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May 2005 - Page 32


Adding a V&O Connection to Your Operations

by Larry Puckett
Photos by the author

V&O FA2 242 waits on the interchange track after making the run in from Afton.

I

V&O Operations
have always loved the Virginian and Ohio Railroad; after all it offers classic locomotives muscling long trains through rugged scenery. Furthermore, how can you not appreciate a railroad that began dieselizing immediately after World War II yet ran steam locomotives into the late 1950s, and was one of the last major railroads to operate classic EMD and ALCO cab and hood units? As an operating railroad it moves large quantities of traffic across its north-south bridge-line route, while generating coal and other traffic online. It has a long history that offers a wide variety of modeling opportunities for model railroaders. Much of the popularity of the V&O can be traced to the efforts of well-known model railroader Allen McClelland and his magnificent Virginian and Ohio layout. Unfortunately Allens V&O no longer exists, although he is currently building another one in his new home. Allen is known as quite an innovator among model railroaders for his development of walk-around control, good-enough modeling, and prototypical operations. Its the latter innovation that is of particular interest to me operating a model railroad as a complete transportation

system, instead of as an isolated pike. Part of his complete transportation system concept was connections to the outside world that Allen included in his operations through interchange and transfers runs. His original V&O layout provided connections to the CB&O, D&S, KC&B, VM, AM, GV, and the OM&SS, requiring interchange and transfer runs with all of them. Interchange and transfer runs can add a lot of interest and realism to operations on any model railroad, large or small. However, to maintain the illusion of realism you need to have some locomotives and a caboose for the railroads with which you want to interchange. Okay, maybe not every railroad, since you can operate interchange tracks just like any other industrial siding. But to make things interesting wouldnt it be great to have a couple trains a day pull into your main yard behind a consist of blue V&O Funits with a bright red V&O caboose bringing up the rear! In planning the operations for my Piedmont Southern Railway I wanted to include similar interchange and transfer operations. In addition to my Southern locos I started purchasing and painting models for other local roads that operated in the general vicinity, such as the C&O, N&W, VGN and the SAL (okay, the SAL may be a bit of a

stretch). After a visit to Allen McClellands V&O a few years ago I decided to add a set of V&O diesels and a caboose for transfer runs to and from his Afton, VA, yard. Then that project went on the back burner as I worked on the layout. Over Christmas 2002 though, my interest in the V&O resurfaced when I found my old artwork for the V&O decals that rekindled the fire.

Which Units to Model?
As I said earlier, the V&O offers a variety of freight locomotives to model. One interesting option would have been to use a steam loco like one of the V&Os 2-8-0, 2-10-0, or 2-8-2s. Since the V&O ran steam into 1958 they would fit within my era, and I may eventually add one to my roster. For me, however, the blue cab units, including FTs, F3s, F7s and FA2s epitomize the V&O. One important observation about the V&O cab units was the unmistakable family resemblance even between units from different manufacturers such as ALCO and EMD. Part of the reason for this family resemblance is that this is a case of form following function. Accordingly, the V&O shops applied the same equipment, such as grabirons, MU hoses and lift rings in approximately the same locations to meet the same needs.

32 MODEL RAILROADING

MAY 2005

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