I had a quite a nice surprise yesterday as I received TRS12 a full week early! However I apparently have an outdated edition and it needs a few patches. So while I work on finalizing the installation and downloading all the wonderful content I've had my eyes on for the Fiddletown & Copperopolis Ry route I thought I'd share one of my other works in progress. Given the amount of effort I've put into it I can't just start from scratch so I'm going to try and transfer and update the route to TRS12 at some point.
Anyway, this route is what I call "Carbon Canyon" and it is a freelance 30" gauge operation set somewhere in Nevada. I've had the concept for this route ever since Ben Neal released his absolutely wonderful 30" gauge equipment. This is a route that has been started and restarted time and time again, but this rendition is probably the best and closest to what I imagined in my head. As mentioned this is still a huge work in progress so there is still a lot of terrain forming that needs to be done as well as texturing and scenic elements for nearly all the route. However I've minimally textured some areas to get an idea for what I believe looks good. However for some of the screenshots an odd white texture shows up when it's not there in-game. Not sure why, but that's not how it actually looks, just thought I'd put that disclaimer out there.
Anyway, lest start the virtual 'tour' of this route at the beginning in the fictitious town of Galena, NV. Now some of you may know that there were in fact two towns called Galena in Nevada at one point in time. However THIS Galena is not either of those towns, but more of a reference to the state. That and I just really liked the name. In any case here is where the narrow gauge railroad begins and interchanges with a standard gauge line. Inspiration was loosely inspired by the interchange used by the Nevada Central with the Central/Southern Pacific lines. Here are a pair of screen shots showing Galena with the interchange and engine facilities.
The main line curves away and a good portion of the line is pretty flat with only gently rolling hills and distant mountains. The line also crosses over a river and a stream on its way to the next prominent location on the Railroad.
The next part of the line is the siding at Baxter. Baxter is also a helper station with a coaling platform, water tank, engine house and turntable. Not to mention the telegraph office. Not far out of Baxter is where the grade starts to climb up towards the summit of the line with a fairly gentle 1-1.5% grade. But here are a pair of shots of Baxter. Once I get things situated with TRS12 and transfer the route into it I'll update some of the structures here.
Leaving Baxter the line then proceeds into one of the first scenic highlights of the route, Castle Gates. So named due to the rock outcroppings and mesas to either side of the ROW. I still need to do a bit of terrain work here, but I hope this at least give an impression of what it will be.
Just past the curve and out of sight in the above photo is an industrial spur that leads to a mine and an ore bit. The ore bin is served by another mine which oddly enough operates with standard gauge track and uses a small vertical boiler loco to move a pair or ore jimmies from the bin to the mine. I don't have any shots of industries at the end of the spur, but I'll post some in a later response once I have them. The spur itself is fairly steep at between 3 and 3.5%. The spur is operated by its own 2-4-2T switching locomotive and shares the facilities at Baxter for fuel, water, and general maintenance.
Up next is another scenic highlight and the first engineering challenge of the railroad, Corkscrew Gulch. This area was inspired by the five loops used by a 3ft gauge railroad in Arizona known as the Morenci Southern Ry. The loops also lead to the line's eventual slogan the Corkscrew to America. However in this case the line only uses one loop to gain elevation in this manner. So here are a pair of shots of Corkscrew Gulch.
The line then plunges into a tunnel just out of sight behind the upper curve. Curves are sharp here and the grade is steep and maxes out at around 4% in order to reach the summit of the line. And here is the summit, and rather unoriginally named "Summit". For now it's a placeholder for when or if I can think of a better name.
Summit is a rather lonely, desolate place with the telegraph office doubling as living quarters for the agent stationed here for weeks at a time. There is a siding to allow for passing as well as a coaling platform and water tank to refresh the locomotives that just battled the steep grades and sharp curves to reach this point on the railroad. If a helper engine was used it would then descend the grade back to Baxter. Recently I decided to add a siding at the bottom of the grade on the opposite side of the mountain for helpers on trains coming from the other direction.
But then the train would descend the grade, also 4% and steadily leveling out. Passing through Tunnel #1 (no shots yet) and crossing a few bridges. When the train reaches the base of the mountains the line winds its way through a small river canyon known as The Narrows.
After passing through the narrows the line reaches one of the focal points of the railroad and the route's namesake, the Carbon Canyon. Carbon Canyon is a deep river canyon with steep side walls and rock outcroppings. (Or will be when finished) A riverboat will paddle its way through the canyon and along the Carbon River. However the Railroad needed to cross the canyon and built a high viaduct over it so that the river boat could still navigate below the bridge.
After crossing the high bridge the track clings tightly to the steep canyon wall and passes through a series of strange vertical rock formations. Some railroaders operating the line call them phantoms, but most like to think of them as Guardians. Eternally keeping watch over the canyon and all the pass through it. Obviously clearance is a bit of an issue so there are strict speed restrictions here.
After passing the guardians the line crosses a deep gulch and then plunges into Tunnel #2.
After the train exits Tunnel #2 the canyon widens a bit on one side and allows for the railroad to make a broad loop to descend to the lower level of the canyon and parallel the river. The grade again reaches 4% so it takes skill to operate the trains both up and down the line. In this view one can't see the whole loop, but can see the elevation difference. And also we get to see the strange texturing that only shows up in the screenshots.
Once the line has descended to the lower part of the canyon it passes beneath itself, as shown in one of the views of the viaduct. The line then passes through a handful of tunnels and cuttings while trundling along a reasonable grade as it makes its way to Carbon City. The "Jewel" for this route. I don't have any views of the canyon route itself yet as I don't think they're worth sharing. However I do have a small number of shots of Carbon City. It is a fairly complete town and about the only thing missing is a school house. The town has clearly defined business and residential districts and a wharf station where passengers can transfer from the train to the riverboat and vice versa. Or where the towns people can take a train to Galena and parts beyond. The primary business here is the large mill used to process ore from mines along the canyon. A series of steep track and sharp curves serve the mill with both load-in and load-out tracks. And tracks to served the boiler room by delivering coal. All this can be seen in the views below.
The third photo shows some of my humor with what could possibly be one of Burt Gummer's ancestors attempting to keep Graboids way by shooting across the river with a cannon.
The shot also shows the bulk of the business district with the residential district in the background as well as the mill. And here are some more views showing off the residential district and the Carbon City engine facility.
The engine facility is fairly basic and only supports general maintenance and refueling for trains arriving and leaving Carbon City. However a 2-Truck shay is also stationed here to work and switch the mill. One thing I overlooked while working out the placement of structures and terrain was the lack of a means to turn locomotives around. I thought about adding a turntable, but then I thought it would be an interesting operation quirk to run outbound trains in reverse.
This is still very much my "Play" route and I work on it in my spare time. It's evident where most of my focus and effort has gone in building Carbon City. But I really wanted it to look and feel like a plausible mining community. Well I hope you like what I have so far and I'll post updates on the route when I find the time. Especially with my F&C project that I want to really focus on.