THE BLACK RIVER VALLEY MODEL RAILROAD WEBSITE
RAILROADING: HO & 1:1 SCALE
Shown here at right is the sum total of the Pennsylvania RR motive power on the roster for the BRVRR. The E8 passenger locomotives #5713 and 4121 at the head of an 8-car passenger consist on the outer mainline are featured on the What's New page.PRR #9822 and 9663 are at the head of a fright on the inner main line. Both trains are negotiating the curve at the west end of the BRVRR layout.
NYC RS-32 #8038 heads a short local freight around the curve on the west end of the BRVRR layout. The loco is an Atlas Trainman model with a Soundtraxx DSD-100LC decoder and a 190-527 mini-val speaker. It most often runs lead with its companion NYC #2030 but this time was employed solo on a local freight.
New York Central Niagara #6015 at the head of a streamlined passenger consist approaches Berea Station on the outer mainline of the BRVRR layout. The Niagara is a Bachmann model with an MRC 1627 Steam Sound Decoder installed in the tender. The loco is a very smooth operator and sounds awesome.
Black River VAlley RR #1116 leads a short local freight on the BRVRR layout. An F7A, #1116 is the only loco on the railroad in 'House' colors. The loco has a MRC chassis and an Athearn body shell. It operates very smoothly and quietly but does not have on board sound. It is often operated MUed to the under-table sound decoder.
NYC Hudson #5335 at the head of a streamlined passenger consist passes Berea Tower east-bound for Toledo. Thetower operator can be seen inspecting the train as it passes. The smoke from the locomotive is an experiment in using the various tools in my primary photo manipulation program, PhotoFiltre. Not too bad for a first attempt.
NYC RS-32 #8038 can be seen (left thumbnail) through the trees next to HWY 32 as it approches the highway crossing on the layouts reversing track.The locomotive is clearly visible (right thumbnail) as it crosses the road at the head of a short local freight that includes a heavyweight coach and a caboos. This little local is a favorite on the layout because it is short, only five cars counting the caboose and because the author loves the sound of ALCO prime movers.
NYC Mikado #9519 appears from behind some trackside pine trees near the Berea Tower on the inner main line on the BRVRR.The loca is at the head of a short local freight making its way toward Grafton. The locomotive is a BLI and has been operating almost continuously on the layout since 2004.
I cobbled together this short train with an oversized load for the 'Show Me Something Thread on the Model Railroader website. The short train is headed by a Proto GP7 which has been around the layout for a long time. Union Pacific #119 is a little steamer that belongs to my grandson. For the scene I simply placed the little steamer on an old flatcar. I added another old-style flatcar and a NYC caboose to fill out the short train. The thumbnail at left shows the whole train while the thumbnail at right is of #119. I rather liked the little steamer on the flatcar and my take the time to chain it down and make it a semi-permanent featureon the BRVRR.
What is Christmas and a Christmas tree without a train around the tree. Here my grandson Nathan watches our Lionel "Polar Express" as it circles the tree. I had to turn down the sound quite low to avoid a trip to the asylum
NYC Hudson #5335 approaches the Route 32 Overpass at the head of a short passenger train on the BRVRR layout.
Here is a static view of the yard at Berea on the BRVRR. NYC RS-32 #8038 is to the right and NYC SW-8 #9622 on the left. An unused caboose and a few freight cars are on the yard tracks.
New York Central RDC #53 approaches Berea Station where it will stop and pick-up some anxious passengers. It seems the local commuter is running a few minutes late. The model is a Proto 1000 modified with a lighted interior and a few passenger figures. A Digitrax DH123 decoder takes care of the lighting and motor control.
Here NYC steamer #5335 passed Grafton Tower at the head of a westbound passenger train. Lhe loco iand its train are checked at ground level and from the tower as it passes. NYC #874 can be seen in the background, switching a few cars at the team track siding.
Following on the heels of #5335 in NYC E8#4040 at the head of the Mercury as it passes General Industries. We often run more than one passenger train at a time on the layout. They just have to be relatively short, usually 4-8 cars.
