A Railroad with Relevance

A Little Bit of Clarification

Written By: Alan - May• 11•10

A good friend reading the LK&O blog for the first time commented that I did not make it entirely clear what railroad is the LK&O (or will be). Is the LK&O a real railroad that is being modeled or is it fictional? What relationship does the LK&O have with AC&Y, CSX, and CN? Actually, his point is well taken as I struggled with this same issue on day one of design. Here is what I came up with:

My model railroad will represent a small section of Lapeer MI, a bend in the Potomac river at Kitzmiller MD, and a swath of property in Akron OH. These areas all have specific relevance to me as explained in previous posts. In real world geography, the three areas are separated by hundreds of miles and have no real relationship to each other, railroad or otherwise. However, on my model railroad these are the three locales and the interconnecting rail lines that collectively will be known as the LK&O Railroad.

The name “LK&O Railroad” is really nothing more than a convenient way of referring to my hobby. A quick check of registered reporting marks confirms the LK&O is not a real railroad. Let’s face it… An adult man simply can’t use the term “toy trains” while retaining any dignity at all. Hence, LK&O.

The components of the LK&O are:

Lapeer MI – The Canadian National Flint subdivision runs through Lapeer. There is an active Amtrak station, Lapeer Grain, and the Lapeer Industrial RR (1.34 miles of track) serving small local industries. Fortunately, all three of these are located in very close proximity to each other and as such are extremely well suited for modeling. Although the tracks are located on the opposite side of town from where we live it is still our neighborhood. Plus, it is close by for observing details so will be the most prototypical modeled section of the layout. The area shown will be scene #1 on the LK&O. With the grain mill and assorted businesses served by the Lapeer Industrial RR there will be ample opportunities for interesting switching maneuvers to a varied selection of industries.

Google Map

Kitzmiller MD – CSX RR hauls coal from the West Virginia mines on the Thomas subdivision which follows the Potomac river along the WV and MD border. At a very graceful and picturesque horseshoe bend in the river sits Kitzmiller. This area is scene #2 on the LK&O. While the real life mines are not all that close to Kitzmiller, selective compression will allow me to put them in the same relative area on the layout. Coal loading and the transport of loaded and empty hopper cars will be the activity here. The little town of Kitzmiller is where I will hone my skills at building realistic structures. A quaint little town nestled along the river bank and framed by steep mountains on both sides scene #2 should be a visual delight!

Google Map

Akron OH – Specifically, Brittain Yard. This is #3, the primary scene on the LK&O, and will be the focal point as well as occupying the most basement real estate. The property is now owned by the Lake Erie & Wheeling RR and, as mentioned in a previous post, much of the original AC&Y footprint is gone. The AC&Y Brittain Yard will live again in all of its 60’s glory on the LK&O! Brittain Yard is large enough and interesting enough to warrant modeling all by itself. As I remember there was a constant buzz of yard work as switchers went about their daily tasks of breaking down arriving consists and assembling new outbound ones. Local freights came and went all day long. And then there were the locomotive service shops, both diesel and steam (retired), complete with the holy grail of model railroads – the turntable and roundhouse. Brittain Yard will make a fine center piece on the model railroad. And it should offer endless hours of interesting railroad operations.

Google Map

An operational schematic of the LK&O. This is functionally how the railroad will work but, of course, not how it will be physically arranged on the layout.

Now, the challenge becomes successfully and believably integrating the three scenes into a 25 feet by 25 feet space while preserving the illusion of distinctly different locations linked by rail. All the while trying to get the longest possible mainline length so the trains cover some distance before arriving at their destinations. But that is a challenge for another day. First, I must work in 1:1 scale namely finishing the basement preparations.


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  1. Rick Fifer says:

    Nice explaination tying it all together. I get it now! Sorry – I didn’t mean to cause you to write such a lengthy (but well done) post!

  2. Alan says:

    Thanks for the compliment Rick. I am glad you questioned as you did. Spelling it all out helps me as well as I progress through the design process.

  3. Mike Sillay says:

    Nice start Alan! How do you get LK&O known to the railroading world?

  4. Alan says:

    Good question Mike. I don’t know the answer to that one. I post the address in model railroading forums but beyond that I am clueless!

  5. Rob Rutler says:

    The above is my contact e-mail address.

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