core of my love for trains. Weathered wood ties and rickety rusty rails with a slow moving, lumbering hissing beast dragging wooden cars along, swaying back and forth with a wheel squealing now and then. Of course you have to just imagine the smell of honeysuckle growing along the right of way along with wet grass and occasional cow manure.
    But I digress.
  8. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

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  9. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Jim, I’m looking forward to seeing what you have to share. It sounds exciting to me.

    Are you sticking with Bollinger County and environs for your locale, or someplace new?
  10. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Yes. I’m returning to my original focus and will recycle the Greenbrier section and the Castor River Bridge scene. Lucky for me, nothing changed much during the entire existence of the Zalma Branch and it’s so easy to backdate it.
    On another note I must admit that I am NOT a model railroader. Operating it like a real railroad is at the bottom of my list of criteria. I’m a railroad modeler and what I’m creating now is simply a functional diorama. I have come to grips with that and I’m not too bothered by it. I simply want to sit back occasionally and watch the morning mixed lumber very slowly along the rickety trackwork.
  11. patrick flory

    patrick flory Member

    About knuckle couplers vs link and pin:

    Scale kadees would be completely appropriate on 1900 equipment. I have a few Con-Cor 36’ +/- ventilated boxcars to finish up, very cool cars that might help get some watermelons (“July hams”) over to Greenbrier.
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  12. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    D999CB31-8524-48E9-A360-DBF3E66FE19C.jpeg Something like this maybe? The car not the couplers.
  13. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Is that Frisco Line herald a decal? Where can a guy get those?

    -Bob T.
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  14. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    It appears to be printed on but I’m not sure. Forgot who I got these from. Manny possibly.
  15. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Jim, I was wondering if that was a real car or one of your magic tricks.
    Very nice job.
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  16. patrick flory

    patrick flory Member

    On mine, I’m gonna install A Line stirrups and a thinner roofwalk ..... that is, if I ever get home from the evacuation to my real house where my real layout and tools, supplies, etc are.

    Nice looking track too.

    What did Ole 97 start out as? Bachmann old time 4-4-0?
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  17. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    I’m not sure about the prototype accuracy of that fruit car. The early era can be a bit foggy at best. Good idea about improving some details on it.
    Yes, ol’ 97 is an ancient Bachmann Old Timer heavily modified. I plan to renew it with a new Bachmann improved version like the one I have to represent the Cape Girardeau & Southwestern Railway 4-4-0 with the sunflower stack.
    My #97 has an older Tsunami decoder which I have tweaked to perfection, however I may replace it with a newer Tsunami to save space. I think they are smaller.
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  18. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    True. My Tsunamis changed the way I drive my trains. #97 is programmed to automatically blow the appropriate whistle when starting and backing up including automatic bell ringing. Maybe annoying to some operators but the sounds and realistic slow starts and heavy momentum make it fun for me. The brake feature also keeps me on my toes and I really have to plan my stops in advance. For delicate coupling maneuvers I leave the throttle set to 1 and turn the brake off and on to move it precisely.
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  19. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    I don’t even see that when I look at your layout. Good job.
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  20. gstout

    gstout Member Supporter

    When I was just about the age you are now (makes me sound really old, doesn't it) I felt the same way. The reason I got interested in 1:1 scale railroads was that it was fun to go down to the tracks and watch trains go by, not going to a yard to watch switch engines wrangle cars in a confined space. Plus, as many of the titles of books have written indicate, I was much more interested in passenger trains than freight trains. And then I connected with a guy in Chicago who modeled Chicago Union Station and its operations, and all at once I figured out how to combine my interest in passenger trains with operations. I also started to get invited to op sessions at other layouts and gradually got the hang of what operations is all about. As a bonus, op sessions also expand the social aspect of the hobby and expose you to other (sometimes better) ways of building a layout. So...when I tore up the old layout and moved into my present house I expanded my plan to include freight operations and even convinced our local club to adopt an operating scheme. What I am suggesting is that the way to get comfortable with operations is to start doing it, perhaps at other layouts where there is already a coherent scheme in place and where things work as they are supposed to. Perhaps in another ten years, you will change your mind and decide to set that beautiful layout you have to doing some real work.


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