The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A visit to the Colorado Railroad Museum and more

Early this summer I was on the road twice, one trip to Illinois for a symposium and later a family trip to southern California. Trains were a part of both trips.

For the first trip on my return leg I was able to stop for a leisurely afternoon at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden. I had a couple purposes here, but the main one was just to see it for a fourth time. I had visited here first back when I was in junior high, with my parents, right when I first became interested in trains and model railroading, and I later visited in high school and again in graduate school. This area in the first photo was totally new to me, I recall staying at the motel that used to be in the general location of this roundhouse. Click on any photo for a larger view.

The silver rail cars in the photo above are “galloping geese” which were unique to the narrow gauge Rio Grande Southern. Sticking with the RGS, this second photo is of a type of narrow gauge caboose that on looking at a Sn3 model of a similar car in a case in the basement of the museum I think could be a model I try to convert to American OO.

This third photo is of a narrow gauge tank car. This is on a type of cast steel truck that I also have the PBL Sn3 version of waiting to be converted soon to American OO. For sure it will look better than a Scale-Craft OO freight truck; more on this conversion soon.

This next photo is of a narrow gauge coach. I am going to keep my eye peeled for any good deal on one of these in Sn3 as I think it also might make a good conversion to American OO without too much work, as would the longer type of Sn3 stock car sold by PBL.

The museum is not all narrow gauge. This beautifully restored RPO at the right has me itching to work on a similar car in American OO, which won’t be easy as so few makers produced an RPO in OO.

Also we have this observation. It is ATSF, and just behind it is a UP smooth side streamline car. I am also itching to get some streamline cars running on my layout. This itch was made only stronger on the second trip I mentioned at the beginning of the post, where I was able to visit the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. Which is also a great place that I want to visit again. They feature big layouts in N, HO, O scale, and O tinplate at the museum, plus a few more displays. Very inspiring for any model railroader!

This final photo is back at the Colorado RR museum, of standard gauge equipment pulling into their museum main building. In the basement of this building they also have a model railroad (in HO) and various other historic model train displays. In terms of OO the unsurprising news is that neither museum so far as I could tell had any piece of American OO gauge equipment. Not one. In fact the San Diego museum had examples of equipment in every scale other than American OO in one case, where they had G, O, S, HO, TT, N, and Z gauge models of PFE reefers. I have three OO scale models of the same car in good running shape on my layout.

So American OO did not make it into either museum. Are we that far out in left field? I sure hope not but the reality is maybe. I know this summer I will be working to reorganize and improve my personal "museum" to American OO gauge, and with this site I hope to keep building up awareness of this little used but classic model railroad scale.

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