East of the Blue Ridge

Chronicles of an On30 quarry railroad

Trying to Save the Dry Fork

Dan George's Spring Creek Lumber Company HO scale layout | April 2005

May 3, 2004

Thinking about a revised Dry Fork layout without a hidden and inaccessible staging yard, without a twisting 4% grade, and with far fewer turnouts. It seemed that sticking with the basic layout might be the way to go.

Hendricks is a staging track in the adjacent room. It represents the unmodeled interchange with the Thomas Sub of the Western Maryland Railroad. Dry Fork trains would be staged here, and then enter the layout near Red Creek Junction. There is a small yard serving the junction with a branch up Red Creek to a sawmill in Lanesville. Harmon is the next point on the line, and the only town of any size served by the Dry Fork. There would be a station siding and a team track there.

The mainline continues around the room to Osceola, where there is a junction with another branchline to Laurel Bridge. The track in Laurel Bridge belongs to the Greenbrier Lime & Stone Corporation, which has a few small switch engines for working the kiln and crusher tracks.

The Dry Fork continues past Osceola and winds out onto the peninsula, eventually reaching Winterburn, which is the end of the line. At Winterburn there would be a small coal loader and a run-around so trains could work the mine and start back toward Hendricks.

This layout revision would be a major rebuild in all areas except Lanesville, which has not been built yet. The resulting layout would be simpler, and a more realistic portrayal of an Appalachian short line operation. All well and good, except the overall concept still does not ring true as a West Virginia coal hauler to me. The varied mix of relatively low volume traffic brings short lines like the Virginia Blue Ridge or the Yancey County more strongly to mind. Rather than the mix of online industries being lumber, lime, and coal, it may be fun to consider gypsum, manganese/iron, paper, soapstone, mica, or sand as a primary industry.

I frankly still feel more comfortable with the idea of modeling coal and lumber. It seems more accessible to me. The Dry Fork allows reasonable development of a range of operation. With the revisions it could be a successful layout. But the nature of the revisions are in themselves a clue as to what I consider the Ideal Layout, and following where they lead might take me away from the Dry Fork altogether.