Skip to main content

Foreman J.L. "Hardnose" Hensen listens to one of his hands exclaiming how bad the track shot off toward the ditch once they started pulling spikes while another hand looks at all the work ahead of them to get this one straightened back up. However, when they're done, the last of the Slow Order that's been plaguing the KC&G of late will be annulled and the maximum allowable track speed from MP 248.4 Mountain Springs to MP 265.0 Ozarka will once again be the order of the day.

( Mom always said I had an over active imagination!  🤣 )

EDIT: Forgot to mention that Hardnose Hensen is in the brown jacket. Duh.

021421a

Attachments

Images (1)
  • 021421a
Last edited by laming

Wow... I've really neglected this thread for a long time. Much has been accomplished in regards to the layout and equipment/etc. I've even uploaded a couple more essays. I'll link those right now for any of you that may have an interest in them.

First up is a essay/narrative about the advent of dieselization on the KC&G:

http://www.vscalecreations.com/kcng2.htm

And here's an essay describing a ride on the KC&G's Ozark Subdivision:

http://www.vscalecreations.com/kcng3.htm

And I haven't forgot the construction pics... all in good time.

Andre

Hi Mark!

Gonna get caught up on this thread? Boy... you've gotta a lot of readin' to do!

As for progress: The layout is 100% functional and has been since July of 2019. I've been having a ball operating it off/on over the past year or more with my railroad buddies. Love it.

However, the time is nearing that I need to pull the equipment off the layout for storage, and apply myself to getting the back drop boards, valance, and lighting strips installed.

Andre

Joe said:

"Andre, your account of the advent of the Diesels that did it on the KC&G is so realistic I was sure I would find the railroad listed in the Official Guide."

Like I shared above: Mom always said I had an over-active imagination!

I think there's been some minor refinement of the roster, but 99% of what you read is still the straight poop in regards to the KC&G roster.

I thoroughly enjoy the research that one can expend on their concocted theme. From the git-go, my goal for the KC&G  was for the theme to be as plausible as possible (that is, plausible to my demented mind). I've managed to do that to my satisfaction. Whether others find it plausible is up to them to decide. The most important one needed to be satisfied (me), is indeed.

I also thoroughly enjoy creative writing about railroading. I enjoy incorporating experiences I've had personally, or railroading friends experienced, or I've read and/or viewed in railroad media, and such as that. Helps to give my theme a life of its own, as well as builds "depth" to my theme. Shucks... even the characters I concoct help to bring it alive in my mind! (And I've known some characters in railroading!)

Your M&G:

There you go. Use that God-given imagination to come up with a theme that is first and foremost fun to you, and that is plausible to you. Accomplish those two goals and what others think won't be a priority. Sure, it always adds to the fun if others get on board with what you're doing... but the basic core of the theme must trip your trigger. No one else's.

Parting shots:

My region is in the midst of a winter storm that is quite different from what we're used to: Blowing snow with temps down toward zero Ferenheit with wind chills well below zero.  Seems to me for a perfect day to be piddling with my trains in some form!

All fer now!

Andre

"Covid-19 scare"... what are you talking about? Is that something you've seen on TV or heard on the radio? Here in the Ozarks we don't get out much, so we ain't heard nothing about it. What we have heard, is that there is some kind of beetle that is invading the USA. Hope they can put a stop to 'em. We've got enough varmints and critters to deal with down here as it is. But speaking of heard-tell: How 'bout them Hogs? Word is the football Razorbacks just might win the '64 Championship this year! Now wouldn't that be the berries?

Permit for a cab ride? No need. Come on down an' you can ride the Helper job with hogger "Biscuit" McHollister all day if'n you want.

Oh sure... some of the high-falootin' in the towns of Ozarka and Mountain Springs have a TV... but stuck deep in the Ozarks there ain't much to watch an' what is there to watch is awful grainy looking. It's said 'ya need to be closer to one of the larger cities so's they can pick up a better signal on the "rabbit ears". Lots of folk do have radios though. Shucks... some of the folk that come to the little country church we go to still have to draw water from their well!

