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Wind Crest Model Railroad Club is Preserving Colorado's History

July 14, 2014

HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO (July 14, 2014) - The Wind Crest Model Railroad Club in Highlands Ranch is preserving Colorado's history by building a  miniature replica of the Gilpin Tram Railroad that serviced the early mines above Blackhawk and Central City from the late 1800's until it ended operation in 1917.
This Gilpin Tram 2 foot gauge line served the early mines by bringing the ore from the mines to various processing mills in Blackhawk. The processed ore was then shipped out in box cars, via the Colorado & Southern 3 foot gauge railroad, to destinations across the country.
The retirees' O-scale narrow gauge railroad is being built inside a 16-foot by 26-foot room on the Wind Crest campus. All locomotives are sound-equipped and run on wireless Digital Command Control. Building structures are being scratch-built from actual mine plans.
"We thought this would be a good way to preserve some of Colorado's early narrow gauge train history," said Jim Murphy, who heads the Wind Crest Model Railroad Club, which consists of 14 members male and female. Murphy has been involved in model railroading for the past 70 years.
The following work is being done four days a week in two-hour intervals:
Building bench work.
Painting backdrop.
Laying track and turnouts and ballasting the track with real dirt from Central City.
Wiring and associated electronics to run on wireless Digital Command Control.
Landscaping, including, ground cover, grass, roads, trees and streams.
Making trees and bushes.
Pouring casting resin water.
Making rocks out of plaster and painting them to resemble real rocks.
Building ore cars.
Run operating sessions as the real railroad did with time schedules.
"We are building in O-scale narrow gauge to make it much easier for people to operate," said Murphy. "We are very proud of our progress to-date and all the skills we have learned."
The Wind Crest Model Railroad Club was started before the retirement community opened in June 2007. The club has built a Holiday Village Train Display in the front lobby of Wind Crest each year for the past seven years. It runs trains daily from Thanksgiving through January.
The Wind Crest Model Railroad Club's motto is: "It's the Journey, not the Destination," as a model railroad is never totally finished.