Bill Lyders’ Whitewater & Virginia (W&V) - HO Scale
June 28, 2014

Pictures by Stephen Altheim, Clarence Guenther, and  Bill Lyders

On Saturday June 28th, after an unintended and unguided 45 minute scenic country roads tour of western Fairfax County (so much for Google Maps), I finally made it to Bill Lyder’s Whitewater and Virginia railroad in Manassas, and a very nice railroad it was indeed. Based on a free lanced design in HO scale, it represents the steam-diesel transition period of the four major class one railroads that operated in the Appalachian mountain areas of south western Virginia in the early 50’s - the N&W, C&O, Southern, and the Virginian.

There are many scenic excuses for the “Whitewater” part, another one of Bill’s interests; bridges and trestles of various shapes and sizes abound, using commercial kits and parts available from sources such as Micro Engineering, along with various detailed industries and structures from Walthers and DPM that also provide multiple sites for dropping off and picking up cars. In fact, the layout is pretty much designed for operation, utilizing four separate staging yards each representing a different distant feeder area to provide the trains. One of them is in a smaller room connected to the main layout room by a duck-under bridge. That room also has the steam servicing facilities that include a sizeable turntable and a six stall roundhouse. Another is housed in a closet; there are no wasted spaces on the W&V. The railroad is constructed on two levels that are connected by a helix, and all of it is DCC radio controlled. In addition, several of his projects have qualified for the division’s AP certificates.

All of the track work is in place, as is most of the scenery, although there are future plans to move some of it to provide additional locations for operation; I thought that the clouds on the backdrop along with the three dimensional effect and some of the rockwork used to separate the levels were particularly well done. The aisles are “tight” as he points out, but he still can accommodate five or six engineers to run trains at operating sessions. He has also has included a continuously operating loop so non-operation inclined visitors (me, for example) can get to enjoy watching trains run too. On this day a short freight was being hauled around by a former NYC K- 5 Pacific lettered for the W&V. It was altogether a pleasant afternoon and the brownies more than compensated for my getting lost.

                                    Bob Rosenberg