The Whiskey River Railway

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by gbwdude, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. gbwdude

    gbwdude Member

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    To start off first, the Whiskey River Railway is a semi fictitious railroad. It is influenced by the miniature railroad my "uncle" has at his amusement park but I decided to model it as a full size railroad set in the 1940's. I have a short "history" of the line that I wrote up many years ago as a assignment for a business class.


    History of the Whiskey River Railway Company
    1880-1940

    In the year of 1880, southern Wisconsin was a rapidly growing area. The area was rich of farmland, lead and gravel mining, logging and other commodities. But despite booming population, rapidly growing volume of crops, vast amounts of lead mined and increasing size of cities, territorial transportation was almost literally still in the Dark Ages. Shipping or traveling was by lake or river routes, over mud roads not much better than forest trails, on a few plank roads or military roads—and all of these were generally unusable during parts of the year. So this is why one man developed a rail line to respond to the needs of these communities, and his name was Lee W. Merrick. Though not a true rail tycoon, Merrick cared about his community in that he built a wildlife reserve, two schools, a library and donated rail passes to school children who needed them to get to school. That's why in late 1880, Merrick started the Whiskey River Railway Company.

    Probably the most interesting start of a railroad would be this one, in the fact that the railway became official on August 19, 1880 but didn't recieve its first locomotive until that next March. Baldwin Locomotive Works made their first locomotive, a Consolidation-type locomotive #1. Some may ask why such a large locomotive as a railroad's first piece of motive power, but to move the heavy loads of dolomite and lead required such muscle. As more funds accumulated, more motive power came to the railroad. A trio of American-type locomotives were purchased in 1882, respectively numbered #2, #3, and #4. The aquisition of these new locomotives brought much needed supplies, passengers and revenue to the heart of Wisconsin as well as adding to the states' growth. Between 1870 and 1900 the population of Wisconsin doubled 1,054,670 to 2,069,042 inhabitants. It was also the greatest period of railroad building.

    The line started in Merrick's namesake town of Merrick. From there in early 1881, track was laid north to a once thriving fishing town of Whiskey River. Track parallels this part of the river for some time until it arrives at Redruth. Redruth was the once all important stop on the railroad as it interchanged with the Chicago, Milwaukee and Saint Paul to points all over Wisconsin and Illinois. This first strecth was the entire line in 1884 until Merrick and his investors realized the potential of reaching the north woods. Many more communities were established along his line as it grew into the north but few other rail connections were made. In 1896, Merrick's line was near completion when the only other rail connection on the line was built with the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad in Three Corners, WI. This substantially boosted revenue on the line and helped Merrick achieve his goal of owning a sucessful railroad. By this time the bigger railroads have aquired all the bigger towns and cities, and Merrick took notice of this. So on August 27, 1897 the railroad laid track through and helped established its last town, Tubbs.


    Basically every town that the line goes through will be a small switching layout within itself, as my layout is modular/sectional since my job requires me to move a lot. All in all I should have seven modules for the seven towns. Currently I have only one module built, the town of Dreisdale. I get a lot of my ideas from Carl Arendt's fabulous website: http://www.carendt.com/ . Maybe sometime in the future pics will be up there. I do also have a WRRy Facebook fan page with some pics up, you'd have to look for it because the links somehow don't work when I post them.


    Tyler

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  2. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    Tyler, I'm on board now! thanks for posting.


    Bill Nelson
  3. gbwdude

    gbwdude Member

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    The Modules

    Here is the one module I'm working on. The only thing done is the track so far, code 83 is the norm. Scenery is the part that I hate the most, in my life I have only had scenery on one layout that I've built. Below I have the drawing as well as what I've got.

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  4. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

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    Congrats on posting

    Hi Tyler,

    Its great to see you posting here. I liked the history of the RR and your neat roster of steam lokies.

    Let us know if we can help you scenerize your new module.

    Doc Tom:thumb:
  5. gbwdude

    gbwdude Member

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    Scenery

    Dr. Tom,

    I would very much appreciate help in that area. I find it amazing that I'm not like a "normal" modeller, I'd much rather build the benchwork, lay track and wire the layout than do scenery. I also have no issue building and painting structures. Although my next module (the quarry) I'm going to attempt my hand at handlaying track using Bill's lessons with the exception of one switch, just because I have it on hand. I'll post a pic of the next module down below.

