Sunday, September 11, 2016

Snowplow for the Eagleroost & Koontree RR

[Plowing snow along E. L. Moore's Eagleroost & Koontree HOn3 railroad.]

E. L. Moore's articles have mentioned at various times three model railroads that he's built: the Elizabeth Valley Railroad, a 4'x6' foot HO-scale layout, pictures of which were featured in many photo essays and building construction articles; The Enskale Hoentee Railroad, a 30" x 30", N, HOn2 1/2, and T scale project layout he built for Railroad Model Craftsman in its October, November and December '68 issues; and the Eagleroost & Koontree, an HOn3 'layout'. 

I put layout in quotes because I think it wasn't a layout in the usual sense, but a narrow gauge model railroad that was staged on some sections of the Elizabeth Valley Railroad and in temporary stand-alone dioramas and scenes. 
These are some photos Mr. Moore staged along the E & K to show-off a giant snowplow that was featured in his January 1961 Model Trains article, Snowplow in an evening.
[Virginia and Truckee Railroad Locomotive #18 with snowplow. Sourced from the University of Nevada, Reno Library]

When I came across these photos I thought that plow was some fanciful thing that E. L. Moore had cooked up, but he states in his article, when you've finished, you should have a graceful replica of an oldtime plow such as was used on the old Virginia & Truckee and many other lines back around the turn of the century. And some internet searching confirmed that it was an actual plow.
The thing I find mindblowing about the article is the lavish attention paid to what is admitted to be a model that cost no more than 10 cents to make. The article has no photos of the plow in various stages of construction, but instead has 4 large, elaborately staged photos of the plow in action clearing Goat Pass on the E & K. I think the 'construction' article was just an excuse to show-off some fine photos.
Here's a game to consider: take a cheap, insignificant piece of model railroad equipment, or some other innocuous model railroad prop you happen to have around, and use it as the centrepiece in a staged scene. Photograph it. What kind of story can you tell? Where does the story lead?
Here's the locomotive and caboose without the plow. The loco's likely freelanced, or "mongrelish", as Mr. Moore notes in the card taped to the back of the photo.


  1. The Denver Leadville & Gunnison had at least one of these plows. That was a 3 foot line in Colorado. At the time the line was owned by the Union Pacific and I think I've seen photos of this type of Wedge Plow in use on that Road. The Colorado & Southern was the successor of the DL&G in 1899; independent of the UP after five years in receivership. Initially they used this plow but had a couple of Rotary Plows and a Jull Plow along with 4 Flanger cars (not to mention a bunch of the pilot mounted Butterfly plows and the priest plnagers on the pilot trucks of most of their Norrow Gauge engines. The last evidence I've seen of the Wedge plow was about 1904 where the Denver Switcher (2-8-0 No. 64) was still equipped with the brackets welded to the smoke box for mounting the plow. So perhaps Moore - who apparently collected books - had a copy of Mac Poor's Denver south Park & Pacific where photos of the plow could be found. There is definitely a Colorado-y sense to these model photos.

    The locomotive is a derivative of the Kemtron kit of the D&RG 0-4-0t switcher. In the '50s and 60's they offered a couple of versions of this model. Moore has definitely ELM'd it but it is evident none the less...

    Check out HO Seeker on the internet some time. A vast resource of data on past vintage.

    1. Thanks Darrell! I'm curious about the Mac Poor book myself, and the HO Seeker - I need to do a little searching.

    2. Thanks Darrell! I'm curious about the Mac Poor book myself, and the HO Seeker - I need to do a little searching.