The title sounds like a B movie horror film, but my last layout start was “Beckleysville”, an O scale 30 inch gauge eastern narrow gauge branchline terminal on the fictional Northern Maryland Railway . Drawing on several small eastern narrow gauge lines, the Northern Maryland was a railroad built during the 1870s narrow gauge building craze. I set my time period as June- July 1914. It is meant to be the beginning of the last decade of the railroad as post WWI automobile traffic will put an end to passenger revenue, trucks will take away the LCL, express traffic, and farm products.
“Beckleysville” is a small village and branchline terminal with both a station and freighthouse, a team track with ramp and small crane, section house and water tank round out the Railway’s facilities. A granary, a warehouse, a lumber company and its coal yard are the private commercial customers. A modest model railroad for sure in operations, a daily early morning milk run and it’s associated afternoon return of empty milk cans. The milk train carries a combine for those traveling to the Western Maryland railroad connection in Manchester, Maryland. A daily except Sunday mixed train that works from Manchester to Bel Air Maryland and back rounds out the operations. The mixed generally handles express, LCL, livestock, and perishable farm products. The morning milk train handles any hot express items in the combine.
My trackplan was a simple wye. I want realistic radius for my wye legs, so I chose 40 inches as the minimal radius. I know what your thinking, that’s huge! Yes it is a large radius, and I’m still debating one that is larger. Why, for realism and I have the room. I’m modeling a small rural village and both operational and scenic realism are top priority, not how much track I can fit into my basement.
The simple wye though was the death of Beckleysville in O scale, too much room once I started moving from a prototype wye plan to an O scale version. I originally chose O scale because I had two engines for the project, both Bachmann On30 models of prototypical 3 foot gauge narrow gauge engines. The Bachmann Mogul, based on a Colorado and Southern engine that I like and the Bachmann Ten wheeler based on one of my all time favorites, an Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina engine. I debated very serious regauging both to On3 since 30 inch gauge was not widely used in The United States. However, the size of the layout in quarter inch scale has doomed Beckleysville as an O scale endeavor.
Return to Beckleysville II©
By: Herbert Mathews, August 2018