Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

The Thunder Mesa Mining Co. wishes you and yours a very Merry Christmas with best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year!

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Depot at Chicken Flats

The 1:1 scale Chicken Flats Depot aka my art studio and home to the TMMC.

I've spent the last couple of weeks working on a 1:1 scale structure project that should go a long way toward enhancing the presentation of the railroad. Final painting and detailing is now complete on the 16'x16' Chicken Flats Depot, also known as my art studio and home to the On30 Thunder Mesa Mining Co. and the N scale Pagosa & Southern. "Chicken Flats" is the family nickname for our rural one acre property, so when I got the notion to repaint my studio in railroad-y colors I knew that it should harken back to a small Santa Fe depot from the early 20th century. Yes, we do keep a few chickens around.

The tin roofed out-building came with our property when we moved in 10 years ago and I always wanted to do a little more with it. Now that it houses the TMMC, a railroad theme seamed perfect. Of course, now I also have an excuse to lay some 7.5" gauge tracks out front for that ride on backyard railroad I've always dreamed about - but don't tell my wife!

For comparison, here's what the building looked like before work began. Yikes!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Photo Special

I've been busy with too many real-world projects to get much done on the railroad this week, so today's post is a collection of past scenic shots, revisiting a day in the life of Thunder Mesa.

It's just before dawn at Thunder Mesa depot and the station master is already at work writing up train orders for the day's crews.

Work is underway at Saguaro Siding as well where a crate of machine parts is being hoisted up for delivery to mines along the Calico High-line. Engine #4 passes in the foreground with the daily mail in tow.

The first rays of morning sun hit Baxter's Butte as the Earl Vilmer steams through McKennon Arch.

From high on Baxter's Butte, a resident big horn sheep observes the action below.

A little later, the Marc F. Davis chuffs through Dinosaur Gap with a load of ore bound for Thunder Mesa mill.

Engine #1 is an eccentric teakettle to say the least.

Dinosaur Gap turns out to be an excellent rail-fanning spot as we later spot the Ollie Johnston pulling a short mixed train with SFD&C Combine 101 bringing up the tail.

Things slow down around noon as the heat of the day sends desert critters and people alike scurrying for shade. It's pretty quiet here in the Cactus Forest, save for a pair of wrens busy with nest building and a hungry coyote looking for a chance meal.

The circle of life goes on in the Living Desert. 

The quiet break doesn't last too long however, and soon we see Estrella & Sonora Grande #1 heading through the Gap. The E&SG has a gentleman's agreement with the TMMC and sometimes runs equipment here.

Back in Thunder Mesa, there's lots of action at Big Thunder Creek as the Ollie Johnston backs into the mill siding with a string of side dump ore cars. Up above, the Marc F. Davis works the mines.

Working the mill is a thirsty job and the #6 stops to top off at Thunder Mesa tank.

Late in the afternoon we catch another glimpse of Combine 101 heading back into Rainbow Caverns as a lonesome cougar looks on.

The last rays of the sun bathe McKennon Arch as another day comes to a close. Engine #5, the Frank Thomas, pulls a freight bound for  San Lorenzo.

Night settles in and a full moon rises above Baxter's Butte as Old Unfaithful geyser begins to erupt again.

Day's end and the station master is still at work, finishing up the day's paperwork and getting ready for tomorrow.

Thanks for coming along on today's photo journey, I hope everyone enjoyed it. There are several new projects on the workbench so check back next Friday for a new update. That's all for this time. Adios for now!
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