NYC Hudson #5335 rounds the General Industries curve at the head of a short 8-car passenger train. The loco is a BLI is a 7-year old loco that still operates flawlessly. It was a 2005 Christmas present from my wife.It is a favorite of my grandsons since it makes such wonderful sounds.
NYC GP-20 #6109 passes an eastbound freight on the inner main line of the BRVRR. This engine is a Proto 2000 loco with a Soundtrax DSD-101LC sound decoder installed.
Blowing the whistle is a lot of fun if you are 6-years old and in love with trains. As Santa Fe GP30 #1207 approaches at the head of a short freight train, my grandson, Nathan, blows the whistle. The sound is provided by the undertable sound decoder and speakers since #1207 doesn't have on-board sound. The large, 4-inch speaker on the decoder provides a satisfying rumble and a good whistle sound. The whistle get exercised about ever 2-feet of train travel.
NYC F7A #1719 passes the Berea Tower at the head of a short freight train as another freight passes eastbound on the outer main line. Seventeen-nineteen is an Athearn BB kit locomotive with a few modifications and a TCS T1 decoder installed. It is electrically connected to the trailing A-unit #1872 which contains a MRC 1626 diesel sound decoder and a 1-inch speaker. This pair has been in service since 2005 without any problems.
NYC RDC #53 approaches Berea Station to load passengers as a NYC F7 at the head of a westbound freight train passes on the outer main line of the layout. The RDC is a Proto1000 model. I have added a few passengers and interior lighting to give the model some life. The F7 is an Athearn BB kit with some modifications and a Soundtraxx DSD-100LC decoder and 1-inch speaker installed in the trailing B-unit.
AMTRAK #120 is am Athearn BB locomotive as is its brother #104, a dummy. Here they are at the head of a short passenger train as it rounds the Pasture Turn on the Black River Valley Railroad layout.
ALCO PA #4210 at the head of a westbound passenger train overtakes RS-32 #8038 leading a short freight train at the Pasture Turn on the Black River Valley layout. The PA is an Athearn BB kit with a soundtraxx DSX decoder and 1-inch speaker installed in a B-unit. The RS-32 is an Atlas Trainman loco with a DSD-101LC decoder and a mini-oval speaker on board.
GP7 #5809 passes Berea Tower eastbound on the inner main line of the layout. This little locomotive is Proto2000 model that I picked up at a trainshow in 2006. When it is on the layout it is MU'd to the undertable sound decoder since it doesn't have it own on-board sound. It is however, a very quiet smooth running locomotive.
NYC RS-32 #8038 at the head of a short freight train passes Berea Tower on the BRVRR layout's inner mainline. The model is an Atlas Trainman locomotive with a Soundtraxx DSD 101-LC sound decoder and mini-oval speaker.
NYC RDC #53 negotiates the Center Street crossing as it enters the reversing loop on the BRVRR layout.
NYC #9519 passes the Center Street Crossing at the head of a short local freight train as it completes the reversing loop on the BRVRR layout.
My grandson Nathan watches as a freight train passes him by on the 'back side' of the BRVRR layout. He likes to get as close to the trains as he can and watch them roll by. This has lead to a few mishaps in the past, but he is getting much better. Give him a controller with a whistle button and he his content.
NYC Mikado #9519 passes under the Route 32 bridge at the head of a short freight train. Joe and Moe, seated in the shade at the picnic table at right, are enjoying the show as the big steamer passes by.
NYC RDC #53 Rounds the curve on the approach to Berea Station at the East end of the BRVRR layout. The RDC is a Proto 1000 with a Digitrax DH123 decoder installed.
The newest member of the BRVRR locomotive roster, NYC SW8 #9622, moves a few grain box cars at the Farmer Union Elevator while on its D.C. test run.
The King of 4-8-4s, a New York Central Niagagra #6015rounds the curve at the east end of the BRVRR layout at the head of a streamlined passenger consist. This big steamer loves running at high speed on the outer main line. When up to speed with the sound decoder on it puts on quite a show. My two grandsons love to watch it run.
