The Norfolk and Western Railway

Layout: Introduction

I have recently purchased a house with a double basement garage, half of which is destined to be home to a new layout, which is currently being designed.

The layout will be based on the section of the Pocahontas Division of the N&W, between Welch, WV. and Bluestone, WV.

This section of the N&W represents the last part of the eastbound climb up the Alleghany Mountains, and is the scene of heavy helper operations, concentrating on getting coal from the West Virginia coalfields, over the mountains to the ports at Lamberts Point.

In the late '60s, Name passenger trains still ran over this route, and the Pocahontas and the Powhatan Arrow will be featured on the layout, running to the times published in the 'Official Guide', for April 25, 1965.

Givens and Druthers

As far as the layout design process is concerned, it is useful to break ones requirements down into Givens (those factors which you can't, or won't change), and Druthers (features you would like to incorporate).

My own set are as follows:




Layout Plans

The drawings presented here are very much still works in progress, and constructive feedback would be much appreciated.

The lower level has the mainline arrangements and grades worked out, but the is still plenty of work to do in developing the Welch area, and I'm still trying to fit in a branch from the Keystone / Northfork area, feeding McDowell, to be represented by staging.

The upper level still has lots of work to be done. Features to be included are Elkhorn Tunnel, Bluestone (above the main staging yard), another town west of the tunnel, and the branch from Bluestone, feeding the Pocahontas coal fields (more staging - via the helix, perhaps).

The interim stage shows how the layout can be up and running with only the majority of the lower deck in place. There are inevitable operational compromises resulting from the 'dogbone' schematic, but at least I'll be able to run trains!

I have included a graph of the grade profile for the lower level here, as the elevations are not very readable on the current versions of the drawings. I will attempt to make them a bit more readable in the next version.

Return to the N&W home page

Page last updated Tuesday, May 26, 1998 by Simon Leigh