Let’s walk through my track plan for the Norfolk & Western in Cincinnati, OH. The research on the industries found on early 1920’s Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, and my interest in certain industries found there has coalesced into this plan. I know that some are re-arranged from their actual historical placement in Cincinnati, and I’ve deleted tracks from some of these in order to fit them into the 2’x11’ space, but after spending some time with the track plan and sorting out what fit, I think this will provide a great deal of interest and operation for visitors to see and a crew of two or three to operate for an evening.
We’ll start in the East and work to the West.
East end staging, essentially the line to Portsmouth, OH, is intended to be a transfer table. Most likely, that kind of arrangement can handle 6 tracks, about 4’ long each. The transfer will need to also be available as part of the lead to one of the industrial tracks that reaches to the rear of the layout, so it’s important to the operation of the layout.
Just as trains enter the Norwood scene (because the vast majority of these industries are based on the Norwood section of Cincinnati), they will pass a location where I intend to have a passenger station, maybe just the platform with the rest of the station suggested as off the layout to the East. I’d like to include a model of a N&W station here, and that might be possible. If I scratch build a model, it will be of the station that was at Court Street on the O&N RR (a N&W subsidiary) and the CL&N (a PRR subsidiary). The famous Cincinnati Union Terminal (you’d know it as the Hall of Justice if you were a Saturday morning cartoon fan and watched the DC super hero’s battle the Legion of Doom) was not yet completed in 1927.
Just past the passenger station, there is a split South onto a long passing track that also serves as a house track, and an industrial spur that continues to the East. Behind the passenger station is a large freight house and team yard. The general layout is based on a conglomeration of photos, some from the ERIE, some from the DL&W, and the Sanborn map from Cincinnati showing the CL&N RR freight house with two tracks further into the city. The N&W Ohio prototype would have to be the freight house in Columbus, OH. The N&W did have a freight station in Norwood, so I feel at least a little justified in adding this feature.
The center of the plan includes a large open space. I haven’t yet sorted out what to put here, but I may include just some empty lots and a road. The Norwood area appears to have had some empty open space near the tracks according to the maps, and that might be important with some of the industrial clutter. Along the back of the plan at the center will stand the Victor Safe & Cabinet Company. This massive manufacturer of fine safes and wood office furniture has been compressed to fit here. I’ll include a spot to unload coal for the plant and a smoke stack, shipping dock, and I’m going to try and include an overhead crane to unload steel product and lumber for making the goods shipped out.
Moving further to the West, we find a crossover on the house/passing track, and the center of the layout is occupied by a brick factory. This is based on the inclusion of the Cincinnati Cement Products Co. The prototype was founded in 1910 in Norwood and vanished some time in the 1930’s. Behind the brick factory, the Rebhun Last Co. makers of shoe lasts, will be represented. This company had a spur extended by the N&W that serviced a large varnish and paint factory so they could also be rail served. Lumber and metal stampings will come in, shoe lasts will go out.
Finally reaching the West end of the layout, the front of the layout will be occupied by the Glob Soap Co. (relocated from elsewhere in Cincinnati). This company will receive chemicals in boxcars and tank cars, and ship out finished soap products. The spur is long, so if there is room, a small lumber yard may be added here, but that will be determined later once the soap company is built. The passing/house track come back to the mainline here, and then there is a spur that comes from down by the Cincinnati Cement Products Co. and will service the J.P. Humphries & Co. Contractors facility. This company, from what I’ve found so far, was receiving road building and other construction materials by rail from the N&W. Behind the contractor yard, the R.K. LeBlond Machine Tool Co., again greatly compressed, will stand, moving in from the East, and making automated lathes and tooling. Coal will be delivered, steel, oils, and giant machines will move out.
The mainline will exit to the West here, again to another transfer table. The line will connect to the PRR, B&O, and CCC&STL this direction.
I’ve been working out traffic flows here that include the possibility of passenger trains running both directions, interchange coming on from the West and dropping off or picking up from the passing/house track, freight running both directions, and lots of switching. The industries I’ve picked should get an immense amount of freight for such a small layout, and cars may need to be switched more than once in an operating session to keep things moving, especially at the freight house where the crews may have reefers on one track that need to be switched for poultry cars that need to be switched for something else. The plan should keep a crew busy for at least a few hours, which is all I expect. Interesting movements will be required to gain access to some spots, and that will add to the fun of switching this area.