The Blue Ridge Stemwinder in On30

Doctor G

Active Member
Sep 2, 2008
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Clarksville, Tennessee
I have wanted to build this layout for a very long time. I have enjoyed On30 for about 10 years now. I have built two mini layouts that have graced the electronic pages of this fine site for quite some time. A sugar cane hauler set in 1920 Haiti and a primitive backwoods logging operation set in 1910 Kentucky and Tennessee.

But the ET &WNC RR ,”Tweetsie” has always held a special place in my model railroading heart. When Bachmann came out with their magnificent Baldwin 10 wheelers I was ready to do a medium sized layout in On30!!

So I moved a storage building in to the backyard and made my move to turn dreams in to reality. I have been reading everything I can on the prototype and joined the ET&WNC RR historical society. I live in Tennessee and Johnson City and the Doe River Gorge is not that far away. So field exploration is in the near future.

I got two of the beautiful locomotives and started to take the plunge in building up rolling stock. Here is my first go at equipment…… the parlor car #10 “Azalea”.





A Bachmann On30 coach provided the donor mechanism and hardware and roof. The very nice laser wooden kit from Deerfield Laser was chosen to build up the coach







I scoured the internet trying to find the colors used on Tweetsie Varnish and used some gloss rattle can paints to do up my rendition.







Well it at least an approximation of the colors I think they used.


I really enjoyed this shot from the prototype photos.....



......so I found some O scale chairs and had a go at recreating the little scene.



Here is a "topside" view of the fabric roof.



The actual layout is still in the planning stages and while rolling stock is accumulated a Porter on the mini logging layout will shuffle cars around for pictures.



So here is what is coming in hopefully the near future:

Iain Rice's nifty book "Shelf Layouts for Model Rail Roads has this plan for the ET&WNC in On30 that should fit nicely in the storage building out back.




So thanks for looking and hopefully you all can follow along as this adventure begins.



Doc Tom
 

zathros

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Wow! That sounds awesome, I hope you load up lots of pics!! One of the shed too! :)
 

zathros

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I may be building a 10' x 12' shed, I have a 16' x 24' two story Gambrel roofed barn, but my shop is in there. If I built a shed that nice, my wife would stake an instant claim to it, a "she-shed". :yesyes:
 

swampdaddy41

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Mar 6, 2007
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That shed will make an excellent layout "room". Be sure to add heat and air before you start the layout benchwork.

Have fun modeling, Swamp Daddy
 

Doctor G

Active Member
Sep 2, 2008
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Clarksville, Tennessee
My latest creation for the upcoming On30 ET&WNC layout is one of Tweetsie’s iconic wooden hopper cars. My modeling buddy Bill Nelson scratch built the wooden body. I went to work adding detail parts, grabs, stake pockets , wheels and couplers. Here is the model in primer gray.















Next steps will be to follow the prototype and paint and letter the car. The original used a mixture of lampblack, linseed oil and japan drier to get the dark gray/black color. This according to the good folks in the ET&WNC Historical Society.







Thanks for looking.


Doc Tom
 

zathros

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Oh I wish I could come over and play with your train set!! :)
 

Bill Nelson

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Dec 15, 2008
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Clarksville Tn
Looking good Tom! Glad to see the progress you made with the hopper.

I found a bag of cut wood. From that project, which would make it easier to set up the mini table saw, so If you need to make more, maybe we could fire up the sawmill and cut the lumber for more.

Like the plan!
 

Doctor G

Active Member
Sep 2, 2008
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Clarksville, Tennessee
Looking good Tom! Glad to see the progress you made with the hopper.

I found a bag of cut wood. From that project, which would make it easier to set up the mini table saw, so If you need to make more, maybe we could fire up the sawmill and cut the lumber for more.

Like the plan!
Thanks for looking Bill. The hopper car you donated to the cause (mucho thankyous) is finished and only needs paint and decals. I bought two laser kits of the ET &WNC Hopper thst are pretty nice. Could go for a totally scratched model in the future to build more. These hoppers were ubiquitous in the era I am modeling and helped make the RR profitable hauling high grade iron ore from the mine in Cranbery N. C. So you can never have too many.

