N&W Clinch Valley District, VA track plan HO

  • Size: 19′ x 33′
  • Scale: HO
  • Minimum Radius: 30″
  • Minimum Aisle Width: 30″
  • Designed by Dan Bourque

N&W Logo blue PlainThis track plan was designed to fit in a previous basement of mine.  It models the west end of the N&W’s Clinch Valley District from Boody (St. Paul), VA to Norton, VA.  In all, it represents about 20 miles of mainline and 2 miles of branchline.  This was a very busy area with heavy minerun and interchange traffic.  In all, there are four railroads represented on this layout:  N&W, Interstate, Clinchfield, and L&N.

The Layout

This layout includes most of the coal loaders along the line and the Tom’s Creek branch with two large loaders.  Most of the major scenic features are there as well, including a few of the long, high trestles and tunnels that marked this territory.   All of the major interchanges are in place as well, even those not involving the N&W.  The Clinchfield and Interstate are also continuous running loops if needed to “recycle” trains.  I’ve intentionally tried to avoid stacking the high traffic areas like Norton, Boody, and Castle to keep operators out of eachother’s way.

Upper Deck

Track plan N&W Clinch Valley District, VA HO scale - Lower

Lower Deck

Track plan N&W Clinch Valley District, VA HO scale - Upper


Operations could easily keep several operators occupied for a few hours. The N&W would need a dispatcher, a Norton Yardmaster, a mainline crew, and a pair of mine run crews. The other railroads would require an operator apiece. If the layout is run post-1973 to the mid-1980s, several L&N trains per day would be run over the N&W from Norton to a connection with the Clinchfield at Castle (St. Paul) adding even more work for mainline crews and the dispatcher.

Things I Like About this Plan:

  • Great mainline operation and scenery
  • Plenty of switching
  • St. Paul is prototypically laid-out
  • Four railroad operation
  • Working interchanges

Things I Don’t Like About this Plan:

  • Lots of hidden staging
  • Interstate staging is very short
  • Mainline trains relatively short (12′) due to short passing sidings

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