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West Side Lumber Company-a model roundup

West Side Lumber Company-a model roundup

Postby John Coker » Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:47 am

As per a suggestion on another page here, I will start with an assessment of modeling the West Side Lumber Company . This has to be the most modeled California narrow gauge. It ran as late as 1961, and an incredible 9 locomotives still exist, with 5 engines in use today. A great photo record exists of this logging road. It attracted modelers as early as 1949, when Clif Grandt's Heisler #3 appeared on the cover of Model Railroader. Since then all of its existing locomotives have been modeled in 4 scales. Surprisingly, most of these models ran well.

HOn3. The first WSL engine to be released was by Balboa in the early 1960s- Heisler #3. I heard it did't run well. Later Westside Models released the Heisler again, along (in the 1980s) with Shay #8. #8 was a Nakamura, and was a terrific-running model . I do not know if other Shays were released in HOn3. It is curious that Hon3 doesn't have a wide array of models of this famous railroad.
Support models were spotty, but Rio Grande Models released several West Side rolling stock, including trucks, cabooses and flats. They are still available. A few structures were released , one by Rio Grande Models and Banta models may have.

Sn3. PBL created the most comprehensive line of WSL products of any scale. A total of 11 models were released, including the two-truck Shays #5 and #6. I have a #5 and love it!
The first was #12, in the 1980s, which was a so-so runner. True to PBL form (famous for follow-up customer service), they later offered a mechanism rebuild kit that made it run fine. They are re-running the 12 this year It is a "crossover" model, as #12 was very similar to NMLCo/OLCo #7a Mich-Cal engine and a standard gauge St 'Regis lokey. Later they ran 8, 9 and 10-the superheaters. There was some complaints that #8 had derailment problems. Later Heisler 2 and 3 were released. The Heislers were excellent models, dripping with detail. I own a #2 and it is the finest-running model I have-simply excellent! PBL also released the "soakers" 7, 14 and 15. I do not remember if they came before or after the "superheaters." They command outrageous prices-around $2K apiece. One time I was watching #14 run on a modular layout when it derailed and fell towards the floor, but I caught it mid-air! I handed the undamaged model to its shocked owner.
PBL also released a sandhouse and other structures, as well as skeleton flat kits. They released a brass short caboose and a nice model of tank car #2. Rio Grande Models also released cabooses, flats and several other non-revenue cars. Bill Banta also released several West Side structures including water tank kits. They are only available through PBL.

On3. Like Sn3 11 different locomotives have been released by a variety of builders over the years. The first was #3 by US hobbies in the early 1960s. I know little about who offers what
as far as West Side models in On3. I know Banta offers water tanks and possible other structure in On3.Rio Grande Models offers a number of kits, including cabooses and skeleton log cars.

1:20 I know #7, 14 and 15 have been released in both electric and live steam. I think #3 has been release as well.

There are several excellent books that cover the West Side.
"Last of the Three-foot Loggers" by Alan Krieg; Golden West books. A slim volume, but a beautifully assembled introduction to this operation. There were many reprints and is still
around.
"Rails to the Mother Lode" Adolf Hungry Wolf; Darwin Publications. A few pages of photos as well as coverage of Pickering, Sierra and the Hetch-Hetchy. Could be hard to find, unless Adolf reprinted it.
"West Side:Narrow Gauge in the Sierras";PFM
"West Side Pictorial"; Heimburger House
Mal Ferrell put out these books years ago. The PFM book might be hard to find . The Heimburger book may still be available. Both are excellent pictorials.
"2003 Mining, Industrial and Logging Annual" Another Mal Ferrell effort, along with an article on some very nice West-Side modeling in 1:20. I think it is still available.

By all means if you have something to add please post your information!
Last edited by John Coker on Sat Aug 25, 2012 9:19 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: West Side Lumber Company-a model roundup

Postby Brian Norden » Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:12 pm

John Coker wrote:"Rails to the Mother Lode" Adolf Hungry Wolf; Darwin Publications. A few pages of photos as well as coverage of Pickering ,Sierra and the Hetch-Hetchy. Could be hard to find, unless Adolf reprinted it.

This book first came out using Adolf's birth name: Adolf Gutohrlein. Later he "went native" with the Blackfoot Tribe and took the name Adolf Hungry Wolf. He has written a number of books about railroads and the North American Native People.

The first printing was by Kratville Books in 1969. The Darwin Publications edition is from 1978. Several copies of each are listed at AbeBooks.
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Re: West Side Lumber Company-a model roundup

Postby John Coker » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:10 pm

WSLCo models 008.jpg


1. WSL#2 PBL-Sn3. I simply wish you could see how well this model runs. Extraordinarily smooth and goes up to 20 mph-its correct top speed. Photo sucks but look at the detail! Working Stephenson valve gear.

2. WSLCo. #5 PBL Sn3. Lettered for an obscure industrial, the Fat Chance Mining Company. Great runner and beautifully painted and lettered.
Attachments
WSLCo models 009.jpg
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Re: West Side Lumber Company-a model roundup

Postby John Coker » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:38 am

Lo! The faithful Shay!
I am a big fan of WSL #5. I did a little painting of the engine switching in Tuolumne in 1940. I posted it on Facebook. It sold to a poster here who models 1:1 scale.
Another shameless plug for Coker Railroad art! :roll:
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WSLCo models 007.jpg
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