Looking for advice on an interesting segment to model

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sat Sep 28 13:06:34 EDT 2013


It has been several years since I last railfanned the Clinch Valley District, but here are my thoughts on some of the spots you should see:

In Bluefield get on US19/460 and head southwest.

Tazewell: the N&W station is still standing (actually in North Tazewell)

Pounding Mill: site of the quarry where all of the ballast used on the CV was mined. The large quarry is still thee, but I recall that the spur into the quarry is no longer there

Cedar Bluff : The Dry Fork Branch to Iager joined the CV here. Get off of US 19 and stay on US 460 to Richlands

Richlands: Most of the N&W structures, including the station, water tanks, and coal wharf, are long gone, but the section foreman's house is still standing in downtown. Walking around the downtown historic district is interesting. You can also detour onto State Road 67 and follow the Big Creek Branch to Jewell Ridge, a coal mining town. Double back to Richlands and then to US 19.

Lebanon: take Business US19 into the town and then take State Road 82 to Cleveland, a town on the CV. In Cleveland, if you are adventurous take the road west to Carbo and the AEP power plant. There is a small yard at Carbo worth seeing. Double back to Lebanon and continue west on US 19. At Hansonville head north on US Alternate 58 to St. Paul.

St. Paul: A town you do not want to miss. Get off of Alternate US 58 at 4th Street and go into "downtown" St. Paul. Get on SR 63 to Dante and shortly after St. Paul on the right there will be a narrow road that will take you down to Lick Creek and the wye where the Clinchfield interchanged with the CV. You will see the concrete arch bridges where the railroads crossed the creek. Continuing down that road gives you a good view of the N&W's Boody yard. Continuing on SR 63 and you will see the Clinchfield (now CSX) Boody yard just northeast of Lick Creek. Turnaround and head back to St. Paul. Downtown St. Paul is also a historic district with several interesting buildings I intend to model. Head west on Russell Street, and behind the Texaco wholesaler you can see the wye that was built so the L&N could connect with the Clinchfield. Turnaround and go east on Russell Street and you will see a two story clapboard house which was the home of the N&W section foreman. Go back to 4th Street, go under the railroad tracks and make a left turn. There is a town park with a former N&W caboose on display. Get back onto Alternate US58 and head west to Coeburn.

Between St. Paul and Coeburn: You will be climbing Bull Hill, and on your right will be the a series of tunnels and steel trestles. This is definitely one of the scenic highlights of the CV.

Coeburn: In "downtown" Coeburn is a former N&W station now used by a local government agency. Take SR 72 and follow the Toms Creek Branch to Toms Creek where is a large coal flood loader. When I was there in 2010 it was in operation. Turnaround and head back to Coeburn and continue west on Alternate US58.

Tacoma: Between Coeburn and Norton at Tacoma there is a passing track and also a coal loader that you can see from the highway.

Ramsey: On your left down by the Guess River is a large coal loader that was not in operation in 2010. The loader was served by both the N&W and the Interstate/Southern.

Norton: The N&W yard and interchange tracks with the L&N and the Interstate/Southern are still there, but most of the railroad structures are gone. Go up on the 11th Street overpass and you will get a good view of the yard and the interchange tracks.

I hope you enjoy your tour of the CV. I suggest you get the Delorme Atlas for Virginia if you intend to travel off of the US highways. Also, if you go to the website of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (www.dhr.virginia.gov) you can download the National Register of Historic Places application forms for St. Paul and Richlands which will be of great help if you intend to explore either of those towns.

If you have any questions you can contact me offline at: ipmandel1 at gmail.com<mailto:ipmandel1 at gmail.com>. Also if you send me your e-mail address I'll see if I can get permission to send you a copy of my article on Richlands that was published in The Arrow.

Paul Mandelkern
Winter Park, Florida

From: nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org [mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Friday, September 27, 2013 9:18 AM
To: 'NW Mailing List'
Subject: RE: Looking for advice on an interesting segment to model

Thanks Paul for the great reply. When you offer up info like this, you can be forgiven for the self-plugging. :)

I've ordered Volume 20 of The Arrow from NWHS and look forward to reading your articles. Is there a source for just the Richlands article without having to buy a whole year of The Arrow?

I'll be driving through the area on my way to Chattanooga next week. Any spots that I shouldn't miss seeing as I'm passing by?

Carl Woods
Richmond, VA

From: nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org<mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org> [mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2013 4:59 PM
To: 'NW Mailing List'
Subject: RE: Looking for advice on an interesting segment to model


I am modeling the Clinch Valley District in N-scale, and I think you will find it a great section of the N&W to model. Depending on your space restrictions, I suggest you consider modeling Norton to St. Paul/Boody or Norton to Richlands. Norton was the interchange with the L&N and the Interstate/Southern which will give you a variety of railroads and rolling stock to model. During the time period you are interested in the L&N had trackage rights over the CV from Norton to St. Paul so that the L&N could interchange coal trains with the Clinchfield at Castle (just south of St. Paul on the Clinchfield). At Boody (just east of St. Paul) the N&W interchanged with the Clinchfield. Between St. Paul and Coeburn are a series of tunnels and trestles that would be great to model. East from St. Paul there was a small yard and the AEP power plant at Carbo, and Richlands had a small yard and some industries to switch. Of course there were numerous coal tipples and loaders along the CV.

To get started I suggest you take a look at the three part series on the CV that Bucky Wilson and I published in The Arrow in 2004 (volumes 20-2; 20-3; and 20-4), and I published an article about Richlands in the January-March, 2011 edition of The Arrow (volume2 7-1). (Sorry for the personal plug. )

Official Guides and N&W employee timetables show the through freight schedules on the CV for any time period you are interested in.

There are some HO track plans based on the CV at the Appalachian Railroad Modeling website: www.appalachianrailroadmodeling.com<http://www.appalachianrailroadmodeling.com>.

Hope that this helps.

Paul Mandelkern
Winter Park, Florida

From: nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org<mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org> [mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2013 9:22 AM
To: 'NW Mailing List'
Subject: Looking for advice on an interesting segment to model

I know this title looks "model" based, but what I'm after is opinions on an interesting piece of the railroad from the folks that have been there and understand the operations.

I was planning to model the Radford Division from Narrows to Bluefield in N-scale, but the more I look at N-scale models the less convinced I am that they are big enough for me to work with. Since the eyes will only be getting worse from here, I'm going back to HO scale.

A major yard and double track main won't fit my space in HO so I need to pick a new location - not to mention the New River which would eat up a huge chunk of the real estate on even a N-scale layout. I'm looking for something in the VA/WV mountains, single track, nice mountain scenery, a minor yard and a decent traffic rate. I'm interested in the early 70's just before the N&W switched to buying low hood diesels. Right now I'm leaning toward the Clinch Valley District. My thinking is that the connections at the southern end (or is it western?) will give me an excuse to mix in a little variety rather than running 100% coal.

Any info on what traffic patterns looked like on the Clinch Valley in the 70's would be very helpful. I'm also open to advice on a branch that might be more interesting to model.


Carl Woods

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