Engine Terminal

Engine Terminal
A couple of Geeps head out from the roundhouse at North Pirece.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Kanawha & Lake Erie 4.0

Many of us were shocked when John Miller announced back in the summer of 2014 that he was dismantling his K&LE layout and moving to a new house. While we were encouraged with his talk of constructing a large, new building for the next version of the railroad, we knew how much work that would entail. And the lack of an operating layout would mean that he would be placed on probation with the GLA. As time went on, it appeared that the probationary period would run its course and John would be cast out of the group he helped found.

Fast forward to the spring of 2016. Not only has the building been finished, but tremendous progress has been made on the new railroad. As with everything John does that's railroad related, the size and scope of the new operation is, well... large. The building measures 60' x 35' and it's clear that every inch it will be filled with railroad. So let's take a tour of what's happening on the new K&LE.

First up are a couple of shots that were taken from the end of the building near the entrance. These will give you an idea of the overall size of the structure.

Now let's take a look at how some of the sections of the old layout have been incorporated into the new one. The shot below shows the east end of Undercliff Yard. Those familiar with the old layout will recognize Herrick Lumber and the tracks that curved east to Fairfax. The new yard extend toward the back of the building in the left center of the picture.

In the shot below, Undercliff Yard is on the right and the Eggleston Avenue switching district is on the near left. On the far left we can see a portion of Newport Steel along the wall and it extends all the way across the wall in the back of the building.

All of these photos were taken during a Monday work session. As is typical for a work session, John is doing anything but working on the layout. In the photo below, he's weathering another freight car. 

The photo above shows  the workshop that's under the SOU and L&N staging yards and a portion of Newport Steel which can be seen just to the right of John's head. The door into the building is at the far left of the picture.

The photo below shows more detail of the service yard for Newport Steel that can be seen in the photo above. The back of the Eggleston Avenue switching district can be seen on the right.

Oasis Yard has survived the move and can be seen in the photo below beneath the steel mill building. The switching district to the left of the main line has been modified from the previous version. And in the middle left of the photo, you can see the engine terminal at Undercliff Yard.

Now we're looking down Undercliff Yard toward the garage door on the far end of the building. The Eggleston Avenue switching district is in the middle right of the photo.

Turning to the left from where the photo above was taken, we can see the new route of the main line and the approach to the Ohio River bridge. Another portion of Newport Steel can be seen against the back wall. The track coming through the approach to the bridge leads to a small support yard and the switching district to the right of the main line. 

The photo below shows the main line heading under the approach to the Ohio River bridge and on to the west of Cincinnati. To the right of the main line is... you guessed it... another switching district. 

And last but not least, a shot of a train that actually ran on the day of the visit. This is the ore train headed to Newport Steel.

It's incredible to see how much has been done over the past year and a half. And it's clear that this railroad is going to be every bit as much fun to operate as the last one, if not more so. The only drawback is that he's had Bill "Smokey" Doll working on the electrical connections. Bill has never met a wire that can't be soldered with a blow torch. That's probably why the underside of the benchwork looks like someone's wood burning project. Here's hoping that electrical current can actually pass through the maze of wires, connectors and smoldering benchwork.

Congratulations on the progress, John- we are all anxiously awaiting the first operating session on the new K&LE!


  1. Now this is a layout I really want to see. Maybe I can convince Stuart to take me. LOL

  2. Wow! John has certainly underplayed his progress to date. It looks like it might operate sooner rather than later...

  3. Looking fantastic! That will be a world-class railroad.

  4. Looking fantastic! That will be a world-class railroad.

  5. Thanks for bringing pictures to those that have not been up to see the new digs. Yes, I agree, he has underplayed his progress. I may have to break down and get a travel visa to get up there. Mondays were always a pleasure working with the guys on John's layout.
    We may have to start that back up again...... We could all meet at tricounty and rent a bus to go to John's. Maybe John could rent a van and pick US up at the mall.

  6. Tom thanks for sharing this update on MRH. It is great to see the progress made to date and see that members of what was often referred to as the lichen belt by Tony Koester are doing well. I think of this as a geographic area around Cincinnati more so than an actual specific group of modelers. I also always enjoy reading or watching your railroad wheather on videos on the web, cd, articles or your blog site. Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us. Rob in Texas