I am a belgian (Europe) of 53 years old. I am currently working on my MACLAU RIVER R.R. in N scale which depict a fictitious coal line running along the Maclau river.
My vision at first, was a line running from a port along the Maclau River and climbing in the hills to reach coal mines.
I read a lot of book about US trains, real and model. Like many of us I am a fan of the work of John Allen, George Sellios, they give me lot of inspiration for my buildings, town even scenery in certain case.
But after reading the book of Howard Zane about his Piermont Division, my vision of the Maclau RR has change; It give me the "declic" to Virginia and his history about coal and trains.
This emphasis give me also the taste of operation and all the books of Tony Koester were extremly helpful.
So far, even if the primary scheme remain the same, the Maclau river is still alive and this fictitious company is a connecting road between the N&W and the inland north country at the great lakes.
Like N&W, C&O, PRR; coal is the major revenue.
The whole plan of the layout has been modified, the existing part remains whith few modifications. I didn't want to start again. These parts are now LDEs where the main run through.
N&W coal road give me a lot of inspiration, Norfolk is alike my Port Allen; whithout knowing anything about it, I build years ago two bridges very similar of the N&W passing over the Elisabeth river - May be this was a sign for the future, who's know?
The ending town will be a town like Sandusky on the great lakes.
But somewhere my Maclau river is the twins of the N&W; steep grades, articulated steam, helpers and slow speed.
Branchline and a second division are on paper, but no sure at all to be modeled, main line run will reach 450 feet on simple deck, design is walk around whith three big peninsulas.
Athough freelanced, the two ending town on the line will contain staging where interchange whith the N&W and C&O were provided; this allow me to see C&O and N&W big steam coal train as extra between Maclau trains
The layout depict the 30s/40s. The port is finished and part of the big steam terminal. Work is nearly finished on a big town site.
A big yard is under construction whith a big coal terminal for which I am on the way to scratchbuild a N scale working high lift rotary coal dumper. This project is extremly time consumming just for study and how to do; because everything need to be scratchbuild so work just started during these 2012 holydays.
To give coal support on the rotary, all the mines on the line are producing "life scale coal" hoppers are really charged and decharged even the one going to coal tower.
Control is by Lenz DCC. Visit my layout at www.Nscale.org Personnal album, letter"M", album of Marc Magnus.