Note: If I'm spinning a yarn "in character" about the Ozarks concerning the state of towns, common folk (and they were essentially all "common folk" in 1964, very few transplants from other states and for sure other countries back then), then I try to hold true to history in view of life in the Ozarks in the early-mid 1960s as I know of it through yearly sojourns to the Ozark region as well as history books. My parents were at least third generation Ozark. I am the only one in my immediate family (mom, dad, older sis) that wasn't born in (mom/dad) or near (sis) the Ozark region. My folks moved to KC in the late 1940s, I believe. I was born in KCKS in '52. Though I was born and reared in KCKS/MO until 16 years of age, after moving to Arkansas in Jan of '69, it merely confirmed I'm Ozark to the core. (To wit: While in KC, long before I was driving, I used to hunt squirrels and rabbits with my pellet rifle in a nearby wooded city park when I lived in North KC! Done right, fried squirrel/rabbit is mighty good eatin'! I'd skin 'em and prep 'em, and mom would fry them up for us for supper!)

Real world:

M&A: Love the North Arkansas Line. If there was ever a 300+ mile line that had little reason to exist, it was the North Arkansas! Yet, it survived in some form for over 50 years!

Midland Valley: I've lived in near the MV's territory for the better part of the past 42 years. (Save 2 years in western OK '84-86 and 3 1/2 years in Huntsville, AR late '86 to May 1990.) Every time I drive to Fort Smith, I cross the old roadbed of the mainline of the MV into/from the "coal belt" region I'm among.

Layout:

Now that I've had it up and running for the past 1 1/2, have hosted several multi-operator operating sessions, I'm getting ready to make some changes to the layout, some of the changes will be signficant. I'm giving up on the dual era concept. Instead, I will be focusing on its primary era and I'll figure something out for my "other" era of interest.

All fer now!

Andre

Thanks for the kind words. I enjoy creative railroad-oriented writing w/history and anecdotes mixed in among it... but I'm not too sure very many others enjoy reading it! 

Model Railroad/Railroading:

I've never understood just why some of us have a life-long love for railroading (and often express it with model railroading), I reckon it's just the way some of us are hard-wired, apparently.

My longest lasting friendships have been based in my interests:

Model railroading: My longest friendship dates back to April or so, 1969. That that friend is now in his late 80s. That friendship is still going. The next-oldest I met in early 1974, and is also still going. I also have several other long term model railroad friends from the mid-late 1970s on. The one I met in 1974 was also a long-term retired railroader. He's still a part of my operating crew board, as well as a couple others model RR friends from the late 1970s. He typically comes up from Pencil Bluff, AR (his home) and spends the night with me before an operating session, and the regional friend off the call board joins us the next morning for ops.

Motorcycling: Still have one that I touch base with, a school mate I met upon my move to Arkansas in Jan of '69. He's the one that helped set the hook on my dirt motorcycle interest! Just this past autumn, the wife and I rode our vintage dirt bikes (street legal "enduro" bikes) via backroads to Mansfield, AR and met up with Glen and his wife and ate lunch with them.

Anyway, those two interests, model railroading and off-road motorcycling, have produced some of the best friends I have.

Amazing the side benefits of model railroading.

Andre

Turning Point...

So I've had the layout up and operational for 1 1/2 years now. I know that I enjoy it tremendously, and it seems my operating crews really enjoy it.

Understand that when I designed and built this layout, I did so with the idea of running a dual era on it:

* 1964 using my KC&G theme.

* 1880s using my Ozark & Southern theme. (The KC&G acquired the O&S in the 1890s during its southward trek to New Orleans.)

Well, here's what I've learned in the 1 1/2 years my layout has been up and going:

* I am thoroughly enjoying the experience of having an operating layout again after nearly two decades of absence.

* I am loving (more than ever) my KC&G theme. (It's now proven itself since its creation back in the mid-late 1990s.)

* The dual era concept is in severe trouble.

My initial "dual era" thought was to incorporate some key replaceable structures (depots, add/remove water tanks/etc) to convey the passage of time. However, a dual era would also require keeping all permanent scenic support "generic" so as to have zero anachronisms to detract from either era. This would mean nothing "out of period" on the layout scenery (such as a paved road, which wouldn't have existed in the 1880s) as well as keeping any structures on the actual backdrop generic, along with many other little detail no-no's that I began to grasp. Once my initial enthusiasm for the idea I designed on the master track plan subsided, and I started having to think-through the elements needed to support a dual era, the idea got much more complicated than I expected.

