Friday, 31 October 2014

A Narrow Gauge Deviation

Towards the end of our visit to Northern America, my wife and I visited the delightful town of Durango in Colorado. Delightful not only because of its location but also because it is the home of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. There are many heritage and tourist railroads in the US and we have encountered a few of these during our vacation. While it’s a bit tenuous, the attraction of this particular railroad is that it operates on part of the old Denver and Rio Grande Railroad running on a 3ft gauge track, the same gauge that I have modelled on my short logging railway operating out of Mount Windeatt

Our itinerary did not permit a trip on the train but it did allow us to witness the arrival of the last tourist train for 2014. Operating steam at last! Durango, as the terminus, has an extensive yard with a collection of rolling stock predominately carriages. It also includes an interesting museum. The museum is not big, occupying about three or four stalls of the old roundhouse. Its collection is more extensive than the usual railway memorabilia, including vintage cars and motor bikes, replica aircraft, a model railway and a collection of military figurines. Entrance to the museum was free. 
The museum was also pushing a range of local HOn3 models marketed under the Blackstone Models label ( As is common with most models these days, they are manufactured in China to the same standards we now expect from ready to run models. They are not cheap but very nicely detailed and well, the inevitable happened! I weakened and purchased a flat car similar to the one shown below.

It was a great visit to Durango!
The question now is what to do with this new acquisition. I already have a few logging cars in service and the very short sidings at Mount Windeatt discourage longer consists. The options are to use it to carry equipment in a similar way to the wagon photographed at the Durango roundhouse. Alternatively, I could build or modify a carriage section to fit over half of the wagon. Then, it could be used to provide basic passenger transport moving loggers between the sawmill and the logging site. I seem to recall seeing something similar in a narrow gauge magazine that I purchased many years ago. I’ll have to wait a few days until my return to Australia to confirm this. 

However, I don’t anticipate that work on this wagon will happen at any time in the short term after our return. There will be too many other things to catch up not to mention cleaning up Philip’s Creek after an absence of nearly three months. Hopefully, a possum hasn’t taken up residence but I’m certain the geckos will have left a few calling cards.