Go to Patterson Creek, W. Va. Go to the Loops. Go to Dobbin, W. Va. Go to Wilson Mills, W. Va. Go to see the big Hill. Go to St George, W. Va. Go to Ellamae, W. Va. Go to Junior, W.Va. Go to Ravenswood, W.Va. Go to Ravenswood, W.Va.

St. George , W. Va.

St. George is the hub of our model railroad. There are a few distinct parts to this town. An industrial district is served by a few spurs dubbed the Belt Line. Adjacent to this is the freight station, team track, and passenger station. A freight yard is the most visible and largest part of St. George. A locomotive facility is one of the latest additions and AG tower controls the east end of the yard and operations on a helper district known as the Hill.

Click on a place name in the above drawing to continue the photo tour or scroll to the bottom for links to the adjacent places.

 
Thee official name of the West Virginian Railway Company
Extra 763 steams past WG tower to enter St. George, W. Va.

Extra 763 steams past WG tower that controls the west end of St. George. In the background are a few of the warehouses and small industries on the Belt Line. This stretch of St. George was inspired by industrial trackage in the towns of Clarksburg, Fairmont, and Morgantown. Warehouses and industries that once served and supplied the local populace dominate the area. In each prototype instance, the passenger and freight stations and team tracks were nearby. This area was the connection with the outside world, which is obvious when we look at a passenger station. But freight was delivered more frequenlty and often supplied much of what a community consumed. The freight house and team track area was the place where goods were unloaded from freight cars into wagons for delivery to a nearby business. Other operations set up near the freight house and often had rail service. The Belt Line on our model railroad is an attempt to emulate these prototype scenes.

Many historic images can be viewed online through the West Virginia and Regional History digital archive, hosted by the West Virginia University Library. A few examples of these smaller industries that were once quite common in many West Virginia towns can be seen through the links below.

Wholesale Grocer Horner-Gaylord Company in Clarksburg
Beaumont Glass in Morgantown
Armour Meat Distributor in Grafton
G. M. West Warehouse in Clarksburg
Hickman Feed Company in Morgantown
Standard Milling (grain) in Clarksburg
Joy Manufacturing, town unknown
Keystone Manufacturing in Elkins

Some of the Belt Line industries.

Currently the structures along the Belt Line are mock-ups made of chipboard and foamcore, walls from building kits and a couple of completed structures. A tan strip is paper cut to represent the roadway that parallels the railroad. These elements are temporary but help club members understand the building relationships to the railroad and the overall scene. In the long run, these temporary pieces help to focus on the needs to make this more of a permanant scene.

A glass factory is served here, as is a wholesale grocer, lumber milling, Armour Meat distributor, supply house, and warehouses. A yard crew makes two trips each day to pull and spot the parade of freight cars along the Belt Line.

Here are the diagrams train crews use to switch the various industries along the Belt Line. These are posted along the layout edge, as can be seen in the above few image. The area isn't too complex, but it does keep a crew busy.

Track diagram for the glass factory and grocer spurs.
Track diagram for the 6th Street spurs.
Extra 763 rounds depot curve in St. George.
Extra 763 enters the curve at the St George depot area. Some of the Belt Line track can be seen to the right in the above image. The team track and freight depot are just out of view to the right.
Track diagram for the freight house and team track.
Extra 763 rounds past the depot area.
The same yard crew switches out the freight house and track twice a day. The St. George freight house can be seen behind the box cars in the above image. This facility is a collection and distribution point for less-than-carload freight bound for nearby communities along the mainline and connecting subdivisions. The first task of a busy day involves pulling all the cars at the freight house and spotting new cars to load and unload.
Signs of life in downtown St. George.
Club member Lou Lemelle has been working to add a downtown scene to the layout.
Extra 763 passes teh west end of St. George yard.
Extra 763 has passed the depot and downtown St. George. The west yard ladder can be seen above.
St. George yard is only half full as Extra 763 steams along the main.
The St. George yard is where incoming freight cars for Junior, Ellamae, Wilson Mills and Dobbin are collected and sorted into local turns that proceed from St. George to each town. These locals spot inbound cars and pull outbound cars then return to St. George. The yardmaster then sorts these incoming cars to send to points beyond our layout on upcoming through trains, or by calling an extra train if enough cars are destined for Ravenswood, Patterson Creek, Charleston, or points beyond.
Looking down the east yard ladder at Extra 763.
Extra 763 walks away from the camera as we look down the east yard ladder. The arched plywood structures in the background are supports for the upper level of our layout. The town of Wilson Mills sits almost directly above the St. George yard, and is an upcoming stop on the eastbound tour.
Extra 763 strolls by AG tower and the St. George locomotive facilities.

The St. George locomotive servicing facilities fuel, service, and perform light maintenance on steam and diesel power. The facilities are convenient to the St. George yard and to the busy helper district hill. Locomotives used on locals, extras and helpers are hostled to and from these facilities.

AG Tower sits across the main line from the St. George locomotive servicing facilities and can be seen to the left in the above image. A tower operator controls the busy throat of St. George yard and the double track hill. On the layout, it is a model of a typical interlocking tower but across the room a real interlocking controls the turnouts and signals along a seventy-foot stretch of track.

The home-built control panel for AG interlocking and the Hill.
Club member Gary Deavers built this working interlocking desk using old fashioned buttons, levers and relays in conjunction with solid-state detection circuits. Gary was a regular visitor to D Tower that once served the Baltimore & Ohio terminal in Grafton, W. Va.
A coal drag snakes through the maze or track at AG tower.
Here's an earlier view of AG interlocking tower. The structure has since been moved across the tracks.

Our town of St. George follows the location of the actual place. On a West Virginia map, St. George is on the Cheat River just downstream from Parsons. As far as we know, the real St. George never had a railroad passing through. A coal and lumber operation came close, but not into the town.

 
 

Time to get up the Hill!

Or, return to Ellamae. Or, jump to the top of this page.