Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Rowland Emett nicknacks on the Elizabeth Valley RR

That locomotive is from E. L. Moore's Rowland Emett tribute diorama and was found parked on a siding of the Elizabeth Valley RR....
Looks like someone is pouring something into the machine. That's the Elizabethton Depot over on the right.
That's a snippet from a larger scene on the Emett diorama. Same loco, different station: Twittering Halt.
In the mountains surrounding the Elizabeth Valley, Mr. Moore hid away the wandering house that appeared in both the Emett diorama and the Water Wheel Mill scene. Wherever it goes, it aways seems to be To Let :-)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Light Ray Blues, Series 2, Instalment 16: Room service

When we last left Leslie she was getting ready for a good night's sleep at the Lord Elaine. Does that pizza have pineapples on it . . . .

There was something in Leslie that never slept no matter how tired she was. Some part of her consciousness was always on alert. Always on edge.

The room was dark except for the glowing numbers on the bedside clock and a strip of light peeking from under the door to the hallway. 

The clock’s number flipped from 1:31am to 1:32 am. 

The light strip under the door broke into several pieces.

The door knob rotated ever so slightly.

Leslie reached under her pillow for her metal companion and held it firmly in her right hand. Ready.

The door opened and two shadows moved inside. One carefully closed the door behind them.

Leslie propped herself up and leaned against the headboard.

The shadows moved from the entry, closer to the bed. Her night vision was good, but she couldn’t make out their faces. She really wanted to see who they were.

She called to them before they got too close, “Stop where you are.”


Both shadows switched on flashlights only to be greeted by the barrel of Leslie’s loyal companion. They froze. Leslie was momentarily blinded, but she kept her aim steady.

A shadow called out, “You can’t use that thing. Give it here.”

“You’re right, I might aim for your leg and hit your balls.”

One shadow waved a little box and said, “This is a fusor and one little squeeze and your insides will be sliced out and barbecued before you can yell come and get it.”

“Don’t make me laugh. That one won’t work. I know, I built it.”

“You listen to me bitch ...”

“You listen to me,” growled Leslie as she grabbed the night-stand phone’s receiver, dropped it on the bed and pushed the operator button all the while keeping steady aim on the shadows. 

“Room service. How may I help?”

“Two men have broken into my room. Call the police!”

They ran.

“Yes miss! Are you alright?”

“Yeah, they just ran into the hall.”

“Thank you. Security is on their way.”

Leslie had no intention of waiting. All her belongings were in the knapsack. She didn’t change, just put her helpful friend in the top pocket, grabbed her shoes and knapsack and ran into the hallway. She ducked into the alcove at the far end of the hall that housed the floor’s ice maker, put jeans and T-shirt on over her pajamas, laced on her shoes and ran for the nearest stairwell. 

If she met cops on the way down she’d just tell them she just was a poor, scared woman who panicked and didn’t know what the big, bad men would do to her if she stayed. They’d buy that. If she met those two shadows, all bets were off. 

Luckily she saw no one. 

She took the stairs straight down to the basement and ran to the car rental booth. She woke up the attendant and got a car. 

Five minutes later she was on her way to Sharbot Station.

A wooden court house in Texas

[1880 Fayette County Precinct #2 Courthouse, Fayetteville, Texas, as drawn by Earl Thollander in his book Back Roads of Texas, published by Northland Press, 1980]

In Fayetteville's delightful town square I sketched the 1880 Fayette County Precinct #2 Courthouse. It has a two-cell hoosegow upstairs and a working Seth Thomas Clock in its tower.
Earl Thollander describes the wooden Fayetteville court house.

The comments in the post for E. L. Moore's Court House got to talking about how it's tough to find pictures of wooden court houses online. I couldn't find any, but I thought I might find one in a book I had somewhere in the house called The Courthouses of Texas.
[The Courthouses of Texas, by Mavis P. Kelsey, Sr. and Donald H. Dyal, published by Texas A & M University Press in 1993.]

