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

  • 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), each with its own loader and tracks.

N&W mine run on the former NKP at Hanna, OH, Oct 1977 -Everett Young

N&W mine run on the former NKP at Hanna, OH, Oct 1977 -Everett Young

The small yard at Adena was home to a few mine runs to work the smaller tipples, but the prep plant was by far the biggest receiver and shipper on the line. Because of the nature of the prep plant, raw coal would come up the line from Adena and points west (Brewster, OH) and clean coal would leave the plant. Two railroads, a dense concentration of tipples and the loads-in/loads-out nature of the prep plant make this a great prototype for modeling.

The Layout

This layout features the two ends of the AC&NA, Adena and Cadiz, with a few tipples in-between. The track arrangement is based on 1964 track charts, so the layout is a decent representation of the NKP and N&W in the 60s and 70s. The layout is small for an HO-scale double-deck plan, but the arrangement allows a lot more operation and focuses on the most interesting parts of the line. The lower deck’s focus is Adena Yard and Georgetown, and the upper deck’s focus is the huge Georgetown Prep Plant at Cadiz.

The yard at Adena was actually built on the line between Pittsburgh Jct., OH (P&WV connection) and Neffs, OH (B&O connection), but the mainline to Neffs is “stubbed” just beyond the yard to keep the focus on the AC&NA. In essence, Adena serves as a functional yard but also visible staging for hoppers to/from the B&O. Most of the staging is to the west at Brewster (under Georgetown). The wye allows trains from Brewster to terminate in the yard or run directly to Cadiz without stopping, both of which are prototypical. The lower deck is also home to a few loaders. Hanna Tipple B is modeled with both load and empty tracks, but Tipple D and Pittsburgh Coal at Duncanwood are modeled with stub tracks to save space–the siding at Duncanwood should be adequate to facilitate the removal of loads before placing empties. In all, 4 of the 6 loaders in this area are modeled. The branch enters the helix at Duncanwood. The entry to the helix is disguised by a footbridge–it’s not based on reality, but it’s better than nothing.

Track plan NKP ACNA, OH HO scale

The upper deck is dedicated to the Georgetown Prep Plant. Cadiz consisted basically of 5 yards: a raw coal yard (near the ponds), yard for the tipple and a clean coal yard ran along the north side of the tracks while a longer yard in front of the tipple and another yard where the PRR connected gave extra room for making up trains and other chores. This track plan uses the yard on the far end of Cadiz as visible staging for the PRR, but the other 4 yards are represented. In reality, there was a rotary dumper between the raw coal yard and the tipple, but I removed this due to space constraints (besides, modelers probably wouldn’t unload their coal just to load it again under the tipple 2 feet away).

Georgetown Prep Plant near Cadiz, OH, Oct 1977 -Everett Young

Georgetown Prep Plant near Cadiz, OH, Oct 1977 -Everett Young

The upper deck also has a continuous running track that joins PRR staging with the raw coal yard at Cadiz, just in case you want to run trains in circles. There is a duckunder, but at 60+” high, it’s more of a nod-under. If you want staging on both ends of Adena (along with continuous running on the lower deck), you could add another duck-under to route the line from Adena back under the helix to staging, but this would create a true duck-under (ouch). Due to the limited number of trains that would run in a session, an entry level DCC system (Digitrax Zephyr, NCE PowerCab, MRC Prodigy, etc.) with a booster and walkaround throttles would be sufficient to control trains.

Operations

This layout would be perfect to keep a couple of operators busy for a couple hours. Staged trains would represent empties bound for the AC&NA tipples and raw coal trains bound for the prep plant. One operator would work the yard at Adena making up mine runs and working the smaller tipples on the lower deck. Another operator would work the prep plant trains which would run up the branch and drop their trains in the long yard in front of the tipple before picking up a train of clean coal and running it back to staging. A third operator might do the same for the PRR.

I have no documentation on how Cadiz was worked, but with most joint lines, the railroads alternated times when each would do the switching. Using this as a model, you could have the NKP crews switch Cadiz one session and PRR crews switch it another (I have no evidence of the Georgetown Prep Plant owning its own switcher). Switching would consist of taking raw coal from the long yard and placing it into the raw coal yard. From there, it would be shoved (more than likely rolled) underneath the tipple and into one of the clean coal yard tracks. Crews would then have to make up both NKP and PRR trains to get them ready for the next train out.

Things I Like About this Plan:

  • Upper and lower deck scenes offset as much as possible
  • Captures the size of Cadiz operations
  • Two functional railroads
  • Adena layout pretty prototypical
  • Lots of railroads could be modeled by changing the timeframe of the session (NKP, N&W, NS, PRR, PC, Conrail)

Things I Don’t Like About this Plan:

  • Duckunder
  • Lots of curved switches
  • Couldn’t get all the loaders in

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3 Responses to NKP Adena, Cadiz and New Athens, OH track plan HO

  1. Kevin Kuchler says:

    I really love this plan and it inspired my current layout in terms of a PRR/NKP jointly owned coal branch. My track arrangement is nothing close to this, but I think that I would eventually want to do this in N scale. I think N scale would be particularly effective in a room of a similar size to the HO plan. Plus, I love its accuracy and effectiveness. It even gives me the excuse-I mean, option, to build a modern roster of NS GEVOs and hoppers. I am definitely filing this away for when I have the permanent space. Thanks for all of your work.

    • Dan Bourque says:

      Glad you found some inspiration in the plan, Kevin! I agree this would make a great N-scale layout, especially given the large nature of the Georgetown facility.

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