Short Line of the Alleghenies


The Nickel City Line was my first attempt at a moderate size model railroad layout.  I had kept a 4 x 8 foot layout I made when I was 11 years old  with me for many years.  When I began to get interested in model railroading again years later, I started adding small additions to my existing layout.  In  February of 1991 I attended a meeting of the Prince William County Model Railroad Club.  The group was small with only 5 members.  But ambitions and excitement were high. I decided to join the group and soon I discovered there was much more to the hobby than I ever envisioned.  I began to learn new techniques and standards for the hobby.
In 1993 my family moved to a single family detached home with a full, unfinished basement.  I began planning a new layout,  on a much grander scale.  I negotiated a 12 x 20 foot area of the basement  for the layout. Construction of the layout was started in 1994 and was completed by 1997.  Revisions were made in late 1997 and 1998.

I made several mistakes on this first layout.  But I have learned far more than I ever imagined.  I am finishing a new, larger layout in a different section of the basement.  A lot of planning has gone into this layout which includes train operations as well as continuous running.  The layout room provides a bright, warm and comfortable area for visitors and operators to enjoy the Nickel City Line.  Track lighting provides most of the light source during operations sessions with blue lighting illuminating the room during night operations.  Florissant fixtures provide general lighting when work on the railroad is being conducted.  The room is carpeted and insulated to provide year round enjoyment.

The railroad, as mentioned above, is operations oriented.  Operators run  trains on a fast clock and adhere to specific rules and instructions given by a Dispatcher.  NMRA Members who operate on the Nickel City Line can earn hours towards their Chief Dispatcher AP Certificate.
The NCL as viewed from Sheppardsfield. Nickel City East is located on the right (lower level) while Monserrat is located on the upper level.
This view is taken from the upper deck in front of Chessie City. Bristow is just to the left. In the background (center) are Mills River and Laurel Valley.
This is an asile view. Canova is in the upper right. Mills River is just below by the red top stool. The Canova Grade is seen in the Center. On the left is Nickel City and the beginning of Monserrat on the upper deck.
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Prince William County, Virginia



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