Robert Reid's Allegheny and Shenandoah Railroad
December 6, 2014

See the layout - Photos by David Arday

I just got back from visiting the Allegheny and Shenandoah Railroad and had a great time! I was more than impressed with how much railroad was placed in the basement. The use of shelf benchwork integrated with a central peninsula showed me how I can rethink the use of my townhouse basement! And the painted backdrop reminded me of the actual mountains the fictitious pike is trying to portray. All in a great layout I was glad I made the long trek to see. Thank you Bob for sharing your layout today with the Potomac Division.


Chuck Wood
NS Washington District MP 18.8
(West Springfield VA)

Designed for Operations

          Although I missed Bobís open house, Iíve visited and operated on his railroad, and attended his design clinic so that I felt that I can successfully undertake a review of it. To avoid any further suspense, let me start out by saying I love it!
          In his clinic at the Bellevue, WA, narrow gauge convention, Tony Koester said that the reason you build a double deck layout is so that your operators cannot ďcheatĒ by simply looking to see if itís safe to proceed to the next passing siding. Writing like a mathematician, I would say that while double decking may be necessary for this, itís not sufficient. Keith Stillmanís wonderful railroad in Glen Allen, VA, is double decked, but as itís in a spare bedroom so operators can, in some cases, ďcheat.Ē (But of course they wouldnít, would they?) Beyond double decking, you need a large space and a design that puts the passing sidings ďaround the cornerĒ from each other. And Bobís railroad achieves that admirably.  You have to read your timetable.
          Another brilliant feature of the railroad is its double-ended staging yard, East Strasburg/Elkins. One benefit is that it eases the time and trouble the layout host goes through to prepare the railroad for a session. If a host has a life outside of model railroad operations, the long setup time might encourage him to pursue other alternatives. Bob, for example, is also an avid yachtsman and recreational vehicle explorer, so the issue here is real, but the double-ended staging yard means the trains are already in position; only the waybills need attention.
          A second benefit of the staging design is the elimination of runs that seem pointless to the operator. On a couple railroads Iíve operated, some assignments involve moving consists from staging to an nearby active yard. Such movements are needed to populate the active yard with cars to be moved. On Bobís railroad such an assignment, for example,
would go from East Strasburg (staging) to Strasburg, about a 10 foot run and
terminate. But trains on Bobís schedule do that work, but from Strasburg they proceed on around the railroad back to Elkins, making the run more interesting and satisfying.
          Local freight jobs (my personal favorites) proceed east and west from Petersburg to Parsons and Baker respectively, and then return. They move cars out of Petersburg, making room for that yardmaster to spot incoming cars from the mainline freights. Strasburg yard is a second busy yardmaster assignment, with reefers being shuttled between the icing track and the meat packing plant, then then sent on their way; stock cars shuttled between the unloading and the
cleaning tracks at the plant before being also being sent on their way, so thereís a lot to this job, too.
           Finally, Bobís modeling craftsmanship on his railroad reflects the talent and skill of someone who has earned a Master Model Railroader certificate.

Bill Mosteller