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Painesdale Mine & Shaft 

Copyright 1996-2006
Kevin E. Musser



Kevin Musser's Copper Range Railroad
Circa 1923

I started building my first Copper Range Railroad in 1993 with the help of a great group of friends, dubbed the "Midnight Pocatello Yardmasters". I had been developing the ideas that went into this railroad for over 15 years and finally had the time and space to do it.  You can view my first layout here.

The start of a new Copper Range Railroad started in the Winter of 2000. It is a much reduced plan from my first attempt but more manageable and will allow for greater detail of the area of the Copper Range I like the most. The route will recreate the area from Atlantic Mine to Painesdale, with a possible extension to Houghton. The general route on the prototype can be seen below.

The representation of this route in my basement can be seen below. 
(Each square is equal to one square foot)

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The plan for the Painesdale portion of the layout (under construction)

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CR Engine #58 (model by Rev. Herman Page) pulling CRRR 957 (model by Kevin Musser) towards Atlantic.

General: The railroad has a total mainline length of 70 ft., which represents the Copper Range railroad from Atlantic Mine to Painesdale Michigan, set in 1923. The design is a point-to-point with a Wye at each end, walk-around style, utilizing memory throttles. The track is code 70 throughout, minimum radis is 30 inches and #6 switches, #8 switches are used on all passing sidings. Passing sidings are found in all towns and are required for realistic operation. The railroad supports 2 roaming road cabs and one yard cab at Mill-Mine Junction. The railroad is dispatched using a custom database I developed using a VBA application for EXCEL to realistically route and make up trains. A fast clock is also used during operation.

The Atlantic Mine section of the layout in the process of construction.
The Copper Range Atlantic depot and Atlantic Flour Milling Company buildings can be seen along with some company houses.

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A Copper Range passenger train rumbles past a farm house near Mill Mine Junction.

Construction: All of the structures are scratchbuilt from plans I have found or developed myself from old photos or existing structures. All of the structures are ones which were found in the Keweenaw. Most buildings are in their exact location but some have been moved to enhance the appearance and for selective compression reasons. Scenery is "Oatmeal" and I use poly foam for the supporting structure. Trees and ballast are from natural sources. The ballast has been taken from the mainline of the Copper Range to get the exact color and ground to scale size. The railroad mainline is 55" from the floor which gives a great viewing perspective, no helicopter view here. Height disadvantaged may need to use a step block.

Photos of the construction of the Champion #4 ShaftRockhouse in Painesdale.

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Champion #4 ShaftRockhouse (Mock-up in cardboard, CRRR 101 built by Herman Page)

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Additional photos of the mock-up as well as the Champion Oil House (left foreground) and the Captain's Office (left background).

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Early construction of the Rockhouse, using a basswood frame, Grandt Line windows and scratchbuilt doors.. Campbell's corrugated sided just starting to go up. The plaster foundation is also complete.

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Further construction shows the Rockhouse nearly complete, Captain's office and Company office to the left

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Close up of the Rockhouse entrance (metal still not weathered, just poor reflections)

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Another view of the Rockhouse and some of the shafthouse completed

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Champion #4 Shaftrockhouse (complete), captain's office (complete), hoist house (mock up) to the right, electrical shop (mock up) and oil house (complete) in foreground. Photo taken from the roof of the machine shop (mock up). Scenery to come.


Models of Copper Range equipment: 

Motive Power: 
The CRRR roster still needs some filling out, but for now this is what is running.
CRRR #0 0-4-0 Yard Switcher, #0 didn't exist and mine just helps out in the Houghton Yard
CRRR #1 0-6-0 Switcher, doing duty on the mainline for now, will end up on the branch or in a yard, one day
CRRR #28 2-8-0 Consolidation, currently under restoration at the Musser shop
CRRR #29 2-8-0 Consolidation, currently in the Parry shops under heavy reconstruction
CRRR #51 4-6-0 Ten Wheeler, the Copper Range only had one and so do I
CRRR #58 2-6-0 Mogul, built and decaled by Herman Page
CRRR #100 2-8-0 Heavy Consolidation, still in its brass coat
CRRR #101 Baldwin DS-4-4-1000 diesel, built by Herman Page (a little early for 1923, but just had to have one)

Cabooses: Replicas of CRRR cabooses are:
CRRR #5, a 30 ft'er with a baggage door, seen in so many CRRR photos on work trains and mixed passenger trains
CRRR #9, a 17 ft, 4 wheeler common on the Range
CRRR #4, a 17 ft, 4 wheeler under construction

Coaches: Replicas of CRRR passenger cars are:
CRRR #52, a 54 foot, 4 wheel truck coach which sat 60. Number 52 operated on the Range until 1944, it went to Mexico
CRRR #64 coach painted in CM&St.P colors, built by Herman Page
CRRR #1, RPO / Baggage painted in CM&St.P colors, built by Herman Page
CRRR #100 The "Miscowaubic" painted in CM&St.P colors, built by Herman Page
CM&St.P The "Ontonagon", used on the Northern Michigan Limited, built by Herman Page
CM&St.P #250, used on the Northern Michigan Limited, built by Herman Page

Box Cars: I have built to date three types of CRRR box cars as follows: 
Pullman series 1899, lettered #139, 141-150
Pullman series 1903, lettered #151-160
Pullman series 1904, lettered #161-170 (161 was the first one I built)
Schurermann Brewery Car, Copper Range #150
Bosch Brewery Car, Copper Range #957

Rock Cars: I have focused my efforts on the American Car and Foundry 40 ton hopper cars
CR #2600-2649, I have 10 or so completed or near completed. 
I am also building the 3000 series steel cars which are heavily
modified from Bowser PRR H-22a Hopper Cars, a method shown to my by Robert Oom

Flat Cars:
CRRR #1127
CRRR #1128

CRRR #1023
CRRR #1012. 

Photos to come as construction progresses.