Bob’s Nickel City Line is a freelanced railroad that runs through the
Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania in the late 1990s. The railroad had
the original primary purpose of hauling coal and ore from the owner’s
mining interests. The line was then expanded to move goods and services.
Bob’s model railroad empire encompasses all of the three business
ventures and he has accomplished this feat realistically, which makes
operating sessions genuinely realistic. This layout is focused on
operations and Bob hosts six to nine sessions annually. NMRA members who
operate on this magnificent layout can, over time, actually earn full
credit toward achieving a Chief Dispatcher Merit award.
Bob started this modeling venture in a 12’ x 20’ area in his basement,
and through negotiations with his spouse, was able to lease the entire
area of their basement. Although the layout was “completed” in 1997, he
has added the last available basement space of another 7’ X 24’ in 2019.
This new addition includes a coal washing plant, relocation of staging
yards, plus other additions to make an already excellent
operations-based layout even more challenging. There are over 20 scale
miles of trackage and his classification yard, turntable, and roundhouse
facilities are truly exceptional.
Businesses for railroad revenue are vital to a prototype railroad and it
is a realistic feature for an operations centered model railroad. Bob
has done a splendid job featuring 106 industries serviced by his
railroad, including coal, ore mining, and fabrication plants. Towns such
as Canova and Chessie City add interest and purpose and Bob has
carefully designed his layout to include eight stations and passenger
stops along the line.
Bob has taken the operations environment to the extreme. He has designed
and installed a lighting system that truly brings realism to operations.
He can set the system for full daylight, late evening/early morning, and
night operations. With the aid of his excellent fast clock system, he
can incorporate various lighting schemes to challenge operators to the
maximum. A major feature of the Nickel City Line’s operations capability
is a spectacular Chief Dispatchers office. The electronic panel shows
virtually all of the train movements occurring on the layout at any
given time allowing the Chief Dispatcher to make real time decision with
maximum safety in the forefront. There are seven PABX phone stations
which include Dispatcher, Yardmaster, Hostler, Laurel Valley, Nickel
City East, Dubois, and the Dispatcher–Track Authority Desk.
This write up only touches the surface of features on this fantastic
layout. You need to see it to believe it! This is a layout all model
railroaders MUST put on their “bucket list”. If you get the opportunity
to see, or operate, on Bob’s Nickel City Line DO IT!!
Bob’s web site is outstanding and I encourage all who read this layout
tour summary to look it up: http://nclrr.potomac-nmra.org/index.htm