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Summer 1971 - Page 46


The multiple levels of a typical "open pit" copper mine make excellent scenery for Jim Shiff's N scale model railroad. This layout is constructed from one-inch thick sheets of Ure thane foam plastic.

Shiff modified an A tlas industrial switcher for use in his "open pit" mine. The hood end of the diesel was replaced with a shorter one glued together from sheets of Plastruct plas tic with a piece of brass tube for the exhaust stack and another for the horizontal air tank. The locomo tive is painted in SoP. R. R. grey and red with W althers-brand HO scale freigh t car decals for the lettering. A ll photos by Jim Shiff.
l em t hat faces m a n y potential model railroad b uilders. J i m d ecided to con centrat e his m o d el railroad o n t he "open p it " mines he had worked in d uring his pre-college days near Morenci and Ray , Arizona. These mines are really giants'; measuring in m iles rat her t ha n yards a cross their o p e n mouths. Phelps Dodge Corp . and K ennecott Co p per have d ug millions of cubic yards o f cop p er-bearing ore fro m these p it s . J i m chose N sca le for
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h is new model railroad to provide as much operation as possible in a four by five foot area. One-inch thick lay ers of Urethane foam (similar to that used by florists to hold flower gro upings) were cut and glued together to form t he staggered walls o f the t y pical "open pit" copper mine. Trix and K e mtron flexible track were then spiked in place wit h a loop around the "ground level" up per edge of the "pit " a nd a series of switchbacks working

t heir way down into the bot t o m level in the center of the "pit . " Gro uting pigment was br).lshed over the Ure thane foam to simula t e the rough t exture of the earth and rocks around the mine cuttings. J i m used his k now ledge of t he giant mining equip m e nt to duplicate the P&Hbra n d "Fire Hole Driller" (for d rilling holes for dyna mite charges), a "Walking D ragline" cra ne that drags a dump truck size bucket along the surface to scra pe up

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