This week I am trying something a little different, mainly because I’m running out of decent pictures of the old layout. More of a history thing or of little treasures found.
Since my father passed away about 14 years ago my mother has been slowly going through the boxes of stuff that my father had collected. He was the ultimate pack rat. Anything she finds that even remotely has anything to do with railroads, she sets aside for me. I usually bring it home, look at it and decide whether to keep it or toss it. But sometimes I’ll set it aside to look at later and it ends up tucked away somewhere until I come across it again. Such is the case with the following.
While planning the railroad, I knew that I would have a staging yard for the “rest of the world” where trains or freight cars would come from somewhere else to the main yard in New Brighton. For freight this would be best handled by the Minnesota Transfer Railroad, a line set up by the 9 major railroads serving the Twin Cities. It would move cars between the major rail yards, while also serving local industries. In New Brighton that would have been the Twin Cities Arsenal, the New Brighton stockyards, a pole and tie yard and several lesser industries.
While researching the MTR online I found a group of photos showing the line in action, almost exclusively with steam power. I came across a Proto 2000 0-8-0 at a great price and figured I would reletter it for the MTR and my motive power for the transfer railroad would be handled.
The other thing a found while researching was the constant reference to a book – Gateway To The Northwest, The Story of The Minnesota Transfer Railway. I decided I had to have this book, only it was self published by the author in 1954.
So for about the last two years I have been regularly checking the internet for copies, as well as auction sites and every second hand bookstore I could find. While going through boxes of the stuff I had set aside until later and putting what was “keepers” in the new cabinets, I almost fell over when I came across some photocopies. My father had photocopied the entire book I had been searching for.
Moments later I came across not 1, but 3 copies of the book itself. I should explain that the book is soft covered and only 32 pages long. It mentioned that the “Transfer” with the power and financial backing of 9 major roads dieselized in about 2 years and by 1954 ( the year I’m modeling ) only had two 0-6-0’s on hand. 1 for backup and the other with a flanger. So now I’m looking for a 1000hp Alco to handle the transfers.
Next up is copy of ” The Railroad Telegrapher “. It’s dated September 1913. Something my grandfather had saved and my father ended up with. It contains a wide variety of opinion pages, stories, updates on telegraph operators for all roads by divisions ( weddings, deaths, births of children, promotions, transfers, etc. ) , track updates for all roads by division ( tracks taken out of or returned to service ), as well as poetry, updates on the Women’s Auxiliary, jokes and of course plenty of ads aimed at railroad workers in general, telegraph operators specifically. Kind of a Readers Digest for the railroad world.
Last up is a train order sheet that was tucked into the book. I’m sorry that I didn’t pay attention to where it was in the book as it may have marked a page that referenced my grandfather. I also apologize for it being in two parts as it was to big for my scanner.