Further, it has been a lot of work and a ton of money to acquire the needed (and some I want) engines for the KC&G as well as to equip them with DCC/Sound. I shudder to think of the $$ that would be consumed starting almost from scratch to equip the 1880s era!! As it is, I'm having so much fun, as well as willingly sinking my modeling energy, time, and hobby funds into my KC&G, that I really haven't done a thing with my 1880s idea. (Aside from the meager pre-layout collection of 1880s stuff.)

THEREFORE...

I am officially retiring the "dual era" concept.

My out-building layout is going to be the KC&G's Ozark Sub set in 1964. When the time comes for scenic elements, I can now add the scenic features that will support and enhance my 1964 era, instead of being restricted to doing a lousy job of trying to portray either era. (See the above "generic" scenery restrictions.)

Because of this decision, I can now undo what I feel is the worst feature of my layout design. Originally, my layout had that feature as way of turning a steam locomotive without a turntable. That feature is: The return loops in the upper left corner of the published track plan in this thread.

I've grown to dislike the "reverse loops" area shortly after the completion of my layout. It serves zero purpose in my KC&G 1964 era, and is only a "concession" to hosting a dual era. It creates extreme headaches in regards to any type of plausible scenery that allows minimum access at that location. Further, seeing as I haven't run a single 1880s era session, or even substantially ran the equipment, then the ability to turn a steam engine using either reversing loop is moot. It's nothing but a consumer of floor space as well as complicating and restricting the scenic potential of the layout unnecessarily.

So, I'm in the process of making sure I have the needed track, switches, and what have you, in order to pull the reversing loops entirely and reconfigure that corner. I'm liking what I'm seeing on paper with the "new" trackplan for that corner, and I like what it does for the ergonomics of operating. Lastly, I like what it's going to do for the visuals of the layout in regards to my KC&G's theme.

There you have it: Only 1 1/2 years into this layout, and yet a major revision lurks ahead.

In subsequent posts, I'll try to post a pic of the trackplan to illustrate the changes I will be making, and perhaps a photo or two of what I've already done to that corner. (I've already pulled the reverse loop switch and straight-railed that section, and already pulled some of the track off the loop itself.)

I'm liking what I'm seeing and can't wait to make this change happen at some point in the coming weeks/months.

All fer now.

Andre

You have chosen interesting railroading on which to base your railroad, Andre.  We'll look forward to further stories about the KC&G.

I remember the Midland Valley, too, from visits to family in Tulsa in the 1950's.  I always thought of it as an odd combination of secondary-looking track and multiple crossarm pole line.  Maybe it would be a nice spring adventure to head up to Wichita and follow any remains of the MV right of way down to Tulsa.

Joe:

Sorry to hear of your friend's passing. It can be tough.

I did Harley's from about Nov of 2007 to sometime in 2011-12. Wife would ride along with me. Favorite was the hot rod Deuce I had. Alas, she could ride but about 150-200 miles behind me on that thing, and that was with a high-dollar "Sundowner" seat installed. I used to do road trips on the Deuce and enjoyed them a bunch. Here's a pic of it out in AZ I snapped:

Picture2 076

However, I began to feel guilty having all the fun, so I asked if she'd like for me to trade in the Deuce and get an Ultra that had a much more comfortable passenger arrangement. She jumped at it. She made many a weekend trips behind me on the Ultra, and a big road trip to Colorado and back in the spring of 2011. She got the full spectrum on that ride! Hottest temps she rode through was over 100 degrees, coldest was the morning we left Silverton: 19 degrees! However, she was a trooper. Here's a pic of her and the Ultra after leaving Silverton (we're in Ridgway here) after it warmed up to near 50 degrees.

MySweetie

However, my life long love affair with the dirt bikes (and her like of it, too) won out. We began to trailer our street legal dirt bikes to Colorado and ride them instead making the trip on the Harley. SO, I sold the Ultra. She loves riding out in the mountains on her bikes. Here she is at a lunch stop this past November. That's her '73 Yamaha AT3 125 she purchased so she'd have a vintage tiddler (small bore) bike to ride with me when I ride one of my vintage tiddlers. (That's my '72 DKW GS125 on the right.)

VDS_111320_6

HOWEVER, I digress. Back to the topic at hand...

Foot Sore & Weary:

Only ran about 2 miles in Arkansas, nowhere near the Ozarks. However, it was an interesting railroad in its own right. Nothing operable remains of the FS&W except a short stretch of industry track on the Fort Smith RR in Fort Smith.

