Reconstructing a portion of the Colorado Midland

dangavel

Well-known member
Its strange how one gets drawn into some projects by accident . I was working on an Australian project, but had no available buildings ...which was a problem, then Pitkin tempted me with a DEM of the Denver South Park and pacific alpine tunnel route , which really interested me more then the oz route. Once I started work on Alpine tunnel , I extended it, then I extended it again and I found myself working on the construction of Buena Vista Colorado, where , in the 1890s, the D&RGW, the DSP&P and the Colorado Midland all touched base.

i didn't intend to create the Colorado midland, as I already had more then enough work to do with the DSP&P route, but it looked a very interesting line, the only standard gauge route to cross the rockies in that part of the state of Colorado , an assortment of loops and tunnels at Hagermann Pass and an ignominious end where it went bankrupt, partly due to the federal governments mistreatment and fickleness regarding war traffic. I bought some books about the line and the next thing I found was I was extending both it and the DSP&P up Trout Creek Pass to where they crossed over each other at Bath ( or hilltop as it was also known ) .

The biggest problem facing any construction of this route is there is hardly any rolling stock. There are a few box cars , gondolas and reefers, but no way cars or coaches and only an 0-6-0 which was used to construction purposes, The railroad had a fleet of MOstly 18/80/90s 4-6-0s and consolidations, but there aren't really any engines on the DLS that would fit the bill to be reskinned.

There were also no buildings at all, so I had to resort to reskinning a number of Ben Dorsey's buildings that are close to the originals, this mainly involved color changes to dark brown for trackside buildings and Santa Fe cream and green for stations, not all buildings were in any particular color , the line was often short of funds and they often resorted to painting buildings with whatever was available locally .

The line begins at the helper station of Wild Horse about a mile from Buena vista and another mile or so away from the four short CM tunnels that are quite well known and still intact,being known as the Midland Tunnels, having a country road still in use so one can travel through them .
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Wild Horse, Trainboi's CM 0-6-0 and Ben Neal's Baldwin 2-8-0h standing in for a CM Baldwin, the model is a few years too modern to be an appropriate stand in .
 
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wooden trestle just out of Wild Horse

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View of the climb out of Wild Horse, Buena Vista station is our first stop .
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This is WIP but there are a number of large metal bridges just outside of wild horse and I've been working on the first one with a bit of vegetation and rock , so here's an image of the 2-8-0 on one of them.
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crossing the first bridge, as you can see, lots of work to do on the left, this line is the D&RGW route to Leadville and Salida , which was originally NG , then converted to standard gauge, the two routes were connected by a wye . The D&RGW line is still intact but is not much used. The CM bridges are all gone and the route is now being used as a bike trail parts of it also comprise CR 304.
I tend to chose obscure and little known railroads to model so don't know if anyone will be interested in this or not.
 
Looks great, sparse vegetation in the rain shadow of a mountain range makes for interesting terrain and fast FPSs! Is the mountain range way off in the distance a background? It looks perfect from that last screenshot.
 
Looks great, sparse vegetation in the rain shadow of a mountain range makes for interesting terrain and fast FPSs! Is the mountain range way off in the distance a background? It looks perfect from that last screenshot.

its the Collegiate range, Mt Princeton , etc, its part of the Alpine tunnel section of the line, had to extend it so there's something to see in the distance, its not a background, i did consider that but it would have looked rather strange next to the exisring mountains of the DEM, about half the route is a DEM and the other half is hand made by me.
 
It's going to be another great one! I downloaded the DEM of DRGW Sub#5 that BDP posted, but I doubt I could do near the justice to it that you do!
 