Kit and I are going to the ET&WNC historical meeting at the end of May. Hope to score some decal sets for the hoppers. Tom
 

Doctor G

Active Member
Sep 2, 2008
1,377
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Clarksville, Tennessee
To build this little layout I have been researching the heck out of the ET&WNC RR. Heck, I even joined the ET&WNC RR Historical Society.....a very nice group.

At the end of May they had their annual convention in Johnson City Tennessee and I had a ball.

Here we are playing with ET&WNC lokie #12. She is 102 years old and guzzied up in Tweetsie RR livery.


The engineers let us take as many runbys and photo ops as we wanted with the theme park closed for the time we were there.

I have a model of number 12 ready to hit the iron when I get to building the layout.

doc Tom
 

Bill Nelson

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Dec 15, 2008
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Clarksville Tn
Cool to see the progress. My HOn3 State Line RR gets much of it’s inspiration from the Tweetsie. Glad to see what you have done with the hopper car, Mack got the other one; it looked real big next to my Americans.

Got a deal on 5 Russian River On3 30 foot freight car kits for about $45.00. Turned out even better than I thought, as the previous owner had put trucks in 4 out of five of the kits. I got a box car, a high side gon, a low side gon, and two flatcars.

I’ve started the boxcar. These On3 kits are something else with detail parts on the detail parts!629FBE51-0949-4F64-8EEF-FDB13F0D9991.jpeg
 

Doctor G

Active Member
Sep 2, 2008
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Clarksville, Tennessee
Ahhh, the joys of Prototype model railroading.

I have completed three hopper cars to haul iron ore and coal on my planned On30 homage to the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad. I will be modeling the era 1920 – 1924 when the railroad was quite profitable and had beautiful narrow gauge passenger cars.



So, I was doing research on what I thought the prototype Hopper cars looked like.





I picked up Johnny Graybeals nicely done decal sets for freight cars in O scale at the model railroad show in Johnson City Tennessee this summer. It was also nice meeting him in person. I proceeded to carefully apply decals to the first side of a hopper car. I thought I had done a nice rendition of Hopper car Number 28.







I read on further about these fine wooden hopper cars, that were felt to be the largest wooden hopper cars in narrow gauge railroading for their time. In an article in the 2018 HOn3 Annual written by Johnny Graybeal, and including photos from his collection, I hit the jackpot on prototype pictures of Hopper cars for the ET&WNC RR. In one of the pictures he mentioned that the lettering in use by the ET and WNC from the teens until 1936 had small stenciling for the road name instead of the stretch lettering that came into vogue after 1936.



So, it was back to the paint shop and my first attempt at an early 1920s Hopper car was repainted and relettered using Johnny's very good decal sheet. But at this time with much smaller lettering. The stenciling on the decal was a bit too wide and I had to remove the “&” to get it to fit. But, I felt it was a fairly good representation of Hopper car number 18 in 1920’s livery. I am not a rivet counter, but certainly want my rolling stock to be a good representation of what road the rails in the early 1920’s in the mountains of East Tennessee and western North Carolina.







Now I have two other cars to decal correctly with the correct prototype look for the early 1920's.





Thanks for looking. Dr. Tom
 

Bill Nelson

Well-Known Member
Dec 15, 2008
2,590
325
48
Clarksville Tn
Ahhh, the joys of Prototype model railroading.

I have completed three hopper cars to haul iron ore and coal on my planned On30 homage to the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad. I will be modeling the era 1920 – 1924 when the railroad was quite profitable and had beautiful narrow gauge passenger cars.



So, I was doing research on what I thought the prototype Hopper cars looked like.





I picked up Johnny Graybeals nicely done decal sets for freight cars in O scale at the model railroad show in Johnson City Tennessee this summer. It was also nice meeting him in person. I proceeded to carefully apply decals to the first side of a hopper car. I thought I had done a nice rendition of Hopper car Number 28.







