PIKES PEAK "N" GINEERS MODEL RAILROAD CLUB
SEEKING SERIOUS N-SCALE MODEL
RAILROADING SINCE OCTOBER 13, 1989
Calendar of events for the Pikes Peak "N"Gineers 2007
October 1: Board Meeting – Howard’s Pit Barbeque – dinner at 6:30 p.m. – meeting at 7:30 p.m.
October 13: Club Anniversary Party
October 19: Business Meeting – after set up at Rock Island Roundhouse
October 20: Rock Island Days
November 5: Board Meeting – Howard’s Pit Barbeque – dinner at 6:30 p.m. – meeting at 7:30 p.m.
November 10 & 11: Great Train Expo at National Western Complex in Denver.
November 16: Business Meeting & Nominations – 7:00 pm clubroom at Rio Grande depot.
November 24: Club swap meet
December 3: Board Meeting – Howard’s Pit Barbeque – dinner at 6:30 p.m. – meeting at 7:30 p.m.
December 16: Corporate Meeting & Elections – 7:00 pm St Francis Hospital dining room on 5th floor.
Club Anniversary Party
Saturday October 13 at 6 pm at the Peck’s house. The plan is for those who wish to run trains before dinner can show up anytime after noon. For everyone else show up after 5:30 pm and we plan to eat around 6ish. The main course will be a chicken and noodle dish something similar to potpie so bring a side dish or salad, desert, or munchies for about 8 people. After dinner we will show a train movie or two from Mike’s collection. I’ve added Canadian Pacific since last year. Please let the Peck’s know if you plan to attend so they have enough chicken and noodles.
Rock Island Days
The hours for the show will be 9 am to 4 pm. Meet at the storage unit at 5 pm to load the MTL and head for the trolley barn on Steel Dr. We will be setting up in the same stall, as last year so be ready for a little extra work. The business meeting will take place right after we finish setting up.
Great Train Expo
We have been verified for the GTE (Great Train Expo) for November 10 & 11 at the National Western Complex. We will load the MTL at 12:30 pm on Friday November 9 at the storage unit. Then grab a bite to eat and head to Denver to set up.
Club Swap Meet
As of this writing we have four vendors signed up. If you know of anyone who wishes to sell some stuff let the committee know so they can be contacted. We will be putting the show flyers out to the train stores the first week of October so if anyone is going to Denver around that time contact Mike Peck so he can give you some flyers to drop off. The committee members are Mike Peck, Rick Shumpert, & Chris Dueker.
We arrived at the park in Palmer Lake around 11 am. The weather was cool and very breezy. We got the charcoal started and set about cooking burgers and dogs. Some of the clubs new members showed up and joined in the festivities of the day. The Carillo’s had a tarp so it was put up as a wind break and many sat behind it as it was the wind that was chilly. Jacob Nix and David Wilson joined us from the DANS club. Three trains went by during our stay. Despite the cool weather all had a good time. I lost my pictures so if anyone could send me a few I’ll put them in the next Railhead.
Grape Creek Day 1
The next morning, we all got up at different times, as was bound to happen. But I didn't care, as long as there was coffee to consume. We had a leisurely breakfast, then headed to Westcliffe for the first excursion around 9:30.
The Westcliffe 'Interpretive Center' opened at 10 am, and I wanted to make sure we had plenty of time before we needed to leave by 1 pm to meet Ray at the Soda Springs station on Grape Creek , way down the BLM access road.
We arrived right at 10am and the sign on the door said Closed. But, as I was reading it, a hand turned the sign around to read Open! Talk about timing! We spent some time in there looking at all the displays, maps, books, pamphlets, and brochures. Connie and I bought a shirt each, an All Aboard Westcliffe patch each, and I got three spikes from the Grape Creek Narrow Gauge line. I had already gotten a coffee cup two weeks before.
We talked a little with the Center attendant, and we learned that there was a layout in the basement of the building being built by a local railroad club! She let us go down there to see it. It is an HO layout, still mostly benchwork along the wall of one end of the basement, of the D&RG from Salida to Canyon City. It was probably 35-40 feet long. One section that looked pretty far along was of the Royal Gorge. Obviously, they had paid a lot of attention to that first, because the canyon walls looked fairly complete and even had the railroad track hanging bridge in the canyon. Track was laid on the benchwork from one end to the other, and the name Salida was labeled in pencil on the benchwork, as well as Texas Creek. In addition, there was a separate benchwork piece that was obviously to be the switchback at the start of the Texas Creek Branch. It looked like it was to be attached to the benchwork at some future time.