I couldn't find any wooden ones in that book, but I did find a pen and wash drawing of an old one located in Fayetteville, Texas in Back Roads of Texas. It has some features very similar to E. L. Moore's: two-storey, clapboard siding, boxy, tower. There's some differences too: sloped roof instead of barn, no fancy entry columns, walkout and porch on the tower, and what look like some Christmas lights strung from the eaves of the tower's roof. They're roughly similar and suggest that there might have once been a prototype out there somewhere for Mr. Moore's model.
Back Roads of Texas is a favourite. It's a tour book of back roads trips through Texas illustrated on every page with pen and wash drawings. Given the book was published in 1980, I'd hazard a guess the drawings were made in the late 70s. I wonder how much of what Mr. Thollander drew still remains.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Light Ray Blues, Series 2, Instalment 15: Making plans

In our last instalment, Ed and Mary Ellesmere had made a successful nighttime escape from the train where they were being held prisoner and were now hiding out at a station. Leslie was holed up for the night at the Lord Elaine hotel. I'll turn down the lights before today's episode starts . . . .

Leslie unlocked the room door, pocketed the key, entered and dropped her knapsack on the bed. She gave the place the once over. Not much for such a ritzy hotel, but right now, all she needed was the bed. It had been a long day, much too long with the Cobs’ Corners police, and sleep was calling. 

But, she had one last thing to do. She unzipped an outer pocket on her knapsack and took out a small address book. She thumbed through it and dialed a number on the night-stand phone. 

It rang.

“Madwood here.”

“Frank, it’s Leslie. Did I wake you?”

“No, but ten minutes later you would have.”

“I just wanted to tell you that Ed found Mary. She’s alright.”

“That’s great.”

“Can you meet us at her lab tomorrow around 7pm?”

“Sure, no problem.”

“Ok, see you then. Remember to bring the stuff.”

“Ok, bye.”


Episode 16 can be found here.

The other grail of E. L. Moore photos?

At the The Holy Grail of E. L. Moore photos has a Goofy problem post, Paul mentioned in the comments section that his grail photo would be one of the scenicked front left corner of the Elizabeth Valley RR. This is the best photo of the layout's front lower left corner that I've come across. It's a section of this night photo.
The upper left corner is the location of the Branch Line Station and has been visible in a number of layout photos. The front lower left corner appears to be empty.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Wales meets Colorado on the Eagleroost & Koontree RR

That Eagleroost & Koontree locomotive is a mongrelish cross between something Welsh and something Coloradish.
E. L. Moore remarks on the lineage of E & K locomotive #5.

After a little searching based on E. L. Moore's remark that this locomotive is largely scratch built over a Kemtron Teakettle frame, it looks like he used Kemtron's brass HOn3 Teakettle 0-4-0 kit for the running gear, boiler and most of the structure forward of the cab. That's the American, or more specifically in Mr. Moore's terms, the Coloradish part of the model :-)
He didn't use the kit's cab but built his own, and it does resemble narrow gauge locomotive cabs of Welsh heritage. I can't point to a specific prototype, but it seems to capture the general look of cabs on those machines. You can also see that he added a set of wheels under the cab's back end.
Mr. Moore also noted that it has a couple of interchangeable pilots, making it a general purpose workhorse on the Wales-orado mountains of the Eagleroost & Koontree.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Down Brakes!

They come down that grade and out of that tunnel like a bat out of -- well, out of a cave. That Eagleroost & Koontree locomotive is a mongrelish cross between something Welsh and something Coloradish. Largely scratch built over a Kemtron Teakettle frame, it has a couple of interchangeable pilots and stacks, has a Brill leading truck under it's rear, and the cab is pretty well detailed (Johnson bar, gauges, firebox door, oilcan, scoop and fire hook). Stock car and box are also scratch built of course, and of course that's narrow gauge country (HOn3).