Its a pity i didn't have a DEM of the whole area, the DEM of the whole DSP&P route done many years ago is not easy to use as its very poor resolution , almost impossible to follow and its height ( and scale ) was different , so I could not merge it with the better DEM . Pitkins DEM was much better quality but it cut off before the town of Pitkin and before Mt Princeton, unfortunately when i extended the route I cut out a few thousand feet of areas that were just grassland, they were pretty boring so i didn't bother to add them , the biggest issue with that was the CM line is as a result about 1000 ft shorter near BVista and the first part of the lines are too close together in lower trout creek pass, its not that noticeable, but it makes it harder to reconstruct and also grades on the CM above B Vista are too steep .
I get criticised by some for being anal and wanting things to be accurate to reflect actual size , but here, because I did a couple of shortcuts, its actually caused more problems for me down the track. in the long run, its easier to be accurate . :)
 
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I am a terrible route builder. But I can see how trying to maintain prototype altitude would be nearly impossible if trying to truncate sections.
 
I am a terrible route builder. But I can see how trying to maintain prototype altitude would be nearly impossible if trying to truncate sections.

Yeah, by trying to save some effort i probably made more in the long run , it was because i didn't have a clear plan about what i wanted to achieve in the long run, i was just acting on impulse. That thousand feet meant the grade out of wild horse was about 0.76 % steeper on average than it would have been in reality.
 
Some more crud from me, gradually getting more info on how this route was set out, its funny , it seems vitally important to me to get this correct and yet most people will have little interest in what it originally looked like and even less knowledge as this is one more or less forgotten road, I even tried to join the online group interested in this route and got no reply, I think everyone interested in it had either died or is too old to function .:)
Some progress has been made at Wild Horse the helper station,I showed a few pix in the first post, I found out where the turntable was positioned and a bit more about the place itself, it is (apart from the remnants of the embankment of the bridge) , completely devoid of any sign that there ever was a railroad ....
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I've mugged up a few badly reskinned CM locos and coaches to stand in for the lack of rolling stock, thanks to Ben Dorsey and Ben Neal. Aslo replaced the wood trestle with an iron one.
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the third and tallest iron bridge, near Buena Vista station .
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One of the reasons I was attracted to this section is its full of deep rock cuts , it packs a lot into just a few miles, whereas much of the CM and DSPP is crossing fairly featureless, wide flat plains in South Park .
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Buena Vista station... in actuality 400 feet above the actual city, passengers had to catch a stage in order to get into town. this whole area is scattered with boulders and stones , hopefully soon i will have better items to use to represent them .

I've also done more work on the lower parts of trout creek pass, although i think almost the entire lower part is wrong on most aspects as the railbed has been mostly been swept away by flash floods, who knows what it looked like in 1900 ? old maps of the upper end show numerous crossings of the creek and now the banks on the other side of the CM track has no place where a railroad could be situated. this section is probably fairly accurate as the rocks here could not be swept away as they are too big.
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the redesigning of Newett.

We now jump about 6 miles to the middle of trout creek pass, Newett to be precise, I found old maps that show where the stations of the DSPP and the Colorado Midland were situated and it was quite different to what i had made, so its all had to be changed. I had the CM station positioned in the wrong spot , had no idea just where the DSPP depot was in relation to it, even now, the maps I have show no CM station at Newett and as I don't have a suitable building to match the one shot I have to the CM depot, I've left it out for now.
Even maps of the day are unreliable , its probably just not possible to get it like it really was back in the day as the information just isn't there. its seems that, far from both stations being next to each other, there is quite a physical gap between them.
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This is the DSPP station, the spur to the limestone quarry and the possible transfer platform between both lines were about 500 yards away form each other .
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Apparently the CM never used any cranes to transfer bulk goods such as coal, but I've put a small one in anyway , I've seen no evidence of a wye here or a second spur.
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The old maps did, however, give me a good indication of the original route of the DSP&P in relation to the CM so this entire section has been rebuilt.
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i'll move on to completing Bath or Hilltop soon , where the CM had an overpass over the DSP&P
 
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Bath station at the summit of Trout Creek pass.
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I may well release this CM section as a separate item in a few months.
 
i know hardly anyone is interested in this line,but it fascinates me , so but I'm gonna post items anyway .
I've been detailing Summit/Bath/Hilltop station , somehow a british work crew is loading coal, but no doubt they were cheap labor. I find it amazing that apparently no one has ever made a US track crew from the 19th century , but its only one of the huge number of omissions.
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I like the Colorado Midland. The roadbed goes up 11 Mile Canyon. Scenic and great fishing waters. I camped along the river in my youth.
 
