Bad River & Port Superior

THE BAD RIVER & PORT SUPERIOR RAILROAD, IS A BLEND OF BUILDING TECHNIQUES, STRUCTURES AND OPERATIONS PLUS THE GEOLOGY, HISTORY AND COMMERCE THAT ARE THE FOUNDATION FOR THE MODEL RAILROAD'S EXISTENCE.

THE BAD RIVER & PORT SUPERIOR REPRESENTS A SHORT LINE RAILROAD THAT COULD HAVE BEEN BUILT, BUT NEVER ACTUALLY WAS, IN WHAT TODAY IS THE BAD RIVER INDIAN RESERVATION OF NORTHERN WISCONSIN.

THE BAD RIVER INDIAN RESERVATION IS A SCENIC, ISOLATED AREA , NORTH OF MELLEN, WISCONSIN (RENAMED MILTON ON THE BR&PS).

THIS AREA, ABUTTING THE SOUTH SHORE OF LAKE SUPERIOR IS HEAVILY FORESTED AND CONTAINS SUBSTANTIAL ORE DEPOSITS OF COPPER PLUS TRACES OF SILVER THAT JUSTIFIED EXPLOITATION OF THE AREA AND THE EXISTENCE OF THE BAD RIVER & PORT SUPERIOR.

THE TOWN OF MILTON IS THE STARTING POINT FOR THE BAD RIVER & PORT SUPERIOR RAILROAD. MILTON IS THE BAD RIVER's INTERCHANGE WITH THE CHICAGO AND NORTHWESTERN MAINLINE. TWO SIDING PROVIDE FOR THE TRANSFER OF FREIGHT AND LINK THE BR&PS TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD.

FUNCTIONALLY, THE TOWN OF MILTON IS WITHIN THE LOWER BENCH WORK OF THE RAILROAD's LAYOUT. AN OPENING IN THE FASCIA BOARD, THAT CIRCLES THE LAYOUT, ALLOWS FOR VIEWING AND ACCESS. THE OVERALL SIZE OF THE RAILROAD 13 1/2 FEET BY 21 1/2 FEET.

THE BAD RIVER IS NORMALLY OPERATED AS POINT TO POINT. WITHIN THE POINTS ARE THREE REVERSE LOOPS AND A TURNTABLE USED FOR OPERATIONS OF DAILY RUNS. FOR VISITORS, TRAINS CAN BE RUN THROUGH THE LOWER LEVEL AS PART OF A CONTINUOUS LOOP OF THE ENTIRE RAILROAD.

FROM MILTON THE MAINLINE LEADS TO MARYSVILLE.

MARYSVILLE (NAMED AFTER MY DAUGHTER MARY) IS THE FIRST STOP AND THE LARGEST CITY ALONG THE LINE.

MAJOR STRUCTURES IN DOWNTOWN MARYSVILLE INCLUDE: A LARGE OFFICE BUILDING, THE WILTON HOTEL, DEPARTMENT STORE AND GROCERY STORE. ALL THE BUILDING WERE CUT FROM A PRINTED DIORAMA AND THEN GLUED TO CARDBOARD.

FRONT STREET, ALSO A DIORAMA, INCLUDES A BANK, GUN SHOP AND THE LOCAL UNION HALL. TO ENHANCE THIS AREA VISUALLY SIDEWALKS, STREETS AND STREET LIGHTS WERE ADDED.

MAIN STREET INCLUDES A BANK AND A TRAIN/TROLLEY PASSENGER STATION PLATFORM. INDUSTRIES WITHIN MARYVILLE INCLUDE THE MARYSVILLE LUMBER YARD AND A GRAIN ELEVATOR COOP.

MARYSVILLE IS ALSO THE HOME OF THE MARYSVILLE TRANSIT COMPANY. THE MTC OPERATES A PASSENGER SERVICE FROM DOWNTOWN MARYSVILLE TO THE STATION PLATFORM AND THEN DIRECTLY TO BAD RIVER's EOLA STATION.

THE TROLLEY BARNS ARE LOCATED WITHIN THE BENCH WORK OF THE TRAIN LAYOUT. THE TROLLEY (BACHMANN MAIN STREE) IS SETUP FOR ON/OFF OPERATION BY VISITORS WITH AUTOMATED TIME DELAYED REVERSALS AND STOPS.