    Also upon further review the second depot I was going to use for Dreisdale is a mess. This one isn't beat up and missing pieces like the first one, but the fellow who built it (an eBay find) either must have been very young or had a seizure gluing, painting and detailing it. Then again it was $6 with shipping... ya get what ya pay for. I'm thinking about getting the tiny depot that Woodland Scenics makes and then it'll work with my drawing, as the current depot is too big to fit between the tracks.

    Tyler

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  6. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

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    Hi Tyler,

    Interesting #2 module. I will be glad to help with scenery. Just let me know.

    I had built that little WS depot years ago. It is a nice model.

    Doc Tom:wave:
  7. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    Tyler. i have two of those woodlands scenics whistles stop stations on my workbench now, One being repaired and repainted, and another getting built. One is for Wildwood TN. (on the narrow gauge just above the Gizzard, and the other for either Gegokayoosa NC. on the Narrow gauge, or further down the line @ Dugasi NC.

    Your interests are healthy ones, as getting the bench work, track, and wiring right needs to come first, and the scenery comes later. a railroad that runs well , in the long run will be better than one that looks good, but doesn't run well.

    The main part of scenery that needs to go first is conceptual, that is , having an idea about what will go where , so the whole scene looks right, and the scenery isn't an obvious afterthought. I also like to do scenery under my elaborate bridges first, so the bridge is built to fit the terrain, and not the other way.

    It looks like you know what you want the scenery to look like on your quarry module, that is all you need to start.


    Bill Nelson
  8. gbwdude

    gbwdude Member

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    Thanks Bill, and that may be why I never really did do scenery on any of my layouts. Like every railroader, no matter the scale, I hate derailments and electrical issues. Since I have a pretty busy lifestyle I really haven't had a chance to really test out module #1 for said issues. It would also be nice to have more space to actually lay out the modules and connect them to have a more variety of tests for trains to run.

    One of my ideas I'm incorporating to the modular idea is the ability to either directly connect the modules to each other or have a spacer consisting of track on a 2x4 between modules. That way I can create more distance between modules if I do have a operating day. In this case, the main challenge would be finding a straight 2x4. The only real issue with this would be is since I'm running DCC and if the distances are great enough I may need a booster to another module since I only have a Zephyr powering the DCC.

    On another note, here's some more pics of WRRy equipment. Doc Tom should recognize something out of these pics, which that certain lokie will be the switcher that handles the Badger quarry.

    Tyler

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  9. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

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    Hi Tyler,

    That old Heisler looks pretty snazzy in the pictures and the group shot. Hope it runs well and makes a lot of $$$ for your road hauling stuff.
    Doc Tom:thumb:
  10. gbwdude

    gbwdude Member

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    Doc Tom,

    Your ol' Heisler will be well taken care of for sure. The only things I plan to do to it is add DCC, throw a number and some WRRy letters on her and have a chat with the other Confederate woodchuck about adding better contacts. At first I was going to detatch the caboose, but since there's only one way into the quarry... how would the workers get to work? Plus the pickups do a great job picking up current.

    On another note I did notice the Dollar Tree had some black foam board. Is that what you guys use for building structures? If so how do you use it? If I can make a good looking structure for about a buck I'm all ears.

    Tyler
  11. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

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    Hi Tyler,

    Foam core board is a great way to scratchbuild structures.

    Here is my "Fish Camp Commissary" on the old C&S RR. It was done using black foam core board, Grandt Line windows, cut out plastic milk jugs(for window glass) and paper siding and roof tar paper from Paper Creek models http://www.papercreek.com/. The owner is out sick at present but a review of his site shows what is available and can be purchased at on-line hobby shops.

    Bill uses wood strips on foam core board for his models and will probably be a long here soon to discuss his techniques.

    Here is a simple article on how to use foam core board and paper to scratchbuild RR models http://www.modeltrainsoftware.com/mbarticle.html

    All in all this is a great way to build structures cheaply.

    Have fun!!!! Doc Tom:wave:

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  12. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    foam core buildings

    http://www.zealot.com/forum/showthread.php?t=164383


    My sawmill shown in the first photo on the first page of my main thread, is balsa boards (painted to resemble faded paint) over foam core. I'm building up the roof conventionally. Foam core is great, as you can quickly knock out a mock up, to see what the building whill look like in place, and when you are satisfied with the dimensions, you can build the final product around the mock up, saving a step or two.


