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Once Upon a Time.... in the West

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This thread contains the deranged thoughts of three blokes from the UK who decided to build a HO layout based on ATSF practice around 1919 in New Mexico.

 

The layout is called "Once Upon a Time....In the West".

post-6675-0-52360900-1297091316_thumb.jpg

 

'Old Gringo' is the brains behind the project which will both be his private home layout (in roundy roundy form) and exhibitable in a longer format. He's ably assisted by two friends that together have built 'Treneglos' and 'Diesels in the Duchy'.

 

Many thanks to all the folk, particularly those from over 'the pond', that have provided information to help us in the pages that follow.

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Hi Chris,

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Good one! You've got me hooked already as it's quite rare to see earlier US layouts!

Cheers,

John E.

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Well we do like to do 'different' :D

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Teaser !! https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_shok.gif

 

Watch this space - Old Gringo will be adding text, photos and his wandering thoughts in this thread showing how he's building his dream layout (with a little bit of help and geeing along from his friends).

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_unsure.png

 

Ah so you will be modeling the USRA (the US railroads were nationalized into the USRA between 1918 and 1920).

 

Interesting period. Good news is Westerfield makes all sort of models specifically for your era, bad news is they will stop taking orders in March. Steel underframe cars, a some steel boxcars, steel hoppers, some truss rod cars, the 40 ft car is now the defacto standard. The big power is all brand new (4-8-2's and 2-10-2's being the big dogs). Two companies make Caswell gons, which is the general purpose gon and hopper for the ATSF in that era.

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And i think it's fair to say John has a fair amont of stock.... Do you have a photo of your loco handy Damian? Have we memtioned it will be DCC?

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Oih - Owd Gringo.

 

Really enjoyed the modelling session yesterday, i think its coming on well and we now have something interesting for our 'demo gig' at Stafford in 3 weeks time.

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Brilliant thread title! One of my all time favourite films so grabbed my attention!

 

I hope that you keep that as the name of the layoyt when it is up and running. Rather like "Gresley Beat" or "Half term at Ditchling Green" it is a very evocative name for a layout!

 

Will we be seeing scale figures of Messrs Fonda, Bronson and Robards plus the delightful Claudia Cardinale?

 

Some of those early American 4-4-0 and 4-6-0 types really do have a lot of character and the buildings and scenic side cry out "model me!!!!" but models seem to be rare. Very best of luck with the project and I look forward to following your progress.

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All this hassle: This really is - "no country for old men"!

Well, just imagine that the late Martin Fitzmorris might have said this at the Lakeside, "Are . . . You . . . Ready?   Then . .  Let's play trains!?!"

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Why build a U.S. railroad, aren't there enough U.K. subjects to model?

 

Lots of fantasy stories and even a few films begin with the words “ Once upon a time“ so why not use it for a model railway too? After all, most modellers are trying to recreate there own slice of a miniature world, through which to run their favourite trains.

 

This story begins late on a Saturday evening, after operating our layout ˜Treneglos' at a model railway exhibition. In a seedy bar (and over the years we've seen quite a few), a grizzled old man sets down a tray of beers. Spirits were high, the day had gone well and we amused ourselves discussing trains of course, and modelling stuff and nonsense.

 

Now it's a fact that I like Western films and on this particular night, the banter became skewed towards, how many of these films had railroad sequences in them? And then, somebody said, "what if?"

 

What if a selection of scenes from some of your favourite Western films could be incorporated into a model railroad project? The objective would be to create a working diorama of U.S. operations under the banner heading of, "Once upon a time in the West", but setting the scene around the turn of the 19th/20th century? For a short while much laughter ensued as we pushed this concept way too far.

 

However, to use the latest layout terminology, the most desirable design elements we wanted were a wooden station and a small yard with a characteristic water tower and windmill. The station should be close to a 'down-at-heel' small town and set in a dry, semi-desert landscape. Not far away a ubiquitous timber trestle viaduct crosses a rocky canyon. Occasionally, the daily mixed trundles in from the short-line, or a string of hoppers appear from a nearby mine. Well, there was the challenge: A whole heap of 'wild west' atmosphere to capture and then cram into a small European-size space!

 

Fifty years ago, this type of layout might well have been as common in the U.S.A. in HO scale, as the Great Western branch line terminus was in the U.K. But, nowadays you don't see as many layouts featuring the time period of the rapidly developing railway networks of North America and very few of them are on this side of the Atlantic. So that's how the project began, or did it?

 

The old man drained his glass and wiped the drops of froth from his white moustache and looked across at his two younger colleagues. Both were fast asleep, which happens a lot when you begin any story with "Once upon a time". . . . . . !

 

More next time on what and when?

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HHHHhhooowwwwdddeeeeeeee purtnuhs!

 

No idea how you are going to fit a Cornish traffic car into this one, perhaps the local sherrifs 'oss will have to do!:D

 

We had a guy on traffic who shall remain nameless but took the p out of me visiting St Blazey, Par Docks, numerous signal boxes etc buuuuuut his hobby..........

 

'The Wild West'!!!

 

Theres even a re-enactment group here! (he claims not to have been a member!).

 

Of course he was immeadiately nick named Clint Stumpwood!

