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Drivel time!

Sometime ago I posted these pictures to various places here at OGR. Now I can't remember where. Seein' as these photo mini-essay's deal strictly with my KC&G Ozark Sub theme, I thought it good for me to place here in this thread so they're where they belong: In my KC&G thread.

Of course, I can't just post a pic. Nope, as typical, there's drivel that goes with the pics as I spin some yarns based on my prototype railroading career, incidents of railroading friends, etc, etc.

For those of you that haven't previously seen the pics or read the yarns, I hope you enjoy!

Dateline: 1964...

On this crisp, overcast autumn day, a rather road weary Kansas City & Gulf #255 sits burbling alongside the engine house at the small town of Ozarka, Arkansas.

Ozarka is deep in the heart of the Ozark Mountains and has the distinction of being situated at the foot of the worst grade on the entire Kansas City & Gulf: The 2.5% - 2.9% climb up through Possum Creek Hollow, then into Buck Hollow, and onto the side of Buck Mountain for the final assault to Piney Gap.

Many's been the time #255 has done battle with that grade, either as the lead unit, or a trailing unit, or as a helper... and it's pretty much a done deal that it won't be long and it's going to get into yet another struggle to get tonnage up to the summit of Buck Mountain. However, for now, there's a brief respite as the old Alco sits and idles the time away for its next assignment.


About the pic:

The basic scene (engine, track, engine house) exists on my current, 100% functional, HO scale "Ozark Sub" layout. The engine house is comprised of simplistic photos I pasted to poster board, then cut out and assembled. Start to finish, maybe 20 minutes for the engine house?

I can't remember where (or when) I got the foliage photo. It was simply one I had in one of my "Autumn" folders. I ended up de-saturating it so it wasn't so garish, for it seems that, typically, aspiring photographers like to "enhance" the colors in their autumn landscape scenes. The end result looks spectacular as an art subject, but way too intense and unrealistic for a model railroad layout. Thus, the de-saturation.

To be continued...


Images (1)
  • KCnG_255_atOzarka
Last edited by laming
AUTUMN 1964...

The cold, mist laden, Ozark mountains conspired against the Kansas City & Gulf once again. Along with conditions such this comes the bane of trying to move tonnage on a mountain railroad: Wet rail.

Fallen leafs on the rail is bad enough, but wet leafs... they're like grease.

Into the mist-dappled mountains labored train #44 as it struggled against that devil of a grade up to Piney Gap. The engines were pulling their guts out at about 15 MPH as they ground their way alongside tumbling Possum Creek, all the while working their way up the grade toward the summit. The misted wet rail was bad enough... and the wet fallen leaves were making it worse.

What lousy timing for sand lines to get plugged with wet sand.

Bereft of the sanders on the trailing unit, #44 didn't stand a chance.

Sure 'nuf, #44 stalled up past the crossing at Jack Fork, just as they were poised to round Chinkapin Knob and head into Buck Mountain Hollow.

The Mountain had claimed another victim.

The call went out from #44 to the 'Spatcher: "We've laid down... got anybody that can give us some help or do we need to start doubling up to the top?"

Doubling to the top would have been time consuming for sure... IF the engines could even handle that task with one engine not laying down sand. After all, they were supposed to meet southbound passenger train #11 up north of Mountain Springs. Though #11 isn't much of a passenger train anymore, it would still would not be wise to hold it up. (The KC&G is trying to get out from under the financial load of passenger service... but that hasn't been approved yet.)

Fortunately, the Jack Fork Turn was still in the small yard at Ozarka just finishing switching up their train prior to departure. Sure enough, the Dispatcher hollered at them, and the Jack Fork Turn's planned day was changed. They were now "Extra 412 North", and would be taking their GP7 out of town light, and head out into the misty mountains to assist stalled #44 up to Piney Gap. Once there, they would magically transform into "Extra 412 South" (said so on the flimsies!) and ease back down The Mountain to Ozarka.

After a quick comparison of the flimsies among the crew in the cab of 412, with a couple bloops from the Wabco E2, Extra 412 North eased onto the main, closed  and locked the switch behind them, and headed off into the mist.

In a few miles, Extra 412 North was gingerly coming up to the rear of stalled #44, and once a quick job briefing was held with #44's Conductor in the caboose, they tacked-on to the rear of #44.

"Grab me a couple, Hotshot" crackled 412's radio. (It was the head end.)

"Got a couple!" came the reply as the 412 nudged against the stalled train... sanders blowing.

"We'll let's git 'em movin' then!" came the response from up front.

It took quite a bit of doin' to get the stalled train moving again... but do it they did.

At the grand speed of about 8 MPH, #44, with GP7 412 shoving on the rear, the engines slipped and clawed their way the rest of the way up to the top of Buck Mountain at Piney Gap.

Easing to a stop at Piney, the struggle was behind them now. Engine 412 cut away, and train #44 was on its way to keep an appointment with Psgr #11.  In the meantime, GP7 412 eased back a short ways to the tiny little depot that still served the line at the small summit town of Piney.

Quite soon the sound of #44 was swallowed up by  the misty mountains... nothing could be heard but the distant sound of a Leslie 3-chime air whistle at one of the little mountain dirt road crossings. Now it was just engine 412 sitting by its lonesome in front of the little depot at the sleepy little town of Piney. Their next task would be to gingerly ease down the treacherously slick rail with a light engine and make it back back down to Ozarka to resume their scheduled job. No doubt, they would be using sand at times on their descent to keep from sliding down the rail at the worst sections. But under the capable hands of Hogger Extraordinaire "Hotshot" Chadwick, there was little cause for concern, for "Hotshot" had been in such situations countless times.

No, today was simply an all too familiar part of railroading on the KC&G.

