Category Archives: Model History

Posts that detail the “model history” of the CH&FR – that is, that talk about the fictional history of the railroad as if it really exists. For example, a “model history” post about the name CH&FR would talk about how the Frost family settled around and named the Frost River and founded the town, and how Chestnut Hill was known for its exceptional stand of chestnut trees, and so on…

More new Power on the CH&FR

The CH&FR museum has picked up an Erie Lackawanna EMD E8 to add to its collection

The CH&FR Museum just acquired an EMD E8 in Erie Lackawanna paint (a nice match to its F7!), which will be used on passenger excursions.  This is especially nice since now the passenger cars will have power and heat provided by the locomotive’s steam generator!

The CH&FR museum has picked up an Erie Lackawanna EMD E8 to add to its collection

The engine has completed DC testing, and will be refitted with DCC control as soon as the budget allows. There are also some minor repairs required to the rear coupler.

The CH&FR is looking forward to putting this streamlined classic passenger Diesel to work!


Steam Days at Glover’s Bend!

Steam Days at Glover's Bend

The CH&FR Railroad hosted a “Steam Days” event at the Glover’s Bend station over the weekend. Along with the railroad’s own 2-8-0 “Consolidation” and 2-6-6-2 “Mallet” engines, two more visiting locomotives were on hand: a 4-6-2 “Pacific” and a 2-10-2 “Santa Fe”.

Crowds gathered to enjoy some local Bluegrass music and share the hot dogs and hamburgers while looking over these historic iron horses. The station was filled up with a temporary museum exhibit covering the history of steam on the CH&FR and in the region, and Main Street was full of artists and vendors of all kinds.

The engines were fired up and used for excursion trips, photo run-bys and a whistle blowing contest (the Mallet won). The CH&FR’s newly restored C&O caboose was also on display, in its traditional position at the tail of a coal drag.

Mary Lou Harrison went home with the prize for the chili cook-off, and little Bobby Weismueller won the “fastest kid” race.

Here are a few more photos captured during the event:

Steam Days at Glover's Bend

Steam Days at Glover's Bend

Steam Days at Glover's Bend

CH&FR Announces New Passenger Service


GLOVER’S BEND – The CH&FR Railroad is proud to announce a new pilot passenger service with daily commuter service from Glover’s Bend to Huntington WV, Ashland KY and Russell KY.

The twice-a-day service will run as follows, Monday through Friday:

Northbound Station Southbound
Morning (#50) Evening (#52) Morning (#51) Evening (#53)
7:00 AM 4:45 PM Williamson, WV 9:45 AM 7:00 PM
7:15 AM 5:00 PM Glover’s Bend, WV 9:30 AM 6:45 PM
8:00 AM 5:15 PM Huntington, WV 8:45 AM 6:00 PM
8:15 AM 5:30 PM Ashland, KY 8:30 AM 5:45 PM
8:20 AM 5:35 PM Russell, KY 8:25 AM 5:40 PM

All times shown are departure times, except the last station, which is arrival time.
Weekend schedule will be published separately.

Onboard amenities include free coffee, newspapers and WiFi, and continental breakfast served in the diner/cafe car.

Extended year-round weekend operations to Charleston, WV and Cincinnati, OH will be added shortly.  The railroad also expects to provide weekend excursion service through the scenic New River Gorge during the fall foliage season.

The new commuter and excursion service will be provided in the CH&FR’s newly refurbished 1920s-vintage heavyweight passenger cars.  These cars provide the latest in modern conveniences including heating and air conditioning, comfortable seats with USB power plugs, and free WiFi service, while providing a first-class vintage railroad experience.  At the head end will be the CH&FR’s own Erie-Lackawanna EMD F3 #6611.

Same-day one way or round-trip tickets may be purchased at any station along the line.  Weekly and Monthly passes will also be available at a discounted rate through the CH&FR website.

Mountaineer Propane

Mountaineer Propane

It’s been a long summer, with plenty of things to stall progress on the railroad, but with fall comes a little bit more time, thankfully.

The Mayor of Glover’s Bend is proud to announce the arrival of a new industry to the town, bringing much-needed jobs. Mountaineer Propane will be opening its doors soon, receiving regular shipments by railcar from the CH&FR and providing deliveries to industries and homes throughout the region by truck.

Because of the fragility of the pipework, I built it all on a plastic base, which just this weekend I was able to cover with gravel. The base will be fitted into the layout, hopefully so that I can remove it for further detail. I’ll have to blend the edges with more gravel, maybe some weeds and shrubs, and a fence.

The black strip in the foreground will be a paved loading space for tank trucks, which may be a challenge to locate relatively modern examples of. And I’ll need a sign for the roof of the office building.

The kit is the Walthers Central Gas and Supply. It was quite easy to assemble, taking just an hour or two, once the paint was dry, and I think it would be fairly easy to customize the piping if you have an unusually shaped space.

WM761 pulls a short freight

WM761 pulls a short freight by BGTwinDad
WM761 pulls a short freight, a photo by BGTwinDad on Flickr.

WM761 brings two new additions to the fleet into Glover’s Bend on the wye diorama. Trailing the engine are ATSF15231, an Atlas USRA 40′ boxcar, and Rutland 103, a Micro-Trains PS-1 boxcar. Both are gifts from a fellow railroader.

ATSF 15231, a USRA 40′ boxcar by Atlas
Rutland 103, a PS-1 40′ boxcar by Micro-Trains


NSNX2012 Visits the CH&FR

Bachmann vs. Atlas GP7 by BGTwinDad
Bachmann vs. Atlas GP7, a photo by BGTwinDad on Flickr.

