The BC&G mainline runs from an interchange with the B&O at Dundon, across the Sand Fork Bridge, then disappears into hidden track emerging at Cressmont. Beyond Cressmont the track disappears again, climbs a 3% grade, and emerges at Avoca Jct. where the ERC&L logging branch diverges before arriving at Swandale. The track continues to hidden staging representing the now-abandoned track to Widen. Drawn by Kalmbach Publishing, used by permission.
The BC&G Consolidation #13 works the interchange at Dundon while the crew for the Mack railbus take a break from preparing for the morning run. All of the structures, including the bridge carrying the county road over the tracks and the Elk River, were scratchbuilt from photos. The locomotive is a modified S-Helper Service engine and the railbus was scratchbuilt.
Cody Burdette is tending to his truck at the gas pump at the Dundon company store while his dog, Chum, looks on. Climax #3 is steaming quietly while the crew has apparently run into the store, maybe for more tobacco. The store was scratchbuilt from photos and the Climax is a heavily modified Bachman On30 engine.
Leaving Dundon the main line crosses over the name-sake Buffalo Creek on the Sand Fork Bridge. Here BC&G #4 is returning from Swandale with a short train, typical of the consists of the thrice-weekly trains of 1963-65. The large concrete center pylon was installed in 1960 during the repair of bridge which was dynamited by union sympathizers during a labor dispute in 1952. The original pylon was cut stone.
The company store at Swandale was a busy place right up until it closed when the lumber operation ended. In this scene a woman standing on the porch of her company house watches as BC&G #4 prepares to depart for the return trip to Dundon. All the structures were scratchbuilt from prototype photos. The figures are by Arttista.
Climax #4 and Climax #3 are busy working at the sawmill in Swandale and today are being assisted by Plymouth #20 which is repositioning a chip hopper under the conveyor. Brooks originally built the model of the sawmill in the early 1990s and this is the third layout on which it has been used, expanded and improved each time.
There was a backwoods-style engine house at Swandale where the ERC&L's geared logging engines were maintained. Brooks scratchbuilt a model of it from numerous photographs. This photograph duplicates one in Brooks' collection. Cody Burdette who worked at the sawmill says the long object on the ground is a crankshaft from Shay #12 and the broken wheel is from one of the carts used to move lumber around at the mill just across the tracks.
Shown are the partially completed layout in the train room, with a desk and display cabinets. The room is brightly lit so that photos, including all those shown here, can be taken without auxiliary lighting. The carpeted floor makes things comfortable for visitors and operators.
The Buffalo Creek & Gauley (BC&G) main line ran from the B&O interchange at Dundon through Swandale and Cressmont and terminated in Widen. The Elk River Coal & Lumber (ERC&L) logging branch left the BC&G main at Cressmont and meandered around the mountain climbing to a logging camp at the highest point on the layout. Diagram by Carsten Publishing, used by permission.
The prototype BC&G operated three Consolidations in the 1950s and 60s. All three are seen here at the modest engine facility located at Dundon. The engine house was scratchbuilt from photos and the three locomotives are from SHS. Each engine was modified to more closely represent its prototype. The caboose and passenger car are built from AF cars. The wreck crane was scratchbuilt.
As on the prototype, on the layout BC&G engines backed to the B&O interchange to pick up empty hoppers for the mine at Widen. This train has returned to the interchange from Widen with loaded hoppers. After setting them on the interchange track the engine will return to the engine house at BC&G yard in Dundon.
Brooks scratchbuilt this model of the company store at Dundon from photographs and information from interviews with former residents. The smoke and headlight effects were added in Photoshop to create what it must have looked like when a train arrived from Widen after the sun had set behind the tall mountains.
A scenic highlight of the layout was this curved trestle. It was right inside the door to the layout room and so was one of the first things visitors saw. The trestle was freelanced as there was no such structure on the BC&G but it made for great train watching!
Continuing over the trestle, trains arrived at Swandale where the ERC&L company operated a huge bandsaw mill. Here Plymouth #20, the only diesel ever to operate on ERC&L trackage, and 3-truck Climax #4 are seen going about the day's work. The body of #20 was scratchbuilt from styrene and is fitted on a Steam Depot 44-tonner chassis. The Climax was built by heavily modifying a Bachmann On30 2-truck Climax.
Brooks' model of the Swandale sawmill includes many accurate details including the jack slip, the chip loading conveyor, the triple stacks of the power house and the stacks of drying lumber. The B&O wagontop boxcar was built from a Lehigh Valley kit. The muddy log pond was made from EnviroTex over a Masonite painted base.
The next town along the line was the tiny settlement of Cressmont. The ERC&L operated a small dairy here which provided milk for company employees. The structure was scratchbuilt from photos. The body of the BC&G Mack Railbus was scratchbuilt from styrene and rides on a scratchbuilt chassis. It is fitted with a DCC sound decoder.
The largest industry served by the BC&G was the Rich Run Mine at Widen. Brooks' model of the mine was also the signature scene and the center of action during operating sessions. All of the structures were built with mat board walls. The walls of the tipple were covered with corrugated aluminum foil. Electronic modules created sound effects for coal loading and dynamite blasts at the mine head.
The BC&G layout was located in a fully finished, carpeted, and brightly lit room. The area under the layout was enclosed with Masonite panels fitted in slides to permit access while providing a finished look. The layout fascia and enclosure were painted brown. Brooks' workshop was through the white doors in the background. This view looks toward Widen.
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