Arroyo Mining RR On30

Arroyo Mining RR

The Arroyo Mine RR was built several years ago, after a long absence in the hobby, with the goals: 1) to see if I still had an interest in building model railroads, 2) to check out the cool On30 stuff, 3) to try DCC and 4) to try light weight foam board construction techniques. I also wanted to get away from hand laying track and use some flex track.


The layout was 20 inches wide by 8 feet long. It utilized Peco On30 track and turnouts as the Micro-engineering turnouts were not yet available.

The theme was mining in the Nevada desert, something along the lines of the Yellow Pine Mining (Goodsprings,Nevada), the Pioche and Pacific (Pioche, Nevada), and the Borate and Daggett Railroad (Daggett, Nevada). These railroads are described in Railroads of Nevada, Volume one and two. Operation consisted of running empties from the std. gauge interchange, up the switchback to the mine, load the cars (actually loading) and then return, switch the train out and dump the loaded cars. It was actually fun to operate, even though it was a short run.

Equipment consisted of a Bachmann Climax, Shay and Kit-bashed 0-6-2. All had DCC and Soundtraxx decoders. The main mine cars were Bachmann side dump cars and there was a scratch built caboose and boxcar. All structures were scratch built. The mine was very loosely based on plans of the Dessert Queen mine in Tonopah, NV that appeared in FineLines magazine. I made a few changes, there are four gates instead of two and the headframe has one lift instead of two. The mine was never finished before the layout was sold.You can visit the Dessert Queen at the Tonopah Mining Museum.  


Suggested changes to the plan would be to increase the length to 10-feet to reduce the grades, which were somewhere close to 7%. The Bachmann shay cannot handle grades above 3% (bucks on the downhill) and the Climax is limited to 4%. They both climb such grades easily, but due to sloppy drive mechanisms, buck and kick on steep down grades. I would also raise the height difference between the standard gauge interchange and the narrow gauge. I goofed the height measurement and couldn't quite get a 45 degree angle at the dump, which is needed for actual dump car operation.

The layout was a success in that it definitely rekindled my interest in O-scale narrow gauge model railroading. My interest to complete the Deer Creek On3 layout was off and running.....the Arroyo Mine RR was sold and moved across the country where hopefully she will soon run again.........












With Bachmann's announcement of the 18-ton Heisler and Wisemann's introduction of the resin shay conversion kit, maybe its time to re-evaluate and re-create the Arroyo? Pulling it out to 10 ft (breaking up into two modules, five feet long) would reduce grades to what the Bachmann engines can handle...................