New York Central Hudson #5335 at the head of a short passenger train of heavyweight cars is overtaken near Berea Station by NYC PA #4210 at the head of a new streamlined passenger train. I thought the black and white photo brought back some of the feeling of the era better than a color photo would. The NYC Hudson is a BLI locomotive that has been on the layout for several years. The PA/PB locos are Athearn BB kits. The A-unit has the original drive and a TCS T-1 decoder. The PB-unit has a Soundtraxx DSX decoder and a 1' speaker. The locos are electrically coupled with a Miniatronics 2-conductor wire set to give them 24-wheel electrical pickup and all but eliminate the stutter in the sound decoder.
Pennsylvania Railroad F7A passes Berea Station at the head of a short freight as passengers board NYC RDC #53 for a trip into Toledo. I think the black and white image captures the feeling of the era better than a color image would. Something a little different at least.
My five-year old grandson is Eye To Eye with his older brother's Athearn Challenger as it passes Berea Staion at the head of a freight train. Nathan loves to watch and listen to the trains up close. He is on the 'South Side' of the layout which is pulled away from the wall to make room for him. The layout table moves on tracks mounted on the walls and garage door rollers to facilitate its movement. This feature allows for operation/observation from the back side as well as making maintenance and construction easier.
NYC Mikado #9519 rounds the curve at the West End of the Black River Valley layout (Left Thumbnail) as Caboose #24534 crosses Olive Street near Berea Tower (Right Thumbnail). The loco is a BLI which has been in service on the layout since Christmas of 2004. The caboose is an Athearn BB kit. I lighted the interior with a single bulb wired to modified Kadee coupler spring pickups on the trucks. A brief description of the installation is on the What's New page.
New York Central GP-40 #3083 is passing Berea Station at the head of a short freight train. The passengers at the station look on in anticipation of the arrival of the New York bound Michigan.
The Santa Fe's El Capitan rounds the curve in front of the General Industries building at the East End of the Black River Valley layout. FP-45 #5941 an Athearn BB kit with a Soundtraxx DSD101-LC decoder, leads the consist. This loco and its brother can pull the plaster off of the walls so the 8-car train of Athearn BB passenger cars is no real challenge.
Behind the thumbnail photo at left is a short video of my new Pennsylvania RR F7s at the head of mixed freight on the BRVRR main line. After all the work put into these locos I thought they deserved to be highlighted here.
Pennsylavania RR F7 A/B set #9822 and 9663 pose for a picture near the West end of the BRVRR main line shortly after their cconstruction. The locos look pretty good and perform well on the layout. There is no 'stutter' from the sound decoder in the B-unit.
A West bound New York Central passenger train passes a short freight headed by NYC Mikado #9519 as it rounds the curve near the Farmers Union grain elevator. I tried to light this photograph to mimic the lighting conditions at dusk. I particularly like the steamer's headlight reflections in the windows of the passenger cars.
NYC E8 #4089 at the head of a short passenger train passes an Eastbound freight headed by NYC F7 #1663 on the BRVRR layout.
Santa Fe FP-45 #5945 rounds the curve at the West End of the Black River Valley Railroad layout in the lead of my new eight car Santa Fe streamlined passenger train consist. All of the cars are Athearn BB Kits. Each car is lighted with a single bulb, powered with wound-wire pick-ups on the axles. All of the cars have Kadee couplers with the steel "air hose" cut off. Plans call for detailed interior at least for the Vista Dome cars, and a few passengers to bring the train to life.
Click on the thumbnail of the three GPs at right to watch a short vidio of a coal train as it passes Westbound on the outer main of the Black River Valley Railroad. The Lead GP-40 is an Atlas model with a Soundtraxx DSD101-LC decoder installed. The second is an Athearn BB model with a Digitrax DH123 decoder and the GP-20 bringing up the rear is a Proto2000 model also with a Soundtraxx DSD101-LC decoder. I used DecoderPro to speed match the locos. They work together very well and sound awesome.
