Ouray, Colorado: Winter of 1882

Discussion in 'Virtual (V) Scale' started by Coonskin, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Colorado & San Juan RR, Ouray, Colorado, Winter of 1882...

    It's been snowing in Ouray for spell now. The snow's crunching under your boots as you tromp yer way to the simmerin' engine. Thank Heaven that cab will be warmer than this walk, courtesy of your ashcat "Shovelbutt" Simmons. Ol' Shovelbutt ought to have that little tea kettle perculatin' nicely, an' that toasty warm backhead ought to feel mighty good once you're up in that cab.

    It's already bad up on the pass. So bad, that even "Shotgun" Leonard has stalled out with a freight somewhere up past Alpine City. So... seein' as we're the only thing movin' this side of the pass within reach, we're called to drop what we wuz doin' an' go help 'im out an' try to git 'im up over Red Mountain Pass before it snows-in up there.

    Time's a'wastin, so you pick up yer pace to climb aboard the smokey handle side an' git started. Might pretty well be a long 'un, this go'round. Hopefully the extra vittles from Maude's place yer carryin in the basket will hold you an' ol' Shovelbutt 'til you kin get back to somewhere warm...


    Note: The above screen shot taken on my freelanced V scale "Colorado & San Juan". The terrain you see is the actual terrain you would see at the actual location of the prototype Ouray depot location. The mountains were modeled using "Digital Elevation Models" that render the mountains to scale within the V scale program. I only model a short portion (35 actual miles) of my freelanced "Colorado & San Juan" railroad. I model the San Juan division that runs from Ouray, CO, over Red Mountain Pass, and to Silverton, CO. The theoretical mainline of the C&SJ runs from Grand Junction, CO, at least to Durango. My portion of the C&SJ has basic scenery in place, including basic forestation, structures, bridges, etc.

    When I'm in a V scale mood, it's a lot of fun to tinker within the simulator. You can create some pretty immersive "activities" (V scale speak for "operating sessions") that can keep you entertained for way too long!

    V scale will never replace model railroading in my foreseeable future, nor will model railroading ever replace V scale for me... I like both, and both have their place.

    All fer now!

    William Jackson and Joe Lovett like this.
  2. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    It is with great trepidation that I reply to this geographically and corporately off-topic post.;) However, it is driving me crazy how the "Colorado & San Juan" gets from the headwaters of Uncompaghre Creek to either the upper Animas, Cement Creek or Red Mountain Creek by anything other than a miracle.:confused: No less formidable a fellow than Otto Mears required a "162-mile shoo-fly" (the RGS) from Ridgway to Durango to do this. Switchbacks? Tunnels?
    gjslsffan and Ozarktraveler like this.
  3. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    I wondered if somebody here would be familiar with that area enough to puzzle over that!

    On the mainline I did it without ANY tunneling, NO switchbacks, ALL trestles are less height than the highest in Colorado, AND I held the grades to within (below actually) Colorado main line prototype practice for narrow gauge: No steeper than 4.2% on any main line stretch. (Boreas Pass on the South Park went up to 4.5%, as well as some locations on the D&RG!)

    Fact: Track costs a railroad nothing in V scale. Nor does bridge work, crib work, no kind of work. All it costs is my time. :D

    Otto could have done this too, if money were no object.

    Anyway, I did it by using all sides of the box canyon in which Ouray sits in which to gain enough elevation to head up Box Canyon gulch toward Camp Bird. When I gained enough elevation to make it to the top at Ironton Park, I then looped around in a horseshoe and started for Ironton Park staying on the west side of Uncompaghre Canyon. Once at Ironton, I used the alignments of the Silverton RR to make it the top of Sheridan (Red Mountain) Pass, implementing a horseshoe w/trestles at Corkscrew Gulch instead of the turntable-on-the-main that the prototype Silverton used. I only had to "imagineer" about 8 miles of map distance (but took miles more of track n' bridges to do it!) between Ouray and Ironton Park, and I had to "imagineer" the horseshoe bend w/trestle at Corkscrew Gulch. All the other alignments were figured out for me by prototype railroads.

