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The Mojave & Panamint Railroad

The Mojave & Panamint Railroad

Postby Gunslinger87 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:54 am

Greetings all, a while back in another part of the forum I inquired about locomotives, equipment, and some of the history for the Los Angeles & Independence RR as it pertained to a certain project I was working on. I would like to present to you that project, the Mojave & Panamint Railroad. It is a completely fictional route, but it was a very plausible "What-If" sort of concept. However I cannot take credit for its inception as the M&P was the brainchild of Craig Tice's HOn3 model railroad. Tice put a lot of research and mental effort in creating the M&P including the use of topographical maps in order to survey an actual route starting from below (to the south) of Searles Dry Lake and terminating to the north at Ballarat, CA. Although fictional I thought it would be an interesting route as it has a little of everything from most slim gauge desert railroads in the west, but contained within about 37 miles of track.

First we have the southern terminus of the railroad, Panamint Junction. This is where the M&P interchanges with the standard gauge Los Angeles & Independence RR. In reality this is the Trona RR today and Panamint Jct. is located on the long strait section to right-of-way just below the dry lake, just above a large siding which I presume is used for storage. The next few images are captures of the junction. Changes have been made since these were taken, but the over all layout is the same.

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Mr. Tice took a lot of inspiration from the Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge and the Nevada-California-Oregon railroads and so a the HOn3 model railroad he built showed that influence. I attempted to reflect that on the route as well. Here a single stall engine house and a gallows turntable are used by the M&P, though the turntable is dual gauge so that SG locomotives of the LI&O/CO/SP could be turned here. Obviously locomotives have evolved in size over the years so I'll be adding a turning why somewhere eventually for larger SG equipment. There is also a transfer trestle here to expedite the transfer of ore and minerals the M&P ships. A transfer platform is also located here for transferring other freight and goods. There is also a jointly used depot with platforms at either side.

Here are some images of the line further north as the right-of-way now skirts the shores of Searles Dry Lake. This area and in particular the section north of the lake are rather lonesome, similar to the SPNG.

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This section of the railroad follows the same grade as the Trona RR. However when the line reaches Trona it continues on north to Valley Wells. The grade here is fairly easy going, gently varying, but staying under 2%. Valley Wells is a crucial location along the line as it is the only place for water until Ballarat, CA, the northern terminus. Here are several industries and also where the M&P loads water cars to be shipped up to Slate Range Pass/Crossing. Water there is pumped into the tank at the pass for thirsty southbound locomotives. The grade from Valley Wells to the pass is a steady 2.5% which is an easy climb even for the line's 4-4-0s. However on the northern side of the Slate Range mountains the grade descends an arduous 4% into the Panamint Valley. Helpers are needed to get the ore trains up to the pass and hence why it is so important to have water there. Below are some early shots of Valley Wells.

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It's quite a modest location, though I have made several changes to the town and industries. Unfortunately I do not have any shots of the line out of Valley Wells. I'll see if I can snag some soon. Next up is Slate Range Pass.
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Re: The Mojave & Panamint Railroad

Postby Gunslinger87 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:13 am

Slate Range Pass is about the half way point of the railroad. Here there is a borax mine to be served as well as a yard and turning wye to turn helper locomotives aiding southbound trains. Tice's inspiration for this part of the line came from Montgomery Pass on the C&C/SPNG. And I've attempted to mimic what Tice modeled here.

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Here trains will stop for water and then proceed to Ballarat. Although this side of the Slate Range mountains are easy going, the northern slopes are much more unforgiving.

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As you can see the topography is quite harsh here, especially since this is a 4% grade. I should also make a note that all of the ground textures are just very basic. The terrain map was created by Curtis (Pencil42 of Carson Car Shops) and it uses images from Google Earth. When zoomed out in what is called Satelite Mode it looks just like a google earth image. However the clarity is distorted when viewed from ground level. All of the ground textures will be changed to be far more realistic and detailed once all track and structures are in place.

I hope you are enjoying this so far. I still have a lot of work to do on the route, including a large portion of standard gauge! The route was large enough to include both the Trona RR and its interchange at Searles, as well as a portion of the SP Jawbone Branch and SP trackage just passed Rand, CA. So the narrow gauge isn't the only sort of railroading on this route, though it is the focus.
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Re: The Mojave & Panamint Railroad

Postby Andrew Brandon » Fri Jul 22, 2016 10:22 am

The route is looking good. How long is it?

I have more desert textures on the way that you will find useful, but I am not going to be able to upload them for another few weeks.

Curtis has a turntable he made up for my C&L route that has a good pale sandy dirt texture that you might find useful. I believe it is the 6 track turntable. It is based on the layout from Colusa so it may not work for you. He used my texture "Dirt, Beneme" for it.
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Re: The Mojave & Panamint Railroad

Postby Gunslinger87 » Sat Jul 23, 2016 2:37 pm

Thanks, Andrew! The M&P is a hair over 37 miles long. And there is actually more SG track when it comes to mileage, but I think the M&P is the more interesting. The map Curtis made for me for this project is pretty big and I figured I would include all the SG lines for operational interest.