I like the Colorado Midland. The roadbed goes up 11 Mile Canyon. Scenic and great fishing waters. I camped along the river in my youth.

I wish the US wasn't so far away as I'd visit all these places I've been modelling, if I ever have enough time , I'll do Hagermann Pass, there is a DEM out there, but it needs a LOT of work to get it accurate .Not having much rolling stock or any of the mainline locos is also a downside regarding further developments .
 
Hi Dan,

While not fully into C.M. it runs near a place I do love, so I want to say thank you for posting/sharing what your spending time on. It looks amazing and somewhat inspiring.

I've not done 3D modeling for some years, last I tried I was never able to fully understand why the model came so dark into Trainz and other stuff had more need of my energies so it was put aside.
Now a days with all the modern way of doing 3D models I've not dare venturing into it as I fail to grasp what I need to do, and watch videos to learn never worked on me as my brain get bored and drift off...
I need to try it, push buttons, trial and error is my way to knowledge.

I mention all this as while I am not prepare to get back to modeling, I wanted to say that seeing something close to my heart is helpful in creating a feel that it should still be possible, and with the new grid in Trainz the barriers to get back is less than for decades.

If luck is with me maybe in a year or two I get a new computer and get back in the game so to speak, for now I pop into the forums, work on my researching part, collecting and grow as a human in the life I have left, taking me back to when I found Trainz originally.

So, keep up having fun and I for one likes your scenes and you have a great eye for details, thank you!

Linda, in Norway, loving Cripple Creek District in Colorado... :)
 
Hi Dan,

While not fully into C.M. it runs near a place I do love, so I want to say thank you for posting/sharing what your spending time on. It looks amazing and somewhat inspiring.

I've not done 3D modeling for some years, last I tried I was never able to fully understand why the model came so dark into Trainz and other stuff had more need of my energies so it was put aside.
Now a days with all the modern way of doing 3D models I've not dare venturing into it as I fail to grasp what I need to do, and watch videos to learn never worked on me as my brain get bored and drift off...
I need to try it, push buttons, trial and error is my way to knowledge.

I mention all this as while I am not prepare to get back to modeling, I wanted to say that seeing something close to my heart is helpful in creating a feel that it should still be possible, and with the new grid in Trainz the barriers to get back is less than for decades.

If luck is with me maybe in a year or two I get a new computer and get back in the game so to speak, for now I pop into the forums, work on my researching part, collecting and grow as a human in the life I have left, taking me back to when I found Trainz originally.

So, keep up having fun and I for one likes your scenes and you have a great eye for details, thank you!

Linda, in Norway, loving Cripple Creek District in Colorado... :)

I've found your stuff very useful Linda, but i can understand why you no longer model, I've been put off my the difficulties of getting models to work in trainz and to get them to 2022 level is daunting. Also I'm getting too old to take on a lot of new software, the time needed to master it is considerable and I'd rather be making routes in the time i have left on this planet. My is hope that people will make the assets in the fullness of time, this is my approach to the Colorado Midland anyway as otherwise I'd never complete it !!!!
 
Ive reskinned a number of trainzforge locos which closely resemble some of the CM locos , having trouble with a tender tho, so heres a few shots of the engines at Newett ,unfortunately with either an older version tender or one that at the moment has the wrong lien ID on its sides.
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136 class consolidation waits in the hole for a CM 4-6-0 with a trainload of varnish to pass. This is Ben Neals 4-6-0.The 2-8-0 is by the highly esteemed trainboi1 .
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Same engine with a renumbered RGW 4-6-0 pretending to be CM 38 on the right
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The tenders are proving to be hard to renumber due to the pbr textures used
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reverse angle shot of C&S passenger train by trainboi1 passing incoming number 38
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The consolidation was T&G no 2 again by trainboi1
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the spur leads to the limestone quarries up on the hill which were connected to a loading platform which was fed by an incline railway.
 
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