Saturday, August 15, 2015


Life gets in the way of many a dream, forcing us to change course and give up on many of our goals.

In my case, I have spent the last  40 + years photographing and measuring various narrow gauge equipment - locomotives, rolling stock, maintenance-of-way equipment, buildings, all things narrow gauge - starting back in the early seventies while living in Santa Fe.

 I became an avid fan of the narrow gauge railroads inching around and through the Rocky Mountains, and along with a few other fellow enthusiasts, became a regular at the Cumbres & Toltec terminus at Chama, New Mexico.

As an NMRA contest modeler, I need some accurate information for my modeling efforts.

One thing I quickly discovered: There were plenty of books full of chit-chat and photos of the narrow gauge world, but nothing - zero, zip, nada - available about measurements, something a one-time modeler like myself needed. There were lots of "scale" models that had hit the market of course, but a really close examination of them would show all manner of inaccuracies. So even the suppliers were fudging on the models whenever no accurate information was available.

Since my job included the use of AutoCad on a regular basis, I was familiar with the program and eventually purchased it for myself to use for my drawings. Since my original purchase, my son, at regular intervals for things like Christmas and birthdays, would upgrade the program to the point I presently have AutoCad 2013 with the latest upgrades.

Needless to say, that is an expense I could not indulge myself to, so I have been eternally grateful that my son has maintained the program for me.  And believe me, its not cheap.

I finished a highly accurate collection of drawings of the D&RGW folio six, using  copies of the original drawings dated September 1904, 62 pages of  the rolling stock in use at that time. It was to be available in either a 8.5 x 11 sized book or a full B-sized 11 x 17 book,  drawn in HO and O gauge scales respectively.

However, my sons lawyers - he has several for his company - have warned us that publishing the books could easily generate lawsuits from individuals who may claim to own any and all rights to everything to do with the narrow gauge railroads, photographs, drawings, you name it.  Whether they do or not, the resulting legal battle would not be worth the time or money.

Another challenge that arose to completing the detailed erection prints of the locomotives was when my wife was diagnosed with cervical cancer, which she beat, but while in treatment for the cancer she had a massive stroke that wiped out her entire left side.  During therapy, she was dropped and broke her back. she is now in a nursing home some thirty miles away, consuming a lot of my daylight hours trying to ensure she is being treated right, something that can be wildly challenging at times. As you can imagine, there is no money left for things like trips to Chama.

So, the drawings have stopped, the trips to Chama for measurements and photographs have stopped. I have tried in vain to get information from those collectors that may indeed have the information I need to finish the locomotives - accurately - but no luck. And at this point, I do not see much chance of a restart.

I have no desire to release drawings that are inaccurate at any point. Although much of what I have completed is quite valid, it is by no means complete.

All I originally wanted back in the 70's was a set of accurate drawings so I could  built a model of K36 #484 for an NMRA contest entry. None were available, so I decided to do them myself.

I never dreamed it would take all this time and still not be complete.


John said...

Sorry, Bob. I thought your work was really great. --John

Bob said...

Many thanks for visiting John. If my wife continues to get better, I may find a bit of time to continue.

John said...

Bob my own wife was severely injured in a terrible car accident in June, I'm sorry to say that I can relate to your situation on some levels...

If you ever wanted to sell me a K-36 erecting diagram or two (or the DXF file for me to make two decent-sized wall prints for my own use), I'd jump at the chance, and cherish your craft in my home! Even my wife had commented before her accident that she thought your work looked awesome and she would like to have that kind of thing up on the walls. ...We've spent many weekends up in Chama riding the Cumbres & Toltec over the past 10 years. Hope to again someday.

Best, --John

Bob said...


If the drawings (K36 elevations) get finished to my satisfaction, you'll certainly get print, and they are pretty close.