logo: Black River Valley Model Railroad



Since 9/8/2004

Updated 4/13/2014


The Black River Valley Railroad website, like its namesake model railroad, is a work in progress and always changing. I try to update the content periodically to give people a reason to come back. If this is your first visit to the Black River Valley Model Railroad Web Site, Welcome! If you have been here before, Welcome Back!

It has been a long hard winter here in Northeast Ohio this year. I fear it is not over yet. I appologize to everyone for the delay in updating the site. There simply hasn't been much to report. My grandson and I attended the NMRA show at Lakeland Community College in March (2014) where I purchased some arch roof Pennsylvania RR passenger cars for our K-4 to tow around and a Rivarossi streamlined car for our more modern passenger consist. These cars and GP-20 #6111 with a modified head light are featured on the What's New page this time around.

There are several new photos on the Railroading page. In additon, I have updated a couple of the photos on the Layout page and added a caboose to the Rolling Stock page.

A link to my short video of the Nickel Plate Road #765's arrival at Boston Mills Station in August 2013 is on the Railroading page. Click on the thumbnail of #765. A major change for the Black River Valley RR was renaming the town and train station on the layout from Berea to Black River. This change will require many small changes to the website in the future but will be time well spent. Some time ago I tinted the glass on two Santa Fe dome cars. I recently finished the job by tinting the windows on the rest of my Santa Fe streamlined consist. A photo of a couple of the finished cars is on the What's New page. While working on passenger cars, I converted the truck mountings on our mixed consist of Pennsylvania RR cars by replacing the push pins with #6 screws on the Rivrossi/ConCor cars. While I was at it, I weighted them to NMRA standards. My conversion of an Athearn BB bay window caboose in NYC livery into a caboose for the home road is still on the What's New page. There is a brief 'how to' photo essay on the window tinting on the What's New page. Just 'click' on the thumbnail of the dome car or caboose to see the essays.

My oldest grandson and I made a trip to Cass, West Virginia in July 2013 and took a Western Maryland Shay #6 powered train to Bald Knob and back. Zachary has always been fascinated with Shay locomotives and enjoyed himself immensely. We also visited the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum on the way home. A short video of our trolley ride has been posted on YouTube. Just click on the thumbnail of the trolley car on the Railroading page. A few photos of our family railroad excursion through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and from recent operating sessions posted the Railroading page. Enjoy!

Many past articles, photo essays and videos from the BRVRR are still to be found on the site. The conversion of an A/B set of Proto 2000 E8s in the Atlantic Coast Line's blue and yellow livery into Pennsylvania passenger locomotives is still being featured on the What's New page. The recent changes to the layout scenery are still being featured: The small Farmer's Market scene just off of Highway 32 near the Black River (formerly Berea) Yard where I combined the my 'Tourist' scene, a couple of vehicles and few extra people to change the look of the area. I added a few lights to the team track area and the loading docks of the Redwing Flour Mill to brighten the night time operations a little. Photos of the Farmer's Market and the improved lighting are on the What's New page.

Because of an inquiry and a request on the Model Railroader forum I made a video demonstrating the operation of my under table diesel sound decoder installation. Those of you familiar with the BRVRR know there is a description on the The Layout page. The link to the video is on the What's New page. Just click on the thumbnail of the under table speakers.

Over the winter and spring (2012) I acquired some new passenger train rolling stock. My grandson and I found a six-car consist of Pennsylvania heavy weights at a show in February which will go well with his K-4. We found a short consist of Southern Pacific heavy weight cars at a show in early April that look good with his Bachmann Southern Pacific GS-4. A couple of new photos and descriptions of these cars are on the What's New page. A brief description of the modification of the GS-4 for a sound decoder is also on that page.

Other recent acquisitions for the locomotive roster and the changes to the Team Track scene are still on the What's New page. The progress on a small scene near the Farmers Union Elevator where I modified an Athearn Freightliner to give Shockers Electric a service vehicle. My Pennsylvania F7A #9822 and F7B #9663 and the Santa Fe FP-45 projects are posted on the What's New page. Just 'click' on the thumbnails to see larger images.

