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Hello,

I am new to the hobby (in fact havent started yet) - but I am planning a live steam layout in my garden based on "Durango & Silverton" as I have fallen in love with Accucraft's K36... but that costs A LOT around here. Can any of you knowledgable enthusiasts out there tell me which other locomotives have run that line since its opening in (1882?). I am aiming for a pre ww2 look and I am also unsure what sort of rolling stock (Accucraft) would be appropriate to go with the locomotive - be as specific as you can - down to numbers, colours and waggon types.... I am not a scale-freak - but I might as well buy the right stuff from the beginning.... since it is not exactly a "cheap" hobby I am venturing into :). I am not new to steam, but have decided to unload my collection of stationary steam engines to pay for this "adventure" - and I want to be sure that I dont buy stuff that never got near the Durango and Silverton line.

Your information and opinion will be highly appreciated. I will be constructing a slightly elevated track 1,5-2ft and run on code 250 or 332 brass. Any thoughts on that?

Thks in advance for your input!
 

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Most if not all of the Accucraft D&RG "C" and "K" engines would have run on that track at one time or another since the 1880s. All of the Accucraft D&RGW rolling stock in 1:20.3, both freight and passenger would have made the run. Bachmann in their Spectrum line also has some suitable cars. If you are into building kits, Phil's Narrow Gauge has a variety of cars to choose from. I have made one of his kits and it turned out very nicely, if I do say so myself.


Phil's Narrow Gauge

The Ghost Depot web site has a lot of information on the D&RGW. You will need to buy his DVD to get all of his information, but there is still a lot of useful info on the web site.


Ghost Depot

There is also the Colorado Railroad Museum.

Where are you located? There may well be some people in your area who have book collections. I have half a dozen books that I find very helpful.

Welcome to MLS and don't be afraid to ask any questions.

Chuck
 

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Hi Chuck,

I am located in Copenhagen, Denmark. If I bought a live steam K36 I think it would be the only one in the country. The hobby is not big here - and the knowledge of US narrow gauge is even less... :). You are ofc right - there must be some litterature available. I have googled - but even wikipedia doesnt know everything :). About Bachmann - I heard somewhere that their "interpretation" of 1.20,3 was "different" than that of Accucraft (smaller). Anything to that?
 

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Accucraft K-36 is a larger engine than the Bachmann K-27. On that note, the Bachmann engine, although electric, is a good runner (I have one) and much less expensive than the live steam.

My 2 cents worth.

Bob C.
 

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Bachmann has two different "Scale" offerings that will run on our "G" gauge (45mm) track. Their "Big Hauler" line and the "Spectrum" line are different. The Big Hauler engines and cars are nominally 1:22.5 (LGB compatible). The Spectrum line is at 1:20.3, these are larger and have a lot more detail than the smaller Big Hauler engines and cars. There is a noticeable size difference if you mix the two in the same train. The Spectrum logging and the K-27 engines are excellent locomotives and their detail matches anything generally available in the market. The Spectrum freight cars are also excellent and highly detailed.

You can mix Accucraft and Bachmann Spectrum cars in the same train and no one will think twice, they match very nicely in size and detail.

Chuck


I agree with Bob. I have two of the Bachmann K-27s they are excellent runners. I'm in the process of having them regeared so that they will have more power and less speed. I hope to get them back next week. If you set up your railroad for both electric and live steam, you can have the best of both worlds.
 

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The Accucraft K36 is a beautiful engine! AMS (Accucraft) has just introduced new passenger cars in the black/orange color scheme exactly how the Durango and Silverton runs today in Colorado. Accucraft/AMS is considered fine-scale in 1/20.3. Bachmann Spectrum locomotives are considered 1/20.3. Their coaches ARE NOT 1/20.3. They are forshortened and not scale. Definitely would look small with your Accucraft K36! The coaches that AMS has are to scale for your loco, but they are massive, big and heavy. They are beauties! I have three. Bachmann doesn't even come close to these coaches, IMHO. I have an Accucraft C19, #346 I use as my locomotive to pull my coaches and my AMS freight. C19's and C21's also ran on the D&S. If you get onto the website for the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, Colorado, you can find a lot of information and pictures of locomotives anf freight and passenger rolling stock. If you need more info, just post here. There are many of us on this site that model D&RGW railroading in the time period you have discussed.
 