NYC S-3 #874 is pushing a couple of flat cars through the reverse loop on the BRVRR. The chain-link fence in the foreground is a new addition to the Baron Oil Supply scene and my third effort at making an acceptable chain-link fence. The fence is constructed of 1/16-inch brass and styren shapes and 'bridal veil cloth I purchased at a fabric store. This is my best effort to date.
Click on the BRVRR Logo at left to watch a video of a trip around the BRVRR layout from an engineer's perspective. The video is titled 'Around the Black River Valley Model Railroad and lasts about 8-minutes. Until I watched this video, I didn't realize how sterile the layout really was. I'll be working on improving the interest and realism for some time to come I think.
My grandson and I try to make a railroading related trip each summer. This year we traveled to Altoona, to visit Horseshoe Curve and the Altoona Railroaders Museum. Then we went on to Scranton, Pennsylvania to visit Steamtown. To see a short 'photo essay' of our visits to these memorable places just click on the thumbnail of the Big Boy at right.
Norfolk-Southern loco #2746 leads a fast freight downgrade at Horseshoe Curve in Altoona, PA. Unfortunately the railroad was having track problems that day and the normal volume of traffic was much reduced. It was still a thrill to finally experience first hand what had always been just an image on a television. You can view the short video of the passing by 'clicking' on the thumbnail at left.
By 'clicking' on the thumbnail of the NYC box car at right, you can view a short experimental video of a 22-car freight train lead by two NYC GP40s as it passes through the railroad crossing near the Farmer's Union grain elevator on the Black River Valley Railroad layout.
New York Central E-8 #4089 passes by the new Pasture scene at the Northwest corner of the Black River Valley Railroad layout. The noise of the engines doesn't seem to bother the cows any.
NYC RS-32 #8038 meets NYC GP-40 #3083 as they pass near the Grafton Tower on the Black River Valley layout. Number 8038 was on its almost maiden run with its new Soundtraxx decoder. I love the sound of ALCO engines. They bring back a lot of memories for me.
My new Atlas Trainman ALCO RS-32, NYC #8038 as it rounds the curve near the new Farmer's Union grain elevator. I installed a Soundtraxx DSD-101LC and speaker. It runs very smoothly and sounds good too. I spent a few minutes matching it to its intended compainion, NYC RS-32, #2030 which is also an Atlas Trainman locomotive with DecoderPro and my PC.
The thumbnail to the right of Zachary waiting for the train leads to the photo essay of our June 2008 AMTRAK trip to Chicago, Illinois to see the Great Train Story layout at the Museum of Science and Industry. The trip has been on our "things to do" list for a long time. I decided the time had come shortly after school let out for the year in early June. After one false start, when the train was delayed for several hours, we made it at the end of the month. To say that Zachary was excited about the trip would be an understatement. We had a wonderful time. Some of the photos I took on our visit to the Museum of Science and Industry are the subject of the essay. Enjoy!
NYC GP40 #3075 leads NYC GP40 #3083 as they transit the reversing loop past the Redwing Flour Mill on the BRVRR. This was the test run with a load after I speed matched them using DecoderPro and my home computer. NYC GP-40 #3083 is my first Atlas locomotive and a smooth runner. NYC GP-40 #3075 was cobbled together from an Athearn BB kit. Originally in CSX livery, I refinished it and detailed it with parts from Atlas, Kato and Detail Associates to provide a running mate for the Atlas. It has a Digitrax DH163 decoder and LED lights. I am very pleased with the way these two locos operate together. I have to admit that DecoderPro made speed matching these two dissimilar locos much easier than I anticipated.
Norfolk-Southern GP30 #5819 leads as these Cleveland Waterfront switchers move a mixed consist on the West-bound Mainline. I see these two venerable locomotives quite often operating near down town. This photo was taken in the last week of April 2008.
I snapped this photo of a Norfolk-Southern maintenance of way magnet crane working on the main line on the Cleveland waterfront in January of 2008 as I returned to my truck after work. Unfortunately, the machine had moved out of range before I could get closer.
