A wet start

It was a wet start to the day, inside and out. The rain woke me up early so I’ve been pottering around in the garage. Last night’s application of torn up newspaper had dried so I gave it another thick coat of paint then made a very runny mix of filler and brushed this into the wet paint. As this layer began to dry I made a slightly thicker mix of filler, this time with black poster paint added, and worked this into the previous coat. A hollow in the rock face became apparent between the truck dump and the tunnels so this was patched over using thick card and more torn newspapers.

With the layout now thoroughly wet I stopped working on it and took a few photos. The first, from a high angle looking “south” shows the track plan of the zigzag section (hopefully explained by the route map further down the page).

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From a lower angle the mountainside looms over Jones River.

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And looking down at the river shows the mine to good advantage.

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Over breakfast I gave some thought to the proximity of the low level tunnel and the zigzag and doodled some ideas on scrap paper.

The theory is that the bridge over Jones River and the tunnel on the low level are part of a 1922 deviation route. This uses the San Pedro line between Frog Rock and Resurreccion, then via a new two mile long base tunnel to cut out the steeply graded sections in both directions via the Summit Tunnel and the zigzag, thus allowing longer and heavier trains over an easier gradient on the new main line.

zigzag route map2

However, the original route was also retained because it served mining communities which had no other connection with the outside world.  A major earthquake shook the area in January 1962, causing damage to both bridges over the Jones River. The deviation route bridge was repaired by jacking up the girders at the north end and providing new concrete footings but the older masonry arch viaduct upstream from Nubenegras was more severely damaged. The railway’s chief civil engineer decided that it would cost too much to rebuild and the old route is now treated as two separate lines. The northern section, terminating at Nubenegras, sees only sporadic freight trains and the southern section is operated as a branch from Puerto del Sastra with regular trains running only as far as Puente de los Diablos. This station is located within the zigzag, so all trains arrive and depart in reverse. Freight traffic is tripped beyond Puente de los Diablos to various mines as required.

Anyway, that’s enough modelling and theorising for today. The weather outside has brightened up, and the birds are singing, so I’ll take the dog for a walk and have a birthday drink in town this afternoon.

Resulting in a wet finish, as well as a wet start.

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About Bob Hughes

Ex railwayman, life long railway modeller, lover of real ale and spicy food. Divorced, three kids, one dog.
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