About the Chesapeake Bay & Western
The Chesapeake Bay & Western portrays a fictitious railroad with an eastern terminus in Phoebus, Virginia
on the Chesapeake Bay and a western interchange in St. Louis. The layout is a model of
significant portions of the entire main line. CB&W freight and passenger traffic is based on
the era of a particular operating session.
The "Official" history of the Chesapeake Bay & Western can be viewed by clicking
The freight traffic includes coal from West Virginia mines heading east to export piers
on the York River and west to Midwestern industries and power plants. Other freight
includes grain, cement, merchandise, autos, and steel utilizing rolling stock from several
Passenger train equipment ranges from WWII heavyweights, pulled by steam locomotives, to
1950's lightweight streamlined cars pulled by cab units to modern Amtrak equipment.
Locomotive equipment ranges from steam and early diesel in the 40's era to the most modern
high horsepower units of today. Locomotives from Midwestern and Western railroads are
frequently seen on the CB&W, operating high-priority run-through trains.
Modern trains may include T0FC or double stack container cars, 100 ton coal hoppers and gondolas and 60' and 86' auto parts boxcars while trains operating in earlier eras may include ice-bunk reefers, stock cars, and small tank cars hauling anything liquid.
Traffic is controlled from a single, central dispatcher's office. The dispatcher communicates
with the engineers using 2-way radios.
Mainline switches can be controlled from either the dispatch office or locally using district control panels.
Local switches are controlled by either ground throws or at local dispatch panels.
Block occupation and direction of travel is shown in the dispatch office on the dispatch map.
The CB&W has major interchanges with CSX (C&O) and Norfolk Southern (N&W and Southern) and
connects with several major western railroads in St. Louis.
LEFT: Joe Bamert dispatches trains during a holiday open house in December 2001. The dispatcher
is responsible for keeping all of the trains running on the layout with as few delays as possible.