I took this photo of an Eastbound CSX freight at dusk in August of 2007. It had been a slow day for trains at our favorite railfanning site in Berea, Ohio. This was the last picture I took that day. The cell phone was ringing off the hook with inquiries from my daughter asking when I was going to bring her son home. Zachary and I made it home by 10:30 or so.
I caught the Norfolk-Southern rail surfacing car waiting on a siding on the Cleveland Waterfront in March of 2007. It was one of several pieces of maintenance equipment working the mainline between trains.
I photographed this patch job NS SD40-1 #6752 at the head of a west bound mixed freight on the former NYC mainline in late March of 2007. I was surprised to see the loco in mainline service.
I caught this Eastbound AMTRAK passenger train late in the morning of February 15, 2007 as it passed the station on Cleveland's waterfront. It was the first clear day after a major snowstorm and the sky was unusually blue. Pretty scene don't you think?
This ballast groomer is the first one of its type I've seen. The photo was taken in early January 2007 on the Cleveland lakefront near Browns Stadium.
Norfolk-Southern #7574 as it passes the Olive Street crossing in Elyria with a mixed freight. When moving at track speed, these big diesels actually shake the ground as they pass.
On the 6th of August, 2006 while visiting my mother-in-law in Petoskey, Michigan, my grandson and I took advantage of occasion to view some unusual railroad cars. The Tuscola & Saginaw Bay Railroad tracks through the center of town, played host to a pair of T&SBRR GP35s and their consist of twelve privately owned and restored railroad cars. Click on the thumbnail of the GP35s at right to see my photos of the cars.
This photograph was taken during one of my grandson's recent operating sessions. A true 'steam freak' he enjoys telling his grandmother stories while running the trains. There are four sound equipped steam locomotives in operation here on the BRVRR. In the background, to the left of the elevator, is Zachary's Norfolk & Western #611, with Soundtraxx DSD-100LC decoder installed. In the right background is his PRR K04,#1361, also with a Soundtraxx decoder. At left in the foreground is my BLI NYC Heavy Mike #9519. In the right foreground is my BLI NYC Hudson #5335. Four trains at a time are about the maximum number of trains that can be operated on the BRVRR at one time. We still have another throttle available so you never know!
This rail fan gets a friendly wave from a Norfolk-Southern engineer as he passes eastbound on Cleveland's waterfront. Unless the parking lot is full, you can get right up to the property line fence at this location near the Cleveland Port Authority. Many of my proto-type photos have been taken from here or from the top of the access ramp a little farther west.
I saw this Norfolk-Southern Scale Test Car #982569 sitting on a siding near Cleveland Browns Stadium in mid-October. It is the first of its type I have ever seen in real life. Beyond the test car is a work train with a crane and a large electro magnet. I have been informed that the magnet is used to clean the loose spikes, rail plates and other iron scrap from the ballast. A two-for-one shot, if I ever saw one.
In the summer of 2005 we took a trip to Strasburg, Pennsylvania to ride on the Strasburg Rail Road, visit the Railroad Museum Of Pennsylvania, The Toy Train Museum and, for the grandson, the Choo Choo Barn multi-scale layout. A highlight for everyone was the steam train ride to Paradise, PA on the Strasburg Rail Road. Press the thumbnail to the left for a brief photo essay of our journey. A new page will open were some of the photographs I took on our trip, with brief descriptions, will be displayed. Enjoy!
During our 2005 trip to Strasburg, Pennsylvania we visited the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Press the thumbnail to the right for a brief photo essay of some of the exhibits in the museum. A new page will open and display a few of the photographs I took in the museum.
The Flats Industrial Railroad #12, an S-3 I think, is shown 'parked' in its usual spot before the RR bridge near Collision Bend on the Cuyahoga River. The photo was taken in late June of 2005 and shows one of two switchers belonging to the railroad. If anyone out there is thinking of a switching layout, the Flats Industrial Railroad might be an interesting proto type.