Logs Ho!

The need for lumber seems to be picking up in Eureka. Must mean more construction is in the offing as winter approaches. In fact, business is so good up at the Lincoln Lumber Company sawmill at South Pass, that the firm had to add another log carrier to its inventory. It leased a Central Pacific gondola to carry more logs.

And here is the bigger picture. The original CP log flat operated by Lincoln is on the siding next to the mill while the new leased car sits on the adjacent track where the LLC’s Shay just pushed it.

The sawmill crew is going to be awfully busy in the coming days. (And they better fix the cabling on the steam log derrick pronto!)

Lincoln Lumber Co. Activity

The LLCo’s Shay has just pulled into the sawmill spur pushing a tiny boxcar of supplies. While we’re fairly sure these include some needed parts for the mill, there may also be some food, staples and other supplies requested by the women who live up in South Pass and tend to the cooking and washing needs of the male workers.

Of course, everyone up at the mill is preparing for winter, uncertain of what calamities might befall South Pass at its higher elevation. The track up here has been closed in the past due to heavy snowfalls. And the Eureka and South Pass RR has yet to rehabilitate its snow plow.

The maintenance of way (MoW) cars are still parked up by the sawmill. But it seems their work is finished. Not really sure what they were doing.

But the MoW team may be hoping the Shay will hitch up and pull them back down to Eureka. One of the E&SP crew is there in the wheel and tie car waving to get the attention of the engineer, probably shouting “Don’t forget about us.”

Leaves are already falling in abundance. Colder weather is looming. Must be time for some new modeling!

I Had To Do It

When I received notice of my MMR recognition, I was invited to order a shirt available to those who join the exalted ranks of Master Model Railroaders.

I checked with a few of my colleagues who told me they had gotten them, so I figured I might as well order one.

It’s arrived. Nice looking shirt. Guess I can wear it to meets and clinics and conventions. Or maybe even our Zoom Board meetings.

I’ll let you know the first time I wear it.

Brunswick MD: Railroad Town on the Potomac

What a great town! I mean the school sports team is nicknamed “the Railroaders.” Brunswick was once home to the largest railroad yard owned by a single operator, in this case the Baltimore and Ohio. It was massive, with an east yard and a west yard and a massive roundhouse and huge coal tipple.

Alas it’s a mere shadow of its former self but the history is well preserved in the town’s Heritage Museum, which is also the Brunswick Railroad Museum (open Saturdays and Sundays only).

There’s a massive HO model layout on the third floor that depicts the lines running from Union Station in downtown Washington DC all the way to Brunswick. And the modelers have duplicated the original yard plan in Brunswick.

The model railroad floor was not actually open when we visited, but a very kind associate of the Heritage portion took us up via elevator so we could peek in for a quick look. Wow!

On the second floor is the historical display of Brunswick. Lots of old photos of railroad workers and their equipment.

And a great union relic.

And there was a wonderful painting by Carl Butler depicting African-American rail workers.

The museum is free to enter but donations are always welcome. On the ground floor there is a room of photos charting not just Brunswick’s rail history but also travel by boat on the nearby Chesapeake and Ohio canal.

On our way back home to Rockville, we stopped at the Monocacy Aqueduct, a “water bridge” that carried canal boats over and above the Monocacy River as the C&O canal wound alongside the nearby Potomac River. An extraordinary engineering feat that left us wondering how they got water up to the aqueduct.

Here’s a photo of Pat standing in the aqueduct where water once flowed, looking at the original plaque honoring the engineering team. The river is a good 25 feet below.

Both stops well worth it.

Mines #1 and #2: Open or Shut?

Eureka Gazette, Sept. 9, 1898–The original mines near Parker’s Peak were closed several years ago when the current shaft was opened into the Peak itself. The old shafts, Mine #1 and Mine #2 (seen below), were believed to be played out of extractable ore, boarded up and abandoned.

But lately persons have been seen entering these closed mines and removing materials of an unknown nature. While it is not known who is involved in this apparently clandestine operation, a Gazette photographer was recently able to capture an image of an ore wagon emerging from the pit area near these old mines. The wagon was full of rocky material.

The driver was accosted and asked to identify himself but refused to cooperate and kept moving across the tracks. The wagon was later spotted leaving the Eureka area.

The Gazette spoke to Mr. Brian Parker, owner of the Parker’s Peak Mining Company. He said there was no mystery about the activity. He said the mine had contracted with a haulage company to remove waste materials from the pit, not from the abandoned mines. These materials were being dumped outside of Eureka.

As to suspicious activity in the old mine shafts, Mr. Parker said that from time to time his company sent an engineer into #1 and #2 for safety inspections.

“There’s nothing nefarious going on,” he said. “No bodies are being dumped, no bandits are stashing loot, nothing like that at all.”

He said these inspectors would pick up the odd rock or two of unusual appearance and bring them to his office to see if they might be of any value.

“So far nothing they’ve brought to me amounted to anything, but you never know. There might be a nugget or two, or maybe a shift in the earth might reveal a new seam we didn’t detect.”

These shafts might be abandoned, but Mr. Parker said “We never abandon hope of finding good, profitable ore.”

Running Trains

I took some time today between various chores to actually run some trains. I don’t have enough track to really have “operations” in the traditional modeling sense. But I do like to occasionally shift locomotives and cars around.

So today I sent the Climax up to the Flack Mine spur to offload some newly-arrived goods for Adam’s Miner’s Supplies. Not sure who needs water.

Over in the Eureka town yard, my “Jupiter” 4-4-0 delivered some needed railroad material for use at the inspection pit and the Repair-In-Place building. Not sure why they need an armed guard on the ramp (on the right).

While that was all going on, the daily passenger run from Eureka to Carson City was under way, passing by the shepherd with his flock grazing down by Calum Creek. I believe they had about a dozen passengers today.

A fairly typical day on the Eureka and South Pass Railroad.


I just realized it has been over a week since I last posted. Sorry about that. It’s just that I haven’t been doing any modeling.

But just because I have been idle on the modeling front doesn’t mean activity has declined on the Eureka and South Pass. The following photo is proof that crews have been hard at work up at the Lincoln Lumber Company — both at the sawmill and the railroad that serves it.

(Looks like a cable problem with the log hoist and maybe something with the hoist motor as that one worker seems to be fiddling with the gears.)

Kids and Birthdays and Layouts

So one son shot video of my layout. The other let me us his 3D printers to make rolling stock. And my daughter (who has threatened to put me to work in the cellar like a Christmas elf making miniatures) is a stellar artist who never, never fails to amaze me with her work, especially on my birthday.

This is the latest. “Pops” is what the grandkids call me. The dog is my daughter’s lovely rescue named “Stitch.”

We celebrated up in the Poconos. All members of the family were there for various times. It was wonderful.

Katie, our daughter, like other family members, is included in the Eureka and South Pass layout. She’s the town schoolteacher.

That’s her on the left up in the village of South Pass talking to our daughter in law Kelly who is holding baby Wilder (who has a wagon works named after him that’s not yet on the layout).

Integrate family into your layout and your layout story. They’ll love you even more.