    Here's some early development pics "in game", along with others from within the route editing tool, that may help to illustrate:

    First up are a couple views with your head out of the cab window on a train climbing out of Ouray:

    Having climbed enough elevation out of Ouray (by using all three sides of the cul de sac that Ouray sits in), I have gained enough elevation to strike off west continuing up Box Canyon for the pivotal horseshoe curve that will aim me toward Ironton Park. Here you are looking down on Ouray...


    Same approximate location, looking east a bit to see where you've come from on the east side of the cul de sac...


    And here's a pic from within the route editor that shows the horseshoe curve up in Box Canyon that points you toward Ironton Park (which is upgrade, to the right)...


    Some of the view at Leanin' Tree Trestle as you enter Uncompaghre Canyon WAY above Ouray...


    And here's how I handled Corkscrew Gulch to avoid the turntable that was used there...


    V scale is a lot of fun! I like to replicate prototypes using it, as well as "imgineer" proposed prototypes, or even create my own. V scale can be a time sink, it can!

    If you need more illustrations or have other questions... simply ask!

  4. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    I have driven that road many times, I did some growing up in Montrose CO, we moved there from Swearingen TX in 1975. After my stint in the USMC, I got a job working underground in a Gold mine in Silverton. It was a great job working at the Sunny Side Gold mine, as an underground mechanic.
    So I know a little about that drive, drove it every day, and it looks a bit different in V scale. I really enjoy that V scale view tho. They must have cut down a forest of trees to build those trestles, might be what they would have done, but I think being as they were accessing mines, there would have been tunnels, many of them as there were master blasters everywhere up there. A very interesting concept for sure. I think the cuts more than 6-8" deep would have had to be drilled and blasted. The rock in that region is well, I cant say it here like the miners I knew would, so lets just say it was really hard rock.
    But I enjoy this. I am understanding they might actually be looking a re-laying some track around Silverton, maybe the Gladstone & Northern I dont follow it close.
    Sirfoldalot and Ozarktraveler like this.
  5. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    "Fact: Track costs a railroad nothing in V scale. Nor does bridge work, crib work, no kind of work. All it costs is my time. :D" Amen to that! But what fun! It is a kick to research "might have beens" as well as actual prototypes this way. It leads to a unique understanding of alignments.
    Ozarktraveler and gjslsffan like this.
  6. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member


    Interesting about you working in Silverton/etc! Thanks for sharing that. Re-laying some track around Silverton? For revenue purposes (i.e. haul freight)?


    Oh man, since 2002 (when I entered the V scale hobby) I went nuts on exploring and creating lines, or reviving a long-gone line, etc, etc! It IS a ton of fun to do that, but I tire quickly once I've got some track down and "see" virtually what it was sort of like to run a train over it. I can't tell you offhand all the routes I have archived on my hard drive that I used DEM to generate terrain, laid some track, even finished the track... typically I falter BIG TIME in placing scenery. Very time consuming task. A prototype-based route that quickly comes to mind is "my" version of the Hot Springs RR, circa late 1880s or early 1890s. The prototype was originally 3' narrow gauge, built in the late 1870s, and ran from Malvern, AR to Hot Springs, AR. It did a bustling business for years. The HS RR was standard gauged in 1889 (I think I recall). I have ALL of the track laid for the Hot Springs RR, some of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern at Malvern, in fact ALL the railroads that ran into Hot Springs regardless of their build dates. Also lead and zinc mines... on and on. It's a pretty cool little route... just never got around to doing scenery on it. So many things* to play with, so little time... even now that I'm retired!!! (* HO diesels circa 1960s, HO TOC19, V scale, dual sport motorcycle riding, restoring/riding vintage motorcycles, etc!)

  7. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Frisco.org Supporter Frisco.org Supporter

    That's the Silverton Northern that some equipment and track has been started again. The SN ran on up the Animas River to Eureka, then to Animas Forks, and was planned to go to Lake City. The equipment was requisitioned in 1942 by the US Army for use on the White Pass and Yukon.
    gjslsffan and Ozarktraveler like this.
  8. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Thanks Sherrel. :)

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