Tom:

Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad you find an interest in what I'm concocting. I shall endeavor to keep this thread updated more often than I did in the recent past.

The MV was a neat little line. Really did run from nowhere (Excelsior, AR) to almost somewhere. It took a huge hit with the fading of the coal industry, for I think a lot of its income came from the Coal Belt of western AR/eastern OK.

Speaking of lines that were abandoned in my region, the empty roadbed that pains me the most is the loss of the Rock Island through eastern OK/western AR. I really miss that line.

All fer now!

Andre

Attachments

Images (3)
  • Picture2 076
  • MySweetie
  • VDS_111320_6
Last edited by laming
@Leroof posted:

Andre, been listening to The Band while reading your stories.....perfect sound track!

looking forward to listening up.


safe travels to you and your wife, spring is coming next.

Thanks for that post. I hadn't heard of "The Band" before you mentioned it. Some research was in order.

What I found was quite enlightening.

I always thought Joan Baez's version of "The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down" was essentially the only version of it. Didn't have a clue where the song came from.

In my research, I learned that a member of "The Band", Ronnie Robertson, was the one that wrote "The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down". I also found, and listened to, a live performance of The Band singing it, as well as "The Weight", etc.

Listening to band member Levon Helm's impassioned vocal gave an entirely new "feeling" to the song. I could "feel" the hardship war imposes as Levon sang of the plight of the Cain family. There was SO much more "feeling" than Joan's soft ballad approach.

Thanks!

Andre

Andre, hey there EZ Rider, don't you think it's about time for another progress report on the KC&G?

Have you ever visited Cliff Powers website that covers construction and operations on his HO scale layout, the Mississippi, Alabama & Gulf, which models the summer of 1955?  It has appeared in several of the model railroad magazines, and though now dismantled, still is active on Cliff's website.

His model of New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal is simply fantastic!

73

Joe

Last edited by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer

Hi Joe!

Even though I've been splitting time between my interests, the KC&G has indeed been getting attention. One major update is a proposed revision at the towns of Ozarka and Mountain Springs.

Since I've decided that my Ozark layout in the out building will be strictly 1964 KC&G and not try to accommodate an 1880s era as I envisioned, that meant I could eliminate an element in the track plan design that was purely a ploy to accommodate turning small steam locos: The return loops in the upper left corner on the track plan. (I've really disliked that corner ever since it took shape.)

Here's what I'm going to do:

Lower level at Ozarka...

RevisedLowerLevel

Upper level at Mountain Springs...

RevisedUpperLevel

You can see traces of the erased loop on the above photos of the trackplans. This revision will greatly improve access to that corner, as well as opens up the scenes at Ozarka and Mountain Springs. Also note because of the revisions, I'm able to include small engine service facilities at the Clarksville Yard (lower level, on left) and at the Branson Yard (upper level on left).

As for the Clarksville/Branson Yards:

Originally those were merely designed to be non-scenicked hand-fiddled yards used primarily between sessions by yours truly for staging various through trains/etc. They were simply referred to as the "South Stage" (lower level) and "North Stage" (upper level).

Well, I learned that I had rather use an engine and switch out the cars instead of hand-fiddling. This gave me the opportunity to do some yard switching in between sessions. Well, that idea has grew to the point that I began to think in terms of placing backdrops and scenic the stages so they look like part of the layout and not sterile looking, bare Homasote covered "stage areas".

With this revision, the idea evolved further to the point that I now intend to use both Clarksville and Branson yards during a session. You see, with the above changes and the addition of small engine tracks at Clarksville/Branson, the "crew" coming on duty to take a train out of Clarksville or Branson, can now pick up the assigned power over at the engine service area, fire up their engines, check the Blue Cards and do any daily inspection (if required). Ready to roll, they can give a bell, toot a couple times, then ease out and get on their train. Once on the train they can pump some air (look over their manifest and running orders), then whistle off and head out! Mucho more fun than just leaving with a train waiting for them on a non-scenicked "stage yard".

I have all the needed switches on hand to make the above changes. However, creating sawdust will have to wait until after I host my annual vintage enduro tiddler bike ride coming up March 19-20.

OH... and about that desire for an 1880s layout... figured out a way to scratch that itch... but that's another story altogether.

All fer now!

Andre

Attachments

Images (2)
  • RevisedLowerLevel
  • RevisedUpperLevel

Add Reply

Post
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×