In 1972, a new chapter in the NOT Line began with the removal of the old garage door and a 4 foot addition to the front of the garage. This addition made way for expansion of the NOT Line and space for more operators. Also about this time a never used bathroom was removed as well as a storage area which gave another 6 feet of width along the right side of the garage. This 6 foot of width, as well as the space gained from the removal of the branch line gave space for a new Narrow Gauge Railroad, known as the Paradice and Red Mountain Railroad.
In this picture, the Standard gauge track was expanded and several new industries were added.
Shown here, we see the Town of Red Mountain, located in a narrow valley.
The Paradice (Par-a-dice) and Red Mountain (P&RM) Railroad was a well thought out model Railroad. The track plan which I drew up provided a challenging operation to the little narrow gauge engines and gave the operating crews many hours of enjoyment. In this initial phase, the track started at Red Mountain and climbed 30 inches through several loops to the upper end at Saint Elmo. There was a loop at each end for turning trains as well as a turntable at Red Mountain. With the help of several friends, we created some very exciting mountain scenery, making what I considered to be a very spectacular railroad.
The Red Mountain yard was built on 1 by 12 lumber which was easy to work with. For the sub road bed I used the cookie cutter technique, using the back side of ¾ inch plywood, the back side being of softer wood. The switches were Shinohara #6, the ties were Campbell with code 70 rails on the main and 55 on the sidings.
McCallen Tank was located on a rock outcropping between two bridges on a grueling 4% grade and 18 inch radius curves. Before his passing, Bob McCallen scratch built several buildings for the P&RM such as the water tank shown here.
Here we can see the narrow gauge rails curling around Lizard Head Rock. The narrow gauge rails in the bottom of the picture will loop through the Alpine Tunnel and the town of Saint Elmo on the upper end of the railroad. Saint Elmo was a mere 30 inches above Red Mountain. The rails on the right are standard gauge and belong to the NOT Line and at this time gave an interchange between the two railroads.
As Red Mountain was located in a narrow valley and the town had to be crammed into the very limited space available. The mine in the upper part of the picture was added later over the main line and the siding was put in place when the plaster was wet.
For several years after the construction of the initial P&RM, I continued to operate and even finished up many loose ends on the standard gauge NOT Line
One of these improvements was the rebuild of the master control board. Shown above, the upper board controlled the Main Line, while the lower horizontal board controlled the Yard.
Shown here is the NOT Line Engine House and Coaling tower.
Here we see the area inside the upper loop where the farm was added as well as the relocated mine from Borate. The double track Main Line is running through the center of the picture. In upper right of the picture can be seen part of the Alpine Tunnel on the P&RM Narrow Gauge line.
Here we see an overall view of the upper loop area with the Narrow Gauge Line above. In the upper part of the picture, is the town of Saint Elmo, just below we see the upper loop on the standard gauge and just above the gray drape is part of the R&A traction line.
While there had been a lot of thought put into the design of the NOT Line in the end, there were problems. I must stress that I think that it was a very successful railroad in that there were many hours of enjoyment. I also think that as a model railroad builder and as time progresses, it is just about impossible not to find ways that if I were doing it over I would do it different. Some of the problems encountered were:
•My decision to use brass rail was a bad one. The brass was subject to oxidation and caused poor contact between the rails and locomotive wheels picking up power. The use of oil on the rails would soften and oxide and the wheels wipe it away to help the contact problems, however this created another problem with crud collecting on the wheels.
•Approximately one third of the standard gauge track was hidden under the scenery and you could not see the trains much of the time to enjoy their operation.
•The use of switch motors on all switches, even the ones in the yard were operated by twin coil switch motors and this was a maintenance problem. The use of simple ground throw switches in the yard would have reduced the maintenance problems by half. To make this problem worse, I had been advised by a friend to increase the tension on the switch motor spring, which required more voltage to throw the switch. As time went on, this resulted in the failure of many of the switch motors which I then had to replace or try to rebuild. Most of the switch motors were mounted up under the railroad requiring me to often work up in tight places with solder dripping down on me.
•To get access into the operating pit required a 5 foot hands and knees crawl. When I started the NOT Line, I was younger and never thought that this would be a problem. Now I was getting older and the knuckles on my hands were hard and sore from all the crawling. This was even a bigger problem for some of my operating crew. Oh how I wished for a railroad that I could just walk into.
•The way the signal system was set up only allowed trains to be run in one direction around the railroad.
•My interests had changed. I had personally become very excited with my success in what I now called the initial Narrow Gauge P&RM.
For many years I had been interested in outdoor railroading and in 1973, a 7 ½” gauge track was constructed around the house. Please continue to The Outside Railroad.