The Norfolk & Western was hauling more than just coal. I know, that’s a given, but it’s hard to find photos of N&W yards that aren’t just one load of coal after another, and maybe a single boxcar somewhere, probably hauling mining equipment.
Outside of the branch lines and the coal conveyor, though, there were freight trains on the N&W. They actually operated massive freight terminals, and I’ve been reading about some of those recently in an effort to define how that fits in my modeling plans. A lot of the information comes from researching the Scioto Division of the N&W and the connections in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio.
This link takes you to a description of operations in Columbus. The timeframe is the 50’s, but it’s not hard to imagine this taking place in 1927, and the interesting moves and freight that would have been happening then too. The facilities were certainly there in the 1920’s as the N&W had moved several decades earlier.http://columbusrailroads.com/N&W%20freight%20house.htm
What’s the imputes for this research? It’s the realization that I really enjoy building boxcars. Strange for someone modeling coal hauling, right? Well, there are so many interesting prototypes to build from the 1920’s that it’s hard to not want to build them. Additionally, a conversation with some friends about what cars were appropriate for railroads in certain geographical locations lead me to start looking at what cars I actually want to or should be building beyond just the N&W coal fleet (and I need a lot of coal cars).
My friend Eric Hansmann’s blog includes a fantastic look at a freight terminal in Orange, NJ on the DL&W that was written by our friend, Ray Breyer. http://designbuildop.hansmanns.org/2017/01/06/whats-in-the-yard-2/. The photos are fantastic, and I can envision a similar terminal on the N&W with both inbound and outbound freight houses like existed in Cincinnati, with a similarly fascinating mixture of freight equipment.
What’s this all mean? A couple of things. My layout planning is turning more toward prototype as I was almost sure it would. It just took some time to find “the” hook on the N&W other than the coal. My thoughts are that eventually there will be 2 locations on my plan, a city or the outskirts of a city, and a coal company town with tipples. The other thing it means is that I’ve discovered a way to use, and a reason to build, more boxcars and refrigerator cars that I love researching and building. As plans move forward, identifying exactly what to build and what to pass on will be the challenge.