There was also a couple of railroad maps on the wall of the basement, even though it was apparent the whole basement was not available to the club, only one end of it.
Next door was the last standing single-stall engine house in Colorado. That's kind of a misnomer, since a photograph or two in the Center showed the engine house pretty much gone. They've restored it quite well, and are turning it into a railroad museum. The Center attendant unlocked the engine house and let us go in there to browse around. There's a lot in there that we hadn't had a chance to see before: a lantern collection, a spike collection, switch padlock collection, a number of displays (not ready yet, of course) and even a very long (20 foot?) timeline on the wall showing local history events, including a lot of the Grape Creek and Texas Creek rail line history.
When we finished there we drove over to the original passenger station, only two blocks away. It is now a private residence, and unless you know what to look for, would likely miss seeing it. We took a few photos of it and then had lunch at the Pizza Express just across the street from the old station.
The Pizza Express has a railroad theme for the decor. There were many old photographs of the Grape Creek line and Texas Creek line, and several of the huge trestle where the Texas Creek line crossed the Arkansas River after leaving the D&RG line. There's even a picture of an old steam loco on it's side next to the tracks. And there's a G-gauge train running around a loop overhead around the dining area! The front door is recessed a couple of feet from the front of the building, and a siding of the track loop goes outside(!) and back in on the other side of the door. The train ran automatically and after five or six times around the loop, it stopped in front of the passenger station for about a minute, then started the cycle again.
When we finished our lunch we drove out towards DeWeese Reservoir, seeing in some places where the old Grape Creek line roadbed still shows. We continued on past the reservoir around the east end and parked next to Grape Creek, a short ways downstream
from where it exits from the reservoir dam. We made a leisurely walk up the old rail bed to the base of the dam, looked around a bit, then walked back. It was pretty warm out and we were all perspiring, even though the railbed was quite level. Just before we left, Lester and I saw a large, long-legged bird, probably a Great Heron, fly off and perch on the top of a small cliff downstream from where we were parked.
We decided to leave, because it was getting late to meet Ray at the Soda Springs station by 2 pm. I had originally planned to have lunch back at our property, then go meet Ray, but since we had pizza at the Pizza Express, we didn't go back to the property, but headed on down the BLM access road to meet with Ray.
The road was pretty bad, but passable, and we were going v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y over quite a few places because it was so rough.
We got there about 15 minutes late but Ray had not yet arrived. However, he showed up with his wife, Mary, less than five minutes later. We walked over to a bluff overlooking the creek and the old station site across the creek. Old stone foundations could still be seen from there. After a few minutes of gazing, Lester and Ray and I followed the creek bed that we followed as we drove to the site, and after about a quarter mile, reached Grape Creek. From there we went downstream a little ways and could see the built-up embankment that was all that was left of the railbed in that spot. All along the creek, we could see debris and flattened grass showing the flow of the water. The creek must have been about three feet higher from all the rain in the recent weeks.
We returned to the gulch where we came in to Grape Creek, and continued on upstream. Here, the old roadbed was obvious, and we followed it for a couple hundred yards to where it opened up into a wider part of the valley, where signs of the roadbed disappeared and where the Soda Springs station and community was. We didn't cross the creek since we weren't prepared to, but Ray motioned with his arm and started wading across the creek with tennis shoes and walking stick. If I'd have had an extra pair of shoes with me, I'd would have followed him since I was also wearing tennis shoes. However, neither Lester nor I did, and we waited awhile for Ray to finish his exploration of the old station site.
When I saw him start to cross the creek upstream near the base of the bluff, Lester and I started back the way we came. When we turned up the gully from the Grape Creek valley, we came across Connie and Karen waiting for us. They didn't know which way we had gone and decided to wait. So we moseyed up the gully back to the parking area, where we chatted for awhile. Ray expressed an interest in going with us to the Temple Canyon Park area the following day. We agreed to meet with Ray at his store at around 10 am, and we'd drive together up to Temple Canyon Park.
We started back up the BLM access road and headed "home" to the campsite. That was it for the day for the planned excursions. We just took it easy the rest of the day and didn't do much.
|Inside Engine House
|Westcliff Depot now a private home
||Pizza Express "G" gauge train
Along the Pike
At this writing I had not down loaded all the photos Mary &I took from our recent trip to Iowa. I will add a few photos and a little prose in coming issues of the Railhead. Just to give you an idea of what we were seeing look at the following photos I did get down loaded.
These two shots are of the same train east bound east of Grand Island, NE. The UP was replacing track and ties all the way to Columbus, NE. It was the first time we traveled that portion of road and not a train was standing all were moving. Usually half are sitting waiting for orders.