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August 2002 - Page 34


CREECH
BROTHERS Logging Company
by Michael Bama Harman
Model Photos by Miles & Fran Hale
train set down on an old chunk of plywood at age 10. From the outset, it has been a learning tool for me, a test bed for newly learned skills, and has presented the trials and tribulations of making trains go around the room without derailing. Of the lessons learned in its construction, those mistakes that proved too difficult to correct have been duly noted for my next layout. My immediate plans are to remove over 90% of the existing railroad and replace it with a trackplan more suitable for switching operations. The new multilevel layout will retain the ability for continuous running as well. The current layouts frame construction is extremely heavy. I used 4x4 posts with 2x4 surround framing. Cross table supports are fashioned from 1x4s. The table surface was constructed using what-

Turning

sticks to stumps on a freelance logging railroad.
ever methods seemed suitable at the time. The lake area is built up (down) cookiecutter style, with layers of 3/4" and 1/2" highpressure particleboard. I used Woodland Scenics Styrofoam ramps to access each change in elevation. The mountain was built by stacking 2" foam blocks, then covering the shaped mass with plaster cloth. Most of the horizontal strata was created by stacking chunks of broken acoustical ceiling tile in random patterns, then painting with flat latex basecoats before staining with washes of natural colored paints. There are a few small rock castings in the gorge, but I wasnt too pleased with the results. At the time, all I had available was the commercial molds for small pieces. I would rather have constructed the gorge walls in two or three castings. The rockwork behind the trestle was accomplished by simply plastering the gorge wall using crumpled aluminum foil as a mold. The semi-hidden wall didnt need the high detail of a quality

E

arly logging railroads had some features making them ideal for the modeler. The equipment was well designed to operate over rough terrain, poorly laid rail and in notoriously limited spaces. In fact, some locomotives and cars were designed to run on the very logs they hauled to the mills, instead of the steel rails we are used to seeing on todays railroads. The brutal effects of a load, commonly as much as five times the weight and mass of the car being used to haul it, required extremely durable rail car design and construction. Delicate looking skeleton rigs, converted flatcars and disconnected log buggies offer scratchbuilders a natural outlet for their detailing talents. The temporary nature of a prototypical logging rail line is perfect for the modeler wanting to portray a freelance operation, yet remain true to the feel and flavor of the period being modeled. Surprisingly, when you stop and think about it, a truly successful logging operation requires only a few trees. Youll find youll need a lot of stumps, though!

Freelancing a Prototype

My Creech Brothers Logging and Mining Railroad is a fictitious shortline set in the logging region of Oregon in the early 30s. The name was taken from a wonderful old photograph of a Class-B Climax shoving a loaded flat across a deep ravine on a felled log bridge. The photograph had a small handscrawled caption indicating the operation as the Creech Bros. Logging Co. in 1910 (see Photo 3). Alhough the Creech name was common in the lumber/logging industry in the last century all around the country, little information is currently available about this firm. It is perfect for my very own railroad. I began construction on this layout in April of 2001. Its my first attempt at model railroading since I nailed that old electric

1

Construction

Ashley Coal Company was built from a Builders In Scale craftsman kit. I modified the hoist and shaft houses to accommodate an animated cable system to drive the sheaves. The structure is also fully illuminated.

34 MODEL RAILROADING

AUGUST 2002

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