NOTE : The layout descibed here was torn down in September of 2000 in order to build the Cumberland Southern Bear Creek Branch, which can be seen elsewhere on this website. The rest of this narrative is as it was originally written in 1998 to describe the old layout.
The Cumberland Southern Railway is an HO gauge model railroad that occupied a 12 by 24 foot room in a basement in southwestern Ohio. The area actually modeled is the Clarksville Subdivision which is theoretically in the area of Clarksville, Tennessee. The time is in the early Autumn of 1962. It is a joint effort of a father and his teenage son.The railroad is a point to point operation with five online towns and three interchanges. These are, heading eastbound, Franklin, the Southern Railway interchange, Wheatstone Junction, The New River Electric Railway And Lighting Company interchange, Clarksville, Alexandersville, the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie interchange, and Middletown. There is a 10 track, 20 foot long staging yard outside the room that connects the main lines west of Franklin and east of Middletown. There are 4 stub tracks in the staging yard in each direction and 2 thru tracks that allow for continuous running for open houses and the like. The New River Electric Railroad And Lighting Company is also modeled. It has an interchange with Cumberland Southern at Wheatstone Junction and runs to Holeís Station, terminating in Hill Valley. The New River Electric Railway And Lighting Company also has a branch from Wheatstone Junction to Middletown. While The New River Electric Railway And Lighting Company was theoretically once an all electric operation, only the Middletown branch is still under wire; the rest of the operation is all diesel. The Clinch Lumber Company also has trackage rights over the length of The New River Electric Railway And Lighting Company main line from their log load out in Hill Valley and over Cumberland Southern Railway from Wheatstone Junction to their sawmill at Franklin. The Cincinnati and Toledo Railroad also has run thru rights over all of the Cumberland Southern main. All of the C&T equipment has been built by the "son" component and will eventually find its way onto his own layout sometime in the future. The C&T is a bit further along chronologically than the Cumberland Southern as it rosters a number of General Electric U-boats in addition to various first generation EMD's and steam engines. The major points of interest of each city are as follows. On Cumberland Southern Railway, Franklin has a large coal mine, the aforementioned saw mill, and a couple of other smaller industries. Wheatstone Junction has another coal mine, The New River Electric Railway And Lighting Companyís interchange yard with Cumberland Southern Railway, and one other small industry, and the Southern Railway interchange. Clarksville itself has minimal switching, but the division point yard is located here, along with the steam and diesel servicing facilities, and turntable. All locals are run out of Clarksville yard. Alexandersville has an icing facility, and its switching includes National Cash Register Company, and the P&LE interchange. Middletown is a large city occupying a 2.5 by 10 ft peninsula in the middle of the room. It has about a dozen industries with rail service. It also on the tail of a wye off the main line, so equipment can be turned here. On The New River Electric Railway And Lighting Company, Wheatstone Junction is the interchange point with Cumberland Southern Railway. From here the main line goes to Holeís Station where there is a team track and a petroleum dealer. It terminates at Hill Valley, where the yard and main shops are, and where there is some additional industry. Layout construction is L-girder with OSB (oriented strand board) sub-roadbed. Track is various brands of code 100 nickel silver flex track and commercial turnouts, all supported on a roadbed of black insulation board. The CS mainline is about 100 feet in length with 3 passing sidings and one major yard. There are about 70 turnouts, so there is an emphasis on local switching in our operating sessions. All turnouts are hand thrown except those in the staging yard that are push button operated with twin coil switch machines using a diode matrix. Electrical control consists of 4 home built walkaround throttles, one of which is always the Clarksville yard throttle. Block selection is by rotary switches from the 6 control panels located around the room. Scenery is Structolite wall plaster over window screen, with hand carved rock work. A backdrop is painted directly on the room walls and extends all the way to the ceiling. Ground cover is lichen, polyester foam, home-made ground foam (carpet pad run thru a meat grinder and dyed green), dyed sawdust, and natural rock and dirt. Structures include kitbashed plastic, metal, and wood kits, as well as numerous scratch built structures and bridges. There are better than 100 vehicles on the layout and about that many people and animals. Diesel power consists of assorted Alco roadswitchers and FP7ís from Atlas, various EMD cab units, and GP30ís from Athearn, and EMD SW9 switchers, E4ís (Cary Shells) and GP7ís (Front Range shells) from Proto 2000. There are also several BL2ís with high short hoods. These are made from 2 AHM BL2 shells and use Athearn frames and drive components and are powered by Canon printer motors. It is normal practice to run these, and all other road switchers, long hood forward. Steam power consists of Mantua 2-6-6-2ís, IHC 2-6-0ís and 4-4-0ís, Spectrum 2-8-0ís, and a Model Die Casting Shay for Clinch Lumber. Rolling stock consists of mostly plastic kits from Athearn, Model Die Casting, Proto 2000 and others. Probably about half of these have been custom painted and lettered. All locomotives and rolling stock are weathered. This is the third layout, in the third basement, that we have built using this name. This particular one was started in February of 1995, soon after the house was completed at the end of 1994. The house itself faces CSXís Toledo to Cincinnati main line which crosses the road diagonally just south of the house. This provides a nice view of the trains passing about 100 feet away from the front porch. Conrailís (now Norfolk Southernís) Columbus to Cincinnati main line runs more or less parallel to CSXís at this point, just a couple hundred feet further beyond, so this can be seen, heard, and photographed as well.