This week, another member of the Traveling Fleet visited the CH&FR at Glover’s Bend… this time it’s a locomotive.  NSNX 2012 is an EMD GP7 (Atlas Master Line model), customized and weathered by member “jpwisc”.  Shown here beside the CH&FR’s own GP7 #6411, the NSNX unit will spend another week or so performing helper service on the Glover’s Bend Subdivision before moving on to the next stop on its tour.

While here, I added MU hoses and trainline hoses to the front and rear pilots.  I hope my work does this fine locomotive justice.

Locomotive Roster “Complete”

IMG_2625 by BGTwinDad
IMG_2625, a photo by BGTwinDad on Flickr.

When I designed my Glover’s Bend layout, I put together a plan of the trains that would run regularly on it, including the motive power required to run those trains – or, more specifically, what would be used if it were the real prototype, of course.  I also planned for the type and roadname of the locomotive to be a visual cue to which train – and to/from which locations – each was.  This mean that I had a specific list of locomotives that I need to make the layout complete, just like I had a specific list of track pieces or structures or scenic details or electronics that I need.

As of my most recent purchase – a Norfolk Southern B23-7 by Atlas, lightly used, from a friend, that need list is now complete.  Not that I won’t be buying plenty more locomotives in the future – they are somewhat addictive – but they will be wants not needs, so to speak.

Front row (L-R):

  • Bachmann 2-8-0 Consolidation WM761 : excursion service
  • Bachmann 2-6-6-2 Mallet C&O 1397 : Coal and excursion service

Second row (L-R):

  • Atlas EMD SD35 B&O (Chessie) 7413 : Coal service (paired with CH&FR7401)
  • Atlas EMD SD35 CH&FR 7401 : Coal service (paired with B&O7413)
  • Atlas GE B23-7 NS 3982 : Northbound mixed freight from Norfolk Southern (Williamson, WV)

Third row (L-R):

  • Atlas EMD GP40-2 CSX 6218 : Southbound mixed freight from CSX (Russell, KY)
  • Bachmann EMD GP7 CHFR (Chessie, ex-B&O)6411 : Town branch freight
  • Kato EMD NW2 C&O (Chessie) 5278 : Yard switching

Fourth row (L-R):

  • Bachmann EMD GP40 ATSF 3500 : Out of service (soon to be repainted in Conrail)
  • Intermountain EMD F3A EL6611 : Excursion and general freight service


New addition(s) to the roster

Untitled by BGTwinDad
Untitled, a photo by BGTwinDad on Flickr.

Following extensive testing of a B&O unit borrowed from the GPF&F Railroad, the CH&FR has acquired two EMD SD35 locomotives for use in mine service in the Glover’s Bend area.  The first, B&O#7413, is painted in the Chessie System paint scheme, and is already in operational service.  The second has just been delivered, and is due for a heavy service and painting operation at the Frost River Locomotive Works.  This unit will be painted in a classic CH&FR paint scheme, and will be numbered CHFR #7401.

The SD35 is a six-axle Diesel unit produced by the General Motors Electro-Motive Division (“EMD”) from 1964-1966.  Its 16-cylinder 567D3A engine produces 2,500 HP, and its overall length is 60 feet.  This combination of good horsepower, short wheelbase and high traction makes the SD35 a good choice for pulling heavy coal trains on the sharply curved trackage in the Glover’s Bend area.

Both locomotives are slated for a full detailing, including detailed fans, grab irons, sun shades, windshield wipers, MU and airline hoses.  Stay tuned for more information on the detailing process.


Landscaping begins

Untitled by BGTwinDad
Untitled, a photo by BGTwinDad on Flickr.

I’ve actually gotten a little bit of work done on the layout.  After what seemed an enormous amount of fiddling I finally got the sand tower arranged so that locomotives will fit between the hoses, so I permanently attached that.  Then I filled in with a bit of lightweight spackle and painted the ground with a burnt sienna.  In retrospect that color is a bit too dark and red, but I was going for a wet red clay… I think I need just a bit lighter and more tan next time.  Add some fine turf in a mix of green and yellow, and things start looking like something.  Next up, here, I need to permanently install the fuel tank and add some piping, and then do something to make the road look decent.  I’m going to have to paint it darker, and then add some striping (again), as the tape I was using didn’t work.

The road into town begins to take shape.

Over on the other end of the layout, I’ve installed the road and the first grade crossing.  I’ve got a lot of work to do to make this look right…  I didn’t count on the grade crossing being narrower than my chosen road width, and I made a mess of the road when putting spackle around the edges to blend the grade… but I’ve got the basics in place, and with some work I can make it look like something.

Again, with the burnt sienna paint and some fine turf ground cover, this begins to look like something.  I need to fill in some holes, add some gravel and stuff on the steeper slopes, and continue to add detail… I’ll have to trim the road back a bit and add a gravel shoulder, and blend it into the grade crossing better.

After I took the photo, I went back with the  lightweight spackle and began filling and blending in the grade on the upper hill… very soon the Woodland Scenics Risers should begin to disappear.

Finally, I also began adding ballast to the main line across the front.  This is Arizona Rock & Mineral rock ballast – real crushed rock! – and is very interesting to work with.  It lays very nicely and has a very fine consistency and a wonderful color blend.  I’m glad that Fifer Hobby carries this in single bags, as it’s quite expensive if bought direct from the manufacturer.  I like the way the mainline color (grey, right) differentiates nicely from the yard ballast (brown, left)… should help guest operators see more quickly which tracks are which.

One thing I did notice is that it’s easier to be sloppy with the cork roadbed with Woodland Scenics (crushed walnut shells) ballast. as it’s a bit more forgiving when trying to form a nice slope on the ballast.  With the AZR&M ballast, I’m going back and cutting a slope into the cork instead of leaving it messy.  This is a good Best Practice anyway, so it’s not so bad, and is fairly easy with a sharp razor blade.