More Up Clear Creek on the Narrow Gauge: Modeling the Colorado & Southern
Reviewed by Chris Lane
If you follow narrow gauge modeling, chances are you have seen the work of Harry Brunk. He had a long-running series in the Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette, but I'd guess you don't realize how prolific a hobby author he is. In addition to the 144 (and counting) articles in the Gazette, he has written for Railroad Model Craftsman, Model Railroader, and our own HOn3 Annual. The first 54 parts of his long-running Gazette series were published in Up Clear Creek on the Narrow Gauge, and now the remainder, along with most of his other Gazette articles, have been compiled into More Up Clear Creek on the Narrow Gauge. Very few books are "must-haves" in the narrow gauger model railroader's library, but these two volumes lead the list.
Harry started with a very simple concept over 30 years ago. He wanted to duplicate the Colorado & Southern narrow gauge lines that once ran from Golden, Colorado up Clear Creek to Forks Creek, where the line branched over to Black Hawk & Central City on one line, and to Georgetown and Silver Plume on the other in HOn3. Knowing that he would have to compress parts of the lines, and that he lacked the prototype information in some areas, he hedged his bets by calling his layout the Union Central & Northern, Clear Creek Division. All locomotives and rolling stock were lettered for the UC&N but faithfully followed C&S prototypes including the locomotive number. Additionally, he replicated the track arrangements, and trackside structures as faithfully as space and information would allow. Did he succeed? Masterfully! While he cites John Allen as an influence on him, I can assure you the "Wizard of Monterey" has nothing on the "Narrow Gauge Magician of the High Plains." What he accomplished in bunkhouses and later a dedicated trailer (Harry is a working cowboy and Western artist) is truly astounding.
More Up Clear Creek on the Narrow Gauge picks up at Part 55, and runs through Part 120, the last article in the series. The book also includes the 22 other Gazette articles that Harry wrote following the series' conclusion. The book chronicles the final of 5 moves into the 12' by 65' mobile home that Harry calls "Little Colorado" and ends with the layout in its final (current) form. In between, you have almost 300 pages of prototype information, scratchbuilding, structure drawings, scenery techniques, locomotive modification, rolling stock construction, and research advice. Those who think they might pass on this book because they don't model the C&S or in HOn3 are making a huge mistake. I know of no other place where the problems that face narrow gauge modelers and layout builders are covered so thoroughly and masterfully.
The book cover features a beautiful painting of C&S No. 70 taking on water by Harry himself, and the book is printed on high quality, heavy paper stock. The reproduction of the black and whtie photos that accompanied the earlier parts of the series and the later color shots are all nicely printed, and all the articles are supplemented with Harry's original line drawings and sketches. From start to finish this is a beautiful book. More Up Clear Creek on the Narrow Gauge combined with the first volume Up Clear Creek on the Narrow Gauge offers a one-two punch that no narrow gauge modeler should be without. I cannot recommend this book and its predecessor more highly.