EOLA IS LOCATED IN THE RURAL OUTSKIRTS OF MARYSVILLE. THE BAD RIVER MAINLINE AND THE MARYSVILLE SIDING PARALLEL EACH OTHER FROM MARYSVILLE INTO EOLA.

WITHIN EOLA YARDS ARE THE BAR RIVER ENGINE FACILITIES. INCLUDED ARE A SMALL TURNTABLE, TWO STALL ENGINE HOUSE, WATER TOWER, COALING STATION AND YARD BUILDINGS.

THE EOLA PASSENGER STATION (ORIGINAL 1960's REVELL) SERVICES THE LOCAL AREA AS WELL AS PASSENGERS TRANSFERRING FROM THE MARYSVILLE TROLLEY LINE.

ALSO WITHIN THE EOLA AREA IS A RURAL CHURCH PLUS LOCAL HARDWARE STORE, GENERAL STORE AND TOMAHAWK's BREWERY.

CURRENTLY TOMAHAWK's BREWERY IS SPONSORING A VISIT TO THE MARYSVILLE / EOLA AREA BY THE T & M CIRCUS & CARNIVAL. VISITORS TO THE BR&PS ARE ALLOWED TO OPERATE THE FERRIS WHEEL.

THE TWO TRACK PASSING SIDING AT EOLA MERGES INTO A SINGLE MAINLINE AS THE BR&PS CLIMBS TOWARD THE TUNNEL FOR THE TRIP DOWN THE LINE.

THE TUNNEL WAS BLASTED THROUGH THE ROCKS OF THE PENOKEE RANGE, AN ANCIENT MOUNTAIN RANGE IN NORTHERN WISCONSIN.

UPON EXITING THE TUNNEL THE BR&PS DESCENDS TO THE SHORE OF LAKE SUPERIOR. ON THE WAY CROSSING HIGH TRESTLES OVER THE BAD RIVER AND THE HARBOR AT THE TOWN OF BOOM BAY.

THE BR&PS HAS A TOTAL OF 12 BRIDGES; SOME FLIMSY, HOMEMADE BALSA WOOD, OTHERS WEATHERED KITS

THE TOWN OF BOOM BAY GOT ITS NAME FROM A TERM USED BY THE LOGGERS (BOOM BAY WAS ALSO THE NAME OF THE WISCONSIN TOWN OF MY WIFE NORMA's PARENTS). THE BAD RIVER ENTERS LAKE SUPERIOR AT THIS POINT AND THE LOGS WERE HELD "BOOMED" UNTIL TIME FOR PROCESSING.

FOR HISTORICAL RECORDS THE BAD RIVER & PORT SUPERIOR RAILROAD STARTED OPERATIONS IN THE 1880's AS A LOGGING LINE. OVER THE YEARS THE LINE MOVED TO ORE HAULING AND ALSO FREIGHT FOR THE AREA's TOWNS AND INDUSTRIES.

TODAY (CIRCA 1940's) THE MAIN STREET OF THE AGING TOWN IS STILL DIRT AND GRAVEL. THE TOWN IS NOT AS WILD AS IT WAS AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY WHEN IT WAS INFAMOUS FOR GAMBLING AND VICE.

AT THEIR OWN DISCRETION, VISITORS ARE ALLOWED TO FLASH THE RED LIGHT IN THE OLD HOTEL. THIS OLD-TIME BUILDING WAS ACQUIRED FROM AN ESTATE SALE OF A BELOVED CHICAGO TV PERSONALITY NAMED FRASER THOMAS (FAMILY CLASSICS & BOZO's CIRCUS SHOWS)

WITHIN THE TOWN OF BOOM BAY IS THE BAD RIVER MINING COMPANY's ORE REFINING PLANT. SEMI-REFINED ORE IS MOVED INTO THE PLANT FROM THE ORE MINES AND SILVER LEAVES VIA SECURED CABOOSE.

VISITORS ARE ALLOWED TO SMELT, BUT NOT KEEP, THE SILVER. A ON/OFF SWITCH CONTROLS A SMOKE UNIT WITHIN THE SMELTER's LARGE CHIMNEY.

