The Logan Valley

montanan Apr 1, 2013

  1. montanan

    montanan TrainBoard Member

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    Paul suggested that I start a thread on my railroad. This could take a while, and will probably be in installments. Here's chapter one.

    I was originally working in N scale. I had a fairly large layout with about 16 scale miles of main line, but in the 70's, a majority of the locomotives of the day were very poor performers, not like they are today. I also had a hard time finding any locomotives for either the Northern Pacific or the Milwaukee Road back then. Very frustrating. A change was needed so the N scale was torn out and a new start in HO scale was started.

    I had a very good friend who was also in HO scale and we ended up deciding on a railroad theme set right here in southwest Montana set in 1957. We both enjoyed the steam to diesel transition era. My friend had a large building, while I was limited to a spacke of about 24 feet by 16 feet. After much debating, we came up with our plan. My friend, Robin, had a railroad, the Gallatin Canyon and Western, which (in our twisted theory) was partially owned by the Northern Pacific. This railroad ran from Gallatin Gateway, MT (Gallatin Junction) south to West Yellowstone, MT, where it connected with the Union Pacific.

    My railroad, the Logan Valley, is a short line/bridge line, connecting to the Northern Pacific at Logan, MT and running south to Gallatin Gateway where it connected with both the Milwaukee Road and the Gallatin Canyon and Western. (bored yet) The Logan Valley also serves a few small towns enroute. A railroad needs a reason to exist, so I chose the industries so they tie together to generate rail traffic. Leaving Gallatin Junction, I have three grain elevators, with a flour mill at Logan (never had one, but could have). There are also cattle pens in a couple of towns that would transport cattle to a packing house in Gallatin Gateway. More rail traffic generated. I have a small logging branch that would bring timber to Gallatin Gateways lumber mill. (there was one here). In my new expansion area, there will be a furniture factory using some of the lumber, plus there is a lumber retailer in one of the towns. More local rail traffic. Potatoes are also a big crop in out area, so there is a loading dock for bulk potatoes going to a packing house in the new expansion.

    Keeping the railroad busy with these local runs generates additional traffic in addition to the connections with the GC&W, Northern Pacific and Milwaukee Road. (could have happened).

    I enjoy custom Painting and detailing locomotives, so I came up with a paint scheme for the Logan Valley to give it a family look. the pictures are below. Unfortunately, Robin passed away before we complete his railroad, but I did custom paint a number of locomotives and freight cars for his railroad. I'll take a few pictures and post them. In my twisted history, the Logan Valley took over the GC&W and now runs the route. This is done by having hidden staging tracks.

    The Logan Valley is a point to point layout with a yard and engine facilities at both ends. My expansion is the town of Logan, MT. Besides being point to point, I can run trains continuously if needed by using the hidden staging tracks. The reason I have yet to finish the layout is that I guess I probably have too much on my plate. Another hobby is restoring classic cars. We also attend numerous bowling tournaments, try to attend a few NASCAR races each year and I enjoy flying private aricraft. Rail fanning is also in the mix. 24 hours days aren't long enough for me.

    Below are a few pictures of Gallatin Gateway with the engine faclities. I'll pick up with this a little later.

    IMAG0243.jpg IMAG0244.jpg IMAG0246.jpg 0020.jpg IMAG0007.jpg IMAG0006_BURST002.jpg
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Glad to see this topic!
     
  3. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

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    Gotta appreciate a man who runs Alcos!
     
  4. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Excellent thread and i love the layout it is very inspirational. keep updating this will create a lot of interest. We have similar interested i follow V8 car races here as well and i also have a classic car ( some would disagree) I have a 69 beetle and current have a new engine built.
     
  5. JNXT 7707

    JNXT 7707 TrainBoard Member

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    Beautiful - and awe-inspiring layout! OK you guys are inspiring me to get off my rear, figure out how to post pics and show off my (humble) layout....and some of my loco/rolling stock projects :rolleyes:. Be warned, I don't count many rivets but I do have fun with it.
     
  6. montanan

    montanan TrainBoard Member

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    I'll have to agree with Jerry. Reading all of these posts is what sort of lit a fire under me. I had this last section pretty well thought out over 15 years ago, but other interests intefered with the progress.

    Guess I'll start on chapter 2. Being that this is far from being a class 1 railroad, I decided to go with code 70 rail. After being in N scale, where the rail seemed way over size to me is probably one factor. Just after I fot started on the bench work which was in a 12 by 16 foot room, the land baron (my wife) let me tear down a wall which added andther space that was about 9 feet by 12 feet. The layout is sort of "L" shaped. Then came the track planning. Over the years I have visited and operated on many great layouts, including John Allens G&D while I was stationed at Mare Island on instructor duty in the Navy in the late 60's. I think he was my biggest inspiration.

