"Buffalo Creek and Gauley - 1963 & Later"
Official Web Site:
12' x 25'
Fox Valley Models
Min. Turnout Frog:
30" (visible); 21" (hidden)
44" to 49"
Mainline Track Length:
benchwork: 100%; scenery: 50%
Central West Virginia
Buffalo Creek & Gauley; Elk River Coal & Lumber (logging)
DCC (North Coast Engineering)
Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette, May 2020
Brooks successfully completed the NMRA's MMR program.
The BC&G mainline runs from an interchange with the B&O at Dundon, across the Sand Fork Bridge, then disappears into hidden track emerging at Cressmont. Beyond Cressmont the track disappears again, climbs a 3% grade, and emerges at Avoca Jct. where the ERC&L logging branch diverges before arriving at Swandale. The track continues to hidden staging representing the now-abandoned track to Widen. Below, the BC&G Consolidation #13 works the interchange at Dundon while the crew for the Mack railbus take a break from preparing for the morning run. All of the structures, including the bridge carrying the county road over the tracks and the Elk River, were scratchbuilt from photos. The locomotive is a modified S-Helper Service engine and the railbus was scratchbuilt.
Cody Burdette is tending to his truck at the gas pump at the Dundon company store while his dog, Chum, looks on. Climax #3 is steaming quietly while the crew has apparently run into the store, maybe for more tobacco. The store was scratchbuilt from photos and the Climax is a heavily modified Bachmann On30 engine.
Leaving Dundon the main line crosses over the name-sake Buffalo Creek on the Sand Fork Bridge. Here BC&G #4 is returning from Swandale with a short train, typical of the consists of the thrice-weekly trains of 1963-65. The large concrete center pylon was installed in 1960 during the repair of bridge which was dynamited by union sympathizers during a labor dispute in 1952. The original pylon was cut stone.
The company store at Swandale was a busy place right up until it closed when the lumber operation ended. In this scene a woman standing on the porch of her company house watches as BC&G #4 prepares to depart for the return trip to Dundon. All the structures were scratchbuilt from prototype photos. The figures are by Arttista.
Climax #4 and Climax #3 are busy working at the sawmill in Swandale and today are being assisted by Plymouth #20 which is repositioning a chip hopper under the conveyor. Brooks originally built the model of the sawmill in the early 1990s and this is the third layout on which it has been used, expanded and improved each time.
There was a backwoods-style engine house at Swandale where the ERC&L's geared logging engines were maintained. Brooks scratchbuilt a model of it from numerous photographs. This photograph duplicates one in Brooks' collection. Cody Burdette who worked at the sawmill says the long object on the ground is a crankshaft from Shay #12 and the broken wheel is from one of the carts used to move lumber around at the mill just across the tracks.
Shown are the partially completed layout in the train room, with a desk and display cabinets. The room is brightly lit so that photos, including all those shown here, can be taken without auxiliary lighting. The carpeted floor makes things comfortable for visitors and operators.
Elk River Coal & Lumber Climaxes #3 and #4 have charge of a railfan trip and the lucky fans are getting a ride out in the woods on the Lilly Fork logging branch. The action takes place on Brooks Stover's 12' x 25' layout depicting the ERC&L and the Buffalo Creek & Gauley (BC&G) railroads as they were in the mid-1960s. The locomotives are heavily-modified Bachmann On30 engines fitted with Tsunami decoders. Both the gondola and the combine are built from modified American Flyer shells and are fitted with new trucks and Kadee 802 S-scale couplers. The figures are primarily from Arttista. Brooks uses Fox Valley Models code 138 track with some ties removed. Smoke effects were added in Photoshop. The scene was inspired by the fantrip that took place in 1955 in which the ERC&L Shay #19 took several gondolas of railfans out on the logging branch.