    Bill
  13. gbwdude

    gbwdude Member

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    Merrick Yard

    I may be getting ahead of myself on this one but I like to have my stuff planned out before I build it. My big city with a big yard and main locomotive servicing facilities is in the city of Merrick, WI. In here lies the problem; I'm having problems on how I want it to work semi-realistically. The biggest difference of how I want my yard from is I want to turn my locomotives with a Y instead of a turntable. The main inspiration for my yard is the Nevada Northern's yard in Ely, NV. http://nevadanorthernrailway.net/images/yardmap4.gif The big difference is the main line for this yard is in the front and the yard in the back, a mistake if I were to keep this desgin as I learned in MR mag. At the bottom is a rough draft of what I've drawn up. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    Tyler

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  14. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    Tyler,

    I like the idea, but Y have some inherent challenges in modeling. If you have an adequate radius they take up a lot od realestate. Your plan minimises the problems that come with that by having some of the yard and the engine facilities inside the Y

    another challenge is the bench work getting in the way. I like to be up close to the action. The model railroad I had as a teenager had a Y in the biggest operational center of that railroad, the engine shops and certain areas of the sawmill were reached from the back side of the Y, and it was very awkward running trains back there. It was too far away to reach, and a long way around the peninsula. I also ended up wishing that tail of the Y was larger so I could turn whole trains.



    Bill Nelson
  15. gbwdude

    gbwdude Member

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    Casey's problems

    Hello all,

    I am almost at wit's end with the first locomotive I'm trying to work on, a AHM Casey Jones 4-6-0. First off I do have to say they are handsome locos, but their mechanisms are garbage. Before I tore this first one apart I did test it and it ran a little on the fast end but good. I've disassembled the side rods to paint the wheels and rods and now when I put it back together the locomotive moves about three inches and then the rods bind. I took the whole thing apart again to find out the wheels somehow got out of quarter and now they're loose on the axle. It also made a nice little scuff in the driver when the rods bound up. Has anyone had experience working on these? I have another one of these and I'm almost considering making new underframes for both of these lokies.

    I also found out the tender I was going to use for the loco has zamac poisoning... It's from what I think a old New One Model loco, not sure though, I bought it in a lot off of eBay. Now here's the issue with this beast, if I were to make a casting of the shell would it be easier to fix the damage on the mold or just make a new tender and then fix it?

    Tyler

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  16. Mauiman

    Mauiman Member

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    This one has to be a great lay out in the works. I will like to see it when it is finished.
  17. drifter83

    drifter83 New Member

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    Hey just stopped in to say hi.... Nice place you've got here... :)
  18. gbwdude

    gbwdude Member

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    Mauiman and Drifter83,

    Thanks a lot for the comments. Being in the Army hinders a lot of my build time along with having a 14 month old daughter, but I do what I can in my free time. Progress on the layout has been delayed due to my upcoming deployment to Afghanistan, but modifications to certain rolling stock and locos will be brought along with a couple sections of E-Z track and my Zephyr DCC pack. Wish I would have had that stuff in Korea... but that's a different story. I will share, however, that floor wax stripper takes the paint and lettering off of plastic cars better than brake fluid (it's the only thing we had and I made do with what I could get).

    Tyler
  19. gbwdude

    gbwdude Member

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    Hello all,

    For those that have been paying attention to my other post on my AHM 4-6-0's, (http://www.zealot.com/forum/showthread.php?t=168594) I'm no longer doing the conversion. So for now I no longer have the AHM 4-6-0's on my roster but I did add Doc Tom's 2-6-0. I'll be doing the same kind of detailing to his Mogul that I am to mine, shortening the tender, raising the headlight, adding DCC, and replacing some of the cast on piping with brass wire. I think I'll have the two Moguls doublehead a lot, a practice that the Green Bay and Western did quite a bit with their Moguls in the Twenties. Plus it's always neat to see two steamers charge a hill.

    Tyler
  20. gbwdude

    gbwdude Member

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    Well my followers, progress on the WRRy will be put on hold as I'm deployed in Afghanistan with far less room than anticipated. I barely have enough room for my gear, so there is no room for trains. It's really a bummer, I had a ammo can jam packed full of stuff to keep me busy (project cars, a loco, tools, soldering iron, some EZ track, power pack, digital multimeter, and some other stuff) which now will have to stay at home. But thanks to Bill Nelson and a few other gents, some of my projects will make progress when I'm away.

    Also, the Whiskey River Ry has a Facebook page, make sure you check it out! And if you find the big models (16" gauge), that's my inspiration for the railroad.

    Tyler