The CR&E Division occupies a room approximately
16 X 16 feet, and is an around-the-walls double-deck layout built for operation.
The point-to-point design includes about 170 feet of single-track mainline
with passing sidings. One classification yard is modeled, as well as some
minor yard trackage in other towns along the way.
In addition to the CR&E mainline, two
branch lines serving "off-stage" coal mines are included
on the modeled portion of the railroad. Also, approximately half of the
upper level actually represents two mainline railroads...the CR&E (NS) and
the former Carolina, Shenandoah & Ohio (CSX Shenandoah Division) of
friend Bruce Faulkner. Bruce's N Scale railroad and my CR&E share
trackage between Shenandoah Jct., VA (near New Castle, VA) and the Roanoke/Salem
Stub-ended staging yards represent connections
to the outside world. The west end staging yard represents Charleston,
WV and points beyond, while the east end staging yard represents Roanoke
and points east. Another "south" end staging yard represents
Salem, VA and points south on CSX's Shenandoah Division.
Atlas flextrack and Peco turnouts are used throughout
the layout, with the exception of Atlas turnouts in the staging yards.
The layout was built using open-grid benchwork with plywood subroadbed
supporting cork roadbed and the track.
Double Deck without a Helix??
Probably the first thing everyone thinks about
when they think of double-deck layouts is the helix. Trains spin round
and round in an unrealistic spiral to access the levels.
Well, the CR&E doeesn't have a helix.
Instead, a series of mountain-climbing loops similar to those of the Clinchfield
near Altapass, NC, and the Southern Railway near Old Fort, NC, provide
a much more interesting and realistic solution to getting from one level
to another. These photos show the Loops before scenery was started in the
area. For some more recent photos with scenery, go to the photos
The Loops were always planned for the CR&E,
but it wasn't until I met Bruce Faulkner that I saw them as a
means to have a double-deck railroad. When the CR&E was first
built, it had not one but TWO helixes to access staging yards....those
went to the landfill after the first attempt at an operating session several
years ago. After the helixes disappeared, I extended the mainline
by adding the second level.... and I sure am happy that I did.
A double-deck railroad wasn't something I always
wanted, but the space I have required it. Hopefully I have been successful
in keeping the upper level narrow enough so that it doesn't interfere with
the scenery or operations on the lower level.
This photo shows three of the four levels of the Loops. The train with NS
power is heading east (left-to-right) uphill on the mainline at Glace, meeting a
westbound behind Conrail SD60M's that has entered the siding. The CSX
hopper train on the level above the other two trains is running behind the
Conrail units in the same direction. The third visible level of the Loops
as along the rock wall above the CSX units. The final pass is on the other
side of the backdrop, entering Paint Bank, VA, and the beginning of the upper