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Posted By chuck n on 19 May 2011 12:57 PM
Bachmann has two different "Scale" offerings that will run on our "G" gauge (45mm) track. Their "Big Hauler" line and the "Spectrum" line are different. The Big Hauler engines and cars are nominally 1:22.5 (LGB compatible). The Spectrum line is at 1:20.3, these are larger and have a lot more detail than the smaller Big Hauler engines and cars. There is a noticeable size difference if you mix the two in the same train. The Spectrum logging and the K-27 engines are excellent locomotives and their detail matches anything generally available in the market. The Spectrum freight cars are also excellent and highly detailed.

You can mix Accucraft and Bachmann Spectrum cars in the same train and no one will think twice, they match very nicely in size and detail.

Chuck


I agree with Bob. I have two of the Bachmann K-27s they are excellent runners. I'm in the process of having them regeared so that they will have more power and less speed. I hope to get them back next week. If you set up your railroad for both electric and live steam, you can have the best of both worlds.




where did you send them?
 

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Hi, welcome to the hobby. I have lots of information to share with you so I hope this isn't too much.


But before I go into too much information, I have some bad news if you want to stay prototypical. K-36 locomotives did not run on the Silverton Branch all the way to Silverton until the 1980s. Yep the 1980s, after the D&RGW sold the line.


The Silverton Branch could not handle anything larger then a K-28. The D&RGW planned to improve the line to handle K-36 and potentially K-37 locomotives, but this never happened under their ownership. It wasn't until Charles Bradshaw purchased the line and created the Durango & Silveton Narrow Gauge Railroad in 1981 that improvements to rail, cuts, and bridges were made to handle the larger locomotives.


About the farthest up the Silverton Branch a K-36 or K-37 could go was Hermosa. And even this was iffy due to the weight of the locos on the track through the marshland north of Durango...the area near the hang glider park and Dalton Ranch in present day. A K-37 did makes it way up north in the 1960s on a ballast train, but it did not go any further then Hermosa or possibly Rockwood...I can't remember exactly how far it got but not too far up the line.

Sorry for this news as you like the K-36. However there's nothing stopping you from running these larger locos, so if you like them run them



Aside from the K-36 info I posted above, I want to address some of your other questions.


First, the era (pre WW2) and appropriate lettering/paint


If you really want to model pre-WW2, then the railroad on the Silverton Branch would be the Denver & Rio Grande Western (D&RGW). The Durango & Silverton (D&S) was created in 1981.


A good modeling era to shoot for (based on available equipment in 1:20.3 scale) would be the 1930s. In this era, you will want to go with the Round Herald (sometimes refereed to as the Moffat logo or Royal Gorge logo depending on the wording in the logo).


So equipment with the logo seen below works for this era:




The "flying" Rio Grande logo was adopted in 1939. Because it took some time to paint everything, especially during the war years, the flying Rio Grande logo is best for during and after WW2 and not so much for a pre-WW2 layout. This logo looks like the photo below:





Also prior to WW2, all maintenance of way (MOW) equipment was painted red. The gray color was during and after WW2.



Second, appropriate locomotives


The most appropriate locomotives for the Silverton Branch in the 1930s would be a K-28, K-27 or the lone C-25 #375. Accucraft has a K-28 and K-27, Bachmann has a K-27. But I do not believe any model of the unique C-25 #375 is available yet. Smaller C class locos could also be used, such as a C-19, or C-18.


Of these, the K-27s seemed to be the workhorse locos on the Silverton branch during this time. Of note is the large pilot wedge plow they used during the winter. Rocks from snow slides in the deep canyons on the Silverton branch prohibited the use of rotary snow plows.





I don't model the 1930s, but I believe these large plows were used during this time.



Third, scale ... and D&RGW or D&S


The proper scale for American 3 foot narrow gauge running on G scale track is 1:20.3.

