Charlie Young’s “Chesapeake Crossing”

November 24 2018

Slideshow © Nigel Phillips

Slideshow w/jAlbum 17 © Nigel Phillips

Charlie Young’s “Chesapeake Crossing”

by Nigel Phillips

Charlie was been building his basement model railroad ever since 2011-2012. The highly detailed plans were drawn up during down time on many of his out-of town engagements as a professional musician and orchestra conductor. Clearly the work put in at the planning stage is being translated into some excellent modeling. The model railroad is based on his observations of the railroads around Hampton and Norfolk, VA, as a teenager, when his Dad worked for the railroad. Essentially a series of vignettes modeling what he is interested in and feels appropriate, rather than following a protoype. It will eventually cover the mountain coal mines all the way to a harbor transfer section. Charlie told me he models what he wants to do and when he feels like it. No set timetable and when it fits in with his professional activities.

Being a work in progress, visitors got an opportunity to see some excellent, earthquake-proof open frame, multilevel construction in dimensional lumber and ½" ply, along with 130+ Tortoise switch motors and some really neat wiring. Charlie is modeling in N-scale, and the scope for multilevel main lines, sweeping curves and storage/switching yards under the main lines is being fully exploited. The layout is DCC, and visitors were treated to some custom sound installs (ESU loksound) in the diesel-headed trains that were being run by Charlie and his operator team, all of whom were more than happy to slow the trains down and have a chat about what was going on.

This is a big layout divided into four main sections - the coal mining areas in the mountain gorges, complete with company towns perched on steep hill sides, line side industries and urban areas, including an impressive cityscape, the locomotive depot complete with roundhouse, turntable, freight car staging, along with some impressive servicing tracks for the diesels, and eventually the transfer dock in the harbor. Plus some bridges along the way. Charlie had the opportunity to start with a blank canvas, in this case a basement that needed extensive reconstruction, which he did himself.

This was a great layout tour in what was National Model Railroad Month. If you couldn't make it you missed a real treat. I personally want to thank Charlie and his team of enthusiasts for making this a memorable open house. I learned a lot.