    Many of the layouts I have visited had long mainlines, with track looping through a scene a number of times. In talking to the owners of these layouts, the did admit that they wished they had a little more space for industries or room to include towns of a decent size. It's not to hard in N scale, but when you move up to HO scale, real estate doesn't seem to go as far. Even though it really shortened the length of my main line, I chose as I mentioned a point to point, and the main line goes through any scene only one time. For people who like to watch long trains run, they probably wouldn't like this kind of a layout.

    I personally enjoy switching, and the problems that switching can cause. Having the mainline pass through the layout leaves me plenty of room for towns and the industries in them,. Fot the most part, the layout is a long shelf type of layout going around the walls. An inspiration for this is another Montana modeler, the late Pete Ellis. He had a very large HO scale layout at his ranch in Cascade, MT, just outside of Great Falls. He had a fairly good size quanset hut at his ranch, and it was all model railroad. Years back he was very well known to a lot of model railroaders during the 70's and 80's. He too was inspired by John Allens railroad, and would have given Johns layout a run for the money. I have some video of Pete's layout I would love to post if I could figure out how to get it from a camcorder to my computer. The detail was amazing on his layout. The turntable I have the picture of in the initial post came from Pete. He ran out of room, so he tore out a town and added another building on to the quanset hut and made a hugh expansion. The turntable which was in that town was scratchbuilt from brass, and powered by of all things, a player piano motor. I believe Box Car has met Pete. He had been down to my layout a few times and being that I was using code 70 like he was, the turntable was donated. (much appreciated). You sure can learn a lot from the old time modelers. They didn't have any of the items that are now available to us today, and just invented what they needed to get the job done. Wait a minute, I think I may have turned into an old timers! Guess that is what this forum can do also.

    Now comes the power. I started my layout long before DCC was even thoought of so I guess I am still operating in the stone ages using DC. I had thought about changing to DCC, but I am a lone operator. In my are there is are very few people into model railroading. The few that are, are interested are into N scale. I am very happy with DC. At one time I did have a PFM system for sound, but I did finally drop it because trying to find the parts need to convert locomotives were just getting too hard to find. I am using a GML hand held throttle that has momentum and has memory, so the trains will continue to run when I unplug the handset and move it to another location. I like this system because it has a nice fat plug that is easy for plug into the stereo jacks, It only rwquires three wires and expansion jacks are so easy to add. These are great throttles for those who choose DC. Only took a few minutes to change over to them. I have heard of problems sometimes occurring with hand laid switches. A few of my model railroad friends have come across these problems. Instead of spending the money on DCC power supplies and controllers, and than having to convery well over 30 locomotives, I'll stay with DC. Many of my locomotives have no room in them, such as my old Atlas Alcos. I would have to start carving away the weights to make room for the decoders on most of them. I would rather spend that time building and operating my layout.

    Now that I have probably bore many of you to death, I'll leave it here for now and continue another time. and hopefully come up with a few more pictures for chapter 3.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 2, 2013
  7. montanan

    montanan TrainBoard Member

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    I grew up with relatives working on both the Northern Pacific and the Milwaukee Road and didn't see any Alcos out here in Montana. There just something about the looks of Alcos that I like. Being that I'm freelancing, I can do whatever I want. Nobody can say it ain't so.
     
  8. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

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    Not a thing wrong with that at all...... on one of my last model railroads, I had a small fleet of 4 RS3, an S2, an S4 and an RS1 for motive power. I'm also a convert from DC to DCC, but have not tossed out my tried-but-true MRC power packs just yet. As one of our Tulsa-area modelers describes himself, he's "digitally challenged". And there's nothing wrong with that a-tall.

    Keep them updates comin'!

    PS Paul- when my wife and I first started dating, she owned a VW Beetle with a bad muffler, and she loved that car. I showed her the pics of your car on Facebook, and she was blown away, she liked it so much.
     
  9. montanan

    montanan TrainBoard Member

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    Electronics don't bother me in the least. I have been a ham radio operator since I was 12, building a lot of my equipment and worked on the fire control radars and computers in the Navy. With so many other hobbies and interests, I really don't want to take the time and spend the money to upgrade to DCC. I am the only one operating on my layout 99 percent of the time and I feel that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. In all the years I have had my layout I have had almost no electrical problems. If I had others people operating the railroad, it would be different.

    Volkswagens - When I was stationed in Florida I picked up a used dune buggy that had a VW engine which was siezed up for nothing. All I had to do was get it off the owners property. The body was like new, but after taking the VW engine apart, I found out it was toast. In looking for a VW engine (in the late 60's) I found that they were a dime a dozen back them. I worked on them a lot back then, but a friend had a motor I couldn't resist. It was a turbo charged engine out of a wrecked Corvair. That was one fast dune buggy.
     
