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deemery
Fireman

USA
8266 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2020 :  4:36:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The Dolly Varden layout at Suncoast (https://www.finescalemodeling.org) is amazing, it really captured that railroad's "look and feel." I got to see it at the NNGC Convention a couple years ago (when it was in North Carolina.)

dave

Modeling 1890s (because the voices in my head told me to)

Edited by - deemery on 02/11/2020 4:40:04 PM
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RyanAK
Engine Wiper

USA
302 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2020 :  8:00:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thought I’d add a few things I’ve learned about the C&NW narrow gauge and Werley in the book The Dinky...

1875 report of the Wisconsin Railroad Commissioner:

Entire length: 31 miles, three-foot narrow gauge, 35 pound rail, 1 tunnel, 3 bridges, 1 turntable, 2 water tanks, 5 depots, 2 locomotives, 1 passenger car, 10 boxcars, 19 flatcars, 5 handcars, 70 employees including 25 section men, maximum speed 12 MPH, accidents: killed one cow and a couple of hogs, “Anyone can build a depot; the company will put in a sidetrack.”


Some of the exceptional writing by the authors:

The C&NW resolved to broaden the gauge of their narrow gauge mini-empire...

Everything was standard-gauged. Everything, that is, except for the 16-plus miles between Fennimore and Woodman. In a narrow valley north of Fennimore the builders had employed two “horse shoe curves.” One had a radius of only 250 feet. To a model railroader, that amounts to a 34-inch radius curve in HO scale. Non only was The Dinky’s route narrow gauge, but only the
smallest of narrow gauge engines could run on it at that.

And so it was that the mighty Chicago & North Western - one of
the chief players in midwestern railroading - came to be the operator of a tiny rural narrow gauge line. It was an operation destined to become an anachronism from the start. It was a line devoid of much traffic; a line so tenuous as to be vulnerable to the first Model T Fords.

It was also a line traversing a region of picture-postcard vistas; a line which kept the nineteenth century alive in a remote valley for two and a half decades after the march of time had erased it elsewhere. And perhaps most significantly, it was a line destined to endear itself to the heats of those who lived within its reaches - And those of a later time who came to know it only in spirit.”


Romantic stuff!


Some facts, also from the book:

Fact One. Of the two terminal towns, Fennimore had a population of about a thousand people while Woodman had fewer than 200. The fact that both of these towns had standard gauge railroads... meant that through freight traffic would be negligible, if existent at all.

Fact Two. Freight traffic, then, would have to derive from on-line communities... One of them, Anderson’s Mill... was a name only. That left Werley as a source of revenue. During the life of the narrow gauge, Werley maintained a populace numbering around 30.

Fact Three. Being of unique gauge, The Dinky... was destined (or doomed) to endure for as long as it could make an 1880’s physical plant work. The only exception was a pair of new locomotives in the 1910 era...


I knew this was a little narrow gauge line, but holy cow! So much great information in this little book... including that most of the freight cars seen on the siding in photos of Werley were actually being stored there.

Good thing we’re proto-lancing this, methinks. :)
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Michael Hohn
Fireman

USA
6122 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2020 :  8:04:49 PM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Does it say if they ever turned a profit?
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railman28
Fireman

USA
5552 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2020 :  8:18:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Don't confuse this story teller with Facts!

It's only make-believe
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RyanAK
Engine Wiper

USA
302 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2020 :  8:44:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mike - they did eek out a profit... for a while. Before automobiles really impacted the traffic. Primary revenue was passenger service with enough rural freight that they added the freight room at Werley. Fennimore was on a spur branch of the C&NW from Madison. To continue west, passengers were routed over the narrow gauge to Woodman to make connections with the Milwaukee Road. Being part of the C&NW certainly helped the financial picture... the narrow gauge wasn’t standing on its own financially and probably accounted for revenue equal to a rounding error on the Class I road’s ledger. The Dinky existed from 1881 until January 1926 - not even making it to the introduction of Ford’s Model A. Still, 45 years is pretty remarkable run.

Hey, I’m a storyteller too! But these facts are fascinating. Just... tough to prototype model a storage track with an occasional mixed train passing through and switching a car or two a month. :)
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Michael Hohn
Fireman

USA
6122 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2020 :  9:11:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
45 years was in fact not a bad run.
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