My short video, "The Pennsylvania RR on the BRVRR" still posted on YouTube. There is a link on the Railroading page. Just 'click' on the thumbnail of the Pennsylvania RR F7A. A link to my video of a Norfolk-Southern freight negotiating Horseshoe Curve is also there. Just 'click' on the thumbnail of the NS locos.

I put off striping the front and rear of my NYC RDC #53 for a long time because I didn't have any of the red chevron stripes I needed. I ordered them from Microscale Decals in July and began the project in early September of 2010. After working out the methodology the application went quite well. A brief description together with a photo are still on the What's New page.

Photos of my home-built chain-link fences and changes to the back-lot of my engine facility are on the What's New page. The videos "Multi-Unit Coal Train" and "Around The Black River Valley Model Railroad" are on YouTube. There is a link on the Railroading page to both videos. Just 'click' on the thumbnail of the three GPs for the Coal Train or the BRVRR Logo thumbnail for Around The Black River Valley. As always there are a few new images posted on that page. The improved backdrop area and the General Industries scene are on the What's New page. The 'Crane Repair Scene', an addition to the back-lot of the engine terminal, is also posted there. I have added some updated photos of the layout to the Layout page with overall views of the new backdrops, industrial scenes and chain-link fences.

The details of the caboose light installations where I installed interior lights in a couple of Athearn BB Bay Window Cabooses have been moved to theHow'd You Do That page. My "One Minute Freight" video of a NYC freight train passing through the crossing near the Farmer's Union Grain Elevator on the BRVRR is still posted on YouTube. A link to the video can be found on the Railroading page. Just 'click' on the thumbnail of the NYC Box Car.

My 'photo essay' on the construction of a pasture scene I used to fill in an empty corner of the Black River Valley Railroad layout is on the How'd You Do That page. The essay covers building a couple of small hills with foam bead board, filling in the cracks and rounding things off with Sculptamold. The application of ground cover and the staining of a rock faced cut are also documented. Click on the thumbnail of the Holstein cows on the to view the essay. The Photo Essay of our June 2008 trip to see the Great Train Story Layout at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is still on the Railroading Page.

My 'photo essays' on the conversion of standard Atlas twin-coil surface mount switch machines to under table machines, the installation of cross bucks and an infra-red control module from Berkshire Junction, my project modifying inexpensive plastic cars for use on the BRVRR, are all on the How'd You Do That Page. Just click on your choice of the thumbnail of the Switch Machine, model cars, or the RR Crossing to view the essays.

The photo essay of our summer of 2009 visit Horseshoe Curve and the Altoona Railroad Museum and Steamtown is on the Railroading page. 'Click' on the Big Boy thumbnail. My 'photo essay' on the Tuscola & Saginaw Bay Railroad's excursion train to Petoskey, Michigan in August 2006 and our summer of 2005 visit to the Strasburg Railroad and to the Railroad Museum Of Pennsylvania are there as well. Click on the thumbnail of the T&SBRR GP35s, my grandson or the N&W #475 steam locomotive, respectively.

You can navigate around the site using the buttons at left on the main pages and the arrows at the bottom of every page. The BRVRR Logos located at the top and bottom of every page work as my Home Page buttons and will return you to the Home Page from anywhere on the site. All of the photographs, with the exception of my picture on the Home Page, the images in the 'photo essays' and the background image, are presented as thumbnails. If you want to view a larger image, simply 'click' on the desired photo. If you have any comments or suggestions, send me and E-mail via the button located at the bottom center of each page.

A word about cameras and images for those of you interested in photography. All of the photo images on the site until March of 2006 were taken with a HP PhotoSmart 435, 3.1 Mega-pixel camera. In order to present better images with more detail, I took the plunge in March 2006 and purchased a HP PhotoSmart 415, 5.2 Mega-pixel camera. In May of 2009 I added a Kodak C813, 8.2 Mega-pixel camera to the mix. In June of 2009 I received a new Sony DCR-SX41 Video Camera as a Father's Day gift. The videos posted on You Tube, with the exception of "One Minute Freight" were taken with this camera and edited with Sony's PMB or Windows Movie Maker.


logo: Black River Valley Model Railroad
Copyright by Allan Coates 2004-2014. All Rights Reserved.