Accucraft and Bachmann make excellent products in 1:20.3 scale. Lesser know Berlyn Locomotive Works also offers some nice locomotives in this scale.


If you go with 1:20.3 from the start, you be running the correct scale on G scale track.

But I have an important question, do you wish to model the D&RGW, or the present day Durango & Silverton? Accucraft does not offer much, if anything, lettered for the Durango & Silverton. But if you really want to model the Durango & Silverton, then you might want to consider 1:22.5 scale instead of 1:20.3. 1:22.5 scale is slightly smaller then 1:20.3 but still runs on G scale track.


I only mention this, because KISS (a German manufacturing company) makes a K-36 lettered for the Durango & Silverton. These locos are very hard to find, but living in Denmark, they might be easier to find. I purchased one from Big Train World which is located in the Netherlands, as it was very difficult to find one competitively priced in the United States.


Here is what their Durango & Silverton K-36 looks like:




And LGB/Marklin makes Durango & Silverton painted coaches that look very nice behind the KISS K-36.


So this might be an important decision depending on what railroad you really wish to model.



We model the D&RGW of the late 1940s to early 1950s in 1:22.5 scale. Take a look at our layout website for some photos:

Snowshoe & San Juan Model Railroad Website Link



Fourth, track

On our layout, we use code 250. Code 332 is more readily available, but the rail height is extreme for narrow gauge. So that's why I prefer code 250.


We use Llagas Creek track, specifically nickel silver code 250 with "narrow gauge" ties.



Fifth, research

There have been loads of books published over the years on the D&RGW and the Silverton Branch. Two good ones that cover the Silverton Branch in depth include:

Cinders & Smoke


Durango, Always a Railroad Town




I hope this information has been somewhat useful.
 

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Matt:

Those are great answers and agree with everything you said, but he was asking about live steam D&DGW locomotives that were available. I don't know any 1:22.5 live steamers that are currently available.


Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I cant tell you how much I appreciate your input. Thanks Matt for your info on the K36 and the wonderful pictures and links - and info on era and lettering/paint. I found nothing useful when I tried google for K36 and Durango/Silverton and your post explains why. Thanks to everyone else also - but please keep it coming, cause I am not done yet.... :)

I have to admit that I am not dead set on the Durango & Silverton. I should have been more specific. What I meant was that the D&RGW line I want to model should be somewhat true to history in the fact that the loco and the rolling stock should be specifc to the same period in colour, logo and type. The fame of Durango / Silverton for having been in operation that long made me think - "lets go for that one!". The live steam K36 is a must, though, (although according to my wife, less could do it) - so I guess that rules out that line. If I had done all the work and bought loco and rolling stock to model a 1930's railroad only to find out it never exististed with that loco or that rolling stock it would have annoyed me ... so thanks again :).

The thirties is a great age to model, so my next question that Matt already partly answered, is - what kind of rolling stock would have been behind a K36 in that era in terms of coaches and freight and even caboose? Right down to the lettering and numbers if anyone can be that specific? Nothing is too "nerdy" pls.....

Oh - and the reason why it has to be K36 is of course the beauty of the loco - but more importantly that it is HUGE - even for 45mm and for some reason I just love heavy toys. Fortunately I can unload my collection of stationary steam engines and other toys to finance this hobby - or I would be in (even more) trouble with my wife :))))

Once again - I appreciate your input so far on D&RGW modeling - and I shall ofc post pictures when work starts in the garden.

Thanks,
Carsten Folman
 

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well done san juan!

i always thought that for the most part c-19s and c 21s were used -until much later as you posted

if you do decide to do D and S versus DRG-you might want to make a point of strating a collection of the LGB open observatoin cars-whcih are preety darn accuarte for late DRG and D and S-they are modeled after those used on the line

i would guess simply, that you need a nice string of passenger cars, some freight and the observations, a caboose etc
goood luck
 