 

Looking forward to the next instalment (its a bit like rawhide!):D

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HHHHhhooowwwwdddeeeeeeee purtnuhs!

 

No idea how you are going to fit a Cornish traffic car into this one, perhaps the local sherrifs 'oss will have to do!https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_grin.gif

 

We had a guy on traffic who shall remain nameless but took the p out of me visiting St Blazey, Par Docks, numerous signal boxes etc buuuuuut his hobby..........

 

'The Wild West'!!!

 

Theres even a re-enactment group here! (he claims not to have been a member!).

 

Of course he was immeadiately nick named Clint Stumpwood!

 

Looking forward to the next instalment (its a bit like rawhide!)https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_grin.gif

 

"

" :lol: .... Does Blazing Saddles count as a western? Would you get away with the cameo of the German soldiers sitting round the camp fire singing with German seductress-for-hire Lili von Shtupp? :O

 

Don't mention re-enactment groups John might revisit his idea of 'exhibiting in themed costumes'. We've always joked that the layout should be operated from the front with John suitably attired, sitting in a rocking chair on a raised deck, slowly rocking to- and-fro, shot gun over lap and spittoon by his side. We think you could embed a DCC controller into the stock of the shotgun.... Now that would be different.

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Now then, if

doesn't sum up the project, I don't know what does! (Needs sound)
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Glad to see "Blackrat" is looking forward to the next episode. I suppose that means I'd better write one!

 

Seriously though, thanks to John E. (Allegheny 1600) and "t-b-g" for the good wishes, we're probably going to need them all.

 

And many thanks to Dave-1905 from the U.S.A. for the information contained in his note. In fact, apologies for not replying sooner. As you'll see in future posts regarding what, when, where and how this project has struggled to make it into a big pile of lumber, it's been a great big learning curve. And I'm still looking and learning about U.S. railroad practice between 1900 and 1919.

 

Thanks again to all.

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That is simply a link to a particular site suggesting a module or diorama featuring the making of a "Western" Movie - I was also going to suggest a look at Harold Minkwitz's Pacific Coast Air Line Railway site for suggestions and ideas about modelling the era and scenery etc, but it seems to have gone missing from the web.

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Thatbis simply a link to a particular site suggestinga modle of diorama featuring the making of a "Western" Movie - I was also going to suggest a look at Harold Minkwitz's Pacific Coast Air Line Railway site for suggestions and ideas about modelling The era and scenery etc, but it seems to have gone missing from the web.

 

Hi. I think John's concept is to model the period (1919) and prototype (ATSF New Mexco) as accurately as the available information allows. Like Treneglos and Diesels in the Duchy the layout won't be an exact replica but there will be essence of the station at Whitewater. We all love the Western movies, so there could be a few references in the finished layout but rest assured they will be very, very subtle, not a Sergio Leone theme park! Anyway all this will come clear as John posts more details (in his own good time....).

 

Something we're up against is distance. We normally do many site visits to our chosen area but in this case someone has put a lump of water and most of America in the way. So we're having to rely on books, photos and web for source info. The other issue is that this part of NM is big, empty and sparsely populated. As a result it appears there's very few photos of the area, not much in books and it appears not a great deal on the web. Small things like the colour of the local rock isn't easy to establish.

 

Generally if anyone has any info sources they know of then let us know. Much appreciated.

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Have you had a dig around your chosen area on Bing and Google maps? Rural area's do tend to be less well covered but you may just find a "google streetview" on a main road or interstate if there is one in the vicinity - that might give you a little bit of feel for the look?

 

Will be watching your progress with interest. B)

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Just in case you need them Todd Clark(Owner of TrainOrders,com) son, Mason, is making Joshua Trees (strange looking vegetation) and may still be selling them - if you need a message getting there, I can ask

Edit - this post contains a link to his sons site and a photo of the product

http://www.trainorde...884#msg-2226884 - if you can't see the photo I can email it to you

and here

http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?3,2201452,2201706#msg-2201706

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Have you had a dig around your chosen area on Bing and Google maps? Rural area's do tend to be less well covered but you may just find a "google streetview" on a main road or interstate if there is one in the vicinity - that might give you a little bit of feel for the look?

 

Will be watching your progress with interest. B)

 

Oh yes, spent a fair while on Google Earth, Streetview etc. I've also been on holiday brochure sites, tourist info etc. The closest 'Streetviewed' highway is still some distance from the Whitewater line. It's also difficult to know when (time of year) the Streetview car took the footage and whether it's appropriate representation of our scene. In some of the shots the sky is very dark with heavy rain clouds and the road is wet.

 

Initial thoughts were that there was far more scrub and ground cover in the photos than we expected. I think we all had a mental picture of wide expanses of sand and cactii :lol:

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Just in case you need them Todd Clark(Owner of TrainOrders,com) son, Mason, is making Joshua Trees (strange looking vegetation) and may still be selling them - if you need a message getting there, I can ask

Edit - this post contains a link to his sons site and a photo of the product

http://www.trainorde...884#msg-2226884 - if you can't see the photo I can email it to you

and here

http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?3,2201452,2201706#msg-2201706

 

Very nice - thanks Jack.

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No Problem Chris - if I can help further let me know

Jack

 

Thanks Jack - I suspect that we'll be asking a fair few questions as this project progresses!

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