  10. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Actually there were some NP ALCo units out west, including some working on the Rocky Mountains. I am recalling the RS11 for one.
     
  11. montanan

    montanan TrainBoard Member

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    I do know that they had Alcos working in Washington, but I never saw one here in Montana when I was riding with my relatives. Guess you have to be at the right place at the right time. I didn't travel as far on the NP (except riding the North Coas Limited) as I did on the Milwaukee Road. With the NP Laurel was as far east as I went and Missoula to the west. At 10 I was well versed in naming the different locomotives. On the Milwaukee Road I did manage to cover the entire electrified division from Harlowtown, MT to Avery, ID. L liked both roads, but the Milwaukee was my favorite.
     
  12. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Here I am on my commute to the city and smiling as I read this thread. I too love the idea of a switching type operation.

    Yes everyone loves beetles some of us also love bleeding our wallets on them lol.

    Ok back to the layout more pics please
     
  13. montanan

    montanan TrainBoard Member

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    The Colnel wanted more pictures. Here are some poctures of some of the equipment I have custom painted for the Gallatin Canyon & Western. Being that it was partially owned by the Northern Pacific, Robin had some custom decals made. The Monad was reversed in his herald on purpose. IMAG0256.jpg IMAG0257.jpg IMAG0259.jpg IMAG0260.jpg IMAG0261.jpg IMAG0262.jpg

    Here are just a sample of the cars that I painted for the Logan Valley. All of these freight cars started off as undecorated kits as well as the GC&W. I lightly weather almost everything that goes on the tracks. I wasn't as fortunate to have custom decals. Freight car data decals were added to the LV equipment and the LV lettering was done letter by letter. Most of these were done almost 20 years ago.

    IMAG0263.jpg IMAG0264.jpg IMAG0265.jpg IMAG0269.jpg
     
  14. montanan

    montanan TrainBoard Member

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    Some more cars. For some reason I couldn't add any more pictures to the previous post.

    IMAG0266.jpg IMAG0267.jpg If the second caboose look familiar to some, the Logan Valley did buy one from the Great Northern and repainted it. These are both wood kits.
     
  15. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    The software limits how many per post.
     
  16. Alan

    Alan Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Fascinating stories and pictures. Here I am in bed supposed to be reading my e-book but have been on Trainboard for ages! At least I have a Jack Daniels by my side ;)

    Loving the upsurge in HO posts :)

    Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 2
     
  17. montanan

    montanan TrainBoard Member

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    There's nothing wrong with Jack Daniels. I am getting ready to start supper and pour some myself.
     
  18. Alan

    Alan Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have a variety of 'nightcaps' beside the bed whilst reading/browsing. Last night it was JD, tonight.......?
     
  19. montanan

    montanan TrainBoard Member

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    Chapter 3

    The pictures of rolling stock don't qualify as a chapter, maybe a subparagraph. Here are some more pictures of one end of the Logan Valley, in Gallatin Gateway, or Gallatin Junction. Some pictures you may have seen before, but here goes. The yard and engine facilities are the main part of this town.

    IMAG0007.jpg IMAG0006_BURST002.jpg IMAG0270.jpg IMAG0271.jpg IMAG0051.jpg
    Here's the turntable again in the first pic. The next is the top of the ice platform followed by the yard tower and tofc unloading and the other side of the ice platform. The fourth is the meat packing plant. A couple of towns have a small stock year which help prodide cattle for the plant. The last one above is the cafe and school to the left and post office to the right. The train in the background passes through town and then enters a tunnel leading to a three track staging yard and allows for continuous running.

    IMAG0236_BURST002.jpg IMAG0197.jpg IMAG0237_BURST002.jpg IMAG0118_BURST002.jpg Picture%20293[2].jpg

    Above is the local Meadowgold Dairy with the freight and passenger station in the background. Gallatin Gateway did have a cheese factory up until about 15 years ago. This building was done years ago and then Classic Metal Works recently came out with vehicles decorated for Meadowgold. Needless to say, those were "gotta haves". The second picture is a train entering Gallatin Junction crossing the Gallatin River. The fourth is the Gallatin river with "Gateway" trucking in the rear. Years ago I found a few trailers lettered for "Gateway". That was another no brainer. Had to have some of them too. A lot of small communities relied of small trucking companies to deliver goods, along with Railway Express that came in on rail and this was a good opportunity to tie things together. The last picture is a scratchbuilt building made from styrene. To the right of it is where the mainline disappears into the hidden staging tracks. A lumber mill will be going in on the upper level behind it. Again, I am trying to tie local industries together to generate freight to other towns on the layout and to points beyond. Maybe I think too much.
     
    RailMix likes this.
  20. Alan

    Alan Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wow! Wonderful images! I would love to have space (and time, and skill) to produce scenes like that. Inspirational ;)
     

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