Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Manitou Springs & Pike's Peak RR Loco

Once again I find that I have left a wide, yawning chasm of time since my last post.  I wish that I could come up with a good reason for not posting something sooner, but there is none.  Sorry, if you have been waiting for me to post something.

A number of years ago, I found myself in Manitou Springs, CO at the base of Pike’s Peak.  What a great little town!…beautiful, bright Colorado sunshine…the incredible Garden of the Gods located just a few miles away…what’s not to like? 

I encountered this rather strange looking little, narrow gauge locomotive sitting right there in the middle of town.  It was one of, I believe, 5 locomotives built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, PA designed to deal with the problem of how to pull tourists and materiel up the long, steep slope up Pike’s Peak. 
The Real Thing!
A normal locomotive running on standard steel rails finds itself in serious trouble if they are on a 4% grade, that is, one that rises just 4 feet for every 100 horizontal feet.  The steepest part of the track going up Pike’s Peak has a grade of 28%!  There are only 4 trains in the US that have to deal with this sort of slope and only a few more around the world, mostly in the Alps.  Many years ago someone came up with the solution to have the train “run” on standard rails but to drive a “cogged wheel”, i.e. a wheel with teeth, to “climb up” a matching set of teeth mounted between the regular wheels called a “rack”.  I don’t know about the other railroads, but  the rack used on Pike’s Peak actually has two rows of teeth to ensure that no slippage could occur.  
I did not even attempt that level of accuracy.  As it was I laboriously cut and glued many (!) tiny teeth to a strip of basswood.  To do two rows of even smaller teeth was just out of the question.
Another feature about the locomotive is that the boiler tank is mounted at an angle to the wheels so that it remains relatively level for maximum efficiency and, probably, safety as it the locomotive hits the steeper sections of the track.  If you saw the locomotive sitting on level track (like this one), you might wonder if a giant hadn’t come along, picked it up, dropped and broken it. 
I don’t really have too much to say about the model.  All I had to go on were a number of photos of a number of different, but similar, locomotives.  I discovered that many measurements taken from one photo did not necessarily match those taken from another photo.  Also, most of the photos were taken from “artistic” angles so some things became fore-shortened, making it even more difficult to get everything just right.  As a result, the model is “close” to being dimensionally correct, but I willingly admit to having to “fudge” a few places to make everything look “OK”.  

I think that the result is pretty good looking, albeit, not necessarily “accurate”.  I hope you like what you see.
Right Side View
Left Side View
Rear Quarter View

1 comment:

Ivana Juliet said...

excellent man. nice post. keep updating