Layout Visit – Southern Central Railroad

These three structures are in placed temporarily to see how a larger complex would appear. All are based on photos and a bit of conjecture. The left-most one represents a yeast factory, the second is a plow factory, and the building to the far right is the start of a malt house or brewery.
Michael Hohn has temporarily placed these three structures on his layout to see how a larger complex would appear. All are based on photos and a bit of conjecture. The left-most one represents a yeast factory, the second is a plow factory, and the building to the far right is the start of a malt house or brewery.

In May, I returned to Morgantown, WV, to celebrate with my daughter and daughter-in-law as they received degrees from West Virginia University. Before hitting the road, I contacted Michael Hohn to coordinate a visit. Michael and I have been long time members of the Mon Valley Railroad Historical Society, and we have bounced home layout ideas around. A visit date was set up quickly.

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New Discoveries

B&O Freight House, Wheeling, W. Va. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, HAER WVA, 35-WHEEL, 4
B&O Freight House, Wheeling, W. Va.
Image from the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, HAER WVA, 35-WHEEL, 4

Recent Internet searches have led me to a new string of customers that were served by the Wheeling Freight Terminal. It seems wrong to call these the product of a search as I actually just stumbled into related details. Note the tall buildings in the background of the image above. These structures constituted a block that all had docks along the tail track that accessed the team yard. I had wondered about these buildings before, but there was little info at hand when the layout was being designed in 2012. Click on any image here to review a larger size.

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Moving forward

As has been confirmed on the recent Model Railcast Show, I’ve chosen the Baltimore & Ohio Wheeling Freight Terminal layout design for my next project. Overall the smaller scope of the project just seemed to fit the room better than the sinewy Wheeling & Lake Erie line that winds through industrial Newburgh, Ohio. I do hope to model that line at some point, but this space is just shy a couple of feet in both directions make it work well. The narrow 15 inch benchwork of the Newburgh design meets the railroad operating needs but limits the scenic scope of the urban fabric that is a mutual component of that rail corridor. I will put those ideas aside for now and hope they can be reconsidered in another house a year or two down the line.

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A second option for the hobby room

The business end of the B&O Wheeling freight terminal as seen from across Wheeling Creek.

The B&O Wheeling, WV freight house and docks as seen from across Wheeling Creek. This is one of the HABS/HAER images taken before the facility was leveled.

As outlined in the previous post, I am contemplating a new HO scale model railroad in a spare bedroom of 9′ 10″ by 16′. I want to keep this layout simple to ease building, operating, and eventually tearing down and moving. I’m also lucky to have prototype details in hand to assist with two different projects. A portion of the Wheeling & Lake Erie was detailed in the last blog post, so now it is time to share details and thought processes for a second prototype.

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How does it all fit?

The W&LE crossing Broadway Avenue in Newburgh.

Looking west at the W&LE crossing Broadway Avenue in Newburgh. Image from the Cleveland Memory Project of the Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University.

When I talk to model railroaders about using the prototype to guide a layout design, nods of approval are typical, as is the question, “How does it all fit?” With patience and creativity, a good portion of a well-defined prototype can fit into an available space. Let’s walk through some thought processes to fit the Newburgh rails of the Wheeling and Lake Erie into my new hobby space that is 16 feet long by almost 10 feet wide.

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