A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

October 12, 2010

Wood Rick for Falmouth Engine Terminal

I ballasted the area around the wood rick before gluing it in place to make it easier to get an even ground cover.

I built a simple wood rick for the Falmouth engine terminal. What is a rick anyway? The Apple dictionary says,
a stack of hay, corn, straw, or similar material, esp. one built into a regular shape and thatched.
• a pile of firewood somewhat smaller than a cord.
• a set of shelving for storing barrels.
ORIGIN Old English hrÄ“ac, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch rook.

Anyway, my model is a open platform design made with strip wood. I situated it between the turntable lead and a storage track. The photos show a flat car in the process of being unloaded. The loaded wood car is spotted on the turntable lead as there is no way to use the loco to spot a wood car on the storage track. In the prototype, the crews could use ropes and poles to switch a car off the turntable and on to the storage track. Or they would assign 50 men to quickly unload it while the engines waited.  My operators may have to 0-5-0 it into place on the storage track.

The model firewood logs are twigs from the backyard that I cut and split when green, and set aside to dry. Just like real firewood  :)   I used  Crepe Myrtle and Azalea twigs.

Now where to site the ash pit? The most logical place is on the turntable lead. Perhaps near the water tank just in case some ashes flare up?

Speaking of water tanks,  how do you think the water tank got filled? Bucket Brigade from Clairborne Creek that is just a 100 yards or so away? Or did they use pumps?  I did find a message from the Virginia Central that mentioned a water tank and pumps were destroyed at a station by Union cavalry raiders in 1862. Can I assume that they used pumps to fill water tanks when artesian wells or creeks were not available?


  1. Bernie,

    The service facilities look great!

    I have seen photos of some short or backwoods lines where instead of an ash pit, they seem to have just laid down some sheet iron on the tracks to give some minimal fire proection and dumped the ashes there, which might be an alternative on a temporary line (if this is a USMRR built facility and not an existing civilian one) to a stone lined pit

    Sneaking a peak at this blog and your progress is one of the guilty pleasures of my work day.

    Keep it up.


  2. Job well done on the wood rik. On the Ash pit; I have never been able to find examples of one on a wood burning road. That includes such well documented roads as the Virginia and Truckee and the Central Pacific. Not in photos or plans do ash pits show up until they started burning coal.
    Wood burning lasted the longest in Oregon and Washington and I have been unable to find examples of ash pit there ether. I brought this up on the early rail site a while back. they could not provide any evidence of ash pit being provided for wood burners ether. they were of the opinion that the ashes left by wood burners were pretty minimal and presented no fire hazard especially when compared to coal. They felt that the ash would be dumped on the ground in front of the engine house and left to be blow away by the wind. Personally I was a bit disappointed by this information because I think ash pits are interesting structures. So in conclusion, I don't think you have to worry about providing an ash pit.

    Bob Harris

  3. Thanks for the comments. I have yet to see an ash pit in the photos of ACW era facilities too. I don't have an engine house at Falmouth, but I could detail the ground on the storage tracks with some ashes as Bob suggests.