Book Review – Chesapeake & Ohio, the Decade of Change 1961-1981 in Color

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By Thomas W. Dixon, Jr.
The Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Society 2017
ISBN 9780939487301

45star

Review by Dan Bourque

Book - C&O the Decades of Change by Thomas W. Dixon Jr.Thomas Dixon’s Chesapeake & Ohio, the Decades of Change is a surprisingly refreshing and unique book. If you’re a fan of the C&O in the coal fields, you doubtless have a few of the C&O Historical Society’s previous (and excellent) books by Mr. Dixon … Read more

N&W Dry Fork Branch, WV track plan HO

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  • Size: 15′ x 24 ′
  • Scale: HO
  • Minimum Radius: 30″ (except 28″ on non-mainline tracks as noted)
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 27″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

N&W Logo (Tuscan)The Norfolk & Western’s Dry Fork Branch was a major artery through the coalfields of southern West Virginia. The branch connected to the Pocahontas Division mainline along the Tug Fork at Iaeger, WV to the north and to the Clinch Valley Sub to the south at Cedar Bluffs, VA. The heart of the Dry Fork Branch was the yard at Auville, WV, near Iaeger, where mine runs were assembled and mine run power kept.

The Layout

This track … Read more

N&W Jenkinjones, WV track plan HO

N&W Jenkinjones, WV track plan HO
  • Size: 11′ x 20 ′
  • Scale: HO
  • Minimum Radius: 30″ (except as noted on tail tracks)
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 33″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

N&W Logo (Tuscan)Jenkinjones, West Virginia was a company town that lay at the end of the N&W’s Tug Fork Branch, almost to the border with Virginia. Toward the end of the steam era, Jenkinjones was home to three tipples that all loaded company coal from the Pocahontas #3 seam. The tipples were reached via switchbacks after a grueling climb up 2.5% grades making this a tough piece of railroad to operate.

The Layout

This track plan represents Jenkinjones in the 1940s-50s when all three tipples were … Read more

SOU L&N Clear Fork Branch track plan HO

SOU L&N Clear Fork Branch track plan HO
  • Size: 12′ x 16 ′
  • Scale: HO
  • Minimum Radius: 24″ 
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 30″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

Southern LogoThe Clear Fork Branch on the border of Tennessee and Kentucky branched from the L&N’s mainline but was owned by the Southern Railway and jointly served by both roads. The Southern reached it via trackage rights from a connection to it’s Jellico line a couple miles north of the branch. The branch was several miles long, but most of the loaders were stacked in the last half of the branch between Clairfield, TN and Fonde, KY.

The Layout

This track plan captures the Clear Fork Branch from Clairfield to Fonde and … Read more

L&N SOU Middlesboro, KY track plan HO

L&N SOU Middlesboro, KY track phan HO
  • Size: 15′ x 20′
  • Scale: HO
  • Minimum Radius: 30″ (unless otherwise noted)
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 30″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

L&N LogoThe L&N first reached the hamlet of Middlesboro, KY (then Middlesborough) around 1890 on it’s quest to tap the coalfields and build a bridge route to the Norfolk & Western in western Virginia. From Middlesboro, the L&N used (and later acquired) the Southern’s (KCG&L) tunnel near the Kentucky/Tennessee state line at Cumberland Gap to reach Tennessee and then Virginia. For a few decades, this route formed the mainline of the L&N’s Cumberland Valley (CV) Division. The Middlesborough Railroad was … Read more

NYC Boardman Creek Branch, PA track plan HO

NYC Boardman Creek Branch, PA track plan HO
  • Size: 11′ x 15′
  • Scale: HO
  • Minimum Radius: 27″ 
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 24″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

NYC LogoIts line into West Virginia notwithstanding, the heart of coal country for the New York Central was Clearfield, PA. From Clearfield, lines radiated in several directions, including a winding route south along Clearfield Creek. A handful of branches left Clearfield Creek for the hollers, including the Boardman Creek Branch which followed Potts Run serving a handful of loaders. In its heyday in the 1940s, the line stretched five miles from Potts Run Jct to Carnwath, PA. The line was abandoned by the NYC in the … Read more

C&O NYC Leivasy, WV track plan HO

C&O NYC Leivasy, WV track plan HO
  • Size: 11′ x 12′
  • Scale: HO
  • Minimum Radius: 24″ 
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 30″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

C&O LogoLeivasy, West Virginia lay at the end of the Kanawha & Eastern Sub, part of the paper railroad Nicholas, Fayette & Greenbriar, a cooperative effort between the Chesapeake & Ohio and New York Central (see NF&G track plan for more details). The extension to Leivasy was a latecomer to the railroad, only completed in the late 1960s. In a small space, the railroad branched from a wye to serve three good sized tipples and a small lumber mill.

The Layout

This track plan represents the … Read more

L&N Defiance, KY track plan HO

L&N Defiance, KY track plan HO scale
  • Size: 11′ x 14′
  • Scale: HO
  • Minimum Radius: 27″ 
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 35″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

L&N LogoThe L&N’s Eastern Kentucky (EK) Division ran through the eastern Kentucky coal fields. It consisted of a long line between the L&N mainline and the heart of the EK at Hazard, Kentucky. From Hazard, lines went up a number of streams and hollers including the Carr Fork of the Kentucky River. The Carr Fork Branch served more than a dozen tipples in the several miles between Jeff, KY and Anco, KY. Defiance, KY was about halfway up the Carr Fork Branch. A short spur … Read more

C&O NYC Nicholas Fayette & Greenbriar Railroad, WV track plan N

C&O NYC NF&G N scale track plan
  • Size: 22′ x 30′
  • Scale: N
  • Minimum Radius: 20″ 
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 30″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

NF&G Map Rainelle, WVNYC LogoThe Nicholas, Fayette & Greenbriar railroad, more commonly known as the NF&G, was a paper railroad set up by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) in 1929 to resolve the battle between the C&O and NYC on which road would serve the rich coal deposits being developed along the Gauley and Meadow Rivers. The heart of the NF&G was the assembly yard … Read more

NYC Kanawha & West Virginia, WV track plan HO

NYC K&WV HO scale track plan
  • Size: 12′ x 18′
  • Scale: HO
  • Minimum Radius: 27″ 
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 27″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

NYC LogoThe Kanawha & West Virginia was built beginning in 1903 to connect Charleston, WV with the rich timber and coal resources of the Blue Creek Valley. The K&WV was 34 miles long, and after a brief spell hauling oil after a boom in the early 1900s, the K&WV settled down to hauling coal for its parent, the New York Central. Though the mainline from West Charleston to Blue Creek was cut in 1967, the Penn Central and Conrail still operated this branch until 1990 (when … Read more