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I also model the D&RGW, but I chose the Gunnison line to model. Accucraft made a beautiful K28 locomotive which would be perfect for the Silverton branch. It was one of their best locomotives ever. I have one and run it often. The K36 is a very large engine and will sometime foul the switch throws as it is so big, but it too is a beautiful engine and runs well. If you are going to run either of these engines I would not recommend laying any track with a radius of less than six feet, or two meters as they are quite large. All the rolling stock that Accucraft has produced is accurate for the D&S, just watch the lettering if you are going pre WWII and remember, the aspen gold passenger cars were post 1950's. Prior to that they were painted pullman green. I use Llagas creek code 250 and code 215 NG track and #6 switches. Some of it has been on the ground for over 10 years and is still going strong. Accucraft has on their web site a C25 for future production. If you can find one of their C16's it is a nice little engine. I have had mine for 10 years and it is my favorite one to run. Their C19's and C21's had a lot of problems so be careful if you want one of these. Glad you are going with D&RGW narrow gauge, welcome to the hobby. Here is a discussion forum about Colorado narrow gauge. They can answer almost any question you can think of.

http://ngdiscussion.net/phorum/list.php?1
 

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Since your a fan of the D&S why not have an excursion train of the D&S and then model the appropriate timeline you want otherwise. Run the D&S train whenever you like.

As people have said, any of the narrow guage equipment produced by the various manufactures (AMS, Bachman Spectrum) will be appriopriate as long as the right logos are used that Matt touched on. I would like to comment on the Bachman Coaches that were said to be too little. That is correct, because Bachman doesnt make a coach under their Spectrum line so the coach would be in the Big Hauler line and thus be approx 1:22.5 scale.

As far as track goes, the brass track will be cheaper. Use code 250, it will look a lot better. I would suggest that since your going to be using live steam, that you not use track power. For your electric locos use battery power. I say this because I have heard many say that live steam leaves a dirty film on the rail, that makes conductivity a problem. If your using battery power then it isnt a problem.
 

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To add to Matt's excellent post, a bit more for you to research:

Durango was a narrow gauge hub giving a plethora of variety and choice for a modeler. East out of Durango the D&RGW 3 foot gauge ran over Cumbres Pass to Antonito and then northerly via dual gauge to Alamosa. The Cumbres & Toltec came from a portion of this line (Chama to Antonito). South from Durango was the Farmington, New Mexico branch. to the west ran the Rio Grande Southern while of course to the north some fifty miles ran the Silverton branch (now the Durango & Silverton). Out of Silverton ran three little Otto Mears shortlines, all 3 foot gauge uo three separate canyons to serve various mines. They were the Silverton R.R., the Silverton Northern and the Silverton Gladstone & Northerly.

Little C-16, C-17, C-18 and C-19 2-8-0's ran on these lines through the thirties and a few even later. There were also 3 outside frame 2-8-0's on the D&RGW roster, ex- Crystal River R.R. engines Number 375 was the lone C-25 and and there were two C-21 types (370 and 371 I believe). Also K-27 and K-28 2-8-2's. Seven of the ten K-28 class engines were acquired by the White Pass & Yukon during WWII leaving just 473, 476 and 478.

Depending how far back you want to go you also might find occasional 4-6-0 and 4-4-0 types as well. As already stated by Matt the K-36 and K-37 types couldn't be handled on the Silverton branch and weren't to my knowledge seen on the Rio Grande Southern either. While the K-36 type was built as a narrow gauge engine the K-37 class were rebuilt from standard gauge 2-8-0 types. These were both large engines for 3 foot gauge. They did enter Durango via the Cumbres Pass line.

There were of course other 3 foot lines on the D&RGW already mentioned all connected together at one time in Colorado but outside if the immediate Durango area.
 

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If you want the drama of the D&S and still want to run a K-36, you might look into the Cumbres & Toltec. It runs from Chama New Mexico to Antonito Colorado. The west half of the trip includes scenery similar to the D&S, that is between Chama and Osier. Just a thought.
 

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I believeThe Cumbres & Toltec is just what I am looking for. The fact that it is still in existence means there is a wealth of information on the internet and plenty of video on youtube for inspiration. Some of the videos are quite stunning. If you havent already done so, check out youtube - I strongly recommend it. I just spend a couple of hours in the company of fantastic trains, and fantastic scenery... wow!!! And its highly inspirational for modellers also.

Thanks for the tip Ironton!

Carsten
 
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