The ALLEGHENY CENTRAL...
Once this idea began to be kicked around, by spending some time in USAPhotoMaps and exploring, as well as taking new look at my Allegheny railroading books, I found a fascinating routing that could definitely hold a LOT of promise.
In effect, the concept would be a relatively large system in which I would ony model a PORTION thereof. This would afford me the opportunity to use almost all of the link n' pin models I have access to. (Lots of engines on the roster to reflect and model.) It would also mean that traffic levels could be quite intense if desired.
Here's an overview of the routing I have come up with:
GAULELY BRIDGE, WV: The AC's northern terminal. Connects with the NYC and C&O. The AC allows C&O running rights over the AC from Gauley to Hawks Nest in exchange of retention of northward extension rights toward Romont to access coal mining activity rumblings in that area.
HAWKS NEST: The C&O splits onto their own rails and continues eastward.
SOUTH THURMOND (the prototype South Side Jct): The AC leaves the New River Gorge and heads for the dense coal mining taking place southeast in the heavy mountains.
The AC may/may not connect with several smaller lines up in the Glen Jean, Mt. Hope, and Pax areas. OR, the rails in the area may be part of the AC. To be decided.
MULLENS: This is the southern sub divsion of the AC. I decided it will serve operational and theme density better to simply make Mullens a division and the unmodeled portion of the AC theoretically continues south/west from Mullens. This would give the ability for a larger roster, more diverse freight, etc. Plus, SHOULD I ever reach Mullens... there is a FANTASTIC branch out of there that heads for the Winding Gulf coal fields that includes a simply superb and rugged mountain scene that would be a very fun challenge to tackle. (Check out the attached picture of this area below!)
Okay, the above is the far-flung visualization of a larger route... but what about the short term hope/goal?
Well, by using that old C&O/B&O diesel route route as a starting point, my thinking is that the prototype location South Side Jct (across the New River from Thurmond, WV) becomes a division point, or important line location, for the "Allegheny Central". The river division of the AC would utilize the "South Line" of the C&O's "New River Sub". The C&O proper would run on the opposite bank, on its correct New River Sub location. The yard on the C&O side of the river at Thurmond would become an interchange yard. The facilities of the AC would be on the south side of New River where South Side Jct was located as well as the old "South Line" C&O rails layed, and the prototype bridge at Thurmond would now be used as the connection between the AC and the C&O.
The AC would then head up Dunloup Creek to Glen Jean and onto Pax using the roadbed of the prototype C&O rails. From Pax, the line could interchange with another proto-lanced line and/or the AC's "main" line could then be extended to the next sub-divison point or not... depending on desire and engery. However, target for the first modeled portion would be Thurmond to Pax.
The Rend Sub from Thurmond to Minden could also be modeled (eventually) if desired.
The equipment used would be the faithful equipment from the Ozark Northern as well as the Colorado Midland Equip Pack, appropriately repainted and relettered, of course.
Almost all of the Ozark Northern structure library could be used in some capacity or another and much of the Ozark Northern terrtex library. New structures would be built as desired/needed.
The idea has much promise... and if nothing else... it will be fun for a while!
Anyway... there you have it... and intro to the Allegheny Central. Later I'll be back with route progress to date. See? I told you I am the Ultimate MSTS Madman!!!