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A layout tour

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Let's take a tour of the "Pokey"


The Town of Iaeger, West Virginia

This town is built from two three-foot corner N-Trak modules with a new section that allows the mainlines to go around and through town. Iaeger is the site of a division point yard (Auville Yard)on the "Pokey", it utilizes the three N-Trak mains and several additional lines to classify and sort coal traffic coming from the coal fields. A small enginehouse and turntable are located here. Road units, pushers and mine jobs can take on fuel and sand as needed. In the future, I plan to build a model of the old steam era coaling tower that still stands sentinel over the engine service area. The town of Iaeger (pronounced Yager) is above the tracks, hidden in the rugged hills constructed of layers of styro-foam, covered in various latex paints and Woodland Scenics ground foam and other natural debris. This section of the layout is nearly complete.

Elkhorn and the Pocahontas Fuel Company

Heading southeast out of  Iaeger,the tracks curve through the Hemphill tunnels and emerge on the other side of a large ridge at the town of Elkhorn. This six foot n-trak module has remained unchanged, except for the removal of the mountain-line. The townsite is not based on any one location on the real "pokey". It is an accumulation of ideas borrowed from various towns which I  lumped together. I just happen to like the name Elkhorn too! There are two coal loaders at Elkhorn, one loads coal trucked in from the surrounding mines, the other, the Pocahontas Fuel Company loader is built directly over a mine head, it grades and cleans coal that is brought up from deep underground. The structures here are mostly scratchbuilt or kit-bashed. I have always tried to avoid using the same  kits over and over. Ideas for most of the scratchbuilt structures come from a very fine volume, Appalachian Coal Mines and Railroads. If forced to use kits purchased at the hobby-shop, I try to make modifications that change the kits appearance so that it catches the viewers attention. As we leave Elkhorn the tracks rise towards the hidden staging yard, climbing over my workbench  and under the Dry Fork Branch module above it.

Hidden Staging

If I had my way tracks would have encircled the entire basement, but the usual stuff accumulated over the years by two people sometimes takes more space than one can imagine. Hotwater tanks, washing machines and other appliances also take up valuable trackage space. We reached a compromise of sorts...its called the hidden staging yard and it will occupy an area 8 to 10 feet long by only 18 inches wide. With the addition of some needed space the yard will now sit at the end of  ten to twelve foot run of mainline. I still have  to determine whether the mainline will be single or double tracked. If I keep it single tracked, operations will become more interesting and I will save on installing several cross-overs. The yard itself will be un-scenicked as it is considered off-stage. The staging will represent Bluefield at the south end of the 'Pokey' and Williamson in the north. There will be  ten yard tracks which allow me to generate  enough trains to keep traffic interesting. I  plan to run several merchandise trains plus an inter-modal hotshot or two,  and the main reason for this railroad... COAL TRAINS!!!

To the Mines

When the tracks depart Iaeger in a southerly direction they immediately cross over the Tug Fork and  the main lines, climbing to enter the rugged hills. The twisting climb represents the Dry Fork Branch which will finish at the large loader owned by the Atomic Fuel Company. There are other loaders along the way but they only provide a few carloads compared to the amount of coal delivered by the Atomic Fuel mine. Four tracks serve this large facility which will be entirely built from scratch, with bits thrown in from the scrap-box for detail. The site will include the power plant, machine shop, company store and of course company houses for the miners and their families.

Future plans

The plan for a loop at the far end of the staging yard died a slow death. There just wasn't enough room. I still want to construct some interchange tracks so I can have my Clinchfield units visit occasionally. A recent survey of my space in the basement uncovered a future site for an industrial area, perhaps a steel mill or coal docks at a deep sea port. The space is currently occupied by an old workbench and boxes. I plan to do a serious cleaning out of this area in the spring and maybe I can convince Kathleen that all that coal needs a place to go!


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