Site updated on 11/26/2022 - updated outdoor track in what's new
Contact Bob at email@example.com
If you are inclined you can contact me with questions or comments. If you have modeling tips I would love to hear them.
Planning the Website:
When considering what I wanted to include as content in this website my first inclination was to keep it rather simple mostly along the lines of a photo essay. The more time I spent on it the more I wrote. The more I wrote the more it became a dumping ground for my pontifications on my modeling philosophy, how and why I modeled, and even the things that I found annoying about the hobby. In many respects this website has evolved into a "how to" website. Or at least a how Bob does it website. Fortunately for you, you get to pick and choose what to read. For those of you that what to get a feel for the Chile Verde Line without reading through all the text I suggest that you scroll down on each page until you reach the photos. One more thing, on just about every page you will need to scroll down. It isn't always obvious.
For those of you that just want to see photos of the Chile Verde Line and have no desire to read my pontifications, CLICK ON THIS BUTTON
For those of you who want to see a music video of my railroad click the Push me! Button.
You will note that several of the photos have been "Photoshopped". The use of photoshop allows me to add steam and smoke to the locomotives. Most of the time I don't bother. Photoshop also allows me "hide"the windows on the one wall that has windows. Sometimes I do it and sometimes I don't. I've added a page on photoshop and mixbook. Check it out if you are so inclined. Many of the photos on this website were taken by my good friend and great model railroader Bruce Williams, aka, Sniffing Wolf. One more thing, the drawing showing the track plan for the layout is in the Train Control and Operations section. Changes have been made to the layout since that was done.
My Mental Image of the Chile Verde Line:
The date is June 13th, 1947. As one would expect, it’s a warm sunny day. The sky is almost too blue to believe and the clouds over the Jemez Mountains are nearly snow white. Hard to believe unless you live here. The old shabby looking Mikado and Consolidated narrow-gauge locomotives of the D&RGW RR routinely take freight and passengers out of the southern San Juan mountains from Chama, New Mexico, through the forests and down to the little village of Chamita, just north of the San Juan Pueblo (now known as Ohkay Owingeh). From there, a line heads up to Santa Fe with a branch to Los Alamos Junction and the scientific laboratories established during World War II. Trackage from Chamita also heads north up to Antonito Colorado completing the Chama, Chamita, Antonito triangle. The route map below shows the stops between Chamita and Chama. Trackage from Chamita to Antonito is what we know as the Chili Line. All trackage and stops being the same with one major deviation. On my railroad Espanola is nothing more than a whistle stop.
In 2021 I started making significant changes to the outdoor portion of the railroad (see "what's new" section for details). I'm in the process of adding the fictitious village of Chile Verde (see map below). I'm also adding Los Alamos Junction on the outdoor elevated yard.
I guess I should not assume that you all know about the actual Chili Line. The Chili Line, officially known as the Santa Fe Branch, was a 3 foot narrow-gauge branch of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW). It ran 125.6 miles (202.1 km) from Antonito, Colorado, to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Denver and Rio Grande Railway (D&RG) began construction of the line in 1880 and completed the line from Antonito to Española, New Mexico, but could not build any further because of an agreement with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (AT&SF). The Texas, Santa Fe and Northern Railroad was incorporated to complete the line, and the line between Española and Santa Fe opened in 1886 and was transferred to the Denver and Rio Grande shortly thereafter. It ceased operations in September 1941 just months prior to the start of World War II and was completely dismantled by 1942. The D&RGW closed the Chili Line because of competition from road transportation. Chamita, the focal point of my railroad, was a station stop just before Española.Yup, the Chile Verde Line railroad is a fictional branch line of the Denver and Rio Grande Western. I live a few miles north of the village of Chamita.
Why the Chile Verde Line:
For my railroad I chose to spell chile with an “e” rather than the more traditional chili with an “i” as the actual Chili Line was spelled. Chile is the proper Spanish spelling of the peppers grown in New Mexico and other parts of the southwest. Not only locally correct, this spelling serves to differentiate my railroad from the actual D&RGW Chili Line. So how did I end up with The Verde, you ask? Verde is Spanish for “green,”. In New Mexico we think of chile peppers as being either red or green. As I am a contrarian by nature, I decided, for some unknown reason, to call my RR the Chile Verde Line. To justify that decision I decided to incorporate a village on my RR called Chile Verde. No, they do not grow green chiles in Chile Verde. They don't grow chiles at all. The climate isn't right. I'm sure at some point I will come up with a implausible justification for having a village called Chile Verde.
For those of you that are knowledgeable on the early days of the D&RG narrow gauge you are probably aware that the planed destinations and routes were nothing like what eventually happened. The map at the bottom of this page, circa 1881, depicts the routes in New Mexico as originally envisioned. You will note that it has a Chama to Espanola leg as well as the Antonito to Espanola leg.
I’ve always wanted to model post-war D&RGW narrow gauge railroading and I wanted to model railroading in New Mexico. The only way to do that was to model a “what if” railroad. As shown in the original D&RG map below and as mentioned above, there was considerable thought given by the D&RG in the 1880’s to have a branch of the San Juan Extension go south from Chama to Chamita and onward to Espanola. As part of my fictitious Chile Verde Line history, the D&RGW extended the line in 1942 up to what became Los Alamos Junction. Los Alamos is the site of the Manhattan Project. My fictitious Los Alamos Junction is as close as the railroad could get to the actual site of the Manhattan Project. The major reason was that the terrain was not conducive to laying track. The other reason was that the U.S. Army wanted to maintain total control over who and what entered and left the site.
My Overall Concept:
One of the reasons that I choose 1947 to model is because I enjoy modeling rundown and weathered structures and railroad rolling stock. It had nothing to do with the fact that I was born in June of 1947. Well, maybe it had a little to do with it. Many railroad and commercial structures post-World War II showed the signs of continued neglect, due to the great depression and WW II. That said, my little town of Chamita was relatively prosperous as it benefited from the federal funds brought into the area to support the war effort and the continued development of the hydrogen bomb post-war. Many of the people in the town of Chamita and those at the depot are rather well dressed, not as the local Ranchers, farmers and shopkeepers were inclined at that time. Those apparently overdressed folks are scientists, engineers, and administrative personnel that are on their way to Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. In 1947, as it was through the 1960s, people dressed up to cross the street. As part of the post-WW II theme on the layout, there are numerous WW II posters on the structures.
Even though my railroad was strongly influenced by Los Alamos Lab, I tried to stay true to the cultural and historic aspects of the region. Chamita is in a rural area, and farming, ranching and textiles were the major source of income during the early to mid 1900s. Within 50 miles of Chamita there are eight Native American Pueblos. Starting in the 1920’s railroads such as the D&RGW and the AT&SF realized that tourism could significantly enhance their profits. Pueblo pottery, and Native American art and jewelry became a tourist attraction. I included a stock pen, Gallegos Produce Distributors and Farm Supplies, Maestas Carriage Shop, Tres Amigos Cantina (or what’s left of it!), Chamita Trading Post, Martin’s General Store (pronounced Marteen’s in the local accent), a Hispanic Padre standing in front of the Crow’s Cantina trying to dissuade folks from entering, and numerous Native-American-themed posters and signs to help capture the cultural and historic aspects of the region.”