Sugar Cane train in 1920 Haiti

Doctor G

Well-Known Member
Sep 2, 2008
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Clarksville, Tennessee
Hi,
For several months I have been building a "mini" On30 layout based on the sugar cane trains of 1920 and 1930 Haiti.
I am frequently in Haiti for medcal mission work and have been intrigued by their past history of steam powered trains working the sugar fields and mills.
The effects of poverty,excessive sunshine and salty air really leads to extremes of prototypical weathering.
The Porter is an On30 Bachmann model. The "bagasse" fuel/tender is scratchbuilt.
The structures are scratchbuilt and include the HASCO mill with rusting corrugated metal roof and siding.
Hope you all enjoy!!!
Doctor G
 

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steamhead

Active Member
Apr 17, 2005
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Dr. G---Welcome to The Gauge...it's great to see new folks dropping in and joining.....
You may be a junior member, but your modeling is Master class...!!! Let's see some more....and a track plan if you can manage it...
 

Doctor G

Well-Known Member
Sep 2, 2008
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Clarksville, Tennessee
More Photos from Doctor G

Hi SteamHead,
Thanks for your nice compliments.
Actually my main layout is another industrial hauler......a 1920's logging line set in the mountains of Tennessee where I come from. It is HO scale and is loosely based on the Little River Railroad of Eastern Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains.
The On 30 Haitian Sugar Train was my first foray in to another guage.
I have attached a few pictures of the HO logger. I call it the C&S RR.
Doctor G
 

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Doctor G

Well-Known Member
Sep 2, 2008
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Clarksville, Tennessee
Turntable on the logging layout

Hi Steamhead,
Yes the turntable is an Atlas (very reliable) model. The "backwoods" engine house is a Walthers lumber store model that was reworked as a partial open air engine house as the layout is in the sunny south. THe shay is an MDC model and there is another MDC Shay poking its nose out from around the scratchbuilt roundhouse office. There is also one of the smooth running Rivarossi Heislers parked in the engine house.
Thanks for the interest, Doctor G
 

Doctor G

Well-Known Member
Sep 2, 2008
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Clarksville, Tennessee
More Photos and Info on the Sugar Cane Train

Hi,
I wanted to add a few other shots of the Port au Prince section of my On30 Mini layout.
Here are two Porters working the HASCO (Haitian American Sugar Company) Sugar mill. The corrugated metal was made from aluminum foil pressed on a corrrugated styrene form and cut to scale size. A light coat of primer paint and weathering with acrylic paints was then used to make the appearance of rusted metal.
The O scale structures were built using foam core board and covered with a thin layer of spackling compound before painting. Part of the fun of Haitian and Caribbean structures in general is the wonderful colors used on the prototype structures.
 

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steamhead

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Apr 17, 2005
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Those are really great shots...!!! You've captured the look of the tropics perfectly..!! And those little Porters are just beautiful...Quite a different look from what we're used to...:thumb:

BTW...How noisy is that Atlas TT of yours..?? I've got one, and it screams like a wounded banshee..!! :curse:
 

Doctor G

Well-Known Member
Sep 2, 2008
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Clarksville, Tennessee
Hi Steamhead,
Thanks for the compliments. I did want to go "completely different" in making the On30 mini. It was fun learning new techniques. Making palm trees is completely different than the hardwoods and conifers I have on the logging layout. All the information for these "new" techniques came from the Internet.
In regards to the turntable it is "whisper quiet." That's because I got rid of the electric motor ( as you noted way too loud) and use the hand crank supplied with the TT. I scratchbuilt a very sturdy office building out of styrene to sit over the handcrank mechanism (the office is in one of the pics above). It is removeable by grasping its also very sturdy smokestack. After the table is spun and the locomotive is bedded down or sent on its way the mechanism is recovered by the office building. It has been a very reliable and simplistic way to turn the locomotives of the toothpick hauler.
Peace, Doctor G
 

Doctor G

Well-Known Member
Sep 2, 2008
1,413
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Clarksville, Tennessee
"Whisper Quiet" Atlas Turntable

Hi Steamhead,
In looking back at my previous shots of the turntable at RailCamp on my HO logging layout I realized I did not have any good shots of the finger powered mechanism that spins the table. So, I grabbed my trusty digital camera and headed on down to the RR room in the basement and grabbed these shots. I think they illustrate how I hid the handcrank within the office (dispatcher) at RailCamp.
Peace, Dr G:wave:
 

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steamhead

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Apr 17, 2005
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Hi Doc....Sorry I missed your post showing the "digital" mechanism on that turntable....Unfortunately on my t'table the motor is buried underneath centuries-old sandstone.....(under the mound at the left of the picture...)
 

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Doctor G

Well-Known Member
Sep 2, 2008
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Clarksville, Tennessee
More Haitian Sugar train pics.

Hi guys,
Appreciate the recent flurry of interest in my On30 layout. Thanks for the nice compliments. I have been working on the Port au Prince wharf section of this mini-layout and have included some shots.
This is a warehouse, "depot" in Haitian kreyol. It is for receiving teh sacks of sugar and the barrels of "rhum" for export.
Behind the depot is a pedesterian bridge and a sign for a French Steamship line. Haiti had been a French colony and I have scoured the Internet for French signs from the 1920's to put on the layout.
Hope you like the pictures. Doc Tom
 

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Mountain Man

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Jan 20, 2007
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Current issue of Narrow Gauge Down Under has some good stuff on cane trains, including some cane cars with wood slats separated by brass pillars.

Looks like you can have fun with a cane train without a ton of unnecessary effort.
 

Doctor G

Well-Known Member
Sep 2, 2008
1,413
295
78
Clarksville, Tennessee
I find this interesting. I don't know anything about Haitian trains, but it reminds me of similar operations in Cuba until recently and in Java to this day.
The trains in Haiti are all gone now and all that remains is the narrow guage tracks (30" guage ) in some of the streets in Port au Prince. In the 1920's and 1930's the railroads in Haiti hauled passengers, sugar cane, and processed sugar and rum.
I am attaching some prototype pictures of a Porter (like on my model RR) hard at work, plus a map (I am modeling the line from Port au Prince to Leogane) and other locomotives in Haiti.
I have a HO scale logging show (see the scattered pictures already posted) and the Haiti sugar train is On30. All buildings are scratchbuilt as you cannot find any kits that fit a Caribbean theme. This has been part of the fun.
Doc Tom:wave:
 

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butzi

butzi
Sep 19, 2010
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Philippines
nice job,, we had this golden era trains which we call iron dinosaurs which were owned by sugar mills,,, up to now some survives and restored,,,,,