2020 Annual Report

                                      B&O Railroad Pass from 1933       ORW Pass for 1913          

B&O Shepherd Branch (O Scale)

The Anachronistic Region operating crew (a round-robin group) participated in one operating session on the Shepherd Branch before all region operating sessions were canceled for 2020. Sadly, Marshall Abrams, the founder of our group, died in September. At the request of the family, we held a final operating session on the Abrams Railroad Empire, properly masked and distanced, on September 26.

B&O Locomotive Shops

An extensive rebuild of Weaver Washington Terminal RS-3 43 was undertaken by replacing the motor, gears, sprockets, and decoder. Test runs were successful.

B&O Car Shops

Nick Powell, well-known O scale B&O modeler, gifted the railroad with an Atlas O B&O box car. Nick is thinning his roster.

Potomac & Patuxent Railroad (O Gauge)

While no significant improvements or additions were made this year, two historic trains were operated. Runs were made with a circa 1934 American Flyer O gauge and a circa 1954 Marx O-27 train sets. The AF train set belonged to my father and the Marx was my first train set.

Ohio River & Western Railroad (On30)

In the 2019 annual report, OR&W management wrote that the company hoped to activate the hidden staging tracks; refine the operating scenario; and add structures and scenery in 2020. Management is pleased to report success on all fronts.

Using information in Hidden Treasures and a 1907 timetable, a general operating scheme was developed. Passenger trains run on schedules and freight trains run as extras. Each session features an east-bound and west-bound freight train. There are morning, midday, and late afternoon passenger runs to keep the freight crews on their toes. JMRI Operations Pro software is used to generate switch lists for the freight trains. A one-man operating session was held in November to test one of the four operating plans.

Full-size Structures added along Railroad Street:

  • Post Office (Hyde Systems Kit) to which I added a flagpole, 48-star flag, and letter box

  • Fruit Stand (Hyde Systems Kit)

  • Barber Shop (scratch-built from Harriman plan in PDF #1) to which I added a barber pole, but no barber chair (as yet)

  • Apothecary Shop (scratch-built from Harriman plan in PDF #1)

  • Passenger Station (B&O Midland OH station from Div 6 MCR Kit); I opened freight room doors, paneled the visible freight room walls, added floors throughout; scratch-built brick passenger platform and walks; and added passenger benches from a kit

  • 4-wheel Baggage Wagon (San Juan Model Co./Grandt Line Kit 3014 kit)

  • Team track platform (scratch-built); a mule-drawn Freight Wagon (built from Model Tech Inc Kit 416) is loading at the platform; added reins from mules to wagon

Three-sided backdrop buildings fill the space between the passenger platforms and the backdrop representing Main Street which is finished with photos of 19th century wood buildings:

  • Bank (kitbash using back wall from Ameri-Towne kit #876 1st National Bank)

  • Undertaker (scratch-built from Harriman plan in PDF #2); added coffins in alley

  • Leather Shop (scratch-built from Harriman plan in PDF #1)

  • Tobacco Shop (scratch-built from Harriman plan in PDF #1)

Using foamcore and photocopied walls from Harriman plan in PDF #2, a creamery was added to Westfield Industrial. A tunnel portal modeled on the OR&W tunnel portal at Shepherd's Ridge was added near Cumberland. A Waiting Shed was scratch-built for passengers at Coats from plans from the B&O Standard Plans reprint. A photograph of the completed shed was used along the backdrop to the Westfield passenger station.

Near the end of the year, attention was focused on Freeland. A through girder bridge representing the Cleveland & Marietta (C&M, a PRR subsidiary) was added to camouflage the double track entering the Mill Run staging. A three-sided barn was added as part of the Muskingum County Stockyard. The barn was built from plans for a prairie barn obtained from ScaleModelPlans.com.

My article, describing the construction of the post office, fruit stand, and team track platform, appeared in the April/May 2020 issue of The Potomac Flyer, a bi-monthly publication of the Potomac Division, MER/NMRA.

OR&W Locomotive Shops

There were no changes to the locomotive roster.

OR&W Car Shops

A surplus standard gauge undecorated Weaver box car was traded for a Bachmann On30 OR&W box car. Car weights were added to the box cars, reefers, and stock cars. Small-bore shotgun pellets were glued to the underside of flat cars and gondolas for weight. Passengers and conductors were inserted in the passenger cars.

OR&W Maintenance of Way

After the success in the industrial area, the MoW Department installed a third Frog Juicer to power the frogs in Westfield station area. An improved method of connecting the leads to the frogs was developed. The frogs in the industrial area were retrofitted with the new method.

The major challenge facing the MOW Department was activating the three staging tracks that lay under the O gauge railroad. Optical sensors had been installed to indicate when trains had cleared the turnouts when entering the staging tracks, but these needed to be connected to LEDs on the fascia. During test runs, locomotives were stalling at a couple of locations, but there was no indication of a short. Also, lighted passenger cars and cabeese would black out at these locations. The upper deck holding the O gauge loop was removed to provide better access. It took awhile to figure out, but the culprit turned out to be standard gauge spikes that were holding the flex track in place. Wheel flange were striking the spike heads placed where the Code 83 rail crossed the plastic ties causing the steamers and cars to lift off the track and lose electrical contact. After repositioning the spikes, the locomotives ran through more reliably. To complete the activation of the staging tracks, a Digitrax block occupancy detector with panel LEDs was installed to warn when the train was nearing the end of each staging track. With all working well, the O gauge deck was reinstalled. Or so we thought. During the one-man operating session, another “dead spot” revealed itself. MOW may have to open up the O gauge again.

Outlook for 2021

In 2021, Shepherd Branch management hopes to restart operating sessions when the pandemic abates. Management also plans to continue to sell excess, unopened, or incomplete parts and kits. P&P management will focus on adding more scenery and operating accessories to the three-rail display railroad. OR&W management plans to resolve the issue with staging, test run the other three operating plans, and continue the addition of structures and scenery.


Akron Railroad Club B&O Railroad Standard Plans for Maintenance of Way and Construction 1907 (Reprinted 1977)

Cass, Edward H. Hidden Treasures, The Story of the Ohio River & Western Railway, 1997.

Harriman, Pat (MMR) Early Wood Frame and Stone Structures (PDF #1), 2015

Harriman, Pat (MMR) Early Wood Frame and Masonry Structures (PDF #2), 2015