Much of the flavor of the CR&E is drawn from prototype railroads that I have railfanned for many years. Two very major influences were the Southern Railway's looping route over the Blue Ridge between Old Fort and Ridgecrest, NC, and the Clinchfield's twisting assault on Altapass, NC. Model railroading influences came from W. Allen McClelland's Virginian & Ohio as well as Tony Koester's Allegheny Midland, both of which had some looping mountain grades designed to gain elevation.
Here are a few photos of some prototype locations that have or will affect the scenery and operations on the CR&E, as well as some model shots taken on the layout.
Norfolk Southern Train 135 is westbound at Graphite, NC, in the Loops on the "S" Line between Salisbury and Asheville.
A similar scene is at McFalls, VA, on the CR&E. Here westbound train 137 is between New Castle and Paint Bank.
Kannapolis, NC, on the Norfolk Southern Washington-Atlanta mainline, serves as the inspiration for the town of New Castle on the CR&E. Kannapolis and New Castle have in common two storage tracks, mill houses lining one side of the mainline, a large textile mill, and a local switcher.
A northbound CSX train on the former Clinchfield Railroad is ascending the Loops at Camp Two, about eight rail miles but just down the mountainside from the summit at Altapass, NC.
A westbound NS freight is rounding a horseshoe curve around Andrews Geyser in the Southern Loops west of Old Fort, NC.
An eastbound inspection train climbs the CR&E Loops at Camp Two, WV. The name was stolen straight from the Clinchfield and the high fills and cuts in the CR&E Loops are similar to those on both the Southern and Clinchfield routes in western North Carolina.
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