THE SECOND MAJOR INDUSTRY IN BOOM BAY IS THE BOOM BAY ICE COMPANY (THE ICE HOUSE AND HARBOR DOCK IS SCRATCH BUILT). A TRANSFER FACILITY SUPPORTS THE ICING OF REFERS FOR USE AT TOMAHAWK's BREWERY.

FISH THAT ARE CAUGHT BY THE LOCAL FISHERMEN ARE ALSO ICED AND THEN TRANSFERRED. THE BAD RIVER WAS DAMMED IN THE EARLY 1900's TO FORM THE PRESENT DAY FISHING LAKE BEHIND THE TOWN.

THE DAM MAKES ELECTRIC POWER WHICH IS AVAILABLE LOCALLY TO THE TOWN, WHICH INCLUDES: SPEEDY ANDREWS REPAIR SHOP, A BANK AND A GENERAL STORE.

THE BRICKWORK AT THE HARBOR AND ALSO AT THE EOLA ROUNDHOUSE IS REMOLDED AND CARVED PLASTER, WITH THE WOOD RETAINING WALLS BEING SCRIBED AND CUT BASAL WOOD.

THE STATION AT BOOM BAY PROVIDES FREIGHT SERVICE. A SIDING FOR RECEIPT OF TOOLS AND FREIGHT ALSO SERVICES THE HARDWARE.

THE MARYSVILLE TRANSIT COMPANY PROVIDES DAILY PASSENGERS SERVICE (BACKMANN-DCC DOODLEBUG) TO ALL THE TOWNS ALONG THE BAD RIVER LINE.

THE LOCAL LIVERY STABLE IS USED BY VACATIONERS COMING TO THE AREA TO SEE THE BAD RIVER FALLS AND CANYON JUST SOUTH EAST OF THE LAKE..

THE TOWN OF BOOM BAY IS CONNECTED TO BAD RIVER's MAINLINE VIA A SPUR OFF A PASSING SIDING JUST EAST OF THE TOWN. THIS SIDING IS ONE OF THE KEY POINTS ON BR&PS THAT ALLOWS BOTH EAST AND WEST BOUND TRAIN MOVEMENTS ALONG THE SHORES OF LAKE SUPERIOR.

OPERATIONS - THE MAJORITY OF THE SWITCHES ON THE LAYOUT ARE # 6 (LAMBERT) WITH SLOW MOTION SWITCH MACHINES (TORTOISE). CONTROLS ARE MOUNTED NEAR BY ON THE OAK FASCIA BOARD THAT CIRCLES THE LAYOUT.

TO ALLOW VISITORS TO PARTICIPATE AS TRAIN CREW MEMBERS MANUAL GROUND THROWS ARE USED AT THE PASSING SIDINGS AND FOR MOST OF THE INDUSTRIAL SIDINGS.

OPERATIONS ON THE BAD RIVER REQUIRE TWO ENGINEERS USING COMMAND CONTROL (MRC2000 WITH WALK AROUND)

THE BAD RIVER IS CURRENTLY OPERATING TWO OLDER LOCOMOTIVES LEASED FROM THE NORTHWESTERN A 4-4-0 AND A 2-6-0 (BOTH IHC). THE BR&PS ORIGINAL 2-4-0 FREIGHT LOCO (AHM) IS BEING REFURBISHED.

THE 4-4-0 RUNS A MORNING WORK TRAIN / FREIGHT AND 2-6-0 A LATE AFTERNOON FREIGHT RUN. THE BAD RIVER's 0-6-0 (BACHMANN DCC) SWITCHES FREIGHT ALL DAY BETWEEN THE HARBOR TOWNS AND THE OUTLINING MINES.

THE BAD RIVER FOLLOWS THE SHORE LINE OF LAKE SUPERIOR ALL THE WAY TO THE TOWN OF PORT SUPERIOR.

PORT SUPERIOR IS THE COMMERCIAL HUB OF THE AREA. THE RED WAREHOUSE (SCRATCH BUILT) PROVIDES FREIGHT TRANSFER FACILITY TO GREAT LAKES VESSELS USING THE HARBOR.

ALL THE HARBORS AND LAKES ON THE LAYOUT ARE PLYWOOD WHICH WAS PAINTED AND THEN COATED. THE PIERS, ROCKS, ETC. WERE THEN ADDED AND A FINAL COAT OF RESIN POURED.

