The HOn3 Paradice and Red Mountain Railroad (P&RM)
Continues to Grow
and The California South Western Railroad (CSWRR)
With the success of the first part of the initial part of the P&RM, I started to think about and make plans to expand over where the standard gauge NOT Line was. Plans were drawn that would take the track up about another 8 inches to a total height of 38 inches above Red Mountain, then descend back down to the town of Paradice (Par-a-dice). One major factor in the plan was that the railroad went someplace, from one town over the mountains to another town. Several spectacular bridges were planned out making a very exciting railroad. Also the expanded P&RM would be a walk in design.
On a hot Saturday evening in August of 1976, we celebrated the last Operation Session on the NOT Line. Just as the session ended, I picked up a full sized crow bar and to the total disbelief of all my friends, I jammed it under a section of rail and ripped it up. The NOT Line had been in operation for the past 11 years, it was a lot of fun but it was now time to move on. I feel that the NOT Line had been a very successful Model Railroad and I am very glad that I had build it and had it to enjoy.
Removing my 11 years of work and fun was very difficult. Often I would stop the dismantling process and reminisce about the operations which took paces where I was working. After several weeks, it was gone and the preparation to expand the P&RM had begun. Actually I was able to salvage with only minor modification about half of the old bench work from the NOT Line. Almost all of the buildings were salvaged, many I kept and a few were given to some of crew members.
Soon the narrow gauge rails were being pushed over the pass and down to the town of Paradice. I continued to use the back side of ¾ inch plywood. For the switches in Paradice, I built stub switches which worked very well. Power was provided by 3 cabs, which the operators selected from push buttons located next to the throttle plug-ins around the railroad. Running at a realistic speed, it would require a train about 20 minutes to traverse the distance from one end to the other.
By the summer of 1977, trains were operating over the entire length of the expanded P&RM. By the summer of 1978, much of the scenery had been completed and I was once again holding regular Operation Sessions. The extension started on what was a mine spur near Saint Elmo and the old loop was left intact to allow operation over the initial P&RM. With moguls and consolidations as the mainstay of power used by the P&RM the train length was limited to 4 to 6 cars. The P&RM also had two GE 70 ton diesels which were great runners.
Overall, the new and expanded P&RM was without a doubt, one of my best model railroading accomplishments. It gave the feeling of going somewhere, from Paradice to Red Mountain. The 4% grades were an operating challenge for the crews, but not too difficult and it was fun. I liked the concept of Little Engines and Big Men. In some cases double headers were used to operate longer trains, but we always had to put the power on the head end because of the light weight cars. For the most part, the equipment worked well and derailments were fairly few, probably not much more then occurred on real narrow gauge roads.
In this November 1978 photo we see the town of Paradice which was located on the opposite end of the railroad. Paradice was also the interchange point with the Standard Gauge CSWRR. The trestle and truss bridge in the upper part of the picture is on a loop of the high line descending down to Paradice.
Leased power, D&RGW 461 is seen on the truss bridge above Paradice. Behind the truss bridge is the Yankee Girl Mine, one of the larger producers on the road.
Unfortunately, in the summer of 1979, operations on the P&RM met with an unexpected and disastrous end. With my first wife obtaining a divorce, I was removed from the scene for a period of a year. After buying my now EX out, in 1980 I returned to a P&RM that was in shambles. My unsupervised 15 year old son had damaged, destroyed and sold much of my hard work. For the next several years little was done on the P&RM or model railroading for that matter. Finally starting in 1983 and continuing through 1985, I did make an attempt to rebuild the P&RM. Some of the damage was repaired and with new bridges and relaying track, trains were once again operating. Much of the block selection system was missing and I was unable to find suitable replacements parts. I was also finding it harder to see the small HOn3 equipment. With a broken heart, I eventually decided it was once again time to move ahead with new plans.
After making trips to Alaska in 1984 and 1985, I had decided with my second wife Agnes that when I retired in 1993, we would move to Alaska. I started thinking about what I wanted to do and what I would build for my “Retirement Railroad”. With about seven years to go, I had plenty of time to think about just what I wanted to do. First of all, I considered changing the scale as well as what type of railroad I would model. After much consideration, I did decide to stay with HO scale standard gauge and I would model Southern California. I started to draw plans for the railroad as well a house over it to keep the rain and snow out.
However, as retirement was still several years away, I needed to get some Standard Gauge trains running and decided to build the California South Western (CSWRR). The P&RM was dismantled but the bench work along two walls was left intact for the CSWRR. The track plan was relatively simple, a loop on the lower level with a yard off to the side, a loop to get up to the upper lever, a passing track and a loop to get back down to the lower level. By the summer of 1987, the track and scenery were completed and trains were running. I also took advantage of this time period to work on detailing some engines which I would be using in Alaska
Here we see the engine house and yard lead into the stub yard. The track curving to the right into the tunnel connected to a 4 track staging yard.
Santa Fe 2256 is passing the farm house and barn. This farm is still in use today on the Alaska CSWRR.
If we look carefully at this picture, we can still see the ties in the weeds which used to serve this now abandon industry. This building became the Borden plant on the Alaska CSWRR. The two engines are GP9’s with rebuilt Topeka cabs.
Engine 5375, a rebuilt SD45 and SD45 Booster is seen passing the farm and currently being used on the Alaska CSWRR.
Slug Set 2244 is working the stub yard. The slug is unpowered and built on a SW800 frame. The 2244 is a chopped nose GP9.
By the spring of 1992, the California South Western Railroad (CSWRR) was history and packed away in boxes for the trip to Alaska. Most of the railroad had been packed into three 2 by 4 by 2 foot crates which were moved up during our 1992 summer trip. Work was started on the basement in 1992, and by September of 1995 the house was mostly completed and construction was started on the new CSWRR Model Railroad Railroad.