Keep it simple Copper City on the C&RGS

The C&RGS? Yes the very fictional Colorado and Rio Grande Southern RR located southwestern Colorado, New Mexico, and part of Arizona. A railroad that has an interesting traffic base of livestock traffic, hard rock mining, agriculture, and serving the communities it runs through. I do not have a plan of the railroad laid out on a map of the United States though. My interest is the railroad’s branch into the San Juan area of Colorado. The branch originates in the very fictional town of Navajo Springs and travels roughly north-northeast about 100 miles over several mountain ranges to the terminal at Copper City. I am not planning on modeling all of the yard, roundhouse or mining area of Copper City, it will take up too much room. So what am I modeling, the station area, and only the station area at this time.

I have yet to finish a model railroad in the last several attempts, they were just too big in scope and amount of time to build. Copper City is going to be my first ever attempt at On3. Why On3, well not because I have a ton of On3 equipment. However I do have the central item to my railroad, a station, plenty of ties, rail, spikes and an engine or two. Passenger cars are indeed missing at this time. Fear not, part of the fun of building “Copper City Station” is to build the passenger cars I want. To learn about how passenger cars were built in the early 20th century and stayed in use until the 1940s and 1950s!

Why the change yet again? Excellent question. While working on my 12″=1ft outdoor projects this summer, found time to read some blogs about model railroading late in the evening. Helped keep my mind off of scratching my poison ivy! Mike Cougill’s blog has been a very thought-provoking series of posts. Highly recommend reading his posts.Trevor Marshall’s journey of building the CN’s Port Rowan branch in S scale has been a great glimpse into a simple model to operate as well as build. More recently, through a link in Trevor’s blog, had a chance to read Lance Mindheim’s blog. Lance’s September 30th post, “How to play with trains” was very interesting and finally got me started on designing a small, functioning model railroad that is the C&RGS’s Copper City passenger station and freight house.

I sat down and worked on  an operating session based on the time that I had to actually operate a model railroad. Have always like the D&RGW’s Chili line mixed and envisioned a similar mixed train on my Copper City branch line. Why it would be nice to leave from Navajo Springs, climb over two mountain ranges, cross numerous trestles, and go through a loop to gain elevation, there is not the space or the time to build such a layout. What I have time for though is to have the mixed arrive at Copper City station, uncouple the engine and freight cars (if any) and place the freight cars into a fiddle yard. If there is a car or two for the fright house or team track to switch them. It takes time to switch cars! The next operating session will be the opposite. Switching the order of the RPO/ baggage and coach, then backing the engine and freight cars (once again if any) to the station, coupling up and waiting for departure time (and pumping up air) then departing. Does not sound like much, but based on the time I have right now for model railroading, it is probably all the time I have. My Sn3 version of the Copper City branch will have to wait until the children are older, my basement and its model railroad room are complete, and more time is available for modeling.

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