ALSO SERVICED FROM THE SAME RAIL SIDING IS THE SUPERIOR BOX FACTORY WHICH CONVERTS LUMBER FROM THE LOCAL SAWMILL INTO BOXES AND BARRELS FOR TOMAHAWK's BREWERY.

TO EXPEDITE PRODUCTION OF THE BEER KEGS, A ON/OFF SWITCH IS USED BY VISITORS. THE INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY IS REFLECTED IN THE SMOKE RELEASED FROM THE OLD TIME FACTORY's CHIMNEY.

ON PORT SUPERIOR's MAIN STREET IS THE COUNTY SEAT BUILDING AND HOME FOR THE AREA's NEWSPAPER. IN THE CENTER OF THE TOWN IS MEMORIAL PARK SQUARE OVER LOOKING THE HARBOR.

BUSINESSES ON MAIN STREET INCLUDE: A CLOTHING STORE, 5 &10 STORE AND LOCAL RESTAURANT WITH OFFICES AND APARTMENTS ABOVE THE ROW OF MERCHANTS.

COUNTRY HIGHWAY #1 CUTS THROUGH PORT SUPERIOR. IN TOWN ON THE HIGHWAY #1 ARE THE LOCAL TEXACO STATION AND THE AREA's LARGEST A&P.

THE LOOP AND MAINLINE MERGE AT THE PORT SUPERIOR STATION. THE STATION COMPLEX INCLUDES A FREIGHT HOUSE AND WATER TOWER. ENGINES NORMALLY WATER HERE BEFORE CROSSING THE HARBOR BRIDGE AND ASCENDING UP FROM THE TOWN TO THE HIGH BLUFF AREA..

AT THE FOOT OF THE BRIDGE IS THE SIDING FOR THE ORE DOCK (SCRATCH BUILT). BOTH HIGH GRADE ORE AS WELL AS ROCK FROM THE MINES ARE UNLOADED TO BARGES IN THE HARBOR BELOW.

SINCE THE OLD WOODEN HARBOR BRIDGE IS REQUIRED TO CONTINUOUSLY HANDLE THE HEAVY WEIGHT OF THE ORE TRAINS, VISITORS ARE OFTEN ENCOURAGED TO TEST THE TRACKS USING THE TWO MAN GANDY DANCER.

THE GANDY DANCER (BACHMANN) IS NOT COMMAND CONTROL BUT IS POWERED FROM THE SAME MRC POWERPACK. THE GANDY DANCERS SOMETIMES WANDER TOO FAR AND OFTEN HAVE TO CHANGE DIRECTION AND WORK LIKE MAD SO NOT TO BE FLATTEN BY A FREIGHT COMING FROM THE OTHER END OF THE LINE !

THE CLIMB UP FROM PORT SUPERIOR BRINGS THE TRAINS OVER THE HARBOR BRIDGE AND INTO AN AREA IS HAS BEEN RECENTLY LOGGED. MOST OF THE TREES IN THE AREA ARE NEW GROWTH. THIS IS REPRESENTED ON THE SURROUNDING HILLS BY FOLIAGE CLUSTERS AND LICHEN. LARGER COMMERCIAL TREES ARE USED IN TOWN AND SMALL PINES ON THE HILLSIDES.

SCENERY - SAND, ROCKS AND COMMERCIAL GROUND FOAM IS USED EVERYWHERE. THE GLACIATED OUT CROPPING ON THE HILLS AND THE ROCK CUTS WERE "WASHED" WITH VARIOUS COLORS TO REFLECT THE NIAGARA LIMESTONE PREVALENT IN THE AREA.

TO BUILD THE TOPOGRAPHY, THE FOLLOWING CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES WERE USED IN BUILDING THE BR&PS. THE BENCH WORK IS OPEN GRID WITH 1X4's CANTILEVERED FROM THE ROOM's SUPPORTING WALLS. THE ENTIRE RAILROAD IS SUPPORT WITH JUST 5 LEGS !

THE "COOKIE CUTTER" METHOD WAS USED TO CUT AND ELEVATE THE PLYWOOD. THIS METHOD PROVIDED A SOLID BASE FOR THE LAKES, HARBORS AND TOWNS.