The Picture:

Engine 412 idles its EMD chant in front of the little depot at Piney. That wood stove feels pretty good to the crew inside as they take a few minutes to swig down some hot coffee before easing back down The Mountain as Extra 412 South.


To be continued...


Images (1)
  • KCnG_412_at_Piney
Last edited by laming

Addendum to the above...

#44 and the tale of the stalled train: The myth and the truth...

The above essay of #44 that accompanied my second photo-chop job wasn't total concoction. It's actually based on a situation that happened at an op session (Dec 13, 2021) with a friend.

I was running #44 and was headed up to Piney Gap.

My set of power should have made it... but some of the cars were a bit heavier than expected, so as soon as I hit the grade (the long climb begins immediately after the north main switch at the town of Ozarka), I realized it was going to be "close".

Sure enough, the train pulled down before I got to Sawmill Spur to the point it was literally crawling along at 1-2 MPH (and slipping). At times, it would momentarily stop and sit, wheels still spinning, then get a bite and start creeping upgrade again!

It did this 2 or 3 times (getting up to maybe 5 MPH at times) as I struggled on my way alongside Possum Creek to the town of Jack Fork.  It was such a show that operating friend Jimmy had stopped what he was doing and had come over to enjoy the experience with me.

I was losing hope that I would make it on my own to Piney, and sure 'nuf,  just as the head end bent around Chinkapin Knob to enter Buck Creek Hollow... down it went and I couldn't budge it.

At that point I made the call for help, and op friend Jimmy (that had been working the Jack Fork Turn),  brought his engine up out of Ozarka to help me on up to Piney.

SO... as you see... the above yarn wasn't total BS... the circumstance actually happened in model form! From there I took the actual event, and extrapolated the incident so it was from a prototype perspective. (I really enjoy doing that.)

So... now you know... the REST of the story! (Said in my best Paul Harvey voice!)


P.S. Final mini-essay installment to follow eventually.

Last edited by laming

Final mini-essay installment of this series.

Autumn, 1964...

Up on the top of the the divide at Mountain Springs, small residences in the town appear above the train on the mountainside behind. Resident hoghead J.B. "Biscuit" McHollister eases tired old #412 along the rails headed for the cut of cars down at the end of the "Apple Track". The crew will be switching out any outbounds and re-spotting any cars still being unloaded, or being loaded, as the case may be. Soon as that's done, the #412 and crew will be heading over to the depot to go on spot for beans. Seeing as it's Saturday, the crew is hoping to catch some of the Arkansas football Razorbacks on the radio to see how they're doing in today's game. Word is the Razorbacks are in the runnin' to be National Champs this year!

And so it goes: A small slice in time on a fine autumn day  in 1964 out in the Ozarks along the KC&G's "Ozark Sub".


About the above photo:

Basic scene snapped on my current KC&G layout at the town of Mountains Springs. I then took the photo into my photo shop software and added the autumn background as well as some foreground texturing. Not a prize winner of a photo... but I certainly enjoyed creating it and sharing it.

All fer now!



Images (1)
  • KCnG412_MtnSprings

Thanks fella's.

Please keep in mind that the autumn background is only present in the digital version. I added the autumn backgrounds to the plain photos using my photo shop software. In reality, there is paneling behind the scenes. However, I will be tackling the first phase of fixing that issue "soon", for I will be packing away the equipment and clearing the bench work, then installing the backdrop boards, smoothing/priming same, then painting a pleasing sky blue.

I do intend to use photo backdrops... but whether I can pull off similar results in actuality as I did in the photo shop software, well, that remains to be seen.


I've been a busy little beaver the past week or so:

* Readied the BL2's frame so I can drop it off at the machine shop for milling. (See the crosshatch markings?


* Added some details to the BL2 shell. (Installed all 8 of the lift rings on the top of the long hood, and fabricated/installed the eyebrow grabs above the windows.)


* Finished setting up the op session for Sunday evening/Monday morning. (Long time friend coming up to spend the night and play trains.)

* Added a team track to the summit town of Piney. (Track on far left.)


* Installed new axle gears into a pair of P2K engines in the pipeline.

* Purchased a Stewart/Kato F3A Late that will turn into an F7A Early, and also picked up a Stewart/Kato F7B.

* Weighted/painted some more gravel loads.

* Also revisited a completed engine project that hasn't panned out as I expected. Perhaps more about this in a subsequent post later.

SO... I've really been burnin' the modelin' energy of late!

Ain't I sumpthin'???



Images (3)
  • 041622
  • 041822_1
  • 041422_1
Last edited by laming

Autumn, 1964...

The late autumn air is quite crisp on this beautiful bright moonlit night in the West Bottoms district of Kansas City, Mo. as the crew of Frisco's Baldwin VO1000 #214 takes pause from its chores of switching the various industries therein. Inside the toasty warm cab, hot coffee and maybe a biscuit or two is being consumed as the crew talks about how the KC Chief's are doing... and isn't that Lenny Dawson something? However, it won't be long and it will be time to grab up the lanterns, hit those footboards, and get back to doing what they do: Earning a living workin' on the railroad.


About the photo:

As the mood moves, I'm in the process of mocking up my future KC&G "Riverfront District" urban industrial switching shelf layout. This current around-the-wall bench work (that was to represent the West Bottoms District in KC) will be removed, and the concept will be significantly downsized to a narrower, more simplistic L-shaped layout. Thereon will reside my new KC&G "Riverfront District".

I'm hoping to have my "Riverfront District" 100% functional by year's end. Going forward, I will be dividing the time spent on my model railroad layouts between my mountainous "Ozark Sub" of the KC&G which dwells in my 20' x 16' out building, and this simplistic shelf layout, the "Riverfront District" of the KC&G.

I'm super enjoying my KC&G theme!


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