Engine Terminal

Engine Terminal
CX 351 westbound at Summit Springs. August 1976

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dry Creek Coal Tipple #2

The tipple for Dry Creek Coal #2 at Summit Springs has been finished and the scenery surrounding the structure has been completed. As mentioned in previous posts, this structure is based upon Virginia Iron and Coke Company's 10-K tipple at Esco, Kentucky. Below are some screen shots from Bing Maps that show the tipple several years ago.

There are also several great shots of the tipple in "Appalachian Coal Mines and Railroads in Color, Vol. 1, Kentucky: The Color Photography of Everett N. Young" by Stephen M. Timko. One of the shots in the book shows the original loader in 1985 prior to construction of the adjacent flood loader shown in these pictures. I was trying to capture the look of the original installation.

Due to space constraints and the track layout in this area, I had to change the basic set-up of the tipple. I also couldn't model the truck dump, so I had to settle for a small conveyor that heads up the hill into the trees.

The tipple loads 6-8 cars per day and is worked by the Springs Man out of Nelsonville. At some point, the tipple may get worked by an eastbound coal extra which would pull the westbound loads and spot them on the siding. The eastbound movement would then spot empties before proceeding to Nelsonville to fill out with eastbound coal. Later in the day, a westbound coal extra out of Nelsonville would fill out with the loads at Summit Springs for the trip to North Pierce.

The photo below shows the overall area looking west. Some additional detail will be added at some point, including the ever present rusty barrels and a derail to protect the main line.

The idea for the small pump house and oil tank came from the shot below that Robby Vaughn took of a loader in southeastern Kentucky.

It's a good thing that Everett Young captured the photos he did of the tipple. Robby Vaughn recently visited the area and took the photo below.

The large, concrete silo off to the right of the tipple in the Bing map shots is still there, but the original tipple and flood loader are gone. And while the tracks for the tipple remain in place, it's unlikely this location will ever load coal again.


  1. Hi Tom,

    This is my favorite blog update thus far. The "finished" scene is excellent and between the new photos of the model tipple installation, and the inclusion of the prototype Bing Map shots, this is very informative. The Bing Maps show the older footprint of earlier track work and mine roads and make the subsequent evolution of this site even more intriguing for modelers of various time periods (like people who say model...1944). In addition I like the fact you left enough room for a road of the proper width. Modelers often plan away these types of trackside features by mistake, or just try to force them with a shoehorn at the end, when it is often too late to include something realistic. The road is wide enough and steep enough to look right. Do you think there have been a "No Trespassing" sign on the other side of the crossing during your time period?

    Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing your work with all of us.



    Gerard J. Fitzgerald
    Charlottesville, Virginia

    1. Gerard,

      Thanks for the kind comments. It was a real treat to find the actual structure on Bing Maps and I'm glad I captured the screen shots before the satellite photos are updated. As for the "No Trespassing" sign, it's entirely possible there would have been one on the other side of the crossing, I actually installed a crossbuck on the other side but it just didn't look right. I went back and found numerous photos of similar crossings at tipple locations where there weren't any crossing signs. So the crossbuck came out. I just don't think there's enough room here for another sign of some type without making the scene look too crowded.