URR Clairton Branch, PA track plan N

  • Size: 18′ x 19′
  • Scale: N
  • Minimum Radius: 15″
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 30″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

Union Railroad LogoThis plan is good for those who like big industries and modeling a small area in a big space with little compression. The Union Railroad has served US Steel’s Pittsburgh, PA steel mills for more than a century. While the URR’s own coal tipples played out long ago, the Union still hauls a lot of coal from it’s coal-hauling neighbors and serves the largest coke plant in the nation at Clairton. N scale was chosen for this layout to allow the huge industrial complexes in … Read more

N&W Dumps Creek Branch, VA track plan N

N&W Dumps Creek Branch track plan in HO lower deck
  • Size: 23′ x 24′
  • Scale: N
  • Minimum Radius: 18″
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 30″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

N&W Logo blue PlainThe N&W’s Dumps Creek Branch operated more like a self contained short line than a branch. In it’s 16 miles, the signaled branch served several large loaders of the Clinchfield Coal Company, a pair of the company’s large preparation plants and a power plant. It had its own yard at Carbo, VA with a small shop, and it operated big power on several trains daily hauling coal up and over the Sandy Ridge through a tunnel more than a mile long.

The Layout

This layout represents the Dumps Creek Branch in its heyday … Read more

B&LE Shenango, PA track plan N

Track plan B&LE Shenango, PA N scale
  • Size: 15′ x 20′
  • Scale: N
  • Minimum Mainline Radius: 20″
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 30″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

B&LE Logo PlainThe Shenango/Greenville area of the B&LE was unique in that it was a major hub of a railroad and yet not on the mainline. In 1902, the K-O cutoff from Kremis (south of Shenango) to Osgood (north of Greenville) was completed which greatly improved the grades and curvature by keeping the main out of the Shenango River Valley. However, the old line remained important because it hosted three interchanges and was home to the B&LE’s major engine and car shops. Shenango Yard was the site of the … Read more

K&T Steam Era track plan O

Track plan K&T steam era O scale
  • Size: 20′ x 22′
  • Scale: O
  • Minimum Mainline Radius: 48″
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 36″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

K&T Logo PlainThe K&T was a compact little road that ran short trains to a handful of loaders. As such it makes a great subject for a layout of modest proportions or a layout of a larger scale.

The Layout

This layout, my first attempt at an O scale layout, captures the key elements of the K&T in the 1950s when coal trains were still going as far as Oz to serve the handful of remaining coal loaders using Southern hoppers and a small fleet of aging steam engines. The idea with this … Read more

NYC VGN Deepwater, WV track plan N

Track plan NYC VGN Deepwater, WV N scale
  • Size: 12.5′ x 18′
  • Scale: N
  • Minimum Mainline Radius: 16″
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 30″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

NYC Logo PlainDeepwater, WV is a tiny town in the middle of West Virginia, but it was home to three major railroads: the C&O, NYC and Virginian. The C&O’s mainline through the coal fields between Charleston, WV and Hinton ran along the south bank of the Kanawha River through Deepwater, and the New York Central hugged the north bank of the Kanawha on its way from Charleston to Gauley Bridge, WV and the Nicholas, Fayette & Greenbrier (NF&G) coal field it shared … Read more

INT Roda Branch, VA track plan HO

Track plan INT Roda Branch, VA HO scale
  • Size: 12′ x 20′
  • Scale: HO
  • Minimum Radius: 27″
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 27″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

Interstate Logo PlainThis layout is designed for the guy who wants to be able to run mine runs without having to reset hoppers all the time. In fact, because of the two empties-in/loads-out tipples and corresponding loads-in/empties-out interchanges, mine runs can shuttle back in forth endlessly, or you can just sit back and let trains run in a circle around the layout.

The area near Appalachia, Virginia was a busy place for the Interstate Railroad. In Appalachia, the Interstate … Read more

L&N Crummies Creek Branch, KY track plan HO

Track plan L&N Crummies Creek Branch HO scale
  • Size: 7′ x 20′
  • Scale: HO
  • Minimum Radius: 27″
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 30″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

L&N Logo PlainThe L&N had coal branches of many sizes and varieties. The Crummies Creek Branch was one of the shorter coal branches on the Cumberland Valley Division, but it was home to several loaders all packed into a small area. The Crummies Creek Branch split from the Martins Fork main at Popeville, south of the yard at Loyall, Kentucky. It was the southernmost of the coal branches on the Martins Fork, and its profile was strange because it dropped down from the main before climbing again. Shortly after leaving the main, the … Read more

A&O Cowen Sub track plan N

Track plan A&O CSX Cowen Sub HO Scale - Lower Level
  • Size: 20′ x 24′
  • Scale: N
  • Minimum Radius: 18″
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 30″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

aologoThe B&O’s Cowens and Pickens Subs, later the CSX Cowen Sub and most recently the Appalachian & Ohio Railroad, has always been one of the major coal branches in northeastern WV. In its current iteration (2010), the line is about 120 miles long  with 153 miles of track including smaller branches, it serves seven unit train loaders, and it connects with three short lines. While most of the grades on the line are “coal train friendly” (upgrade for empties/downgrade for loads), … Read more

PRR NYC Cherry Tree & Dixonville, PA track plan N

Track plan PRR NYC Cherry Tree & Dixonville, PA N scale - Upper
  • Size: 14′ x 16′
  • Scale: N
  • Minimum Radius: 15″
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 30″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque thanks to help from Henry Statkowski

PRR Logo (plain)Sometimes in the coalfields, even the fiercest of competitors join forces for a common benefit. The Cherry Tree & Dixonville was formed in 1903 as a paper company owned jointly by the New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroad. The CT&D was essentially 34 miles of coal branches which extended from the PRR’s Susquehanna Extension Branch and the NYCs Pittsburg & Eastern line from Clearfield, PA, the heart of NYC coal operations in Pennsylvania. The NYC operated mine runs on the CT&D out of Cherry Tree … Read more

NKP Adena, Cadiz and New Athens, OH track plan HO

Track plan NKP ACNA, OH HO scale
  • Size: 15′ x 18′
  • Scale: HO
  • Minimum Radius: 27″
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 30″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

NKP Logo PlainThe Adena, Cadiz & New Athens Railway was run as a branch of the Wheeling & Lake Erie, and later the Nickel Plate, N&W and NS. The line extended 10 miles from Adena to the large Georgetown Preparation Plant at Cadiz, OH where it met up with the Pennsylvania Railroad and later the PC and Conrail. The NKP and PRR worked the preparation plant jointly. Between Adena and Cadiz were several short branches and tipples, especially in the Georgetown/Hanna area. The Hanna Coal Company’s Georgetown #12 mine had 5 tipples alone (tipples A-E), … Read more