I read on further about these fine wooden hopper cars, that were felt to be the largest wooden hopper cars in narrow gauge railroading for their time. In an article in the 2018 HOn3 Annual written by Johnny Graybeal, and including photos from his collection, I hit the jackpot on prototype pictures of Hopper cars for the ET&WNC RR. In one of the pictures he mentioned that the lettering in use by the ET and WNC from the teens until 1936 had small stenciling for the road name instead of the stretch lettering that came into vogue after 1936.



So, it was back to the paint shop and my first attempt at an early 1920s Hopper car was repainted and relettered using Johnny's very good decal sheet. But at this time with much smaller lettering. The stenciling on the decal was a bit too wide and I had to remove the “&” to get it to fit. But, I felt it was a fairly good representation of Hopper car number 18 in 1920’s livery. I am not a rivet counter, but certainly want my rolling stock to be a good representation of what road the rails in the early 1920’s in the mountains of East Tennessee and western North Carolina.







Now I have two other cars to decal correctly with the correct prototype look for the early 1920's.





Thanks for looking. Dr. Tom
Looking good,


Have the last of the standard gauge main in, on my monstrosity, including the return loop with a passing siding built into it.

Am wiring up some rotary switches to add the block controls to the control panel. Have been using rotary switches salvaged from the old railroad, but ran out of old pre wired ones, and had to wire two new ones. Will need to buy more to complete the narrow gauge.

I have the ceiling hugging shelf it to get the narrow gauge from State Line to Perry’s Gizzard, so I may go to working on the narrow gauge main next.


I have four sidings to put in at Montgomery Furnace, and three At the log camp.

I was going to call the log camp Flea Creek, and the return loop Terrapin, But seeing them in actually, rather than on paper; it makes no sense to have them separate blocks, as one would have to get into the loop to get any sizeable log train into the lower camp.

As a result, I’m thinking one block for both wouldn’t degrade operations. ( this decision is reinforced by being out of rotary switches. I used to get them at radio shack; going to have to find another source.)


Good seeing your progress working with the big trains. I got some micro electrical plugs, that might get me moving on working on the first of my On3 Americans. If I can build in the kind of extra electrical pickups I use in HO onto that beast, I could be just o few cosmetic details away from being ready to paint.
 

Doctor G

Active Member
Sep 2, 2008
1,377
266
38
Clarksville, Tennessee
Looking good,


Have the last of the standard gauge main in, on my monstrosity, including the return loop with a passing siding built into it.

Am wiring up some rotary switches to add the block controls to the control panel. Have been using rotary switches salvaged from the old railroad, but ran out of old pre wired ones, and had to wire two new ones. Will need to buy more to complete the narrow gauge.

I have the ceiling hugging shelf it to get the narrow gauge from State Line to Perry’s Gizzard, so I may go to working on the narrow gauge main next.


I have four sidings to put in at Montgomery Furnace, and three At the log camp.

I was going to call the log camp Flea Creek, and the return loop Terrapin, But seeing them in actually, rather than on paper; it makes no sense to have them separate blocks, as one would have to get into the loop to get any sizeable log train into the lower camp.

As a result, I’m thinking one block for both wouldn’t degrade operations. ( this decision is reinforced by being out of rotary switches. I used to get them at radio shack; going to have to find another source.)

Good seeing your progress working with the big trains. I got some micro electrical plugs, that might get me moving on working on the first of my On3 Americans. If I can build in the kind of extra electrical pickups I use in HO onto that beast, I could be just o few cosmetic details away from being ready to paint.

Thanks Bill. It is good to hear from you. You got me started on the hopper cars with your beautiful scratchbuild.

IMG_2915.JPG

I am going to number it #1 the first of their wooden hoppers built in the Johnson City Tn shops in 1902 with wooden bolsters (subsequently changed to the twin I beam) and upgraded to 50,000 pound capacity. It was still working away in the early 1920's.

I will be starting construction on the shelf ET&WNC layout when the hoppers are all decaled and weathered.
 

Bill Nelson

Well-Known Member
Dec 15, 2008
2,590
325
48
Clarksville Tn
That is going to be pretty cool. Trying to get pictures to load on Zealot,

Might have to go back to my camera , and edit them down on the computer.

Could probably do that with my phone ; had got spoiled posting straight from the phone.