THE LAKES SERVE AS ACCESS HATCHES. ADDITIONAL HATCHES ARE BUILT INTO THE MOUNTAINS. ALL THE MOUNTAINS ARE STYROFOAM. THE STYROFOAM WAS CAVED AND THEN COVERED WITH SCAPLTURMOLD.

ALL BACKGROUND WALLS ARE 1/8 IN MASONITE. PAINTED FROM TOP DOWN, DARK BLUE TO A LIGHT BLUE. WHITE CLOUDS WERE THEN SPONGED ON.

PRIOR TO ANY CONSTRUCTION, HOWEVER THE ROOM (IN FACT THE WHOLE BASEMENT) HAD TO BE BUILT. THIS INCLUDED PLASTER CEILING, LIGHTING AND PANELING.

AFTER LEAVING THE BLUFF AREA THE LINE CROSSES THE BAD RIVER AND PROCEEDS UP THE VALLEY TO THE MINE #1 AND THE HEADQUARTERS FOR THE BAD RIVER MINING COMPANY WHICH OWNS ALL THE MINES IN THE AREA.

MINE #1 (KIT BASHED) TODAY ONLY PRODUCES SMALL QUANTITIES OF RAW COPPER ORE. TO STAY IN OPERATIONS, THE MINE ALSO SORTS ROCK AND GRAVEL FROM THE NEARBY QUARRIES. RAW ORE IS TRANSFERRED THE PROCESSING MILL AND GRAVEL DIRECTLY TO THE ORE DOCK.

FROM THE COMPANY HEADQUARTERS (ANOTHER FRASER THOMAS BUILDING), THE BR&PS FOLLOWS THE RIVER UP THE VALLEY AND THEN LOOPS BACK TO THE MAIN LINE FOR THE RETURN TO PORT SUPERIOR. A SIDING CUTS BACK TO SERVICE BAD RIVER MINE #1.

ADJACENT TO THE COMPANY HEADQUARTERS IS A SIDING LEADING BACK DOWN THE VALLEY TO THE SAW MILL (FALLER). THE MILL PRODUCES TIMBERS FOR THE MINES AND LUMBER FOR THE BOX FACTORY AT PORT SUPERIOR.

VISITORS ARE ALLOWED CAN OPERATE THE SAW MILL. AN ON/OFF SWITCH ACTIVATES THE PONDS' WATER WHEEL AND THE MILL's SAW.

THE TIMBER COMPANY IN CONJUNCTION WITH BAD RIVER MINING COMPANY OPERATES A NARROW GAUGE RAILROAD (RICO-HO 2 1/2). ORE CARS, TIMBER LOADS AND EQUIPMENT ARE SWITCHED BETWEEN MINE #1, MINE #2 AND THE SAW MILL.

VISITORS ARE EMPLOYED TO OPERATE THE NARROW GAUGE. THE LINE HAS AUTO REVERSE, TIMED DELAYS BUT ALSO ALLOWS SWITCHING BETWEEN LOCATIONS.

AT THE LOOP JUNCTION, THE MAIN LINE BRANCHES OFF. THE LINE CONTINUES TO FOLLOW THE VALLEY AND THEN THE BAD RIVER THOUGH A NARROW CANYON TO MINE #2. BAD RIVER MINE #2 IS WERE THE POINT TO POINT NORMAL OPERATIONS ENDS.

MINE #3 WHICH IS USED FOR STAGING IS BELOW THE RAILROAD AND IS ALSO THE START FOR THE CONTINUOUS LOOP TRIP ON THE BR&PS VIA LOWER LOOP.

A SOUND SYSTEM (MRC 210) WITH SPEAKERS ALL OVER THE PLACE IS NOW WIRED. THE LIGHTING SYSTEM FOR NIGHT OPERATIONS WAS JUST COMPLETED WITH STREET LIGHTS AND BUILDING LIGHTS.

FUTURE WORK - ALTHOUGH THE BAD RIVER & PORT SUPERIOR IS NOW OPERATIONAL AND PRESENTABLE, AFTER 10 YEARS, MUCH WORK IS STILL NEEDED TO MAKE IT COMPLETED. IF THAT IS EVER POSSIBLE !

BUT WITH THE PLANNED SALE OF OUR HOME, THE BAD RIVER & PORT SUPERIOR RAILROAD MAY ONLY EXIST IN THESE PHOTOS.