Curtis also helped out out on a turn table for this route and I believe he uploaded it to the DLS. It's a 3 track turntable which I changed to 3ft gauge. Fortunately the SG rails were directly modeled onto the turntable so that worked out well for making it dual gauge. The only thing is posting the screenshots to the thread. It seems to crop a bit of the right side of the pictures and I'm not sure how to shrink them down. Though if you left click and select "open image in new tab" it will show the full image.

Anyway, I've been doing a lot of work on the SG portions of the route recently and I'll post some screens of that eventually. However I'll post some more images of the M&P soon, especially since I've almost completed Ballarat, CA! :mrgreen:
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Re: The Mojave & Panamint Railroad

Postby Gunslinger87 » Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:47 pm

Okay, got some more shots for you! first we have a northbound about to enter the Slate Range wye.

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Next we jump to the "Mojave Cannonball" entering Tunnel 1, also know as the Summit Tunnel. (for obvious reasons) The tunnel is actually a large tunnel for 2ft gauge, but 3ft track will be superimposed on top of the 2ft gauge track, thus making it 3ft gauge.

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Here is an early shot of the "high line" not far from the summit. The line skirts the rugged slopes of the Slate Range mountains as it descends a steep 4% grade. This area is now semi-finished, so ignore the lack of progress.

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Next the Cannonball is about to plunge into Tunnel 2. However the tunnel skin was glitching for some reason, which is why it looks like there are no walls.

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And some other random images of the line.

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Re: The Mojave & Panamint Railroad

Postby Gunslinger87 » Sun Jul 24, 2016 2:13 pm

Countinuing out journey north on the M&P we finally come to the town and northern terminus of the line, Ballarat CA. This firs shot is of the train a mile out of town on the final stretch across the arid Panamint Valley.

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Next up our train, the Mojave Cannonball, coming to a stop at the Ballarat depot. This and a few other shots show the depot before it was reskinned to better match colors used for the N-C-O and C&C/SPNG colors. Which was how Craig Tice depicted his depot on his HOn3 layout.

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Here we have an early overview of the depot and yard tracks before developing the own.

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And here is a close up of the reskinned depot. The depot itself is not industry active and uses one of Curtis' wonderful generic wooden passenger platforms for active passengers.

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Although Ballarat is the northern end of the line it enters town from the northwest, so this following view is looking southeast. Here is Ballarat's main industry, an ore bin serviced by an areal tramway similar to the Cerro Gordo mine on the SPNG. And yet, that is a 3-way wye at the end of the Ballarat yard with a dirt road crossing.

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Close up of the ore bin. I've several alterations and improvements here and I'll post some screens soon of it.

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And to wrap up this post here is an overview of Ballarat with some town progress. There's still some tweaking and refining to do, but it's coming together nicely.

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Re: The Mojave & Panamint Railroad

Postby Gunslinger87 » Sun Jul 24, 2016 2:29 pm

For this post I thought I would share some of the custom content I've created for the M&P route. Craig Tice made a full locomotive roster and many of the Baldwin based locomotives are available for Trainz. They were created by a person by the screen name of Togog, however I reskinned them myself to represent the M&P using Microsoft Paint.

First up is #4, one of two "C-16" type 2-8-0s on the M&P roster.

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The skin still needs a little tweaking, such as adding stripes to the steam dome. I would also like to add an oxide red roof, but I have yet to locate the right texture file to make that change.

Next is #2, a standard Baldwin 8-18C 4-4-0. Sadly I have yet to take a "Builders Photo" of the engine and I'll work on that soon enough. But here's a shot of #2 hauling the "Cannonball" up towards Slate Range Pass.

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Now for some rolling stock. First is an early waycar/caboose made from a DSP&P waycar. The rest of the M&P's caboose fleet are patterned after the C&S 2-axle bobber types. I've found some for Trainz and will eventually reskin them for the M&P. Their cabeese were painted yellow and oxide brown oddly enough.

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Here we have one of the handful of passenger stock for the M&P. The earlier passenger varnish were painted yellow with oxide brown roof and trim. The later cars were painted in a more generic green and black.

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I have several boxcars in planning for the M&P and will show some shots of them once they're finished.
While I'm at it I started experimenting with ground textures around Panamint Jct.

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Well I hope you guys enjoyed things so far! Still a BUNCH to do and it will be a long while before this will be finished and released. Thanks again, Andrew, for the ground textures. They perfect for this route and I look forward to the ones you plan on releasing soon! Also, how do the reskins look on the locos and rolling stock? I think the only thing that would be off are the lettering. I followed Mr. Tice's examples for his models which were fairly accurate, given the amount of info available at the time. (1980s/90s)
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