PAGE 12 – APRIL 2003

PROTOTYPE NARROW GAUGE

A 1:1 Decauville Micro Layout!

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trackageSteve Bennett, of Black Dog Mining Co. fame, kindly forwarded these photos of Decauville portable railways displayed at a model railway show. The gauge is 40 cm (15.75″) and the diameter of the circles, 4 metres (about 13′).

The French firm of Decauville was one of the world’s leading suppliers of industrial narrow-gauge equipment and trackage, and these carefully-restored items of prototype “snap track” date from the 1890’s.

The overall length of the Decauville skip wagon is 3′ (90 cm) and the frames are a little over 2′ wide (60 cm). The skip itself is 1 metre wide (3′ 3″). The original wheels and axleboxes/journals were replaced by the British firm, Robert Hudson, sometime in the last 20 years–but for completeness these are 9″ (23 cm) diameter curved spoked, with a tread width of 2″ (5 cm).

This material was displayed at a model exhibition in Leeds, England during March 2003 by the Narrow Gauge Railway Society. The equipment is privately owned.

 

 

 

 


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PROTOTYPE NARROW GAUGE

U.S. Industrial Railway in 1915

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Bill Chestnut, who lives in Bridgeton, New Jersey, forwarded these archive photos of a narrow gauge railway serving the Cumberland Glass Manufacturing Co. in Bridgeton, about 1915. In the photo above, the battery-powered locomotive looks like a homemade unit. It features two large battery boxes, a frequent feature of early battery locos. Using one box provided slow speed, and adding the second shifted into “high”! The “train” comprises a flat car loaded with crates of glass bottles, ready for shipment.

Bill found these glass lantern slides in the files of the Bridgeton Antiquarian League, of which he is vice president. The photographer was Clayton McPherson. Below are two more lantern slides from the set, which must have been used to illustrate a lecture on the glass industry. One of the primary products of the Cumberland plant, c. 1915, were the famous cobalt blue bottles used for Bromo Seltzer. They all left the factory on these narrow-gauge rails (looks like about 18″ gauge)!

Anyone who has some more information about this early industrial railway is requested to get in touch with Bill at the League’s address. Meantime, he’s begun a Gn15 layout based on the little line!

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Carl Arendt

Webmaster Carl Arendt died on March 4, 2011 in Olympia, Washington. Carl came to Pittsburgh to attend Carnegie Mellon where he graduated with a degree in physics and met Sheila, his wife of 49 years. Carl started work for Westinghouse Electric Corporation where he spent his entire career. During this time, he and Sheila raised their three sons. Following retirement from Westinghouse, Carl threw himself into the world of micro-railroading. In 2002 he started this web site, and authored three books on the subject. This web site attracted a large worldwide following, and Carl built up a collection of friends who came to know and respect him even though most had never met him in person. Such was his personality that it shone through across the ether. He and Sheila moved to Olympia in 2009 to be close to their son Giles and his family, where Carl enjoyed time with his three grandchildren. His wit, erudition, and creativity made this true gentleman a joy to be with, in both the real and the virtual world. This site is a trove of microlayout ideas and examples, and so long as it continues will keep Carl's memory alive and further the hobby he loved.

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