B&O's Old Main Line in the Lower Patapsco Valley
layout represents 7 miles of the B&O's Old Main Line in the lower
Patapsco River valley from East Avalon (just west of the famous Thomas
Viaduct) to Union Dam tunnel (where the railroad runs underneath US Rt.
40). The time is November 1967 (just prior to Penn
Central). There is an overlay of historical fiction, the fiction
being that the Patapsco Valley had become an industrial corridor.
layout occupies an L-shaped finished basement room of about
20'x24'. The core of the layout was fabricated and
installed in 2004 by Lance Mindheim (www.shelflayouts.com).
John laid yard and other industrial trackage. Since the layout
open house for the Division in 2006, numerous other cardboard mockup
industrial structures have been added. The layout uses Atlas Code 83
flex track on cork roadbed over ¾" plywood subroadbed. Atlas No.
6 turnouts are used (plus 4 Walthers/Shinohara curved) with
Tortoise machines. Minimum radius is 26," and the
continuous-loop main line is about 120' long. Maximum grade is
about 1.6%, and there are three passing sidings permitting ca. 15-20
car trains. There is an open 6-track staging yard. Temporary
signs consisting of yellow cards on bamboo skewers identify trackage
and industries. The basement floor is professionally epoxy coated. The
layout is controlled with a CVP radio DCC system. Aisles are a
bit tight in some places, and the duckunder is suboptimal, but, hey,
you do what you have to. Also different since 2006 is the third
and hopefully final trial installation of industrial trackage in the
steel mill peninsula using Atlas Snap Track.
is in its infancy; we are having fun trying to improve upon and
expedite various published "winter tree" construction techniques.
Some of these trees should be on display. And new since last time
is a masonite riverbed that now runs through part of the
layout. Most of the signature structures are only
represented by cardboard mockups. Industries represented include
a blast furnace, byproducts coke plant, slag processing plant, open
hearth steel plant, heavy forge, flour mill and textile mill, some but
not all of which are based on prototypes on the line. John has been
fortunate to be able to arrange to have laser kits produced of the
actual B&O stations at St. Denis, Ilchester and Ellicott
City. The kits were displayed on the layout. Ilchester has been
built-up so far. Quite a few pieces of interesting steel mill
rolling stock were on the layout or on display.