Saturday, March 29, 2014

Steam into History News Coverage on Channel 27

Steam into History: Steam into History was covered on Channel 27 with noted rail historian, Roger Cutter and excursion manager Debi Beshore. For details on how to get tickets go to

abc27 WHTM

Monday, March 17, 2014

Denver and Rio Grande Mixed Train 17MAR14

Mixed Train on the Three Rail

Combining narrow gauge and standard gauge on one line is fun. It offers some operating opportunities and some wiring challenges. It is really not that hard.

The Dual Gauge Trackage Rules
  • There are still only two polarities
  • The two rails that are closest together share the same polarity for standard and narrow gauge.
  • The isolated rail is the shared rail for the opposite polarity for narrow and standard gauge.
  • The dual gauge turnouts work fine as long as you remember to wire from the point side of the turnout and isolate the diverging routes on the frog side.
Using these simple rules, even complicated switch combinations work well. Shinohara turnouts work well out-of-the-box. Trout Creek Engineering's dual-gauge BK Enterprises turnouts require hand-laying and manual wiring, but they work fine once installed.

Mixed Train Proof Of Concept

It is one thing to know the theory. The real enjoyment comes from testing how the theories play out in practice. So for my proof of concept test train, I included a Denver and Rio Grande refrigerator car that I converted, painted and lettered.

Even though it is hard to find ready-to-run HOn3 Denver and Rio Grande freight equipment, it makes for an interesting project to re-letter other makers' car bodies. With the case of the Micro-Trains HOn3 Refrigerator Cars, the underbody must be modified to back date it to the pre-1921 Denver and Rio Grande narrow gauge era. Later on, I'll be doing a couple of postings on this fairly simple conversion.

The body's roof is what makes this conversion appealing. It is close to what I have seen in my research. A good source of information on  Denver and Rio Grande (and Western) freight equipment and cabooses is Robert E. Sloan, A Century + Ten of D&RGW Narrow Gauge Freight Cars, 1871 to 1981, or the website,  You can also talk to Tommy Gilbert at Gilbert's Hobbies in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.